Retired Gen. David Petraeus wrote an opinion piece calling for the removal of all Confederate names from military bases, saying 'it is time to remove the names of traitors like Benning and Bragg from our country’s most important military installations.
These men were not traitors, they were loyal citizens of their States first.
In those days the citizen looked to his State, not to the Federal government, for the determination of his social, economic, and political rights.
(Behind the Lines in the Southern Confederacy, Charles W. Ramsdell, Louisiana State University Press, 1944, p. 5)
Stonewall Jackson was purported to remark on this subject:
“As a Christian man, my first allegiance is to my State, the State of Virginia; and every other State has a primal claim to the fealty of her citizens, and they may justly control their allegiance. If Virginia adheres to the United States, I adhere.” (208, p. 233)
(208) Stonewall Jackson, The Man, The Soldier, The Legend, James I.
Robertson, Jr., Macmillan Publishing USA, 1997
At this stage of maturity the sections of the United States were predominately rural and the inhabitants largely yeoman, farmers with limited access to areas outside the vision of their fence lines. Thus, it was natural for people to align themselves with those politicians and authorities most familiar to them and to swear allegiance to their state government over that of the far distance central government in Washington as i s witnessed in these words written by Captain Sterling T. Turner, former Sheriff of Roane Co. and later Captain of Company F of the 43rd [Tenn.].
Historically, “The armies of both the South and the North were created under Colonial, early Statehood, and National laws and philosophies that the Militia responsibility (military obligation) of the citizen was to his State. Each of the central governments, in Richmond and in Washington, accepted this historic principle in theory and practice by calling upon their component States for Companies, Battalions, and Regiments of Organized Militia, the equivalent of the modern National Guard.” (History of Rhode Island Units in the Civil War, Edited by Alfred H. Gurnehy 1864, Harold R V. Barkey, BGen AUS (Ret)
“ . . . all life in America was local, and so were loyalties. The nation was a collection of states, towns, villages, and farms with little contact or experience beyond their own pale. People considered themselves New Yorkers or Marylanders first and only then Americans, because New York or Maryland was the tangible world of their daily lives, the context in which their families and friends dwelled. No body lived in ‘America’ or the ‘United States.’