Tar Heels in Gray

Life in the 30th North Carolina Infantry in the Civil War


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About the Book

The 30th North Carolina Infantry was involved in most of the major battles in Virginia from the Seven Days through the surrender at Appomattox, and saw some of the bloodiest fighting of the American Civil War. Two-thirds of these men volunteered early; the others were enlisted at the point of a bayonet. Their casualty rate was high, the rate of death from disease was higher and the desertion and AWOL rate was higher still. What was the war actually like for these men? What was their economic status? To what extent were they involved in the institution of slavery? What were their lives like in the Army? What did they believe they were fighting for and did those views change over time? This book answers those questions and depicts Civil War soldiers as they were, rather than as appendages to famous generals or symbols of myth. It focuses on the realities of the men themselves, not their battles. In addition to the author’s personal collection of letters and other contemporary records, it draws upon newly discovered letters, diaries, memoirs, census records, and published works.

About the Author(s)

John B. Cameron has researched and written on 18th century France and the Civil War. A retired professor of history, he lives in Norfolk, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

John B. Cameron

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 185
Bibliographic Info: 22 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2021
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8326-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4358-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
Introduction 4
1. Confusion Was the Order of the Day 9
2. A Fully Formed Regiment 14
3. The Pretend War 18
4. Conscription and Discipline 28
5. The Big Man’s War Fought by the Little Man 38
6. Attitudes Concerning the War, Slavery and Religion 56
7. ­Battle-Related Casualties 69
8. Survival and Death in the Regiment 84
9. Death by Disease 94
10. Starvation and Desertion 118
Conclusion 129
Appendix: Present or Accounted For 133
Chapter Notes 139
Bibliography 163
Index 169

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Noteworthy…insightful and engaging…What Cameron has written packs a punch…A noteworthy addition to the literature, opening a new vista through which to study the experiences of the common Civil War soldier.”—Daniel A. Masters’ Civil War Chronicles

• “This book is not a typical military oriented regimental history. It tells the other side of the regiment focusing on the men, not the battles. Any serious student of the men in ranks should have this book at his fingertips. Students will find it challenges what many are being taught and can better prepare them for analyzing ‘statements of historical fact.’”—Historical Publications