Civil War

Scientist Rachel Lance poses with a replica she created of  the H.L. Hunley submarine.
Courtesy of Rachel Lance

On a winter evening in 1864, the H. L. Hunley became the first combat submarine to sink a warship. The vessel successfully sank its target but then disappeared along with its eight crew members. The Hunley was not found until 1995, when a number of hypotheses as to why it sank rose to the surface. But after hundreds of hours of calculations and experiments, a North Carolina-based naval engineer came up with a new theory: the Hunley sank itself with the blast it created by firing on the USS Housatonic.

cover of 'The Hidden Light' and headshot of Daren Wang
Courtest of Daren Wang

Daren Wang grew up in an old farmhouse in Town Line, New York, a place that was notable for being the only town north of the Mason-Dixon Line to secede from the Union. 

Battlescene from Civil War
Wiki Images / Wiki Images - Commons

 A new exhibit at the Rural Heritage Museum at Mars Hill University hopes to show people that the Civil War played out in North Carolina in complicated ways. 

A stone obelisk honoring  Zebulon Vance
Travis / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/dsjqqa

 In the heart of downtown Asheville sits Pack Square, a bustling center lined by popular restaurants and ongoing construction projects. A stone obelisk stretches skyward from the center of the square honoring Zebulon Vance, North Carolina’s governor during the Civil War. 

Cover of 'Be Free Or Die,' written by Cate Lineberry
St. Martin's Press - 2017 / St. Martin's Press - 2017

 In May 1862, Robert Smalls became a Union hero overnight when he stole a Confederate steamer from the Charleston harbor. Smalls had been enslaved his whole life and decided to free himself and his family by stealing the Planter and piloting it to the Union fleet outside Charleston, South Carolina. 


Courtesy of Nancy Peacock

"I’ve been to hangings before, but never my own” is a line that came to author Nancy Peacock one day while she was on an early-morning walk.

An image of the book cover 'The Second Mrs. Hockaday'
Algonquin Books

In the summer of 2014, writer Susan Rivers was busy researching historical documents in her local library when she came across something interesting. It was an inquest from 1865 about a young woman who was accused of giving birth to a child and murdering the infant while her husband was away fighting for the Confederacy.

In 1866, communities across western North Carolina were forced to pick up the pieces left by the Civil War. Residents had ties to the Confederacy and the Union. As a result, the region was scattered with divided homes and hostile relations.

Civil War, HB2, Race, Bennett Place
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

When you look closely, what does the face of North Carolina look like?

 Some say North Carolina, one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, is facing an identity crisis. And the controversy surrounding House Bill 2, the new state law that limits transgender access to bathrooms, hasn’t helped the state’s changing identity.

Take The High Ground: How Rocks Helped Win The Civil War

May 18, 2016
Thomas R Machnitzki / Wikimedia

From limestone trenches at Stones River to the rolling hills at Antietam, a new report looks at how geology shaped the outcome of the Civil War.

Commanders on both sides used the natural terrain to their advantage, according to Scott Hippensteel, associate professor of Earth Sciences at UNC Charlotte and the author of the study.

Leesa Jones

The story of the American Civil War is often told through famous battles and important generals. But that narrative doesn’t accurately represent North Carolina’s civil war story. In this state, the impact of the civil war was felt more on the homefront, within the homes, families and communities of ordinary people. The North Carolina Museum of History has begun an effort to pay tribute to these lesser-known Civil War stories through the North Carolina Civil War History Center, set to open in 2020.

Thomas Brown studies landmarks of Confederate memory such as the flag, shown here flying at the South Carolina capitol before it was taken down this summer.
eyeliam / Flickr Creative Commons

The Confederate flag has been around for more than a century, yet the controversial symbol has been in the headlines almost every week this year. South Carolina removed the flag from their state grounds this summer after the shooting of churchgoers in Charleston, but the debate over Confederate symbols has continued across the nation.

Historian Thomas Brown has studied landmarks of Confederate memory around the country and examines what they can teach us about Americans’ changing political, social, and economic positions.

A Confederate soldier statue is a part of a larger monument outside the North Carolina Capitol
Daderot / Wikimedia Commons

The North Carolina House of Representatives has tentatively approved a bill that could make it more difficult to take down the state's Confederate statues.

An image of a monument for black soldiers in the Civil War
Chris Meekins / NC Dept. of Cultural Resources

There are more than 120 Civil War monuments in North Carolina, outnumbering state monuments commemorating any other event. But Keith Hardison, State Director for Historic Sites, said people need to keep putting more up, whether they recognize the Civil War or civil rights.

Colored Troops
Leoneda Inge

Events commemorating the 150th Anniversary marking the end of the Civil War are wrapping up across the south.  It is noticeable that most of the visitors attending these events are white.

But organizers at the Stagville State Historic Site in Durham made sure their event over the weekend would be more diverse.  They say “Freedom 150” focused on the lives of the former slaves once the Civil War came to an end.

An image of the Stagville barn
UNC

Events commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War are wrapping up. Organizers will mark the freedom of hundreds of slaves after the war Saturday, May 30, at the Stagville Historic site in Durham.

