SALE! Save 40% on UNC Press print books during our American History Sale with discount code 01DAH40. See details.

SALE! Save 40% on UNC Press print books during our American History Sale with discount code 01DAH40. See details.

The Last Battleground

The Civil War Comes to North Carolina

By Philip Gerard

376 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 27 halftones, bibl., index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-4956-6
    Published: March 2019
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-4957-3
    Published: February 2019

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To understand the long march of events in North Carolina from secession to surrender is to understand the entire Civil War--a personal war waged by Confederates and Unionists, free blacks and the enslaved, farm women and plantation belles, Cherokees and mountaineers, conscripts and volunteers, gentleman officers and poor privates. In the state's complex loyalties, its sprawling and diverse geography, and its dual role as a home front and a battlefield, North Carolina embodies the essence of the whole epic struggle in all its terrible glory.

Philip Gerard presents this dramatic convergence of events through the stories of the individuals who endured them--reporting the war as if it were happening in the present rather than with settled hindsight--to capture the dreadful suspense of lives caught up in a conflict whose ending had not yet been written. As Gerard reveals, whatever the grand political causes for war, whatever great battles decided its outcome, and however abstract it might seem to readers a century and a half later, the war was always personal.

About the Author

Philip Gerard is professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. His previous books include Down the Wild Cape Fear.
For more information about Philip Gerard, visit the Author Page.


“[Gerard's] smooth, novelistic style should open this material to many readers who thought they didn’t like history.”--Wilmington Star News

"Gerard's powerful narrative covers the Civil War in North Carolina in all its complexity, ranging from the coast to the Piedmont and Sandhills to the mountains. In the process, he introduces us to a vast panoply of characters and, by means of his vivid prose, makes both them and the events they participated in come to life."--Mark L. Bradley, author of This Astounding Close: The Road to Bennett Place

"Philip Gerard is best known as an award-winning creative writer, but this book shows he is also an exceptional historian. With each vignette in The Last Battleground, Gerard opens portals to the past for North Carolina during the Civil War. A great read!"--Chris E. Fonvielle Jr., author of The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope