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Colonel) the Fourth North Carolina, at the balde of Seven Pines
lost four hundred and sixty-two men, killed and wounded, out
of five hundred and twenty, and twenty-four out of twenty-seven

Of the four divisions— D. H. Hill's, A. P. Hill's, Longstreet's and
Jackson's— which assailed and put to rout McClellan's right on the

510 Southern Hhtorical Society Papers.

Chickahominy, there were ninety-two regiments, of which forty-six
regiments were North Carolinians. This statement I make upon the
authority of one of the division commanders.

At the dedication of the Confederate cemetery in Winchester, Vir-
ginia, some years ago, I was invited to deliver the oration, and the
reason assigned by the committee for soliciting me for this task was
that the North Carolina dead there exceeded the dead of any other-
State ; showing that in all the glorious campaigns of Jackson, Ewell
and Earlv, in that blood-drenched valley, North Carolina soldiers
■were either very numerous or else had an unusual share of the hard
fighting ; neither of which facts would be so much as suspected by
reading the popular histories of those compaigns. Dead men do tell
iales, and tales which cannot be disputed

Almost the only commands in Lee's army which were intact and
serviceable at Appomattox, were North Carolina brigades, and the
statement is made, and so far as I know without contradiction, that
she surrendered twice as many muskets as any other State. At
Greensboro', too, Hoke's divis^ion, containing three brigades of North
Carolina troops, in splendid condition and efficiency, constituted one-
third or more of Johnston's entire army.

I mention these facts, not by way of ill-tempered or untasteful
boasting, but by way of a proper self-assertion, a quality in which
the people of my Slate are charged, and justly charged, with being
deficient ; and also because they testify to a state of things which in
the handsof a just and discriminating historian must greatly redound
to the credit and honor of North Carolina. For I shall not scruple
to make the statement here which I have often made elsewhere,
and I make it without the fear of giving ofifence to brave and great
men, that the writers who have hastened to pen biographies of the
great and illustrious leaders which Virginia gave to the Confed-
eracy, have been too anxious to eulogize their heroes to give due
attention to the forces which wrought their plans into such glo-
rious results — the plain men, whose deeds gave their leaders so much
renown. The history of the British Kings had been often written,
said Macaulay, but no one had ever written the history of the British
people, which was the more useful to be learned. So we are having
many histories and biographies of the great generals and chieftains
of our war, but we have not and are not likely to have soon, any
history of the Confederate people — of the thousands upon thousands
who rushed forward under the banners of these chieftains ; of the
numbers who died; of the sufferings they endured, the sacrifices

Address Delivered by Governor Z B. Vance. 511

they made, of the labors all classes peribrmed; of the subsistence and
material furnished by those not in the ranks ; of their feelings, their
hopes, patriotism, and their despair. No history can be useful or
instructive which gives us no glance into such things as these. The
broad, catholic, cosmopolitan history of this most remarkable strug-
gle has yet to be written, wherein the story of the people shall be
told ; wherein, when it is said how that a great general won a vic-
tory, it will also be mentioned what troops and where from fought it
for him ; how the artisan in the shop, the ploughman in the field, the
little girls in the factories, the mothers at the old hand-looms, the
herdsmen on the mountain's side, the miner in the earth's bowels,
the drivers and brakesmen on the railroad engines, how all these
felt, and strove, and suffered equally with the soldier, and yet without
his stimulus of persona! glory. Such a history would fill with con-
tent the palaces of the rich and the cottages of the poor, would
imbue the humble masses with still greater patriotism, and our states-
men with a most useful knowledge : would remove local jealousies
and increase brotherly afifection.

