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civil war image archive

North Carolina Civil War Image Portfolio

Prints and Photographs

North Carolina Collection

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Image Categories

African Americans
Campaigns and Battles
Cavalry Operations
Civilian Relief
Confederate Monuments
Confederate Soldiers
Confederate Veterans
Destruction and Pillage
Detention Facilities
Economic and Industrial Aspects
Equipment and Supplies
Government Officials
Historic Buildings
Medical Aspects
Military Facilities
Military Life
Naval Operations
Social Aspects
Union Soldiers
North Carolina seceded from the Union on May 20, 1861, the last southern state to do so. Relatively early in the war, Union forces occupied areas along the North Carolina coast and sought to limit the flow of supplies to Confederate forces by means of a naval blockade of the state's ports. The most significant land battle fought in North Carolina was at Bentonville in Johnston County, on March 19-21, 1865, when Confederates, under the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, made a vain attempt to thwart the advance of Union troops commanded by Gen. William T. Sherman. On April 18, nine days after Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered the main Confederate army at Appommatox, Virginia, Johnston surrendered his forces to Sherman near Durham, N.C.

Images in the North Carolina Collection depicting the war are from woodcuts, engravings, lithographs, and photographs. The overwhelming majority of these were made by persons accompanying Union forces or were made from sketches and other information they provided. Numerous woodcuts appeared in publications based in the north such as Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. Lithographers, including Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives in New York City, produced hand-colored prints depicting Civil War events including some in North Carolina. The North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives has twenty-seven carte-de-visite prints attributed to Union photographer O. J. Smith made in New Bern about 1863, following the town's occupation. Most of the images owned by the Collection, regardless of format, are from a northern perspective and provide limited insight into life within the Confederacy. Even so, the images are significant historical documents.

Captions or image descriptions are grouped in categories by subject. Within each category, they are subdivided by county, town, and chronology.

Obtaining Reproductions

Low resolution digital images included within the Civil War Portfolio are provided for reference purposes only. To obtain high resolution digital scans or high-quality inkjet prints, see "Requesting Reproductions." Reproduction requests should include the negative (Neg.) number provided in the image description.

Copyright ©North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina Library at Chapel Hill, 2000. All Rights Reserved.