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The causes of the war 1861-5, and events of its first year. [from the Raleigh, N. C., News and Observer, May 11, 1901.

The events in North Carolina during the administration of Governor J. W. Ellis.

Memorial day address by Major Graham Daves, at Raleigh, N. C., May 10, 1901.

The annual meeting and roll call of wake county Veterans. New members Enrolled.

[Major Daves was a thorough patriot and a broadly accomplished and most lovable man. He was our valued friend and correspondent for years. His death was a distinct loss to historical inquiry, and was widely lamented.—Ed.]

Despite the inclement weather, Memorial day was generally observed. Many who wore the gray came together in a sort of reunion, women decked the graves of the Confederate dead with flowers and orators recounted great deeds of daring or told again the principal events of the War Between the States.

In Raleigh the day was almost a holiday, many of the stores were closed during the afternoon, and even those that remained open did but little business. The banks and most of the State offices were closed.

As usual, the oration was delivered at Metropolitan Hall. Major Graham Daves was the orator. His subject was, ‘The Causes that led up to the War Between the States, and the Events of the First Year of the War.’

Major Daves is, of all men in North Carolina, the one best fitted to speak on this subject. He was the private secretary of Governor EllisNorth Carolina's first war governor—and had access to all the State's official records and correspondence. Later he was the adjutant of the 22d North Carolina Regiment under General Pettigrew. In addition to this, he is a man of letters and great historical learning.

His speech of yesterday was in every way worthy of the man and his opportunities, and will constitute a page of correct history.

After an opening hymn by a select choir and an invocation by Rev. George F. Smith, Major Daves was gracefully introduced to his audience by Captain Samuel A. Ashe, chief marshal for the day. [276] Major Daves read his speech from manuscript, but did it so well and spoke so distinctly that he held the closest attention of his audience throughout. The subject was one of interest to old and young alike and was treated in a most scholarly and at the same time interesting manner. The hearer always felt as if he were listening to a man speaking of his actual experience, or of things of which he had accurate personal knowledge.

On the rostrum with the speaker were the Governor and all the State officers, some of the Supreme Court judges and a number of prominent Confederate veterans. Clustered about the stage were Confederate flags, bullet-torn battle-flags, red and white bunting, cut flowers and potted plants. Pictures of Lee and Jackson hung on either side.

Though the hall was pretty well filled with people, the crowd was much smaller than it would have been but for the steady drizzle of rain, which every one who came had to brave. On account of the rain the programme in regard to a procession to the cemetery was not carried out, though many went out in carriages and decorated the graves with flowers.

All visiting veterans were served with lunch during the day by the Ladies' Memorial Association. The dinner was spread in Rescue Hall.

At noon an annual mass meeting of all the veterans was held and the roll of veterans in the county called. There were about seventy-five veterans present. Commander A. B. Stronach, of the L. O'B. Branch Camp, called the meeting to order and presided, while Adjutant J. C. Birdsong called the roll. Commander Stronach stated that this was not a meeting of the L. O'B. Branch Camp, but a mass meeting of all the Confederate soldiers of the county. About 260 names were called, and at the conclusion seventeen men came forward and had their names recorded, giving the company and regiment in which they served, as follows:

R. H. Stone, Company D, 47th North Carolina.

Bryant Martin, Company D, 47th North Carolina.

Henry Perry, Company I, 1st North Carolina.

C. M. O'Neal, Company D, 30th North Carolina.

B. F. Gill, Company D, 26th North Carolina.

H. H. Marshburn, Company H, 31st North Carolina.

Wm. Montford, Company D, 67th North Carolina.

J. C. Blake, Company I, 47th North Carolina.

J. R. O'Neal, Company K, 12th Alabama. [277]

E. A. Lee, Company C, 31st North Carolina.

W. H. Utley, Company C, 31st North Carolina.

W. C. Rhodes, Company C, 31st North Carolina.

Jesse Seagraves, Company G, 7th North Carolina.

A. J. Dement, Company B, 3d North Carolina Cavalry.

A. B. King, Company H, 47th North Carolina.

W. C. Johnson, Company C, 5th North Carolina.

T. N. Richardson, Company C, 52d North Carolina.

At 3 o'clock the veterans met again to attend the memorial services in a body.

The address.

Ladies of the Memorial Association, Comrades of the Confederate Army, Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is with peculiar pleasure, and a kind appreciation of the honor done me, that I have accepted the invitation of the Memorial Association to address you on this historic anniversary—an anniversary so endeared to us of the South, filled as it is, with sad associations, and proud memories of noble men, brave deeds and costly sacrifices. It was in Raleigh that I entered the Confederate army, at the outset of the War Between the States, as Adjutant of the 22d North Carolina Regiment under the peerless Pettigrew. In this city my family found refuge and welcome after the occupation of Newburn by the Federal forces, and here I returned after the sad end near Hillsboro when Johnston surrendered to Sherman. My life as a soldier is associated with Raleigh, and it is most grateful to speak to her people—among whom I number many friends and some contemporaries—of those far off, stirring days of great events in 1861-865.

On the Feast of All Saints' Day, which according to the Christian calendar, occurs on the first of November, a beautiful custom is observed in Europe and in parts of this country. The day is kept as a holiday, and many persons, laying aside their cares of life, repair to the burial place of their dead and decorate their graves with flowers. The day seems appropriately chosen.