Having shown how North Carolina performed her duty to the Con-
federacy in furnishing soldiers, I desire to call the attention of the
Society to the part she took in furnishing supplies and material.
And here it would greatly interest the political economist were I able
to give accurate instead of estimated figures, to consider what re-
sources a people may exhibit under pressure of circumstances.
Every industry looking to the support of an army in the field, or
the people at home, sprang forward with astonishing activity, espe-
cially those wherein we had formerly been dependent on foreign
manufacturers. Like most of the Southern people, we were slavish
tributaries to Northern and British m mufacturers ; the simplest arti-
cle in common use bore their impress, from a broom or an
axe-handle to a water bucket. In the manufacture of cotton she had
less than $1,500,000 invested ; in wool, not over $300,000, perhaps not
more in iron, and these latter were but small establishments for local
accommodation. There was not a manufactory of arms worth men-
tioning in the State. Of cotton goods, not half a supply, even of
the coarser sorts, were made for our own consumption ; of woollen
goods, scarcely a tenth ; of iron, for ordinary purposes, not a twentieth ;
of shoes and leather, not a tenth part of home consumption was
supplied. Yet in less than twelve months we were not only filling
that demand and furnishing large quantities for the army, but selling
heavily to our Southern sisters. When the capacity of the cotton

512 Southern Historical Society Papers.

and woollen mills began to be heavily taxed, the old fashioned wheel,
card, and hand looms of our grandmothers bloomed into fashion once
more, and under the patriotic zeal of our mothers, and daughters the
whole land was musical with the song of the spinning and the clack of
the shuttle. When their hand cards gave out it was ascertained that
there was no machinery in the South to renew the supply. But
many thousands of pairs were imported through the blockade, as
well as two sets of machinery for their manufacture, and the stock
was abundantly renewed. Ere long, also it was discovered that the
card clothing and other destructible parts of the mills were giving
out and could not be replaced in the Confederacy. This difficulty
was also met by the importation of quantities of card clothing, belt-
ing and lubricating oils, which kept all the factories going till the
end. An abundant supply of cotton goods, and a full supply for the
people, and a partial one for the army, of woollen, being thus pro-
vided, the remaining quota of woollen goods and leather findings
were sought for abroad. By means of warrants based upon cot-
ton and naval stores, an elegant long legged steamer was purchased
in the Clyde- She was built for a passenger boat to ply between
Glasgow and Dublin, and was remarkably swift. Captain Cros-
san, who purchased her in connection with my financial agent,
Mr. John White, ran her in at Wilmington with a full cargo in
1863, changed her name from Lord Clyde to the Ad-Vance.
When her elegant saloons and passenger arrangements were cut
away, she could carry with ease eight hundred bales of cotton and a
double supply of coal. As cotton was worth in Liverpool then about
fifty cents in gold, the facilities for purchasing abroad whatever we
desired are apparent. Before the port of Wilmington fell this good
vessel had successfully, and without accident, made eleven trips to
Nassau, Bermuda, and Halifax through the Federal fleet, often
coming through in open day. Captain Thomas Crossan, Captain
Julius Guthrie, North Carolinians, and Captain Wylie, a Scotchman,
were her successive commanders. By reason of the abstraction or
destruction of the Adjutant-General's record, as before remarked, I
am unable to give an exact manifest of her several inward cargoes,
but the following will give an idea of them : Large quantities of
machinery supplies, sixty thousand pairs of hand cards, ten thou-
sand grain scythes, two hundred barrels blue-stone for the wheat
growers, leather and shoes for two hundred and fifty thousand pairs,
fifty thousand blankets, gray woolen cloth for al least two hundred
and fifty thousand suits of uniforms, twelve thousand overcoats ready

Address Delivered hy Governor Z. B. Vance. 513

made, two thousand best Enfield rifles with one hundred rounds of fixed
ammunition, one hundred thousand pounds bacon, five hundred sacks
of coffee for hospital use, fifty thousand dollars' worth of medicines
at gold prices, large quantities of lubricating oils, besides minor sup-
plies of various kinds for the charitable institutions of the State. Not
only was the supply of shoes, blankets, and clothing more than suffi-
cient for the supply of the North Carolina troops, but large quanti-
ties were turned over to the Confederate government for the troops of
other States. In the winter succeeding the battle of Chickamauga, I
sent to General Longstreet's corps fourteen thousand suits of cloth-
ing complete. At the surrender of General Johnston the State had
on hand, ready-made and in cloth, ninety-two thousand suits of uni-
form, with great stores of blankets, leather, etc., the greater part of
which was distributed among the soldiers and people. To make good
the warrants on which these purchases had been made abroad, the
State purchased and had on hand, in trust for the holders, eleven
thousand bales of cotton and one hundred thousand barrels of resin.
The cotton was partly destroyed before the war closed, the remainder,
amounting to several thousand bales, was captured, after peace was
declared, by certain officers of the Federal army. The proceeds
probably went into the United States treasury, and probably not.
Quie7i sabe.

