We're not fighting for slaves. Most of us never owned slaves and never expect to, it takes money to buy a slave and we're most of us poor but we won't lie down and let the North walk over us, about slaves or anything else.-Confederate soldiers in John Brown' Body, a book length poem by Stephen Vincent Benét.
It should be noted that Stephen Vincent Benet wasn't speaking from personal experience. Even if he were, one person never really speaks for an entire group.
Still, the there are arguments here. Does it make sense for the South to care so much about slavery when so few owned slaves? I recall a dispute with someone who insisted that most of them fought because they hoped to one day own slaves. I don't find that believable. So many gave so much for such a little chance - seems dumb.
When I read the articles of secession it seems to me that the civil war was really about States Rights of which slavery was one important subset.