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Peter Carmichael Responds to Robert Tinkler's Review of _The Last Generation_: Every author deserves a careful reading of his or her book, but far too often reviewers speed dial in a report that sacrifices complexity for summary and careful reflection for hyper-criticalness. I am relieved that Robert Tinkler is not a "hit and run" reviewer, and especially pleased by his close attention to detail, his critical eye for factual mistakes and interpretive incongruities, and his willingness to understand the broader and interconnected arguments of _The Last Generation_. Although Tinkler praises the book for its "many contributions," I have to admit I had a hard time finding those rich insights in his review. I will gladly take him at his word, however, and focus more on his questions about the book--questions that are important and worthy of a thoughtful response that I hope will initiate a broader discussion on H-South. What did it mean to be a man in the Old South is a question that has resurfaced among historians, largely because of Stephen Berry's masterful _All that Makes a Man_, which moves us beyond the one-dimensional portrait of Southern men as whiskey-swilling, testosterone-driven, honor-bound hooligans who only cared about chasing women, hunting, and fighting. While Berry does not suggest that Southern men were saints, he reminds us that there were many competing models of manhood in the Old South, and that elements of the slaveholding class tried to follow a Victorian expression of manliness that emphasized piety, moral restraint, education, and professional ambition. In taking my cue from Berry, I also found that Virginia men embraced the idea of a Christian gentleman. This figured into a broader critique of Virginia society, one that revealed important generational tensions that centered on their elders' captivation with the cavalier. I am thankful that Tinkler did not misinterpret my argument as an attempt to redeem my study group as a bunch of proper Southern gentlemen. The reviewer correctly points out that I am primarily concerned with how gender identification among young Virginians related to questions of regional and national identity, the politics of sectionalism, and the power struggles between age groups. I broadly conclude that state, regional, and national identities were constantly in flux throughout the 1850s, that young Virginians were not Southern hotspurs, and, most importantly, that Southern identity should not be reduced to a set of cultural beliefs or practices. We need to understand Southernness as an ever-changing strategy encompassing both local and national loyalties as a way to advance a range of political and social goals. I also found that when young Virginians exhibited Southernness, it was intimately connected to a unique generational vision of a "progressive" slave society. The reviewer wonders, however, why there was a softening of manliness during the 1850s. I suggest that young men felt unique pressures because of the sectional political and cultural wars of the 1850s that were taking place while they struggled to find their way professionally in a state that no longer offered "traditional" routes to power and prestige through landownership and slaveholding. The idea of the Christian gentleman helped young Virginians negotiate between the aristocratic traditions of the slaveholding class and the bourgeois spirit of the times, between their desire to promote a patriarchal system and their need to question adult authority, and between their love of Virginia and their deep sense of loyalty to Union. Northern claims of superiority especially angered young Virginians who wanted their native land to be a leader in the age of progress. Outside attacks did not cause young Virginians to circle the wagons and offer an emotional laden defense of their way of life. I was surprised that young people acknowledged defects that they believed had resided in their father's generation. These defects, in the eyes of youth, were responsible for the state's loss of stature and influence in the nation. Thus, the attacks of anti-slavery forces, combined with the perception that the Old Dominion was declining, pushed young Virginians to demand of themselves and of their elders that they pursue a more modern expression of manliness, but one that remained anchored to a Christian perspective. Tinkler asks if there was not more diversity among Baptists, Methodists, and Episcopalians over the social values of religion, but my research supports Beth Barton Schweiger's _The Gospel Working Up_, which maintains that Protestant of all stripes valued material, moral, and educational progress. Tinkler is correct that for some young men their return to faith translated into a religious expression that bordered on a Southern variation of Transcendentalism. Eugene Genovese also made a similar comment to me as he was struck by the mixture of pantheism and Christianity exhibited by the last generation. Unfortunately, I was unable to satisfy either historian, as the source material did not reveal to me why some young men flirted with Transcendentalism while others embraced a gospel of social improvement. It is possible that some of the young men who resembled Transcendentalists were not as enthused about the age of progress. A few worried about the mechanization of man, and they consequently celebrated the purity of nature, as embodied in their native soil, to proclaim the inherent greatness of Virginia. I wished I had a better answer, but the "back to nature" movement among Southern youth in 1850s deserves further inquiry and I would be very interested in hearing about the work of others on this subject. Where my study falls short of being a true generational approach, which Tinkler appropriately points out, is the failure to include a substantial number of men who stood outside of slaveholding circles. We need to know more about male relationships across class and racial lines, and I believe a more imaginative approach than the one I employed might recover the variety of male relationships. I would have profited from travel accounts and other literary sources, especially narratives relating to Southern humor. I am eager to know what kinds of sources and methodologies other scholars on H-South are using when researching the emotionally diverse experiences of men in the Old South. I appreciate that the reviewer recognized the importance of the last generation in gaining the loyalty of non-slaveholders in the Confederate army. The negotiations between enlisted man and officer reveal a slaveholding class that was far more astute in dealing with lower-class dissent than Civil War historians have previously acknowledged. The fact that these men were extreme in their devotion should come as no surprise, and I wanted to avoid the question as to whether white Southerners were sufficiently nationalistic or not. So much of recent secondary literature on the Confederacy is hemmed in by this restrictive question, and I am more interested in the articulation of those ideas, and how the basis of that loyalty changed during the course of the war. The time has come for Southern and Civil War historians to move beyond the question as to whether white Southerners were nationalistic or not, but I admit that my work did not advance the field in any new directions. I fear that we are at a dead end with the study of wartime Confederate nationalism, and I am curious as to where the field should go in regard to that issue. I am a little puzzled by Tinkler's comment that I should have been more critical in my assessment of the last generation. I tried to shy away from moral judgments about my study group as I did not believe my approval or disapproval of their thoughts and actions would have been of much service to the reader. Throughout the book I believe I was consistent in my critical evaluations of the last generation's attempts to achieve cultural power and political authority. For instance, I point out that during the final six months of the war young Virginians suffered a dislocation of mind, so severe and so crippling, that they were unable to realistically to evaluate the military situation. Their inability to see the demise of the Confederacy is not simple proof of deep nationalism, but I believe a product of a ruthless and blind commitment to honor. I also explain that during the war they created a version of Christian martyrdom that was not an authentic representation of their wartime experience, but one that had the political purpose of reviving patriotic spirits on the home front. And finally, I note that during the postwar years that many members of the last generation, when they were old fogies at the turn-of-the-century, sanctioned a strident Lost Cause platform that betrayed their "moderation" during Reconstruction. These are just a few very brief examples of how I critically evaluated the impact of the last generation's thoughts and actions. Again, I would like to thank Robert Tinkler for his careful and favorable review, and I am especially pleased that he appreciates how a generational approach is not a timeless story of coming-of-age but a valuable way to locate the unique historical experiences of the many diverse social groups in the Old South. Notes . Stephen W. Berry II, _All That Makes a Man: Love and Ambition in the Civil War South_ (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). . Beth Barton Schweiger, _The Gospel Working Up: Progress and the Pulpit in Nineteenth-Century Virginia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000). Peter S. Carmichael Department of History University of North Carolina at Greensboro