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Bushwhackers: The Civil War in North Carolina: The Mountains

William R. Trotter

John F. Blair, Publisher
$18.95 paperback
5 ½ x 8 ½          
338 pages
Published in 1988

Bushwhackers tells the startling and little-known story of America's bloodiest war as it was fought in the mountains of North Carolina. Much of the story of the war remains alive in the generational memories and oral traditions of the mountain people. Mountain families whose roots go back that far still speak of the dark night on a backwoods road when great-great-grandfather was cut down by bushwhackers, or of that raw morning when great-great-grandmother stood on her front porch and watched a patrol of Thomas's Highland Legion—full-blooded Cherokee warriors—ride by with fresh Union scalps dangling from their saddle horns.

From the courageous exploits of soldiers and citizens to the atrocities committed by pro-Union and pro-Confederate factions, the mountain war in North Carolina represented both the best and worst of the South. In the mountains, where sentiments on both sides were strongly held, internecine warfare broke out. Bloody skirmishes were fought between Unionist and Confederate guerrillas. Family feuds erupted into ever-widening circles of violence and revenge. And countless numbers of men, women, and children were caught in the crossfire of conflicting loyalties.

Bushwhackers recounts hundreds of incidents that brought the war home to the mountains of the Old North State. Some are violent, some humorous; some are heroic, some shameful. From the opening shots of the war to the vicious acts of vengeance that continued for months and even years after the war ended,Bushwhackers relates the tragic and rarely told tale of how the Civil War was fought among the proud mountain people of North Carolina.


“In this thoroughly researched and well written history, Trotter relates the little known story of the Civil War in the western mountains of North Carolina. In this history (gleaned from official accounts, personal memoirs, and oral tradition), you will find no romantic stories of martial glory, but the bitter realities and confused allegiances of partisan warfare; this is quite literally the story of brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor. But still, there are heroes as well as villains, and people who struggle to maintain their morality despite the atrocities which surround them. This book is especially interesting to readers of Charles Frazier's wonderful novel Cold Mountain. Trotter not only describes the overall setting in which the novel takes place, but Frazier seemes to have borrowed scenes directly from Trotter's book.” —Amazon.com reviewer