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In this groundbreaking study, Barton A. Myers analyzes the secret world of hundreds of white and black Southern Unionists as they struggled for survival in a new Confederate world, resisted the imposition of Confederate military and civil authority, began a diffuse underground movement to destroy the Confederacy, joined the United States Army as soldiers, and waged a series of violent guerrilla battles at the local level against other Southerners. Myers also details the work of Confederates as they struggled to build a new nation at the local level and maintain control over manpower, labor, agricultural, and financial resources, which Southern Unionists possessed. The story is not solely one of triumph over adversity but also one of persecution and, ultimately, erasure of these dissidents by the postwar South's Lost Cause mythologizers.Read more
- Offers an important new perspective by systematically examining the lives of Southern Unionists across North Carolina for the first time and adding a new dimension for American historians to consider when studying the Confederacy: how Southern Unionists understood and resisted the Confederacy
- Engages the question of how restrictive the Confederate state was toward Unionists and examines the origin of irregular warfare in North Carolina
- Asks new questions about the nature of the Confederacy's internal collapse in 1865
Reviews & endorsements
"A well-researched, lucidly written, and convincing exploration of southern Unionism during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Highly recommended."
Mark Grimsley, Ohio State UniversitySee more reviews
"Barton Myers uncovers the clandestine networks, mortal risks, and stout hearts of North Carolinians who challenged Confederate authority and southern memory by siding with the Union. Connecting the social, political and military dimensions of loyalty with deep insight and empathy, Rebels against the Confederacy explains how diverse, loyal citizens endured daily trials and lifelong consequences for their actions. Civil War historians and enthusiasts alike will profit from this excellent book."
Jason Phillips, West Virginia University
"A very valuable book. Barton Myers’s intelligent and sensitive treatment of Southern Unionists adds great clarity to a complex topic. His investigation of the nature and meaning of dissent is based on a creative and extensive reading of the evidence, judicious analysis, and admirably clear writing. He demonstrates the impact of Unionism on the course of the war in North Carolina and provides a model for careful analysis of opposition experience in wartime."
Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Louisiana State University
"Myers’s fast-paced Rebels against the Confederacy rescues from oblivion the stories and lives of North Carolina’s Unionist resisters. Drawing heavily on the Southern Claims Commission case files, he charts their various forms of resistance, persecution by Confederates, and obliteration from historical memory by Lost Cause and later historians. Myers’s splendid study uncovers the shattered lives of those ‘rebels against a rebellion', uncovering a hitherto ignored chapter of Unionism embedded deeply within the Confederacy."
John David Smith, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
"There is much to admire in Myers’s readable and nuanced case study that shows how, at least in North Carolina, unionist opposition to the Confederacy contributed to the nascent nation’s downfall. Relying on a combination of social, political, and military history, he describes the persecution of Unionists, the ways in which they resisted Confederate authority, and how they fared after the war."
Daniel E. Sutherland, University of Arkansas
"Barton A. Myers adds significantly to the extensive scholarship on Confederate residents who opposed their states’ participation in the Civil War … readers will be … impressed by the fascinating stories Myers extracted from the many pages of testimony in each claim. The stories illuminate the suffering these North Carolinians experienced as well as their collective role in impeding the Confederacy … By tracing the lives of unconditional Unionists into the postwar South and revealing the "violence, economic discrimination, and health struggles" these individuals encountered, Myers explains how their weakened and dispersed nature impeded their ability to tell their story. But even more critical was the desire in the region to expunge Southern history of its Unionist experience to maintain the myth of Confederate unity during the conflict. Myers deserves credit for his critical role in reversing this regional amnesia."
Robert C. Kenzer, The Journal of American History
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- Date Published: October 2014
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107075245
- length: 288 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 160 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.54kg
- contains: 6 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Secession: 'it was perfect madness'
2. Confederate control: 'such a monarchical or tyrannical government'
3. Resistance: 'I never wanted any other flag to wave over my head'
4. Irregular wars: 'a state of insurrection against the laws'
5. Unionists under Reconstruction (and in repose): 'I don't feel safe'
6. Epilogue: 'all classes in the South united as by magic'.
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