Sunday, January 29, 2012


Alright, something has me stumped, and maybe one of you has the answer for me. I keep finding references to paroles being issued to people in Charlotte before there were actually Federal soldiers there in the city.

The first Federal soldiers arrived in Charlotte on May 7, 1865. Paroles were not issued until May 12-14, 1865, when Brig. Gen. Thomas Rugers and the 1st Corps. XXIII Corps arrived in town. Now, I could probably understand folks like Gen. Samuel Cooper getting a parole. He was in Charlotte, and his parole was issued May 3, 1865. Maybe it was issued by Schofield and sent to Cooper in Charlotte. However, of the seven members of the 58th NCT issued paroles in Charlotte in May 1865, four of them were prior to the arrival of Federal soldiers. So, until I find something else, I am at a loss as to how the common rank and file got their paroles.

Any ideas?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Check it out - opening at the Charlotte Museum of History tomorrow!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Author to Speak on a Slave Escape from a Durham Plantation

RALEIGH - In 1848, Mary Walker fled slavery and the plantation that is now Historic Stagville in Durham, leaving behind her son and daughter. She spent 17 years trying to recover her family. Dr. Syd Nathans, professor emeritus with Duke University, tells of Walker's remarkable ordeal in the book "To Free A Family: The Journey of Mary Walker" at Historic Stagville on Sunday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m., and at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, on Monday, Feb. 13, at 11 a.m. The programs are free.

The tale of Mary Walker is representative of the secret labors of hundreds of women escaping bondage and trying to reclaim their families in the South. The story is also the basis for the Addy Walker doll in the American Girl doll collection.

Two extraordinary collections provide the basis for the story -- the letters and diaries of Walker's former North Carolina slaveholders, and those of the northern family who protected and employed her. In spite of her persistence and the assistance of black and white abolitionists, she was not reunited with her children until the end of the Civil War.

The programs are sponsored by the N.C. African American Heritage Commission (AAHC), whose mission is to preserve, protect, and promote North Carolina's African American history, arts and culture for all people. The AAHC is affiliated with the Department of Cultural Resources.

For additional information call Michelle Lanier at (919) 477-7103. The Division of
State Historic Sites and the Division of State History Museums are within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Flag of the 16th North Carolina State Troops

It seems that I've been making an annual January  trip to Charlotte the past two or three years. The annual trip always seems to coincide with the annual meeting of the 26th North Carolina Troops, Reactivated. Last year it was to speak at the unveiling of the conserved flag fragments of the 58th North Carolina Troops. This year, it was simply to be a part of audience at the unveiling of the conserved flag of the 16th North Carolina State Troops.
The 16th North Carolina State Troops (6th North Carolina Volunteers) was the first regiment entirely made up of men from western North Carolina. They were mustered into service on June 16, 1861, in Raleigh. This regiment spent the duration of their service connected with Confederate armies in Virginia, and after mid--1862, members of the famed Light Division.

Following the battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, the regiment was issued a new flag, a 3rd bunting Richmond Depot, with unit designation in yellow and battle honors in blue. This flag was captured on July 3, 1863, at the battle of Gettysburg, by Pvt. Elijah M. Bacon, Company F, 14th Connecticut Infantry. Bacon was later awarded the Medal of Honor. This flag was one of many returned to the states by the Federal government in the early part of the 20th century.

As many of you know, for the past several years, the folks in the 26th North Carolina Troops, Reactivated, have been raising funds to preserve Confederate battle flags (among other projects). The flags that they have conserved include those of the 26th NCT, 58th NCT, and 1st NCST. We should all commend them for the great work that they do.

No, I was not speaking this time. I just went to observe. But I did get to stand on the stage and have my picture made before they rolled the flag back into the vault. As I wrote on my facebook page, any day you get to stand beside a flag that bore the shell and shot of the battlefield, is a great day!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Off to Raleigh...

I go to our state's capital three or four times a year, to do research or give lectures. Tomorrow, I'm going to just observe. Well, ok, I might slip over to the archives for a few minutes.

Tomorrow afternoon, our friends in the 26th North Carolina Troops, Reactivated, will be unveiling their latest, completed, project: the conserved flag of the 16th North Carolina Troops. I think the 26th NCT is doing a great job at preserving the past of the state of North Carolina. If you are free about 2:30 pm, stop in and learn something about one of our great regiments.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Two Colonels

In the past few weeks, I've had a chance to reconnect with both colonels of the 37th NCT. The first colonel, Charles C. Lee, is buried in Charlotte, a place where I've been spending a lot of time of late. The second colonel, William Barber, is buried in Wilkesboro, a place where I spoke a couple of Saturdays ago. So, I thought I would share a little.

