For Church and Confederacy: The Lynches of South Carolina

For Church and Confederacy: The Lynches of South Carolina

2019 | ISBN: 1611179173 | English | 440 Pages | EPUB | 6 MB

For Church and Confederacy brings together a wealth of fascinating letters and other writings that unveil the lives of a prominent Southern Irish Catholic family during the late antebellum and Civil War years. Conlaw and Eleanor Lynch, hoping to restore the fortunes they had lost in their native country, settled in the South Carolina upcountry, where they imparted their ambitions to their children, several of whom would make exceptional marks in such areas as education, manufacturing, and religious life.
Most prominent of the second-generation Lynches was Patrick, the eldest, who became the third Roman Catholic bishop of Charleston and developed a national reputation as a polemicist, preacher, and self-taught geologist. During the Civil War he proved to be a major Confederate apologist, a role that led officials in Richmond to appoint him to be a special commissioner to the Papal States as part of an effort to secure European support for the Southern cause. Other family members, particularly Francis, whose tanneries in the Carolinas supplied shoes to thousands of soldiers, and Ellen (also known as Sister Baptista), whose Catholic academy in Columbia became a refuge for the children of prominent Southern families, also made valuable contributions to the Confederacy. For all of them, slaveholding was considered indispensable to acquiring and sustaining their position in Southern society. Their correspondence shows them to have been on the periphery of the political turmoil that led to disunion, but once the war erupted, they quickly became strong secessionists. By the war's end most found themselves in the path of William T. Sherman's avenging army and, as a consequence, suffered great losses, both material and human.
Featuring meticulous notes and commentary placing the Lynch siblings' writings in historical context, this compelling portrait of the complex relationship among religion, slavery, and war has a sweep that carries the reader along as the war gradually overtakes the family's privileged world and eventually brings it down.

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