Civil War

An exhibit about Roanoke Island's role in the Civil War opens at the Outer Banks Visitor Center today. Curator Kaeli Schurr says capturing the island was an important part of the strategy for both the confederacy and the union.

Kaeli Schurr: After a long summer of both sides training troops and devising military strategy, both knew that whoever would be able to control the supply lines would control all of eastern North Carolina. And that led then to being able to disrupt the supply lines from Wilmington up to the Confederate capital in Richmond.

37th US Colored Troops re-enactors participated in Pvt. Frank Worthington's headstone ceremony, Civil war
Leoneda Inge

Summer-time is known for neighborhood get-togethers and family reunions.   That’s what the Worthington-Wellington family did this month in Wilson, North Carolina.  But a big cook-out was not the highlight.  This year, family gathered at Maplewood Cemetery to honor Private Frank Worthington – a member of the 14th Regiment North Carolina Colored Troops – Heavy Artillery.  After years of letter-writing and historical research – Private Worthington finally has a Civil War Memorial Headstone – a rarity for African Americans.

The "Good War"

Jun 24, 2011

Many people think the American Civil War had to happen. It reunited a torn country and put an end to slavery. But was it a "good" war, and is there even such a thing? Host Frank Stasio talks about the morality of the Civil War with David Goldfield, the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and author of “America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation” (Bloomsbury Press/2011); and Fitzhugh Brundage, the William Umstead Distinguished Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Washington Duke
Duke Homestead

Before the Civil War, North Carolina was a poor, agrarian state. The people who lived here were renowned for their independence. It was a quality that would serve the state well after the war.

Washington Duke was a penniless, ambivalent Confederate soldier in the spring of 1865 when he was released from a Union prison in New Bern. Ahead of him was a 130 mile walk home to Durham - waiting for him there were 4 children, no wife, and a ransacked farm.

During the Civil War, the Union Army had an increasing supply of something the Confederacy lacked: food. Canning operations in the North kept the Union’s bellies full while Southern soldiers faced starvation. In his new book, “Starving the South: How the North Won the Civil War” (St. Martin’s Press/2011), author and culinary historian Andrew F. Smith explores the role of food in the outcome of the war. Smith joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his research and the connection between the Civil War and the industrialization of America’s food supply.

America was a highly religious nation during the Civil War era and spiritual believers on both sides of the conflict turned to their faith to understand the causes and consequences of the war. The concept of divine providence - the idea that God’s will was being played out on the battleground - was a common theme in the messages of preachers and political leaders of the day. For African-Americans in South, the freedom to worship came slowly and black ministers found themselves facing the exciting challenge of emancipation in different ways.

Many families here in North Carolina have passed down stories about the experiences of their ancestors during the Civil War. For most people, those tales are a link to a distant past that spans generations. But for one small group of elderly women who are actually the daughters of Confederate soldiers, that history is very much a part of their own life story.

A commonly used image of Lowry.
www.ncmuseumofhistory.org

Henry Berry Lowry was a Lumbee Indian sometimes described as the “Robin Hood” of Robeson County, North Carolina. But Lowry’s story is much more nuanced than that. He’s a hero to some, a murderer to others. All told, Lowry and his gang of outlaws were responsible for some two dozen killings as the Civil War ended and during Reconstruction.

Historians estimate that more than 56,000 Americans died in prison camps during the Civil War. That's a casualty figure that is far greater than any single battle. The South's most famous prison was at Andersonville in Georgia. Conditions there were horrible; the food was scarce and often rancid. Nearly 29 percent of all prisoners detained at Andersonville died before the end of the war. Singer Dave Alvin wrote a song about it after he discovered that one of his relatives died there.

Bennett Place
www.nchistoricsites.org/bennett/

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars fought in American history. Although the North won, led bravely by President Abraham Lincoln, Union victory was never a foregone conclusion. Historian Joseph Glatthaar says Lincoln may have been a great political leader, but he didn’t know much about military strategy. The president’s missteps made the Civil War longer and almost caused the resignation of one of the Union’s great generals.

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