In our annual gatherings at the South to offer loving tributes to to the memory of our Confederate dead, our custom is much akin to that described, finding its expression also most appropriately in floral offerings.

But on All Saints' Day the offerings are made by relatives of each [278] of the departed, members of the family circle; with us it is the undivided tribute of a whole people to all soldier dead. Here, too, the day is fitly chosen. Thirty-eight years ago to-day General Thomas J. Jackson, but a few days after his splendid achievement at Chancellorsville, in which he met his death wound, passed to his final reward. How many North Carolina boys were with him there, and many from him ‘in death were not divided.’ Stonewall! the incarnation of the Confederate cause, of what was noblest in it, and knightliest and best—meet is it that the anniversary of his death should be set apart as the day for all to assemble to commemorate the cause he upheld so ably, and to do honor to the heroes who survive their great leader, as well as to those who with him have passed ‘over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.’

Perpetuate, O, my fellow-countrymen! this beautiful custom—just tribute to devoted men and noble deeds. It keeps in fond memory a glorious epoch in our history—glorious though it passed away in blood and tears. Preserve it for the sake of the women of the South, who instituted it in the face of difficulties, discouragements and disappointments, that only zeal like theirs could overcome. Make yearly pilgrimages, and take care that those who come after us are taught thoroughly the cause and meaning of these ceremonies, that they may hand down to generations yet unborn the true story of the men and era we now commemorate. Foster and sustain your Memorial Association. Second all efforts to care for the few who survive the great tragedy, and to adorn the hallowed spots where rest our dead, and so shall our soldiers be held in grateful memory in all time to come, and their deaths will not have been in vain. No! not in vain. ‘Brave blood is never shed wholly in vain, but sends a voice echoing down the ages through all time.’ The familiar proverb, ‘republics are always ungrateful,’ must have no application here in Dixie.

The subject of my address to you to-day will, at the request of the Memorial Association, be ‘A Sketch of the Events Immediately Preceding and Following the Ordinances of Secession by the State of North Carolina,’ and as an appropriate beginning, I will first mention what is known as the John Brown raid at Harper's Ferry, Virginia, which occurred in October, 1859. This was an attempt of a narrow-minded fanatic to arm slaves and stir up servile insurrection throughout the South. He was accompanied by a few followers, two only of whom were negroes, but was countenanced and abetted by a large influence in the Northern States and was aided [279] with money and supplies. Several citizens were killed in this dastardly outrage, as were also members of Brown's party. No negroes of the neighborhood came to his assistance, and it is a pitiable commentary that the first person killed by his men was a negro, an employe of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Brown was promptly captured and brought to trial with several of his followers, all of whom were convicted and executed at Charlestown, Va. Prominent and principally instrumental in his capture was Lieutenant-Colonel Robert E. Lee, in command of a body of United States marines, who was assisted by Lieutenant J. E. B. Stuart.

The connection with this event of these officers, afterwards so distinguished in the war between the States, is worthy of note. This action of a deluded fanatic, who paid the penalty of an infamous crime by a justly merited death, was the logical outcome of the teachings of the abolition party. It startled the whole country, and for the South had the gravest significance. Its real meaning was more fully demonstrated and emphasized at the time, and after, of Brown's execution. There was tolling of bells, minute guns were fired in many parts of the North. In church-services held in memory of him, Brown was portrayed as a martyr, was compared to our Redeemer on Calvary, and that not by ignorant enthusiasts but by men as prominent as Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said ‘the new saint will make the gallows glorious like the cross.’ It was alarming, inconceivable that a miscreant whose previous career of crime in Kansas was well known, who was guilty of insurrection, rapine and murder, should, in consequence of his just punishment, be apotheosized and entitled ‘St. John the Just.’ It is difficult to realize the extent of the blind fanaticism that seemed to possess people otherwise sane. It aroused the deepest feeling throughout the South, and caused anxious thought to the most hopeful and conservative. It was, in truth, a dreadful thought, and one that gave every one pause, that so many of our fellow-countrymen could approve and applaud such a man and his act, the effect of which might well have been the murder of men, women and children at the South, and the devastation of this fair land.

The election of Lincoln.

In November, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States by a sectional vote and upon strictly sectional issues. The platform of his party, upon which Mr. Lincoln stood, asserted that ‘the normal condition of all the territory of the United States [280] is that of freedom.’ It further declared that no legislative body could ‘give legal existence to slavery in any territory of the United States.’ This claim ignored, or rather set at defiance, the Dred Scott decision of the Supreme Court, and indeed the personal liberty bills of many of the Northern States had already nullified that decision and the laws of which it was the interpretation.

The vote by which Mr. Lincoln was elected was a large minority of the popular vote—nearly one million—yet he had a considerable majority in the electoral college. In the Southern States he had no electoral ticket at all; and there, too, was food for grave thought. If, adhering to the mere forms of the Constitution, a man could be elected to the Presidency by a vote strictly sectional and upon one issue, avowedly sectional, why not upon any other, however regardless of the rights and interests of another section? Mr. Lincoln had three competitors for the office of President, and it has often been claimed that his opponents could have defeated him by combining upon a single candidate. This is a great error, and therein is the defect of the electoral system, and it was a threat to the Southern States. The Electoral College at that time consisted of 303 members, making 152 votes necessary to a choice. Mr. Lincoln received 180 votes in all, though in a minority of nearly a million in the popular vote. But in fifteen of the Northern and Western States, having 167 votes in the Electoral College, he had also clear majorities of the popular vote over the combined votes of the three opposing candidates; so in any case he would have had a majority of fifteen in the Electoral College even if there had been but one competitor. Examination of the official figures will prove the correctness of this statement.

