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The Gift of 


Class of 1909 





Cornell University Library 
F 259 H21 
Reconstruction in Nprlji parolina / J. 


3 1924 028 788 664 


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Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


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IN 1865 





Volume LVin] 

[Whole Number 141 



Alumni Professor of History 
The University of Nortk Carolina 



London : P. S. King & Son 



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Copyright, igi4 



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1 838- 1 908 



The following study was commenced by the author, in 
1902, as a doctoral dissertation in Columbia University, 
and in I9'06, for that purpose, the first six chapters were 
privately printed, but in a somewhat different form from 
that in which they now appear, the chief changes having 
been made on account of the discovery of new material re- 
lating to the period covered. Since that time, the investiga- 
tion has been steadily continued in order to cover the entire 
period until the close of Reconstruction in 1876. During 
that interval, one chapter has been published in the Sewanee 
Review, and one chapter and part of another in the South 
Atlantic Quarterly, and these are included through the cour- 
tesy of the editors of those publications. 

The author has sought throughout the work to divest 
himself of any prejudice in his treatment of a period 
which, while it closed before his birth, has been the cause 
of so much later bitterness, prejudice, and sectional mis- 
understanding. He has held no thesis, but has sought only 
to present the truth, and, in the main, to relate rather than 
interpret. In his search for material one great obstacle 
has been found, namely, the marked disinclination of many 
of the actors in the period to discuss at all the matters 
therein involved. This will explain why so much of the 
material bearing on many disputed questions appears to be 
derived from one side. One or two Republicans of the 
period, however, have been of incalculable assistance. 

To the many who have aided him in his investigations, 
the author desires to return his hearty thanks. In particu- 


lar, he wishes to mention his indebtedness to Mrs. William 
H. Bagley and Mrs. E. E. Moffitt for the use of the cor- 
respondence of their father, Governor Jonathan Worth; 
to Major William A. Graham and Major John W. Gra- 
ham for a similar favor in regard to the papers of their 
father, Governor William A. Graham, and for much val- 
uable information; to Hon. Josephus Daniels for the use of 
his files of the Sentinel and for many courtesies; to Cap- 
tain S. A. Ashe, the late Colonel A. K. McClure, Governor 
Thomas J. Jarvis, Hon. Jacob A. Long, Dr. Kemp P. 
Battle, the late Hon. Richard H. Battle, the late Hon. C. L. 
Harris, and Hon. John Nichols for much valuable material 
and many helpful suggestions. To his friends. Professors 
James W. Garner and Walter L. Fleming who blazed the 
trail which he has followed, he owes a debt not to be ex- 
pressed in words. To his friend and colleague. Professor 
N. W. Walker, who has done him infinite service by a criti- 
cal reading of the proof, he renders his sincere thanks. To 
his wife, who has been of constant and invaluable assist- 
ance to him in writing the book, in preparing the manu- 
script for the printer, and in reading the proof, he makes 
his grateful acknowledgments. Above all, the author 
wishes to pay a tribute of gratitude and affection to his 
friend and inspired teacher, Professor William A. Dun- 
ning, of Columbia University, without whose constant guid- 
ance, encouragement, and cordial assistance, the book would 
never have been written. 

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 
January 25, 1914. 




Secession and War in North Carolina 

1. Disunion Sentiment prior to i860 i 

2. The Campaign of i860 10 

3. The Secession Movement . . 13 

4. Secession and War 25 

5. War Politics and the Peace Movement 36 

6. Financial and Economic Conditions in War 68 

Beginnings of Reconstruction During the War 

1. The Hatteras Convention and Government 81 

2. The Administration of Edward Stanly 87 

3. The Downfall of the State Government 95 

Presidential Reconstruction 

1. The Provisional Government 106 

2. The Convention of 1865 120 

3. The Campaign and Election of 1865 133 

4. The Return to Civil Government 142 

Political and Social Conditions Under the Restored Government 

1. The Freedmen 14^ 

2. Conflict of the Civil and Military Powers 152 

3. State Politics in i865 171 

4. Economic and Financial Problems 192 

5. Transportation and the Mails 201 




Military Government Under the Reconstruction Acts 

1. The Reconstruction Acts 2°7 

2. Military Government under General Sickles 221 

3. Military Government under General Canby 234 

4. State Politics and Election of 1867 240 

The Convention of 1868 and its Work 

1. The Convention of 1868 253 

2. Constitutional Changes 273 

3. Politics and Election of 1868. 278 

4. The Completion of Reconstruction 288 

The Freedmen's Bureau 

1. Organization » 295 

2. Relief Work, Labor, and the Administration of Justice 300 

3. Education 314 

4. General Character and Influence of the Bureau 320 


The Union League 327 

The Republican Regime 

1. Inauguration of the Holden Administration 343 

2. The Legislature of 1S68 349 

3. The Presidential Campaign of 1S68 . . 360 

4. The Legislature of 1868-1S69 37c 

The Republican Regime (Continued) 

1. Politics in 1869 ,88 

2. The Legislature of 1869-1870 ^^oo 

3. Character of Administration ^iq 

4. Social and Economic Conditions, 1868-1870 <iig 



Railroad Legislation and the Frauds 427 


The Kn Klux Movement 

1. Purposes 452 

2. Organization and Membership 454 

3. Activities of the Orders 466 


The Reign of Terror 

1. Suppression of the Ku Klux 482 

2. Politics in 1870 48S 

3. The Kirk-Holden War 496 

The Reform Legislature of 1870-1872 

1. Organization and Membership 534 

2. The Impeachment and Trial of Governor Holden 537 

3. Legislative Activities 558 


The Closing Years of Reconstruction 

1. The Ku Klux Prosecutions 572 

2. The Elections of 1872 581 

3. The Legislature of 1872-1874 593 

4. Politics in 1874 598 

5. The Legislature of 1874 604 

Education in Reconstruction 

1. The Public Schools 609 

2. The University 619 



The Overthrow of Reconstruction 

1. The Convention of 1875 ^3' 

2. The Campaign of 1876 643 

3. Social and Economic Conditions, 1870-1876 654 

4. General Conclusions. 662 

Index 669 


Secession and War in North Carolina 
I. disunion sentiment prior to i860 

North Carolina after November 21, 1789, the day on 
which it adopted the Constitution of the United States, was, 
while closely allied by association, blood, and interest with 
the Southern States, strongly attached to the Union. 
Stirred as the State was at times by sectional feeling, and 
acting always in the interest of the slave States when the 
sectional issue was drawn, the deep love for the Union in 
all classes of the people prevented any great spread of dis- 
union sentiment until long after most of the Southern 
States looked upon secession as by no means a remote pos- 

When nullification was proposed in South Carolina it was 
repudiated utterly in North Carolina. Anti-nullification 
meetings were held in almost every county in the State, and 
resolutions passed denouncing nullification and the tariff 
in the same terms and professing attachment to the Union. 
In the General Assembly of 1830, Jonathan Worth, the 
member from Randolph, introduced into the House resolu- 
tions declaring that, while the tariff laws were unequal and 
unjust, the right of nullification was not recognized by that 
body. They provoked a sharp debate, but were adopted 
by a large majority.^ The legislature of 1832, by large 
majorities in each house, passed resolutions proclaiming the 

' House Journal, Dec. 31, 1830. 


unalterable attachment of the State to the Federal Union 
and declaring the theory of nullification subversive of the 
Constitution and tending to a dissolution of the Union. " 

The fact that slavery was less profitable here than in the 
states farther south may have accounted in some measure 
for the absence of disunion feeling. With North Carolina, 
as vi'ith Virginia and Tennessee, slavery was not of first 
economic importance. The large slaveholders formed a 
comparatively small part of its white population. The non- 
slaveholders, on the other hand, formed a large class to 
whom, unconscious of it though they were, slavery was a 
terrible burden. Moreover, by i860, there were in the State 
30,000 free negroes." Until 1835, this last class was en- 
dowed with the franchise under the same conditions as the 
white citizens. The amendment to the constitution which 
deprived free blacks of the right to vote passed the conven- 
tion of 1835 by only a small majority,^ and was sharply 
criticised in that body and by the people. It was strongly 
opposed by Judge Gaston, Governor Swain, and other lead- 
ers of the convention. They were, however, willing that 
certain qualifications should be required. But for the ex- 
citement caused by the then recent Southampton trouble in 
Virginia, it is hardly probable that the privileges of the 
free negroes would have been limited at all at that time. 

But the great bond which held North Carolina to the 
Union was the Whig party. In its ranks were men of all 
classes, and from its ranks came the leaders of political 
thought in the State from the time of the foundation of 
the party. Men of political wisdom, of strength, depth, 
and patriotism guided the party, and through it, controlled 

' Resolutions, 1832, p. i ; lournals, Dec. 25, 1832, and Jan. 7, 1833. 

' Census of i860. 

' lournal of the Convention of 183$, p. 74. 


the State. But the tendency of the party was conservative, 
and conservatism finally lost its hold on the people. In 
1850, largely through the influence of William W. Holden, 
the editor of the Standard, the Democratic organ, the Whig 
party was defeated and a new class of men assumed con- 
trol — men of apparently equal ability, but of less depth; 
of equal patriotism, but in a narrower sense; all of high 
character, but politicians, in the main, instead of statesmen. 

The decisive battle was fought on the ever-popular issue 
of abolition of privilege. The Democrats proposed free or 
manhood suffrage, and the conservative Whigs, while at 
heart opposed to the change, dared not show very active 
opposition. Under the existing constitution, a freehold 
qualification of fifty acres of land was necessary for voting 
for state senators. This put power in the hands of the 
landed class and was consequently opposed by the masses. 
Through the unpopularity of this provision, David S. Reid 
was elected governor, on the issue of its abolition. This 
was the first Democratic victory since 1834. 

The credit for the victory may be given largely to Holden. 
He had much to do with choosing the issue and he directed 
the campaign. This man, at that time a power in the State 
and destined to be a prominent figure in its history for the 
two following decades, was born in Orange county in 1818. 
His early education was received as assistant in the office 
of the Hillsboro Recorder. From its editor, Dennis Heartt, 
he derived his politics and was an enthusiastic Whig. In 
1837, he went to Raleigh, where he studied law and was 
admitted to the bar. He also became an associate on the 
Star, a Whig paper edited by Thomas Loring. His ability 
was soon recognized, and in 1843, through the influence of 
James B. Shepherd, he was offered the editorship of the 
Standard, a Democratic paper formerly edited by Philo 
White. He at once accepted, making the first of his numer- 


ous political changes of heart. While self-interest undoubt- 
edly led, in great part, to his change of party, all his ideas 
were in accord with the doctrines which he now adopted. 
His paper speedily became the most ably edited in the State, 
and his influence grcAv accordingly. 

He was an intense admirer of Calhoun and endorsed his 
theories repeatedly and vehemently. In the decade from 
1850 to i860, Holden was the strongest as well as the ablest 
advocate in North Carolina of the right of secession, being 
far in advance of his party in the State, and in full sym- 
pathy with the secession party in South Carolina. 

In 1850, he took advanced ground on the subject, al- 
though the occasion for action, in his opinion, had not 
arisen.^ Governor Reid's message to the legislature in Jan- 
uary, 185 1, contained, also, a decided threat. But the legis- 
lature was not in accord with them on this point. The ques- 
tion was discussed as a purely abstract one, and resolutions 
extremely conservative in tone were adopted, while the 
series presented as a minority report by the committee, 
which declared the right ex'stent, were rejected." The ques- 
tion appeared again in the campaign of 185 1. Alfred Dock- 

' The following is part of one of his editorials at the time : " We 
have heard the idea recently expressed that a State has no right to 
secede from the Union — that there is no help from oppression except by 
revolution ; in other vpords, that the States are the creatures and de- 
pendents of the Federal Government and, of course, subject to its phy- 
sical coercion. Such an assumption, we humbly submit, is unsupported 
by any testimony derived from the Constitution itself or from any 
single circumstance attending its foundation or adoption. It is, more- 
over, at war with all regular ideas of free republican government and 
the undoubted independence of the States, as that independence has 
been displayed in their separate organizations since 1787. We hold 
that as no State could originally have been forced into the Union, none 
can be forced in or rather prevented from going out." — Standard, Dec. 
4. iSso. 

' Legislative Does., 1850-1, vol. ii, pp. 246, 261. 


ery was a Whig candidate for Congress in a district com- 
posed largely of counties on the South Carolina line, and 
made his campaign on the question of secession, stating as 
his position that, if South Carolina should secede, he would 
vote men and money " to whip her back into the Union," 
and would do the same if his own State were in question.^ 
He was elected with a majority of over a thousand votes. 
His district was usually a strongly contested one, the Whigs 
and Democrats being about equal in number. Edward 
Stanly, expressing the same sentiments, was elected in an 
eastern district in the same year." The Standard, although 
the organ of the Democratic party, was, as thus appears, 
far in advance of party sentiment, or at least, more out- 
spoken. In this same campaign it said, " It is sufficient for 
us to say that whenever the Constitution is palpably violated 
by Congress ... or whenever that body fails to carry out 
the plain provisions of that instrument when required to 
protect Southern rights, the Union is dissolved, and that 
by a sectional majority." ^ 

Much the same sentiments were expressed during the 
presidential campaign of 1856. Just before the election, a 
meeting of the Southern governors was called at Raleigh 
for deliberation as to the course to be pursued in the event 
of Fremont's election. Only Governor Wise of Virginia 
and Governor Adams of South Carolina came, and conse- 
quently the meeting was unimportant. An informal con- 
sultation was held at the Governor's Mansion, and several 
prominent men of Raleigh were invited to be present, in- 
cluding W. W. Holden, M. A. Bledsoe, and L. O'B. Branch. 
This may be said to have been the first secession meeting 
held in the State. But Governor Bragg's position was most 
conservative and in sharp contrast to that assumed by Gov- 

» Standard, July 2, 1851. " ^bid.. Aug. 20, 1S51. 

• Ibid., Jan. 15, 1851. 


ernor Wise. The outcome of the election prevented any 
direct result of the meeting. 

Holden had been an earnest and faithful worker for 
his party for many years and had been rewarded by no office 
of importance. He was intensely ambitious and desired a 
more definite reward than his influence, although that gave 
him power even, politically speaking, " to kill and make 
alive." Feeling that he deserved it, in 1858, he was a can- 
didate before his party for the nomination for governor. 
In spite of a determined secret opposition to him, he se- 
cured a large number of delegates and relied largely upon 
the uninstructed delegations. When the convention met in 
Charlotte, one delegate, holding a large number of proxies, 
although instructed for him, voted against the adoption of 
the two-thirds rule, and defeated it. This secured the 
nomination of Judge John W. Ellis, of Rowan. Holden's 
humble origin, and, to a lesser extent, his agrarian tenden- 
cies were responsible for his defeat. He acquiesced in the 
result, but with ill-concealed bitterness. With justice, he 
felt wronged, but visited his anger upon his innocent oppo- 
nent, whom he accused of using "means that would be con- 
sidered unfair by a New York politician." ^ At this point 
began a change of sentiment in Holden which divided him 
from his party. This was hastened by the failure of the 
legislature at its next session to elect him to the United 
States Senate.^ 

The State as a whole was comparatively free from dis- 
cussion of secession during most of the decade, and when 
the subject was mentioned, it was generally only as an 
abstract question. But two events were to bring a chano-e. 
In 1857, Hinton Rowan Helper, a native of North Carolina, 

^ Standard, Nov. 24, i860. 

2 Thomas Bragg was elected over David S. Reid and Holden. 


published The Impending Crisis. Its attacks upon slavery 
aroused a storm of denunciation throughout the State and 
the whole South. To own a copy of the book amounted 
almost to political death and threatened social ostracism. 
The other event, it is needless to say, was John Brown's 
raid. This stirred the State deeply. Secessionists had now 
a forcible argument to prove the designs of the Northern 
people, and the secession movement may here be said toi 
begin. Sympathy with Virginia was expressed in many 
ways. Military organizations from every part of the State 
tendered their services, but Governor Wise refused all.^ 

In December, the Council of State met and passed resolu- 
tions approving the course pursued by Governor Wise, ex- 
tending sympathy to Virginia, and assuring him of the sup- 
port of North Carolina in all efforts to maintain the vital 
interests of the slaveholding States, which could never be 
surrendered without dishonor. President Buchanan was 
thanked for his prompt aid. The following resolutions con- 
taining a decided threat were also passed : 

That the union of the States can only be perpetuated so long 
as it continues to be a union of equals. 

We are devoted to it and would behold its dissolution with 
profound regret; yet, if we cannot hold our slave property, 
and at the same time enjoy repose and tranquility in the Union, 
we will be constrained, in justice to ourselves and to our pos- 
terity, to establish new forms and to establish new guards for 
our security and well being; relying for success in so doing 
in the righteousness of our cause and on the support of that 
Providence who so signally guided and secured our ancestors 
in times of danger. 

That, while declaring our sincere devotion to the Union 
according to the Constitution as it was established by our fore- 
fathers, and while we are ready to uphold and maintain it as 

• Standard, Nov. 23, 1859. 


a Union of equals, we are not unmindful of the fact that the 
disturbers of our peace have received and are receiving the 
active sympathy and the substantial support of large portions 
of the people of the non-slaveholding States ; and that it be- 
hooves the people of the non-slaveholding States, if they would 
restore domestic tranquility and perpetuate the Union, to rouse 
themselves from the condition of indifference and lethargy 
which seems to prevail among them, and to take such action 
and adopt such measures as may be necessary to prevent a 
continuance of assaults upon the people of the South, and may 
assure our people that they are still faithful as Confederate 
States to the common Union which still unites us. 