This good vessel, the Ad- Vance, was finally captured on her
twelfth trip, going out, by reason of unfit coal. She usually brought
in enough Welsh coal, which being anthracite, made no smoke, to
run her out again, but on this occasion she was compelled to give
her supply to the cruiser Alabama, which was then in port, and to
run out with North Carolina bituminous coal, which choked her flues,
diminished her steam, and left a black column of smoke in her wake,
by which she was easily followed and finally overtaken.

In addition to these supplies brought in from abroad, immense
quantities of bacon, beef, flour and corn, were furnished from our own
fields. I have no possible data for estimating these, but any one who
is acquainted with the Valley of the Roanoke, and the black alluvial
lowlands of Eastern North Carolina, will recognize what they can do
in the production of corn when actively cultivated. And they and
all the lands of this State were actively cultivated for the production
of food. I was told by General Joseph E. Johnston that when his
army was surrendered at Greensboro' he had in his depots in
North Carolina, gathered in the State, five months' supplies for sixty
thousand men, and that for many months previous General Lee's
army had been almost entirely fed from North Carolina.

514 Southern Hisforical Society Papers.

Public sentiment rigidly forbade the cultivation of any but limited
crops of cotton and tobacco, and the distillation of grain was forbid-
den by law. Though, perhaps, mere bruhim fulmen, in view of their
corislitutionality, these laws were cheerfully sustained by a patriotic
public voice and were generally obeyed. The fields everywhere
were green and golden with the corn and wheat. Old men and
women, in many cases, guided the plough whilst children followed
with the hoe in the gaping furrows. The most serious conditions of
life are oltentimes fruitful of amusement to those who have philoso-
phy sufficient to grasp it ; and the sufferings of those dark days were
frequently illumined by the ludicrous. The prohibition upon dis-
tilling was regarded by many as a peculiar hardship. "Old Rye"
grew to be worth its weight in silver, and " Mountain Dew " became
as the nectar of the gods. Even " New Dip " became precious, and
was rolled as a sweet morsel under our rebel tongues. Yet, true to
their character of the most law-abiding people on the continent, all
respected the act of Assembly. Many thirsting souls, however, fan-
cied that I was invested with that illegal power, the exercise of which
lost James II his crown, of dispensing with laws, and petitioned me
accordingly for a dispensation. The excuses given were various.
One had much sickness in his family, and would I permit him to
make a small " run " for medicine ? Another wanted to make just
enough " to go in camphor" ; and still another gave it as his solemn
opinion that it was going to be a terrible bad season for snakes, and
they must have a little on hand in case of bites! Finally, one man
wrote me, with an implied slander on my appetite, shocking to think
of even now, that he only wanted to make ten gallons, and if I would
give the permission he would send me a quart ! I replied in all seri-
ousness, that I could not think of violating my official oath for less
than a gallon. That broke the trade.

In addition to providing for the soldiers in the field, there was still
a more difficult task in providing for the destitute at home — a task
which I think the military men did not appreciate properly. For
the comfort of soldiers travelling to and fro, wayside hospitals or inns
were established at Weldon, Goldsboro', Wilmington, Raleigh,
Greensboro', Salisbury, Charlotte, and other chief points. Here the
sick, the wounded, and the furloughed, were entertained. But there
were thousands of the families of the poor whose only supporters
were in the army, and whom we were in duty bound to care for and
keep from suffering. Noi only did justice and humanity require this,
but good policy as well. When the paper which the husband in the
army received became so depreciated that it would buy the wife and

