Communications Project

Document Type:Master's Thesis
Name:Paul Randolph Dotson Jr.
Title:Sisson's Kingdom: Loyalty Divisions in Floyd County, Virginia, 1861-1865
Degree:Masters of History
Committee Chair: Dr. Crandall A. Shifflett
Chair's email:
Committee Members:Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr.
Dr. Peter Wallenstein
Keywords:Floyd County, Civil War, Unionism, Desertion, Appalachia
Date of defense:May 1, 1997
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


"Sisson's Kingdom" uses a community study paradigm to offer an interpretation of the Confederate homefront collapse of Floyd County, Virginia. The study focuses primarily on residents' conflicting loyalty choices during the war, and attempts to explain the myriad of ways that their discord operated to remove Floyd County as a positive portion of the Confederate homefront. The study separates the "active Confederate disloyalty" of Floyd County's Unionist inhabitants from the "passive Confederate disloyalty" of relatives or friends of local Confederate deserters. It then explores the conflicting loyalties of the county's pro-Confederates, Unionists, and passive disloyalists, seeking to understand better the wide variety of loyalty choices available to residents as well as the consequences of their choices. To determine some of the significant factors contributing to the Floyd County community's response to the Confederacy and Civil War, this thesis documents the various ways residents' reactions took shape. Chapter One examines the roots of these decisions, exploring briefly Floyd County's entrance into Virginia's market economy during the 1850s and its residents' conflicting choices during Virginia's secession crisis. In the aftermath of secession, many Floyd residents embraced their new Confederate government and enlisted by the hundreds in its military units. The decision by some county soldiers to desert their units and return to Floyd caused loyalty conflicts between their supporters and the county's pro-Confederates. This conflict, and the effects of deserters living in the Floyd community, are both explored in Chapter Two. Floyd's Unionist population and its loyal Confederate residents clashed violently throughout much of the war, hastening the disintegration of the Floyd homefront. Their discord is examined in Chapter Three.

List of attached files

File NameSize (Bytes)
ETD.PDF53,701 Bytes
CHAPTER1.PDF668,401 Bytes
CHAPTER2.PDF85,467 Bytes
CHAPTER3.PDF551,628 Bytes

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