The governor was advised to encourage the organization 
of volunteer military companies and to apply to the Presi- 
dent for arms, to take measures to prevent the distribution 
through the mails of incendiary matter from the North, and 
to require justices of the peace to subject canvassers from 
the North tO' a severe scrutiny, and to require bond for 
good behavior when it was thought necessary/ 

The press of the State was equally outspoken regarding 
the possible and even probable consequences of the attack 
upon a Southern State, which was considered an attack 
upon the entire South. Even the Register, the intensely 
conservative organ of the Whig party, began to advocate 
the industrial independence of the South with a view to 
possible political independence.- As usual, the Standard 
was the most extreme. It said, " After Seward's Rochester 
speech, after the Harper's Ferry outrage and after Helper's 
book, endorsed as it is by the leaders of Black Republican- 
ism, the people of the South will not submit to Black Re- 
publican rule. They will sunder the bonds in i860, in 1864, 
in 1868, or in 1872, before they v.'ill do it. We mean pre- 

' Council of State Records, 1859 ; Standard, Dec. 10, 1859. 
- Issues of Nov. 30, and Dec. 21, 1859. 


cisely what we say, and ninety-nine hundredths of those 
who may read this article agree with us." ^ 

Meetings were held at various places in the State and 
resolutions passed, all breathing the same spirit of defiance 
to the North. One of these meetings, held in Chatham 
County, sent a committee to request Governor Ellis to call a 
special session of the legislature to place the State in an 
attitude of full military defence. Governor Ellis declined, 
however, with the statement that there was no necessity for 
any such action." Requests for arms for new military or- 
ganizations kept pouring in and Governor Ellis applied twice 
to the Secretary of War to furnish them. Secretary Floyd 
responded that North Carolina already had her quota and, 
if the ten thousand rifles desired were furnished, it would 
be an advance of six years, and this he declined to make.^ 

All the winter following, the State was kept in a condi- 
tion of excitement and unrest by numerous arrests and 
trials of persons for peddling abolition tracts and books, and 
for preaching abolitionist sentiments to the negroes. Sev- 
eral were tarred and feathered instead of being delivered 
into the hands of the law. The most noted trial of an aboli- 
tionist was that of the Rev. Daniel Worth, in Guilford 
County. He was a native of North Carolina, of Quaker 
origin, who had lived for many years in Indiana and had 
become a monomaniac on the subject of slavery. He was 
sentenced to be imprisoned for one year, and appealed to 
the Supreme Court. While his appeal was pending he es- 
caped to New York and did not return.* 

' Issue of Dec. 14, 1859. ' Standard, Jan. 18, i860. 

^Register, Jan. 11, i860. 

* Hamilton, ed.. The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, i, pp. no, 
115. The court was authorized to add a public whipping to this punish- 
ment. When asked why as a minister he did not obey the law, he said : 
" I have no respect for North Carolina laws, for they are enacted by 
adulterers, drunkards, and gamblers." — Standard, Dec. 21, 1859. 



In one year secession sentiment had grown more than in 
all the preceding ones, and a secession party, small but 
active, had come into existence. 


The state Democratic convention met in Raleigh in March 
and unanimously re-nominated Governor Ellis. The plat- 
form protested against the alteration of any national com- 
promise and announced that interference with the constitu- 
tional rights of the States would not be tolerated. But, on 
the whole, the sentiment of the delegates, as expressed in 
the platform and in the speeches in the convention, was con- 
servative and entirely favorable to the Union. ^ 

The opposition party had already nominated John Pool 
on a platform demanding the ad valorem taxation of slave 
property. He was hardly the candidate that would have 
been expected, as he had voted against ad valorem taxation 
in the preceding legislature; but his personal position was 
no more surprising than that of his supporters, for a party 
made up of old Whigs would hardly have been expected to 
advocate ad valorem taxation. The platform laid the blame 
for all the national troubles on the Democracy, and, with 
more than usual vigor, declared its doctrines dangerous and 
its success a menace to the welfare of the nation.^ 

A vigorous campaign opened at once, conducted largely, 
at first, on internal matters. In the discussion of these the 
advantage was clearly with Pool, but national questions 
soon interfered in behalf of Governor Ellis. 

When the Democratic national convention met in Charles- 
ton, nineteen delegates were present from North Caro- 
lina. Prominent among these were W. W. Avery, who 
was chairman of the committee on resolutions, W. W. 

' Standard, March 14, i860. 
' Register, Feb. 30, i860. 


Holden, W. S. Ashe, and Bedford Brown. The details of 
the convention are familiar. When the minority report 
of the committee on resolutions was substituted for that 
of the majority, W. S. Ashe addressed the convention, say- 
ing, that if the platform was forced upon the South, he 
would be forced to withdraw. Bedford Brown also spoke, 
warning the convention that if the second resolution was 
adopted, the fate of the Democratic party was sealed.^ W. 
W. Holden also appeared before the convention, address- 
ing it on the danger of secession.^ But when the with- 
drawal of the Southern delegates took place, those from 
North Carolina refused to go. It is not doubtful that, if 
they had wavered, the delegations from Virginia, Tenn- 
essee, Maryland, and Kentucky would also have with- 

When the balloting began for the presidential nomina- 
tion, North Carolina voted as a unit thirteen times for R. 
M. T. Hunter, twelve times for Lane, and six times for D. 
S. Dickinson. Then, until the balloting ceased, her vote was 
cast for Lane and Douglas, the latter receiving one vote.* 
The press of the State and the people in general approved 
the action of the delegates. In only one instance were they 
criticised for not withdrawing with the other Southern 
delegations. ° 

Holden returned from Charleston with a changed view 
of secession. What policy he would pursue, however, 
seemed doubtful. Still bitter against the Republicans, he 
announced in the first issue of his paper, after his return, 

' Charleston Mercury, quoted in Standard, May 9, i860. 
' Memoirs of W. W. Holden, p. 13. 
" Standard, May 16, i860. 

* Ihid., May 9, i860. R. P. Dick voted for Douglas. 
' The Charlotte Bulletin claimed that they should have gone with 
the Cotton States. 


that he was " for the Constitution and the Union, and 
against all who would trample on the one or dissolve the 
other." ^ But a month later, he again declared that seces- 
sion should follow the election of a Republican President.' 
When the Baltimore convention met, all the delegation 
from North Carolina withdrew except R. P. Dick, W. W. 
Holden, and J. W. B. Watson. The two last-named refused 
to vote, but Dick voted for Douglas. For some time Holden 
was doubtful as to whom he would support, but finally an- 
nounced that he would favor the Breckinridge ticket, with 
the understanding that the electors would vote for Douglas, 
if by doing so they could defeat Lincoln. R. P. Dick, how- 
ever, called a meeting of those favoring Douglas, and a full 
electoral ticket was chosen. Douglas was present and ad- 
dressed the meeting. But the Douglas ticket played no part 
in the campaign and received less than three thousand votes. 
The contest was between Breckinridge and Bell and resulted 
in a victory for the former in spite of the vigorous campaign 
made by the Whigs. The Democratic state ticket was 

' Standard, May g, i860. 

' The editorial is in part as follows : " But it is said that the Su- 
preme Court may be in the future an unsafe tribunal for the South; 
that the Black Republicans will obtain control of it and turn its de- 
cisions against the slaveholding States. That may be so. At present 
it is certainly a safe tribunal for the South. It maj' be changed and 
no doubt will be, if the Black Republicans should obtain possession of 
the government. But what of that? Must we wait until this change 
is made? Shall we permit Lincoln to pervert the whole power of the 
Government, and in addition to turn the Supreme Court aga'nst us? 
We are for meeting the enemy at the threshold — for vanquishing him 
or being vanquished long before his law, his adjudications against us 
are made. If the people of the South are true to themselves they will 
never be troubled by the decisions of Black Republican judges. But if 
they submit to the inauguration and rule of Black Republicans, they 
will bind themselves to submit to the decisions of an abolition court." — ■ 
Standard, June 2, i860. 


elected by a majority of over six thousand votes.^ In the 
General Assembly the Democrats had a working majority 
in both houses. 


The result of the election had scarcely been announced 
vifhen the question of secession became the leading topic of 
the time. The election of Lincoln was not regarded in 
North Carolina as a sufficient cause of withdrawal from 
the Union, but the action of the other Southern States 
forced a consideration of the matter. During the campaign 
little had been said on the subject. No public speaker had 
advocated secession and many had denied the existence of 
the right." But the secession party was only ciuiet for a 
time. A secession meeting was held in Cleveland County 
early in November, and a largely-attended meeting in Wil- 
mington on November 19 inaugurated a campaign con- 
ducted by means of similar meetings.^ By the first of Jan- 
uary secession meetings had been held in more than thirty 
counties, and this number was more than doubled by the 
following April. In opposition to these, Union meetings 
were held in fewer counties, it is true, but in greater 

The battle commenced when the General Assembly met. 
All the members seemed conscious of the gravity of the 
situation and of the importance of the work ahead of them.'* 
The elements favorable to secession were well organized, 

' The total vote cast was 112,586. 

' Letter from Gov. Ellis to Gov. Gist, Oct. 19, i860. 

' Wilmington Journal, Nov. 20, i860. 

* An example of intense Union sentiment was in Rowan County, 
where nine large Union meetings were held during December and 

* Memoir of A. S. Merrimon, p. 61. 


and this fact later prevented some of the Union men from 
voting with them on the question of a convention. The 
body, as a whole, was able and conservative, but still there 
was a tendency on the part of some of the Union men to be 
factious, and some of the secessionists were illiberal. 

The governor's message was a clear statement of the 
conditions which the legislature had to face. He suggested 
an invitation to the Southern States to hold a conference 
through delegates, the calling of a convention of the peo- 
ple,^ and a thorough re-organization of the militia. It was 
evident from the tone of the message that Governor Ellis 
had little hope of a peaceful settlement of the sectional dif- 

A joint committee on federal relations was appointed 
and reported early in December, recommending that a con- 
vention limited in power should be called. A minority re- 
port dissented both in regard to the possibility of a limited 
convention and the necessity for calling one at that time. 
Bills providing for calling a convention had already been 
introduced, but the bill reported by the committee was sub- 
stituted for them. The debate which now followed was 
long and heated. Discussion was not confined to the legis- 
lature. The question was argued all over the State, and 
the press entered into the discussion in even a more vigor- 
ous way than the legislature. At this time- its sentiment was 
overwhelmingly for the Union." The course of events, 
however, was having an effect upon it as well as upon the 
people and the legislature. When a convention was first 

' Governor Ellis had been in consultation with Thomas Bragg, 
Thomas L. Clingman, W. W. Avery, R. R. Bridgers, John F. Hoke, 
and R. O. Burton, the last four members of the legislature which was 
to meet in a few days. All but Bragg favored a convention. Ellis: 
Diary, Nov. 17, i860, et seq. 

' At this time only the Charlotte Bulletin, Goldsboro Rough Notes, 
Wilmington Journal, and the Raleigh State Journal favored secession. 


proposed it seemed very doubtful if one could be called, 
but, as time passed, the idea grew in favor. Many of the 
strongest advocates of the Union commenced to support it, 
trusting that the Union sentiment in the State would keep 
the secessionists from obtaining control of it/ The seces- 
sion element was increased by the influence of the secession 
of the various Cotton States and the appearance in Raleigh 
of representatives from several of them. Jacob Thompson, 
of Mississippi, S. Hall, of Georgia, and I. W. Garrott and 
R. H. Smith, of Alabama, were received by the legislature 
as commissioners from their States. All were natives of 
North Carolina. The members of Congress from the State 
also took part in the discussion. The address of the South- 
ern members of Congress was signed by Ruffin and Craige. 
The two senators and four of the representatives wrote 
requesting the legislature to call a convention, and it was 
known that two others favored it." 

Another thing added to the excitement and uneasiness of 
the people. There were at this time four United States 
army posts in the State — the Fayetteville arsenal and Forts 
Johnston, Caswell, and Macon. At the request of the 
mayor and citizens of Fayetteville, who feared an insurrec- 
tion, and against the advice of the officer in command, 
troops had been sent there early in November.^ At each of 
the other posts an ordnance sergeant was in charge. Early 
in January a committee from Wilmington visited Governor 
Ellis and begged him to seize Forts Johnston and Caswell. 
He refused to entertain the proposition, and on the morn- 

' A letter from Z, B. Vance, dated Jan. 9, 1861, shows this feeling. 
He felt that better terms could be obtained if the State were in con- 

" Senators Bragg and Clingman, Representatives Branch, Craige, 
Winslow, and Ruffin. Vance and Smith were known to favor it. 

• Off. Rec, no. i, pp. 480-4. 


ing of the tenth Fort Johnston was captured by citizens of 
Wihnington, organized as a committee of safety under 
the name of " Cape Fear Minute Men " and under the com- 
mand of John J. Hedrick. That afternoon, accompanied 
by S. D. Thruston, captain of the " SmithviUe Guards," 
and a number of citizens of SmithviUe, they captured Fort 
Caswell. This latter was a most important fort, as it com- 
manded the mouth of the Cape Fear river. The next day, 
Governor Ellis, hearing unofficially of the seizure, tele- 
graphed Warren Winslow in Washington to ascertain if 
the administration intended to garrison the forts in North 
Carolina.^ He also sent orders to Thruston to evacuate 
the forts at once. The order was complied with and the 
two forts were restored to the officers in charge. Governor 
Ellis was of the opinion that the seizure had been made by 
the militia under orders. Later information showed the 
error of this. Fie at once reported the matter to the Presi- 
dent and asked if the forts were to be garrisoned. Secre- 
tary Holt replied thanking him for his prompt action, and 
declaring that there was, at that time, no intention of plac- 
ing garrisons in the forts as they were considered entirely 
safe in "law-abiding" North Carolina; but that, if a dis- 
position v.'as shown to attack them, they would be pro- 

These events all had their effect, and on January 30 boih 
houses of the General Assembly agreed upon a bill pro- 
viding for submitting to the people the question of a con- 
vention, limited in its powers to Federal relations, and for 
the election of delegates at the same time. If called, no 
action of the convention v\'as to become valid until ratified 
by the people. The bill was most strongly supported by W. 

' North Carolhia Regimental History, vol. i, p. 26. 
^ Off. Rec., no. i, pp. 484-5. 


W. Avery and V. C. Barringer in the Senate, and Samuel 
Person in the House, while the opposition was led by Bed- 
ford Brown and R. S. Donnell in the Senate and House, 
respectively. In the Senate, Jonathan Worth, Alfred Dock- 
ery, Josiah Turner, L. O. Sharpe, and David Outlaw con- 
tested every step made by the secessionists and gave them 
infinite trouble. But the movement was gaining a head- 
way which rendered ineffectual all opposition.^ The legis- 
lature, after passing the convention bill, went further. An 
appropriation of $300,000 was made to purchase arms, and 
a military commission was chosen to advise the governor 
on the subject." A new militia law was passed, making all 
white males between eighteen and forty-five years of age 
liable to service. A volunteer corps of ten thousand men 
was provided for, and the governor was authorized to en- 
roll twenty thousand more to serve, in case of invasion, at 
the pleasure of the commander-in-chief.^ Commissioners 
were elected to represent the State near the Confederate 
Government, and at the Peace Conference in Washington. 
On the former commission were ex-Governor David L. 
Swain, president of the State University, M. W. Ran- 
som, and John L. Bridgers, while ex-Chief Justice Thomas 
Ruffin, ex-Governor David S. Reid, ex-Governor John M. 
Morehead, D. M. Barringer, and George Davis composed 
the latter. In both. Union men were in the majority. 

' Gov. Ellis, in a private letter to I. W. Garrett, of Alabama, said 
that North Carolina would much sooner join an organized government 
than secede without one being already formed, but that the State could 
take no part in its organization. " But," said he, " rely upon it, the 
Southern Rights men in North Carolina will never desert you. We 
have submissionists here; but the great heart of the people is right. 
You may count on us, for we will be with you soon." 

' D. H. Hill and C. C. Tew, the superintendents of the two mili- 
tary schools in the State, were appointed commissioners. Laws, 
1860-1, chap, xxvii. 

' Laws, 1860-1, chap. xxiv. 


The commissioners to Montgomery attended the sessions 
of the Confederate Congress, but declined to take any part 
in their deliberations. The delegation to Washington, soon 
after the Peace Conference met, came to the conclusion that 
there was no hope of peace. Barringer, Reid, and Davis 
voted against the Conference's proposition with the excep- 
tion of the third and fourth sections. Ruffin and Morehead, 
while not satisfied, were unwilling to reject anything that 
might prevent the war on honorable terms, and voted for 
the entire proposition. This recommended a number of 
amendments to the Constitution, the substance of which was 
as follows : By the first, slavery was to be prohibited in the 
territories north of latitude 36 degrees and 30 minutes. 
South of that line the institution was to remain as it was at 
the time, and no law could be passed abridging the right of 
a citizen to take a slave thither. The status of new States 
was to be determined by their constitutions. The second 
provided that no further acquisition of territory should be 
made without the consent of a majority of the senators 
from both the free States and the slave States. The third 
declared that no amendment to the Constitution should be 
made interfering with slavery in the States, nor should 
Congress prohibit it in the District of Columbia, nor inter- 
fere with the domestic slave trade between slave States, 
nor tax slaves at a higher rate than land. The slave trade 
in the District of Columbia was abolished, but Congress was 
prohibited from assuming any power to prevent slaves from 
being taken into the District and then brought away. The 
fourth provided that the Constitution should not be so con- 
strued as to prevent any of the States from aiding in the 
arrest and delivery of fugitive slaves. The fifth prohibited 
forever the foreign slave trade. The sixth provided that 
the amendments to the Constitution so proposed should 
not be abolished or changed without the consent of all the 


States. Finally, the seventh provided for payment by the 
United States for all slaves released by violence from fed- 
eral officials, or whose re-capture should be prevented by 
violence. All these amendments v^^ere included in one pro- 
posed article. It was adopted with nothing like unanimity 
among the delegates to the conference and was doomed to 
failure before it ever reached Congress.^ 

Up to the time of the meeting of the Peace Confer- 
ence there had been great hopes in the State that by it 
all the vexing questions between the sections would be 
settled and peace restored.^ But the hope was all in 
vain.^ On their return to North Carolina the com- 
missioners announced that all hope of peace was gone. 
Judge Ruffin, who had gone to the conference as a vio- 
lent Union man, made a speech in Hillsboro consist- 
ing of only three words, " Fight! Fight! Fight! " Noth- 
ing illustrates more clearly the change of sentiment 
which was taking place. The same thing is noticeable in 
the newspapers. With the exception of the Standard, all 
began to advise military preparations. This was defended 
by all of them as a necessity. One of them said, " The ex- 
tremists of both sides have left nothing for us but seces- 
sion." * And gradually most of them began to advocate 
what they had so persistently fought. 

' The voting in the conference was by States and consequently the 
vote of the majority of any delegation prevailed for the vote of its 

' Report of S. Hall to Georgia Convention. Journal, p. 330. Mr. 
Hall said that the great obstacle " to the immediate co-operation of 
North Carolina with the Confederate States is the belief entertained 
by a large number of citizens that the Peace Conference will compose 
the dissensions between the sections." 

' The attitude of many people in the State may be seen in Governor 
Ellis' statement that he would rather see the Chicago platform in the 
Constitution than the plan of the conference. 

* New Bern Progress, Jan. 18, 1861. 



