Gaston County, North Carolina, in the Civil War

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About the Book

Civil War histories typically center on the deeds of generals and sweeping depictions of battle. This unique study of one Southern county’s war experience tells of ordinary soldiers and their wives, mothers and children, slaves, farmers, merchants, Unionists and deserters—through an examination of tax records. The recently discovered 1863 Gaston County, North Carolina, tax list provides a detailed economic and social picture of a war-weary community, recording what taxpayers owned, cataloging slaves by name, age and monetary value, and assessing luxury items. Contemporary diaries, letters and other previously unpublished documents complete the picture, describing cotton mill operations, the lives of slaves, political disagreements, rationales for soldiers’ enlistments and desertions, and economic struggles on the home front.

About the Author(s)

Retired principal Robert C. Carpenter is an adjunct professor at Belmont Abbey College and the president and editor of Footprints in Time, the bulletin for the Gaston Lincoln Genealogical Society. He lives in Bessemer City, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Robert C. Carpenter
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 336
Bibliographic Info: 15 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6244-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2330-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Life in Gaston County 7
2. Dallas, Iron and Gold Manufacturing and Cotton Mills 30
3. Gaston’s Fighting Confederates 52
4. Soldiers, Wives and Mothers 75
5. Family Life 91
6. Unionists and Deserters 106
7. Gaston Violence and Lawlessness 128
8. Changing Politics During the Civil War 144
9. The African American During the War 166
Concluding Thoughts 189
Appendix: Gaston County Tax List of 1863 193
Chapter Notes 283
Bibliography 307
Index 313

Book Reviews & Awards

Award for Excellence—North Carolina Genealogical Society
“a detailed examination of how people lived during the war and what they thought of it…recommended”—Civil War News; “an important contribution to our understanding of this tumultuous period in our country’s history. This well-written book is a ‘must read’”—North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal; “an insightful and intimate look into a section of North Carolina’s piedmont during the Civil War…thorough research…meticulous documentation…this book is not to be missed”—National Genealogical Society Quarterly; “a comprehensive examination of the impact of the U.S. Civil War on Gaston County, North Carolina”—ProtoView.