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North Carolina's Military History: Home

A guide outlining the impact North Carolina has made on United States military history.

About this Guide

Image Credit: History of the 105th Regiment of Engineers divisional engineers of the "Old Hickory" (30th) Division, p. 449. URL:

As one of the original 13 colonies, North Carolina’s military history is deep, rich, and complex—and some of the battles fought in the early days of the colonies and the United States took place on her soil. Small but intense conflicts occurred in the colony's early history, as rival factions, both native and colonial, vied with each other for space and control of the land. North Carolina was one of the last states to join the Confederacy, and it is during this time that the phrase "Tar Heels" gained popularity. You might still hear some old timers quote Walter Clark about the Tar Heels: "First at Bethel.  Farthest to the Front at Gettysburg and Chickamauga. Last at Appomattox." Eighty years later, as World War II raged, the first class of African Americans to serve in the US Marine Corps began their training at the segregated Montford Point Base adjacent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  

Staff Picks

Hear This!

  • "Married to the Military," from American Radio Works. Companion website to a 2005 documentary about military families features stories about one military family's experiences and about the Army town of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
    ---Rebecca Hyman

Watch This!

  • The Guns of August. Documentary film (1964). "Traces the origins and actions of World War I, from the funeral of Britain's King Edward VII to the Versailles Treaty." (From North Carolina connection: Archival footage of Josephus Daniels, US Secretary of the Navy during the buildup to WWI (born Washington, NC, 1862).
    ---Beth Hayden

Try This!

  • Tuskegee Airmen Flight Leader from the Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution. Short interactive website introducing young fliers to the hazards and hard decisions of flying, escort duty, and fighting in World War II.
    ---Steven Case

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Contact Information

Government & Heritage Library


Phone: (919) 814-6790


Physical address:
109 E. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC 27601

Mailing address:
4640 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4600

How do I know I can trust this information?

As the library of North Carolina state government, our purpose is to present factual information about North Carolina's history, culture, government, and natural resources. We do our best to provide correct and up-to-date information.