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Texans who fought for the Union in the Civil War

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Captain Francis Asbury Vaughan, 1867
Generations of Texas: Ten Generations of Texas Family History
Captain Francis Asbury Vaughan, 1867

In 1861 Texas seceded from the United States and joined The Confederate States of America – a breakaway republic formed to preserve the enslavement of people.

On April 16, 1862, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens delivered a speech where he described the government's ideology as based "upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition."

There were those in the Confederacy who disagreed with that view including Francis Asbury Vaughan. The Seguin, Texas resident, along with eleven of his compatriots, elected as a matter of conscience to leave Texas and fight on the side of the Union Army.

Estimates suggest that around 100,000 Southerners fought for the Union during the American Civil War. These men were known as Southern Unionists. Their stories highlight the complexity of the Civil War. Their contributions were often overshadowed by the larger Confederate narrative, but recent scholarship is bringing more attention to their role.

Which is why the Francis Asbury Vaughan story is so interesting.

Vaughan maintained a detailed diary that documented his dangerous journey to enlist in the Union Army, as well as his exploits during the war.

Wayne Stewart, Vaughan’s great-great-grandson, has written a book based on the diary Generations of Texas: Ten Generations of Texas Family History.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi