North Carolina American Civil War Facts, Information, timeline

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North Carolina was the most reluctant Southern state to join the secession - NC was the last to break with the Union

Most residents were not slave holders

NC seceded because Lincoln sent 75.000 troops to South Carolina which was seen as an invasion.

North Carolina had the largest enlistment of any confederate state, and it also had the largest army deserter rate

More North Carolinians died than soldiers from any other Confederate state. 40,000 North Carolinians gave their lives to the Southern cause either in battle or from disease.

NC sent more troops than any other state in the Confederacy to fight in the War. 1/6 of the Confederate army were North Carolinians

Men deserted in both armies because the death tolls from battles were staggering. ex. Gettysburg 3 day, 50,000 casualties.

Zebulon Vance was the Governor of NC during the Civil War and is known as the War Governor. See Vance Birthplace.

  • Kept many people supporting the war
  • Exempt some job positions from the draft
  • Created special funds to help woman left by themselves
  • Unionists strong throughout state
  • Many choose not to fight in war instead they formed small bands of outliers or Bushwhackers - those outside the law - raiding houses and businesses and shooting at the Confederate army. Deserters joined these bands too. It was due to survival cause those that were not in the army could be rounded up and shot.
  • NC had shifting loyalties

All forts along the coast except Fort Fisher which guarded the port of Wilmington, seized by Union before North Carolina seceded.

  • Many slaves ran away to coastal area to join Union army and to escape slavery

There were not a lot of battles in the state.

  • General Johnson was the commander of the Confederate army in North Carolina.
  • The battle of Bentonville was fought in 1865 to keep Sherman from Goldsboro and consequently from Raleigh as long as possible. The Confederates kept Sherman's advancing troops at bay for 3 hours with very little to fight with. However, when General Johnson heard that Goldsboro had fell to the Union, the battle was over. General Johnson's troops abandoned Bentonville on March 15. On April 14, 1865, General Johnson surrendered Confederate troops to General Sherman at Hillsborough NC. It occurred shortly after Lee surrendered at Appomattox.
  • Fighting continued in the western mountains after the surrender. The Confederacy made their last stand. On April 25, 1865 Col. George Kirk took Asheville, the last remaining Confederate Stronghold in WNC. Then fought a few skirmishes against William Thomas's Legion of Cherokee Indians. NC was the last to join the Confederacy and the last to stop fighting the war.
  • see North Carolina Civil War Battlefields & Museums for more details.
  • Conscription Act of 1862 caused many North Carolinians to turn against the war.