The vote on the question of a convention and the elec- 
tion of delegates were held February 28. The issue of the 
campaign had been made " Union or Disunion," and not- 
withstanding the fact that many of the leaders of the Union 
party desired a convention as the best means of settlement, 
and that the act providing for it had only been passed 
through their support, the call was defeated. The people 
still hoped for peace and were afraid of a convention. The 
majority against it was small — 651 votes out of a total of 
93,995 — but a majority of the delegates chosen were Union 
men. Representatives of three views as to the course to 
be pursued were found among the delegates. There were 
52 " submissionists," as the secessionists called them, 22 
" conditional submissionists," and 46 " Southern Rights " 

The strongest advocate of the Union could not think that 
this was a final decision of the question. It was only a 
gain in time, a success for those advocating a " Watch and 
Wait " policy,^ and it gave them only a momentary advan- 
tage. The secession party had the advantage of being co- 
herent, in marked contrast to their opponents, and were 
more enthusiastic in their cause. Lincoln's inaugural did 
not satisfy the people as a whole, nor could they be reached 
by the new administration. He offered John A. Gilmer a 
place in his cabinet but the latter refused it. Seward wished 
a place offered to William A. Graham but did not succeed 
in influencing Lincoln in the matter.- Li the east, begin- 
ning in Wilmington, a strong and united movement now 
commenced. " States Rights " meetings were held in var- 
ious places and delegates chosen to a state meeting to be 
held in Goldsboro in March. This movement spread to 
other parts of the State, and when the meeting was held on 

• Tins was the watchword of the Standard 
' Diary of Gideon ]VeIIcs. ii, p. 390. 


the twenty-second about a thousand persons were present, 
representing twenty-five counties. Weldon N. Edwards, 
of Warren, was called to the chair. Formal organization 
of a party resulted, and plans were made for a campaign 
extending all over the State. Franklin J. Moses, of South 
Carolina, who had been appointed by his State as a commis- 
sioner to the defeated convention, was present and ad- 
dressed the meeting. Edmund Ruffin, of Virginia, came 
over from Charleston to attend, and made a vigorous seces- 
sion speech. Determination and energy marked the whole 
meeting. After providing for another meeting in Char- 
lotte on May 20, they adjourned, confident of success.^ 
Later events rendered the adjourned meeting unnecessary, 
and the call was withdrawn. A vigorous campaign was car- 
ried on for the next three weeks, and apparently with re- 

Then the agony of doubt ended. Sumter fell, and the 
President's call for troops followed. Governor Ellis was 
notified by the Secretary of War that a call had been made 
on him for two regiments for immediate service. The gov- 
ernor at once replied : 

Raleigh, April 15. 
To the Secretary of War: 

Your dispatch is received, and if genuine (which its extra- 
ordinary character leads me to doubt), I have to say in reply 
that I regard a levy of troops for the purpose of subjugating 
the States of the South, as in violation of the Constitution and 
a 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. 

John W. Ellis, 
Governor of North Carolina.^ 

' Wilmington lournal, March 27, 1861. 
' Executive Correspondence, Ellis, p. 394. 



Two days later he summoned the legislature to meet in 
extra session. Immediately upon the call for troops he had 
ordered the seizure of the forts. Fort Macon had already 
been taken without orders. Those on the Cape Fear were 
captured by the Wilmington Light Infantry/ and the Fay- 
etteville arsenal was occupied, without resistance being 
made, by Warren Winslow with a force of militia.^ 

L. P. Walker, the Confederate Secretary of War, at once 
asked Governor Ellis to send a regiment to Virginia and 
this was promised within a few days.* The governor at 
once called for 30,000 volunteers, and a camp of instruction 
was established at Raleigh.* These acts placed North Caro- 
lina in the same category with the other Southern States, 
and consequently President Lincoln on April 27 declared 
its ports blockaded.'^ 

The Union newspapers had now given up the fight, the 
Register saying, " It is the part of prudence and of common 
sense to look at things as they are and not as we would wish 
them to be. We believe that Abraham Lincoln is about to 
wage a war of coercion against these States. We believe that 
in this war the remaining slaveholding States will be in- 
volved, and we shall be found on the side of the section in 
which we were bom and bred and in which live our kindred, 
connections and friends. If this makes us secessionists, 
then let us be so called." " The Standard, also, acknowl- 
edged the necessity for war but was very lukewarm at first. 
Later, it became exceedingly warlike in tone.' 

' Off. Rec, no. i, pp. 476-8. 
" Ibid., p. 479. 
' Ibid., pp. 486-7. 

* Governor's message, extra session of 1861. 

* McPherson, History of the Rebellion, p. 149. 
" Issue of April 17, 1861. 

' Until the call for troops, the position of the newspapers of the 


The Council of State met on April 23 and passed reso- 
lutions approving the action of Governor Ellis in taking 
possession of the forts, and ratifying, by their approval, his 
reply to Secretary Cameron. They requested him to call 
out troops not to exceed 5,000 to drill and be prepared for 
public defence in any emergency/ 

The General Assembly met on May i. The governor's 
message gave an account of his actions and advised the call- 
ing of a convention with full powers, as the people were 
known to have but one opinion as tO' the course to be pur- 
sued. In less than two hours the House passed, unani- 
mously, a bill calling an unlimited convention.^ In the 
Senate, the House bill was immediately passed. Jonathan 
Worth, L. Q. Sharpe, and Josiah Turner voted nay. They 
based their opposition on the short time given for a can- 
vass, and the fact that the action of the convention would 
not be submitted to the people.^ The same day Governor 
Ellis issued a proclamation, calling an election for delegates 

State on the question of secession was as follows : For secession, Ra- 
leigh State Journal, Wilmington Journal, Fayetteville Carolinian, Mur- 
freesboro Citizen, Elizabeth City Pioneer, Asheville News, Salisbury 
Banner, Charlotte Bulletin, Charlotte Democrat, Goldsboro Tribune, 
Goldsboro Rough Notes, Shelby Eagle, Warrenton News, Washington 
Times, Tarboro Mercury, Winston Western Sentinel, Wilson Ledger, 
Tarboro Southerner, and Hillsboro Plaindealer, all Democratic; the 
Wilmington Herald, Albermarle Southron, Charlotte Whig, Milton 
Chronicle, Western Carolinian, all Whig, and the New Bern Progress, 
Concord Flag, Raleigh Leisure Hour, all independent. Against seces- 
sion, the Raleigh Standard and Raleigh Banner, Democratic, and the 
following Whig papers : Raleigh Register, Fayetteville Observer, Salis- 
bury Watchman, Greensboro Patriot, Iredell Express, Washington 
Dispatch, Kinston Advocate, Hendersonville Times, Salem Press, Ashe 
Spectator, Wadesboro Argus, and the Hillsboro Recorder. After the 
call for troops, all were for war. 

' Records of the Council of State, p. 81. 

' P. T. Henry voted affirmatively with a protest. 

» State Journal, May 8, 1861, 


to be held May 17, and calling the convention to meet May 

Before the convention bill was passed, the governor was 
authorized to send troops to Virginia, without limit as to 
number. The legislature then turned its attention to war 
preparations. Franklin J. Moses was again present and 
was given the freedom of the floor.^ A vote of thanks to 
Governor Ellis for his promptness in preparing for war 
was passed, receiving only two negative votes. ^ Acts were 
passed making it unlawful to administer the oath to sup- 
port the Constitution of the United States; providing for 
the manufacture of arms at the Fayetteville arsenal and ap- 
propriating $200,000 for the purpose ; authorizing the gov- 
ernor to appoint a commissioner near the government of the 
Confederate States;" authorizing the governor to enroll 10,- 
000 state troops ; declaring North Carolina free from lia- 
bility for the federal debt incurred after March 4, 1861 ; au- 
thorizing the governor to accept 20,000 twelve-months' 
volunteers and to arm and equip them and to offer a bounty 
of $10 to each; authorizing the governor to commission 
with equal rank officers of the army and navy of the United 
States, who resigned to enter the service of the State; ap- 
propriating $5,oo'0,ooo for public defence; defining and pro- 
viding for the punishment of treason against the State; and 
providing for a stay in the execution of judgments in civil 

Before the legislature met, it had been suggested that it 
should pass a declaration of secession and submit it to the 

^ Journal of ihc General Assembly, May i, 1861. 

' Josiah Turner and Alfred Dockery in the Senate voted against this 

^ Thomas L. Clingman was appointed commissioner and visited the 
Confederate Congress. 
* These acts are to be found in the Laws. First Extra Session, 1S61. 


people as a constitutional amendment. This, however, was 
very generally opposed/ But in the Senate Josiah Turner 
introduced a declaration of independence from the United 
States. It was, of course, an effort to bring the proceed- 
ings of the majority into ridicule, and was not considered. 

The campaign for the convention was devoid of any par- 
ticular interest. The issue was no longer " Union or Dis- 
union," nor a discussion as to the right and propriety of 
secession, but simply should North Carolina go with the 
North or with the South.^ On this the result was assured, 
and not a person in the State advocated anything but separ- 
ation. The cause of the South was regarded as the cause 
of North Carolina.^ Quite a number of the old Union men, 
not caring to take part in the act of separation, declined to 
be candidates for the convention, but they advocated a vig- 
orous preparation for war, and war itself, if the existing 
conditions should continue. 


The convention assembled in Raleigh on May 20, a day 
then generally celebrated in North Carolina as the anniver- 
sary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. The 
delegates now, regardless of their opinion on the right of 
secession, were resolved on separation. The only issue was 
how it should take place. 

The body, as assembled, was probably the ablest and most 
distinguished in the history of the State. The reason for 
this is simple. The gravity of the situation made the peo- 
ple forget party and elect their most trusted men regard- 

' Western Democrat, April 30, 1861. 

^ Ibid , April 22, 1861. 

' This feeling is particularly noticeable in the speeches and letters of 
men of the type of W, A. Graham, George E. Badger, and Jonathan 


less of differences in political opinion, and so the best men 
of both parties were chosen. In many counties a delegate 
was chosen from each party. The lights of the old Whig 
party, obscured by uninterrupted Democratic success, again 
appeared in political position. In fact, the Whigs were in 
the majority in the convention. And of the Democrats, the 
majority had been opposed to secession before the call for 

Probably the most influential of the leaders in the conven- 
tion were George E. Badger, Thomas Ruffin, William A. 
Graham, and Weldon N. Edwards. Among the other 
prominent men were Asa Biggs, David S. Reid, William 
Johnston, Warren Winslow, Bedford Brown, W. W. Hol- 
den, Kenneth Rayner, R. P. Dick, Burton Craige, George 
Howard, and John A. Gilmer.^ Five members of the con- 
vention, Edwards, Biggs, Rayner, E. T. Brodnax, and W. 
F. Leak, had also been delegates in 1835. 

' An idea of the prominence of the group above named can be gained 
from the positions they had filled. George E. Badger had been a mem- 
ber of the House of Commons, Superior Cotirt judge. United States 
Senator, and Secretary of the Navy. He was nominated for the United 
States Supreme Court, but failed of confirmation. Thomas Ruffin had 
been member and speaker of the Commons, Superior Court judge, 
President of the State Bank, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and a 
member of the Peace Conference. W. A. Graham had been member and 
speaker of the Commons, State Senator, United States Senator, Gover- 
nor, and Secretary of the Navy. He was the Whig candidate for Vice- 
President in 1852. Weldon N. Edwards had been a member of Con- 
gress, State Senator, and for many terms Speaker, a member of the 
Convention of 1835. Asa Biggs had been a member of the Commons 
and Senate, and a member of the convention of 1835, member of Con- 
gress, United States Senator, and United States District judge. David S. 
Reid had been State Senator, member of Congress, Governor, and United 
States Senator. William Johnson was prominent as a railroad president 
and business man. He received every vote in Mecklenburg County as 
a delegate. Warren Winslow had been speaker of the Senate, Gover- 
nor ex officio, and a member of Congress. Bedford Brown had been 
a member of the Commons, Speaker of the Senate, and United States 


The convention organized by the election of president. 
Weldon N. Edwards and Wilhani A. Graham were placed 
in nomination. The election was, in a sense, a test of the 
strength of the two elements composing the convention, 
which may be called for convenience the secessionists and 
the revolutionists. The former won, and Edwards was 
elected by a vote of 65 to his opponent's 48. As soon as he 
had taken the chair George E. Badger presented a paper 
for consideration. It was not read at the time but post- 
poned until complete organization should be effected. After 
this had been completed the president read a communica- 
tion from F. J. ]\/loses, commissioner from South Carolina 
to present her ordinance and to invite the cooperation of 
North Carolina. He was received by the convention and 
made a most insolent and patronizing speech, welcoming 
the prospects which he saw for North Carolina's joining in 
the cause of the South. '^ 

Judge Badger's paper was then read to the convention. 
It was an elaborate review of the condition of the country 
and the causes which made separation necessary, and it pro- 
vided for separation by means of revolution, without any 
mention of secession in the applied meaning of the word.^ 

Senator. W. W. Holden had been a member of the Commons. Ken- 
neth Rayner had been a member of the convention of 1835, member 
of the Commons and of the Senate, and member of Congress. R. P. 
Dick had been United States District Attorney. Burton Craige had 
been a member of the Commons and of Congress. George Howard 
had been prominent as an editor and was a Superior Court judge. 
John A. Gilmer had been State Senator and member of Congress. He 
was the Whig candidate for Governor in 1854, but was defeated. He 
decHned the Treasury portfolio in President Lincoln's cabinet. 

'■ State Journal, May 22, 1861. 

' The following is a summary of the Badger ordinance : The pream- 
ble asserts — 

1. That Lincoln and Hamlin were chosen by a sectional party, hos- 
tile to Southern institutions. 

2. That North Carolina, though aggrieved thereby, declined to join 


Burton Craige then offered as a substitute an ordinance 

the States first seceding, but being ardently attached to the Union, re- 
mained therein, hoping that what was threatening might be removed 
and guarantees for the security of her rights be given, in the mean- 
time exerting her influence for the accomplishment of these ends. 

3. While indulging this hope President Lincoln called on the States 
for troops to invade the seceding States, in order to subject them to 
military authority; that there was no act of Congress authorizing such 
call, and that such act, if passed, would be unconstitutional. 

4. The call was answered with enthusiasm throughout the non-slave- 
holding States. 

5. It is evident from the tone of the press of those States and the 
avowal of their public men, that their " government and people intend 
to wage a cruel war against the seceded States, to destroy utterly the 
fairest portion of their continent, and to reduce its inhabitants to abso- 
lute subjection and abject slavery." 

6. President Lincoln, without shadow of rightful authority, has de- 
clared the ports of North Carolina as well as all the other Atlantic and 
Gulf States, under blockade, thus seeking to cut off her trade with all 
parts of the world. 

7. The whole conduct and words of said Lincoln have been false, 
disingenuous and treacherous. 

8. That he is governing by military rule alone, increasing army and 
navy without authority, and setting aside constitutional and legal re- 

9. His "unconstitutional, illegal and oppressive acts," his "wicked 
and diabolical purposes," and his " position of usurper and military 
dictator" were sustained by the non-slaveholding States. 

Therefore this convention, in the name and with the sovereign power 
of the people of North Carolina declare — 

1st. All connection of government between this State and the United 
States, dissolved and abrogated, and' this State to be a free, sovereign, 
and independent State, owing no subordination, obedience, support or 
other duty to them, their constitution, or authorities. 

2nd. That " this State has full power to levy war, conclude peace, 
contract alliances, and do all other acts and things which independent 
States may of right do." 

3rd. "Appealing to the Supreme Governor of the world for the jus- 
tice of our cause, and beseeching Him for His gracious help and bless- 
ing, we will to the uttermost of our power, and to the last extremity, 
maintain, defend, and uphold this declaration." 

This summary is taken from Dr. K. P. Battle's monograph. Legisla- 
tion of the Convention of 1S61. 


which had been prepared by Judah P. Benjamin and which 
he introduced at the request of Governor ElHs/ It was as 
follows : 

An ordinance dissolving the union between the State of 
North Carolina and the other States united with her under the 
compact of government entitled " The Constitution of the 
United States." 

Wc, 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 re- 
pealed, rescinded, and abrogated. 

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

An attempt to have the convention sit with closed doors 
failed. Judge Rufhn then introduced a resolution declaring 
it the sentiment of the convention that the State should 
sever its connection with the United States and join the 
Confederacy, and referring the whole question of the means 
which should be employed to a committee which should be 
instructed to consider the matter and report a suitable ordi- 

' The ordinance, which was prepared by Judah P. Benjamin, was 
brought to Raleigh from Montgomery by James Hines, a North 
Carolinian, and delivered to Gov. Ellis, who asked Burton Craige, the 
member from his county, to introduce it. 

' Convention lournal, p, 13. 


nance.^ The minority in the convention, with possibly a 
very few exceptions, were as thoroughly convinced as the 
majority that separation was necessary, and under existing 
circumstances, desirable. But they were not prepared, ex- 
cept as a last resort, to give their assent to the doctrine of 
secession, the right of which had been utterly denied by 
many of them. They believed that the time had fully come 
for revolution, and their contention was that the conven- 
tion ought to ignore any question of secession and pass an 
ordinance which would not be a constitutional, but simply a 
revolutionary act. But the majority of the convention 
were secessionists now, whatever their belief had been in 
the past, and they would not hear of the plan, nor would 
they submit to any delay. Badger's ordinance was stricken 
out by a vote of 72 to 40. He at once left the hall and went 
home." Judge Ruffin, still hoping to alter the Craige ordi- 
nance, moved to amend it so that it would be a simple dec- 
laration of the dissolution of the union existing between 
North Carolina and the other States. Kenneth Rayner said 
that it made little difference to him personally what kind of 
ordinance was adopted, but that he thought something was 
due the secessionists and South Carolina. This was the 
opinion of the majority, for the resolution was defeated.* 
The Craige ordinance was then passed receiving the vote of 
every delegate present, one hundred and fifteen in all. Wil- 
liam A. Graham, as he voted, said that in so doing, he 
waived all further question of the right of secession. Judge 
Ruffin, for most of his life probably the staunchest believer 

' State Journal, May 22, 1861. 

2 A member of Judge Badger's family relates that after his return 
home, he was seated at the dinner table when the ringing of the Capitol 
bell announced secession. Judge Badger raised his hand and said, 
"The death knell of slavery." 

' The vote on Judge Ruffin's resolution was 49 yeas to 66 nays. 


in and supporter of the Union in the convention, said that 
if a halter were about his neck he would still vote aye/ 

The announcement of the vote was received with great 
applause on the floor and in the galleries, and the bell on the 
Capitol was the signal for a roar of salutes which followed 
from the military companies in the Capitol Square and all 
over Raleigh. When quiet was restored the convention, on 
motion of W. F. Leak, cheered South Carolina vigorously.'^ 

An ordinance was then introduced ratifying the Consti- 
tution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate 
States and signifying North Carolina's willingness to join 
the Confederacy. An attempt to submit the ordinance tO' 
the people for ratification failed, the unanimous vote of 
the convention being its only ratification. A resolution 
ratifying the permanent Constitution of the Confederacy 
was referred to a committee and the convention adjourned 
for the day. Its action excited the wildest enthusiasm 
throughout the State. Secession had been an assured fact, 
but no one had dreamed of its receiving a unanimous vote.* 

The following day, when Judge Badger returned to the 
convention, he asked leave to have his name recorded as 
voting for the secession ordinance, saying, at the same time, 
that he objected to the wording of the ordinance, and utterly 
repudiated any belief in the right of secession.* That night, 
in the presence of a large and enthusiastic body of spec- 

' State Journal, May 22, 1861. 

