Lillie Ravenel, a vivacious and beautiful young Southern woman loyal to her section during the Civil War. She marries Colonel Carter, a Union officer who helps her and her father during the federal troops’ occupation of New Orleans. Her husband takes her aunt as his mistress. An old admirer, Edward Colburne, by his love restores her happiness and marries her after the death of her husband. His influence makes her recognize the justice of the Northern cause.
Dr. Ravenel, Lillie’s father, a medical doctor. He wants to rehabilitate the freed slaves of the South. He has his daughter teach some of his charges to read. Aware of Colonel Carter’s moral weakness, he hopes Lillie will marry Colburne. When she decides to marry Carter, however, he does not forbid it.
Colonel Carter, Lillie’s first husband. He is attractive to women and an opportunist. He has an affair with Mrs. Larue, Lillie’s aunt. A weak man, he is given to drink and indebtedness, as well as women. He is killed in battle during the Civil War.
Edward Colburne, a longtime admirer of Lillie. He is a captain in the Union army, a courageous and capable officer as well as a man of excellent character. Worn out and sick near the end of the war, he returns home to New England, convalesces under Dr. Ravenel’s care, and successfully woos Lillie, who had returned to New England with her father after the death of her husband.
Mrs. Larue, Lillie’s aunt. An opportunist, she takes up a love affair with Colonel Carter, Lillie’s first husband.
The Meurices, a New Orleans Creole family sympathetic to the Northern cause. They are friends of Captain Colburne.
Major Gazaway, the cowardly commander of a Union fort. When he fails in his duty, Captain Colburne takes command and repulses a Confederate attack.