Long Shadow of the Civil War
Southern Dissent and Its Legacies
Publication Year: 2010
Published by: The University of North Carolina Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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The Long Shadow of the Civil War takes us inside the worlds of men and women whose deepest commitments were to family, community, and the principles of government that they believed best served both. In this book, you’ll meet Southerners like Newt Knight, Warren Collins, and Anna Knight, who were at once profoundly...
INTRODUCTION: Kinship, Community, and Place in the Old and the New South
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An unlikely defender of the rights of common people in the Civil War was North Carolina physician Samuel L. Holt, first cousin to textile entrepreneur Edwin M. Holt. Moved by his conversation with a poor man of Randolph County whose only plow horse had been seized by a Confederate “press gang,” Holt fired off a letter to Governor Vance on 24 May 1863, charging that “this county has sent many...
PART I: Home Front
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late in the civil war, John Beaman of Montgomery County, North Carolina, fired off an angry letter to Governor Zebulon Vance blasting Confederate war policies. Complaining that planters and manufacturers received exemptions from the army while he and other “farmers and mechanics” produced vast quantities of corn and beef, Beaman demanded that the governor explain why...
1 Guerrilla Wars: Plain Folk Resistance to the Confederacy
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From their states of Mississippi, Texas, and North Carolina, Newt Knight, Warren Collins, and Bill Owens led guerrilla bands that waged war on the Confederacy. By early 1864, the most infamous of the bands, headed by “Captain” Newt Knight, had crippled the government of Jones County, Mississippi. Thanks to historians, novelists, moviemakers, and a long-standingfamily feud, his “Free State of Jones...
2 Occupied at Home: Women Confront Confederate Forces in North Carolina’s Quaker Belt
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Early in 1864, near the county seat of Carthage, in Moore County, North Carolina, Franny Jordan followed a “squad of soldiers” who had seized her teenaged son with the intention of forcing him into the Confederate Army. Fearful of what lay ahead, she stopped at the home of a neighbor and enlisted the aid of two young women in retrieving her son. As the women approached the Confederate...
PART II: Reconstruction and Beyond
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the union’s defeat of the Confederacy in 1865 should have been a time of jubilant celebration for pro-Union Southerners and newly freed slaves. And so it was, at least initially. Victory over the Confederacy produced heady, hopeful times for Union men, many of whom gained unprecedented political power. But before the decade’s end, the tide had turned against both white and black Republicans...
3 Disordered Communities: Freedpeople, Poor Whites, and “Mixed Blood” Families in Reconstruction North Carolina
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White people, wrote Colonel Samuel Thomas in September 1865, “still have the ingrained feeling that the black people at large belong to the whites at large, [and] . . . will cheat a negro without feeling a single twinge of their honor. To kill a negro they do not deem murder, to debauch a negro woman they do not think fornication, to take property away from a negro they do not consider robbery.”...
4 Fighting a Losing Battle: Newt Knight versus the U.S. Court of Claims, 1870–1900
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In 1873, on the eve of Southern “Redemption,” former Mississippi congressman John F. H. Claiborne described defeated Confederates to U.S. attorney general George Henry Williams as “bitter and unforgiving” of Southern Unionists. Specifically, he objected to the government’s plan to publish a full digest of the names of Southern Unionists seeking compensation for support of the Union during the..
PART III: Legacies
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one would be hard-pressed to find a white person of the turn-of-thetwentieth- century South who, at least in public, did not proclaim undying devotion to the Lost Cause of the Confederacy and to the superiority of the white race. Indeed, most New South leaders lauded such beliefs, which came to appear timeless, as at the very core of white Southern identity. Yet there were other Souths that...
5 Civil War Unionists as New South Radicals: Mississippi and Texas, 1865–1920
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By 1895, sixty-seven-year-old Jasper J. Collins, aging warrior of the Free State of Jones and the man who allegedly set Mississippi’s infamous Newt Knight on the road to opposing the Confederacy’s “rich man’s war and poor man’s fight,” had become a Populist. He never forgot (or repudiated) his years in the Knight Company, in which...
6 Negotiating Boundaries of Race and Gender in Jim Crow Mississippi: The Women of the Knight Family
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The Knight family of the Jones County region of Mississippi has long confounded notions about race in the United States. Descended from white Southerners, former slaves, and Native Americans, it did not fit into the discrete categories of racial identity demanded by Jim Crow laws in the aftermath of the Civil War and...
EPILOGUE: Fathers and Sons
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When the war erupted in April 1861, Newt Knight was a law-abiding white Southerner who, like most Jones County, Mississippi, farmers, owned land but no slaves. Because he turned against the Confederacy, crossed the color line, and became the leader of the Knight Company, he became a living legend. At the same time, he was ostracized by many of his closest associates and relatives and, long after...
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Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2010