North Carolina Civil War Documentary

By W. Buck Yearns; John G. Barret | Go to book overview

II
NORTH CAROLINA SECEDES

Though the referendum on 28 February temporarily stalemated the North Carolina secessionists, subsequent developments led the state inexorably toward secession. She had sent an able delegation to the Washington Peace Conference, but Congress failed to adopt the Conference's recommendations. And Lincoln's inaugural address of 4 March seemed to promise armed coercion of the recalcitrant states so clearly that it converted many conditional Unionists into secessionists. North Carolina moderates in general appeared demoralized as spring approached, and their meetings were few and noticeably lacking in enthusiasm. On the other hand, the secessionists constantly stepped up their activities.

On 22 and 23 March in Goldsboro the state convention of the Southern Rights party recommended that North Carolina immediately join the Confederacy. "Spontaneous" county meetings adopted resolutions urging secession and demanding that the governor call a special session of the legislature so that a convention might be ordered. The radical newspapers became even more aggressive, arguing that if North Carolina would "assert her independence, take the lead,"1 the other slave states still in the Union would follow her. With little to promise, the conservative press was simply unable to cope with its aggressive opponents.

The 12 April attack by the Confederates on Fort Sumter, which the United States government had refused to vacate even after the secession of South Carolina, and President Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers on 15 April to quell the rebellion (or to "coerce" the seceded states, as the Southerners would have it), virtually destroyed Unionist sentiment in North Carolina. Governor Ellis informed Lincoln's secretary of war that "YOU CAN GET NO TROOPS FROM NORTH CAROLINA,"2 and he

____________________
1
Wilmington Journal, 4 Apr. 1861, quoted in Sitterson, Secession Movement in North Carolina, p. 238.
2
John Ellis to Simon Cameron, 15 Apr. 1861, in Noble J. Tolbert, ed., The Papers of John Willis Ellis, 2:612.

-18-

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North Carolina Civil War Documentary
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • ILLLUSTRATIONS ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • I- a Time for Decision 3
  • II- North Carolina Secedes 18
  • III- North Carolina Invaded, 1861-1862 28
  • IV- War in Eastern North Carolina, 1862-1864 43
  • V- Blockade-Running 65
  • VI- Fort Fisher 79
  • VII- War in Central and Western Countries 93
  • VIII- The Call to Arms 125
  • IX- Problems of Procurement 155
  • X- State Socialism 174
  • XI- Bearing the Costs of War 188
  • XII- The War and the Rairoads 204
  • XIII- The Economy of Scarcities 213
  • XIV- Church and School 225
  • XV- Victims of Attrition 246
  • XVI- Life Goes on at Home 265
  • XVII- State Rights and State Pride 272
  • XVIII- The Peace Movement 291
  • XIX- Wartime Politics 307
  • XX- Sherman in North Carolina 321
  • Bibliography 343
  • Index 351
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