'Ibid., May 22, 1861. 

3 Holden said four years later that he voted for the secession ordi- 
nance only because, if he had not, he would have been hung in the 
Capitol Square by order of Gov. Ellis, or forced to leave the State. 
Apart from anything else to the contrary, the fact that no demonstra- 
tion hostile or discourteous to Badger was made, proves the falsity 
of his belief. 

* State Journal, May 29, 1861. 


tators, the enrolled ordinance of secession was signed by 
one hundred and twenty delegates, the full membership of 
the convention. Holden is reported to have held up the 
pen with which he signed and said that he would hand it 
down to his children as their proudest heritage/ The first 
act was completed, the reversal of which was only to be ac- 
complished by four long years of war with its attendant 
bitterness, sorrow, privation, and misery of every sort. But 
at the time no thought of this was present. There was 
sincere regret at separation from the Union which had been 
cherished to the last; but rejoicing at freedom from condi- 
tions which had long been irksome and martial excitement 
were dominant, and, casting regret behind, all now turned 
their attention to preparation for the war. Regarding this, 
there seems to have been little doubt in the public mind of 
the ultimate success of the South, but very few deceived 
themselves with the belief that the contest would be a cam- 
paign simply of one summer. 

Copies of the ordinance of secession and the ratifying 
ordinance were sent to President Davis by the convention, 
and on May 27 North Carolina was proclaimed a member of 
the Confederacy. On June 6, an ordinance was passed, rati- 
fying the permanent Constitution of the Confederate States. 
This ordinance was not formally ratified tmtil June 19. The 
'convention Avas much criticised for its delay in ratification. 
Under the lead of W. A. Graham, assisted by R. P. Dick 
and Kenneth Rayner, a strong fight was made against im- 
mediate action. Graham preferred that the State should 
act alone in her sovereign capacity, and not join any con- 
federacy at that time. Judge Rufifin and Judge Badger 
favored immediate ratification. The discussion at times 

' This has often been denied, but has repeatedly been vouched for 
by those present. 


became somewhat heated, particularly between Graham and 
Badger. Party spirit too became apparent.^ An ordinance 
declaring the right of secession for cause was introduced 
and debated but never finally acted on/ In the meantime 
the convention had begun the transfer to the Confederacy 
of the forts and arsenals within the borders of the State. 

During the first session the convention passed in all 
thirty-five ordinances. These were of more or less im- 
portance, but it seems that the convention after the first 
day spent time in discussion far out of proportion to the 
amount of legislation accomplished. This was in part due 
to the large number of lawyers and political leaders in the 
body. Besides the ordinances already mentioned its work 
included acts defining treason against the State," postponing 
the next session of the legislature from June 25 to August 
15,* relieving volunteers from the payment of poll tax,** se- 
curing to the citizens of the State in the military ser- 
vice of the State or the Confederacy the right to vote," 
and appropriating the sum of $3,200,000 to meet the de- 
mands on the treasury for the next two years.' 

The convention elected a full delegation to the Provi- 
sional Congress of the Confederacy. The " old Union 
men " held a caucus, presided over by W. A. Graham, and 

' Speaking of party spirit, Judge RufBn said, " Let us no longer talk 
of being secessionists now or Union men now, for we are all secession- 
ists from Northern tyranny and Union men for the Southern Confed- 

' Journal, p. 74. 

' Ordinances, p. 7. 

* Ibid., p. 7. This caused much dissatisfaction, as did a proposition 
to dissolve the General Assembly. 

' Ibid., p. 35- 

• Ibid., pp. 40-1- 
' Ibid., pp. 42-6. 


nominated candidates,' but the independent vote decided the 
election, and the delegates were chosen from both of the old 
parties.^ After this the convention adjourned on June 28 
to meet the following November, unless sooner called by its 

In the meantime the State was making every effort in 
preparation for the war. Volunteering was still going on 
with no sign of any decrease. It is not the purpose of this 
study to enter into military history. But a more accurate 
view of internal conditions can be obtained if it be men- 
tioned that by August, 1862, the State had furnished to 
the military service of the Confederacy 64,636 volunteers. 
By November, 1864, 21,608 had been added to this number. 
Before the end of the war, it furnished also 21,343 con- 
scripts, 9,893 reserves, 3,203 state troops, 3,117 detailed 
men, and 3,100 serving in regiments from other States, 
making a total of over 126,000. Besides this, several thou- 
sand home guards were in service. This was nearly one- 
sixth of the Confederate army.* Her military population 
was 115,369, North Carolina also furnished to the Union 
army 3,146 white and 5,035 colored soldiers. But of the 
latter 1,781, enlisted in 1864, were credited to several North- 
ern States to fill out their quota for the draft.^ Of the 

' Battle, Legislation of tlie Convention of 1861, p. 126. 

' The delegates were as follows: For the State-at-large, George Davis 
and W. W. Avery. For the districts, W. N. H. Smith, Thomas Ruf- 
fin (of Wayne), Thomas D. McDowell, Abram Venable, John M. 
Morehead, R. C. Puryear, Burton Craige, and A. T. Davidson. Avery, 
Ruffin, Craige, Venable, and McDowell were Democrats and original 
secessionists. The rest of the delegates were Whigs. Davis had 
favored secession since the close of the Peace Conference. 

^ A committee, consisting of W. A. Graham, Thomas Ruffin, J. W. 
Osborne, and Asa Biggs, was empowered to summon it in the event of 
the death of the president. 

* North Carolina Regimental History, vol. v, p. i. 

* Off. Rec.. no. 126, pp. 116 et seq. 


higher officers in the military service of the Confederacy, 
the State had two Heutenant generals/ seven major gen- 
erals," and twenty-six brigadier generals.^ 

Governor Ellis died in July in Virginia where he was 
trying to recuperate after the severe strain of the preceding 
months. He was succeeded by Henry T. Clark, speaker of 
the Senate. 

The General Assembly met in August. It spent most of 
the session arguing against the assumption of power by the 
convention. An attempt was made to submit to the people 
the question as to whether the convention should meet again. 
This, naturally, was unsuccessful. Adjournment came in 
September, after a session of more than a month. 

The early battles of the war produced intense enthu- 
siasm, often out of proportion to their importance. The 
fight at Bethel, for example, was hailed as a great victory 
and caused more rejoicing than some of the later successes 
of infinitely greater importance. But hardships soon began. 
By the autumn of 1861 prices were rising and speculation 
in the necessaries of life commencing. And there also 

' T. H. Holmes and D. H. Hill. General Hill's nomination was 
never sent to the Senate for confirmation. 

'^ W. H. C. Whiting (killed), Robert Ransom, William D. Pender 
(killed), Robert F. Hoke, S. D. Ramseur (killed), J. F. Gilmer, and 
Bryan Grimes. 

'R. C. Gatlin, L. O'B. Branch (killed), J. J. Pettigrew (killed), 
George B. Anderson (killed), J. G. Martin, T. L. Clingman, Junius 
Daniel (killed), James H. Lane, John R. Cooke, R. B. Vance, A. M. 
Scales, M. W. Ransom, L. S. Baker, W. W. Kirkland, R. D. Johnston, 
James B. Gordon (killed), W. R. Cox (temporary), T. F. Toon 
(temporary), W. G. Lewis (temporary), Rufus Barringer, John D. 
Barry (temporary), A. C. Godwin (killed), William McRae, C. Leven- 
thorpe, Gabriel Rains, and W. P. Roberts. Generals Hill, Cooke, and 
Whiting were not natives of the State. Generals Bragg, Leonidas Polk, 
Lucius Polk, Wilcox, Zollicoffer, L. A. Armistead, Loring, and McCul- 
lough were natives of North Carolina, but were appointed from other 


appeared a bitter party spirit, which, at this time, above all 
others, should have been absent. Party feeling, always 
intense in the State, had never been more so than in the 
period which now followed. 


Party spirit slept, or more properly, appeared to sleep, 
only a short time after May 20.^ Reference has already 
been made to the caucus held by the " Union men " during- 
the first session of the convention. This was held at Hol- 
den's residence, and the Standard was the recognized organ 
of the faction, which was soon to assume a party name. 
Holden's attacks upon Governor Ellis ceased for a short 
time after secession, but were soon renewed with increased 
bitterness. His paper, from being very lukewarm towards 
the Confederacy, had become, by this time, apparently, a 
strong supporter of it and was most violent against the 
North. But in the state administration it found no good. 
Governor Ellis's military appointments were sharply criti- 
cised, and this led to a newspaper war that lasted to the 
close of actual hostilities, and in fact, during the whole 
period of Reconstruction, with one short truce. The 
hatreds aroused at this time materially influenced the his- 
tory of the State for the next ten years. Bitterness, how- 
ever, was by no means confined to Holden or those who^ 
acted with him. He was hated by the Democrats, who felt 
that he had deserted them, and distrusted by as many Whigs 
for the same reason. 

The opposition to the war party was quiet at first, but 
grew steadily. By a combination with the friends of Wil- 
liam T. Dortch, the opposition secured his election to the 

' Jonathan Worth, in a letter to James B. Troy, May 21, 1861, said 
there was only a feigned alliance between the two parties. Hamilton, 
ed., The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, i, p. 150. 


Confederate Senate. The reason assigned for defeating 
W. W. Avery, who had been delegate for the State at large 
to the Provisional Congress, was that the views of Dortch 
regarding secession had been more moderate.^ The first 
open division along party lines was in the presidential elec- 
tion in November, 1861. The Standard published an elec- 
toral ticket which failed to meet with the approval of the 
State Journal, and the latter at once published an opposition 
ticket containing, however, five of the names which were 
on the original ticket." The Journal's ticket was successful, 
and this was regarded by the war party as a vote of confi- 
dence. The cleavage was more evident when the convention 
re-assembled in the winter. Early in the session a resolu- 
tion was unanimously passed declaring their belief in the 
justice of the war and in the patriotism and integrity of the 
state and Confederate administrations. But little else in its 
proceedings showed unanimity. 

Probably the most important question of the session was 
regarding an ordinance to define and punish sedition, which 
was introduced by Judge Biggs, and which, among other 
things,^ provided for a test oath to be administered to all 

' Standard, September 18, 1861. 

' It is interesting to notice that during the war there was no statei 
political convention. The nearest approach to it was a peace meeting 
in the Tenth Congressional District in 1864, which nominated George 
W. Logan for the Confederate Congress. All other nominations were 
made by or through the newspapers. 

• The ordinance also declared any of the following offences to be a 
misdemeanor and, as such, punishable: (a) Attempting to convey in- 
formation to the enemy. (b) Publishing and deliberately speaking 
against the public defence, (c) Maliciously and advisedly endeavoring 
to excite the people to resist the government of the State or of the 
Confederate States, (d) Persuading the people to return to a depend- 
ence on the government of the United States, (e) Knowingly spread- 
ing false and dispiriting news, (f) Maliciously or advisedly terrifying 
and discouraging the people from enlisting into the service of the State 


males in the State except the volunteers. The penalty for 
refusal to take it was exile from the State. Naturally it 
met with great opposition. This was led in the convention 
by William A. Graham and R. P. Dick. The former's 
speech in opposition to it was probably the main cause of its 
failure. He placed particular stress on the injustice to the 
Quakers. The latter argued that it would lead to the belief 
that North Carolina was a nest of traitors, a theory which 
was disproved by the large number of volunteers that had 
gone to the front, and that the spirit of the thing was con- 
trary to the principles and ideas of the State. ^ The ordi- 
nance was tabled indefinitely by a large vote in December, 
and an attempt made the following February to consider it 
without the test oath, was defeated by a vote of 41 to 37.^ 
The matter was brought up again at the last session with 
the same result. The proposed ordinance was never popular 
in the State, and was regarded with horror by many.'' 

During the session resolutions were introduced, declar- 
ing against party spirit, but they were never allowed to 
come to a vote, as the friends of the administration saw in 
them a veiled attack upon President Davis, Governor Ellis, 
and Governor Clark, and succeeded in having them tabled. 
Many other things were considered by the convention, and, 
remembering the difficulties experienced in the past in secur- 
er Confederate States, (g) Stirring up or exciting tumults, disorders, 
or insurrections in the State, (h) Disposing the people to favor the 
enemy, (i) Opposirj or endeavoring to prevent the measures carried 
on in support of the freedom and independence of the Confederate 
States. This summary is taken from Battle, Legislation of the Con- 
vention of 1861. 

' Standard, Dec. 18, l86i. 

* The State Journal said this was a strict party vote. 

" Battle, Legislation of the Convention of 1861, p. 124. The vote 
on tabling it was 47 to 43. Journal, p. 64. 


ing amendment and revision of the constitution, it discussed 
and laid plans for quite a number of important constitu- 
tional changes. These were never finally adopted by this 
convention. Various matters, hovi^ever, occupied its atten- 
tion, and a fourth session was held in April, 1862. It ad- 
journed in May, subject to the call of the president, and if 
no call was made by November, 1862, this adjournment 
was to become sine die. 

By the time of its last session, the convention had be- 
come unpopular with the people generally. It accomplished 
little that they felt could not have been done by the General 
Assembly, and they were anxious for its adjournment. The 
original secessionists in the convention were in part respon- 
sible for this feeling, for they were in the minority and con- 
sequently desired adjournment in order that the legislature, 
in which they had a majority, might control the State. ^ 

An effort was made before the convention adjourned to 
influence it to declare the office of governor vacant and to 
elect a successor to Governor Clark. As Holden was promi- 
nently connected with this enterprise, it was commonly sup- 
posed that he desired the office.^ The plan failed, but the 
convention provided for an election for governor and or- 
dered that he should assume the duties of the office in Sep- 
tember, instead of the following January.^ Immediately 
the campaign began. The State Journal proposed that a 
convention should be held and its nominee elected without 
a contest. The press, with the exception of the Standard, 
favored this idea, but when it was seer, that a contest was 
inevitable, the Charlotte Democrat nominated William 
Johnston. He was, although a Whig, representative of the 

' Journal, p. 130. -^ 

' Western Sentinel, Jan. 31, 1862. 
' Ordinances, 2d sess., p. 7. 


secession party, and it was felt that his business training 
and his executive ability as shown in his career as a rail- 
road president, and, since the beginning of the war, as com- 
missary general of the State, would render him suitable for 
the position. 

Meanwhile the "Conservatives," as they now called them- 
selves, were casting about for a candidate. William A. Gra- 
ham was their first choice, but he declined to allow the use 
of his name. Through the influence of A. S. Merrimon, the 
Fayetteville Observer nominated Zebulon B. Vance, of 
Buncombe, at the time colonel of the 26th North Carolina 
regiment. He had been a Whig member of the Thirty-sixth 
Congress and had opposed secession until the call for troops, 
when he became a secessionist.^ He then volunteered and 
rose rapidly to the rank of colonel. In the fall of 1861 he 
declined to be a candidate for Congress on the ground that 
there was greater need of fighting men,^ and even now he 
was very doubtful as to the wisdom of allowing his name 
to be used, but finally consented.^ 

A large part of the press opposed a personal canvass in 
1862, but the Standard said, " Honest men do not fear a 
public discussion, but only the venal and corrupt," * and 
urged that one should be held. But apart from Vance's 
speeches in the army, the candidates took little part in it. 
The campaign was one of extreme heat and bitterness, es- 
pecially among the newspapers.' There was no real issue 

' Vance said he was speaking for the Union with his arm raised 
when the news came of the President's call for troops and his arm fell 
to the side of a secessionist. Speech to Andrew Post, G. A. R. 

' Dowd, Life of Vance, p. 68. 

3 His letter of acceptance is in the Fayetteville Observer of June 18 

* Quoted in Western Sentinel of April 18, 1862. 

^ In the campaign the Standard, Fayetteville Observer, Hillsboro 


regarding the war, for both parties claimed to have the same 
objects in view. It was really a campaign fought on the 
personality of the leaders. This was frankly the case so 
far as the Conservatives were concerned. But the original 
secessionists or " Confederate " party, saw, or appeared to 
see, in the success of the Conservatives, a complete sur- 
render to the North. They adopted as a platform the reso- 
lutions of confidence passed by the convention, and placed a 
summary of them upon their ticket which was as follows : 



An unremitting prosecution of the war ; the war to the 
last extremity : complete independence: eternal separation 
from the North: no abridgement of Southern territory; no 
alteration of Southern boundaries ; no compromise with 
enemies, traitors, or tories. 





It was not remarkable that the designs of the Conserva- 
tives were a cause of suspicion to their opponents. Nor is 
it probable that they were mistaken in their opinion of the 
objects of Holden. He was outspoken now in his opinion 
of the war, and said, " All those who, with South Caro- 
lina, preferred to break up the government, and who have 
not repented for so doing, will vote for Colonel Johnston." ^ 

Recorder, Greensboro Patriot, Wadesboro Argus, Franklin Carolinian, 
Hendersonville Times, Salem Press, and Salisbury Watchman favored 
Vance, while the Wilmington Journal, Raleigh Register, State Journal, 
Winston Sentinel, Concord Flag, Statesville Express, Shelby Eagle, 
Asheville News, Western Democrat, Charlotte Bulletin, and Charlotte 
Whig, were for Johnston. 
' Standard, June 21, 1862. 


But both Holden and his opponents were mistaken regard- 
ing the character and purpose of most of his associates. 

During the campaign a number of things, apart from the 
pohtical questions involved, contributed to aid the Conser- 
vative cause. Since the beginning of the war there had been 
much dissatisfaction in the State at the attitude of Virginia 
towards North Carolina. There was a feeling also that it was 
due largely to Virginia influence that more North Caro- 
lina officers were not rewarded for their services by promo- 
tion. The Standard, as a ground for attack on the Confed- 
erate government, commented frequently on this. Just at 
this time the Richmond Enquirer commenced a series of 
attacks on the State. It is needless to say that the most was 
made of them for campaign material. Another material ad- 
vantage was gained when Judge Badger made public a letter 
he had written to John S. Ely, of New York, and trans- 
mitted through Edward Stanly, who had lately been ap- 
pointed military governor of North Carolina. This de- 
fended the action of the former Union men of the State 
and declared that they were all true to the Confederacy and 
would never consent to a reunion with the North. This had 
effect in allaying the fears of many who were in doubt as 
to the loyalty of the leading Conservatives. 

