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A Secret Society History of the Civil War$
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Mark A. Lause

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780252036552

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252036552.001.0001

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The Republic Saved

The Republic Saved

Secret Societies and the Survival of the Union

(p.125) 7. The Republic Saved
A Secret Society History of the Civil War

Mark A. Lause

University of Illinois Press

This chapter studies the emergence of Unionist secret societies. Secret societies among Unionists emerged directly from the exclusionist and repressive ideology of the secessionists. Even more secretive “Union Leagues” appeared in Tennessee among those Unionists who “sought refuge in inaccessible places and caves in the mountains of their State,” where they gathered around “improvised altars, covered with 'Old Glory,' on which lay the open Bible,” and formulated rituals similar to those of the old Brotherhood of the Union, which had several circles in the state before the war. Many Southern members of unauthorized secret societies became actively engaged in espionage and sabotage on behalf of the Union. Many of these ventures seem to have been freelance and fostered more by adventurers than agents of their respective governments.

Keywords:   Unionist secret societies, secessionists, Union Leagues, unauthorized secret societies, espionage

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