Address Delivered by Governor Z. B. Vance. 515

children no bread, the strength and confidence of the Confederacy-
began to weaken at once. No cause, however just,. no enthusiasm
however zealous, could long withstand the cry of wife and children
for food. To meet this necessity granaries were established at several
points in the State, and corn distributed in the most needy districts;
committees were appointed in each county to look after the needy,
and commissioners selected, whose sole duty it was to provide salt.
The State became for the time a grand almoner, and though from the
very nature of the task it was impossible to effect the object com-
pletely, yet it is my opinion that no part performed in that great
struggle was more deserving of praise than that effort which North
Carolina made to provide for the poor families of those who were
fighting for her independence on distant fields. These efforts went
to the very gist of our success. Nor were these confined to the pub-
lic authorities. Private charities and liberality abounded. Each county
has its list of neighborhood heroes, gray headed, quiet men, whose
victories were won over the greedy passions of gain and the tempta-
tions of avarice. They are pointed out yet as the men who would
sell no corn except to soldier's wives, widows or mothers; who would
sell no leather from their tanyards except to put shoes on their feet,
and who did not raise in price or discount their money. All honor
to such men. And let history make mention of it as a fact, that in
thus serving God they were likewise rendering a service to their
country quite as great as that of the armed soldiers, and far greater
than that of the brawling politician. Nor did they stop with the
giving of their goods. Courage and patriotism usually go hand in
hand with kindness of heart. Such an instance comes to my mind
now in the person of old Thomas Calton, of Burke county, whose
humble name I venture to give to the Society as worthy of \ our
attention, and as a good sample of the grand but unglorified class of
men among us who preserve the savor of good citizenship and enno
ble our humanity. He not only gave his goods to sustain women and
children, but gave all his sons, five in number to the cause. One by one
they fell until at length a letter arrived, telling that the youngest and
the last, the btight-haired blue-eyed Benjamin of the hearth, had
fallen also. Kind friends deputed an old neighbor to take the letter
to him, and break the distressing news as gently as possible. When
made aware of his desolation, he made no complaint, uttered no excla-
mation of heart broken despair, but called his son in law, a delicate,
feeble man, who had been discharged by the army surgeons, and said,
whilst his frail body trembled with emotion, and tears rolled down

516 Southerm Historical Society Papers.

his aged cheeks : " Get your knapsack, William ; the ranks must be
filled !" Surely it may be said that the pure soul which can thus
triumph over nature like him that ruleth himself is greater than he
who taketh a city !

Such were the efTorts made in North Carolina, public and private,
to avert the calamities of war and to sustain the spirits of the people.
I attribute the comparatively great efficiency of the North Carolina
troops to these efforts. In my opinion the causes of our ultimate
failure begun by neglect of those at home. Our civil administrators
lost the cause of the South. Had it been equal in ability and tact to
that displayed by our military administration — had the civilian done
his part so well as the soldier — very different would have been the
result. I do not mean by this to attack Mr. Davis and his Ministers.
By no means. They doubtless did what men could, situated as they
were. I mean that class of men to whom the management of public
sentiment in a Democratic government is usually entrusted failed of
their part. The morale of our people at the beginning and for two
years thereafter v^-as excellent; and, if it had been sustained, I main-
tain that we could have won, notwithstanding the fearful disparity of
numbers and means. But it was not kept up; and to that defective
statesmanship, which permitted the popular enthusiasm to die out,
and even aided to extinguish it, must be attributed our ill success.
Few of our political leaders comprehended the situation at all when
the troubles began. In the first place, the war was resorted to in
order to avoid aniicipated, not existing evils; and the great masses
of mankind who do not read Burke and Hallam are only stirred per-
manently and deeply by present oppressions, which they feel. Had
a tenth of the outrages perpetrated since the war been inflicted upon
us, or even attempted, before a blow had been stricken, there would
have been no flagging of popular enthusiasm, no desertion, no Ap-
pomattox, no military satrapies instead of States under the Constitu-
tion. In the Second place, the war once begun, our leaders either did
not grasp the magnitude of the struggle, or, with an unwise want of
candor, concealed it as much as possible from the popular intelligence,
which reacted most injuriously upon the cause. A frank avowal that
the war would be long and desperate, and a call for volunteers to
serve through its whole duration would have brought out the entire
military strength of our people as well as the call for six months.
This short-sighted policy had to be repaired by a conscript act, and
although it was necessary at the time, the blunder of those who
created the necessity remains the same. Our people never recovered

Address Delivered by Governor Z. B. Vance. 511

from the damper inflicted on their enthusiasm by the anomalous spec-
tacle of beholding men hunted down and tied to make them fight for
freedom and independence !

