The U.S. Civil War in Southeast North Carolina

Summary

This guide identifies collections with content pertaining to the U.S. Civil War, which contain primary source documents, photocopies, and post-Civil War recollections and reflections. These include family papers, personal accounts, soldier correspondence, newspaper articles, military and political records, information on slavery, battle maps, and Confederate currency and artifacts. Collections largely represent those local to Southeast North Carolina, though material from other states is also included, as well as from both sides in the war, with the majority related to the Confederacy given Wilmington's southern location.

Recommended Databases

America: History & Life

Provides a robust source of information focusing on the history and life of the United States and Canada. Selective indexing includes over a thousand journals dating back over 55 years.

[More details]
HarpWeek

The Civil War Era and Reconstruction I and II full text of Harper's Weekly, 1857-1877.

[More details]
Historical Statistics of the United States

This five-volume reference work reflects thirty years of new data and scholarship. Topics ranging from migration and health to crime and the Confederate States of America are each placed in historical context by a recognized expert in the field.

[More details]
Historical Newspapers

This collection of historical newspapers provides genealogists, researchers and scholars with online, easily-searchable first-hand accounts and unparalleled coverage of the politics, society and events of the time. Includes:

[More details]
JSTOR

Archive of selected scholarly journals in anthropology, art, art history, communication studies, criminology, ecology, economics, education, English, film studies, foreign languages and literatures, geography, geology, history, mathematics, music, philosophy, political science, public and international affairs, religion, social work, sociology, statistics, theatre, and other humanities and social sciences.

[More details]
American History in Video

American History in Video includes 2,000 total hours of streaming video content, more than half of which is from the 1890 merican History in Video features videos from leading video content producers such as PBS, California Newsreel, Bullfrog Films, Documentary Educational Resources, Pennebaker Hegedus Films, The History Channel®, and others. 

[More details]

Manuscript Collections Specific to Southeastern North Carolina

MS 001 Thomas J. Armstrong Papers

The bulk of this collection consists of letters written by Thomas J. Armstrong's son, Edward Hall Armstrong, during the Civil War. Also included are: a photograph of Edward, his officer commissions, and his book on military tactics, eulogies for Edward by various persons, a letter from Edward's body servant--a slave named Moses, and miscellaneous letters and documents from other family members, including Thomas's boyhood reminiscences, a receipt for sale of a slave, and a receipt for a $1000 Confederate bond.

[More details]
MS 006 Stephen Graham Presidential Pardon

On August 21, 1865, President Andrew Johnson pardoned Stephen Graham of Duplin County, North Carolina, for “taking part in the late rebellion against the Government of the United States…” Signed in Washington D.C., by Johnson and his Acting Secretary of State, it was a “full pardon and amnesty for all offenses by him committed, arising from participation, direct or implied, in the said rebellion.”

[More details]
MS 012 William J. Hoke Captain's Commission

This paper is a photocopy of the original Commission document for William J. Hoke, Captain of the Southern Guards, signed by North Carolina Governor Charles Manly. The original document is stored in the archives of the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society.

[More details]
MS 023 Lower Cape Fear Region Maps

This collection contains three maps of New Hanover county. Two maps document the topography and location of sunken blockade runners during the Civil War; the third map is of New Hanover county in 1949.

[More details]
MS 026 Wilmington, NC and the Lower Cape Fear Area During the Civil War

This collection contains excerpts of letters, diaries, papers, and published materials comprise the body of this research collection, which relate specifically to Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear (LCF) during the Civil War. Subjects include troop movements, civilian life, shipping, prisoners of war, and military engagements. Wilmington was the last Confederate port to be captured; blockading and blockade runners and the defense and capture of Fort Fisher are especially well represented.

[More details]
MS 039 General William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor Biographies

This collection contains the biographies of two prominent Wilmingtonians, General William MacRae and Colonel Walker Taylor. Both items are photocopies of the original.

[More details]
MS 041 Governor John W. Ellis Proclamation

A copy of a rare broadside calling the North Carolina legislature into special session was issued by Gov. John W. Ellis on April 17, 1861. The session was called as a result of Abraham Lincoln's call to arms "for the invasion of the peaceful homes of the South....." Only one original is known to exist (according to the donor) from which this copy was made.

[More details]
MS 043 James R. Womble Civil War Letter

This collection consists of a letter written by James R. Womble, a Confederate soldier, to his father, Thomas Womble. Womble was a laborer in Company A, 2nd Battalion, North Carolina Local Defense troops, of the Arsenal Guard. His letter is dated January 20, 1865. It was written from the City Courthouse of Wilmington and describes the fall of Fort Fisher.

[More details]
MS 048 High Family Papers

Thirteen xerographic copies of letters sent to James and Elizabeth Gore High of Whiteville, North Carolina are contained in this collection. The letters were sent to them by their sons Daniel Pinckney High (known as D.P. or Pink), John H. High, and William J. High during the Civil War. James High also received letters from family friends, William H. Best and William R. Richardson, both of Whiteville.

