Monday, June 14, 2010

North Carolina Military Institute

Home again – I had a great time visiting with the Central Ohio Civil War Round Table and especially with Mike Peters. If you live in the area, you should really consider joining. I was honored to be one of their guests, and their folks were really great, asking loads of super questions. My talk was on the battle of Hanover Court House (have I done this program for your group?).

One of the members of the COCWRT raised this question: Virginia has the Virginia Military Academy, and South Carolina has the Citadel. What did North Carolina have? The answer would be the North Carolina Military Institute. The school was founded in 1858 by local Charlotte businessmen and Dr. Charles J. Fox. The school was located in Charlotte. This school is not to be confused with the North Carolina Military Academy (also called the North Carolina Military and Polytechnic Academy or the Hillsborough Military Academy) founded in 1858 in Hillsborough by Charles C. Tew.

We don’t know a great deal about the school itself, except it was very popular. By April 1861, the school had 150 students. Not long after the start of the war, Governor Ellis ordered the cadets to Raleigh to serve as drill masters. The school closed during the war, and at times, the buildings were used as a Confederate hospital. The building stood at East Morehead and South Boulevard.

West Point-trained-Daniel Harvey Hill was serving as superintendent of the school at the start of the war. He was elected colonel of the 1st North Carolina Volunteers and, later in the war, briefly attained the rank of lieutenant general. Hill survived the war.

South Carolina-born and also West Point-trained Charles C. Lee was also teaching at the school at the start of the war. Lee was lieutenant colonel of the 1st North Carolina Volunteers (and later colonel after Hill’s promotion). Later, Lee served as colonel of the 37th North Carolina Troops. He was killed at Frayser’s Farm and is interred in Charlotte.

VMI-educated James H. Lane was also teaching at the North Carolina Military Institute. Lane, a Virginia native, was elected major, and then lieutenant colonel of the 1st North Carolina Volunteers before being elected colonel of the 28th North Carolina Troops.

There are probably a lot of other company and regimental level officers in North Carolina regiments who attended the institute, but to find them would probably require several days of searching. Anyone know of any more from your own research?

I found this in a issue of the Charlotte Observer from 1889:
As at first organized, the session lasted, without intermission, throughout the year, the months of August and September being spent campaigning in the mountains of North Carolina. At the end of the second year cadets received a furlough of months.
There were a scientific and a primary department. In the former the West Point curriculum was closely followed, and the students were required to board in the buildings and to be under military discipline.
There was a primary department, which aimed to prepare students for any college. Such of these students as boarded in the buildings were likewise under military discipline.
The institute provide board, lodging, fuel, lights, washing, arms, equipment, medical attendance, uniforms and all clothing, except underclothes, for $200 per annum. No extra charges.

Another issue of the Charlotte Observer (1915) wrote that the “first Confederate flag raised in the city was hosted there when Fort Sumter fell, by the students of the North Carolina Institute.”

After the war, there was talk of D. H. Hill (along with Wade Hampton), re-opening the Military School, but nothing became of Hill’s proposals. Later, the building was used as a girl’s school, and from 1873 until 1882, as the Charlotte Military Academy. Later, it was used by the Charlotte Public School system, until it was torn down in 1954.


Anonymous said...


It was a pleasure meeting you & Elizabeth. Next time you're in my neck of the woods, let me know. I'm sure we'll find something to do. (Don't believe you've seen Sherman & Sheridan's boyhood homes.)

Looking forward to reading your book on the 58th!

My best to you & yours!


Mike Peters

Anonymous said...

Hey Michael,

In your post about the North Carlina Military Academy, it mentions that the cadets were ordered to Raleigh to act s drill instructors. Did they perform this duty at Camp Mangum?

Keep up the great work.

Martin Husk

Michael Hardy said...

Martin – thanks for the post. I’m not sure about the role of the cadets at Camp Magnum. I’ll keep an eye out on the materials that I have around here. I do know that the 37th North Carolina was organized at Camp Magnum in November 1861. Neither of their drill masters, a old Baptist preacher, and a man wounded at First Manassas, really appear to be a cadet from the Institute.


K. Neuhoff said...

I enjoyed reading your story about the NC Military Institute. Prior to this past weekend I did not know that such a school existed. I was metal detecting in the Northeastern part of NC and dug a small button that said "NC Military Institute" on it so I started researching the school. My guess is that one of the students from the school was sent to serve in the war.

Anonymous said...


I ran across your blog while researching the great James H. Lane. My great-grandfather was a member of the 28th.

I am a Hickory native and had never heard of the North Carolina Military Institute. It is a shame the school didn't continue after the war as did the military institutes of Virginia Polytechnic and Alabama Polytechnic (Auburn) did.

Rick Stine

bobby said...

michael i am surprised i never saw your posting here. i am a descendant of a confederate soldier who mustered out of camp mangum NC he was from anson county NC near lilesville. and he mustered on may 15th 1862 from this camo with 43rd NC regiment NC volunteers anson county boys where there i dont know how to contact that museum to get more details of my ancestors troops in this camp if you get any word let me know

bobby said...

hi michael i am a descendant of one of my great great grandfather who was a confederate from anson county NC he mustered with 43rd NC at camp mangum on may 15 1862 his was pvt.Archibald harris i am still researching more on him somehow to get it if i can find more ways to do this if anyone has ideas let me know of it thanks take care