North Carolina Civil War Bibliography

Politics/Coming of the War/General

Ayres, Edward L. “The Story We Want and the Story We Need: Thinking about the Civil War.” In Moral Problems in American Life: New Perspectives on Cultural History, edited by Karen Halttunen and Lewis Perry. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998. Also published in ALHFAM: Proceedings of the 1997 Conference and Annual Meeting, Staunton, Virginia, June 15-19, 1997, edited by Debra A. Reid. North Bloomfield, Ohio: Association for Living History Farms and Agricultural Museums, 1998.

Ayres evaluates Civil War historiography, comparing the contemporary work of James McPherson, Ken Burns, and others with the work of their more dovish and introspective predecessors.

Barrett, John Gilchrist. Civil War in North Carolina. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1963.

Barrett’s 1963 volume remains the only comprehensive account of military operations in North Carolina during the war.

———. North Carolina as a Civil War Battleground, 1861–1865. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1980. 

This pamphlet is an abridged version of Barrett’s earlier monograph.

Crofts, Daniel W. Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989.

In the months following Lincoln’s election, upper-South unionists, including North Carolinians, looked to the president for a sign of conciliation while disdaining the actions of secessionists.

Corbitt, D. L., and Elizabeth W. Wilborn. The Civil War in Pictures. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1961.

This slender volume illustrates the private soldier at war, blockade running, life on the home front, freedmen, and North Carolina generals.

Genovese, Eugene D. A Consuming Fire: The Fall of the Confederacy in the Mind of the White Christian South. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1998.

How white Christian slaveholders used their religion to analyze their defeat.

Gallagher, Gary W. The Confederate War. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.

In this bold historiographic challenge, Gallagher chronicles Confederate loyalty and the will to win through the final years of the war, and refutes critics of Robert E. Lee’s military strategy.

Harris, William C. North Carolina and the Coming of the Civil War. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1988.

Harris succinctly describes events leading to North Carolina’s secession.

Hill, Daniel Harvey. History of North Carolina in the War between the States: From Bethel to Sharpsburg. 2 vols. Raleigh: Edwards-Broughton, 1926.

This early volume traces North Carolina’s effort to lize for war and maintain troops in the field, and also covers military operations in the state for the first two years of the war.

Mast, Greg. State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina’s Civil War Soldiers. Vol. 1. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1995.

Mast skillfully blends images of North Carolina soldiers and text about their lives.

McCaslin, Richard B. Portraits of Conflict: A Photographic History of North Carolina in the Civil War. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1997.

Photographs of people and places tell North Carolina’s Civil War history.

McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

This Pulitzer Prize–winning interpretation of the war sees secession as a conservative counterrevolution to the increasing liberality and moral righteousness of Northern states.

Reardon, Carol. Pickett’s Charge in History and Memory. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997.

Reardon, in detailing how postwar writers and journalists from Virginia shaped the memory of the third day’s assault at Gettysburg, gives credence to North Carolina’s claims to primacy in the action.

Trotter, William R. The Civil War in North Carolina. 3 vols. (Silk Flags and Cold Steel: The Piedmont; Bushwackers!: The Mountains; Ironclads and Columbiads: The Coast). Greensboro: Signal Research, 1988.

A comprehensive and easy-to-read history of North Carolina at war.

Yearns, W. Buck, and John G. Barrett, eds. North Carolina Civil War Documentary. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1980.

Primary documents illustrate the lives of North Carolina’s civilians, administration, soldiers, sailors, and others and their efforts to survive the war.


Andrews, Matthew Page, comp. The Women of the South in War Times. Baltimore: Norman, Remington Co., 1924.

Essays, diary excerpts, and reminiscences, including two accounts of Sherman’s march through North Carolina, recall the suffering and courage of Southern women.

Bynum, Victoria E. Unruly Women: The Politics of Social and Sexual Control in the Old South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

Poor white and free black women inadvertently subvert the dominant social order to endure the hardships of war.

Faust, Drew Gilpin. Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the American Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Women experiencing wartime austerity choose their personal security over Southern independence.

Graham, Christopher A. “Women’s Revolt in Rowan County.” Columbiad: A Quarterly Review of the War Between the States 3 (spring 1999): 131–147.

