They have been forgotten, those white Southerners who fought on the Union side. They are the unknown soldiers of the Civil War. In the vast and growing literature of that conflict they remain practically unmentioned. There are historic reasons why this has been so, but it has not been because the men are historically unimportant or undeserving of remembrance. Not at all. They made a difference in the outcome of the war: without them, it would not have ended when and as it did. - Lincoln’s Loyalists
Despite the assertions of southern governors that Lincoln would get no troops from the South to preserve the Union, every Confederate state except South Carolina provided at least a battalion of white troops for the Union Army.
The loyal citizen in a rebel State is placed between two fires - and flanked beside. If he professes loyalty and manifests sympathy for the Union army, he does it at the sacrifice of his safety when they retire, which he has no assurance they will not do. In that case he is sure to be dealt with by the rebels. If on the other hand he appears unfriendly towards the Union troops, he is certain of nothing better, and often he finds but little favor arising from Union professions. Thus it is that loyalty to the Government in a rebel State can only be expected from men of uncommon nerve. Few men are possessed of moral courage enough to publicly commit themselves to a cause surrounded with the dangers of Unionism in Rebeldom! It costs our northern friends nothing, but rather they are well paid for their loyalty. Not so with the loyal citizen who may at this unfortunate time have his home in the "sunny south," it costs him his all for the time being, and [he] is often but little rewarded for it. - Mysteries and Miseries of Arkansas; A defence of the loyalty of the state.
Andersonville National Historic Site
New Bern National Cemetery
"They were most efficient defenders of the Republic whose loyalty was almost martyrdom. History will do them justice, when it shall come to be fairly and fully written."
- Charles H. Foster
A great many union men in Onslow Cty, forced to be secesh when they don’t want to be." - John Smith of Onslow County: Refugees Statements 1863
If as many as 900,000 fought for the Confederacy, the 100,000 who fought for the Union represented a loss of 10 percent of the Confederacy's military manpower. In reality the Confederacy suffered a double loss, since the 100,000 loyalists must not only be subtracted from the strength of the Confederacy but also be added to the strength of the Union. - Lincoln's Loyalists
All the loyal States have prepared rosters of the men who served in the loyal army, and they have been published, with the reports of the adjutants general of the various States.
The State of Arkansas furnished over ten thousand men to the loyal army. The adjutant general presented his report, with a roster of those names, to the legislature of that State, which is now under disloyal control, and they have refused to publish it, so that there is no record whatever of the services of these gallant men. - Senator Henry Wilson
Fort Pillow was composed of about 500 USCTs and 200 white soldiers (Tennessee Tories). The river was dyed with the blood of the slaughtered for 200 yards. There was in the fort a large number of citizens who had fled there to escape the conscript law. Most of these ran into the river and were drowned.
The approximate loss was upward of 500 killed, but few of the officers escaping.
It is hoped that these facts will demonstrate to the Northern people that USCTs cannot cope with Southerners....
My loss was about 20 killed and 60 wounded....
Large numbers of the Tories have been killed and made away with [in the course of the campaign], and the country is very near free of them. - Nathan Bedford Forrest
I am a Lincoln man and I don't care who knows it. North Carolina has never legally separated from the Union and anyone who voted for William Pettigrew is a damned fool, as are supporters of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, all of whom should be hanged. - Henry Ambrose, 1st North Carolina Infantry (Union)
History will do them justice, when it shall come to be fairly & fully written.
But their present lot is one of local dishonor & infamy. They are stigmatized as renegades and traitors to the South.... The rebellion which they fought to overcome has succumbed, and the Union which they fought to maintain has reasserted its imperial authority. But what recognition or reward have they?
The Republic owes these brave loyalists, or their surviving relatives, a debt not only of gratitude & honor, but of pecuniary compensation. They need immediate relief. - Charles H. Foster
I know it is claimed that the men tried and convicted for the crime of desertion were Union men from N.C. who had found refuge within our lines and in our service. The punishment was a harsh one but it was in time of war when the enemy no doubt felt it necessary to retain, by some power, the services of every man within their reach. General Pickett I know personally to be an honorable man but in this case his judgement prompted him to do what can not well be sustained though I do not see how good, either to the friends of the deceased or by fixing an example for the future, can be secured by his trial now. It would only open up the question whether or not the Government did not disregard its contract entered into to secure the surrender of an armed enemy. - Ulysses S. Grant
The U.S. government made no offer of encouragement or reward to those who had stood the fast friends of the nation in the hour of its peril. The ingratitude of republics is the tritest of thoughts, but there never was a more striking illustration of its verity. Perhaps no nation ever before, after the supression of a rebellion which threatened its life, quite forgot the claims of those who had been its friends in the disaffected region. - Albion Tourgee
"We had many regiments of brave and loyal men who volunteered under great difficulty from the twelve million belonging to the South."
-Ulysses S. Grant
"They accused me of being a Buffalo, that is what all loyal men were called, and harboring Buffaloes in the woods. They did arrest me and imprisioned me and made other threats which I do not remember." - John H. Haddock
These men are from different portions of this State having responded to the call of the country under the disadvantages of persecution as relentless as the inquisition. They have stood by the nation in its hour of trial, and now that they are about to return to their respective homes in sections which have been in rebellion and where there is still that hostile feeling which could prompt insult and outrage, it would be an honor to their patriotism, give them a means of self protection and ...coincide with the policy of organizing and arming Home Guards. These men can be depended upon in sustaining the laws of the country, putting down guerrillas and bringing criminals to justice. - Col. Oscar Eastmon, June 10, 1865
I loved my country too well to stand idly by, and see it insulted without lending my aid in its support. So, I shouldered my gun and went forth to meet the cowards who had run me away from my native home because of my attachment to the government of my fathers. I was the first and probably the only Georgian who represented that state in the great contest for freedom and equal rights. I did not receive a cent of bounty for my service. I asked for none. - J.R. Matthews to A. Johnson, June 12, 1865, Johnson Papers.
They made that poor old man, who was a Methodist class leader, sit by and see his son hanged till he was dead, and then they called him a damned Linconite Union shrieker, and said, "Come on; it is your turn next." He sank, but thay propped him up and led him to the halter, and swung both off on the same gallows. - William Gannaway Brownlow
This company of Union men which they boast so of raising in Chowan & Gates counties is composed of the offscouring of the people & foreigners, people who can neither read or write & who never had a decent suit of clothes until the Yankees gave it to them, poor ignorant wretches who cannot resist a fine uniform and the choice of the horses in the country & liberty to help themselves without check to their rich neighbors belongings. We should judge them leniently, but justice to ourselves demands that we shoot them down like wolves on sight. - Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston
"[T]he reason I enlisted at the time I did was that the conscript officers of the Confederate army tried to get me two or three days previous thereto and I ran from them and they shot at me. It was well understood in my neighborhood [that] at the time I was old enough to be subject to army duty and I saw I had to join one side or the other so [I] went to Plymouth and enlisted in the U.S. Army." - William David Thomas, 1st North Carolina Infantry (Union)
"It was easy to be a Union man in Ohio or Pennsylvania, but difficult and dangerous to be one in the South. In the one case the person was in sympathy with his section; in the other, he stood in odious array against it," wrote a Tennessee Unionists after the war. "Sympathy and ties of kindred and association drew them [East Tennesseeans] toward secession: patriotism and duty drew them the other way." - Oliver P. Temple 1899
In the hour of their country’s peril, they were loyal and true.