How emancipation became a reality for the vast majority of slaves and former slaves who did not go anywhere is a bit less clear, but Sternhell insists that "any form of black mobility served as a stark reminder of the new reality taking hold over the slaveholders' former domain" (178). Resistance to such change came from many quarters--white southerners obviously, but sometimes also Freedmen's Bureau agents who preferred that black workers stay put--yet change came nonetheless, sometimes at the point of a gun, and sometimes backed by no lesser authority than the secretary of war, whose General Order no. 129 forbade any race-specific pass systems or other restrictions on black movement. Routes of War is stronger when explaining what the South changed from than what it changed to; it makes quite clear that the old world was gone, as exemplified by the eager recruits at the beginning of the war who became the haggard and beaten deserters or veterans by the end, and the eradication of antebellum slave coffles, where motion for slaves meant violence and the enforced destruction of family ties, rather than exertion of personal will. To some extent, the book answers the question "what would
The Journal of the Civil War Era – University of North Carolina Press
Published: Feb 13, 2013
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