Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865

Article excerpt

Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865. By Barton A. Myers. Conflicting Worlds: New Dimensions of the American Civil War. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2009. Pp. [xiv], 193. $32.50, ISBN 978-0-8071-3475-7.)

In the past three decades, the historiography of the Confederate home front has seen some of the most innovative and interesting scholarship of the middle period in U.S. history. The flood of research on Civil War communities keeps expanding with Barton A. Myers's recent monograph on coastal North Carolina. And like the best community studies, Myers's book emphasizes the unique qualities of one place in time while connecting that place to broader social developments.

Myers focuses on Pasquotank County in northeastern North Carolina, on the swampy periphery of the plantation South. Like many other regions of the upper South, Pasquotank was divided between pro-Union and pro-Confederate factions once the war began, divisions that intensified as Federal and Confederate troops seesawed for local control. But the county was relatively unusual in that these local battles over loyalty were overlain with deep racial tensions. With the advent of the Emancipation Proclamation, Federal troops made frequent raids into the region to recruit black soldiers. Confederate guerrillas mustered to combat these invasions. This irregular resistance in turn led to even more stringent Federal armed retaliation, which culminated in a particularly destructive invasion by black Union troops under the command of the zealous abolitionist General Edward Augustus Wild in December 1863. …

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