Skip to Main Content
CW - 150
The Civil War 150th Anniversary
Interesting facts, links, and suggested books for each month of the Civil War.
This Month's Events
- 5 February. Samuel Cooper of the Adjutant General's Office in Richmond reports on troops. "There have been received from the State of North Carolina (37) Thirty Seven Regiments, one of which has been mustered out of Service, leaving (36) Thirty Six Regiments now in Service and 2 Battalions. Of these (11) Eleven are for the War, the balance for twelve months; enlisted at various times since the connection of North Carolina with the Confederate States."
- 7-8 February. A Union force commanded by General Ambrose Burnside captures Roanoke Island, North Carolina, gaining control of the channel to North Carolina's ports (except Wilmington), and thus making it more difficult for supplies to reach the Confederacy.
In response to this Union threat to the interior, David Clark of the North Carolina militia is ordered to block the Roanoke River which he succeeds in doing by cutting trees and actually sinking 4 vessels at a narrow spot.
As the Federal forces advance from the North Carolina coast, the CSS Appomattox, a small gunboat, retreats up the rivers, but when she reaches the entrance to the Big Dismal Canal, she is 2 inches too big to get through so the Confederates burn her to prevent her capture. In August 2007 a team of divers finds her remains; they are identifed by a silver-plated spoon inscribed with "J Skerritt", the name of a crew member.
- This month a Freedmen's Colony is established on Roanoke Island for escaped slaves.
- 11 February. The U. S. War Department establishes the U. S. Military Railroad which will become the largest railroad system in the world under one organization and contributes much to Union military objectives.
- 16 February. General Ulysses S Grant lays down terms for the Confederates besieged at Fort Donelson, Tennessee. "No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works." The Confederates do surrender and he becomes known as "Unconditional Surrender" Grant.
- 18 February. The Confederate Congress meets in Richmond. North Carolina has 4 senators and 10 representatives including Representative William Lander of Lincoln County.
- 19 February. As the Confederacy rushes to build an ironclad ship, the CSS Virginia (formerly the Merrimack), there is a shortage of sailors to man her. So they pull soldiers from the army including Alfred (or Alford) Stroup of Co. D, 14th N. C. Infantry, a former iron worker in Gaston County and now a sailor.
- 20 February. Winton, North Carolina (county seat of Hertford County) is burned by Federal troops in retaliation for an ambush there. Winton is the first town in the state burned in the war.
- 22 February. Jefferson Davis is inaugerated as President of the Confederate States.
- 23 February. Christian Lewis Rights, Moravian minister, writes in his diary. "Considerable excitement prevails in the neighborhood on account of a report that there is to be a draft of the militia in Davidson and Forsyth owing to our loss on Roanoke Island of 23 hundred men taken prisoners. Also in the loss of Fort Donelson in Tennessee. ... the strange part about it [the draft] is that the very men that were the strongest in favor of the war 12 months ago are the very ones that don't want to go now when their country needs their service."
- 25 February. Confederate forces leave Nashville, Tennessee, making the city the first Confederate capital to be occupied by the Union.
This Month's Fiction
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by
Call Number: FIC BIE
Publication Date: 1980-10-01
This famous short story, originally published in 1890, opens with Peyton Fahrquhar, a Confederate sympathizer, standing on a bridge in Alabama, waiting to be hanged.
The Union Quilters by
Call Number: FIC CHI
Publication Date: 2011-02-22
Chiaverini has once again written an intense and beautiful book-so much so that readers will almost hear the hollow echo of the fife and drum as they immerse themselves in every compelling page. . . . Truly unforgettable." - BookPage. In 1862, the men of Water's Ford, Pennsylvania, rally to President Lincoln's call while Dorothea Granger marshals her friends to "wield their needles for the Union." Meanwhile, Anneke Bergstrom hides the shame she feels for her husband's pacifism; gifted writer Gerda Bergstrom takes on local Southern sympathizers in the pages of the Water's Ford Register ; and Constance Wright struggles to help her husband gain entry to the Union Army-despite the color of his skin. As the women work, hope, and pray, the men they love confront loneliness, boredom, and danger on the battlefield. But the women of the sewing circle also forge a new independence that will forever alter the patchwork of life in the Elm Creek Valley.
The Deserter by
Call Number: J B
Publication Date: 1974-01-01
This story begins on the Mississippi River on the USS Essex, a Federal gunboat. It is February or March 1862 and the Union is trying to take control of the river. Levi Blair volunteers as a spy and is instructed to get information about Island Number Ten, a Confederate strongpoint.
This Month's Non-Fiction
Civil War Sutlers and Their Wares by
Call Number: 973.78 L
Publication Date: 1969-01-01
"A sutler was one who followed the army and sold provisions, tobacco, liquor, and knickknacks to the troops." Sutlers were civilians but their prices were set by the military authorities and their presence in a regiment had to be approved by commander. Given the inadequacies of army supply, the soldiers often depended on the sutlers for necessities as well as luxuries. This book is an interesting and detailed introduction to a little known aspect of a soldier's life.
The Civil War on the Outer Banks by
Call Number: 975.6 MAL N.C.
Publication Date: 2005-08-23
This chronological account of the Civil War focuses on the barrier islands of the Outer Banks along the North Carolina coast and the ports of Beaumont, Wilmington, New Bern, and Ocracoke that imported war supplies and exported crops. Mallison uses a variety of primary and secondary source documents to describe how these islands were affected during the decades before the war to the Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. An appendix lists soldiers from the Outer Banks and service information about them.
A Time Full of Trial by
Call Number: 975.6175 CLI N.C
Publication Date: 2001-05-14
Click tells the story of Roanoke Island, N.C., freedmen's colony from its contraband-camp beginnings to the conflict over land ownership that led to its demise in 1867.
Jefferson Davis by
Call Number: 923.273 Davis DAV
Publication Date: 1991-12-01
Noted Civil War author Davis now tries his hand at Jefferson Davis, long an enigma to historians. He approaches his subject sympathetically, grounding his book in the quaint notion that the Confederacy was doomed to fail (something neither Jefferson Davis in his day nor most historians today would accept) and viewing events largely through Davis's eyes. The author gives us the public man. He distills the private Davis into a few remarkably perceptive pages.
Blockade-Runners and Ironclads by
Call Number: j973.75 BLA
Publication Date: 1997-09-01
A straightforward introduction to the naval operations of the Civil War, this discusses the different battles fought on rivers and the seas, the strategies used to win control of vital waterways by both the North's and the South's navies, the building of various ships, and the prominent generals who were responsible for the successes and failures of significant battles. The information is presented against a pleasing backdrop, complete with blue borders, and is illustrated by maps, photographs, and colorful drawings. Rounding out this First Book is a time line of notable events and a list of materials that offers further information on the subject. Gr. 3-5.
©Copyright 2021, Gaston County Public Library. All Rights Reserved.