The Civil War divided America. Neighbors fought neighbors and brothers fought brothers. The poor called it a rich man's war and a poor man's fight. Vernon Parish was divided as well.
First, Louisiana's secession was illegal. Secession requires popular ratification. Of the eleven Confederate states, only Texas, Virginia, and Tennessee voters approved secession. Louisiana's Secession Convention knew 47.3% of voters were against secession.
Second, laws were passed to keep slave owners out of the war. Louisiana passed the Twenty Slave Law which kept slave owners with twenty or more slaves out of the war. In Vernon Parish only four slaves owners had twenty or more slaves: John Gill, Hugh L. Sanders, Rebecca Conerly, and John R. Smart. Hugh Sanders served, but was released by civil authority.
Third, those without slaves could pay $300.00 and avoid the draft. Christopher Columbus Hunt of Hardshell in North-Central Vernon Parish paid $300.00 ($8,665.98 in 2019 dollars) and Jonathan Slaughter was drafted in his place.
Fourth, officers could resign and go home when the war got rough, yet the enlisted had to fight it out. Almost all officers from present-day Vernon Parish resigned. Cpt. Joseph T. Hatch of the Rapides Terribles, Cpt. William W. Smart of the Anacoco Rangers, and Cpt. Uriah Westbrook of the Rapides Westbrook Guards plus many, many more simply quit and went home.
Fifth, many in the South joined the Union. In Louisiana, eleven regiments (14,664 men) fought for the Union. The belief that most were black is false. Only 1,998 were black and 12,666 were white. Many from Vernon Parish fought for the Union. Twenty-one died.
Sixth, the slave-owner class across the South owned the prime farmland. In present-day Vernon Parish the prairie land was treeless and plow-ready. Today we call it gumbo or black land. The Anacoco Prairie is the best example, but not the only one. If you did not own prairie land, you owned the unproductive red clay hills and could not afford slaves.