Participation Type

Paper

Presentation #1 Title

The Price of Honor: Confederate Veterans’ Dilemma in the Gilded Age, Charleston, West Virginia

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

The article shows how the divide among the United Confederate Veterans in Charleston, West Virginia, encapsulated a greater dilemma for Confederate veterans in general by necessitating the need for clear definitions of membership. The article analyzes how the adjutant for the Stonewall Jackson Camp, James McChesney, created a divide amongst the group when attempting to verify the member’s war record. Several of the leading members’ records found that they were not as dedicated soldiers during the war as they had claimed, and several had not even served. The disagreement produced a split in the camp that eventually led to legal action, and the formal separation of the James McChesney faction from the rest of the Camp. This breakaway precipitated the founding of a new Camp for the McChesney faction and soon the two Camps were fighting to poach members from the other. The two camps appealed to the state, and later the federal, U.C.V. organization for assistance, and the Stonewall Jackson Camp was suspended on the basis of its harboring members who had not served in the Confederacy. However, due to the influence of the Stonewall Jackson Camp, it was able to appeal its suspension to the state government who reinstated the faction amidst popular discontent from the Camps. The article illustrates how the unity of a common and romanticized portrayal of “united” confederates was dissolved for citizens of Charleston. The realities of desertion and impostors within the Confederate cause served to shatter a unified Confederate memory of the war.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Seth Nichols is the Blake-Hulse Scholar of Confederate History at Marshall University. He is currently working on a thesis for his M.A. on Civil War memory in West Virginia in the Metro Region.

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 

The Price of Honor: Confederate Veterans’ Dilemma in the Gilded Age, Charleston, West Virginia

The article shows how the divide among the United Confederate Veterans in Charleston, West Virginia, encapsulated a greater dilemma for Confederate veterans in general by necessitating the need for clear definitions of membership. The article analyzes how the adjutant for the Stonewall Jackson Camp, James McChesney, created a divide amongst the group when attempting to verify the member’s war record. Several of the leading members’ records found that they were not as dedicated soldiers during the war as they had claimed, and several had not even served. The disagreement produced a split in the camp that eventually led to legal action, and the formal separation of the James McChesney faction from the rest of the Camp. This breakaway precipitated the founding of a new Camp for the McChesney faction and soon the two Camps were fighting to poach members from the other. The two camps appealed to the state, and later the federal, U.C.V. organization for assistance, and the Stonewall Jackson Camp was suspended on the basis of its harboring members who had not served in the Confederacy. However, due to the influence of the Stonewall Jackson Camp, it was able to appeal its suspension to the state government who reinstated the faction amidst popular discontent from the Camps. The article illustrates how the unity of a common and romanticized portrayal of “united” confederates was dissolved for citizens of Charleston. The realities of desertion and impostors within the Confederate cause served to shatter a unified Confederate memory of the war.