Onslow County voted for secession 631 to 89 and subsequently contributed a larger percentage of its men to the Confederate cause than any county in the region. On 20 May 1861 North Carolina officially seceded from the Union citing decades of northern infractions against the Constitution, personal liberty, and the rights of the Southern people.
Like many other counties in the region whose economy was closely linked to slavery, Onslow stood firmly behind the movement to secede (Loftfield 1981:132-133). Over 70 percent of the county’s voting population of enlisted as soldiers during the conflict (Berger 2006:10). Onslow citizens suffered tremendously from hunger, poverty, and inflation during and after the war (Watson 1995:70-71).