Home Store Products Research Design Strategy Support News
 Research ACW US War Dept. Official Records HTML Ser. I, Vol. 1, Ch. V–Correspondence.

THE
WAR OF THE REBELLION:
A COMPILATION OF THE
OFFICIAL RECORDS
OF THE
UNION AND CONFEDERATE ARMIES.

CHAPTER V.
THE SECESSION OF NORTH CAROLINA.
January 9-May 20, 1861.
–––
CORRESPONDENCE.

{p.481}

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA, EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, November 19, 1860.

Hon. JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: Herewith I transmit a copy of a letter from this department to the Charlotte (N. C.) Bulletin, relative to a late movement of United States troops to Fayetteville, in this State. I avail myself of the occasion to say that a publication of the reasons that influenced the administration to send United States troops to Fayetteville is due to the executive and the people of North Carolina. Such a measure is here notoriously unnecessary, and has produced no little irritation in the public mind. Their immediate removal would be a proper and politic step, and, if the Government has any other use for them, one that would conduce to the interests of the public service. I ask, therefore, that these troops be removed.

Respectfully,

JOHN W. ELLIS.

[Inclosure.]

EXECUTIVE OFFICE, Raleigh, November 16, 1860.

Col. E. H. BRITTON, Editor Bulletin:

SIR: In to-day’s Bulletin I find an extract from the Norfolk Herald, in which it is stated as a rumor that the President had ordered a company of United States troops to Fayetteville at the “solicitation of the governor of North Carolina.”

I wish to say through your columns that I had no previous knowledge of the President’s intention to send such troops to Fayetteville, and certainly never made any such request of him. I know nothing of his purposes in doing so, and regard the measure as wholly unnecessary within itself, and at this time exceedingly imprudent, as tending to increase the irritation of the public mind.

Very respectfully, yours, &c.,

JOHN W. ELLIS.

–––

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, November 22, 1860.

His Excellency JOHN W. ELLIS, Governor of North Carolina, Raleigh

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 19th instant, inquiring the reasons for stationing troops at the United States Arsenal at Fayetteville, and urging their immediate removal. In reply, I beg to inclose for your information a copy of a letter from the mayor of Fayetteville, accompanied by petitions from sundry citizens of that town, requesting that the troops in question might be stationed there for the protection of the arms and ammunition at the post.

I regret that the movement of troops, made at considerable expense to the United States, and intended alone to give a sense of security to {p.482} the feelings of the people who applied for the guard, should have been considered by the executive of North Carolina as a ground of complaint. It will give me great pleasure to remove the troops from the arsenal at your request, particularly as their services are much needed elsewhere.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

[Inclosure No. 1.]

TOWN OF FAYETTEVILLE, N. C., October 20, 1860.

J. A. J. BRADFORD, Captain, U. S. Army, Commanding U. S. Arsenal at Fayetteville, N. C.:

DEAR SIR: I inclose a copy of a paper presented to me this morning asking that application be made for a company of United States soldiers to be in charge at the arsenal under your command. The high standing in point of respectability and influence of the parties whose names appear to the paper entitles it to every respect, and induces me to submit the subject to your consideration.

In submitting the application I beg to call your attention to an excited state of feeling in the community, originating, as is alleged, in a sense of insecurity because of the large amount of arms and munition at your post, without adequate force for their protection. This fact strongly suggests that something should be done to allay apprehensions certainly existing, whether with or without sufficient cause. I suppose it is the expectation of the applicants that I communicate directly with the Department at Washington on the subject. I deemed it proper, and certainly respectful, to submit the request to you as the officer in command at the post referred to, for the reason that the Department would most likely consult your judgment as to the necessity of the force asked for, and for the further reason that by so doing it would be most likely to insure a more speedy reply to the application.

Hoping I may be enabled through you to give a satisfactory reply to the applicants as early as the nature of the business will allow,

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ARCHIBALD McLEAN, Mayor.

[Inclosure No. 2.]

FAYETTEVILLE, October 20, 1860.

ARCHIBALD McLEAN, Esq., Mayor of the Town of Fayetteville:

SIR: The undersigned deem it important that there should be a company of United States soldiers in charge of the United States Arsenal at this place, and desire that you make the necessary application for them as soon as practicable.

S. J. HINSDALE et al.

[Inclosure No. 3.]

FAYETTEVILLE, N. C., October 23, 1860.

