Lumbees rebelled against slavery to Confederates

“The Lumbees of eastern North Carolina at first declared neutrality but became solidly pro-Union after Confederates  began conscripting them to do forced labor, essentially enslaving them. Lumbee guerrilla bands took revenge by raiding plantations, attacking Confederate supply depots, tearing up rail lines and doing whatever else they could to disrupt Rebel operations.”

— From “Bitterly Divided: “The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2010)


Redistribution of wealth was Unionists’ aim

“Planters in the low country of North Carolina… were terrified to learn that, as one wrote, Unionists among the lower classes had ‘gone so far as to declare [that they] will take the property from the rich men & divide it among the poor men.’

“It was no idle threat. From near the war’s beginning , bands of Unionists had been raid coastal plantations. Formed initially to protect themselves from conscription and Confederate raiders, their objectives eventually expanded  to include driving planters from their land and dividing it among themselves.”

— From “Bitterly Divided: “The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2010)


When women wanted husbands who deserted

“In February 1864, a North Carolina government official wrote: ‘Desertion takes place because desertion is encouraged…. And though the ladies may not be willing to concede the fact, they are nevertheless responsible’….

“One woman not only conceded her encouragement of desertion, she made it publicly clear. At the rail depot in Charlotte, she called to her deserter husband, who was being dragged back to the army: ‘Take it easy, Jake — you desert agin, quick as you kin — come back to your wife and children.’ As the distance between them grew, she yelled even louder. ‘Desert, Jake! Desert agin, Jake!’ ”

— From “Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2008)

Homefront, too, endangered Confederate soldiers

“Some [Confederate] states passed ‘stay laws’ to prevent confiscation of soldiers’ property in their absence or postpone it until after the war. But creditors would have none of it…. Jonathan Worth — a North Carolina slaveholder, cotton planter, mill owner and speculator [and future governor, 1865-68] — complained that the stay law ‘disorganized Civilized society.’ A fellow member of the North Carolina elite, B. F. Moore, called it ‘radical, unwise, demoralizing, disgraceful.’

“Many such men simply used their influence with local magistrates to ignore the stay law and continue taking land. In North Carolina, they succeeded in having the stay law repealed after only four months. The result  was that tens of thousands of Confederate soldiers returned home to find their families destitute and their land gone.”

— From “Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2008)

The dangerous game of tracking fugitive slaves

“For slaves in the tidewater regions of North Carolina and Virginia, the Great Dismal Swamp offered a refuge. In the North Carolina swamp counties of Camden and Currituck, a band of fugitives numbering between 500 and 600 made frequent raids on plantations and Confederate supply depots.

“Frightened planters urged authorities to stop the raiders, but rooting them out of their well-defended hideouts was dangerous work….  In October 1862, a patrol of three armed whites went into the backwoods of Surry County, Virginia, looking for an encampment of about 100 fugitives. They found the camp, but… none were ever seen alive again.”

— From “Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2008)

Cherokees had to fight Raleigh to wear gray

“In western North Carolina, some members of the Eastern Cherokee band expressed a willingness to serve with the Confederacy, but racism nearly kept them out of the ranks. William Thomas, an influential friend of the Cherokees, tried to get a state bill passed authorizing him to raise a Cherokee battalion. The legislature voted it down, citing fears [it] might confer citizenship on the Cherokees.

“In fact, the Cherokees were already citizens of North Carolina, though rarely treated as such, by virtue of previous treaty agreements. One of the bill’s leading opponents quipped that he would as soon be seen alongside free blacks in a voting booth as to associate with Cherokees.

“Undeterred, Thomas sought Jefferson Davis’s permission to enlist Cherokees. Davis readily agreed, giving Thomas a colonel’s commission…. From early 1862 through the war’s end, Thomas’s Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders ranged through the mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, enforcing conscription, impressing supplies and rooting out Union sympathizers.”

— From “Bitterly Divided: The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2008)

Confederate draft: Did gain justify pain?

“Many draft officials themselves were hardly enthusiastic about having to force men into service…. Some suspected that dragging unwilling men from their dependent families did the Confederate cause more harm than good…. A North Carolina lieutenant assigned to enforce the draft wrote of the recruiting forays he made:

” ‘I witnessed scenes & compelled compliance with orders which God grant  I may never do again. To ride up to a man’s door, whose hospitable kindness makes you feel welcome & tell him, in the presence of his faithful & loving wife & sunny-faced children, that he must be ready in 10 minutes to go with you, and see…  their imploring looks and glances — the tears of sorrow — the Solemn silence — the affectionate clasping of hands — the fervent kisses — the sad & bitter Goodbye — the longing glance at the place most dear to him on earth, as he slowly moves out of sight — this is indeed a sad & unpleasant task….

“What have we gained by this trip?’ ”

— From “Bitterly Divided:  The South’s Inner Civil War” by David Williams (2008)