In an attempt to bring together aspects of the war that are often kept separate, this essay focuses on the region of the United States that is often ignored when explaining the onset of the Civil War: the border where the upper South met the lower North. This area--a third of the nation--went into the war with uncertainty but then gave itself over to the conflict, playing a crucial role start to finish as battlefield and supplier of soldiers, materiel, and leaders. Specifically, this essay looks at the border between Virginia and Pennsylvania, a region almost arbitrarily divided by the Mason-Dixon Line. People in this area had much in common--from their ethnic heritage to the crops they grew--but were divided profoundly by slavery. This division made all the difference.

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Copyright © 2007, Oxford University Press. This chapter first appeared in Slavery, Resistance, Freedom.

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