Rapid inflation, meager government relief to the poor, and the sudden loss of hundreds of men to battle created a vacuum in early 1863 in which women reacted violently to their desperate situation.

Inscoe, John C. “Coping in Confederate Appalachia: Portrait of a Mountain Woman and Her Community at War.” North Carolina Historical Review 69 (October 1992): 388–413.

Inscoe chronicles the struggle of Macon County resident Mary Bell, wife of a halfhearted Confederate officer, to manage her farm through wartime hardships.

McGee, David H. “‘Home and Friends’: Kinship, Community, and Elite Women in Caldwell County, North Carolina, during the Civil War.” North Carolina Historical Review 74 (October 1997): 363–388.

Elite Caldwell County women close ranks upon their small kinship networks to support their men in the army and to endure the bleak wartime economy.

McKinney, Gordon B. “Women’s Role in Civil War Western North Carolina.” North Carolina Historical Review 69 (January 1992): 37–56.

McKinney describes the disillusionment of Confederate women in western North Carolina and the subsequent decline in their support of the Southern cause.


Home Front

Auman, William Thomas. “Neighbor against Neighbor: The Inner Civil War in the Randolph County Area.” North Carolina Historical Review 61 (January 1984): 59–92.

Class antagonism, staunch Unionism, and cultural factors engender anti-Confederate sentiments and guerrilla warfare in Randolph County and its environs.

Auman, William Thomas, and David D. Scarboro. “Heroes of America in Civil War North Carolina.” North Carolina Historical Review 58 (October 1981): 327–363.

A small group of North Carolinians forms a secret organization to overthrow Confederate authorities and restore the Union.

Baker, Robin E. “Class Conflict and Political Upheaval: The Transformation of North Carolina Politics during the Civil War.” North Carolina Historical Review 70 (April 1992): 148–178.

The Civil War disrupted a tenuous antebellum political balance between conservative planters and yeoman farmers and permanently divided North Carolina politics along lines of class and region.

Carroll, Karen C. “Sterling, Campbell, and Albright: Textbook Publishers, 1861–1865.” North Carolina Historical Review 63 (April 1986): 169–198.

In addition to the manufacture of textiles and military materials, North Carolinians attempted self-sufficiency in textbook publishing. Publishers used their products to help create a national identity for the Confederacy.

Durrill, Wayne Keith. War of Another Kind: A Southern Community in the Great Rebellion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Controversial interpretation examines class conflict in Washington County as poor and elite North Carolinians struggled violently over land and power.

Escott, Paul D., and Jeffrey J. Crow. “The Social Order and Violent Disorder: An Analysis of North Carolina in the Revolution and the Civil War.” Journal of Southern History 52 (August 1986): 373–402.

Escott and Crow assess the potential for violent class upheaval during the Revolution and the Civil War.

Escott, Paul D. “Poverty and Governmental Aid for the Poor in Confederate North Carolina.” North Carolina Historical Review 61 (October 1984): 462–480.

State and Confederate authorities acted too late and with too few resources to prevent widespread destitution on the home front.

Kenzer, Robert C. Kinship and Neighborhood in a Southern Community: Orange County North Carolina, 1849–1881. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1987.

Chapter 4 traces the wartime experiences of Orange County citizens, including those at the front and on the home front.

McKaughan, Joshua. “‘Few Were the Hearts . . . That Did Not Swell with Devotion’: Community and Confederate Service in Rowan County, North Carolina, 1861–1862.” North Carolina Historical Review 73 (April 1996): 156–183.

Rowan County citizens went to war in waves, first the young and independent, then the older, established farmers.

Moore, Albert Burton. Conscription and Conflict in the Confederacy. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1996.

Classic monograph on the Confederacy’s internal problems.

Thomas, Gerald W. Divided Allegiances: Bertie County during the Civil War. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1996.

Thomas traces the fortunes of sharply divided Bertie County, source of hundreds of Union army recruits.

Van Zant, Jennifer. “Confederate Conscription and the North Carolina Supreme Court.” North Carolina Historical Review 72 (January 1995): 54–75.

