North Carolina Civil War Image Portfolio

North Carolina seceded from the United States of America on May 20, 1861, the last southern state to do so. Early in the war, Union forces occupied areas along the North Carolina coast. They tried to limit the flow of supplies to the Confederates using a naval blockade of the state’s ports.

The Battle of Bentonville was the most significant battle fought in North Carolina. Between March 19 and 21, 1865, the Confederates commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston failed to thwart the advance of Union troops led by General William T. Sherman. On April 18—nine days after General Robert E. Lee surrendered the main Confederate army at Appommatox, Virginia—Johnston surrendered his forces to Sherman near Durham, N.C.

Civil War images in the North Carolina Collection include woodcuts, engravings, lithographs, and photographs. The vast majority of these are the products of people who either accompanied Union forces firsthand or received sketches and other information they provided. Many of the images appeared in Harper’s Weekly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.  Lithographers such as Nathaniel Currier and James Merritt Ives in New York City produced hand-colored prints depicting Civil War events, including some in North Carolina. There are twenty-seven cartes-de-visite attributed to Union photographer O. J. Smith made in New Bern about 1863, following the town’s occupation. This northern perspective provides limited insight into life within the Confederacy. Even so, the images are significant historical documents.

Civil War Images–African Americans
Civil War Images–Battlefields
Civil War Images–Blockades
Civil War Images–Campaigns and Battles
Civil War Images–Calvary Operations
Civil War Images–Cityscapes
Civil War Images–Civilian Relief
Civil War Images–Commemoration
Civil War Images–Confederate Monuments
Civil War Images–Confederate Soldiers
Civil War Images–Confederate Veterans
Civil War Images–Destruction and Pillage
Civil War Images–Detention Facilities
Civil War Images–Economic and Industrial Aspects
Civil War Images–Equipment and Supplies
Civil War Images–Government Officials
Civil War Images–Historic Buildings
Civil War Images–Medical Aspects
Civil War Images–Military Facilities
Civil War Images–Naval Operations
Civil War Images–Prisoners
Civil War Images–Reconstruction
Civil War Images–Regiments
Civil War Images–Social Aspects
Civil War Images–Surrenders
Civil War Images–Union Soldiers
Civil War Images–Women