<< I am especially curious about the motivations which caused some Southerners to choose to fight for the Union, and would appreciate any information about this family.It is apparent that these brothers made a deliberate effort to join the Union ranks, as they traveled a long distance over hostile territory to join this regiment.While it is true that they both eventually deserted, that was only after having served over two years as Union volunteers. >>
This Blackwell family of SC is likely linked to the Blackwells of NW Alabama, some of whom were also UNION loyalists.Among these Alabama Blackwell kin are -
2nd Lt., 1st Ala Cav,John G. Blackwell b 1837 Floyd Co GA; possible son of GilbertBlackwell; James M. Blackwell b 1808 Elbert Co GA & sons Joshua Jackson Blackwell b 1832 Carroll Co GA and Preston Blackwell b 1845 Walker Co AL; John Blackwell b 1798 TN & son William Carroll Blackwell b 1824 TN or AL.
Here are some "Profile Characteristics of Southern Loyalists", as I can determine from reviewing many North Alabama families:
The Southern Loyalist Soldiers are generally born in hills or mountains of southern Appalachia. The families owned few, if any, slaves, instead came from a culture of frontier self-sufficiency and independence. Their concept of country derived from the Andrew Jackson model of owning the country they had just built with their own hands; fathers or grandfathers of many of the Unionist soldiers had served with Andy Jackson in battles against the Creeks/Seminoles of AL/FL or against the British in New Orleans. Family religion and political thinking tended to be fundamentalist (Primitive Baptist or similar - of course with numerous exceptions; generally a "family values", God-centered orientation influenced by the Religions Awakening Movement of the 1840s). Alabama was a new State; many were born in the migration states coming out of Virginia (i.e., NC/SC/TN/GA) and most of their parents had been born outside Alabama.The nation was still in formative flux; not nearly as fixed as our reference is today. Family kinship ties and local community pressures influenced loyalty, thinking and side-taking. ------ Regarding desertion.The rate of desertion was fairly high (but understandable) for those with "behind the lines" families to protect or be concerned about.The commanders looked upon these periodic desertions - many to check on the safety and food supply of family - with some sympathy.I've only found only one case of courtmarshall death sentence for a deserter among the 2500 men assigned to the 1st Alabama Cavalry; even though perhaps 30% deserted at some point and many returned during their service.
Joel Mize, researcher of NW Alabama Unionist families firstname.lastname@example.org