The regiment was organized in Danville, Virginia, on June 18, 1861, consisting of 12 companies and designated the 11th Regiment N.C. Volunteers.
- Company A - Davidson Guards (Davidson County)
- Company B - Yakdin Gray Eagles (Yadkin County)
- Company C - Blue Ridge Riflemen (Surry County)
- Company D - Forsyth Rifles (Forsyth County)
- Company E - Forsyth Grays or Forsyth Guards (Forsyth County)
- Company F - Mountain Boys (Stokes County)
- Company G - Town Fork Invincibles (Stokes County)
- Company H - Mountain Tigers (Surry County)
- Company I - Surry Marksmen (Surry County)
- Company K - Forsyth Southrons (Forsyth County)
- Company L - Rockingham Invincibles (Rockingham County)
- Company M - Guilford Dixie Boys (Guilford County)
On July 13, 1861, the regiment departed Danville for Richmond and arrived in Richmond on July 14. Left for Manassas Junction on July 17, arriving the same day and was assigned to General M. L. Bonham's brigade.
1st Manassas (July 21, 1861)
While not engaged, the regiment was involved with some brief skirmishing at Mitchell's Ford and participated in the pursuit. Following the battle, the regiment was attached to the Sixth Brigade commanded by Colonel Jubal A. Early.
In August, the regiment was assigned to General George B. Crittenden's brigade, which included the 15th Alabama Infantry, the 21st Georgia Infantry and the 16th Mississippi Infantry.
In November, the regimental designation was changed to the 21st Regiment N.C. Troops. General Isaac R. Trimble was assigned command of the brigade, after the reassignment of General Crittenden, and was attached to General E. K. Smith's division. The regiment spent the winter of 1861-1862 in Centreville, Virginia.
In February, General Richard S. Ewell was assigned command of the division.
In April, Companies B and E were organized as the 1st Battalion N.C. Sharpshooters, also known as the 9th Battalion N.C. Sharpshooters.
Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1862 (May-June 1862)
Front Royal (May 23, 1862)
Ewell's division joined Jackson's force and the entire force met, and defeated, the Federal forces at Front Royal.
1st Winchester (May 25, 1862)
The regiment received its "baptism of fire" while leading Trimble's brigade in the attack on the Federal defenses at Winchester. The regiment suffered 21 killed and 59 wounded. Following the battle, the 1st Battalion N.C. Sharpshooters became an independent unit in Trimble's brigade.
Cross Keys (June 8, 1862)
Tasked with protecting an artillery battery, the regiment suffered 2 men killed and 11 wounded. The Federal forces under General John C. Fremont were defeated.
Seven Days Battles (June 25-July 1, 1862)
Gaines' Mill (June 27, 1862)
White Oak Swamp (June 30, 1862)
Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862)
Cedar Mountain (August 9, 1862)
The Federal left was broken by a charge down Cedar Mountain by Brigadier General Isaac R. Trimble's brigade, composed of the 15th Alabama, the 21st Georgia and the 21st North Carolina.
2nd Manassas (August 28-30, 1862)
Chantilly (September 1, 1862)
Harper's Ferry (September 12-15, 1862)
Sharpsburg (September 17, 1862)
Shepardstown Ford (September 20, 1862)
Fredricksburg (December 13, 1862)
Chancellorsville (May 1-4, 1863)
2nd Winchester (June 14-15, 1863)
Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863)
Bristoe Campaign (October-November 1863)
Rappahannock Bridge (November 7, 1863)
Mine Run Campaign (November-December 1863)
New Bern (April-March 1864)
Plymouth (April 17-20 1864)
North Anna (May 22-26, 1864)
Bethesda Church (May 30, 1864)
Cold Harbor (June 1-3, 1864)
Lynchburg Campaign (June 1864)
Monocacy (July 9, 1864)
Ft. Stevens ( July 11-12, 1864)
3rd Winchester(September 19, 1864)
Fisher's Hill (September 22, 1864)
Cedar Creek (October 19, 1864)
Petersburg Siege (June 1864-April 1865)(21st NC from December 1864)
Hatcher's Run (February 5-7, 1865)
Fort Stedman (March 25, 1865)
Saylor's Creek (April 6, 1865)