“One Southern conservative on the eve of war was a teacher of physics at a military institute. Observing the actions and words of the people in the North, he said:
‘It is painful to discover with what unconcern they speak of war and threaten it. They do not seem to know what its horrors are. I have had the opportunity of knowing enough on the subject to make me fear war as the sum of all evils.’
Looking around him at his own duties, he said – this was on February 2, 1861, after the first seven States had declared independence: ‘I am much gratified to see a strong Union feeling in my portion of Virginia . . . For my own part I plan to vote for the Union candidates for the [State] convention and I desire to see every honorable means used for peace, and I believe that Providence will bless such means with the fruits of peace.’
That was Thomas Jonathan Jackson.
Another was a United States cavalry colonel at the time. After the first six States had declared independence, he wrote his son on January 29, 1861:
‘I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope that all Constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love & kindness, has no charm for me . . . If the Union is dissolved & the government disrupted, I shall return to my native State & share the miseries of my people & save in her defense, will draw my sword on none.’
That was Robert E. Lee.”
(Lenoir Chambers, The South on the Eve of the Civil War. North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. XXXIX, No. 2., Spring 1962, pp. 193-194)