[This statement having been called in question, Major Daves, in the Raleigh, N. C., Post of May 24, 1901, offered the following in proof of its correctness]:

States.Lincoln's Majority over all Competitors.Electoral Vote.


New Hampshire,9,0855
New York,50,13635
Rhode Island,4,5374
Fifteen States. Necessary to choice,152

If it be claimed that if the three opposing candidates had withdrawn in favor of a single one to oppose Mr. Lincoln, many persons who supported the latter would have voted for such an one, Honorable Stephen A. Douglas, himself one of the candidates, gives the answer. In reply to such a proposition from Honorable Jefferson Davis, Mr. Douglas said that ‘if he were withdrawn, his friends, mainly Northern Democrats, would join in the support of Mr. Lincoln rather than for any one that should supplant him (Douglas).’ As a matter of fact, a fusion ticket in opposition to Mr. Lincoln was warmly supported in the State of New York, but it was beaten by more than 50,000 majority.

Seven of the Southern States considered this election of a President by a sectional vote upon a sectional issue, a menace to their liberties and interests necessitating a change in their general government? They therefore by convention of the people, and by popular vote, withdrew from the Union of the States, as the only legal and peaceable remedy for sectional differences. Without attempting to argue the question it would seem that these States had sufficient warrant and precedent for their acts in the following words of the Declaration of Independence itself: ‘It is the right of the people to alter, or to abolish, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation in such principles, and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.’

Such a new government these States organized and established at Montgomery, Ala., in February, 1861.

The States of North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Arkansas were not parties to this movement. It was deemed best to wait [282] further action by the people of the Northern States, or for an ‘overt act,’ as it was termed. In February, 1861, an act of the General Assembly of North Carolina submitted to the vote of our people the question of calling a convention of the people which was to take into consideration the question of the secession of the States from the Union. The interest in this matter and the excitement throughout the State were very great. There were able and active advocates both in favor of, and in opposition to, secession, and the result of the election was the defeat of the call for a convention by the small majority of 194 votes. A vote with a similar result, and by a much larger majority, was also had in Tennessee.

For some reason it has been believed, and often stated, by many of our people that the majority of the State against the call of a convention was very large, some say ‘overwhelming.’ Like many other popular beliefs, and much of so-called history, it has no foundation in fact. The above are the official figures, as may be seen by referring to the published vote of the State, and the proclamation of Governor Ellis announcing the same.

Forts held by Federal troops.

At the time of the withdrawal of South Carolina from the Union, Forts Moultrie in Charleston harbor and Pickens near Pensacola, Florida, were garrisoned and held by Federal troops.

South Carolina, being no longer in the Union, sent commissioners to Washington to treat for the peaceable possession of the forts at Charleston, promising ‘that there should be no attack upon the forts pending negotiations.’ The United States government did not consent to surrender the forts, but agreed that ‘the military status of the forts should not be disturbed.’ In spite of this Major Anderson, in command at Moultrie, on the night of December 26th, 1860, spiked the guns at the fort, burned their carriages and transferred the garrison, with equipment and stores, to Fort Sumter. This was plainly a violation of faith and agreement, and the State at once seized and occupied all forts, arsenals and other public buildings within its borders. Other States quickly followed this example and forts in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and elsewhere were seized and garrisoned by the State government to prevent their occupation by the United States government.

On the 1st of January, 1861, a committee from Wilmington waited on Governor Ellis at Raleigh and urged occupation of Fort Caswell at the mouth of the Cape Fear river. For this there was [283] no authority, North Carolina being still in the Union, and the request was, of course, refused; but on January 9th the fort was entered and occupied by a body of men, without organization, from Wilmington and Smithville (now Southport). They were promptly ordered out by the Governor, and the fort was restored to the Federal authorities. This is mentioned to show the excitement and intensity of feeling at the time.

The government refused to evacuate Fort Sumter—although there was a promise that it should be done, and works in Charleston harbor commanding it were erected or extended, to prevent its relief or reinforcement. General Scott advised its evacuation ‘as a military necessity,’ and Wm. H. Seward, Mr. Lincoln's Secretary of State, assured Judge John A. Campbell, of the Supreme Court, that ‘Fort Sumter will be evacuated in the next five days,’ and in reply to a note from Judge Campbell reminding him of this fact Seward replied briefly: ‘Faith as to Sumter fully kept; wait and see,’ and this though he knew that a large fleet with supplies and strong reinforcements for Sumter had already sailed.