Had he lived longer, Charles C. Lee would have become a Confederate brigade commander. Charles was born in February 1834 in Charleston, South Carolina. His father was Stephen Lee, who had attended West Point, and then later taught at a military academy in South Carolina. Stephen Lee was the uncle of Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee. The family moved to Asheville at some point, where Stephen ran a boys school. Charles C. Lee also attended West Point, graduating in 1856. Charles served in the US Army until 1859, when he resigned and became a instructor at the North Carolina Military Institute in Charlotte, NC. On May 11, he became lieutenant colonel in the 1st North Carolina Volunteers, and upon D. H. Hill's promotion to brigadier general, colonel of the 1st NC Volunteers. That regiment was disbanded in early November 1861, and Lee was elected colonel of the 37th North Carolina Troops. He was a strict disciplinarian, and very pious, even preaching to the men. On two different occasions, he held command of demi-brigades, and given his background, would have gone far. Charles was killed by a cannon shot on June 30, 1862. His body was returned to Charlotte and interred in Elmwood Cemetery. The entire city closed for his funeral. Lee "was as brave as a lion and gentle as a lamb."

Lee was replaced by William M. Barber. Born in Rowan County, North Carolina, in January 1834, William was educated by Peter S. Ney before attending St. James College in Maryland. There has always been some debate as to who Ney was, some claiming that he was Marshall Michael Ney of Napoleon's Army. William continued to study law, gained admittance to the bar, and moved to Wilkesboro to open his practice. Once the War came, Barber was elected captain of the Western Carolina Stars, which became Company F, 37th North Carolina Troops on November 20, 1861.  That same day, William was elected to lieutenant colonel of the regiment. He was constantly in the thick of things, being wounded at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and captured at Spotsylvania Court House. He was a part of the Immortal 50, which predated the Immortal 600. William was released, and went back to his regiment, where he was wounded again at Deep Bottom. He had submitted his resignation, and before it could be acted upon, was mortally wounded at Jones Farm, September 30, 1864, dying on October 3, 1864, in a hospital in Petersburg, Virginia. Barber was buried in Petersburg, and then later reinterred at St. James Episcopal Church in Wilkesboro. His record in the North Carolina Troops book spells his last name as Barbour.  He spelled his name Barber until mid way through the War, when it changed to Barbour. His tombstone has Barber, and hence, that is the way I chose to refer to him in my book on the 37th NCT.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Confederate Monuments in Charlotte

For a long time, I've been collecting information on North Carolina's Confederate and Union monuments and markers. Just when I think I've collected something (photos, newspaper articles, etc) on each one of them, I find a new one - yes, a new monument.  Or, at least a reference to a new monument.
For the past couple of days, I've been working on the monuments erected by the UDC in Charlotte, starting in 1910 with the marker for the Confederate Navy Yard.  To date, there were 10 monuments in the greater Charlotte area, probably more than any other municipality in the state. Of course, not all of these were erected by the UDC. Here is the list that I'm working on.
1887 - Monument, Elmwood Cemetery.
1910 - Iron Marker, Confederate Navy Yard, currently in storage?
1915 - Bronze Marker, Last Cabinet Meeting.
1927 - Bronze marker on boulder, marking North Carolina Military Institute, also called the D. H. Hill School marker. Current location unknown.
1938 - Stone archway to Mrs. Stonewall Jackson. Torn down by the 1960s. Bronze plaque in the general area.
1930s - US Mint Marker (date and current location, unknown)
Davis/Lincoln Assassination  (date unknown, but still in sidewalk)
Temporary residence of Atty. Gen. Davis (date and current location unknown)
Judah Benjamin. (date unknown, granite slab supposedly at 200 block, South Tryon. Unconfirmed).
1997 - City Hall.

Some folks might say "well, you should know all about this." And yes, I probably should. But I don't. Any information you might have would be great. I guess the next time I am in town, I'll need to get out and wander the streets of Charlotte. Maybe a friend or two will join me as we explore these mysteries.

