I get what you’re saying re: the romance thing. I’m sort of that way as well.
But I didn’t focus on that – the troubles and near-starvation, even for folks living on a farm, for those of us in the South – especially the Appalachian mountains, was unbelievable. And I live right in the middle of that country, surrounded by the descendents of the people who lived it, so how the farms were set up, how they were run pre-electrification and what they had to do to make it during a time of war and hardship was very interesting to me…
Mr. Lincoln’s cowardly blockade choked the life out of us. Things we were used to just disappeared. People were so desperate for just simple salt, they were reduced to pulling up the floorboards in their smoke houses and boiling them to get the salt out. Coffee was a distant memory. When the Yankees came though, it got even worse – anything that wasn’t nailed down was either stolen or burned, the livestock stolen or shot and left to rot, crops trampled by cavalry or burned.
In the movie, when they found the lone forgotten 50 pound sack of unroasted, green coffee beans… by that point in the war, it might as well have been a 50 pound bag of gold coins. A family’s very survival might have hinged on such a chance find during the war… after 4 years of drinking chicory, what would someone trade for a few ounces of genuine coffee? And they had 50 pounds of it.
After the War, we had to live under the thumb of the hated Yankee during Reconstuction and afterwards.. there was no “Marshal Plan” to help rebuild the South. The effects of the War are still being felt, even to this day. Not far from where I’m sitting right now, there is a statue on the courthouse lawn that depicts a Civil War soldier – it says “To Our Confederate Dead” at the bottom. Not 10 miles from that statue is the site of a Yankee fort – the site of several desperate battles to expel the hated Yankee.
If you listen to the music, Idumea almost sounds like a funeral dirge… a forlorn, heartfelt appeal to Heaven for relief at the utmost end of need… and given what’s coming down on us – soon – you understand my interest in The Sacred Harp…
The wicked flee when none pursueth..." - Proverbs 28:1