Civil War

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.

Some historians refer to the Civil War as the “war between the states" – a white man’s war.  But to many people of color – it was the “war for freedom.” And during this mighty war, no other place in North Carolina had more “free” slaves than New Bern.

When the Union Army seized the city, word spread fast. Slaves travelled from across the state and outside its borders to get to New Bern.

www.chowandiscovery.org

More Americans marked at least two boxes for “race” on the 2010 Census than ever before. The country may not be increasingly multiracial but it certainly is increasingly conscious of its multiracial identity. In Northeastern North Carolina there is a community that is historically mixed race. Landowning free people of color have lived together in The Winton Triangle for 260 years. Their ancestors include people who moved from the Chesapeake Bay area as well as Chowanoke, Meherrin, and Tuscarora Indians, Africans and East Indians.

The 26th North Carolina Regiment is one of the largest Civil war reenactor groups in the country. Nearly every month the regiment travels from one historical site to the next to reenact battles and perform living history exhibits. The group is modeled after a Confederate regiment of the same name.

The Civil War is often referred to as the last war fought on American soil. Since then, we fight wars over seas and we watch the battles play out on TV or the Internet. For black and white women living in the American South, the Civil War was fought all around them, but the true enemies were poverty, hunger and despair. For those women, the battlefront was not a distant idea because the battlefront was the homefront. As part of our series, “North Carolina Voices: The Civil War,” Thavolia Glymph and Laura Edwards join host Frank Stasio to discuss what life was like for women in North Carolina during the war.

Did you know that Quakers were the first organized non-native religious group in the Carolinas? In the late 1600s, the governor and assembly of North Carolina were majority Quaker. Today, the Piedmont Triad has the largest concentration of Quakers in North America. But leading up to the Civil War, Quakers left the state in droves because of their opposition to slavery. During the war, their pacifism sent them north and west to free states. Greensboro’s Guilford College was first established as a boarding school in 1837 in order to maintain some Quaker presence in the state.

Michael Gerhardt
law.unc.edu

The 14th Amendment may be the most hotly debated 2,000 words in American history. It was adopted on July 9, 1868 and is considered the most important of the “Reconstruction Amendments.” Those amendments - the 13th, 14th and 15th - reconfigure the relationship between the states and the federal government. Among other things, they put the federal government in the position of monitoring the way states protect civil rights.

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