This past Friday, I was doing a book signing at Books-a-Million in Asheville, and had the pleasure of meeting Fred L. Ray, author of Shock Troops of the Confederacy. We talked for quite a while, and I am really excited about his work in this neglected area.
Speaking of neglected areas, I often lament the lack of modern regimental histories in the former Confederacy, and in North Carolina particularly. Excluding the works written by the veterans themselves, very few authors have taken up the task of chronicling the story of the regiments that served from the Tar Heel state. I did a little research and here is what I found.
I guess the first modern treatment of a North Carolina regiment was The Bloody Sixth: the Sixth North Carolina Regiment, Confederate States of America by Richard W. Iobst and Louis H. Manarin, published in 1965.
It would be thirty years before another regimental was written: Jeff Weaver's The 5th and 7th Battalion North Carolina Cavalry and the 6th North Carolina Cavalry, published in 1995.
We had two come along in 1998: More Terrible than Victory: North Carolina's Bloody Bethel Regiment, 1861-1865 by Craig S. Chapman and To Drive the Enemy from Southern Soil: The Letters of Col. Francis Marion and the History of the 30th North Carolina Troops, by Michael W. Taylor.
Two regimentals were published in 2000 that deal with North Carolina's sons who fought for the Union. A History of the Third North Carolina Mounted Infantry Volunteers, USA, March 1864-August 1865 by Ron V. Killian and Kirk's Raiders: A Notorious Band of Scoundrels and Thieves by Matt Bumgarner. The latter deals with the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry (US).
In 2003, histories of the 37th North Carolina Troops (by yours truly) and the 4th North Carolina Cavalry, by Neil Hunter Raiford, were released.
Two more followed in 2004 - The Randolph Hornets in the Civil War, a history of Company M, 22nd North Carolina, by Wallace Jarvell, and a history of the 2nd North Carolina Cavalry by Roger H. Harrell.
And finally, this past year we saw the release of a history of the 55th North Carolina by Jeffrey M. Girvan.
That's it. Yes, I know about Covered with Glory by Ron Craig, but that is a history of the 26th North Carolina at Gettysburg, rather than an overall reginental. (Have I forgotten any?) Out of seventy some odd regiments, home guard battalions, coast guards, prison guards, partisan rangers, Federals troops etc., we have ten modern histories.
I must say that things are looking a little better. I know of histories in the works on the 4th NCST, 33rd NCT, and 58th NCT (once again, the latter by yours truly). Would it not be a nice legacy to leave competent histories on all of our regiments?