[More details]
MS 049 Mrs. C.A. Council Letter

Letter to Mrs. C.A. Council from her unnammed brother dated 17 February 1862. In the letter, Council's brother describes the location where his regiment is stationed during the Civil War.

[More details]
MS 065 Joseph J. Davis and Family Private Papers

This collection contains photocopies of letters and notes from Joseph Jonathan Davis to his wife Katherine Elizabeth Shaw. Many of the letters in this collection are referenced in T.H. Pearce’s, They Fought: The Story of Franklin County Men in the Years 1861-1865. Davis’s letters to his wife discuss his experience during the Civil War regarding soldiers, living conditions, weather, etc. Many of his letters include requests to his wife for supplies and also provide instructions for her regarding the management of their home.

[More details]
MS 067 Ellen Douglas Bellamy Journal

This collection consists entirely of photocopies of pages from a journal or school exercise book kept by Miss Ellen Douglas Bellamy during the Civil War. Some time later, probably in the 1870s, the journal was used as a scrapbook and printed clippings were pasted over the handwritten text. The collection includes copies of pages both before and after clippings were stripped away.

[More details]
MS 079 Civil War Newspapers and Magazines

This collection consists of four pages from three 19th century newspapers and magazines including Harper's Weekly: A Journal of Civilization, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and The Illustrated London News. The reports covered in these pages recount various events that occurred in North Carolina during the Civil War. Subjects include an account of the revel steamer "Nashville" running the blockade at Beaufort, NC; the surrender of Fort Macon; the capture of Fort Fisher and an account of Wilmington and the Cape Fear River during the bombardment of Fort Fisher.

[More details]
MS 094 The Black Poet Manuscript

The Black Poet was the 1865 annouced title of a work to be published that was to contain "a concise history of the life" of George Moses Horton, bard and recently freed slave. Richard Walser used the 1865 title for his 1996 work on Horton, since no evidence exists that the 1865 book was ever written. Walser wrote his "concise history" during part of a year he spent on a Guggenheim Fellowship. Claude Howell completed the drawings for the book. This collection contains the manuscript draft that was sent to Claude Howell and is not the final draft. The index is not included.

[More details]
MS 127 Barden Family Papers

This collection contains the papers of the Barden Family of Southeastern North Carolina. Contained are records, receipts, deeds, correspondence, and photographs. All items are photocopies, except for the photographs from 1922.

[More details]
MS 138 Fort Caswell Telegraph Log

This collection contains a log of telegraphs sent from Smithville (Southport), Fort Caswell, and Wilmington, North Carolina from January 1863 through May 1863. These telegraphs reveal food shortages, lack of supplies, and war updates involving the Confederacy, primarily in these three North Carolina forts. Battles were not being fought at these forts during these dates, but it is possible to understand from this document what conditions were like and how the armies responded to successes and frustrations.

[More details]
MS 172 Dr. Thomas Fanning Wood Family Papers

Papers of the Dr. T. F. Wood family of Wilmington, NC. Includes Dr. Woods's Civil War recollections, correspondence, writings of Dr. Edward Jenner Wood, and genealogy of the Wood family.

[More details]
MS 196 Captain Edward W. Ward Collection

The Captain Edward W. Ward Collection includes various items related to Ward's experience during the Civil War including Confederate Bond Coupons, a loan to the Confederate States and papers regarding his military service. The collection also contains newspaper articles and documents regarding settlement of debts by made by Ward.

[More details]
MS 204 Wilbur D. Jones, Jr. Papers

This collection contains research material collected by author Wilbur D.  Jones, Jr. for his novels, including interviews, newspaper and magazine articles, photographs, author notes, correspondence with publishers, and drafts of the manuscripts.

[More details]
MS 226 Willis and Amanda Wilson Family Papers

This collection contains the family papers of Willis Wilson (1807-1860) and Amanda Pollock Wilson (1813-1888), white landowners, farmers, and enslavers in Duplin County, North Carolina.

[More details]
MS 254 Anchram H. and Elizabeth K. Evans Civil War Letters

The majority of this collection consists of correspondence between Anchram Harris Evans, a Confederate soldier during the Civil War from Brunswick County, NC, and his wife Elizabeth Kelly Evans (she is referred to as either "Bettie" or "Lizzie" in the letters), with a few letters between Anchram and his sister. Typed transcripts of the letters from their grandson, Troy Henry, in 1956 are also included.

[More details]
MS 286 Civil War Era News Prints

This collection consists of three civil war bank notes and illustrations from Civil War era newspapers including Harper’s History of the Great Rebellion, Harper’s Weekly, Illustrated London News and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. The images are listed by date, caption of the main illustration, and page numbers, when known. A Confederate Cross of Honor is also included.

[More details]
MS 320 Ashe Family Papers

This collection contains the biographical documents, familiy histories, diaries, works of poetry, genealogical lists, and photographs of the Ashe family of North Carolina. Most of the materials in this collection consist of photocopies or typed transcripts, but it does contain original diaries, letters, and photographs.

