Civil War in Western North Carolina


The Civil War (also known as the War Between the States) between 1861 and 1865 was the most divisive period in U.S. history. The Civil War in the mountains of western North Carolina was especially turbulent during this period due to it being a border area of a border state (East Tennessee being largely pro-Union). There was strong sentiment-both pro-Union and pro-Confederacy. There also existed a large number of guerrilla groups who served their own interests. Little was written specifically about the War in this region until the past decade. This pathfinder attempts to provide a starting point for research of the Civil War in Western North Carolina.

Introductory Text: 

Inscoe, John C. & Gordon B. McKinney. The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000. Appalachian Collection: E524.I54.2000 c.2.

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Appalachian Region--History
  • Appalachian Region, Southern-History, Military-19th Century
  • Appalachian Region, Southern-Social Conditions-19th Century
  • Confederate States of America Army-North Carolina Infantry Regiments 60th
  • Great Smoky Mountains (NC and TN) History-19th Century
  • Soldiers-Blue Ridge Mountains-Biography
  • Soldiers-Great Smoky Mountains (NC and Tenn)

Also Relevant:

  • Confederate States of America Army-Recruiting, Enlistment, etc.
  • Confederate States of America--History
  • Desertion, Military-Confederate States of America
  • North Carolina-History-1775-1865
  • North Carolina--History-Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Secession
  • Unionists (U.S. Civil War)-Confederate States of America--Biography
  • United States-History-Civil War, 1861-1865
  • Vance, Zebulon Baird-1830-1894
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • E99
  • E445
  • E468
  • E470
  • E524
  • E573.5
  • E605
  • F262

Enemies of the Country: New Perspectives on Unionists in the Civil War South . JohnC. Inscoe and Robert C. Kenzer, eds. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2001. Not yet cataloged by ASU (on order). Contains a number of essays
applicable to subject.

Inscoe, John C. Mountain Masters: Slavery and the Sectional Crisis in Western North Carolina . Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1989. Appalachian Collection: E 445.N8 I57 1989.

The Civil War in Appalachia . Kenneth W. Noe and Shannon H. Wilson, eds. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997. Appalachian Collection: E 469.C583 1997. A collection of essays applicable to subject.

Trotter, William R. Bushwhackers! The Civil War in North Carolina: Vol. II The Mountains . Greensboro, NC: Signal Research, Inc., 1988. Appalachian Collection: E470.6.T79.1991.

Williams, John Alexander. Appalachia: A History . Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002. Pp. 85, 118, 132-136, 152-181, 186, 234, 243, 245, 287, 305, 377. Appalachian Collection: F106.W68 2002 c.2.

Dugger, J.W. “A Diary Kept by J.W. Dugger and William Thomas While in the Confederate Service, and Members of the 58th N.C. Regiment.” Previously printed in The Watauga Democrat , May14, 1891 through July 30, 1891. Appalachian Collection: E605.D85 1891a.

Gere, James M. Escape To The Mountains: The Life of a Northern Civil War Soldier, including his personal account of his escape from a Confederate prison . Published by author in Stanford, CA, 1988. Pp. 53-76, 106-115. Appalachian Collection: E
523.5 122nd.G47 1998.

Voices From Cemetery Hill: The Civil War Diary, Reports, and Letters of Colonel William Henry Asbury Speer (1861-1864) . Allen Paul Speer, ed. Johnson City, TN: Overmountain Press, 1997. Appalachian Collection: E470. S73 1997 c.2.

Guides, Encyclopedias, and Dictionaries: 

Garrison, Webb B. The Encyclopedia of Civil War Usage: an illustrated compendium of the everyday language of soldiers and civilians . Nashville, TN: Cumberland House, 2001.


Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review . Boone, NC: Appalachian State University, Vol 1, 1972 to present. Appalachian Collection: F216.2.A66.

Civil War History Vol. 1. 1955 -(present) September 2002Vol 48, Number 3 . Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press. ASU Periodicals.

Confederate Veteran: Published monthly in the interest of Confederate Veterans and Kindred Topics , Vol I No. I 1895-1932 (Nashville, TN) as reprinted in 18 volumes in Confederate Veteran . Wendell, NC: Broadfoot’s Bookmark, 1983. Appalachian
Collection: E482.c744.

Other Sources: 

Vance, Zebulon Baird 1830-1894. The Papers of Zebulon Vance . Gordon McKinney and Richard McMurry, eds. Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1987. Appalachian Collection: MicF 383.

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Carl Larsen, 4 November 2002