Oh, Joe Brown. If ever one needed the personification of why the Confederacy was pre-ordained to failure, it’s Georgia’s Governor Joe E. Brown. Beloved by his soldiers – dubbed “pets” because he kept them in fine equipage while their fellow Confederates wore rags – he was loathed throughout the rest of the CSA because of his stubborn refusal to do anything to help the war effort outside Georgia.
This is an interesting little biography; well worth a read.
Brown’s ardent belief in states’ rights drove him to support secession. His fear of centralized authority, however, meant that he would also resist the Confederate government’s efforts to consolidate power even during the national emergency of war. Brown loathed Jefferson Davis, going so far as to denounce him as a tyrant. The first disputes over controlling and equipping Georgia forces escalated in April 1862 when Brown directly and openly challenged the new Confederate draft. Despite a lack of support by the state Supreme Court and the legislature, Brown continually worked to create a state military force exempted from the ever-expanding draft. He also opposed the army’s impressment of goods and slave laborers. In essence, even though Brown vehemently supported secession, his stance on states’ rights showed no bias to the Confederate government. Throughout the war, he continued to frustrate Confederate efforts to seize the Western and Atlantic Railroad and to impose occasional martial law, to bitterly criticize Confederate tax and blockade-running policies, and to vigorously denounce the Confederacy’s belated plan to arm slaves in exchange for their freedom.