North Carolina Supreme Court justices bordered on obstructionism as they tenaciously clung to strict legal precedent in protection of personal liberties and judicial review.


Soldier Life

Bardolph, Richard. “Inconstant Rebels: Desertion of North Carolina Troops in the Civil War.” North Carolina Historical Review 41 (April 1964): 163–189.

Bardolph’s account of deserters was the first to focus on this problem in North Carolina.

———. “Confederate Dilemma: North Carolina Troops and the Deserter Problem, Part I.” North Carolina Historical Review 66 (January 1989): 61–86.

———. “Confederate Dilemma: North Carolina Troops and the Deserter Problem, Part II.” North Carolina Historical Review 67 (April 1989): 179–210.

Bardolph looks at motives for desertion and efforts to stop the problem.

Faust, Drew Gilpin. “Christian Soldiers: The Meaning of Revivalism in the Confederate Army.” Journal of Southern History 53 (February 1987): 63–90.

Faust finds in the revivals of 1863–1864 symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as well as unconscious efforts of farm-bred independent Southerners to conform to the mechanical rigors of military life and combat.

Glatthaar, Joseph T. March to the Sea and Beyond: Sherman’s Troops in the Savannah and Carolinas Campaign. New York: New York University Press, 1985.

This study examines the daily experiences and motivations of the soldiers who terrorized North Carolina in the final month of the war.

Hartley, Chris J. Stuart’s Tarheels: James B. Gordon and His North Carolina Cavalry. Baltimore: Butternut & Blue, 1996.

Hartley describes North Carolina cavalrymen and their charismatic leader in the Army of Northern Virginia.

Linderman, Gerald F. Embattled Courage: The Experience of Combat in the American Civil War. New York: Free Press, 1987

Early war ideals of courage and manhood shrank in the face of unexpectedly fierce combat. Disillusionment and the effort to stay alive, rather than patriotism and courage, inspired soldiers in the final years of the war.

Lonn, Ella. Desertion during the Civil War. New York: Century Co., 1928.

This classic work is the only monograph on desertion.

Mitchell, Reid. Civil War Soldiers: Their Expectations and Their Experiences. New York: Touchstone, 1988.

Mitchell, who sees the differences between Confederate and Federal soldiers as culturally based and spurred by popular imagery, makes insightful observations about the Confederate soldier’s loss of morale.

McPherson, James M. What They Fought For, 1861–1865. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1994.

McPherson points to patriotism as a motivator for soldiers fighting in the final years of the war.

Power, J. Tracy. Lee’s Miserables: Life in the Army of Northern Virginia from the Wilderness to Appomattox. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998.

Well-researched narrative tracing the daily lives and continued confidence of Confederate soldiers, including many North Carolinians, in the final year of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

Reid, Richard M. “Test Case of the ‘Crying Evil’: Desertion among North Carolina Troops during the Civil War.” North Carolina Historical Review 58 (July 1981): 234–262.

Reid analyses desertion among Tar Heel regiments and finds that North Carolina’s desertion rate was no more extreme than that of other states.

Wiley, Bell I. The Life of Johnny Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy. New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1943.

This classic volume set the standard for soldier life studies; though dated, it holds many insightful observations.

Campaigns and Battles

Barrett, John Gilchrist. Sherman’s March through the Carolinas. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1956.

Barrett narrates Sherman’s destructive march through the Old North State, including actions at Fayetteville, the Battle of Bentonville, foragers, and Bennett Place.

Bradley, Mark L. Last Stand in the Carolinas: The Battle of Bentonville. Campbell, Calif.: Savas Woodbury Publishing, 1996.

Detailed narrative of the climactic battle of the Carolinas campaign.

Clark, Walter, ed. Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861–’65. 5 vols. Raleigh: E. M. Uzzell; Goldsboro: Nash Brothers, 1901.

Capsule histories of North Carolina regiments and military actions.

Davis, Burke. The Long Surrender. New York: Random House, 1985.

Davis narrates the last month of the Confederacy as its cabinet flees south through North Carolina.

Fonveille, Chris E. Jr. The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope. Campbell, Calif.: Savas Woodbury Publishing, 1997.

