How did Fitzgerald, Georgia's post-Civil War history city, differ from that of the other communities Tony Horwitz discussed in his book Confederates in the Attic?
Coming out of Andersonville, having been immersed in learning and re-learning about the horrific things that went on there, and having seen firsthand how many Southern communities were still immersed in Civil War related demonization and hatred, Horwitz was surprised by what he unexpectedly found when looking through one of his tourism guides for the state of Georgia. Thinking he might browse through it one last time before leaving, he saw this heading: ""GEORGIA'S YANK-REB CITY: The small town of Fitzgerald is a living memorial to the nation's post-Civil War reconciliation." Intrigued, he headed there and found a history and community identity that could not be more different from what he had seen thus far: streets named for both Union and Confederate generals, the Blue and Gray Museum, where the curator worked to keep items from both sides in the display cases, and the Lee-Grant hotel, furnished with heirlooms donated by descendants of soldiers who fought for both sides of the conflict.
The town was conceived as a soldiers' colony by one Philander Fitzgerald, a Civil War drummer turned attorney who wanted to do something for former soldiers who had returned to their farms only to soon be confronting a drought and soon a nationwide farm crisis. Although many early community activities were planned to honor both sides of the war, eventually everything merged together, including the Union and Confederate commemorative parades, the churches, the cemeteries. What Horwitz called the "alternative strain of post-War Southern history" didn't seem, to the museum curator he interviewed, to be anything out of the ordinary--or what should be the ordinary:
If veterans could come together so soon after the War and forgive and forget, then surely we can overcome our differences. . . .Old wounds were healed here, old barriers overcome. Seems like we should be able to do the same.