Suffering^ and disappointment began to produce discontent at home.
Little was done to allay this feeling. All eyes were turned to the
army. The majority of our civic talent took service there, where, as
a general thing, exultant politicians were buried without a corres-
ponding resurrection of great generals. The civic talent which re-
mained at home mistook, to a wonderful extent, the temper of our
people in other respects. The Northern masses were kept up to war
pitch by appeals for the preservation of the Union. It was a stirring
war cry ; filled with the most sacred associations of our fathers and
their great deeds, and attuned to the proudest glories, moral and
physical, of the American citizen, We had no slogan half so thrill-
ing. Our denunciation of abolition operated only upon the compara-
tively few who reflected upon its consequences, and foresaw the
evils of a violated Constitution. Seven-tenths of our people owned
no slaves, and, to say the least of it, felt no great and enduring en-
thusiasm for its preservation, especially when it seemed to them that
it was in no danger. Our statesmen were not wise enough to put the
issue on any other ground. In brief, it was not so arranged as that
the causes of the war took hold upon the f)opular heart, and the real
wonder is, that, sustained mainly by sectional pride and a manly,
warlike spirit, the contest lasted so long as it did.

Again : When our currency depreciated so that it would not pay
the Governrhent which issued it, a tithe law was enacted, seizing the
people's goods by way of taxes, whilst their pockets were filled with
the Government promises-to-pay. Then there came another law,
exempting from militia duty those who owned a certain number of
slaves — an exceeding injurious measure, for which no possible ad-
vantage could atone. These sources oi discontent, added to much
suflering at home, soon put matters beyond the remedial agency of
the wisest statesmanship. Enthusiasm died out; confidence fled.
Desertion began, and the deserter's place was filled by more con-
scripts. The result was that not only were the discontent and suflfer-
ing increased, but the just ratio between those who labor at home
and those who serve in the field and consume was destroyed ; so that
the larger the army became the weaker it grew — lacking the healthy
strength of well-organized communities behind it. Since the forma-
tion of States on the basis of civilization, and the barbarian tribes
ceased to wage war by migrating into the territory of their enemies,

518 Southern Historical Society Papers.

there is perhaps no instance of a community stripped so bare of its
industrial and productive forces as was the South in 1864. Prussia,
during- the Seven Years' War, is perhaps an exception to this asser-
tion ; I cannot remember any other. From many districts— county
sub-divisions — in North Carolina, I had, during 1864, petitions signed
by women alone, praying that A. B. might not be ordered away, as
he was the only able-bodied man in their district to protect them,
grind their grain, etc. But for our slaves, society could not then
have moved on at all.

I have dwelt thus long on the reasons for my assertion that our
cause was lost at home and not in the field in order to excuse the
emphasis which I have given to domestic affairs in North Carolina
during this period, and the efforts which we made to remove these
springs of discontent. They are not unworthy of your notice, though
not so exciting as stories of battles and sieges, because they go to
the root of the matter. And although we were not entirely success-
ful in feeding all the poor and keeping down all discontent, yet much
was done, and we had the proud satisfaction of knowing that more
soldiers in better condition, hailing from old North Carolina, were
standing by the great Virginia chieftains, Lee and Johnston, when
the bugle sounded the melancholy notes of surrender, than from any
other State of the Confederacy. When it is remembered that North
Carolina was devoted to the Union, and rejected secession until the very
last, that much has been said about an unruly, disloyal Union element
in her midst during the war, and that she has been accused of having
an unusual amount of desertions from her ranks, it will be admitted,
I trust, that we have a right to be proud that we are thus vindicated
by the facts and figures. Surely no portion of the Southern people
can show a brighter record, a nobler devotion to good faith and

So great was the prevalence of this unjust impression, that North

Online LibrarySouthern Historical Society. cnSouthern Historical Society papers (Volume 14) → online text (page 54 of 61)