I want to clarify some points about serial as it often makes it hard to understand what's going on. There is no such thing as an RS232 UART. Doesn't exist. RS232 really has nothing to with a UART. It's a common misunderstanding, though.
RS232 is a standard defining what signals and voltage levels go between communicating devices. RS232 does not define a protocol. RS232 voltage levels are not compatible with modern microcontrollers. A transceiver like a max232 simply takes TTL level signals and turns them into RS232 signals and vice-versa. RS232 also defines specific signal pins/wires beyond the receive and transmit lines (so called RX and TX). RS232 is pretty much gone, being supplanted by USB. In fact hardly any new PCs have an RS232 connector on them but they still speak "serial". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RS-232
A UART (or USART) is a device that speaks a particular protocol - in this case we are talking about Asyncronous Serial. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asynchronous_serial
Async is often spoken over RS232 connections but doesn't have to be. In fact people talk about TTL serial when they mean async that is not being transmitted via RS232. (TTL is a bit of a misnomer as well but enough pedantry for one day.) The UART does not
know anything about RS232 signalling pins like DTR, DSR, CTS, RTS, RI or CD. It just speaks async (transmit and receive). Those signals need to be routed from the RS232 transceiver into I/O pins on the microcontroller (or perhaps other logic) completely separate from the UART. A serial driver needs to look at the I/O pins if it expects to use, say, DTR. Usually, a UART is integrated into a microcontroller and the RS232 transceiver is separate.
Often USB to serial adapters will use some of the RS232 signalling pins though you have to take a close look at each one. Ones meant for Arduino seem to use CTS and RTS though it appears you don't really need those signals on recent versions. Most USB to serial chips support the full range of RS232 signals but often breakout boards don't route them all out. The adafruit FTDI friend, for example, appears to support RTS and CTS. Some of the SFE breakouts support everything (even CD - carrier detect - talk about ancient signals).
 some terminal programs will allow you to define what signalling methods to use. I use Putty which allows me to select RTS/CTS or DSR/DTR to start/stop transmission. teraterm doesn't appear to (though I haven't used it in a while).