UNRECONSTRUCTED REBELS: CONFEDERATE VETERANS AND THEIR ROLE IN THE FORMATION OF POST-CIVIL WAR TEXAS
Following the end of the Civil War, Confederate veterans returned to a home that was vastly different than the one they left behind. As veterans tried to adjust to the physical complications of their rebellion, they also had to deal with the political fallout of their actions as well. Under federal occupation, many ex-Confederates struggled to maintain control over their local governments and the newly freed slaves. In Texas, this struggle evolved into a series of confrontations, both political and clandestine, over who would control the state in the immediate aftermath of the war. In doing so, Texans attempted to assert their meaning of the war in the face of federal occupation. By following this struggle between ex-Confederates and the U.S occupation, the first chapter of this thesis also follows how Confederate veterans attempted to undo the effects of their defeat. The second chapter of this thesis continues to follow Confederate veterans long after the events of the first chapter. By the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth, Confederate veterans occupied a venerated position in society. While the meaning of that veneration varied from commentator to commentator it is clear that many supporters of the Lost Cause saw veterans as representative of the best qualities of the fallen Confederacy. However, this veneration held Confederate veterans to higher standard, resulting in many wounded veterans being denied aid from the state government. The result was a system implemented to provide veterans with aid while attempting to preserve the qualities that made them special in the eyes of Texas society. By looking at veterans in the immediate aftermath of the war, this paper shows how crucial they were in the formation of the Lost Cause.