Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Confederate Exiles

As the Civil War was winding down, many Confederates, seeing the writing in the wall, resolved not to allow themselves to be placed back under Federal laws. Some, like Edwin Ruffin, chose to commit suicide, while others chose exile:

4 July, 1865: Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Shelby led a group that included former Governors Pendleton Murrah (Texas), Charles Morehead (Kentucky), and Henry Allen (Louisiana). Also among this group were Generals John Magruder, Hamilton Bee, Thomas Hindman, and Sterling Price. They crossed the Rio Grande to establish a colony in Mexico.

Major Washington Goldsmith, who commanded Georgia troops, helped establish a colony in British Honduras (now Belize).

John Taylor Wood, a Confederate Navy Captain, relocated to Nova Scotia, rather than swear an oath to the United States.

A Confederate community in Ontario, Canada hosted Jubal Early, John Hood, James Mason (CS Commissioner to the UK), and John Breckenridge.

A very large Confederate colony was formed north of Sao Paulo. This community still exists in the form of the town of Americana, populated with descendants of the founders.

Matthew Maury, former US Navy oceanographer and former Confederate Navy purchasing agent in Europe, directed the Imperial Mexican Observatory.

Judah Benjamin, former CS Secretary of State, became a Queens Counsel for Lancashire, England.

Others who lived in England, included Louis Wigfall and Robert Toombs.

Many of the estimated 10000 exiles did return to the US, but only after taking the oath of loyalty to the United States. Others were staunch Confederates to the end and never returned.

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