[More details]
Special Collections Vertical Files

The Special Collections vertical files are compiled by Special Collections staff on an ongoing basis and contain material such as articles, photographs, maps, emphemera, etc. of various persons, places, organizations, and topical subjects related to UNCW and Southeastern North Carolina history.

[More details]

Additional Resources

Documenting the American South

Resource providing documents, images, and audio files related to the history, literature, and culture of the American South.

[More details]
Born in Slavery : Slave Narratives from the Federal Writer's Project 1936-1938 (Library of Congress)

Collection of more than 2,300 first-person accounts of slavery and 500 black-and-white photographs of former slaves. Volumes organized by state.

[More details]
American Memory Project

Images, videos, and presentations compiled by the U.S. Library of Congress related to American history.

[More details]

Manuscript Collections Outside of North Carolina

MS 004 Benjamin Stoddert Ewell Broadside

The College of William and Mary at Williamsburg, VA, suffered damage during the Civil War. Benjamin S. Ewell, then president of William and Mary, published a broadside appealing for financial aid in rebuilding the institution. Though obviously written after the Civil War, its exact date is unknown. This appeal includes endorsements for the rebuilding fund by Bishop Potter of New York, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Generals Grant and Meade, and by Wm. W. Corcoran of Washington City.

[More details]
MS 038 U.S. Civil War Correspondence: George D. Prentice and Roger W. Hanson

This collection consists of three letters between George Denison Prentice and Roger Weightman Hanson; two letters are written by George D. Prentice and one by Roger W. Hanson. These letters encompass a very brief look at opinions and the animosity between rivals of the Civil War. They mention drunkards, Island No. 10, Col. I. Dimick, Fort Warren, and Clarence Prentice (son of George who fought as a Lieutant Colonel for the Confederacy). Also briefly mentioned are General Buckner, Commander Foot, and General Pope. The letters start in March 1862 and conclude in April 1862.

[More details]
MS 047 8th Regiment Artillery Troops Roster

This document is a roster of the Union troops of the 8th Regiment Artillery commanded by Colonel James M. Watson as of February 1865. W.S. Williamson was listed as the adjutant. It lists the number of men lost during service by disease or mortal wounds.

[More details]
MS 061 Lazenby Family Papers

This collection includes correspondence, ephemera, periodicals and advertisments, and miscellaneous genealogical documents. Of significance in this collection are two documents relating to the end of the Civil War and the Confederacy, including an Oath of Loyalty to the Union and a President's Warrant of Pardon for Mary M. Jones.

[More details]
MS 062 Howell Family Papers

This collection contains two copies of letters written from William Howell to Lawson Howell in October 1863; a copy of a letter from W.H. Spurlin to his cousins, a copy of a Company Muster Roll for Wm. M. Howell, 5 Regiment South Carolina State Troops; a copy of The Confederate States of America, Officers' Pay Account for Lieutenant W. Howell; copies of Furlough slips for Lawson Howell and a copy of the Descriptive List and Account of Pay and Clothing for Lawson Howell.

[More details]
MS 073 Major General William Wing Loring Proclamation

A rare broadside issued September 14, 1862 by Army of the Confederate States "To the People of Western Virginia" by command of Major General William Wing Loring.

[More details]
MS 137 Richard Laracy Letter

This collection consists of a letter dated 1914, written by Richard Laracy, veteran, recounting his Civil War experiences to a friend. The letter outlines Laracy's experience at the Battle at Gettysburg. He was a Union soldier in Culter's 1st Division, 1st Corps. Included are the original letter and a photocopy.

[More details]
MS 157 Anna Sherman Collection

This collection of original and photocopied items is comprised of correspondence and newspaper clippings encompassing nearly 100 years, from 1849 to 1938. Especially of note is the correspondence dating from the time of the U.S. Civil War 1861- 1865. The letters paint a poignant image of life in the confederacy.

[More details]
MS 166 Edmund McCaffray Collection

This collection contains correspondence and documents by and about Civil War General Robert E. Lee, his wife Mary Custis Lee, his nephew Fitzhugh Lee, and additional Civil War contemporaries. Content varies from updates on medical care to military requests for promotions and reimbursements, and spans from the height of the war in 1863 to post-Reconstruction in 1885. A selection of the letters focuses on Robert E. Lee's failing health in the months before he died in October 1870.

[More details]
MS 322 Tilden - Sigvaldsen Collection

Civil War era currency, both United States and Confederate States. Certificates and diplomas of Jean Ellen Tilden.

[More details]
MS 366 Emancipation Anniversary Sermon Collection

This collection contains two sermons written around 1898 regarding 35 years of slavery emancipation, first initiated during the United States Civil War in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation.

[More details]

Contact Librarian

Portrait of Rebecca Baugnon
Rebecca
Baugnon
Special Collections Librarian
Phone Number: 
Office: 
RL2042J

Contact Staff

Portrait of Nicole Yatsonsky
Nicole
Yatsonsky
Library Specialist
Phone Number: 
Office: 
RL2042J