North Carolina in the Civil War
- 1 Introduction
- 2 North Carolina Military Units
- 3 Records and Resources
- 4 Union
- 5 Confederate
- 6 Unit Histories
- 7 Southern Claims Commission
- 8 State Soldiers’ Home
- 9 Guidebook
- 10 FamilySearch Historical Record Collections
- 11 References
North Carolina seceded from the Union in May of 1861. However, soldiers from the state served in both the Union and Confederate armies.
North Carolina contributed more troops to the Confederacy than any other state. The city of Wilmington had an important port. Many of the exports and imports for the Confederacy went through this port.
North Carolina Military Units
Most units were numbered, however, many especially in the Confederate forces were named. See the table below for lists of the regiments, battalions, batteries, and other units.
The information in the lists of North Carolina Military Units comes from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors web site. That web site also can be searched by the name of a soldier.
Records and Resources
For an Internet site with information about North Carolina in the Civil War and links to related web sites, see:
Weaver, Jeffrey C. "North Carolina Civil War Home Page" [database on-line]. N.p., 22 February 1999 (accessed 11 March 2011). This site has information about election statistics, lists of confederate units, descendant organizations, and unit histories.
U.S. Colored Troops Formed in North Carolina - this site searchable by regiment and surname.
Compiled Service Records - The Compiled Service Records ($) (Fold3.com) of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of North Carolina are available online. In the future, these records will be made available at no charge through the National Archives web site. The service records are also available at no charge at National Archives research rooms. The compiled service records consist of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. Service records may provide rank, unit, date of enlistment, length of service, age, place of birth, and date of death. For more information see Union Service Records.
African American Sailors in the Union Navy from North Carolina has alphabetical lists of the sailors with age, complexion, occupation, and home. The home is often a state only, but sometimes a county is given.
The National Archives has the Civil War service records, pension records, and indexes for the Union Army. The Family History Library has copies of the service records and pension indexes:
United States. Adjutant General’s Office. Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M391. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1962. (Family History Library films 881590–91.)
United States. Veterans’ Administration. General Index to Pension Files, 1861–1934. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T0288. Washington, DC: Veterans’ Administration, Publications Service, 1953. (Family History Library films 540757–541300.)
Civil War Pension Index Cards - An Index to Pension Applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. The majority of the records are of Civil War veterans, but the collection also includes records for veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Indian Wars, and World War I. For more information see Union Pension Records.
1890 Census Veterans Schedules
The "Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War" (NARA M123) are available online for the state of North Carolina. The schedules list Union veterans and their widows living in North Carolina in 1890. For more information on the 1890 Veterans Schedules see Union Census Records.
For lists of North Carolina Confederate soldiers, see:
- Manarin, Lois H., and Weymouth T. Jordan, comps. North Carolina Troops, 1861–1865: A Roster. 15 vols. Raleigh, North Carolina: State Department of Archives and History, 1966–. (Family History Library book 975.6 M2nc; film 1697997 item 3 has vol. 13; fiche 6088179 has vols. 1–13, film 1425054 item 20 has vol. 14.) This series contains extensive biographical information about soldiers in the Confederate army, beginning with the 1st regiment and ending with the 56th. Information may include the soldier’s age, occupation, residence at time of enlistment, county of birth, date of enlistment, service information, transfers, desertions, hospital confinement, and death during the war. Each volume is indexed. A combined index for all volumes is:
- Roster (Index) of North Carolina Troops in the War between the States. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Dept. of Archives and History, 1958. (Family History Library films 194214–28.)
Compiled Service Records - The Compiled Service Records ($) (Fold3.com) of Confederate soldiers who served in organizations from the state of North Carolina are available online. In the future, these records will be made available at no charge through the National Archives web site. The service records are also available at no charge at National Archives research rooms. The compiled service records consist of an envelope containing card abstracts taken from muster rolls, returns, pay vouchers, and other records. Service records may provide rank, unit, date of enlistment, length of service, age, place of birth, and date of death. For more information see Confederate Service Records.
The pension applications are in three files: (1) 1885-1901; (2) after 1901; and, (3) some "after 1901" material that belongs in the 1885- 1901 file. The dates indicated for each item are not always reliable. For this reason, the archive staff has been removing "After 1901" material that belongs in the earlier file. Also, the earlier file contains a small a mount of material created prior to 1885.
The first general pension law in North Carolina for Confederate veterans and widows (Chapter 214) was passed in 1885. This law provided for the payment of $30.00 annually to Confederate veterans who were residents of the state and who had lost a leg, eye, or arm, or who were incapacitated for manual labor while in the service of the Confederate States during the Civil War. Widows of soldiers who were killed in service were entitled to the same benefits as long as they did not remarry. Any person, however, who owned property with a tax value of $500.00 or received a salary of $300.00 per year from the nation, state, or county was not eligible. Chapter 116 of the laws of 1887 amended the 1885 law to include widows of soldiers who had died of disease while in service, the next general pension law was passed in 1889 and remained in effect until it was amended in 1901. Applications had to be certified, witnessed, and filed with the county commissioners who in turn sent them to the State Auditor.