It is a matter of interest, and worthy of memory, that the right of secession and the duty of the United States Government to withdraw its forces from the seceded territory were admitted by very distinguished Abolitionist authority. By no less a person than Wendell Phillips of Massachusetts, the great and able Abolitionist, the ‘silver tongued orator,’ the distinguished scholar, the bold, uncompromising foe of the South and of her institutions. In a speech delivered at New Bedford, Mass., on April 9th, 1861, just four days before the reduction of Fort Sumter by the Confederates, he said: ‘Here are a series of States girding the Gulf, who think their peculiar institutions require that they should have a separate government. They have a right to decide that question without appealing to you or me. A large body of the people sufficient to make a nation, have come to the conclusion that they will have a government of a certain form. Who denies them the right? Standing with the principles of 1776 behind us, who can deny them the right? What is the matter of a few millions of dollars or a few forts? It is a mere drop in the bucket of the great national question. It is theirs just as much as ours. I maintain on the principles of 1776 that Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter.’ These are the words of Wendell Phillips. Can language be more plainer or more forcible in support of the belief and action of the people who united in establishing the Confederate States? [284]

So as to the right of secession, the New York Tribune of November 9th, 1860, said: ‘If the Cotton States shall decide that they can do better out of the Union than they can in it, we insist upon letting them go on in peace. The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but exists nevertheless. Whenever a considerable section of our Union shall deliberately resolve to go out, we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep it in. We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.’

The fleet, mentioned above, for the relief of Fort Sumter sailed about the 6th of April. When this was known a demand for the surrender of the fort was made by General Beauregard by direction of the Confederate authorities at Montgomery. This having been refused fire was opened on the fort on the morning of April 12th, and kept up until the 13th, when it capitulated without loss to either side.

It has been reiterated ad nauseam, and much stress laid upon the fact, that the Confederates fired the first gun, implying that they therefore were the aggressors in the war.

Very little thought will show the absurdity of this inference. According to Constitutional History (Hallam): ‘The aggressor in a war (that is, he who begins it), is not he who first uses force, but he who first renders force necessary.’

If a man finds a trespasser or a burglar on his premises who refuses to leave when ordered off, he is hardly expected to wait to be attacked before proceeding to enforce his rights. The Federals persisted in holding and occupying a Confederate territory in defiance of all remonstrances and entreaties, and there was nothing left but to repel force by force. Let it ever be remembered that throughout the war from beginning to end, the people of the Confederate States were merely defending themselves and resisting invasion, a wicked and cruel invasion—unjust and without warrant.

The fall of Sumter produced the fiercest excitement throughout the North. Reason was thrown to the winds and it was determined, in the ridiculous jargon of those and later days, to subdue the rebellion, as it was called, at any cost.

On the 15th of April, 1861, the following telegram was received at Raleigh from the War Department at Washington: [285]

Call made on you by to-night's mail for two regiments of military for immediate service.

Simon Cameron, Secretary of War.

So North Carolina was to be required to make war upon her sister Southern States. But they reckoned without their host. Instantly the reply went back, bold, spirited, patriotic:

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 as 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 I receive your call.

A terrible crisis was upon the country, but there was no hesitation. As one man the whole State responded to a proclamation of the Governor calling for troops for defense, and for supplies of all kinds. Military companies were formed everywhere, and a camp of instruction, Camp Ellis, was established at Raleigh, where they were organizod and drilled.

There was no longer any division among the people, no doubt whatever as to their intent. Whatever may have been deemed advisable as to secession previously, there was but one mind now as to coercion, and especially as to the requirement that North Carolina should be a party to it, against which we protested with our utmost energy and resisted with our utmost ability. Let that be borne in mind. With us it was not so much an assertion of the right of secession, though that we did not deny, as an emphatic denial of the right of coercion.

On the 17th of April Governor Ellis issued his proclamation summoning the legislature to meet on the 1st of May in extra session. In this proclamation, as in his reply to Cameron, and in his subsequent message to the legislature, he dwells especially and earnestly [286] uwon the illegality, the unconstitutionality, of the acts of the United States authorities. He says:

“I am informed that Abraham Lincoln has made a call for 75,000 men to be employed in the invasion of the peaceful homes of the South, and for the violent subversion of the liberties of a free people, constituting a large part of the population of the late United States: And whereas, this high-handed act of tyrannical outrage is not only in violation of all constitutional law, in utter disregard of every sentiment of humanity and Christian civilization, and conceived in a spirit of aggression unparalleled by any act of recorded history, but it is a direct step toward the subjugation of the whole South, and the conversion of a free Republic, inherited from our fathers, into a military depotism, to be established on the ruins of our Constitution of Equal Rights. Now therefore,” &c.

And he adds: ‘And I furthermore exhort all good citizens throughout the State to be mindful that their first allegiance is due to the sovereignty that protects their homes and dearest interests, as their first services are due for the sacred defense of their hearts, and of the soil which holds the graves of our glorious dead.’

Whether the Governor over-estimated the effects at the South of the success of the Federal armies, let those who lived through the dark years of Reconstruction answer.

There was no authority granted the President in the Constitution to levy war against a Sovereign State. The war power is vested in Congress, and even that is forbidden to be exercised against a State. Such power was sought to be established in the convention that framed the Constitution of the United States and was refused emphatically. There was no warrant for the call upon North Carolina. In his message to the legislature, the Governor says:

The right now asserted by the constituted authorities to use military force for the purpose of coercing a State to remain in the Union against its will, finds no warrant in the Constitution, and still less in the principles on which our Republican institutions are based.