Friday, January 06, 2012

First book signing of the year

Friends - On Saturday, January 7, at the Wilkes County Public Library, there is going to a Civil War Symposium. It starts at 9:45 am. Speakers include Skip Smith of the 26th North Carolina Troops reactivated, Clint Johnston, author of Touring the Carolina's Civil War sites, an me (Michael C. Hardy). I'll probably be speaking on the 37th North Carolina Troops. If you are free Saturday morning (and the weather  look's great!) come on out and join us!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Events Mark the Civil War Arrival in North Carolina in 1862

This year marks the 150th anniversary of when the Civil War came home to North Carolina in 1862. Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside captured Roanoke Island in February, New Bern in March and Fort Macon in April. Takeover of North Carolina's coast was meant to stop supplies to the Confederate Army through the state's ports.
On the 150th anniversary, those events and many others will be reviewed in a series of programs at historic sites and museums statewide.
"The Lights of the Great Armada: The 147th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher," Jan. 21-22, will focus on the Navy and Marines and the maritime war. Small arm and artillery demonstrations, presentations by U.S. Coast Guard Chief Historian Dr. Robert Browning, U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company representatives Larry Bopp and Steve Bockmiller, and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Deputy State Archaeologist Mark Wilde-Ramsing, are among activities scheduled.

Two programs in Durham focusing on the enslaved are scheduled for February. At Historic Stagville on Feb. 12, "To Free A Family"; will include a free lecture and book signing by Dr. Sydney Nathans, Duke University history professor emeritus. At Bennett Place on Feb. 16, Reginald Hildebrand, UNC-Chapel Hill historian, will lecture on "The First Year of Freedom in North Carolina: Pursuing Freedom with the Hoe and the Sword, the Book and the Lord"; admission will be charged.
A symposium, "Thunder in the East: The Civil War in Eastern North Carolina will be presented by Tryon Palace and the New Bern Historical Society on March 10, featuring Civil War historians Ed Bearrs and Mark Bradley, and Hari Jones, curator of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C. It is one of the events in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration (Civil War 150).

A Civil War medical program, "War So Terrible," at Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks on March 17-18, will compare and contrast medical practices of the Civil War to 21st century treatment in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. Army and Marine Corps triage units will participate dependent on availability. Candle light tours of the Harper House, which served as a field hospital in 1865, will allow visitors to see the medical setting and experience the search for a loved one at that time.
The exhibit, "Watched by Sound and Sea: Occupied Beaufort, 1862" continues at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort through September 2012. It features artifacts from the period, and will present a speaker each month.
The April 26-28 "Flags Over Hatteras" Symposium will feature historians James McPherson, Ed Bearss, Craig Symonds, and others, speaking at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. A Civil War Trails marker will be unveiled during the weekend, and the "Flags Over Hatteras" exhibit will continue through July at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
Other lectures and programs will occur during the year, and through April 2015. A traveling photography exhibit "Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory: The Civil War Sesquicentennial Photography Exhibit" is visiting libraries and museums in the state through May 2013.
The N.C. Office of Archives and History oversees the state's sesquicentennial observance, which includes production of posters, symposia, a vehicle license plate, an atlas and other books, and other commemorative activities through 2015. The Office of Archives and History is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Civil War Charlotte update.

Happy New Year! I hope your 2011 was grand - mine was. And I hope you are looking forward to 2012 - I am.

Top project on my list for the first three months of 2012 is to finish Civil War Charlotte. So, I thought I would give you an update. I'm still researching, going through post-war newspapers right now. And, I'm finding lots of great stuff concerning the veterans movement following the war. I'm using an online search engine to go through the Charlotte Observer, using the simple keyword "Confederate." The downside is that it picks up every time the word "Confederate" is used: like advertisements for special rates for veterans going to national reunions in distant states, and the obituaries of prominent veterans from places like Atlanta and Richmond.  Each year (I'm in 1914 right now) produces between 500 and 700 hits. No, I'm not reading every one.
But there is some great information - like the annual veteran picnics at Mt. Zion in Cornelius, the Confederate memorial day programs at Elmwood Cemetery, and the monthly UCV meetings. There are also occasionally veteran reminiscences about war-time service, or reminiscences about war-time Charlotte.

I've been working exclusively on this chapter so far. There is nothing like it in any history of Charlotte that I've come across so far. I've got about 2,000 words on paper for this chapter, out of a projected 5,000.
I've also been working on photographs to illustrate the book. I ordered a watercolor of Camp Exchange, the temporary Union prison camp in Charlotte towards the end of the war.

Well, it is time to get back to work. I hope you have a great January!