A. McLEAN, Esq., Mayor:

SIR: We, the undersigned, having appended our names to a request to you as mayor of our town, to make application to the War Department at Washington for a company of United States soldiers to act as a guard to the U. S. Arsenal located at this place, and having seen the correspondence that took place between Capt. J. A. J. Bradford, the highly worthy officer in command there, and yourself in relation to the {p.483} matter, we wish most respectfully to add in this paper some of the reasons moving us in the course we have pursued. Captain Bradford mentions in his note to you that the petitioners do not state to him that the works are menaced from any quarter, and further, that beyond that he has never heard of any. We grant all that. We know of no open attack that is meditated upon the arsenal. If we did, we, as citizens of Fayetteville and North Carolina, would know how to meet it. The raid at Harper’s Ferry, and all subsequent events in the South, teach us that all mischief comes (and is to be especially dreaded on that account) without menace. If any attempt is made on lives and property, it will not be made with light of day and with a warning beforehand, but at the dead hour of night, when all are unsuspecting. And when we look about to know what means the assassin has at hand to enable him to carry out his dreadful designs, we find them stored up in immense quantities at our very doors, in the shape of United States muskets, swords, pistols, &c., with, as we are informed, large quantities of powder, with one single man standing as guard. We think our request not an unreasonable one, when we place it purely on the assumption that you place it-where there are arms there should be a guard to protect them, without any reference whatever to any peculiar state of affairs. It is hardly necessary to say in the close that these views of things grow out of the events most especially that bad taken place within a year all over the South, and that all these unfortunate untoward events have come at all times without a menace.

Entertaining these views, we respectfully request that you make application to the War Department for a company of soldiers as before suggested.

Very respectfully, yours,

W. G. MATTHEWS et al.

[Inclosure No. 4.]

NORTH CAROLINA ARSENAL, Fayetteville, October 22, 1860.

ARCHIBALD McLEAN, Esq., Mayor of the Town of Fayetteville:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your communication, dated the 20th instant, accompanying a request from many citizens of the town that a company of troops might be ordered to this post to guard the public property in deposit here. Neither in the paper of request nor in your communication is there intimation of any menace against my Post, nor have I intimation of any. I can see no necessity, therefore, for the presence of troops here at this time.

With much respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

JAS. A. J. BRADFORD, Captain, Commanding.

[Inclosure No. 5.]

TOWN OF FAYETTEVILLE, N. C., October 25, 1860.

Hon. J. B. FLOYD, Secretary of War:

SIR: In accordance with their wishes I indorse the request submitted to me by a number of our most respectable citizens, setting forth their reasons for asking that troops may be put in charge of the United States Arsenal at this place. Concurring generally in the view that wherever there is a large depository of arms and munition there should {p.484} be adequate force for their protection, I respectfully submit the petition for your consideration. I may mention that the subject has been presented to the worthy officer in command, and I beg to refer you to the inclosed copies of the correspondence between us.

Hoping the subject may command your early attention,

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

ARCHIBALD MCLEAN, Mayor.

[Inclosure No. 6.]

WAR DEPARTMENT, October 27, 1860.

Hon. ARCHIBALD MCLEAN, Mayor, Fayetteville, N. C.:

SIR: I have received your communication of the 25th instant at the hands of Mr. Fuller, and at once reply by saying that the guard you desire shall be furnished as soon as it can be done. There may be delay in meeting your wishes in consequence of the difficulty of finding troops that are available at once.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN B. FLOYD, Secretary of War.

[Inclosure No. 7.]

ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, Washington, D. C., November 1, 1860.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief U. S. Army:

GENERAL: The Secretary of War requests that you will please give the necessary orders for the company of Second Artillery now at Fort Hamilton, N. Y., to proceed to Fayetteville, N. C., and take post at the North Carolina Arsenal.

I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

S. COOPER, Adjutant-General.

–––

RALEIGH, N. C., January 10, 1861.

Hon. WARREN WINSLOW:

Call on General Scott; demand of him to know if he intends to garrison the North Carolina forts. Reply immediately.

JOHN W. ELLIS.

–––

EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, Raleigh, January 12, 1861.

His Excellency JAMES BUCHANAN, President of the United States:

SIR: Reliable information has reached this Department that on the 9th instant Forts Johnston and Caswell were taken possession of by State troops and persons resident in that vicinity, in an irregular manner. Upon the receipt of this information I immediately issued a military order requiring the forts to be restored to the authorities of the United States, which order will be executed this day.

My information satisfies me that this popular outbreak was caused by a report very generally credited, but which, for the sake of humanity, I hope is not true, that it was the purpose of the administration to coerce the Southern States, and that troops were on their way to garrison the Southern forts and to begin the work of our subjugation. This impression is not yet erased from the public mind, which is deeply agitated at the bare contemplation of so great an indignity and wrong, and I now {p.485} most earnestly appeal to your Excellency to strengthen my hands in my efforts to preserve the public order here by placing it in my power to give public assurances that no measures of force are contemplated towards us.

