Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in Reconstruction North Carolina

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Though the Civil War ended in April 1865, the conflict between Unionists and Confederates continued. The bitterness and rancor resulting from the collapse of the Confederacy spurred an ongoing cycle of hostility and bloodshed that made the Reconstruction period a violent era of transition. The violence was so pervasive that the federal government deployed units of the U.S. Army in North Carolina and other southern states to maintain law and order and protect blacks and Unionists. Bluecoats and Tar Heels: Soldiers and Civilians in Reconstruction North Carolina tells the story of the army's twelve-year occupation of North Carolina, a time of political instability and social unrest. Author Mark Bradley details the complex interaction between the federal soldiers and the North Carolina civilians during this tumultuous period. The federal troops attempted an impossible juggling act: protecting the social and political rights of the newly freed black North Carolinians while conciliating their former enemies, the ex-Confederates. The officers sought to minimize violence and unrest during the lengthy transition from war to peace, but they ultimately proved far more successful in promoting sectional reconciliation than in protecting the freedpeople. Bradley's exhaustive study examines the military efforts to stabilize the region in the face of opposition from both ordinary citizens and dangerous outlaws such as the Regulators and the Ku Klux Klan. By 1872, the widespread, organized violence that had plagued North Carolina since the close of the war had ceased, enabling the bluecoats and the ex-Confederates to participate in public rituals and social events that served as symbols of sectional reconciliation. This rapprochement has been largely forgotten, lost amidst the postbellum barrage of Lost Cause rhetoric, causing many historians to believe that the process of national reunion did not begin until after Reconstruction. Rectifying this misconception, Bluecoats and Tar Heels illuminates the U.S. Army's significant role in an understudied aspect of Civil War reconciliation.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The subject is well covered by Bradley...covers in detail the usual suspects, the Ku Klux Klan, who murdered and intimidated freedmen during the postwar period." — Civil War News

"Bradley makes an important contribution to the historiography of both North Carolina and the Reconstruction era...No book has looked so closely at the role of the U.S. Army in the post-Civil War South." — Journal of American History

"The question of how to return the Southern states to their proper relationship to the Union caused divisions in the country almost as deep and bitter as those caused by the war. Bradley's book is the result of careful study of original, primary, and secondary sources pertinent to that process in North Carolina." — Choice

"Books on military-civil relations often contain ponderous writing with excessive information about policy formation. Bradley avoids this pitfall, and his detailed narrative is well crafted and should appeal to both general and scholarly readers." — Journal of America's Military Past

"Bradley's book is vigorously researched, finely written, and carefully argued. Bluecoats and Tar Heels is an important contribution to military history, Reconstruction history, and the history of a still largely unknown era in the Old North State." — Robert Weldon Whalen, Journal of the North Carolina Association of Historians

" Bluecoats and Tar Heels is a wellspring of useful information and a valuable contribution to Reconstruction studies." — Rodney Steward, H-Net Reviews

"With this examination of the interactions between civilians and the Union military forces in post-Civil War North Carolina, Bradley has written a useful work that fills many historiographical voids. His book serves as a corrective to outdated early-twentieth century works on Reconstruction in North Carolina." — Journal of Southern History

"Bradley's study examines military efforts to stabilize the region in the face of the opposition from both ordinary citizens and terrorist organizations such as the Regulators and the Ku Klux Klan." — Lone Star Book Review

"Historians have always recognized the importance of the army during Reconstruction, but they relegate it to the sidelines far too often. Mark L. Bradley puts it front and center. Drawing on an impressive research base... Bradley has produced a compelling and well-written study of the army's role in reconstructing one former Confederate state." — The Historian

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813125077
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 1/30/2009
  • Series: New Directions in Southern History
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark L. Bradley, staff historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History in Washington, D.C., is the author of This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place, which was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize in 2001.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012


    Ok we need to find warriors and fast the clan is running out of food and fast even though it is only me Nightstar and stormpaw


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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012

    To nightstar

    May i join im fawnpelt a warier

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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