Kinsearching May 8, 2011




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Published last month to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, 1861 – 1865: A ROSTER, VOLUME XVIII: SENIOR RESERVES AND DETAILED MEN is practically “hot off the press.” Like the previous book, this latest addition to the awarding-winning series is edited by Matthew M. Brown and Michael W. Coffey, who maintain the excellent scholarly standards expected by knowledgeable researchers.

     By the spring of 1864, severe troop shortages plagued the Confederacy. To remedy the situation, the Confederate states had no choice but to increase their fighting force by any means necessary. One way to achieve this goal was to draft men who had previously been exempted from conscription, such as the Senior Reserves. Composed of men between the ages of 45 and 50, members of the Senior Reserves were considered “old” by the standard of that era when the average life expectancy for white males was 40 years. Prior to being drafted for active service, they had guarded bridges and depots, rounded up deserters, and guarded and transported prisoners. After North Carolina raised five regiments, four battalions, and two independent companies of Senior Reserves, some of the men fought in South Carolina with General Hardee in his attempt to hold off the Federal advance toward North Carolina, defended Fort Fisher (located south of Wilmington, the Confederacy’s final major port still open to blockade runners), and participated at Bentonville, the last major battle in the Tar Heel State.

     Also organized into military units were the Detailed Men, composed of enlisted individuals assigned to non-combat positions, such as ordnance work, quartermaster service, and recruiting tasks. North Carolina organized three regiments, two battalions, and one independent company of Detailed Men. The war ended, however, before they had an opportunity to take part in the fighting.

     VOLUME XVIII begins with an extensively footnoted 114-page history of the Senior Reserves. Accompanying the authoritative essay are four detailed maps created especially for the volume by Civil War cartographer, Mark A. Moore. Following the interesting history is a complete roster of the officers and men who served in the units. Although data about individuals vary, entries may include details such as the man’s full name; rank; county of birth and residence; occupation; age; place and date of enlistment; whether he was wounded, captured, hospitalized, paroled, transferred, or promoted; and whether he survived or died during the war. Available material on Private Thomas A. FREELAND, for example, explains that he was born in Iredell County where he was a farmer, enlisted at age 47 on 25 June 1864 at Statesville, captured at Taylorsville, confined at Nashville, sent to Louisville, transferred to Camp Chase where he was released, and took the Oath of Allegiance. Facts about Private Peter F. KIRKMAN, however, only show he was born in Guilford County where he was a farmer, enlisted at age 47 on 18 June 1864 at Greensboro, and was paroled at Greensboro in 1865.

     Next, the volume supplies an informative 19-page history of the Detailed Men. A complete roster and the service records of the officers and men who served in those units follow. For this group, the amount of available information about individuals also varies. A very detailed and interesting entry is the one for Private John GARIBALDI, who was born in Italy (“or in the portion of Italy later ceded to France”), lived in Mecklenburg County where he was an engineer, served as a watchman at the Confederate Naval Station at Charlotte, later served as a military engineer at Salisbury where he was paroled in 1865, and took the Oath of Allegiance; the compilers also note that the “nineteenth-century town of Garibaldi (modern-day Belmont) was named for him.” Facts about Private I. B. HAFF, however, are sparse; he was “assigned on an unknown the arsenal at Salisbury” and was “paroled in Salisbury” in 1865.

     Focusing on two groups of the Tar Heel State's reservists, Brown and Coffey bring attention to the overlooked roles the formerly exempted men played in the last months of the Civil War. Again, the authors have produced a work that will be invaluable to historians, genealogists, and amateur Civil War buffs alike. VOLUME XVIII: SENIOR RESERVES AND DETAILED MEN of the series, NORTH CAROLINA TROOPS, 1861 - 1865: A ROSTER, is a "must have" for historical and genealogical library collections on the Civil War in the South.

     The 499-page hardbound book contains a preface, an informative introduction, maps, photographs, an abbreviated list of citations, and a thorough index of names of persons, places, and military units. Priced at $64.65 (which includes tax and shipping costs), VOLUME XVIII may be ordered online at or at It may also be purchased from the Historical Publications Section (N), Office of Archives and History, 4622 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-4622. For credit card orders, call 919-733-7442, extension 0.

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