The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 24
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
predicted the demands that the next four years would place on all the
people of Harrison County, especially on its soldiers.
The record of service compiled by Harrison County soldiers on Civil
War battlefields is reasonably well known, thanks to the efforts of histori-
ans who have written in-depth accounts of many of the units in which
they served. On the other hand, much less attention has been given to
basic questions concerning the impact of the war on the county's peo-
ple, especially its white males who had to help fill the ranks of the Con-
federate Army. First, what percentage of white military-age men entered
military service of any kind? Second, what were the demographic and
economic characteristics of those who served as opposed to those who
did not? Third, what happened-in terms of illnesses, wounds, impris-
onment, etc.-to men from Harrison County who served in the military?
Answers to these questions have obvious importance to the social history
of the war. Consider, for example, the impact on Harrison County of
having 75 percent as compared to 50 percent of its military-age men in
service at some time between 1861 and 1865. Obviously the proportion
of the male population who left to serve would affect most aspects of life
there during the war. For a second example, think about what it meant
if 50 percent as opposed to 33 percent of those who served were mar-
ried men. Some recent interpretations of the Confederate home front
depend heavily on the idea that, as the war dragged on and hardships
mounted, wives began to question the "infallibility" of their soldier hus-
bands.4 Thus, the proportion of married men among Confederate sol-
diers seems especially worth knowing. Finally, consider the effect on the
community of the percentage of its white male population who died in
the war. The loss, for example, of 25 percent of all military-age white
males seemingly would have constituted a devastating blow requiring
years to overcome.
This article will sketch the military record of Harrison County's sol-
diers from 1861 to 1865 and then systematically analyze the communi-
ty's entire military-age population as reported in the 186o census to
answer key questions about the demographic impact of the war. No
comparable demographic study exists for any other Texas county, but
some comparisons can be made with historians' findings for other parts
of the Confederacy and for towns and counties in the North.
For examples of studies of units in which large numbers of Harrison County soldiers served,
see Harold B. Simpson, The Marshall Guards: Harrison County's Contributwon to Hood's Texas Brigade
(Marshall, Tex.: Port Caddo Press, 1967); Douglas Hale, The Third Texas Cavalry in the Civil War
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1993); and M. Jane Johansson, Peculiar Honor: A History
of the 28th Texas Cavalry, 1862-1865 (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1998).
4 Drew G. Faust, Mothers of Inventwn: Women of the Slaveholdang South in the American Civil War
(Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1996), 134. See also LeeAnn Whites, The Civil
War a a Crisis in Gender: Augusta, Georgia, 186o-i89o (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1995).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/52/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.