The " Confederates " tried to offset this by quotations 
from the Northern papers, which were just now devoting 
much attention to North Carolina, and declaring that the 
election of Vance would be a Union victory.^ The Nezv 

' The Philadelphia Inquirer of June i8, 1862, commenting on the 
editorials of the Standard, said, " But here it comes out square and 
full, and in defiance of the Rebel powers, plants itself beside the old 
and honored Union. Who can doubt that a State where such words 
are boldly uttered at a hundred miles distance from our armies, is 
ready to return, is even now returning, from her prodigal and ruinous 
career?" After the election it said, "The issue in North Carolina 
was squarely secession against anti-secession. * * * The result is 
a Union victory." 



Era, published in Washington, N. C, which was now occu- 
pied by the Federal troops, issued an appeal to all Union 
men to vote for Vance and the other Conservative candi- 
dates.^ But the people could not be convinced that Vance 
was untrue, and an overwhelming victory was the result of 
the election. Out of a total vote of 74,871 he received a 
majority of 33,975. Johnston carried only twelve counties. 
Out of the army vote of 11,683, '^ot distributed by counties, 
Vance's majority was 3,691. Never before had there been 
such a majority in a North Carolina election. 

Governor Vance, in his inaugural, outlined his policy and 
brought comfort to those of his opponents who had be- 
lieved that he favored a return to the Union. Speaking of 
secession, he said, " It was not a whim or sudden freak, but 
the deliberate judgment of our people. Any other course 
would have involved the deepest degradation, the vilest dis- 
honor, and the direst calamity. We also accepted with the 
act all its inevitable consequences, a long and bloody war. 
. . . To prosecute this war with success is quite as much 
for our people as for our soldiers to do. One of the most 
vital elements of our success is harmony. On this great 
issue of existence itself let there, I pray you, be no dissent- 
ing voice in our borders." To the surprise of many he 
pledged the enforcement of the conscript law. The speech 
throughout was a plea, and at the same time a pledge, for 
the untiring prosecution of the war. It met with hearty 

' The Register answered the appeal of the New Era as follows : 
"Voters of North Carolina! Do you doubt now the end and aim of 
Conservatism? Do you doubt that the Conservatives of the Depart- 
ment of North Carolina (Stanly's Department) and the Conservatives 
of the rest of the State are united by the common tie of reconstruc- 
tion. Will you not see the gulf that is yawning at your feet and 
crush out a party that would force you into a Union with those who 
are waging against you the most brutal war that the malice of the 
devil ever instigated?" 


approval all over the State, the most cordial feeling being 
expressed by his political opponents, and all question of his 
position regarding the war was at an end. 

It is not likely that at this time many people in the State 
meditated a return to the Union. It is certain that there 
was a small number who were planning for such a thing 
whenever a suitable opportunity arose. But extreme dis- 
satisfaction was present in many quarters and from various 
causes. The lack of an adequate coast defence, from the 
beginning of the war, was a ground of attack upon the Con- 
federate government.^ The establishment of the military 
prison at Salisbury caused much dissatisfaction, particu- 
larly in its neighborhood. This increased as the war pro- 
gressed and many North Carolinians were imprisoned 
there.^ Disloyalty appeared in the eastern counties at the 
time of Federal occupation, and there was more or less of 
it throughout the war. As the year 1862 advanced cases 
elsewhere became more frequent. The assertion was con- 
stantly made that extreme disloyalty existed in Davidson,' 
Forsyth, Randolph, and Guilford counties. In Forsyth it 
was, at first, only a feeling in favor of peace, lacking lead- 
ers to make it a definite movement. In the campaign of 
1862 one of the candidates for the legislature declared in 
favor of a compromise with the North and a reconstruction 
of the old Union.* The great Quaker element in these coun- 

' The Wilmington Journal even called for the southeastern counties 
to unite with South Carolina, as the State disregarded their necessity. 
September 2$, 1862. 

' Clark to Seddon, January S, 1862. 

• As early as July, 1861, Gov. Clark was notified of treasonable ut- 
terances and actions in Davidson, but was powerless to do more than 
appeal to the people to assist him by their influence. Executive Cor- 
respondence, Clark, p. 57. 

* His speeches were quoted in the Western Sentinel of July, 1862. 



ties was largely responsible for the opposition to the war, 
and although from it was furnished a considerable number 
of volunteers, the discouraging of volunteering and quiet 
resistance to conscription were so frequent that Governor 
Clark was compelled to issue a proclamation against them/ 
Deserters, also, began to come to these counties in such 
numbers as to excite attention. In March, a company was 
ordered for duty in Chatham for the purpose of arresting 
them. The state administration was practically powerless, 
for the criminal code made no provision for the offence, and 
the military code was almost useless in North Carolina.^ 
At the election of 1862 troops had to be sent to Wilkes and 
Yadkin to prevent the deserters from interfering at the 

In the extreme AVest, matters had assumed a still more 
serious aspect. General E. Kirby Smith was forced to 
send a detachment of troops to Madison County. He wrote 
Governor Clark that the whole population of Laurel Valley 
was hostile to the Confederacy and that all the males were 
under arms. Skinnishing was kept up the whole time the 
troops were in the valley.^ Application was made to the 
War Department by the State for a military court for west- 
ern North Carolina for the sole purpose of trying de- 
serters,* but no attention was paid to the request. Governor 
Vance, soon after his inauguration, asked that troops might 
be sent there, and suggested that they should be from other 
States that the temptation to desert might be less. In the 
autumn many of the deserters crossed over into Tennessee, 
and many formed organizations there for their defence." 

' Executive Correspondence, Clark, p. 301. 

^ Message to the Council of State, February, 1862. 

' Off. Rec, no. 10, p. 629. 

* Ibid., no. 128, p. 674. 

' Ibid., no. 23, p. 940. 


In the spring of 1862 another cause of discontent was 
the appointment of W. S. Ashe by the Confederate govern- 
ment to procure arms in the State. He advertised that he 
was authorized to purchase arms, and if necessary, impress 
them. Governor Clark at once issued a proclamation to the 
people, declaring that there was no legal authority to direct 
the seizure of arms, and asking them to sell to the State 
whatever arms they had. He also wrote to Ashe and told 
him that no seizure of arms would be permitted.^ 

The new General Assembly had a decided Conservative 
majority, and at once proceeded to oust the secretary of 
state and treasurer and replace them with Conservatives.^ 
This was the beginning of the execution of the plan which 
Holden had mapped out. Every Conservative member 
who exercised his own judgment in voting and so gave "aid 
and comfoi't " to the " Destructives," as he called the " Con- 
federates," was condemned as guilty of bad faith.' In 
further pursuance of the policy William A. Graham was 
elected to the Confederate Senate to succeed George Davis. 
The adjutant general of the State, J. G. Martin, held also 
the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate service; 
and because of this his office was declared vacant, and a 
successor chosen.* The attorney general shared the same 

The usual resolutions declaring the separation from the 
Union final and endorsing President Davis and Governor 
Vance were passed." The North Carolina delegation in the 

' Executive Correspondence, Clark, p. 301. 

2 J. H. P. Russ was elected secretary of state and Jonathan Worth, 

' Standard, December 3, 1862. 

* Daniel G. Fowle became adjutant general. 

5 Sion H. Rogers succeeded W. A. Jenkins as attorney general. 

' Laws, 1862-3, p. 43- 



Confederate Congress were requested to urge the repeal of 
the " twenty-negro " clause of the military exemption act 
as unnecessary and m violation of the Bill of Rights and the 
spirit of North Carolina institutions.^ A protest was made 
against the policy of burning cotton in the eastern part of 
the State.' 

A great deal of unfriendly criticism had been aroused a 
short time before by the arrest as a spy, by order of the 
Confederate authorities, of Rev. J. R. Graves, a minister 
of Orange County." His chief offences had been an unwise 
conversation while on his way South through the federal 
lines, and a letter predicting a long war, which gave some 
slight information to the enemy. He was carried to Rich- 
mond and imprisoned. The General Assembly now directed 
the governor to demand his release. Upon his demand, 
Secretary Seddon gave an account of the causes of his ar- 
rest, justifying it on the ground of necessity, but disavow- 
ing the responsibility for removing Graves from the State. 
No evidence was found against him and he was released.* 
Acts of this kind produced intense indignation in the State 
and fed the growing discontent with the Confederate gov- 
ernment and its policy. Governor Vance in his message in- 
formed the legislature that there were many citizens of the 
State confined at Salisbury for political offences, and asked 
that steps be taken to preserve the rights of the people. He 
was accordingly instructed to inquire into the causes of the 
arrest of the political prisoners,'^ and relief was granted by 

^ Laws, 1862-3, p. 49. 

^ General French had lately ordered all cotton east of the Wilming- 
ton and Weldon railroad to be burned to prevent its capture by the 

' Off. Rec, no. 118, pp. 98-100, 794-S- 

* Governor's message, 1862. 

° Laws, 1862-3, chap. xlvi. 


an act providing that the writ of habeas corpus should be 
issued, directed when necessary to the sheriff of the county 
where the arrest took place, by whom it should be executed.' 

A bill was introduced providing for the enlistment of ten 
regiments of volunteers between the ages of eighteen and 
forty-five years of age, not liable to conscription. The bill 
was introduced by Judge Person. But it was so amended 
as to omit the provision of non-liability to conscription, and 
an effort to insert a preamble stating that no conflict should 
occur with the laws of the Confederacy was unsuccessful. 
It was clearly the purpose of the Conservatives to prevent 
the execution of the conscript law, and this excited so much 
opposition that the bill was defeated in the Senate after 
passing the House. Immediately afterwards, as an answer 
to criticism from Virginia, a resolution was passed, vin- 
dicating the loyalty of the State and of the General Assem- 
bly. Seven " Confederate " members of the Senate and 
thirteen of the House voted against it on the ground that it 
endorsed the " Ten Regiment Bill." - 

The whole tendency of the majority in the legislature as 
expressed in their acts and resolutions was to oppose all 
further centralization of power by the Confederate govern- 
ment, and in so doing, oppose that government in other re- 
spects. W. W. Holden, although not a member, was the 
dominating influence in this policy. 

Immediately after the adjournment of the legislature a 
meeting was held by the members who favored a vigorous 
prosecution of the war together with citizens who cared to 
join them. An address to the people was issued, condemning 
the action of those vi^ho were opposing the vv^ar, and a cen- 
tral committee and a committee of correspondence were ap- 

1 Laws, 1862-3, p. 76. 
'Journal, 1862-3, pp. 31, igo. 


pointed. Prominent in this movement were ex-Governor 
Bragg, who had lately resigned from President Davis's 
cabinet and was in a sense a representative of the Confed- 
ei-ate government in the State, Kenneth Rayner, D. M. Bar- 
ringer, ex-Governor Reid, W. W. Avery, and Weldon N. 

The period between the adjournment of the legislature in 
February and its assembling in extra session on June 30 at 
Governor Vance's call to consider financial matters, was 
without events of importance. It was marked, however, 
by a growing aversion to the conscript law and by constant 
appeals to the judiciary for writs of habeas corpus to ob- 
tain the release of those conscripted. Governor Vance, in 
May," ordered the militia officers not to arrest persons who 
had been discharged under the writ, and to resist such ar- 
rests by any persons not authorized by a court having juris- 
diction. At the same time the increase of desertions caused 
him to issue a proclamation urging all those absent from 
their commands to return at once.'* He issued a third 
proclamation asking for volunteers to enable him to comply 
with the President's call for seven thousand men for six 
months service in the State. He also referred the matter 
to the legislature when it met. 

The session lasted only a week. In this time laws were 
passed providing for the enrolment of a force of militia 
and for the punishment of those assisting and encouraging 
desertion. The governor was authorized to use the militia 
to enforce the conscript laws.* Governor Vance visited the 
body while in secret session and urged the drafting of mag- 

' Register, February 18, 1863. 
' Proclamation of May 11, 1863. 
' Register, May 16, 1863. 
* Laws, Extra Session, 1863. 


istrates and secured the adoption of the exemption bill of 
the Confederate Congress.^ 

Up to this time the peace sentiment had been expressed 
only individually. It reached the public, as a general thing, 
only through the editorial columns of the Standard and the 
Progress " and such papers as quoted them in opposition to 
their policy. But a change now took place. Major Brad- 
ford, a Virginian, was appointed to collect the Confederate 
tithes in North Carolina. The ill feeling existing at the 
time on account of North Carolina's troops being placed 
under officers from other States was intense, and the discon- 
tent at other acts of the government has been noticed. This 
was well known at Richmond, and the appointment was 
regarded in the State as showing a total disregard for the 
wishes of the people. Criticism was so severe and the 
people were so aroused that Governor Vance finally re- 
quested the withdrawal of Bradford and the appointment 
of a North Carolinian. This was done, but a pretext had 
already been given for action by the discontented element. 
Early in July the Standard called upon the people to as- 
semble and express their opinion on the state of the coun- 
try.'' This was followed a week later by an editorial which 
expressed the feeling behind the movement, " Peace ! When 
shall we have peace ? " It then quoted with approval from 
the Progress as follows : " We favor peace because we be- 
lieve that peace now would save slavery, while we very 
much fear that a prolongation of the war will obliterate the 
last vestige of it." * 

' Off, Rec, no. 128, p. 6ig. 

= The Progress had been published in New Bern until federal occu- 
pation of the place. It was now conducted in Raleigh and was strongly 
opposed to the Confederate government. It had formerly been a 
strong secession paper. 

' Issue of July 8, 1863. * Standard, July 17, 1863. 


During the last week in July two meetings were held in 
Wake County. One demanded any peace that would give 
equality with the North. The other requested President 
Davis to suspend hostilities and call a convention of the 
States.^ Both denounced the Confederate administration 
and endorsed Holden. Surry followed a few days later 
demanding " The Constitution as it is and the Union as it 
was." ^ In close succession there followed meetings all 
over the State. The proceedings of sixty, held in about 
th-rty counties were published." A large meeting was also 
held for the Tenth Congressional District. There is such a 
similarity in the resolutions passed that it is ev'dent that 
they originated from the same source. Holden denied this 
and said that the meetings and resolutions were purely 
spontaneous.* But the evidence proves the contrary. Dur- 
ing the preceding January a meeting had been held in the 
14th North Carolina Regiment to protest against the pro- 
posed " Ten Regiment Bill." Holden then threatened that 
if such meetings were held in the army he would start them 
at home for the people to " express their opinion on the 
state of the country." " President Davis had been warned 
before the movement began that a series of such meetings 
was to be held and that many feared that there was to be 
open res'stance to the Confederacy. It was also intimated 
that the plan was to excite the people and co-operate with 
the enemy." He informed Governor Vance of this, who 
replied that there was no reconstruction party in North 

1 Standard, July 29, 1863. 

' Ibid., Aug. 12, 1863. 

s Holden said that over one hundred were held. 

'■Standard, Aug. 12, 1863. 

^ Ibid., Jan. 14, 1863. 

' Off. Rec, no. 108, p. 739. 


Carolina and that it would be unwise to take any steps 
against Holden. The governor acknowledged, however, 
the existence in the State of widespread bad feeling and dis- 
satisfaction with the Confederate government.' Holden 
was evidently feeling the pulse of the State with a view to 
decided action for the Union. He had, a short while be- 
fore, written Andrew Johnson, then military governor of 
Tennessee, that the people of North Carolina were true to 
the Union and would seize the first opportunity to free 
themselves from the Confederacy.^ General J. G. Foster 
also heard from some private source that such a plan was 
on foot.^ 

The .publication of the proceedings of these meetings 
aroused a storm of abuse, particularly in the army. Over 
thirty regiments passed resolutions denouncing Holden and 
the meetings. A convention composed of delegates from 
every North Carolina regiment met at Orange Court House, 
Virginia, and issued a protest, declaring false the claim of 
the Standard that the troops approved its action.* In a few 
counties opposition meetings were held, and the grand jury 
of Surry, where the demand for peace had been most out- 
spoken, at the ensuing court, requested that all such meet- 
ings should cease, as they were disloyal and dangerous.^ 
Holden was burnt in effigy in several places, and the feel- 
ing against him was more bitter than it had ever been. 
Every paper in the State, with the single exception of the 
Progress, condemned him. William A. Graham and E. J. 
Hale both sought to dissuade him from his course but with- 

1 Off. Rec, no. io8, p. 740. 

' Ibid., no. SO, p. 183. ^ Ibid., no. 45, p. 751. 

* Wilmington Journal, August 20, 1863. Holden claimed afterwards 
that the delegates were all officers and that the privates were in sym- 
pathy with him. But many of the delegates were privates. 

' Western Sentinel, Oct. i, 1863. 


out success/ Secure in the belief that he would not be 
harmed, he calmly watched the storm and said, " Let the 
people speak; it is refreshing to hear them." 

Meanwhile Governor Vance, who, while anxious for peace, 
had opposed the meetings as dangerous until overtures came 
from the North,^ issued a proclamation urging the people 
to desist. General R. F. Hoke's brigade was ordered into^ 
the State about this time, and it was supposed that it was 
there to be on hand in case of any outbreak. So the meet- 
ings ceased. But Holden, and for that matter many others, 
felt that he had the masses with him. The army, however, 
was still hostile.'* So he contented himself with keeping 
the Standard full of communications that would keep the 
subject of peace before the people,* and that would excite 
hostility to the Confederate government. He attempted tO' 
identify the movement with the one in Georgia, ignoring 
the fact that the latter demanded Confederate action, while 
he favored action by the State. The reports of the meetings 
which reached the North led there to the belief that North 
Carolina was about to withdraw from the Confederacy.^ 

1 Holden to Vance, Sept. 9, 1863. 

^ Standard, July 29, 1863. 

' Jonathan Worth to J. M. Worth, August, 1863. 

* Lewis Hanes commenced a series of ably written articles against 
secession and the war, signed " Davidson ". Dr. J. T. Leach also 
contributed a series of letters bitterly attacking the Confederate 

^ Edward Everett, in his speech at Gettysburg in 1864, said : " The 
heart of the people North and South is for the Union. Indications, 
too plain to be mistaken, announce the fact .... In North Carolina 
the fatal chain at length is broken. At Raleigh the hps of honest and 
brave men are unsealed, and an independent press is unlimbering its 
artillery. The weary masses are yearning to see the dear old flag 
floating again upon the Capitol, and they sigh for the return of peace, 
prosperity, and happiness which they enjoyed under a government 
whose power they felt only by its blessings." 


The meetings and discussions had one effect : they caused 
desertions from the army in considerable numbers/ The 
matter now became alarming. The deserters congregated 
in the mountains where it was ahnost impossible to reach 
them and plundered and murdered at their own will. They 
made overtures to Governor Vance to enlist them for ser- 
vice in the State, but it was never allowed by the war de- 
partment." The home guard was utterly unable to cope 
with them, and in many places they were assisted and en- 
couraged by the inhabitants, who were actuated either by 
sympathy or fear.^ Nor were they only in the mountains. 
In Wilkes County five hundred of them were in a military 
organization under arms, and there were large numbers in 
Randolph, Catawba, Yadkin, and Iredell, not to mention 
other localities where they were not so numerous.* A de- 
cided growth of Union sentiment was noticeable after 
Gettysburg and the fall of Vicksburg." 

