Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Confederates beyond the War - Governors

One of those questions floating around my mind on Sunday as I drove to Raleigh was how many governors in North Carolina had Confederate service behind them: several, it turns out. An even greater question is how the military experience of these men influenced their lives and hence the direction of the state. We'll save that one for another post.

William W. Holden (1865) was appointed military governor at war's end by US President Andrew Johnson. He was a newspaper editor and had no military experience.

Jonathan Worth (1865-1868) was elected in late 1865. He was a strong Unionist and never really supported the war. Worth was appointed state treasurer by the General Assembly in 1862, and he held the post until elected governor.

William W. Holden (168-1871) was elected to serve a regular term, but was impeached in 1871.
Tod Robinson Caldwell (1871-1874) took over after the impeachment of Holden. The new state constitution of 1868 provided for a lieutenant governor, and Caldwell was the first to hold the position. Like Worth, Holden was a Unionist, but had served as a solicitor of Rutherford County during the war years.  

Curtis Hooks Brogden (1874-1877) was state comptroller during the war years. He was a Democrat at the start of the War and supported Vance for governor, but like Holden and Worth, moved toward the Republican party once the war ended. Brogden was Caldwell's lieutenant governor, and took over the governorship when Caldwell died in office.

Zebulon Baird Vance (1877-1879) was the first Confederate military officer to hold the position of governor after the War ended. Vance had served as a company officer in the 14th North Carolina State Troops, and as colonel of the 26th North Carolina Troops, before being elected governor in 1862. He was reelected in 1864, but arrested in May 1865, and unable to hold political office for a number of years after the end of the war. His third term as governor only lasted a couple of years, he was sent to the United States senate in 1877.

Thomas Jordan Jarvis (1879-1885) was originally a private in Company L, 17th North Carolina Troops, joining on May 4, 1861. Two weeks later, he was appointed a lieutenant in the 8th North Carolina State Troops and transferred. Jarvis was captured when Roanoke Island fell on February 8, 1862, but was back with the army by November 1862. In April 1863, he was promoted to captain of Company B. He was wounded in the right shoulder at Drewry's Bluff in ay 1864, and reported absent wounded the rest of the war.

Alfred Moore Scales (1885-1889) was elected captain of what became Company H, 13th North Carolina Troops on April 30, 1861. In October, he was elected colonel of the same, replacing William Dorsey Pender, who was appointed colonel of the 6th North Carolina State Troops. Scales was wounded in the right thigh at Chancellorsville, and then promoted to brigadier general on June 13, 1863.  Scales was again wounded at Gettysburg, then fought through the Overland Campaign, but appears to have been sick the last months of the war.

Daniel Gould Fowle (1889-1891) was appointed lieutenant colonel of the 31st North Carolina Troops on September 19, 1861. He was also captured when Roanoke Island fell in early 1862. Fowle was defeated for reelection when his regiment was reorganized in September 1862. Fowle served in the General Assembly, then as adjutant general, then was back in the General Assembly after a disagreement with Vance. He also died in office while serving as governor.

Thomas Michael Holt (1891-1893), lieutenant governor, filled the unexpired term of Fowle. Holt does not appear  to have served during the war. Instead, he stayed and managed part of his family's textile interests, namely the Granite Mill on the Haw River.

Elias Carr (1893-1897), as the story goes, was a private in Company G, 3rd North Carolina Cavalry, serving from September 1861 through June 1862. He was then called back to North Carolina to manage his very large farm. It appears that Carr later served as a sergeant in Company K, 67th North Carolina Troops, and possibly as a private in Company A, 8th Battalion North Carolina Partisan Rangers.

Daniel Lindsay Russell (1897-1901) was appointed a 1st lieutenant in the "Lamb Artillery" on May 5, 1862. The battery was also known as Company G, 2nd North Carolina Artillery. He was promoted Captain in January 1863, but was court martialed for assaulting another officer. He was later restored to his command, but resigned in February 1865. He was also a Republican.