First comprehensive study of the fall of Fort Fisher and the Wilmington campaign.

Hughes, Nathaniel Cheairs Jr. Bentonville: The Final Battle of Sherman and Johnston. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996.

Another good retelling of the Battle of Bentonville.

Jordan, Weymouth T. Jr., and Gerald W. Thomas. “Massacre at Plymouth: April 20, 1864.” North Carolina Historical Review 72 (April 1995): 125–197.

This detailed account of the Plymouth massacre and its aftermath reveals a small number of Confederate atrocities and much confusion and controversy in the aftermath.

Jordan, Weymouth T. Jr. “‘Drinking Pulverized Snakes and Lizards’: Yankees and Rebels in Battle at Gum Swamp.” North Carolina Historical Review 71 (July 1993): 266–301.

Jordan illuminates two obscure and relatively insignificant skirmishes in Eastern North Carolina.

Mallison, Fred M. The Civil War on the Outer Banks. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Co., 1998.

Mallison chronicles the transformation of Outer Banks society by the war.

Sauers, Richard E. “A Succession of Honorable Victories”: The Burnside Expedition in North Carolina. Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1996.

Archivist Sauers examines Union general Ambrose E. Burnside’s early 1862 push into eastern North Carolina, beginning with his success at Roanoke Island and ending with the capitulation of New Bern.

Van Noppen, Ina Woestemeyer. Stoneman’s Last Raid. Boone, N.C.: The author, 1961.

In the closing months of the Civil War, George Stoneman’s Federal cavalry swept undisputed through western North Carolina.

Spencer, Cornelia Phillips. The Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina. New York: Watchman Publishing Co., 1866.

Spencer’s rambling, and sometimes faulty, recounting of the advance of Sherman and the flight of the North Carolina government in May and April 1865 is a Tar Heel classic.


Barefoot, Daniel W. General Robert F. Hoke: Lee’s Modest Warrior. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, Publisher, 1996.

Deemed a rising star, this North Carolinian was the youngest major general to serve under Lee.

Bridges, Leonard Hal. Lee’s Maverick General: Daniel Harvey Hill. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1991.

Known as a difficult officer to command, Hill remained a competent but controversial leader until the end of the war.

Davis, Archie K. Boy Colonel of the Confederacy: The Life and Times of Henry King Burgwyn, Jr. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

The upstanding son of an elite Tar Heel family, Burgwyn rapidly advanced through the ranks of his North Carolina regiment before his death at Gettysburg.

Gallagher, Gary W. Stephen Dodson Ramseur: Lee’s Gallant General. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1985.

Ramseur, who commanded North Carolina regiments in all major fights of the Army of Northern Virginia, was a fast-rising general when he fell at Cedar Creek.

Godbold, E. Stanley Jr., and Mattie U. Russell. Confederate Colonel and Cherokee Chief: The Life of William Holland Thomas. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990.

Thomas, adopted son of the Cherokee, government agent, and entrepreneur, raised a battalion made up of Cherokee Indians and whites.

Harris, William C. William Woods Holden: Firebrand of North Carolina Politics. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1987.

The candidacy of newspaperman-turned-politician Holden in 1864 posed a serious threat to the Vance administration, and his postwar allegiance to congressional reconstruction vexed North Carolina.

Mobley, Joe A., ed. The Papers of Zebulon Baird Vance. Vol. 2, 1863. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1995.

Mobley offers a refreshing reevaluation of Vance as a staunch Confederate doing his best to support the war effort while ensuring the loyalty of his fellow North Carolinians.

Samito, Christian G. “‘Patriot by Nature, Christian by Faith’: Major General William Dorsey Pender, C.S.A.” North Carolina Historical Review 76 (April 1999): 163–201.

Samito examines Pender’s personal relationships within the Army of Northern Virginia and his critical role in the successes of that command.

Wilson, Clyde N. Carolina Cavalier: The Life and Mind of James Johnston Pettigrew. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990.

Pettigrew gained fame for leading the climactic third day’s assault at Gettysburg. Wilson reviews the general’s thoughts on, and efforts to preserve, Southern culture.


Cunningham, H. H. Doctors in Gray: The Confederate Medical Service. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1958.

