Because the(1861–1865) was fought between two popular democracies, the attitudes of the citizens of each country or region toward the war significantly shaped the course of the conflict. When citizens expressed enthusiasm for their cause it boosted the morale of their soldiers and assured the government that the public supported their policies. For a variety of reasons, historians have studied the morale of Southerners more closely than their Northern foes. First, of the South’s nine million people, four million were African Americans, who expressed little voluntary support for the Confederacy and instead sided strongly with the Union. Second, the pressures of war created great hardship for Southern civilians and this hardship depressed the morale of many. Even if it did not lead people to support reunion, it embittered them against the Confederate leadership, which they viewed as often incompetent or unsympathetic. Part of the attention focused on Southern morale is by virtue of Confederate —since the Confederacy lost, perhaps the problem was a lack of support among its citizens. Although it is clear that Union military successes and the hardships generated by the war debilitated Southerners, historians are divided over the relationship of this trend to the war’s outcome. At many points during the conflict, Northern morale was as low or lower than that of the Confederates, yet the Union achieved victory nonetheless. For Virginians, tracking the changes in and civilian morale are particularly challenging because the state contained such a broad spectrum of residents.