Russell was the last Confederate veteran to serve as governor of North Carolina.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Quakers and Salt

   No discussion about salt and the War is complete without some mentions of the Quakers, Moravians, and Wesleyan Methodists in central North Carolina.
   All of these were religious sects that were pacifist in their beliefs. They believed that war and violence were wrong, and refused to serve in the Confederate army when the war came. This of course, created a problem when the Confederate government passed the Conscription Act in early 1862. The Convention Committee adopted a resolution early in May 1862 that exempted the Quakers. It read: "That members in good standing in the Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, who shall produce a regular certificate of membership, shall be exempt from performing militia duty and military service: Provided, That as an equivalent for such exemption from military service, when called for by the proper authorities, they shall pay sums of one hundred dollars, to be collected by the Sheriffs of the several counties, as the other State taxes are collected, to be for paid into the State Treasury for the general purposes thereof, and in case they shall be unable to pay the same, the governor shall have power to detain them to assist in the manufacture of salt or to attend in the hospitals in the State." (The Raleigh Register May 31, 1862)
   In October of that year, the government enacted a $500 exemption fee. If a Quaker paid this fee, he was exempt from military service. Some Quakers paid, some did not. Some refused to pay the exemption tax, believing it was "the price exacted of us for religious liberty." By the end of the war, the superintendent of the Bureau of Conscription reported that 342 men from North Carolina had been exempted as conscientious objectors. The aforementioned John M. Worth, state salt agent, allowed Quakers to work at the state salt works near Wilmington, according to William A. Auman.
   Quakers were originally told that there was little danger while working at the salt works, and that the sea breezes were healthy. Anyone who has spent time in the Wilmington area in the summer knows that it can actually be very stifling hot, and at dark, the mosquitoes and sand fleas are unbearable.
   Records of individual Quakers are scattered. Calvin G. Perkins of Kinston made salt in New Bern until he was captured. J. M. Prevo worked at the state salt works in Wilmington. James Newlin, Abner Lamb, and Nathan Pearson reportedly worked in the salt works. Michael Cox, Thomas Hinshaw, Amos Hinshaw, and Clarkson Allen were also assigned to salt-making duty. Each chose instead to pay someone else fifteen dollars to take his place. Clarkson Allen and Amos Hinshaw then escaped to the west.
   There were many opposed to the Quakers and their not being in the army. General William Whiting, in charge of the defenses around Wilmington, complained in July 1864 to the Confederacy’s  Secretary of War:
   I have at length positive information that at least two thirds of the Conscripts at the State Salt works, belong to the treasonable organization called "H. O. A." [Heroes of America] Their mode of communicating with the Enemy has been ascertained... I recommend strongly that the whole force be turned over to the Conscript Camp for distribution in the Army and their places be supplied by free negro or slave labor. (Salt, That Necessary Article, 143)
   The State salt works in Wilmington employed somewhere around 250 men in 1864.
   There is undoubtedly more to learn about this subject. I feel that this short piece has just scratched the surface. (Or maybe I've exhausted it, who knows?) For sources, I examined:
William, Isabel M. and Leora H. McEachern Salt: That Necessary Article (1973)
Auman, William T. Civil War in the North Carolina Quaker Belt (2014)
Zuber, Richard L. "Conscientious Objectors in the Confederacy: The Quakers of North Carolina." Quaker History, vol. 67, Issue 1 (1978)
Cartland, Fernando G. Southern Heroes or, the Friends in War Time. (1895)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Restoring a North Carolina flag

Preserving old textiles is no easy feat, especially when they are made of silk. My friends in the Yadkin Gray Eagles Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans, decided back in the fall to tackle the preservation of a company-level Confederate silk flag now located at the North Carolina Museum of History.

The Yadkin Gray Eagles was the local designation of group of men who enlisted in Yadkin County in May 1861, before North Carolina had even left the Union. John K. Connally was the first captain. The Yadkin Gray Eagles was mustered into service as Company B, 11th North Carolina Volunteers, a designation that was changed to the 21st North Carolina Troops in 1862. The flag was made by local women, and Miss L. M. Glenn presented the flag to the men before they marched away. The flag resembles a First National, and on the observe is the phrase "We Scorn the Sordid Lust of Self & Serve Our Country For Herself."