Confederate Pension applications (1885-1901)
North Carolina granted pensions to its Confederate veterans or their widows in 1885 and in 1901. The pension records and an index are at the North Carolina State Archives and on film at the Family History Library:
- North Carolina. State Auditor. Applications for Confederate Soldier’s and Widow’s Pensions, 1885–ca. 1953. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1958, 1988; Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Department of Archives and History. (On 105 Family History Library films beginning with 175779; indexed on Family History Library film 1547723) Applications may give age, residence, service information, death information about the soldier, name of the widow, and sometimes children’s and grandchildren’s names. If a widow remarried and her second husband died, she could still apply for a pension because of the service of the first husband.
Confederate Pension applications (After 1901)
In 1901, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed a new pension law (Chapter 332). Under the new act "Every person who has been for twelve months immediately preceeding his or her application for pension bona fide resident of the State, and who is incapacitated for manual labor and was a soldier or a sailor in the service of the State of North Carolina or of the Confederate States of America, during the war between the States (provided, said widow was married to said soldier or sailor before the first day of April, 1865)" was entitled to a pension. The pensioners were divided into four classes: First class, totally incompetent from wounds to perform manual labor, $72.00 per year; second class, those who lost a leg above the knee or an arm above the elbow, $60.00 annually; third class, those who lost a foot or leg below the knee or a hand or an arm below the elbow or had a limb rendered useless from a wound, $48.00 annually; fourth class, those who lost one eye, widows, and those unfit for manual labor, $30.00 annually. Certain persons were excluded from benefits under general pension acts. No person holding a national, state, or county office for which he received $300.00 annually, no person with property valued at $500.00 or more, or no person receiving aid under laws for relief of totally blind and maimed was eligible (inmates of the Soldiers' Home, recipients of pensions from other states, and deserters were excluded from benefits under the pension acts, although inmates of the Soldiers' Home were granted quarterly allowences of $1.50 in 1909 -- increased to $3.00 quarterly in 1913). Practically each succeeding General Assembly made some change in the pension laws. These changes are reflected in the collected series of applications and are too numerous to mention.
Confederate Pension applications (After 1901) supplement
This collection of documents were originally a part of the 1901 series, but during the last few years the Archives staff has been carefully reexamining each file in the collection. As a result these documents were found that were written before 1901. The staff hasn't completed its task yet, in fact, it's only about half way through. So this collection only goes from A to K. These documents will probably be merged with the 1885 series in the future, about right now are a separate series. Most of the documents in the series are applications for entrance into the Soldier's Home. Since some of the people in this series aren't included in either of the other series they are all shown here.
- United States. Adjutant General’s Office. Index to Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M230. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1956. (Family History Library films 821768–810.) This source can help you determine if an ancestor served in the Civil War. The records are listed by regiment, then company. These films index the following records:
- United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of North Carolina. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M270. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1960. (Family History Library films 1381001–500 and 1447001–80.) These microfilms have cards with Civil War service information about individual soldiers. The records are listed by regiment, battalion, or company.
An important inventory for finding Civil War military histories is:
- A Guide to the Microfiche Edition of Civil War Unit Histories: Regimental Histories and Personal Narratives. Part 1, Confederate States of America and Border States.Bethesda, Maryland: University Publications of America, 1992. (Family History Library book 973 M2cwu pt.1.) North Carolina units are listed on pages 61–66. The library has the large microfiche collection described in this guide. Use the library catalog to find individual items that may include correspondence, diaries, memoirs, and regimental histories published before 1920. The guide shows the unit name, counties where it was raised, author, title, publication information, number of pages, and source repository. This guide also includes an author index and a major engagements index.
Southern Claims Commission
If a Union sympathizer in North Carolina claimed a loss during the Civil War due to Union military confiscation, he could apply to the Southern Claims Commission for reimbursement. Only a few per county applied, but their neighbors were called as witnesses and asked dozens of questions. Hundreds of the residents in a county may be mentioned in answers to Commission questions, and their wartime activities described. To learn how to find records mentioning these neighbors in North Carolina counties during the Civil War see the Southern Claims Commission.
State Soldiers’ Home
North Carolina had a soldiers’ home in Raleigh. Three alphabetical listings of the veterans in the home from 1890–1936 are among the Auditor General’s records in the state archives.
A useful source for learning more about the Civil War records of North Carolina is:
- Guide to Civil War Records in the North Carolina State Archives. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Department of Archives and History, 1966. (Family History Library book 975.6 A3n; film 908225 item 2.)
FamilySearch Historical Record Collections
An online collection containing this record is located in FamilySearch.org
A wiki article describing this collection is found at:
- Wikipedia.com. North Carolina in the American Civil War (accessed 7 March 2011)