After more than 20 years in England, Chicken George is given his freedom and he returns to the Lea farm. In his absence, his family was sold off to North Carolina, where he tracks them down. He is reunited with Matilda but finds his youngest boy, a master blacksmith, is now the leader of the family. A quiet, hardworking young man, Tom nurses a rage against his father, who he blames for abandoning the family. George meets up with a young, hot-headed slave, Cyrus, with whom he joins the Memphis Colored Battery; as the war ends, Chicken George and Cyrus barely escape with their lives.