RETURN TO MUSEUM LOBBY

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Pro-Confederate

Dedicating herself totally to the Confederacy, Augusta attended the inauguration of Jefferson Davis in Montgomery in February 1861 (an event re-enacted in 1914 in the film Present and Past in the Cradle of Dixie) and sought out  leading men of the new government. She carried on a regular wartime correspondence with J.L.M Curry and other politicians as well as General P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate hero who had ordered the first shots fired on Fort Sumter. She organized a team of women, writes Fidler, to sew nine thousand sandbags to bolster the defenses of Fort Morgan, which guarded the entrance to Mobile Bay.   She spent much of her time nursing soldiers as the war began and harhsly criticized the Confederate government's lack of provision for its soldiers and its exemption of the wealthy from military service.

Today one asks whether Augusta's support for the Confederacysignified her support for the institution of slavery. Though her father had owned slaves before his bankruptcy -- when Augusta was three -- neither he nor Augusta is known to have owned slaves after that. In correspondence Augusta criticized women who owned house slaves because it made them lazy and indolent. Scholars Nina Baym and Bert Hitchcock see Augusta's support for the South as a sign of her attachment to the 'home place.'. Like many Southerners, she saw the South as having a more refined culture than the more industrialized North and disliked being looked on by 'Yankees' as inferior. A' circle the wagons' mentality led Southerners to unite against Northern pressures whether or not they believed slavery to be right or wrong.