Alluding to the Act of Congress of 1795, he says further: ‘The coveted powers which Congress had refused to confer were usurped, and whilst commissioners from the Confederate States were at the seat of Government urging a peaceful settlement of all questions in dispute, and striving to avert from the country the calamities of war—whilst the people were being deluded by daily protestations from the President of his firm resolve to preserve the peace, and we were in momentary expectation of hearing that Fort Sumter at [287] Charleston had been evacuated, a secret expedition was fitted out and steathily dispatched to commence the war by an attempt to throw reinforcements into that fortification. To high criminality in involving the country was added base perfidy in exciting hopes and expectations to be dashed at the moment of fruition.’

In the meantime Forts Macon at Beaufort, and Caswell and Johnston near Wilmington were taken possession of and garrisoned (by the Governor's order) by State troops; defences were erected at New Inlet, Ocracoke, Hatteras and elsewhere on the coast, and an inpromptu navy—a mosquito fleet as it was called—for the defense of the sounds was organized. The United States Arsenal at Fayetteville, in which were stored large quantities of small arms—most of them of antiquated patterns—a battery of light artillery and other munitions of war, was seized, its contents appropriated to arming and equipping the troops and its garrison sent North.

The legislature, having met promptly, passed an act, with scarcely any opposition, calling a convention of the people to consider the question of secession. The convention met in Raleigh on the 20th of May, 1861, the anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, and on the same day passed by unanimous vote the following ordinance:

We, the people of the State of North Carolina, in convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the ordinance adopted by the State of North Carolina in the convention of 1789, whereby the Constitution of the United States was ratified and adopted, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly, ratifying and adopting amendments to the said constitution are hereby repealed, rescinded and abrogated.

We do further declare and ordain that the Union now subsisting between the State of North Carolina and the other States under the title of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved, and the State of North Carolina is in the full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State.

There was no dissenting voice, and the next day the ordinance was formally signed by every member of the convention—120 in number.

This convention of the people—the highest authority, the origin and foundation of all law and authority known to a republican form of government—was elected especially to determine upon the question [288] of secession. It resolved upon it unanimously, and it was not therefore necessary to submit it to a vote of the people. To that ordinance every North Carolinian was bound to conform.

It is profitable to note how strictly in accordance with law and precedent, and in what orderly manner, those grave proceedings were conducted—and it may not be amiss to draw a parallel.

On the 12th of April, 1776, North Carolina, through her representatives then assembled at Halifax, first of all the thirteen colonies, authorized her delegates to the Continental Congress to unite in any measure looking to a separation of the colonies from the mother country and to the establishment of independence, thus, as it were, assuming and ratifying the declaration and resolves of Mecklenburg, made in May of the year previous. Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, in that Congress—afterwards Governor and Vice-President—as may be seen in his letter in the American Archives—did not call that action treasonable, but approved it warmly, and wrote his people urging like action on their part. So in May, 1861, North Carolina in convention assembled at Raleigh, by solemn ordinance, without one opposing vote, revoked the ordinance of 1789, withdrew from the association of States and by the same authority that had conferred, in like manner recalled all powers theretofore delegated to the United States. In both instances the step was taken through the lawful authorities duly constituted, after mature consideration, calmly, without outbreak or violence. In both cases the act was one of sovereignty, having been an assumption of power by the colony, whereas it was a resumption merely on the part of the State of powers previously delegated. Now is it not monstrous to call that treason and rebellion in a sovereign State which in a mere colony is termed patriotism and maintenance of right? Such epithets, as so often flippantly applied, are not only untrue but they are absurd. A whole nation, acting through all its people, cannot be guilty of treason. To indict a people for conspiracy and rebellion is as impossible as the crime itself.

On the day of the passage of the Ordinance of Secession the convention passed an ordinance ratifying and assenting to the constitution of the provisional government of the Confederate States, and later other ordinances ceding to that government certain property and privileges, and vesting in it certain necessary rights and powers. North Carolina thus became one of the Confederate States and cast her lot with them for weal or woe, prepared and ready to abide the result. Afterwards the permanent Constitution of the [289] Confederate States was adopted and ratified, and on June 18th two senators and eight representatives were elected by the convention to the Confederate Congress, which, after its adjournment at Montgomery in May, was to meet in Richmond on the 20th of July, where its sessions were held thereafter.

The permanent Constitution of the Confederate States, which ‘he who runs may read,’ is itself a full and plain refutation of the ridiculous statements often made that its object was the overthrow of the principles of the Constitution of the United States. The permanent Constitution was the Constitution of the United States, with such necessary amendments as the difference of situation made necessary. Some of these amendments were significant, especially that forbidding the foreign slave trade, which was not forbidden in the Constitution of the United States; on the contrary, it was there expressly allowed (Article I, section 9) until 1808, after which its prohibition by that instrument was only permissive. The Constitution of the United States was the wisdom of our own ancestors. With it, properly construed and administered, we had no quarrel, and our only thought was to live under its provisions apart from those with whom it seemed we could not rest in peace, and against whose perversions we could not rest in peace, and against whose perversions of its powers we protested with all our energy. We never dreamed of overthrowing or destroying the old government or of molesting any State that elected to remain with it. We as fully acknowledged the right to remain, if so it seemed good, as we also claimed the right to withdraw.

On the 10th of June, 1861, less than a month after the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, was fought and won the battle of Great Bethel in Virginia, won principally by North Carolina troops under Colonel D. H. Hill. And here another parallel with revolutionary days may be of interest.

