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Aces and Eights

by James McManus |  Published: Aug 15, 2007


When the war ended in 1865, the industrialized North was flourishing, while gray-coats trudged home to a shattered economy. Food was so scarce that northerners had to organize charity drives to keep some of their defeated countrymen from starving. Two-thirds of the value of Confederate assets had been destroyed, including most of the railroads and factories. The slave-labor force had been emancipated, and much of the white population was angry and demoralized. In Alabama, the Montgomery Advertiser noted that a "spirit of lawlessness seems to pervade the town. Men seem the prey of reckless despair, and, forgetting the laws of God and man, to give way to the phrensy of wild beasts."

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