North Carolina Civil War Documentary

By W. Buck Yearns; John G. Barret | Go to book overview

PREFACE

In 1860 Union sentiment was still strong in North Carolina. Despite the sectional crisis then approaching, a majority of her people was opposed to secession. The Fort Sumter confrontation of April 1861, however, changed this picture drastically. When President Lincoln called on North Carolina to furnish two militia regiments to help restore order in the South, Governor John W. Ellis, a strong secessionist, replied immediately that the state would furnish no troops for a "war upon the liberties of a free people."1

Most North Carolinians looked upon Lincoln's move as an attempt at coercion. Even staunch Unionists now became reconciled to secession and conflict. The state prepared for war. Governor Ellis ordered the seizure of Forts Caswell, Macon, and Johnston along with the United States Arsenal at Fayetteville and the Branch Mint at Charlotte. He then hurried the General Assembly into special session, and it wasted little time in setting the date for a convention to meet in Raleigh. On 20 May the convention unanimously adopted an ordinance of secession. According to a local newspaper "the good old North State" left the Union "amid the ringing of bells and the booming [of] cannon mingled with the deafening shouts of thousands of loyal voices."2 Meanwhile the General Assembly was organizing the state for war.

Though North Carolina's interior position in the Confederacy made her only a secondary battlefield, it was not unimportant in the grand strategy of the war. Occupation of the state's coastal region would pose a constant threat to the Confederate communication lines running south from Richmond, while the state itself was an important source of supply for the Army of Northern Virginia. Attacks along the coast, therefore, were not long in coming.

As early as 29 August a Union squadron captured Hatteras, and attacks along the coast continued unrelentingly. By the summer of 1862.

____________________
1
John W. Ellis to Simon Cameron, 15 Apr. 1861, Noble J. Tolbert, ed., The Papers of John Willis Ellis, 2:612.
2
Raleigh State Journal, 22 May 1861.

-xi-

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North Carolina Civil War Documentary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • ILLLUSTRATIONS ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • I- a Time for Decision 3
  • II- North Carolina Secedes 18
  • III- North Carolina Invaded, 1861-1862 28
  • IV- War in Eastern North Carolina, 1862-1864 43
  • V- Blockade-Running 65
  • VI- Fort Fisher 79
  • VII- War in Central and Western Countries 93
  • VIII- The Call to Arms 125
  • IX- Problems of Procurement 155
  • X- State Socialism 174
  • XI- Bearing the Costs of War 188
  • XII- The War and the Rairoads 204
  • XIII- The Economy of Scarcities 213
  • XIV- Church and School 225
  • XV- Victims of Attrition 246
  • XVI- Life Goes on at Home 265
  • XVII- State Rights and State Pride 272
  • XVIII- The Peace Movement 291
  • XIX- Wartime Politics 307
  • XX- Sherman in North Carolina 321
  • Bibliography 343
  • Index 351
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