Dissent took many forms: the initial rejection of secession by four Southern states, secret peace organizations, Unionist guerilla bands, urban spy networks, resistance to the draft, a rising tide of desertions, food riots, and the states' rights dogma that undermined strategic military cooperation with the government in Richmond.
Anti-Confederate activity was scattered across a surprising number of towns, cities, and counties in the 11 states of the Confederacy. Opposition to secession was especially strong in the mountainous, mostly non-slaveholding sections of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Some 100,000 white Southerners enlisted in the Union army, and a state-by-state breakdown is included.
Policies enacted by the Confederate Congress which favored wealthy slaveholders aggravated class disparities, and contributed to a growing disenchantment and active obstruction of the Southern cause.
Each of the 11 states is examined, in order of their secession, and accounts are given of activities and organizations of Southern Unionists and their leaders, who ranged from high-society spies and a turncoat Confederate general to dirt-farmer guerrillas, propagandists, and politicians.
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