The Heart of Confederate Appalachia

Western North Carolina in the Civil War

By John C. Inscoe, Gordon B. McKinney

384 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 17 illus., 4 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5503-4
    Published: August 2003
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-6075-5
    Published: June 2003
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6812-1
    Published: June 2003

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In the mountains of western North Carolina, the Civil War was fought on different terms than those found throughout most of the South. Though relatively minor strategically, incursions by both Confederate and Union troops disrupted life and threatened the social stability of many communities. Even more disruptive were the internal divisions among western Carolinians themselves. Differing ideologies turned into opposing loyalties, and the resulting strife proved as traumatic as anything imposed by outside armies. As the mountains became hiding places for deserters, draft dodgers, fugitive slaves, and escaped prisoners of war, the conflict became a more localized and internalized guerrilla war, less rational and more brutal, mean-spirited, and personal--and ultimately more demoralizing and destructive.

From the valleys of the French Broad and Catawba Rivers to the peaks of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, the people of western North Carolina responded to the war in dramatically different ways. Men and women, masters and slaves, planters and yeomen, soldiers and civilians, Confederates and Unionists, bushwhackers and home guardsmen, Democrats and Whigs--all their stories are told here.

About the Authors

John C. Inscoe is professor of history at the University of Georgia.
For more information about John C. Inscoe, visit the Author Page.

Gordon B. McKinney is professor of history and director of the Appalachian Center at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky.
For more information about Gordon B. McKinney, visit the Author Page.


"A much anticipated study of one of the more misunderstood regions of the antebellum and Civil War South. . . . Virtually every facet of life in North Carolina's Appalachian mountains comes forth in [this] well-written and thoroughly researched book that provides another piece in the emerging larger mosaic of the Civil War 'South'. . . . By far the most detailed description of circumstances and events ever presented on the region."--Appalachian Journal

"Inscoe and McKinney have not only done an excellent job in situating their work within the historiography of both Civil War and Appalachian studies, but their extensive bibliography and detailed endnotes also encourage readers to further explore the effects of war in the mountians. Both social historians of the Civil War and Appalachian scholars will benefit from this book."--Journal of Southern History

"A definitive history of western North Carolina in the Civil War."--Southern Cultures

"[Manifest Destiny's Underworld: Filibustering in Antebellum America] is an important and well-written book that restores to its proper place a little known but significant topic in American history."--Manhattan Journal of the West

"The authors of this work argue persuasively that Unionism in western North Carolina never became as strong as the persistent stereotype would indicate. . . . [They] are to be commended for a solid study of the area's Unionism that challenges many long-established myths."--Journal of American History

"This thorough and detailed study provides a comprehensive and sophisticated picture of western North Carolina society during the Civil War. In so doing, it greatly enhances our understanding of a region that lay at the heart of the Old South."--American Historical Review