This book describes how the young black men in North Carolina never quite envisioned that in just over two years they would join the Union army and strike a blow against the Confederacy. For a variety of reasons, there seemed little likelihood that these men would have the opportunity or, perhaps, the inclination to fight other Southerners. Many Southerners believed that the conflict would be over quickly, and, in any event, Union forces seemed far removed from North Carolina. In the first months of the war, local officials worked hard, if not always effectively, to make sure that the state would be ready to resist any Federal incursions, although few North Carolinians expected that the enemy could occupy a considerable part of their state. Moreover, any African American showing reluctance to support the Confederate war effort, let alone offering to help the Yankees, could anticipate swift retribution.
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