The feeling aroused by the peace meetings was not long 
left without an outlet. In September a portion of Ben- 
ning's Georgia brigade " spent a night in Raleigh. A num- 
ber of the soldiers went to Holden's residence, but he eluded 
them and went to the Governor's Mansion and took refuge 
there until Governor Vance returned. After failing to find 
Holden the soldiers went to the Standard office and sacked 
it, throwing the type into the street. The press, however, 

' Off. Rec, no. 49, p. 660; Carolina Watchman, March 21, 1864. 

» Off. Rec, no. 128, p. 674. 

' Ibid., no. 49, p. 676. 

* Ibid., no. 128, pp. 783-5. 

^ Ibid., no. 35, p. 950. 

° The Georgia troops claimed afterwards that the soldiers of the 
48th N. C. regiment were engaged in the riot, and The Spirit of the 
Age said the same thing. 


V, as not injured. Governor Vance, who was sent for, came 
and urged the mob to disperse without further violence. 
The next morning, in retahation, a mob composed of citi- 
zens of Raleigh, led by Mark Williams, a strong Union 
man, sacked the office and utterly destroyed the property 
of the State Journal. Governor Vance again interfered to 
prevent further trouble. But for his preventive measures 
the Progress would have been destroyed the following 
night. ^ He at once complained to the President, but, be- 
yond an investigation resulting in no evidence, nothing was 
done. For some time troops were not allowed to pass 
through the city for fear of the consequences, but even this 
prohibition did not last long. 

The fall elections showed that although the peace feeling 
was strong in the State its voting strength was less than 
that of the Conservatives in 1862. The new delegation to 
the Confederate Congress had five of the Standard's can- 
didates. But in nearly every instance they were elected by 
a plurality vote over several candidates. A total vote of 
30,641 was cast, and a majority of 2,834 was against the 
Holden candidates. This, from the number of elements 
entering into the contest, is slight evidence in itself, but it 
marks a difference.' The successful candidates representing 
the peace feeling were James T. Leach, Josiah Turner, 
George W. Logan,'' Samuel Christian, and J. G. Ramsey. 

So generall}' was the sentiment for peace diffused among 
the people, though no longer expressed in resolutions, that 
Governor Vance finally wrote to the President that the dis- 

' Fayetteville Observer, September, 1863. The State Journal never 
resumed publication. The Standard resumed in about a month. 

' Western Sentinel, January 28, 1864. 

' George W. Logan was nominated by the peace meeting for the 
tenth district. Standard, October 14, 1863. 


content in the State could only be removed by an attempt at 
negotiations with the enemy." The President replied that 
it was impossible on account of the refusal of the Washing- 
ton authorities. At the same time he expressed his distrust 
of any movement like that in North Carolina, and warned 
Governor Vance against delaying action too long in efforts 
at conciliation.'^ 

The General Assembly met in November. Little legisla- 
tion of importance resulted. The governor was directed to 
use the militia for arresting conscripts and deserters only 
in their own or adjacent counties." The salaries of the 
state officers were increased to keep up to some extent with 
the depreciation of the currency. 

Early in 1864 the Attorney General of the Confederacy 
resigned and was succeeded by George Davis, whose tenn in 
the Confederate Senate had not expired. W. A. Graham 
had already been elected to succeed him, and Governor 
Vance asked him to fill out the unexpired term. He re- 
fused, as did David L. Swain, who was later offered the 
appointment. Judge Edwin G. Reade finally accepted as a 
favor to Governor Vance." 

During the winter Governor Vance visited the Army of 
Northern Virginia, and a general review was held in his 
honor." He was there several days and spoke to the North 
Carolina troops frequently, urging and encouraging them to 
renewed efforts." 

1 Off. Rec, no. 108, p. 807. 
' Ibid., pp. 809-10. 

* Lazvs, 1863, chap, xviii. 

* Executive Correspondence, Vance, vol. ii, p. 64 et seq. 

^ This seems to have been the only instance of the kind during the 

* General Lee said Vance's visit to the army in its results was equiv- 
alent to a re-enforcement of 50,000 men. Dowd, Life of Vance, p. 125. 


In North Carolina talk of the necessity of a convention 
was beginning to be heard. Resolutions demanding the 
call of one were prepared by Holden and J. T. Leach and 
introduced by the latter at a peace meeting held in Johnston 
County/ Holden then decided that another series of meet- 
ings should be held. Governor Vance, while regretting the 
division which now came definitely between Holden and 
himself, refused to cooperate in the movement for a con- 
vention, and even thought of declining to be a candidate for 
re-election.^ Another series of thirty or more peace meet- 
ings was now held and their proceedings published. All 
were hostile to the Confederate government and nearly all 
demanded a convention. It is noticeable that Governor 
Vance v.'as endorsed by nearly all of them. Holden, evi- 
dently, still hoped to control him, but Vance finally told 
him that all his pledges had been for a vigorous prosecution 
of the war and that his policy had been outlined in his in- 
augural address.^ 

The Richmond authorities vi'ere kept informed of the 

' The important part of the resolutions is as follows : 
" Whereas, the alarming and fearful tendency of the Confederate 
Government towards a military despotism by the enactment of unjust 
and oppressive laws, to citizens is just cause of complaint. 

Resolved, That North Carolina, as a sovereign and independent State, 
has a right to consult the present good and future happiness of her 
citizens, and when she is forced to choose between a military despotism 
and her State sovereignty, for the good of the people, she will choose 
the latter by a convention of her citizens." Standard, January 12, 

' Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina, pp. 
124 et seq. 

3 Holden and Dr. Leach asserted later that Governor Vance had 
approved of the Johnston County resolutions. This was, on the face 
of it, false. In the summer B. F. Moore and Holden sought to gain 
Vance's support and he declared that sooner than withdraw the North 
Carolina troops he would let his arm fall from its socket. Moore to 
Holden, July 20, 1866. 


condition of feeling in the State,' and if matters had as- 
sumed a more serious aspect, would probably have inter- 
fered. Governor Vance, too, entered into a correspondence 
with President Davis which became decidedly unpleasant 
in tone as it progressed. The President was warned that if 
the writ of habeas corpus should be suspended and arrests 
made in the State," there would be resistance, particularly if 
these arrests appeared unconstitutional. Governor Vance 
advised as little use of military power as possible, and said 
that if there were no military interference he had no fear 
of the appeal to the ballot box, as good and true men were 
working against any call of a convention and would do so 
while the civil law remained intact, and he did not believe 
the required majority for calling a convention could be ob- 
tained. iHe accused President Davis of proscribhig " old 
Union men " and gave that as one reason for the discontent 
with the Confederate administration.^ In his reply the 
President denied the charge, but acknowledged that he sus- 
pected that a nest of traitors were conspiring at home, and 
hinted at arbitrary measures, prom-'sing that if they were 
necessary due regard would be paid to civil rights.* Gov- 
ernor Vance again wrote renewing the charge, but denying 
any personal feeling.^ The President made an explanation, 
and after declaring that Governor Vance had overstepped 

' Oft. Rec, no. i2g, p. 88. 

- B. F. Moore told Holden in 1865 that only W. T. Dortch's efforts 
had prevented President Davis from ordering his (Holden's) arrest 
and that of R. S. Donnell. 

' President Davis sent this letter to George Davis, endorsed as fol- 
lows : " For consideration and advice. The assertions are discourteous 
and untrue. The rhetoric is after the manner of the Standard. 
Neither my acts nor my words can justify the slander that I have re- 
garded North Carolinians with distrust or withheMtdue promotion to 
any of her gallant soldiers. J. D." Off. Rec, no. 108, pp. 218-20. 

* Ibid., pp. 824-7. 5 /f,,-^^ pp 83o_3, 


the bounds of propriety, requested that the correspondence 
m-ght cease/ At the request of the North Carolina mem- 
bers of Congress, Governor Vance pubhshed the corres- 
pondence in June, omitting the portions of the President's 
letters that he thought would do harm. 

On February 24 the Standard announced the passage of 
the act of Congress suspending the writ of habeas corpus, 
and, in the same issue, Holden announced that the publica- 
tion of the paper would be suspended indefinitely. The 
latter was a surprise to the public, but the reason is evident. 
On IMarch 3, he issued an extra edition and announced him- 
self as a candidate for governor. Reversing his opinion 
of 1862," he requested that there might not be any canvass, 
as it would cause useless disturbance and excitement. He 
declared himself a Conservative " after the straitest sect." 
The announcement caused no surprise, for it had been gen- 
erally predicted that he would be a candidate. The cam- 
paign was thus begun five months before the election. 

The Standard resumed publication in JVIay, and active 
work was commenced in behalf of Holden's candidacy. 
The opposition, at first, caused consternation among the 
friends of Governor Vance, as many of them did not ap- 
preciate his power. Holden relied mainly on the masses 
from whom he had sprung and whom he had hitherto led. 
But Governor Vance, also, was pre-eminently a man of the 
people, and his efforts to relieve suffering of every kind, 
and his steadfast determination to preserve civil liberty, 
had endeared him to thousands. His care of the soldiers, 
the fact that he had been a soldier himself, and his efforts 
for a vigorous prosecution of the war made friends for him 
among those who had opposed him most bitterly only two 

1 Off. Rec, no. 108^ pp. 844-6. 

2 Cf. supra., p. 40. 


years before, and who were still intensely hostile to Holden. 
But it was a battle of giants. Holden was an old and ex- 
perienced political leader and had always been able to inter- 
pret public sentiment. And he had usually been on the 
popular side. But he now failed to realize how much he 
had helped to create and mould the peace sentiment, and, 
believing that it originated with the people, he thought their 
minds could not be turned from it. His editorials were as 
vigorous as ever, and were even more widely read than 
ever,^ but a new power had risen against him — the oratory 
of Vance. Nothing more stirring or effective was ever 
known in the politics of North Carolina. The people 
flocked to hear him, and his speeches, particularly those at 
Fayetteville, Raleigh, and Wilkesboro, attracted great atten- 
tion. From this time, regardless of past affiliations, but 
with no change in his polic}^, Governor Vance was allied 
with the war party. His platform, terse and vigorous, in- 
dicates this : 

The supremacy of the civil over military law. 

A speedy repeal of the act suspending the writ of habeas 

A quiet submission to all laws, good or bad, while they re- 
main on the statute books. 

No reconstruction or submission, but perpetual independence. 

An unbroken front to the common enemy ; but timely and 
repeated negotiations for peace by the proper authorities. 

No separate State action through a convention, no counter 
revolution, no combined resistance to the government. 

Opposition to despotism in every form and the preservation 
of our republican institutions in all their purity.^ 

' The circulation of the Standard was increasing very rapidly at this 
time. Holden would send it when desired, regardless of payment 
for it. 

» Raleigh Conservative, May 4, 1864. This paper was regarded 
as the organ of the state administration. 


After he perceived that his power with the mass of the 
people was departing, Holden attempted to win the support 
of prominent political leaders and men of property. But 
here his past record, by contrast with that of his opponent, 
was sufficient to blight his aspirations. The old leaders had 
been willing to make use of him, but they neither respected 
nor trusted him, and so declined to follow him. R. P. Dick, 
Thomas Settle, and Alfred Dockery ^ were the only men of 
prominence in the State who supported him. 

Holden had great difficulty in justifying his change of 
opinion regarding Governor Vance. Consistency, however, 
was never one of Holden's virtues and he usually laid no- 
claim to it. But, in this case, he assumed that a change 
had taken place in the governor's actions and declared that 
he had " made his bed with the Destructives " and was 
entirely controlled by a clique composed of Thomas Bragg, 
H. K. Burgwyn, and George Little, and, consequently, al- 
though he had been elected as a peace candidate, was eager 
for war. Accordingly Holden declared the issue now to be 
simply war or peace.^ 

During the campaign the legislature met for a session of 
two weeks. The governor, in his message, took ground 
against the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and 
advised them to lay down what they considered a fair basis 
for peace, warning them against efforts that might be made 
to treat with the State individually. The only law of im- 

' Alfred Dockery said he would support Holden as a peace man, 
but that he had no confidence in him. Fayetteville Observer, July 25, 

'Holden headed his editorial sheet with the following: "The 
Two Ways: Fight it Out. Zebulon B. Vance, Governor of North 
Carolina. ' Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths 
are Peace.' Solomon, Son of David, King of Israel." Standard, April 
6, 1864. 


portance passed was one to secure the benefit of the writ of 
habeas corpus and to prevent the transportation of citizens 
by violence beyond the Hmits of the State.' Resolut'ons 
were adopted declaring it the duty of the Confederate gov- 
ernment, after some signal success, to treat for peace on the 
basis of independence. A vote of confidence in the Presi- 
dent was passed, and he was declared with the Senate to 
have the sole treaty-making power.- Governor Vance was 
also endorsed, only five votes in both houses being cast 
against the resolution.*^ Resolutions protesting aga-'nst the 
suspension of the habeas corpus and declaring that North 
Carolina did not consent to it, against the Conscript Act, 
and against the restrictions on importations imposed by the 
Secretary of the Treasury, were also passed. A resolu- 
tion declar'ng the exemption of state officers from military 
service was passed as a protest against the change made by 
the Confederate Congress. The people were urged to co- 
operate and bring about harmony by abandoning all party 

During the session four members of the House ° made 
stateiments that they had heard Holden say that it was the 
plan of his party for the legislature to call a convention to 
take the State out of the Confederacy. R. P. Dick and his 
other supporters had denied any such thought or purpose, 
claiming that the only object of a convention was to begin 
negot'ations with other Southern States and to make valid 

' Laws, 1863-4, chap. ii. 

^ The first article passed the House 62 to 19, and the second 79 to O. 
The vote in the Senate was not recorded. 

' The Vance and Davis resolutions were at first joined, but the 
friends of the former wanted a better vote and separated them. 
Standard, June i, 1S64. 

* Resolutions, 1863-4. 

^ Horton, Hampton, Gentry, and Welborn. 


any acts of Congress which might be unconstitutionai/ 
About the same time Dr. Leach, who, after Holden, was 
the most active member of the peace party, introduced in 
Congress a set of peace resolutions. They were not con- 
sidered at all, being immediately tabled, though every mem- 
ber from North Carolina, except B. S. Gaither and R. R. 
Bridgers, voted against their being so disposed of.' 

Meanwhile, the gubernatorial campaign dragged on with- 
out interesting developments until July, when great excite- 
ment was caused by the discovery of the existence of a 
secret and treasonable political society, known as " The 
Heroes of America." ^ Its object was to protect those who 
favored a return to the Union and to increase their number 
as much as possible. There were three degrees,* and the 
initiated had numerous signs and signals by which they 
might recognize one another. The usual name given them 
and used also by themselves was " Red Strings," derived 
from the badge of the society, which was to be worn in the 
lapel of the coat. The idea was suggested by a well-known 
Scriptural story." The extension of the society had been 
largely carried on by ministers and other non-combatants. 
The revelation of its existence and purpose was made by a 
minister in Caswell County." He had joined, ignorant of 
its nature, and when he saw its designs, he made the whole 
thing public. The society was widespread and in constant 

' R. P. Dick in Greensboro Patriot, February 18, 1864. 

' Conservative, June i, 1864. 

' The Conservative of July 6, 1864, first called attention to the 
existence of the society. Most of the confessions were made to the 
editor of the paper. 

* A full account of this society with the ritual of the three degrees is 
to be found in an article by the author in the Publications of the 
Southern History Association, Jan., 1907. 

^ Joshua, ii, 18. 

' Rev. Orrin Churchill, 


communication with the North. J. L. Johnson, of Forsyth 
County, went to Washington during the war and initiated 
President Lincoln, Benjamin S. Hedrick, and Commissioner 
Barrett.^ It was, naturally, ardent in its support of Holden, 
and orders were issued to members to vote for him as aid- 
ing their cause and as a member." One confession led to 
another, and within two weeks a very large number an- 
nounced their withdrawal from membership. Holden ridi- 
culed the idea of its existence, but the dread it produced 
probably lost him many votes. He was accused of being 
in the pay of the North,' and this was believed by many. 

The election in the army came first, and Governor Vance 
received a very large majority — 13,209 out of 15,033 votes 
cast. Evidently the " Red Strings " had only a small army 
membership.* The election in the State followed, and Hol- 
den carried only two counties — Randolph and Johnston. 
Out of a total vote of 72,561 Governor Vance had a ma- 
jority of 43,579. Holden made accusations of fraud and 
intimidation, but did not press the matter, recognizing that, 
even if his charges were well founded, which was a matter 
of doubt, there was little possibility of securing redress.** 
He issued an address to the people, declaring himself a 
friend of the state and Confederate governments and de- 

' Sen. Report, no. i, p. 227, 42 Cong. 2d sess. 

' This information was gathered from the various confessions made 
at the time and published, and from the statements made to the writer 
by Uving members of the society. 

• Greensboro Patriot, July 21, 1864. 

* The Greensboro Patriot said that many votes were lost to 
Holden by no provision being made for ballot boxes in the woods, 
where most of his military supporters were hiding. 

^ A careful examination of the records and the newspapers and 
conversations with participants in the election have failed to show 
the existence of fraud. Without question, voting for Holden sub- 
jected one to violent unpopularity. 



sirous of a vigorous prosecution of the war, at tlie same 
time favoring every effort for peace on honorable terms. ^ 

Governor Vance cahed the Council of State into session 
early in October. He then expected the end of the war to 
come in the last days of 1864. He urged prompt assistance 
to General Lee, and suggested that there were many state 
officers that might well be put into service. He also men- 
tioned that he had called a meeting of the governors of the 
States east of the Mississippi, in Augusta, Georgia, to agree 
upon some uniform plan of action. He asked for authority 
to call a special session of the legislature immediately after 
this meeting, but the Council unanimously refused to 
grant it.^ 

The meeting of the governors was held with no particu- 
lar results of importance, except that the possibility of any 
separate state action was made more remote than ever. 
Resolutions were passed calling for a vigorous prosecution 
of the war,'* and after some discussion the meeting ad- 

In the State the autumn was gloomy, with no outlook for 
any brighter future. Depression was everywhere, for much 
of the energy of the people was exhausted. Such a large 
proportion of the citizens were in the military service that a 
lifeless condition at home followed. The conscript law, in 
spite of its unpopularity, had been more thoroughly en- 
forced than in any other State.* In the mountains, deserters 
from the State, and also from South Carolina, Georgia, and 
Tennessee had assembled, and in some localities had driven 
away the inhabitants who were in sympathy with the Con- 
federacy. Federal ofificers were seen among them, and in 

' Standard, August 17, 1864. 

