Originally created 07/10/01

Defines Yankees, carpetbaggers



A June ll letter complained of being labeled a "carpetbagger." I agree that not all Northerners are carpetbaggers, some are Yankees or Damn Yankees.

I am a Southerner with ancestors in Virginia before 1700 and the Augusta area around 1780. Vilification of my antebellum ancestors angers me. They and we are not all poor, corn liquor-swilling, racist cross burners or julep-sipping gentry dozing on a Magnolia-scented veranda.

And not all Northerners are carpetbaggers.

My grandfather was a Yankee from Pennsylvania who in World War I came to Camp Hancock in a Georgia still recovering from the Civil War and Reconstruction with the boll weevil at the door. Carpetbaggers had used the previous 50 years to take advantage of my ancestors, the survivors of the most turbulent period in American history. Carpetbaggers were and are profiteers who often take their profits home ...

My grandfather spent a productive life here as a carpenter and farmer, blending into the culture and adding to it his talents. In World War II he helped build ships in Brunswick and Wilmington. ...

The "Damn Yankee" is different and comes here to save us, and doesn't mind saying so. They are surprised we have survived so long without their beneficence and knowledge. In their eyes most of what we do is outdated and backward. The point they miss is that we like many of our outdated and backward ways so long as they are fair and functional. ...

These are my definitions of carpetbagger, Yankee and Damn Yankee. If they promise not to take offense at the occasional misplaced name, we promise not to fret over being inaccurately called cracker, redneck, white trash, etc. ...

Laurie Sargent, Harlem