The victory of the south seems imminent. Lincoln believes that abolishing slavery is the only way out for the north. Ulysses Grant is designated to lead the north army and exploit the Confederacy's weaknesses. Lincoln wants a clear victory to achieve freedom, proclamate the abolition and put and end to the war. On January 1st, 1863 and as the head of the executive government of the United States, he proclamates the emancipation of the slaves.
Hazard Irons is making huge profits ever since Stanley is ruling the company under Isabel's guidance who believes they should throw a party to smother their north friends with attentions. Mrs. Hazard is contrary to the idea since Brett is part of the family now so she would only agree to a modest celebration. Stanley has gotten Isabel some emerald earrings that Mrs. Hazard find excessive. The war committee could investigate their finances if they show off. However, Stanley and Isabel have created a second company called Axol Iron that works as a cover so if anyone is to be prosecuted because of Hazard Iron benefits that is George.
Charles and Billy meet face to face in Antietam Creek. They save each other's life in a battle that would mean another little step for the south and the bloodiest confrontation so far: over 25,000 dead and injured men, more than half Yankees.
The rumour of Lincoln's emancipation reaches the south, and many slaves begin to escape. Salem Jones shows up at Mont Royal bringing with him a dead slave who had fled away and offers his services to keep ruling the plantation with an iron fist but his offer is turned down by Brett and Clarissa throws him out.
Madeline says that despite esalve owners think that Lincoln's words have no effect in the south, slaves are gonna escape. Brett wants to keep the plantation going but Clarissa doesn't want her slaves to be chased and killed. Brett and Madeline let the slaves know that anyone who wants to leave can do it but that they should ask for their papers first so they can be safe wherever they decide to head to.
Some slaves leave like Cuffey, who steals Clarissa's jewels and flies off in the middle of the night. Ezra wants to leave with Semiramis, but she wants to stay. Ezra is mad at her because he thinks she is waiting for Charles who is fighting to keep them slaves.
Orry comes back home from Shenandoah valley, Virginia. As he is approaching the house, he meets a long column of slaves who are leaving. They have the hope to find jobs now that most men are fighting. Clarissa makes a needle point of Mont Royal just as she wants to remember it. Times are definitely changing and she clings to her memories.
Gettysburg, July 1st, 1963. George and a recently promoted Billy meet. It is over 2 years now since Billy and Brett last were together. Despite the battle ends up being a Yankee victory, Lee retreats and gets fresh men. The war sounds never-ending so Billy decides to go see Brett with a promise to be back before a new battle strikes. He is attacked by a deserter from the south, so he steals his uniform to have a safer trip.
Brett, a pregnant Madeline and Semiramis are cultivating the land now. However, there is no rain and the sun is killing the crops. Semiramis comes up with the idea to plant close to the river. Ezra manages to build a water wheel and they are gonna try corn crops.
Ashton comes back to Mont Royal with some supplies and lets Madeline know that she heard about her Madeline's mother past as a prostitute and about her black condition. Ashton remarks that her baby could turn out black which would disgrace the Main family. Madeline leaves Mont Royal leaving a letter behind for Orry.
Ashton wants to bring Clarissa back to Richmond to live with her but she decides to stay. Billy makes it safe to Mont Royal where he has a passionate reencounter with his wife. However, Ashton discovers Billy's presence and plans to report him to a Confederate camp nearby. However, Brett stands up for her husband and keeps Ashton in check while Billy returns to the army.
Virgilia is working at a hospital field in Virginia, where she is facing some trouble because she seems to tend better northern soldiers than southern ones. Madeline decides to live modestly in Charleston out of her father's inheritance, giving up to Justin's. She wants to make it easy for Orry to be able to divorce her out of home abandonment.