' Council of State Records, pp. 161-2. 

^ Off. Rec, no. 89, pp. 1149-50. 

* President Davis's speech at Greensboro, October, 1864. 


the early part of the year, in accordance with a suggestion 
of General Sherman, "■ a regiment was raised by George W. 
Kirk, who commanded it." 

The governor's message to the legislature recommended 
that the age limit for military service be raised to fifty-five 
years, and that more j)ower be given to him as commander- 
in-chief. Both these recommendations were adopted in 
part.'' The governor was authorized to ship $200,000 worth 
of c'otton and tobacco to be applied to the necessities of the 
North Carolina prisoners at the North. Resolutions were 
adopted protesting against arming the slaves and against 
any legislation by Congress regarding the writ of habeas 
corpus; but on the other hand, it was formally declared to 
be the purpose of the State to continue the war vigorously. 
In secret session four commissioners were appointed to visit 
Richmond and confer with the President upon the condition 
of the country.* As a result of a combination to defeat the 
Holden candidate, Thomas S. Ashe was elected over Edwin 
G. Reade to succeed W. T. Dortch in the Confederate 

Although the war party, since the election, was again in 
the ascendant, the opposition was not silenced altogether. 
During the session of the legislature John Pool introduced 
in the Senate a series of peace resolutions which provided 
for commissioners to meet those from other States and to 
act upon instructions from the President. These were re- 
ferred to a committee, from wh'ch two reports were made. 
That of the majority favored the adoption of the resolu- 

' Off. Rec, no. 77, pp. 233-4. 

' Ibid., no. 89, pp. 1251-4; no. 59, p. 741. 

' Laws, 1864-5, chap. xx. 

* Raleigh Confederate, February 15, 1865. This paper was the 
successor of the State lournal as the organ of the Confederate admin- 



tions. The minority opposed adoption, declaring that the 
State, while it remained a member of the Confederacy, 
could not form such an agreement with the other States a3 
was proposed by the resolutions. A sharp debate followed, 
resulting in the tabling of the resolutions/ In the House a 
resolution introduced by L. O. Sharpe, declaring the right 
of individual state action, met a similar fate.' A bill for 
calling a convention was also introduced but never acted on. 

In Congress the majority of the North Carolina mem- 
bers were constantly urging that the President should make 
propositions for peace. In December Dr. Leach introduced 
in the House of Representatives resolutions declaring that 
secession had taken place in an unguarded moment and 
without deliberation, and that when the United States 
should recognize the reserved rights of the States, the Con- 
federacy should treat for peace on any terms that the com- 
missioners of both might agree upon. On a motion to re- 
ject, all present voted in the affirmative except six of the 
North Carolina members.' Three of these immediately 
asked leave to change their vote, as they had only voted that 
way out of consideration for a colleague.* Later in the 
session the resolutions were introduced and considered in 
secret session.'' 

The fall of Fort Fisher and the consequent capture of 
Wilmington convinced many that there was no need of any 
further movement toward peace, for it would come without 
aid in North Carolina. Some talk of a convention again 

' The vote on tabling was 24 to 20. 

' McPherson, History of the Rebellion, p. 619. The vote was 
S2 to so. 

« T. C. Fuller, J. M. Leach, J. T. Leach, J. G. Ramsey, G. W. Logan, 
and Josiah Turner. 

* Fuller, Ramsey, and J. M. Leach. 

' Conservative, February i, 1865. 


began, but without any effect. Governor Vance still ad- 
dressed the people urging unity of action, and public meet- 
ings were held in various counties, pledging support to the 

After the failure of the Hampton Roads conference Wil- 
liam A. Graham, who \\'2.s at the time president pro tempore 
of the Confederate Senate, and who had been instrumental 
in bringing about the conference, was one of the committee 
which interviewed the President regarding it. Afterwards 
he gave notice in the Senate that he would introduce a reso- 
lution to open negotiations with the United States, but for 
some reason, probably perceiving its uselessness, he never 
did so. 

The most of the people at home, with all hope of the suc- 
cess of the Confederate cause gone, waited for the end to 
come with no thought of the constitutional and political 
questions which were therein involved. 


When the ordinance of secession was passed the total 
bonded indebtedness of the State was $11,119,500. The 
annual interest on this sum amounted to $667,170. There 
was also an endorsement of railroad bonds to the amount 
of $150,000.- The greater part of the debt had been con- 
tracted for internal improvements, and all of it had been 
made since 1849, the last of the bonds maturing in 1890. 
Before January, 1866, $364,000 would fall due. During 
the early years of the war more bonds were issued for in- 
ternal improvements, amounting to $1,619,000.^ Of this 

' Such meetings were held in Wayne, Chatham, Wake, Granville, 
Cabarrus, Halifax, Mecklenburg, Gaston, Rowan, and Davidson 

' The bonds were endorsed for the Wilmington & Weldon R. R. 

' This was for the benefit of the Chatham R. R., Western R. R., 
Western North Carolina R. R., and the Wilmington, Charlotte and 
Rutherford R. R. 


amount $420,000 was issued under acts passed before May 
20, 1 86 1. To offset this indebtedness the State held bonds 
and stocks of corporations^ to the value of $9,297,664.88. 

Before the meeting of the convention the legislature au- 
thorized three issues of treasury notes, amounting to $2,- 
000,000, and three issues to the banks of six per cent bonds 
to the amount of $2,250,000. The issues of notes and bonds 
were to alternate. Banks were relieved of specie payment 
while the State owed this debt^ At the second extra ses- 
sion of the legislature issues of $800,000, in notes of small 
denominations, and $1,000,000 in large were authorized. 
The treasurer was forbidden to receive in payment of public 
dues the bills or notes of any bank that should refuse to 
receive treasury notes as currency. Holders of notes were 
allowed to exchange them at any time for six per cent 
bonds.* In December, 1862, issues of $1,500,000, in bills 
of small denominations, and $3,000,000 in large were pro- 
vided for, redeemable January, 1866, and fundable only in 
twenty-year bonds, bearing interest at six per cent.* In 
July, 1863, Confederate notes, without regard to the date 
of issue, were made payable for taxes, and the treasurer 
and other state officers were directed to fund such notes in 
seven per cent Confederate bonds. ' In December the treas- 
urer was directed, in case of a deficit, to sell six per cent 
thirty-year bonds not to exceed $2,000,000, and also to^ 
issue $400,000 in small notes." The following May an ad- 

' Bonds were held of the Western R. R., Wilmington, Charlotte and 
Rutherford R. R., and the Atlantic and N. C. R. R. Stocks were held 
of the Western, Atlantic & N. C. R. R., Raleigh and Gaston R. R. and 
North Carolina R. R., and in the Albemarle and Chesapeake canal. 

' Laws, first extra session, 1861, chap. iv. 

' Ibid., second extra session, 1861, chap, xviii. 

* Ibid., 1862-3, chap. xxix. ' Ibid., Ex. Sess., 1863, chap, xii, 

' Ibid., Adjourned Sess., 1863, chap. xxvi. 


ditional issue of notes to the amount of $3,000,000 was pro- 
vided for. 1 In December, 1864, it was enacted that all 
future treasury notes, including those re-issued, should be 
payable in 1876.^ At the same session the treasurer was 
directed to pay the debt of the State, becommg due in 1865, 
in bonds.' 

The convention, in the meantime, had authorized the 
issue after March, 1862, of $3,200,000 in notes, redeem- 
able in 1866, subject to a change of date by the General As- 
sembly. Included in the same act was provision for a loan, 
not to exceed $3,000,000, including the amount already bor- 
rov/ed from the banks, and the issue therefor of bonds 
bearing interest at six per cent payable in twelve months 
and redeemable at such a time and on such terms as the 
treasurer might see fit to impose. Banks which had loaned 
their pro rata share, and whose charter forbade the iss'ue of 
notes of small denominations, were authorized to make 
such issues. Specie payment should not be required as long 
as the debt remained unpaid.* In December an issue of 
$3,000,000 in notes was provided for, bearing six per cent 
interest and payable in 1865. These were receivable at any 
time for debts due the State at the treasury. They were 
also fundable in thirty-year six per cent bonds. None were 
to be re-issued, but new ones issued in their place not to 
exceed the original amount. ^ The interest-bearing feature 
was later repealed.* In February, 1862, provision was 
made for funding any of the treasury notes issued under 
ordinance of convention, in eight per cent twenty-year 
bonds, or in six per cent thirty-year bonds. The notes so 
funded could be re-issued. The treasurer was also author- 

^ Laws, Adjourned Sess., 1864, chap, xviii. 

^ Ihid., 1864-S, chap, xxiii. ' Ibid., 1864-5, chap. ii. 

* Ordinances, no. 34. ' Ibid., second session, no. 16. 

' Ibid., third session, no. 2. 


ized if necessary to issue further $2,500,000 in notes, pay- 
able in 1866. ^ 

In the war period, thus, a total of $20,400,000 in treas- 
ury notes was authorized, and of this $8,507,847.50 were 
issued, $3,261,511.25 being withdrawn later, leaving in cir- 
culation at the close of the war $5,246,336.25. Bonds were 
issued to the amount of $13,121,500.^ After deducting the 
unsold bonds in England, those redeemed, and those in the 
sinking fund, the balance was $9,119,000. Unpaid interest 
and similar items made the total war debt, including treas- 
ury notes and internal improvement bonds, $16,596,485.61. 
But corporation bonds amounting to $6,800,000 were held 
as a part'al offset to this.^ 

In addition to the state debt individual counties owed a 
sum estimated in 1864 at $20,000,000.* This debt had 
been contracted by the county courts, chiefly to provide for 
the destitute families of soldiers. Their acts were legalized 
by the legislature in 1861 ^ 

The financial legislation of the period is thus seen to be 
complex, not because it was part of an elaborate iinancial 
scheme, but from its numerous contradictions, its multi- 
plicity of acts, and its slip-shod methods. But at the same 
time it must be remembered that it was not the work of 
trained financiers but of unskilled men who were suddenly 
compelled to make bricks without straw. The fact that 
two separate bodies were enacting financial legislation at 
the same time was also, in part, a cause of lack of method. 
One thing can be said of it — it bears eloquent witness to 
the confidence felt in the state officers. 

1 Ordinances, third session, no. 35. 
' Treasurer's Report, January 19, 1866. 

' These bonds were of the city of Raleigh and the R. & G. R. R. 
* Standard, June 28, 1864. Schwab, Confederate States of America, 
1861-1865, p. 307. 
^ Act of May 11, 1861. 


The banks of the State suspended specie payments in 
November, i860. Resumption, as has been seen, was de- 
layed until the state debt should be paid. In May, 1861, 
the banks agreed to lend the State twenty per cent of their 
capital stock. This proportion, in most cases, was largely 
increased later.^ Bank-note extension never went so far in 
North Carolina as in the other Southern States,^ and conse- 
quently depreciation was less. But Confederate currency 
fell in value to such an extent that the legislature in 1863, 
attempting to raise it, passed a resolution pledging that the 
State would resist any attempt to repudiate it.^ Naturally, 
with such an immense volume of currency, depreciation 
began soon in the State's notes as well. This continued 
until the end of the war.* At the beginning of the war the 

^ Schwab, Confederate States of America, p. 128. 

' Ibid., p. 131. 

' Resolutions, called session 1863, p. 19. 

* After the war a table of depreciation was adopted. While it is 
necessarily imperfect, it gives some idea of the progress of depreciation. 
It was, 




























































Dec. 1st to loth 


Dec. loth to 



Dec. 20th to 30th, 


This table 

is found in Laws, 

1866, chap. 



banks had more than a million dollars in specie,^ and at the 
close they still had $800,000.^ 

The State assumed the Confederate tax and levied a 
special tax to pay it. This was never fully collected. The 
payment to the Confederate government was in excess of 
what was due and the State was later reimbursed. The 
Confederacy also paid it about $8,000,000 for supplies for 
the army. The state expenditures for military purposes to 
November, 1864, were nearly twenty millions. 

The military stores were obtained, for the most part, 
from Europe by means of blockade-runners. In 1862, Gen- 
eral J. G. Martin suggested that the State should purchase 
and operate a vessel of its own. In spite of opposition ' 
the plan was adopted and the vessel was purchased for 
$190,000 and paid for with cotton without drawing on the 
treasury. The " Ad- Vance," as the vessel was named, was 
an English vessel, built for passenger service and described 
by Governor Vance as " long-legged." It could carry eight 
hundred bales of cotton and a double supply of coal. Thus 
it was able to bring from Bermuda enough Welsh coal for 
the return voyage. Eleven successful trips were made. 
After the fifth trip Governor Vance sold a half-interest 
for $130,000, with which he redeemed state bonds. The 
vessel was finally lost through the act of the captain of the 
Confederate cruiser, " Tallahassee." Being short of coal, 
he took from the " Ad-Vance " her extra supply. This 
obliged her to make her outward trip with North Carolina 
coal, which reduced her speed, left a trail of smoke, and 

' Report of Finance Committee, 1861. 
' Governor Worth's message, 1865. 

' B. F. Moore opposed it as unconstitutional. Holden also opposed 
it for political reasons. 


thus made her fall a victim to the Federal blockaders.^ The 
State also had an interest in the " Hansa " and the " Don." 
Their use, however, was abandoned on account of the ex- 
cessive charge made by the Confederate government, one- 
half of each cargo being seized. Through the use of these 
vessels an immense amount of valuable stores was im- 
ported. No entirely accurate figures can be obtained as to 
the amount, but Governor Vance said in 1885 ^ that he had 
distributed large quantities of machinery, 60,000 pairs of 
hand wool cards, 10,000 scythes, 200 barrels of bluestone 
for fertilizing wheat, 250,000 pairs of shoes, 50,000 
blankets, cloth for 250,000 uniforms, 12,000 overcoats, 
2,000 Enfield rifles with 100 rounds of ammunition each, 
100.000 pounds of bacon, 500 sacks of coffee, $50,000 
worth of medicines at gold prices, and an immense supply 
of minor stores. Through this means the North Carolina 
troops were clothed. 

The state taxes were increased several times during the 
war. The tax on real estate in 1861 was one-fifth of one 
per cent, and in 1863 it was two-fifths of one per cent, and 
in 1864 was one per cent. The revenue, consequently, more 
than doubled in amount, but in specie value fell one-third 
in 1862 and one-half in 1863.' The revenue acts show a 
decided extension. That of 1862 included a graduated in- 
heritance tax on all amounts exceeding $100, and also an 
income tax. * Of all the taxes, the Confederate tax in kind 
bore most heavily and was, consequently, the most unpopu- 
lar. To it North Carolina was one of the largest con- 
tributors. No accurate record can be found of the entire 

' Governor's message, 1864. 

^ Speech at Baltimore. A more accurate and detailed account is in 

the Confederate of June 28, 1864. 

' Schwab, Confederate States of America, p. 303. 
* Laws, 1862-3, chap. Ivii. 


amount of produce collected. By June, 1864, 3,000,000 
pounds of bacon, 75,000 tons of hay and fodder, 770,000 
bushels of wheat, besides other produce valued at $150,000 
had been collected,^ For the other Confederate taxes, the 
State paid, by 1864, $10,000,000. 

During the years immediately preceding the war, many 
of the newspapers and a few of the leading men had advo- 
cated taking steps towards the commercial independence 
of the South. But the plan went no further than sugges- 
tion before hostilities commenced. In i860, the manu- 
facturing interests of the State were of but slight import- 
ance. There were 39 cotton factories, all of them small. 
Of the seven woollen mills, only two, at Rock Island and 
Salem, were of any importance. Iron was worked to a 
small extent, but the total capital invested was only $200,- 
*ooo, and this was distributed among more than thirty 
plants. Of every kind there were only 3,689 manufactur- 
ing establishments in the State, and out of a population of 
992,622, only 14,217 were employed in these factories.^ It 
is true that home manufacture supplied many of the do- 
mestic needs, but this was of small aid in solving the eco- 
nomic problems which the war imposed. 

The State was even without an adequate source for a 
supply of salt, and th's early occupied the attention of the 
convention. An ordinance was passed, providing for the 
election of a commissioner to manufacture salt and sell it 
to the people at cost price. ^ A later ordinance gave the com- 
missioner power to purchase land for salt works, and if 
necessary, seize it under the right of eminent domain.* The 
same act exempted from military service all persons under 

' Schwab, Confederate States of America, p. 297. 

' The figures were obtained from the census of i860. 

' Ordinances, second session, no. 8. * Ibid., third session, no. 18. 


contract to make salt. This remained in force until 1864, 
when General Whiting broke up the salt works and con- 
scripted the employees.^ In 1862, the governor was directed 
to employ in the works Quakers who could not pay the ex- 
emption fee of $100.^ Dr. John M. Worth was appointed 
commissioner. He was later succeeded by D. G. Worth. 
The first works were at Morehead City and were captured 
by the enemy before they were well in operation. Works 
were then located near Wilmington, and were producing 
25'0 bushels per day when yellow fever broke out. The 
industry was later resumed and carried on, with some inter- 
ruptions, until the capture of Wilmington. The works 
were raided by the federal troops in 1864, but with litde 
damage. During the year, 66,100 bushels of salt were made 
and sold at $7.75 per bushel, when the market price at Wil- 
mington was $19. Before the end of the year, the price 
was raised to $13, the market price rising to $25. By 
iVIarch, 1865, the market price in Raleigh was $70. The 
works were entirely self-supporting and paid back the origi- 
nal outlay. The State was also interested in the works at 
Saltville, Virginia. In addition to the state works, it was 
estimated that private individuals made about 2,500 bushels 
a day. Most of this was carried to other States for specu- 
lation. ' The value of the salt works cannot be fully real- 
ized unless the conditions existing in the army and in some, 
of the other States where no provision for a supply was 
made, are remembered. 

The danger of speculation was another thing which early 
attracted attention. Prices of the necessaries of life began 
to rise during the first year of the war and soon reached a 
speculative point. The Standard was particularly and 

' Hamilton, ed.. The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, i, pp. 321-49. 

' Ordinances, fourth session, p. 164. 

' Governor's message, 1864. Report of Salt Commissioner, 1864. 


justly abusive of the speculators and promised to keep a 
" Roll of Dishonor " for publication at the close of the 
war> To lessen the evil, Governor Clark, acting under the 
advice of the Council of State, proclaimed an embargo upon 
the exportation of certain supplies from the State, except 
for the use of the state or Confederate governments.^ An 
extension of this was made a iew weeks later." The con- 
vention, at its second session, made speculation in the neces- 
saries of life a misdemeanor.* This was evidently inop- 
perative for some reason, and the legislature at various 
times during the war considered the matter. One law was 
enacted prohibiting the practice," but it seems to have been 
utterly futile. Governor Vance had recommended its pas- 
sage and at the same time placed an embargo on the neces- 
saries of life for thirty days." 

