Friday, June 13, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (17)

Topic: Some Terms Used by the North and the South During the Civil War

The Union Army 1861: The entire U.S. Army had only 16,000 men when the war began; within two years the Union Army reached its peak of a million men (during the war a total of 2 million men served in this army)

God's Country: The Union troops' term for the North, especially when battling heat, humidity, and mosquitoes in the South. Not until the 1880s did the term mean any section of the country one loved or the open spaces of the West. The Union troops also called the American flag God's flag.

Loyalist: a Union sympathizer in the South, 1862.

The Confederacy: This meant the entire confederation of all the states, the United States, until 1829, when secession was first discussed; between then and 1861 it slowly came to mean the South and then the Confederate States of America. Confederates and the Confeds meant both Southerners and Confederate troops from 1861 on. In 1861 Confederate also first appeared in many combinations, as Confederate money, Confederate stamps, the Confederate Capital, etc. The Confederate flag (another 1861 term) was also called the stars and bars, to distinguish it from the Union's stars and stripes.

Dixie: became a popular word for the South during the Civil War and Dixie land a popular Southern song.

A.W.O.L.: became the initials for "absent without leave" during the Civil War (unwarranted absence of a comparatively short duration, not long enough to classify a soldier as a deserter). The South punished such offenders rather leniently, as with a reprimand or assignment to physical labor while wearing a placard with the letters AWOL on it, which helped popularize the initials.

Copperhead: During the Civil War a copperhead (1862) was the North's derogatory term for a Northerner who sympathized with the South.


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