Civil War in the North Carolina Quaker Belt

The Confederate Campaign Against Peace Agitators, Deserters and Draft Dodgers


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About the Book

This is an account of the seven military operations conducted by the Confederacy against deserters and disloyalists and the concomitant internal war between secessionists and those who opposed secession in the Quaker Belt of central North Carolina. It explains how the “outliers” (deserters and draft-dodgers) managed to elude capture and survive despite extensive efforts by Confederate authorities to hunt them down and return them to the army. The author discusses the development of the secret underground pro–Union organization the Heroes of America, and how its members utilized the Underground Railroad, dug-out caves, and an elaborate system of secret signals and communications to elude the “hunters.” Numerous instances of murder, rape, torture and other brutal acts and many skirmishes between gangs of deserters and Confederate and state troops are recounted. In a revisionist interpretation of the Tar Heel wartime peace movement, the author argues that William Holden’s peace crusade was in fact a Copperhead insurgency in which peace agitators strove for a return of North Carolina and the South to the Union on the Copperhead basis—that is, with the institution of slavery protected by the Constitution in the returning states.

About the Author(s)

The late William T. Auman taught history in several universities, published three articles on the Civil War in North Carolina in The North Carolina Historical Review, and was a contributor to The Encyclopedia of the Confederacy. Two of his articles won the R.D.W. Connor Award for best article of the year.

Bibliographic Details

William T. Auman

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 276
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7663-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1299-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments   vi
Preface   1
Introduction   5
One. The Antislavery Impulse and the Quaker Belt   9
Two. The Secession Crisis and the Militant Unionists   26
Three. The Inner Civil War   42
Four. The Copperhead Insurgency, Phase One:
The Peace Movement   78
Five. General Hoke’s Great Deserter Hunt in Late 1863   103
Six. The Copperhead Insurgency, Phase Two: The Convention
Movement and the Gubernatorial Election of 1864   126
Seven. The 1864 Election Uprising and the Vance Repression   155
Eight. The Last Hunt and the Conclusion of the Inner Civil War   180
Summary and Conclusions   199
Notes   215
Bibliography   247
Index   257

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “significant…recommended”—Choice
  • “offers rich and vital information…meticulously researched…valuable”—The Journal of Southern History
  • “meticulous research…a powerful argument for a dramatic reappraisal of the inner civil war in the Piedmont and of the peace movement throughout the state. Auman compels us to reexamine what we thought we knew about the Civil War in North Carolina”—The North Carolina Historical Review