In that olden time of the first revolution our people were called upon to defend their homes, and to repel invasion; and with Richard Caswell, with Ashe and Lillington, they won the fight at Moore's Creek Bridge on the 20th of February, 1776, the first victory in pitched battle won in the territory of the thirteen colonies. There had been actions before, momentous and far reaching in their consequences, as at Bunker Hill, but it was a defeat for the Americans, also at Great Bridge in Virginia, which was only a repulse of the British Moore's Creek was a complete victory, and an utter rout of the enemy that checked the invasion of North Carolina, and gave [290] peace to the State, within its borders, for three years. So at Bethel, in 1861, the first victory in pitched battle of the United Confederacy was won by North Carolinians.

[Reference may be made to the Report of the History Committee of the Grand Camp, C. V., of Virginia, Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXI, p. 347.]

A simple monument at Moore's Creek tells the story of the men who fought there. Our citizens celebrated with much rejoicing and patriotic spirit the centenary of that victory, but heaped no insults upon the memory of the brave men who fought on the other side. Only kindly admiration was expressed for gallant Scotchmen who died there. Nor is it expected of their descendants, our fellow citizens of to-day, as proof of present loyalty, that they shall condemn the action of their fathers. With General Frank Nash our kinsfolk went to death at Germantown, in the long ago. With Mad Anthony Wayne they went to that desperate bayonet charge at Stony Point; with Jethro Sumner at Eutaw Springs; with Morgan and Greene; with Davie, Davidson and Graham; with Hogan at Charleston-wherever duty called or danger was to be dared they were to be found until the end of that long struggle which ended successfully for them. Well, the swift years flew by, and in 1861 our State, whose behest we were ever taught is paramount to all, again summoned her sons to repel invasion and to uphold the right of self-government—and it cannot be too often or too strongly emphasized that they fought only to resist invasion and to vindicate the right of self-government—and in the brave old way, as in the brave old times of the past, they came at her call, and with Branch and Pender and Pettigrew, with Daniel and Whiting and Ramseur, with Hoke and with Ransom, at Newbern, at Richmond, at Manassas, and at Sharpsburg, at Fredericksburg, at Chancellorsville, at Gettysburg and at Chickamauga, in the Wilderness and at Petersburg, at Fort Fisher, Averysboro and at Bentonville, they freely offered their young lives as the last evidence they could give of their earnest conviction of right and duty. Of their fortitude under hardship, of their unflinching courage and self-sacrificing devotion you need no reminder.

Suffice it to say that in the same brave old way, learned from those who in like manner had gone forth in the first revolution, they met their sad fate, doing all that men could do to maintain their [291] cause—unlike their ancestors in only this that they failed in their undertaking. And shall we not hold the men of these later days, our own kindred and neighbors, in loving memory too, and forever preserve the record of their matchless deeds? Let the mute eloquence of many memorial shafts throughout the South make answer. The women of the South in their bereavement, sorrow and poverty did not forget gratitude, and everywhere have placed lasting mementoes of the self-oblation of all Confederate dead—grander than their prototypes the modest column at Moore's Creek, or the simple stone to Sumner at Guilford, or the humble tomb that in the churchyard of St. James at Wilmington marks the resting place of Cornelius Harnett, by as much as our strife was greater than theirs.

Lament them not; no love can make immortal,
     The span that we call life,
And never heroes entered heaven's portal
     Throa fields of grander strife.

Governor of North Carolina.

On the 7th of July, 1861, John W. Ellis, Governor of North Carolina, died at the Red Sulphur Springs in what is now West Virginia, of consumption of the lungs. He had been in delicate health for several months previously, and had gone to that resort but a few days before his death, hoping to obtain relief, but his overwhelming duties had undermined his feeble frame. He lived to see the victory at Bethel, in June, 1861, won principally by troops organized and equipped by his untiring efforts. His death was hastened by the arduous labors and heavy responsibilities of his high office, and he died as much a martyr to the cause in which his warmest sympathies and most earnest work were enlisted, as any soldier who fell on the field of battle. Peace to his ashes! He was succeeded in office by Hon. Henry F. Clark, of Edgecombe county, who, as speaker of the State Senate, as it was then constituted, became Governor ex officio for the remainder of the term.

Time will not admit of further recitation of the events that followed the passage of the Ordinance of Secession. In what has been said I have endeavored to comply with the request of the Memorial Association to narrate briefly events that happened just previously and subsequently to that ordinance, chiefly those that occurred in North Carolina. But little attempt has been made to argue the question upon its merits, as it was believed that a simple [292] narration was all that was desired. But I pray you to hear for me a little while still, if I attempt some slight tribute to the Confederate soldier, a theme so near the hearts of us all, but to which no one is equal.

And first, in these days of centennial memories and observance, it may be profitable to study the men, their motives and deeds, of our first revolution, and to seek to learn, by comparison, wherein, if at all, we in our later revolution, differed from them in act, or departed from their teaching.