The flag was supposedly carried throughout the war, but not surrendered at Appomattox. Instead, it was returned to Miss Glenn. The flag was eventually donated to the North Carolina Hall of History.
For decades, the flag had been in storage, and no one was quite sure what to expect when it was unrolled in 2016. But the great folks at the North Carolina Museum of History believe that it can be conserved. So many times, the silk flags from the time period are found in little pieces.

The price tag is $30,000, far more than the cost to conserve a bunting (wool) flag. I do not know of a web page or gofundme page, but if you are interested in helping, please contact my friend Greg Cheek at ghcheek@earthlink.net.

To learn more, check out this article

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Trying to find the Shelton Laurel Officers

For the past couple of weeks, I've been poring over the various accounts of the Shelton Laurel event in January 1863.

A little background: in late 1862 and early 1863, there was a band of rogues based in the Laurel community of Madison County. They were rooming the countryside, robbing and shooting at will. On January 8, 1863, they attacked Marshall, then moved back to the Laurel community. Something had to be done. The militia from surrounding counties were mobilized and sent into the area. Then, Henry Heth, commanding the Confederate district East Tennessee, sent Brig. Gen. William Davis to the area with some troops to clean the tories out. Davis set up his headquarters at Warm Springs. With Davis came 200 members of the 64th North Carolina Troops (three companies), a company of cavalry under Capt. Thomas N. Nelson, and thirty Indians from Thomas's Legion mission. Later, William H. Thomas was dispatched to the area with an additional 200 Cherokee to work in Madison, Haywood, and Jackson counties. The three companies of the 64th North Carolina Troops were under the command of Maj. William N. Garrett. 

According to the Official Records, the three companies of the 64th North Carolina are not the ones that entered the Laurel community. It is the cavalry, and Nelson is credited with killing 12 tories on his sweep.

Do you know who is never mentioned in the official accounts? Col. Lawrence M. Allan and Lt. Col. James A. Keith. Allen's participation in the events is very suspect. He was undergoing a court-martial in Knoxville at the time. Keith, on the other hand, is largely blamed for the tragedy. THEORY ON MY PART: is it possible that Keith was acting beyond the limits of authority with a small band of picked men? Some of them might have been in the 64th NC; some of them might have been from other regiments. 

After the elements of the 64th NC returned to east Tennessee, several officers were called before a board for examining officers. Phillip Paludan, in Victims: A True Story of the Civil War, writes: "As the investigation began, it appeared that the officers of the Sixty-fourth were feeling justice hurrying near. Governor Vance had asked Seddon to begin the investigation in late February, and by the end of the month Captain Deaver of the Sixty-fourth had been relieved of command. By mid-April three more junior officers had appeared before investigatory boards. Two of them offered their resignations; the other was relieved of command. For a time, all four of these men remained in the army awaiting action by their superiors." (104)

Paludan, in a note, gives the names of those men as: A. M. Deaver, William Keith, Thomas Keith, and S. E. Erwin. 

So, let's take a look. First, Paludan writes: "For a time, all four of these men remained in the army awaiting action by their superiors." That is actually not unusual. When Lt. Reuben M. Deaver submitted his resignation, it had to go up, through the chain of command, all the way to the Secretary of War, before it was finally approved. I've actually written about this in the past, and you can check it out here. Deaver submitted his resignation on July 15, 1863, and it was accepted on August 6, 1863. I assume that Paludan's A. M. Deaver is Lt. Adolphus E. Deaver, who submitted his resignation also on July 15, 1863, and it was likewise accepted on August 6, 1863. Captain William Keith resigned on April 20, 1863, and it was accepted on May 2, 1863. Lt. Thomas Keith resigned on August 14, 1863, which was accepted on August 29, 1863. Captain Samuel Erwin resigned on July 15, 1863, which was accepted on August 4, 1863. We can infer that Paludan believed these four were involved in the incident on Laurel in some way.

