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Civil War


Portrait of a Confederate soldier

A “digital textbook”

LEARN NC’s digital textbook for North Carolina History uses primary sources and multimedia to tell many stories about the past, not just one.

Part six explores the political, military, and social history of the state during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

North Carolina Digital History

North Carolina in the Civil War and Reconstruction

North Carolina seceded from the Union only reluctantly, yet it contributed as much as any state to the Confederate cause in soldiers, money, and supplies. North Carolina was also home to many Unionists, and this civil war at home — on top of the hardships of Union occupation, the deaths of thousands of men, and runaway inflation — tore the state nearly to shreds. The conflict didn’t end with the surrender of Confederate armies. African Americans celebrated freedom from slavery, reunited families and looked forward to achieving full civil rights. But their rights had to be enforced by continued military occupation, and when troops were withdrawn, conservative rule — and white supremacy — returned to North Carolina.

Designed for secondary students, part six of our web-based “digital textbook” combines primary sources with articles from a variety of perspectives, maps, photographs, audio recordings, and video to tell the many stories of North Carolina during the Civil War and Reconstruction:

  • the debates over secession
  • the battles and strategies of the war, in North Carolina and across the United States
  • the experience of soldiers
  • hardships and conflicts on the home front
  • how African Americans celebrated their freedom and fought for their civil rights
  • Republicans’ efforts to “reconstruct” the South
  • the rise of the Ku Klux Klan and the “redemption” of the state by conservatives

Get started: Table of Contents


More than just a linear narrative, our “digital textbook” is modular and fully searchable. If you need a primary source, a map, some background reading, or a lesson plan, this is the place to start!