Reading Matters

Sad tales: Gaston County, N.C., in Civil War

For me, one of the most rueful aspects of war are the letters back and forth between soldiers on the battlefield and loved ones at home.

Robert Carpenter, a retired principal and adjunct professor at Belmont Abbey College, has written a long-anticipated book, “Gaston County, North Carolina, in the Civil War.” Years ago, Carpenter sent word out that he wanted to access private papers and collections. To these, he has added an impressive amount of archival research.

The result is a well-documented, lively, fascinating and sorrowful story of the people of Gaston County who served in the war and of those who stayed home.

Caleb Senter responded to his wife’s letter that their daughter had died.

“But how can i Bear the thoughts of my Sweete litle Baby Being gon. O, if I ondly Cold a been at home to sean her onst more But let us try to meet our diear Baby whear war nor death Cant parte us no more.”

You will recognize many of the Gaston County names that are still prevalent: Brevard, Linebarger, Phifer, Morris, Kennedy, Cody, Bynum, Carpenter, Rhyne, Rankin, Aderholdt, Rudisill and many more.

McFarland publishes the book. To order: 800-253-2187.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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