 Let's look at Erwin first. He was actually from Washington County, Tennessee, and enlisted in September 1862. His company, Company K, was stationed at Jacksboro in Tennessee, and is not believed to have been involved in the Laurel incident. There is no muster roll record for January and February 1863, so it is not possible to say where he was. In his resignation, Erwin writes that when he appeared before the officer examination board in Knoxville in April 1863, he was "relieved from further attendance before the board and allowed to report to my com'd. for duty whare I have been ever since..." Erwin then adds on odd statement: He considered it "my duty and [in my] interest to have the service rid of all incompetent officers (according) to the [examining] board's opinion."

Company G was one of the three companies sent to Madison County. Two of those mentioned by Paludan, who supposedly lost their positions due to the Laurel incident, do not appear to have been with Company G at the time. Adolphus Deaver was originally a private in the 16th North Carolina Troops, but did desert in August 1862. He does not reappear until he is appointed a lieutenant in the 64th NC in March 1863. Deaver resigned July 15, 1863, which was accepted on August 6, 1863. He stated in his resignation letter: that like Erwin, he had to go before the examination board. While there, he was "relieved from further attendance before the Board and was allowed to report to my Co for duty where I have been ever since. On Yesterday, July 14th I received a copy of Special Order No 71, suspending me from command... feeling it my duty as a friend to the cause to vacate the position I hold (if not competent to discharge the duties of the Office) I .... most respectfully tender my resignation..." 

The case is likewise with Thomas W. Keith, a 2nd lieutenant. He was also with the 16th NC, until he deserted in September 1862. He was appointed a lieutenant in the 64th in April 1864. And he also resigned on August 14, 1864, because he had failed the examination before the officer examination board and was "unprepared to take it a second time."

Lastly, Capt. William M. Keith. He resigned on April 24, 1863, stating he really did not feel confident in taking the test whom Paludan singled out, we can't actually place three of them in Madison County as a part of the Laurel incident. It is entirely possible that they truly were not qualified to be Confederate officers, hence their resignations. And William Keith refused to even stand for the examination. Or, maybe all four were on Laurel Creek in late January 1863, and were given the opportunity to resign, under the context of being incompetent. We'll probably never know. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bridge Burners in North Carolina

In November 1861, a group of dissidents/Unionists burned several bridges in East Tennessee. They had been told that Federal soldiers were on their way, and by destroying these bridges, the Federal soldiers could quickly capture key points. Unionists in East Tennessee then could mobilize and help hold the area, creating a stumbling block for the new Confederate nation. Of course, we know that it did not work out this way. The bridges were burnt, but regular Federal army forces never materialized (for a variety of reasons).

Reconstructed bridge, Strawberry Plains
While looking for something else (how often does that happen?), I came across a list entitled "List of Political prisoners made in obedience to call of the Confederate Congress" (Found in Louis Brown's book on Salisbury Prison). The list is dated February 17, 1863, and there are 131 names on this list. Among those 131 names are thirteen who are listed as "One of Fry's bridge burners in E. TN." They all have a date of March 22, 1862, which I assume is an incarceration date. 

The majority of the bridge burners that they caught were sent to Greeneville and then on to Alabama. A few were hanged. What are the stories behind these thirteen? Why were they taken to Salisbury? Were they captured in North Carolina? Questions like these just serve to remind me how little we know about some of the aspects of the time period.

Those below are listed as being incarcerated at Salisbury Prison in February 1863, and listed as bridge burners. I assume the county behind the names is the county where they were from. I could list a bevy of questions: who were these men? Where were they captured? Were they tried in a civilian court someplace? What happened to them - did they survive the war?

Beals, J. H. --Greene County
Cogburn, N. J.---Greene County
Collins, Charles--Virginia
Cox, David ---Greene County
Elder, W. R. ---Greene County
Gahayan, ----- Madison County, TN (North Carolina?)
Jones, J. --Hancock Co.
Keller, Wm --Greene County
Kelly, A. ---
Kelly, D. H.--- Greene County
McGee, Lemuel---Greene County
Triplett, William---Greene County

Woolsey, C.---Greene County

Friday, January 27, 2017


This week, I am writing about the Shelton Laurel Massacre. Traditionally, this story starts with the Unionist-leaning Shelton Laurel people being refused salt from the government for their personal use. This led a group to break into some type of government facility in Marshall and take salt. As with most stories, there is a whole lot more to this one, but that's another post.