Your Excellency will therefore pardon me for asking whether the United States forts in this State will be garrisoned with Federal troops during your administration? This question I ask in perfect respect, and with an earnest desire to prevent consequences which I know would be regretted by your Excellency as much as myself. Should I receive assurances that no troops will be sent to this State prior to 4th March next, then all will be peace and quiet here, and the property of the United States will be fully protected as heretofore. If, however, I am unable to get such assurances, I will not undertake to answer for the consequences.

The forts in this State have long been unoccupied, and their being garrisoned at this time will unquestionably be looked upon as a hostile demonstration, and will, in my opinion, be certainly resisted.

Believing your Excellency to be sincerely desirous of preserving peace and preventing the effusion of the blood of your countrymen, I have deemed it my duty to yourself, as well as to the people of North Carolina, to make the foregoing inquiry, and to acquaint you with the state of the public mind here.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JOHN W. ELLIS.

–––

WAR DEPARTMENT, January 15, 1861.

To his Excellency JOHN W. ELLIS, Governor of North Carolina, Raleigh:

SIR: Your letter of the 12th instant, addressed to the President of the United States, has by him been referred to this Department, and he instructs me to express his gratification at the promptitude with which you have ordered the expulsion of the lawless men who recently occupied Forts Johnston and Caswell. He regards this action on the part of your Excellency as in complete harmony with the honor and patriotic character of the people of North Carolina, whom you so worthily represent.

In reply to your inquiry whether it is the purpose of the President to garrison the forts of North Carolina during his administration, I am directed to say that they, in common with the other forts, arsenals, and public property of the United States, are in the charge of the President, and that if assailed, no matter from what quarter or under what pretext, it is his duty to protect them by all the means which the law has placed at his disposal. It is not his purpose to garrison the forts to which you refer at present, because be considers them entirely safe, as heretofore, under the shelter of that law-abiding sentiment for which the people of North Carolina have ever been distinguished. Should they, however, be attacked or menaced, with danger of being seized and taken from the possession of the United States, he could not escape from his constitutional obligations to defend and preserve them. The very satisfactory and patriotic assurances given by your Excellency justify him, however, in entertaining the confident expectation that no such contingency will arise.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. HOLT, Secretary of War ad interim. {p.486} [WASHINGTON, March 19, 1861.]

Governor JOHN W. ELLIS, Raleigh, N. C.:

It is believed that the North Carolina forts will immediately be garrisoned by Lincoln.

T. L. CLINGMAN.

–––

RALEIGH, N. C., April 15, 1861.

Hon. SIMON CAMERON, Secretary of War:

Your dispatch* is received, and if genuine, which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt, I have to say in reply that I regard the levy of troops made by the administration for the purpose of subjugating the States of the South as in violation of the Constitution and a gross usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. I will reply more in detail when your call is received by mail.

JOHN W. ELLIS, Governor of North Carolina.

* Calling for two regiments of militia. That call, and responses thereto, will appear in Vol. I, 3d Series.

–––

MONTGOMERY, April 22, 1861.

Gov. J. W. ELLIS, Raleigh, N. C.

SIR : Your patriotic response to the requisition of the President of the United States for troops to coerce the Confederate States justifies the belief that your people are prepared to unite with us in repelling the common enemy of the South.

Virginia needs our aid. I therefore request you to furnish one regiment of infantry without delay to rendezvous at Richmond, Va. It must consist of ten companies, of not less than sixty-four men each. *

L. P. WALKER, Secretary of War.

* Details of organization omitted.

–––

WILMINGTON, N. C., April 22, 1861.

Brigadier-General BEAUREGARD, Commanding Provisional Army, Charleston, S. C.:

My DEAR GENERAL: I find myself installed here in command of the defenses of Cape Fear; to be sure, by commission from the governor, but in a babel of confusion, to which Morris Island and Charleston Harbor were child’s play. Without having had the advantage of you for my exemplar during the past six trying weeks, I would be utterly at a loss. The worst is I have nothing to work with. Can you not cause to be sent me a few hundred fuses for the 8-inch shells? We have shells enough here at the railroad depot; also, some boxes of friction tubes with lanyards. Besides, I desire very much the sponge staves and various implements belonging to the guns you have lent us. This would be a great favor.

I have started all the ladies to making cartridge bags and sand bags, and that keeps their little hearts quiet. I want Gomez to send me {p.487} drawings of the columbiad platform and carriage, and of the 32 and 24 pounder carriage barbette. Please to examine whether it is possible to spare us one hundred pounds of 24-grape. We have the arsenal to-day. Would Allston (Ben.) come over here with me? My kindest regards to all.

