There has been a recent trend in Academia to downplay the role of Unionism of western North Carolina. For decades , the academic party line was that the region was entirely pro-Union. Now, finally, scholars are beginning to take a more balanced approach. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for that trend to be come to fruition. I could not tell you how many times that I’ve given lectures, and during the question time, the ideas of a Unionist western North Carolina come out. I’ll say it again: western North Carolina was strongly pro-Confederate, with a few pockets of Unionism, and, as the war progressed, a lot of disinterest in the war, and both of the sides fighting it.
I was looking through Sitterson’s The Secession Movement in North Carolina a few days ago, and came across an interesting little side note. On pages 182-183, Sitterson gives a list of leading Unionists and Secessionists in the state House and Senate. Those who were Unionist in the House were as follows: D. D. Ferbee of Camden County; P. T. Henry of Bertie County; A. K. Simerton of Iredell County; and J. D. Wilkerson of Person. In the state senate, we have Bedford Brown of Caswell County; Josiah Turner of Orange County; John M. Morehead of Guilford County; David Outlaw of Bertie County; and J. D. Ramsey of Rowan County. Those considered the leading secessionists in the House were: John F. Hoke of Lincoln County; Samuel J. Person of New Hanover County; and Robert R. Bridgers of Edgecombe County. And in the state Senate, we have W. W. Avery of Burke County; Marcus Erwin of Buncombe County; Eli W. Hall of New Hanover County; and, V. C. Barringer of Cabarrus County.
What is interesting to note is that there were no leading Unionists in this list who were from western North Carolina, while leading Secessionists include Hoke of Lincoln County, Avery of Burke, and Erwin of Buncombe.
Happy New Year to the Hardy Family!
Michael, thanks for keeping in the forefront the facts regarding the western North Carolina sentiment and first-hand accounts of the War Between the States.
Here is an example of how history becomes so very skewed. Here is a quote from a recent NPR interview with James McPherson (who I am not a great fan):
"Well, history says, and I would say probably 98 percent of historians would say, that the basic and most deep-rooted cause of the war was slavery..."
(For entire article, see http://www.npr.org and type in James McPherson)
One must only imagine how Mr. McPherson derived "probably 98%", since he has no source, neither will he ever have one.
McPherson shows and declares quite clearly his pro-Northern bias.
Did Mr. McPherson conduct a poll? Is he even referring to a poll? Did he include you? Who really was included?
When making such a wild and broad assumption, please use facts and sources next time, Mr. McPherson.
Regards, Matt Parker
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