Comprehensive review of Confederate medical operations.

———. “Edmund Burke Haywood and Raleigh’s Confederate Hospitals.” North Carolina Historical Review 34 (April 1958): 153–166.

Chronicles the efforts of North Carolina medical officials to provide care to the state’s sick and wounded soldiers.

Straubing, Harold Elk. In Hospital and Camp. Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 1993.

The Civil War through the eyes of its doctors and nurses.


Donnelly, Ralph W. “Charlotte, North Carolina, Navy Yard, C.S.N.” Civil War History 5 (March 1959): 72–79.

After abandoning Norfolk Navy Yard to Federal forces, Confederate authorities moved remaining equipment and supplies to the inland safety of Charlotte.

Elliott, Robert G. Ironclad of the Roanoke: Gilbert Elliott’s Albemarle. Shippensburg, Pa.: White Mane Publishing Co., 1994.

Detailed history of the Albemarle and biography of its builder. The Confederate ram successfully staved off Federal naval encroachment of the Roanoke River in 1864.

Still, William N. Jr. “Career of the Confederate Ironclad ‘Neuse’.” North Carolina Historical Review 43 (January 1966): 1–13.

Named for the North Carolina river, the Neuse served merely to deter Federal riverine advances.

Wise, Stephen R. Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running during the Civil War. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1988.

Wise recounts North Carolina’s blockade-running enterprises as well as the use of the Tar Heel coast as an entrepôt for blockade runners.


First-Person Accounts

Taylor, Michael W., ed. The Cry is War, War, War: The Civil War Correspondence of Lts. Burwell Thomas Cotton and George Job Huntley, Thirty-fourth Regiment North Carolina Troops, Pender-Scales Brigade of the Light Division, Stonewall Jackson’s and A. P. Hill’s Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1994.

Junior officers in the Thirty-fourth North Carolina describe army life and the effects of war on soldiers.

———. To Drive the Enemy from Southern Soil: The Letters of Col. Francis Marion Parker and the History of the Thirtieth Regiment North Carolina Troops. Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, 1998.

The stoic colonel described army life to his wife, frequently invoking a strong sense of duty to the Confederacy.

Speer, Allen Paul, ed. Voices from Cemetery Hill: The Civil War Diary, Reports, and Letters of Colonel William Henry Asbury Speer (1861–1864). Johnson City, Tenn.: Overmountain Press, 1997.

Colonel Speer of Yadkin County served in eastern North Carolina and northern Virginia and in 1862 was a prisoner of war.

Wellman, Manly Wade. Rebel Boast: First at Bethel—Last at Appomattox. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1956.

Diaries and correspondence of five cousins in the Forty-third Regiment North Carolina Troops served as primary sources for this lively narrative.


Current, Richard N., ed. Encyclopedia of the Confederacy. 4 Vols. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993.

Thorough and thoughtful entries on all aspects of the Confederate experience.

Faust, Patricia L., ed. Historical Times Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Civil War. New York: Harper Perennial, 1986.

This handy one-volume reference contains hundreds of entries, from military campaigns to political policies.

Manarin, Louis H., and Weymouth T. Jordan Jr., eds. North Carolina Troops, 1861–1865; A Roster. 12 vols. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1966–1998.

Rosters of nearly every North Carolina regiment, with brief biographical and service information for the state’s soldiers.


Barrow, Charles Kelly, ed. Forgotten Confederates. Atlanta: Southern Heritage Press, 1995.

An anthology about black Southerners.

Crow, Jeffrey J. A History of African Americans in North Carolina. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, Department of Cultural Resources, 1992.

Crow examines the colonial origins of slavery, African American life and labor before 1800, nineteenth-century slavery, the Civil War, emancipation, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement.

Hilty, Hiram. By Land and by Sea. Greensboro: North Carolina Friends Historical Society, 1993.

Quakers confront slavery and its aftermath in North Carolina.

Hurmence, Belinda. Before Freedom When I Just Can Remember. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, Publisher, 1989.

Twenty-seven oral histories of former slaves.

Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987.

An account of Jacobs’s life in slavery and her victorious struggle for freedom for herself and her children.


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