This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Memory’s Redoubt: Ex-Confederates in New York City, 1865-1910




Pettus, Ian

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation



Restriction Status


Restriction Type


Date Available



This dissertation focuses on elite ex-Confederates who relocated to New York City after the Civil War, arguing that they demonstrate the importance of post-war migrations to the spread of the Lost Cause. Industrialization and urban mass culture fundamentally changed late-nineteenth century New York’s social and political landscape, and ex-Confederate migrants were necessarily sensitive to these trends. As native southerners who became New Yorkers, these migrants helped author a variant of the Lost Cause “memory” that portrayed the Old South as an anti-modern Eden led by planter aristocrats. This interpretation successfully addressed the concerns of middle class and elite white New Yorkers while also enhancing ex-Confederates’ social status. White southern migrants to New York City are a prime example of the importance of post-war movement in the formation of the Lost Cause. They show that the creation of the Lost Cause was not geographically restricted and help to explain how a northern public who had once fought to free enslaved Americans ultimately came to support white supremacy and Jim Crow rule in the South.