Very truly, yours,

W. H. C. WHITING.

P. S.–I try to be, as cool and patient as you are, but it is awful hard work. They are military in South Carolina. Here they are willing enough, but the military has yet to grow.

–––

RALEIGH, April 24, 1861.

Hon. L. P. WALKER:

You shall have from one to ten thousand volunteers in a few days, with arms, and I wish them to go as State troops. Many of our men will enlist in Confederate Army. Will have a regiment ready in four days. Funds will be required for transportation, as I cannot lawfully draw on the State treasury for this purpose. I am anxious to send at least three regiments. Our legislature will meet in few days. I will not await, however.

JOHN W. ELLIS.

–––

MONTGOMERY, April 25, 1861.

Gov. J. W. ELLIS, Raleigh, N. C.:

I shall have to supply with arms three regiments from Tennessee and one from Arkansas that rendezvous at Lynchburg, Va. Can you send this Government two thousand percussion muskets to be sent to Lynchburg?

L. P. WALKER.

–––

RALEIGH, April 25, 1861.

L. P. WALKER:

Arms at Fayetteville off the railroad. Two thousand percussion muskets are at your service soon as can be procured. Where will you have them sent?

JOHN W. ELLIS.

–––

MONTGOMERY, April 25, 1861.

Gov. J. W. ELLIS, Raleigh, N. C.:

Am much obliged for the muskets, and request that you send them to Richmond, Va., to my address as Secretary of War of the Confederate States. The troops to be supplied by North Carolina will rendezvous at Richmond. Transportation provided by the Government. Let me know when they will be ready.

L. P. WALKER.

–––

MONTGOMERY, April 25, 1861.

Gov. J. W. ELLIS, Raleigh, N. C.:

Major Whiting writes from Wilmington that he needs one thousand muskets and accouterments, and one hundred rounds ammunition from Fayetteville Arsenal.

L. P. WALKER.

{p.488}

–––

RALEIGH, April 26, 1861.

L. P. WALKER:

I have, sent Colonel Holmes to take command of coast defenses, with full instructions. I regard the Cape Fear as perfectly secure. He can judge of that, however.

JOHN W. ELLIS.

–––

HEADQUARTERS COAST DEFENSES, Wilmington, N. C., April 29, 1861.

Secretary WALKER:

Can you authorize the transfer from Norfolk navy-yard of twenty old pattern carronades, to be used for Rank defense guns and against boats? Respectable merchants just from New York report the preparation of number of light steamers for North Carolina sounds. Carronades greatly needed. Plenty in Norfolk.

W. H. C. WHITING.

–––

RICHMOND, April 29, 1861.

L. P. WALKER:

I am instructed by the governor to say that some days since he furnished to an agent of Governor Ellis such ordnance as he asked for. Do you want the twenty [old] pattern carronades, in addition to what was sent governor of North Carolina, forwarded to Major Whiting at Wilmington?

S. BASSETT FRENCH, Aide-de-Camp to Governor of Virginia.

–––

RALEIGH, May 1, 1861.

JEFFERSON DAVIS:

Convention bill passed; also a resolution authorizing me to send troops to Virginia at once without limit. Our mint at Charlotte win coin for the Confederate Government if desired. Ships of war are hovering on our coast near the Cape Fear. Design unknown. I am preparing to manufacture percussion caps. Will succeed. More troops are offering than we can provide for.

JOHN W. ELLIS.

–––

RALEIGH, May 17, 1861.

L. P. WALKER:

I have already sent nine thousand five hundred muskets to Richmond. Cannot possibly spare more. Virginia has already more guns than men. North Carolina has not. I must beg of you to accept four regiments of twelve-months’ men. They are now in camp. Two regiments are on their way to Richmond. Please answer.

JNO. W. ELLIS.

–––

MONTGOMERY, ALA., May 17, 1861.

Gov. J. W. ELLIS, Raleigh, N. C.:

Will take your four regiments. Please advise when they leave. Order them to Richmond without delay.

L. P. WALKER.

Library Reference Information

Type of Material: Book (Book, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
Corporate Name: United States. War Dept.
Main Title: The War of the Rebellion:
a compilation of the official records of the
Union and Confederate armies.
Prepared under the direction of the Secretary of War
by Robert N. Scott.
Washington, Govt. Print. Off., 1880-1900.
Published/Created: Washington : Government Pub. Off., 1880-1901 (70 v. in 128).
Description: 70 v. in 128. 24 cm.
Subjects: United States. Army--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources.
Confederate States of America. Army--History--Sources.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Regimental histories.
LC Classification: E464 .U6