Loyalty and Loss: Alabama's Unionists in the Civil War and Reconstruction




A ground-braking and fascinating study on pro-Union sentiment in Alabama before, during and after the Civil War. Storey's book goes a long way towards disproving the myth that all Alabamians were eager secessionists and die-hard Confederates. On the contrary, there were pockets of Unionist senmtiment--even in South Alabama--before and during the war and Storey's work examines that Unionism, including many references to the Tennessee Valley of NW Alabama and specifically Franklin (Colbert didn't exist until 1867) and Lauderdale Counties. Storey mentions many Unionists, black and white, from both of these counties in the text.

Her book points out that while some committed Unionists in Alabama were abolitionists, at the same time others were also slave-owners, and the book details the relationships these white Unionists had with their Unionist slaves. A few of these slave-owners were willing to sacrifice slavery if it meant preserving the Union and in some cases they were assisted by their slaves in spying for the Union Army. Indeed, the book contains much information on how Unionist African-Americans, slave and free, navigated the war. Drawing heavily on petitions from the Southern Claims Commission (a court set up by the US government in 1871 to reimburse Southerners loyal to the Union during the war for livestock, goods and material confiscated by the US Army during the war), the book describes the deprivation, the fear and mistrust and in some cases outright persecution, these Unionists, black and white faced during the war.

The book is sourced, foot-noted and indexed, and contains a bibliography as well as several useful charts and maps.


Storey, Margaret


Louisiana State University Press



Lee Freeman


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Storey, Margaret, “Loyalty and Loss: Alabama's Unionists in the Civil War and Reconstruction,” Shoals Black History, accessed January 21, 2021, https://shoalsblackhistory.omeka.net/items/show/1104.