Large parts of eastern North Carolina were occupied by the Union almost from the beginning of the war. As thousands of northern soldiers, government officials, teachers, and missionaries arrived in eastern North Carolina in the spring of 1862, local residents were forced to consider the realities of living under military occupation, and in many cases they had to negotiate new social, cultural, and political arrangements with their military occupiers. This study of the complications of wartime occupation in coastal North Carolina (specifically in Carteret and Craven counties) during the Civil War explores how civilians of the region reconsidered their ties when confronted with living under Union control. Unlike citizens of most other parts of the South, residents of eastern North Carolina were not firmly tied to the Confederacy, and for a variety of reasons they had shifted their allegiances between North and South in the years leading up to the war. As Browning finds in this study, this makes for an interesting look at the way military soldiers and local residents, whites and freedpeople, men and women, all actively participated in the evolving society of their communities, seeking out changes that best-suited their interests in wartime and looking to the postwar era.