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March 28 , 2008

Civil War in the North Carolina Quaker Belt

The Confederate Campaign Against Peace Agitators, Deserters and Draft Dodgers


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.
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