Friday, January 17, 2014


A friend of mine gave my Civil War novel to an acquaintance to read. The book is about a Southern young woman who falls in love with a Union officer before the war starts. Her heart and devotion are torn between him and her loyalties to the South, especially when her brother marches off to fight for the Confederacy. The comment from her very Southern acquaintance was, "Ah liked the book, but Ah just don't think a Southun girl would fall in lo-uv with a Union officuh."

Really! This remark from a Southern lady, even in 2013, displays what a gulf there was between the Northern and Southern perceptions of the war--even to what the two sides called the War. Burke Davis, in his book, The Civil War, Strange & Fascinating Facts, lists some of the names that mostly the South adopted, grasping in their defeat to express their ardor and, indeed defiance. Here are a few of them:

The War for Constitutional Liberty
The War for Southern Independence 
The Second American Revolution
The War for States' Rights
Mr. Lincoln's War
The Southern Rebellion 
The War for Southern Rights
The War of the Southern Planters
The War of the Rebellion
The Second War for Independence
The War to Suppress Yankee Arrogance
The Brothers' War
The War of Secession
The Great Rebellion
The War for Nationality 
The War for Southern Nationality
The War Against Slavery
The Civil War Between the States
The War Against Northern Aggression
The Yankee Invasion
The War for Separation
The War for Abolition
The War for the Union
The Confederate War
The War for Southern Freedom
The War of the North and South
And lastly, The Late Unpleasantness. 

Whew! Some of those names for the Civil War I had heard. Most I had not. By whatever name one wishes to call that terrible conflict, it was devastating to our country--particularly to the South. We are all grateful, I am sure, that the Union prevailed. If they had not, we would probably be a divided country today. But for the purposes of this post, I think it is interesting how differently the two sides viewed the war, even to what they called it. And some of those disparities remain even to this present day.

Golden Keyes Parsons writes historical fiction, and is also a popular retreat/conference speaker. Her highly acclaimed Darkness to Light Series (Thomas Nelson Publishing) chronicled the journey of her French Huguenot ancestors in 17th century France. Her fourth novel, His Steadfast Love, is a Civil War novel set in Texas. Her latest releases are ebooks (WhiteFire Publishing) – a biblical fiction series entitled Hidden Faces, Portraits of Nameless Women in the Gospels. Golden lives in Waco, TX, with her husband, Blaine, where they enjoy their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and are avid sports fan of their alma mater, Baylor University. You can contact her at                                            


  1. Wow lots of names I had heard of three or four of them.
    I have to say the period really fascinates me. I was so happy to get to see a few sites last May when visiting America. I would love to see more but it will take time to save money.

  2. They sure were creative, sarcastic, hateful, bitter, and brutally honest in the different names/descriptions mentioned above,weren't they?! What gets me is that that's only one war!!

  3. There are lots of sites to see concerning the Civil War. One that I knew nothing about was the prisoner of war camp outside of Tyler, TX, Camp Ford, which plays a part in Steadfast Love. We lived in that area for ten years, but until I started doing research for the book, I'd never heard of it. What's fun, and very interesting, is to go to some of the Civil War re-enactments around the country.

  4. The Recent Unpleasantness. Gotta love Victorian euphemisms, LOL. Fascinating post, Golden!!

  5. Wow, I hadn't realized there were so many different names. Though, I always thought it was "The War of Northern Aggression" not "against"....

  6. Golden, I found so many of those names as I researched my family history for Love Stays True. The different attitudes from different areas of the South was also very interesting. My great-grandfather left Louisiana and came to Texas in 1880 because he could no longer tolerate the extreme prejudices he had to face as a doctor who pledged to treat every one needing care, but some of the people in his home town ostracized him and would not let him treat them because he treated "the blackies".

    I didn't know about the camp at Tyler, either. That's interesting.

  7. What is so distressing, Martha, is how many of those old prejudices are still around. God bless your great-grandfather. He must have been a man of great integrity and courage. I can remember my father bringing a black man home for dinner (this was in Indiana ... major KKK country) right after WWII. I didn't realize what a departure from the norm that was until years later.

    And Camp Ford in Tyler ... you can go through the site. Still some of the old structures still there.

  8. I grew up in Philadelphia, home of the Declaration of Independence, so the Revolutionary War was a big topic in school. Imagine my surprise when I moved to Virginia and a reader wrote to the local paper lambasting the Union army during "The War of Northern Aggression" for stealing his family's home and property (he even listed exactly how many heads of animals the Union army took: pigs, cattle, horses, etc). I was totally shocked at the strong bitterness that he held from so long ago and I had never heard that term for the Civil War before. I've learned a lot since living in near the capital of the Confederacy. Thanks for your article!

  9. Wonderful article, and wonderful blog. First time I ever saw this blog, and I'm fascinated.

  10. So interesting to read all the names for the Civil War, based on the perceptions of those involved on the North and the South. sharon, ca wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. I'd heard of a few of these, Golden, but I had no idea the South had so many names for what we call the Civil War. Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!

  12. When I was in the 4th grade we moved from Indiana to Texas. I was totally shocked when my 5th grade teacher called me a "Yankee" ... and it sounded like a curse word!

  13. Golden, interesting post. My editor insists I refer to the Civil War as the War Between the States. I guess that's better than some of the names. At least it sounds more neutral.

  14. Thank you for an interesting post, Golden. Just as an aside. Since the English had their own civil war, they refer to ours as The War Between the States. Some call all Americans "Yanks" no matter where you live in the States. When my English friends say I'm a "Yank," I know it's done in a good-natured way..

  15. I married a Southerner and I still get called a "Yankee" by some of his relatives, and they all said that they thought him marrying a Yankee was less likely than him marrying a teacher. Well, he did both!!! haha

  16. Thanks, everybody, for chiming in here. The War Between the States is probably the most accurate term. It certainly was not a "Civil" War, was it?

  17. Hi Golden. Good post. 27 wars. Didn't know was so many. I like to read about this part of history, but is heartwrenching too that so many died. I loved the book and then the movies they made of the North and South. You live just about 30 to 45 minute drive from where I grew up. Kosse. near Marlin and Groesbeck. My ancestors move to Texas from the Carolinas. Thanks for this post. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com