The event is called “Freedom 150.”  Jerome Bias sits on the Historic Stagville Foundation Board.  He says they are trying to make sure slavery is not forgotten.

Historian and Civil War reenactor Philip Brown.
http://www.ncdcr.gov/

April 9, 1865 is widely known as the day the American Civil War ended.

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee handed his sword over to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Va.

But 89,000 of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's men were still scattered across the South, willing and able to continue fighting the North. 

Bennett Place, Civil War
www.ncdcr.gov

Thousands of history buffs are expected to visit the Bennett Place State Historic Site this week in Durham.  150 years ago, Confederate and Union generals met at the Bennett farm to negotiate a big surrender of troops.

But did this event essentially mark the end of the Civil War?  It’s according to who you ask and where they’re from.

The Bennett family farm was close to 190 acres of corn, wheat and oat.  Today, about 35 acres of the original farm is left and much work and money has gone into restoring and preserving the site.

Nearly 4,000 blacks were lynched in the American South between the end of the Civil War and World War II, according to a new report by the Equal Justice Initiative.

The report, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, says that the number of victims in the 12 Southern states was more than 20 percent higher than previously reported.

Lynchings were part of a system of racial terror designed to subjugate a people, says the Alabama-based nonprofit's executive director, Bryan Stevenson.

Sunset at Fort Fisher
teresaphillips1965 / Flickr/Creative Commons

This weekend hundreds of re-enactors and thousands of spectators are expected to visit Fort Fisher. The Confederate Fort was situated along the Cape Fear River outside of Wilmington. It fell to Union forces 150 years ago this week.

"I think for many people their surprised that North Carolina played such a pivotal role, especially in the last four months of the war." said Historian Michael Hardy. He said the fall of Fisher marks the beginning of the end of the Civil War.

Ruins in Charleston, S.C., from the album Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign
George N. Barnard / David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University

Duke University recently acquired two stunning sets of photographs of the Civil War. Now, Duke Performances has commissioned a leading guitarist to set the images to music. The result is an intimate perspective on the cost of war.

The old joke used to be: Who is buried in Grant's tomb?

Now it's not so funny anymore.

This is the Unity Monument at Bennett Place. The vulnerable tract of land is across the street from this monument.
NC Department of Cultural Resources

Update 10/23/14:

North Carolina has raised the more than $300,000 needed to protect land near Bennett Place Historic Site in Durham. The site witnessed the largest Confederate troop surrender of the Civil War.

The money will be used to buy 1.9 acres located near Bennett Place and the "Unity Monument" which symbolically marks the reunification of the country.

The state received two grants of $150,000 each. $13,000 more came in through smaller donations.

Original story:

NPR continues a series of conversations from The Race Card Project, where thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.

Jesse Dukes does not have Confederate ancestors. But in the time he has spent writing about Civil War re-enactors, he has met many who say they do.

HarperCollins

At the beginning of the Civil War, members of Abraham Lincoln’s administration were scrambling to build a strategy against the newly formed Confederate Army. 

But they soon became aware of an unforeseen threat to their military operations: female spies. 

Hundreds of women moved goods and information across enemy lines in what would be a gender turning point in a bitterly divided country. 

A picture of Eli Aquino with a rusty cannonball.
Tim Duffy

A young treasure hunter uncovered a heavy piece of history, and now it’s in the hands of the Durham County bomb squad.

Ten-year-old Eli Aquino of Hillsborough found a rusted cannonball in the Eno River near Gold Park last week. Eli has been known to collect objects he finds while sifting through the mud wearing swim goggles.

The Neuse is Scuttled - March 1865
Stephen McCall / CSS Neuse State Historic Site

This week, an archaeological team is expected to set out to see if they can find remains of the CSS Neuse, a battleship that met a watery grave near Kinston, NC, during the Civil War. Now, many of you history buffs might know why parts of an ironclad ship is lying inland, at the bottom of the Neuse River, but we did not. The story is at times dramatic, frustrating and incredibly sad.

Wars in Syria
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95569241@N07/ / Mac Design Studio

On this week’s news roundtable, the panel shares their views on the latest headlines. They’ll discuss a broad range of international, national and local issues including American involvement in Syria, violence against women and the state of the economy in North Carolina. 

The wreck of the Civil War vessel USS Monitor lies off the coast of Cape Hatteras. Friday marks 150 years to the day since it sank.
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary / noaa.gov

The NOAA’s Monitor National Marine Sanctuary held a ceremony in Beaufort yesterday to unveil sign recognizing the 40th anniversary of the USS Monitor's discovery. The sign is the first of five to be dedicated that marks a place of significance in the Civil War vessel’s history. The USS Monitor was discovered 40 years ago in 230 feet of water about 16 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras. 

An underground railroad marker in Ohio.
HystericalMark via Flickr, Creative Commons

A little known part of Civil War history will be honored today on the Outer Banks.  A marker will honor a group of slaves who fled to the area in August, 1861 on their way north to freedom.  About 100 slaves helped Union troops load ships and build fortifications after the capture of forts Hatteras and Clark in return for food and shelter. 

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