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The obvious question to ask after reviewing this evidence is: “How can we be sure if their accounts are accurate?” As mentioned in the introduction, Gordon B. McKinney pointed out that the truthfulness of these accounts might not be reliable. These petitioners may very well have embellished their conduct, or simply invented it altogether; simply putting forth what they believed President Johnson wanted to hear. For the purposes of this research, that question is not entirely important. Of real importance is that these petitions demonstrated what these former officers believed was proper justification for their wartime service, real or contrived. Inasmuch, we can attempt to peer into the mind of a defeated soldier who had to retain some sort of moral ground for his participation in the rebellion. This justification came in the form of portraying an image of a reluctant soldier carrying out his duty as requested by his state, to which he was taught to owe his allegiance. Also important in this portrayal was the adherence to the ethical treatment of Union soldiers and prisoners. This justification provided that these former officers, despite their participation in the rebellion, were still moral and ethical men who deserved to be reabsorbed back into the Union. These former North Carolina Confederate officers knew that their chance of being pardoned due to their wartime belligerency was tenuous; regardless, these men had to endeavor to cast their role as military officers during the rebellion in as positive a light as possible.