For what they believed to be good and sufficient cause, our forefathers of the Revolution resolved to sever their connection with the mother country, and to establish for themselves and their posterity a government of their own, free and independent, founded wholly on the consent of the governed. Right nobly did they carry out this resolve. Undismayed by the magnitude of their undertakings, they rose superior to hardships and trials, painfully overcame all obstacles, cheerfully faced all dangers and mastered all opposition, until, at last, they attained their end, and we have inherited the fruits of their labors. But, mark you, it has never been said, or thought, that those men intended, or wished, to injure or compass the destruction of the government from which they had separated. Such superlative nonsense was reserved for the wiseacres of to-day in their flippant denunciations of our acts and intentions, in separating ourselves from the government of the United States. It would be quite as correct and true to allege that our ancestors in the Declaration of Independence desired and intended the overthrow of the government of Great Britain, as that we, as is so often alleged, intended, or could have effected, if we could have so wished, the destruction of the United States government in withdrawing from it. In both cases it was only intended to establish a separate government, leaving the old one intact and undisturbed, to be enjoyed by all who remained under its provisioners. Much stress has been aid in this connection upon the well-known expression of Mr. Lincoln in his speech at Gettysburg: ‘A government of the people, by the people, for the people,’ so often and so gushingly quoted—the inference implied being the success of the Confederate cause would prove the downfall of the government. Most lame and impotent conclusion, for nothing can be more true than that was the very kind of government that the Confederates so earnestly strove to maintain, and to establish separately, for themselves. The expression, [293] by the by, was not original with Mr. Lincoln, but had been used by speakers and writers since 1794.

We should, as we do, render to those men of the olden time love and thanks. We recall their actions, cherish their memories, but above all it is most incumbent upon us to preserve intact their priceless legacy. We should ever bear in mind that this inestimable inheritance of selfgovernment is not wholly our own. It is not to be bartered away, or for any reason to be parted with. In it we have but a life estate, and hold it in trust for those who are to follow us, solemnly pledged to transmit it to them in no whit shorn of its fair proportions, but rather, if so it may be, with its blood-bought privileges enlarged and extended. But if the men of King's Mountain, of Eutaw, and of Yorktown, had toiled in vain, if their heroism had ended in disaster and crushing defeat, would it be right or necessary to villify them for the gallant struggle they made, or to withhold admiration for their brave efforts in behalf of what they believed to be their right? I trow not! No voice is raised in their condemnation, no one insinuates a doubt of the purity of their intentions. Why should it have been otherwise if the issue had been different? Now, if beliefs and actions of Southern people in our own times were similar to those of our ancestors of our first revolution, will it be any more than just to draw the same conclusions, and to render like judgment in the one case as in the other? What was right and meritorious in the Continental statesman and soldier cannot have been wrong and blameworthy in the Confederate. What was honorable and patriotic in Richard Caswell and Cornelius Harnett, in George Washington and Francis Nash, can hardly have been despicable and traitorous in Jefferson Davis or John W. Ellis, in Robert E. Lee, Charles F. Fisher, William Pender, L. O'B. Branch, or in the men who followed them.

It was sad indeed that disagreements politically between countrymen could not be adjusted without an appeal to the sword. Their divisions were political only and had their origin in what was honestly held to be right by both parties, and most conducive to the welfare of each. They were, says an eminent writer, ‘the expression of political principles concerning which parties and sections had long been divided, and which separated the best and wisest of our land long before their antagonism’ culminated in warfare.

Both parties in the late war between the States were equally honest in their belief of the right of their respective causes, and neither [294] should now question the sincerity of the other. They who fought with Jackson, or followed the feather of Stuart, and all who sympathized with them, must abide the arbitrament to which final appeal was made. To quote again the same distinguished writer-they are bound ‘to accept defeat and its legitimate consequences in as good faith as they would have accepted victory; they are bound to obey the laws, to fulfill to the letter every call of patriotic obligation.’ All these we have done, and will continue to do. But we are not bound to desecrate the memories of our dead, nor to submit without protest to misrepresentation. It is possible, of course, that we may have erred. Our acts may have been injudicious. We have no infallible oracle to decide such points. They are fair matters of opinion and argument upon which, in the future, history, impartially written, will inevitably pass judgment. With that tribunal we willingly rest our case; but we claim to stand before it without having the case prejudged—as a people, unfortunate if you please, but who, convinced of the integrity of our purposes, and acting according to our best lights, proved our faith by staking all on the issue. And to the same august judgment-seat, without fear as to its verdict, we appeal in behalf of him who was our President —whom we ourselves constituted our leader—Jefferson Davis, who but a short time ago went down in sorrow, still in honor, to the grave. The beauty and purity of his character; his steadfastness in discharges of duty; his lofty patriotism; the vigor of his well-rounded intellect; the virtue of his life; his kindly nature and the simplicity of his faith will yet be recognized by others as they are known to and honored by us.

There is inherent in our people a sense of right, a love of fairplay—dormant and overshadowed at times, perhaps, but which some day must impel the victors in the war between the States to do justice to the vanquished, and when that shall be frankly done it will bring about mutual confidence and perfect reconciliation.

Feelings of this kind, I venture to believe, even now animate many of our fellow countrymen, and, in the near future, will influence all intelligent and generous men in all this broad land—though their magnanimity will have to undergo the severer test of according full justice to a beaten instead of a victorious foe.

