Deeper Into Jeopardy! XXIX: The Civil War – Final Jeopardy!

Author’s note: for Halloween, please read this post in a vampire voice. Thank you.

Spooky Jeopardy! category: THE CIVIL WAR (29-11-2010)

Spooky FJ! Clue: These 2 cities in the Southeast & Southwest were the only 2 Confederate state capitals not captured by Union forces

Correct response

The spooky gist: I suppose it makes sense that the capitals of the westernmost and southernmost states would avoid capture by the North. Tallahassee and Austin, the capitals of Florida and Texas respectively, escaped the worst of the fighting in the Civil War, although both certainly felt the effects of the Civil War. Tallahassee (which is actually a little further north than Austin), located near the northern border of the state, was never directly threatened by Union forces – the closest conflict to it was the Battle of Natural Bridge, where irregular forces successfully defended the titular crossing to prevent Northern troops from continuing on to the capital. After Emancipation, the economy of Florida, which was among the most heavily plantation-based in the Confederacy, suffered huge setbacks, and much of the population, including Tallahassee’s. shifted southwards.

Before the Civil War, Austin’s Travis County was the only county in Texas to vote against seceding from the Union, even as the state was overwhelmingly in favour. While the North mainly concentrated on the regions east of the Mississippi as well as Louisiana, which had far more people and resources than the west, some in the North kept their eye on Texas in particular, which had the potential to be a major source of revenue (mainly by exporting cotton to Mexico) and supplies for the Confederacy, at least until the North consolidated its control of the Mississippi. Several hundred Austin men eventually volunteered to fight for the Confederate cause, representing a large percentage of the capital’s total adult male population – their loss would have staggering implications for the economy of the region after the war. The town saw a huge influx of former slaves moving in after Emancipation, totaling over a third of the population by 1870.

Map of the Confederacy - unhelpfully lacking Tallahassee, but it's a little east of the where Alabama, Georgia, and Florida meet

Map of the Confederacy – unhelpfully lacking Tallahassee, but it’s a little southeast of the where Alabama, Georgia, and Florida meet

The spooky clue: As long as you know which states were in the Confederacy, Austin shouldn’t be too hard, being the furthest capital from the Union. Tallahassee was probably the tougher one, but would still be a good guess based on geography, especially considering that the major battles in Louisiana would probably have included Baton Rouge in Louisiana (which was in fact abandoned by the Confederates early on, in April 1862). The other capitals are all east of the Mississippi, where Union victories were eventually pretty ubiquitous.

In spooky Jeopardy!: What do Austin and Tallahassee have in common? According to the J!Archive, just this, being mentioned together in just one other clue that wants either of the two Confederate capitals not captured. There’s also another FJ! clue that asks for the southernmost capital of the 48 contiguous states (Honolulu, Hawaii is by far the southernmost capital of all 50), which is in fact Austin – the J!Archive adds as a helpful add-on that Tallahassee and Baton Rouge come in at a close second and third, respectively.

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