Lately, I’ve been exploring the topic of war-time politicians from North Carolina. Probably not surprising is the lack of biographical material on these leaders of the Old North State. What I want to do is to create a list and see if I am missing anything (or anybody).
There are numerous books about Zebulon Baird Vance. They include:
(1897) Dowd – Life of Zebulon B. Vance.
(1937) Yates - Zebulon B. Vance as War Governor of North Carolina, 1862-1865.
(1941) Adler – Zebulon B. Vance and the “Scattered Nation”
(1958) Yates – The Confederacy and Zeb Vance.
(1961) Camp – Governor Vance: A Life for Young People.
(1963) Shirley – Zebulon Vance, Tar Heel Spokesman.
(1966) Tucker - Zeb Vance: champion of Personal Freedom.
(1980) Szittya – Man to Match the Mountains: the Childhood of Zebulon Baird Vance.
(1985) Cooper – Zeb Vance: a Leader in War and Peace.
(1995) Weinstein – Zebulon B. Vance and “The Scattered Nation.”
(1971) Vance – My Beloved Zebulon: the Correspondence of Zebulon Baird Vance and Harriett N. Espy.
(2004) McKinney – Zeb Vance, North Carolina’s Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader.
(2005) Mobley – “War Governor of the South” : North Carolina’s Zeb Vance and the Confederacy.
And then there are two volumes of letters covering through 1863, one dissertation (Shirley 1959), and one bachelor’s thesis (Centon 1912). I must admit that I do not own all of these – and I am confused by the Adler (1941) and Weinstein (1995) titles of the same name. Maybe someone who has seen both can help. But I do own the majority.
I think Zeb is pretty well covered, historiography speaking. Let me also propose this question: has any other War-time governor been the subject of more books? I could only find five books on Georgia’s Joe Brown; I found no biographies on Florida’s John Milton, nor on Alabama’s John G. Shorter. Do I need to look further?
Moving on. What about North Carolina’s other war-time governors? John G. Ellis has no biography. Henry Toole Clark has one, and recently published (2009). North Carolina’s post-war governor, William Woods Holden, has one (1987). Then of course, there is Edward Stanly. He is North Carolina’s other war-time governor, appointed by Lincoln, who did not serve a full year. Stanly was the subject of a biography released in 1974.
To my knowledge, the only other Tar Heel to receive a book-length biographical study is Thomas L. Clingman, in a book by Thomas E. Jeffrey released by the University of Georgia Press in 1998. Of course, Clingman is not really a war-time politician. He did serve as a US Senator prior to the war, and largely North Carolina’s equivalent of Rhett or Yancey or Yulee. Clingman became a Confederate general.
So there is my list. Anyone know of any more book-length treatments of North Carolina Civil War politicians?
There need to be more. William W. Avery, who helped spilt the Democratic party, needs a biography. So does James T. Leach, a Confederate Congressman who advocated peace and largely led North Carolina’s Peace Party. How about our other Confederate leaders in the senate: George Davis, William T. Dortch, Edwin G. Reade, or William A. Graham? At the end of the war, Davis was serving as the Confederate Attorney General. And I don’t think any of the members of the House have a biography.
Well, there is my overview. What do you think? What have I missed?