North Carolina seceded from the Union 150 years ago today, beginning the state’s involvement in the Civil War.
Opposed by Unionists in the northeastern, central and western regions of the state, areas with large slave populations in Coastal and Piedmont counties led the call for secession and the deployment of troops to bolster the Confederacy’s defenses. The state would contribute more men and supplies to the Confederate cause and suffer more casualties than any other Southern state.
The University’s Wilson Library recently concluded an exhibit on the Civil War that included original documents from the period. Materials drawn from the library’s special collection featured correspondence between Chapel Hill residents that worked at the University and soldiers on the battlefront.
Biff Hollingsworth, collecting and public programming archivist for the library, said its display of its Civil War collection was one of the most engaging and popular exhibits in the spring.
“It’s amazing to think about people in our state coming to blows about political differences,” he said. “People wonder if we would ever escalate to that point again.”