Arguably, salt was the most important commodity to rural people across the United States. While it had many uses, the most important would be to preserve hog meat for future use. It took 10 pounds of salt to preserve 100 pounds of pork. If you are feeding a large family, 100 pounds does not go far.
Prior to the war, North Carolina salt came from the coastal area, and from Saltville, Virginia, and appears to be a private venture.

Realizing the importance of salt, North Carolina took steps in late 1861 to ensure domestic supply. On December 6, the North Carolina Convention ratified "An Ordinance in Regards to the Supply of Salt." The state pledged at least $100,000 to the manufacture of salt on the along the coast. At the same time, the article stated that Dr. John Milton Worth, brother to future governor Jonathan Worth, was appointed North Carolina Salt Commissioner.

Salt Raid in Florida
An article in the Semi-Weekly Standard, December 18, 1861, made note of "private parties" making salt on Currituck Sound, Bouge Sound, Topsail Sound, in Carolina City, and soon, near Morehead City. It was the editor's suggestion that "farmers should not be hasty in killing pork this season."
The state government set up salt works at in Currituck County but they were lost when Roanoke Island fell in February 1862. There were salt works at Morehead City as well. After the place fell to Union forces in March 1862, the government salt works were moved to Wilmington. In August 1863, the Wilmington Salt Works produced five thousand bushels of salt. The state also chartered the Chatham Salt Mining and Manufacturing Company in 1862. The plans for the Chatham County site were to drill a well. Also in 1862, Governor Clark sent Nicholas Woodfin and George W. Mordecia to Saltville, Virginia, with instructions to negotiate a contract to purchase cast iron pots and enough brine to produce 300,000 bushels of salt per year.

Each county appointed a salt agent. In 1862, the Buncombce County salt agent was John A. Burin. In Forsyth County, E. A. Vogler; T. G. Whitaker, Wake County; W. S. Gunter, Chatham County;
At least in Buncombe, the county was divided into sub-districts, with a sub-agent responsible for the distribution of salt. They were supposed to sell the salt to citizens at cost. It must have been a thankless job. After the war, a citizen in Yancey County complained that they had four different salt agents over the duration of the war.

There were numerous raids and assaults against North Carolina's salt-making industries during the war years. In October 1862, Federals destroyed the salt works at Bogue and Currituck Inlet. In February 1863, the salt works at Wale's Head, Currituck Beach, were destroyed. On Christmas Eve 1863, portions of the 158th New York Infantry and 9th Vermont Infantry, with sailors from the USS Daylight  and Howquah, moved against salt works near Bear Inlet. On April 21, 1864, Federal forces raided the salt works at Masonboro Inlet, near Wilmington.

Probably better known are the raids taking place against Saltville, Virginia, one taking place in October 1864, and another that same December.

The raid on Marshall in January 1863 was supposedly because local residents, who were not pro-Confederate were not getting salt. I wonder, was this Confederate policy, state policy, or simply the policy of the local salt agent in charge of Madison County? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Speaking of 2017

Time to start putting that 2017 calendar together. I am still out stumping the Capitals of the Confederacy/North Carolina as the Last Confederate Capital until late in the year, when the Branch-Lane book will be released. If you are interested in having me coming to speak to your Round Table, SCV Camp, historical society, library, etc., on any of my books, please drop me a line.

February 11-12, Malcom Blue Farm and Battle of Monroe's Crossroads (Weather permitting).

March 13, Mecklenburg Historical  Association, Charlotte

May 8, Raleigh Civil War Round Table

May 16, UDC Greensboro, NC

May 20, North Carolina Civil War Round Table, Durham

June 3, Twin Lakes Retirement Community, Burlington

July 20, SCV Wilson, NC

July 29, Ft. Fisher State Historic Site

October 7, Longstreet Society, Greeneville, TN

October 11, Lynchburg Civil War Round Table, Virginia