Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Crothers, A. Glenn

Author's Keywords

American Civil War; Civil War battles; Confederate States of America; Slavery; Military history; Honor


Honor--Southern States--History--19th century; Soldiers--Confederate States of America--Attitudes; Soldiers--Confederate States of America--Social conditions; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Social aspects; Confederate States of America. Army


This thesis examines the role antebellum southern cultural paradigms played in Confederate military operations during the American Civil War. The prewar honor culture of the white southern male elite was intensely focused on chivalric values of courage, masculinity, piety, pride, contempt for cowardice, and loyalty. When war broke out between the United States and Confederacy, the southern elite moved from their prewar position as economic, political, and social leaders to military commanders. The violent and militaristic culture that characterized the prewar southern elite guided their actions as the military leadership of the Confederacy. Using the written record of the Confederate elite, campaign overviews, secondary literature about the period, and statistical studies of the Confederate army, this thesis finds strong evidence of the impact of the antebellum culture on the Confederate officer corps.