The Randolph Guide | Asheboro NC | Home Page

Local News

February 17, 2014

Auman’s posthumous book reveals war within the Civil War

Randolph County central to anti-Confederacy insurrection

ASHEBORO — The book, based on his Ph.D dissertation from 1988, is what he called “an account of the seven military operations conducted by the Confederacy against deserters and disloyalists and the concomitant internal war between secessionists and those who opposed secession in the Quaker Belt of central North Carolina. ...”

Auman also calls the book “a revisionist interpretation of the Tar Heel wartime peace movement ...” which was “... in fact a Copperhead insurgency in which peace agitators strove for the return of North Carolina and the South to the Union on the Copperhead basis — that is, with the institution of slavery protected by the Constitution in the returning states.”

“He was working on the book for years,” said his sister, Anne Auman Brown. “People kept at him to finish it.”

Brown said she was her brother’s caretaker during his final months, during which time he worked late nights to complete the book. “He would stay up nights and work on it,” she said. “He was rushing to get it finished.”

Auman, whose health problems put him in the hospital for a time and whose doctor told him he may have cancer, was only more driven to get the job done.

Brown recalls seeing Auman with his final manuscript in a box ready to be mailed to the publisher in early or mid-April. “I’ve got my book ready,” he told her. “He was so proud,” she said.

The book was still at the publisher when Auman died, but, Brown said, he had “left instructions on the final details of the book, the proofreading and indexing.”

It wasn’t Auman’s only book. In 2010 he came out with “The Diary of Mary Elizabeth Auman: Proto-Feminist in the Age of Jazz.” She was his aunt and he wrote the book based on her diary entries from 1928-1930.

In his Civil War book, Auman focuses on the strife in what was known as the Quaker Belt, so named for the large contingency of Quakers in the region stretching east to west from Chatham to Wilkes counties and north to south from Surry to Moore. It’s somewhat of a misnomer since many in the region who opposed the war weren’t Quakers. In fact, there were Moravians and Wesleyan Methodists, who were against slavery, but also yeoman farmers, tenant farmers and artisans who didn’t own slaves and didn’t want to fight a war for slave holders. It was said that the Civil War was fought for slave holders by non-slave holders.

As Auman points out, the wartime peace movement sought to restore North Carolina back to the Union while protecting the institution of slavery. Confederate army deserters and draft dodgers found the Quaker Belt, Randolph County in particular, to be a safe haven from the Home Guard and local militia groups seeking to hunt them down.

The book describes the seven military operations carried out by the Confederacy to put down insurrection and send deserters and draft dodgers back to the front lines, or to prison.

Hostilities became so heated that neighbor was pitted against neighbor. Auman’s extensive records from the period provide proof of instances of murder, rape, torture and brutal acts perpetrated by both sides.

And Randolph County became notorious as a center of anti-Confed-erate activities. Auman quotes A.G. Foster in a letter to Gov. Zebulon Vance, in which he expresses frustration of Home Guard troops in trying to capture deserters in Randolph: “One of the Davidson Home Guard ... said to day the men were talking of recognizing the Independence of Randolph Co & quitting the chase.”

Understandably, such heated emotions weren’t quelled by the surrender at Appomattox. Instead, for years afterward there were reprisals between former adversaries for deeds committed during the war. Eventually, charges filled the courts as adversaries brought claims for wartime crimes.

Auman says the war within a war has gone unnoticed in subsequent history: “Paradoxically, the vast majority of the descendants of those who defied and cursed the Confederacy — the draft-dodgers, deserters, and militant Unionists — today pay homage to the memory of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson and honor the Confederate battle flag. Indeed, most of the progeny of the anti-Confederate participants in the inner civil war have no knowledge or recollection of it; they think their Confederate era ancestors were all selflessly dedicated to The Lost Cause from beginning to end. Southerners suffer from a severe case of collective historical amnesia. Few traumatic episodes in a people’s past have been so successfully blocked from the communal memory as has been the fratricidal inner civil war that raged between white Southerners in the Quaker Belt and in many other areas of the South during the War Between the States.”

Auman described his book as revisionist history of the wartime conflicts going on in the Piedmont.

“I know he was hoping the book would be used for research,” said Brown. “He really loved his history.”

She said there will be a meeting at the Seagrove Public Library on March 8 at 2 p.m. during which a video of Auman talking about the book will be shown. The book will be on sale there with $5 per purchase being donated to the library.

The book can also be found at the 220 Market, 2445 S. Fayetteville St., Asheboro, on and

Auman’s publisher is McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers of Jefferson, N.C. The Web site is

Text Only
Local News
  • More Than 277,000 Books Collected For "Give Five - Read Five " Campaign

    Elementary students across North Carolina have plenty of new books to read this summer as a result of the successful second annual "Give Five - Read Five" campaign.

    July 22, 2014

  • Papier-Mache Jarrett to hold papier-mache class

    The Randolph Arts Guild (R.A.G.) offers a small-scale sculpture class with Greensboro-based artist, Michelle Jarrett. 

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Crisco.jpg Crisco died of heart issues

    An autopsy report released this week indicates former secretary of com-merce Keith Crisco died from heart problems.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • N.Y. Girl2 New York girl gets wish — tours Zoo

    Joelle Loomis, an 11-year-old New York girl with leukemia, was the special guest of the North Carolina Zoo last week — courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
    Accompanied by her parents, Dusty and Bill, 15-year-old sister Alexandra and twin sister Jocelyn, Joelle was an official zookeeper for two days last week after being flown down by Make-A-Wish.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Annual Red Sleigh Ride to be held July 19

    Operation Red Sleigh and Wavie Presnell present the annual Sleigh Ride on Saturday, July 19, from Southwestern Randolph High School, 1641 Hopewell Friends Road.

    July 14, 2014

  • Alzheimer's Walk kickoff party scheduled for July 17

    Join this year's planning committee, fellow Walk team captains and future walkers at the Alzheimer's Walk 2014 Kickoff Party on July 17 at First Presbyterian Church from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

    July 13, 2014

  • SWRHS-Blalock A.jpg SWRHS students compete at National Beta Convention

    Southwestern Randolph High School took 19 students to National Convention Beta Club Convention at Richmond June 26-28, with three of them competing in Colored Pencil Drawing, Pencil Drawing and General Science Competition.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Abernethy Work 5.jpg Abernethy showing photos at Arts Guild

    The Randolph Arts Guild will feature an exhibit of nature photographs by Eric Abernethy during the month of July at the Sara Smith Self Gallery, 123 Sunset Ave. from July 1 to 29. It’s free to the public.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Armed Robbery-Strickland.jpg Armed robber suspects arrested

     Asheboro police have arrested three armed robbery suspects.

    July 9, 2014 3 Photos

  • Lail.jpg Lail lands role on ABC's 'Once Upon a Time'

    Asheboro's own Elizabeth Lail has been cast as Anna on ABC's "Once Upon A Time, according to the network's Web site.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo