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Civil War and Reconstruction
The Travails of Reconstruction
The Yankee Element of Designing Politicians

C.S. Bradley was born in Kentucky during the Civil War. As a young boy, Bradley's family moved to Texas soon after the war was over. He attended school, taught school for three years, and studied the law on weekends and holidays. He passed the bar exams and practiced law for many years. In the excerpt below, Bradley discusses Reconstruction as it took place in his community. What are Bradley's views about Reconstruction? About Yankees? About Carpetbaggers? Who were the Carpetbaggers?

View the entire interview with C.S. Bradley from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 . Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.


"I am of Scotch Irish descent and was born in Kentucky during the Civil War. I attended such schools as the county afforded and labored on a farm. While I was a young boy, we came to Texas, soon after the war ended. We came in covered wagons and I have lived in Limestone County, since we came here. I attended Thornton Institute three years; taught school three years and then practiced law continuously. I studied law at night, on Saturday, Sunday and on holidays. I [?] the examination for the bar and was liscened to practice. . . .

"After the Civil War ended at Appomatox the Confederates returned to their homes broken in health and in fortune, but strong in their patriotic determination to begin all over again; which, with the assistance of such men to Governor [Coke?] and Hamilton, would have succeeded quickly had it not been for the enemies of the South and the Yankee element of designing politicians who lived by the misfortunes of the South. These swooped like vultures upon the patriotic, but misguided South.

"About the time my parents removed from Kentucky to Texas, Limestone County was the center of the storm of Reconstruction. When the radical element in Congress overpowered the President and disenfranchised practically the entire white population of the South they gave the voted to the ignorant, black, ex-slaves and a few less worthy white renegades. The people of the county suffered from the abuse and domineering of the Carpet baggers as white people have seldom suffered. These abuses have often been recited. The actors, with few exceptions, have now answered the last roll call. Under Providential guidance, we have wonderfull reconstructed and rebuilt that which we had lost. The black, along with the white people, suffered as they have not suffered since. There is told the story of many a black who was misled into trouble by the carpet baggers, and renegade whites. They had their dens in the banks of the [Navasota?] River, and [one?], Merrick [?] Renfro was a typical outlaw. He was credited with the slaying of a white man, by the name of Applewhite, in Groesbeck. This caused the county to be placed under martial law. During this time, many negroes were slain in the county."
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View the entire interview with C.S. Bradley from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 . Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.