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The Soldier’s Burden: A Study of North Carolina Confederate Officers’ Requests for Amnesty

Throughout Civil War and Reconstruction historiography, little can be found about presidential amnesty. Existing scholarship tends to focus on the political implications of amnesty, and does not often go in depth as to how or why excluded former Confederates advocated their deserving of amnesty. This research attempts to discover how former North Carolina Confederate military officers worked to justify their violent participation in the rebellion. In doing so, it will reveal that these former officers tended to stress the fact that they were removed from the political discourse that caused the rebellion, and portray themselves as reluctant soldiers doing their duty. Additionally, it will show that these former Confederate officers underscored their ethical conduct during war to show that they would be loyal and constructive citizens if accepted back into the Union. 


Tim Brunstetter