That I am not without warrant for such belief the following extract from a Northern paper, whose editor was an officer of the Federal Army, will in great measure prove. He says: [295]

As we get further and further removed from the blinding passions that clouded our judgment, and as the soothing hand of time quiets our wrath, engendered by a deadly conflict, there is one name that rises higher and brighter, not only at home but throughout Europe, as that of the greatest military leader of time, and that is the name of Robert E. Lee. Gathering up an army from a country that had no other resource than the brave hearts of its doomed people, poorly armed and worse equipped, to march without pay, sleep without shelter and fight without food, through the long years of that terrible conflict, he rode on from victory to victory over superior numbers, marking the boundary line of his country with death and disaster to the enemy, until his devoted army, wasted through sickness and fatigue, fell from sheer exhaustion.

A great struggle like that which ended at our Bentonville must some day be regarded in its true light by all men, no matter what their predilections for the contending parties, and not from the standpoint of passion and prejudice. A proper sense of self respect and a right estimate of the unanimous action of a whole people, must banish the opprobrious terms which it seems good to many to employ when speaking of the war between the States, and of those who took part in it. Men who fought to maintain the Union, without yielding in any degree their own convictions, or a natural pride in their success in upholding them, will in time freely accord to their opponents equal honesty and earnestness, and will recognize the absurdity of the vulgar cant about ‘rebels’ and ‘treason.’ Each party to the strife should willingly allow to the other what it claims for itself. No sentiment is more worthy of condemnation than that feeling of faction, that petty spirit of party, that wilfully excludes from view everything that is not within the direct range of its own narrow vision. In spite of the boasted liberalism of this land of popular education, intolerance is a marked defect in our national character; one that it is our duty to correct, to the end that prejudice may fade away and give place to that large-mindedness that going hand in hand with large-heartedness makes up the perfect man.

Resting in the rectitude of our past, honoring our dead, and fulfilling every present obligation, we are content to await the coming of that day of justice and reconciliation. And should some uncorighteous brother denounce us as ‘rebels’ and brand as ‘treason’ political belief and acts older than our government itself, we may [296] point to the tombs of the Revolutionary patriots, Francis Nash and Joseph Warren, of Edward Buncombe and William Davidson, who taught us ‘rebellion’—and died in teaching us—and make answer: ‘Every tree is known by his own fruit.’ The land that gave the ‘rebels’ George Washington and Patrick Henry, Richard Caswell and Jethro Sumner to lead and counsel the men whom we commemorate in centennial celebrations, gave also in these latter days Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Alexander Stephens and John C. Breckinridge, Leonidas Polk and Albert Sidney Johnston, worthy sons of noble sires.

A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit, neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Behold in these men the true exponents of the South and her cause, the outgrowth of her civilization! Does any land show their superiors? By them, our exemplars, let us be judged.

But why multiply words? Let the whole world contemn, still will we love and honor the voiceless dust that lies here-aye and all our patriot dead, it recks not where their bodies lie! Even had they in mistaken zeal done wrong, we would still revere their memories for their unselfish devotion and unrepining sacrifice.

Long years ago when the lowly Nazarene, who ‘spake as never man spake,’ was doing his work of mercy and love among the hills of Palestine—Himself, the incarnation of love—it is written that he said:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

That, Ladies of the Memorial Association—that, fellow citizens and soldiers—that, men and women of the South, is what alike the men of the Revolution and they who sleep in this consecrated ground did for you and for me. Shall we not cherish their love?

Their precious lives though vainly sped—
     Long as its share old Ocean laves,
We'll bow with reverence o'er our dead,
     And bless the turf that wraps their graves.

Ladies of the Memorial Association

This poor tribute to the deeds and memory of the Confederate dead, I have, at your honored bidding, laid upon their graves. Bear with me a moment longer while I add a word in behalf of the survivors [297] of our great conflict, our veterans—the ‘frail wrecks from that gory sea.’ Not in feeble language of my own—but in the touching lines of Frank Stanton, who makes such loving appeal for

The Confederate soldier.

Here he is in wreck of gray—
With the brazen belt of the C. S. A.
Men, do you know him? Far away
Where the battle blackened the face of day,
And the rapid rivers in crimson fled,
And God's white roses were wrecked in red,
His strength he gave and his blood he shed;
Followed fearless where Stonewall led,
Or galloped wild in the wake of Lee,
In the daring mad artillery.
Shelled the ranks of the enemy,
For the South that was and the South to be;
Or bore his musket with wounded hands,
O'er icy rivers and burning sands,
Levelled straight at the hostile bands,
That swept like death through the ravaged lands,
Men do you know him? Grim and gray,
He speaks to you from the far away.
There he stands on the prison sod,
A statue carved by the hand of God;
He bore his rags and his wounds for ye.
He bore the flag of the warring South
With red—scarred hands to the cannon's mouth—
By Heaven! I see as I did that day
The red wounds gleam throa the rags of gray.

Men of the South, your heroes stand
Statue-like in your new born land.
Will ye pass them by? Will your lips condemn?
The wounds on their brave breasts plead for them.
Shall the South that they gave their blood to save
Give them only a nameless grave?
Nay; for the men who faced the fray
Are her's in trust 'till the judgment day,
And God Himself in the sweet far land
Will ask their blood at their country's hand. [298]
Soldier—you in the wreck of gray,
With the brazen belt of the C. S. A.—
Take my love and my tears to-day,
Take them—all that I have to give;
But by God's grace while my heart shall live,
It still shall keep in its faithful way
The camp—fire lit for the men in gray.
Aye—'till the trump sounds far away,
And the silver bugles of Heaven play
And the roll is called at the Judgment-day.

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