Prices rose steadily as the war progressed.' A board of 

' Standard, October 2, November 20, 1861, et seq. 
' Register, September 25, 1861. " Ibid., October 9, 1861. 

* Ordinances, second session, p. 75. ^ Laws, 1862-3, chap. Ivi. 

' Off. Rec, no. 128, p. 214. 

' The following table, gathered from the Raleigh market reports, 
gives a good idea of the rise of prices on various articles: 


Sept. 15, 

June 8, 

Aug. 29, 

March 27, 






Bacon, per pound. 





Beef, per pound. 





Corn, per bushel, 

1. 10 




Meal, per bushel. 





Coffee, per pound. 





Eggs, per dozen. 





Fowls, each, 





Lard, per pound. 





Molasses, per gallon, 





Potatoes, per bushel, 

1. 00 




Sweet potatoes, per bushel. 





Wheat, per bushel. 





Flour, per barrel. 





Pork, per pound. 




Sugar, per pound, 





Brandy or whiskey, per gal. 






appraisement was appointed to value articles for purchase 
by the government, but their prices were far below the 
market. Every two months a new schedule of prices was 
published for the information of the people. 

Many families had every male member in the army and 
no other means of support but their labor. The pay of a 
private, or for that matter, of an officer, in the Confederate 
army, was not suflicient for the support of one person, and 
consequently widespread distress soon appeared. In and 
around Raleigh, everyone could get a living by working 
in the factories and hospitals. But this only affected a 
small part of the population. Early in his administration, 
Governor Vance saw the condition which would arise, and 
took immediate steps to prevent suffering so far as possible. 
He asked Weldon N. Edwards to assemble the convention 
to consider what plan should be adopted to relieve distress, 
but this request was refused. 

At the governor's recommendation, the legislature author- 
ized him to purchase and store provisions to seU to the poor 
at cost.^ A large quantity was purchased in the fall of 
1862, but only a small part was needed, as the crops were 
unusually good.' But the value of the plan was seen in the 
later years of the war, when the crops were smaller and 
food more scarce. One great cause of the distress in the 
State was the lack of facilities for transportation. This 
often kept supplies from being sent where they were most 
needed. There were portions of the State where the 
amount of suffering was very slight. The few records that 
remain of the tithe collection, show that in many places the 
crops were good and food abundant. But impressment and 
foraging by detachments of Confederate troops, and the 

' Laws, 1862-3, chap. xv. 

' Governor's message, November, 1863. 


foraging and destruction by the enemy, in the eastern and 
western portions of the State, led to the loss of a great 
part. Governor Vance sent frequent and bitter complaints 
to Secretary Seddon. In one of his letters, he said: "If 
God Almighty had yet in store another plague for the 
Egyptians, worse than all others, I am sure it must have 
been a regiment or so of half-armed, half -disciplined Con- 
federate cavalry." ^ Another cause of just complaint was 
the bringing of large numbers of worn-out horses to the 
western part of the State to recuperate. There, they were 
turned loose, and in the absence of fences caused immense 
damage to the growing crops. Complaints to Richmond, 
however, brought no redress and no cessation of the 

A great cause of suffering was the lack of drugs. Such 
as were used were mostly of home manufacture. The " Ad- 
Vance " brought in large quantities, but nearly all were 
sent to the front or used in the military hospitals in the 
State. Sickness, as might be expected, was very frequent. 
Smallpox existed in many neighborhoods and the lesser epi- 
demics were everywhere. In 1862, Wilmington was visited 
by a virulent type of yellow fever which in two months 
caused 441 deaths. The total number of cases was 1,505. 
New Bern also had a sharp epidemic of yellow fever, but it 
was during federal occupation and no statistics are avail- 

In May, 1861, the legislature passed a stay law. This 
was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and 
was repealed in September and another passed. This pre- 
vented executions' being issued in civil suits. In 1863, the 
provisions of the statute of limitations were extended for 

' Vance to Seddon, December i, 1863. 
^ Laws, second session, 1861, chap. xi. 


civil matters by omitting the period from May 20 to the 
end of the war. 

By 1865, the State was, in an economic sense, almost 
prostrate/ The end of the war thus averted much suffering 
that would have followed had hostilities continued longer. 

' The following extract from The Last Ninety Days of the War 
gives an excellent idea of the condition of the portion of the population 
that had been wealthy before the war: "In North Carolina families of 
the highest respectability and refinement lived for months on corn 
bread, sorghum, and peas. Meat was seldom on the table, tea and 
coffee never; dried apples and peaches were a luxury. Children went 
barefoot through the winter, and ladies made their own shoes and wove 
their own homespuns; carpets were cut into blankets, and window 
curtains and sheets were torn up for hospital use; soldiers' socks were 
knit day and night, while for home service, clothes were turned twice 
and patches were patched again." 

Beginnings of Reconstruction During the War 

No sooner had the federal troops gained a foothold 
in the State than efforts were made to gather together 
such of the people as favored the cause of the Union and 
such as were dissatisfied with the Confederacy, by means 
of the establishment of a new state government around 
which they might rally. Two such attempts were made, 
both of which were unsuccessful. In the first instance, 
the movement professed to originate within the State. 
Although it was sponsored by the federal military forces, 
it was designed to form a civil government. The second 
was avowedly military and had its origin in an order 
from the President of the United States. 


The fall of Fort Hatteras and the capture of Hatteras 
Inlet by the federal fleet and forces under General B. F. 
Butler in 1861, gave an opportunity for the first enter- 
prise. Certain persons who were disloyal to the state 
government began a movement, avowedly intended to 
restore the State to the Union, but really designed, as 
the sequel indicated, chiefly to promote their own inter- 

The population of Hyde and Washington counties was 
sparse and was almost entirely unprotected from the in- 
vading forces. Practically all of the male population who 



were in sympathy with the Confederacy, were in the army. 
Those at home were Unionists in feeling, partly through 
genuine dislike of the war and a desire to avoid military 
service for the Confederacy, and partly also by fear of 
the federal forces, at vvhose mercy they were placed on 
account of the lack of any adequate coast defence. 

Almost immediately after the capture of the Inlet, 
Colonel Rush C. Hawkins of the Ninth New York Vol- 
unteers was approached by some of the inhabitants who 
had taken flight at the approach of the federal fleet, and 
asked to grant them permission to return to their homes, 
as they had taken no part against the United States and 
had no desire to do so. At his suggestion, about thirty 
took the oath of allegiance and promised to keep the 
commander of the federal forces informed of the move- 
ments of the Confederates. In return they were prom- 
ised protection. Within a week, two hundred and fifty 
persons had taken the oath under similar conditions. 
They declared that secret meetings were being held in 
all the counties bordering on Pamlico Sound and that 
fear alone prevented the people from openly avowing 
their Union sentiments.' Colonel Hawkins, in his re- 
port, suggested the possibility of a convention of the 
State's being called by the people under the protection of 
the federal forces, through which, he thought, a third 
of the State would be at once restored to the Union. 
In order to forward a movement of this kind, as fast as 
the inhabitants took the oath they were sent across the 
sound to act as spies and to test opinion there. Their 
reports led him to believe that it would be productive of 
good results to enlist North Carolina volunteers for ser- 
vice in the State. He suggested that, as a pledge of 

' Off. Rec, no. 4, p. 608. 



good intentions, the government should pay for the 
property which had been plundered and destroyed by 
federal troops, not amounting in all, he thought, to more 
than $5,000, and also provide the inhabitants with food 
and clothing.' He was greatly hindered in his progress 
toward pacification by the depredations of the 20th New 
York Regiment and threatened their commanding officer, 
Colonel Weber, with the use of artillery against them if 
a stop was not put to it.= 

Acting upon his suggestions. President Lincoln in 
September wrote General Scott, requesting him to frame 
an order for recruiting North Carolina volunteers at 
Fort Hatteras. He left it to General Scott to decide 
about the officers, but said Secretary Seward thought 
his nephew, Clarence Seward, "would be willing to go 
and play colonel and assist in raising the force." ^ In 
accordance with this, the acceptance of North Carolina 
volunteers, not to exceed one regiment, was authorized. 
On September 17, Colonel Hawkins, in order to clear 
the minds of the people of prejudice against the federal 
forces, issued a proclamation, addressed to the people 
of North Carolina, declaring as the purpose of the in- 
vasion the relief of the loyal people of the State from 
"rebels and traitors," and calling upon the people to re- 
turn to their allegiance to the United States. "^ He scat- 
tered copies of this proclamation through all the country 
along Pamlico Sound and sent them to various inland 
towns. Almost immediately, the state authorities be- 
came aware of it, but Governor Clark, while alarmed at 
the reports which reached him, was unable to do any- 
thing which would remedy matters. Judge Biggs, of 

■C^. J?ec., no. 4, pp. 608-9. "'Ibid., p. 610. 

"Ibid., p. 613. ' /bid., -pp. 6SS-9. 


the Confederate District Court, wrote General R. C. 
Gatlin, who commanded the Confederate forces in the 
East, that he was doubtful if a majority of the population 
of Washington County could be depended on, in case of 
invasion, and that while few were openly disloyal, the 
sentiment in Tyrrell and Beaufort was such as to cause 
grave uneasiness.' This was the condition of affairs 
when the self-constituted leaders of Union sentiment in 
eastern North Carolina began the movement which, it 
was hoped, would result in the restoration of the State 
to the Union. 

These leaders were Charles Henry Foster and Marble 
Nash Taylor. Comparatively little is known of either of 
them. Taylor was a Methodist minister, a native of the 
"Pan-Handle" of Virginia, who was with the Con- 
federate troops at Hatteras. He joined the federal 
forces before the capture and was accused, whether 
falsely or not, of giving to them information which con- 
tributed to the ease with which victory was obtained. 
In a letter to a brother-in-law in Cumberland County, 
where he himself had formerly lived, he said that he had 
been compelled by the force of circumstances to side 
with the Union." 

Charles Henry Foster was a native of Maine and a 
graduate of Bowdoin College. He had first come South 
in the employ of some land company, and in i860 was 
editor of a Breckinridge newspaper in Murfreesboro.^ 
He was, apparently, in favor of secession, but after the 
fall of Sumter, his attitude made the people suspicious, 
and he was expelled from the town by a public meeting 

' Off. Rec, no. 4, p. 671. 

° Western Democrat, October i, 1861. 

'New Bern Progress, December 12, i85i 



of the citizens. He appealed to Governor Ellis for per- 
mission to remain in the State and, through the efforts 
of friends, the vote was rescinded. He had in the mean- 
time declared his good intentions.' But in November he 
had succeeded in reaching New York, and in company 
with Taylor attended a large meeting at which George 
Bancroft presided, which was held for the assistance and 
encouragement of the proposed new administration in 
North Carolina. ° The plan of action was largely mapped 
out there and the state department was notified of their 
intentions by Foster, who stated that all the North 
Carolinians in New York, who were loyal to the Union, 
favored the plan and that it was hoped and expected 
that it would largely increase the Union sentiment in the 
State. He also said that six counties would be repre- 
sented in the convention, which had already been called, 
and that while the Unionists of the western part of the 
State had desired that the movement should begin there, 
they had agreed to the plan as formed and would ratify 
all the acts of the new administration. No change in 
the laws and constitution of the State, as they were in 
April, 1861, was intended. The proposed government 
would have authority with a majority of the freemen of 
the State, and when " rebel intimidation " was disposed 
of, it would be recognized by 60,000 men, since all the 
great mining, railroad, and other business interests of 
the State were committed to the plan.^ 

The so-called convention of the people met, November 
18, at Hatteras. The minutes of the meeting name 

'^ Register, May 21, 1862. He stated in a letter that his oath as a 
Knight of the Golden Circle would prevent his taking sides against the 
South . 

"New York Tribune, November 8, 1861. 

*Off. Rec. no. 122, pp. 630-1. 


forty-five counties as represented. Only six or eight 
persons, however, composed the convention, Taylor and 
Foster holding what they called proxies for the rest of 
the counties named. These so-called proxies were 
authorized by no meetings of citizens, but merely by 
individuals, who, in most instances, lived in other States.' 
An ordinance proclaimed Taylor provisional governor, 
and another declared the ordinance of secession null 
and void and instructed the governor to issue a call 
for an election of members of Congress.^ He took 
the oath of office before a justice of the peace, and two 
days later issued the proclamation. The election was 
held and Foster received all the votes cast. He, accord- 
ingly, presented himself in Washington, as a member 
from either the first or the second district. The matter 
was referred to a committee, which reported unfavorably, 
and in December a resolution was passed declaring him 
not entitled to a seat from either of the districts named.' 
He was not discouraged and another similar election was 
held January 16, at which he again received all the votes. 
A large number of memorials requesting his admission 
were sent to Congress, and, in the meantime, for some 
reason, possibly because he feared his case was weak, 
another election was held January 30, with the same 
result. Later, he claimed that this was a postponement 

'The following is one of the proxies: 

" Lima, N. Y., November 15, 18C1. 

Dear Sir: — I address you this line to request you to represent the 
Union men of Onslow County, North Carolina, in the State conven- 
tion to organize a provincial government, having once been a resident 
of the county and knowing something of the feeling there existing. 

Rev. M. N. Taylor. I am, respectively, 


'House Mis. Docs., no. 2, 37 Cong., 2 sess. 

^ Ibid., no. 15, 37 Cong., 2 sess. 



from the sixteenth. Taylor, as a private citizen, then 
petitioned Congress to order an election, and Foster 
requested the same thing. 

The voting in all the elections was in Hyde County 
only. The memorials ratifying his election were, in sev- 
eral cases, signed in only one or two handwritings, and 
when he appeared before the committee on elections, he 
could give only a very inadequate explanation of the fact, 
but claimed that he had been rightfully, if not legally, 
elected. He made no claim for the existence, de iacto 
or de jure, of the Hatteras government, but urged that 
the Union men of North Carolina should be recognized 
by Congress. He was forced to acknowledge that only 
about four hundred citizens of the district had expressed 
their approval of his claim, although its voting popula- 
tion was over nine thousand. The chief basis for his 
claim was the precedent set by the admission of Maynard 
and Clements from Tennessee, who had been elected in 
somewhat the same way.' His claim was so poorly sup- 
ported and his statements so contradictory that the 
resolution declaring him not entitled to a seat passed 
with no opposition. An attempt made to compensate 
him as a contestant failed. 

And so ended the first attempt at reconstruction.'' 


The second attempt at reconstruction was begun May 
ig, 1862, when President Lincohi, as commander-in- 
chief of the army, at the suggestion of Reverdy Johnson, 
appointed Edward Stanly military governor of North 

^ House Reports, no. 118, 37 Cong., 2 sess. 

^Taylor became a newspaper correspondent. Foster was later cap- 
tain of a company of colored troops and was dismissed from the service 
through General Butler's efforts. In 1868, he was defeated for the 


Carolina, with the rank of brigadier-general." Unlike 
all the other nominations of this kind, this was never 
sent to the Senate for confirmation.'' He was empow- 
ered to perform all the duties of governor, and to ap- 
point officers, institute courts, and suspend the writ of 
habeas corpus, during the pleasure of the President, or 
until a civil government should be organized. ^ 

A general belief prevailed in the North that there was 
so strong a Union sentiment in North Carolina that, 
with a capable leader, the State could soon be reclaimed 
for the Union. So far as devotion to the Union was 
concerned, Edward Stanly was a most suitable choice to 
"foster Union sentiment." 'f He was born in North 
Carolina in 1808 and had attained great prominence 
there. He had been three times a member of the House 
of Commons and twice had been speaker. He had also 
been a representative in Congress, where he had been 
very influential. In addition, he had served one term as 
attorney general of the State. He had removed to Cali- 
fornia in 1853, and in 1857, although a believer in slavery 
and a slaveholder himself, had been nominated by the 
Republicans there for governor, but had been defeated. 
He was a man of high and uncontrolled temper and was 
noted for his bitter denunciation of political opponents. 
He made many warm friends, but as many equally bitter 
enemies, and was consequently ill adapted for a concilia- 
tory mission. The fact that he was a native only made 
his task more difficult. 

'President Lincoln, without success, urged Stanly to take the rank 
of major-general. New Bern Republic-Courier, Jan. 3, 1873. 
^ House Reports, no. 7 (testimony), p. 885, 40 Cong., i sess. 
' Ojf. Rec., no. 9, p. 396. 

*So expressed by Hon. John S. Ely of New York, in a letter to 


The day after his appointment, Secretary Stanton 
notified him of his duties and ordered General Burnside 
to co-operate with him and furnish any mihtary assist- 
ance that might be necessary/ Governor Stanly arrived 
in Nevif Bern, May 26. General Burnside was at first, 
seemingly, doubtful of their relations,'' but later was 
thoroughly in sympathy with his policy. ^ No sooner 
had he reached North Carolina than Stanly, in seeking 
to conciliate the people and to execute the state laws, 
made himself an object of dislike and suspicion to the 
element in Congress and at the North to whom the chief 
purpose of the war was the abolition of slavery with all 
its concomitants. An enthusiastic gentleman from New 
England had established a school for negro children in 
New Bern. Concerning this, Stanly announced that 
while he approved of kindness to the destitute, black or 
white, he had been sent there to restore the old order of 
things and, consequently, could not give his approval to 
the school, as it would injure the Union cause. He 
consented that such religious instruction might be given 
as was thought best. Apart from this, he said that the 
laws of North Carolina forbade the teaching of slaves to 
read and write, and he could not expect success in his 
undertaking, if, at the start, he encouraged violation of 
the law. Consequently, he demanded the closing of the 
school. In respect to fugitive slaves, also, Stanly took 
like ground. Slaves were constantly leaving their mas- 
ters and coming into the Union lines, and in many in- 
stances they were taken away by the soldiers and notified 
that they were free. Whenever the owners would take 
the oath of allegiance to the United States, Stanly had 
the slaves restored to them.* He also threatened with 

' Off. Rec, no. 9, p. 397. ^ Ibid., p. 403. 

'^Ibid., p. 394. *Ibid., p. 400. 


confiscation the owners of vessels who carried off 

H. H. Helper, a brother of Hinton Rowan Helper, 
who held a civil position in New Bern, wrote a letter to 
Stanly offering some advice as to how he should execute 
the duties of his office. Stanly resented it and ordered 
Helper to leave New Bern. He at once went North, 
in company with Vincent Colyer, the gentleman whose 
school had been closed, and furnished the newspapers 
with a highly-colored account of Stanly's official actions. 
This led to sharp criticism of the governor and to the 
accusation that he was in sympathy with the South. On 
June 3 the House of Representatives passed a resolution 
asking the President to furnish information as to the 
powers conferred upon Stanly by his appointment, 
whether he had interfered to prevent the education of 
children, black or white, and if so, by what authority. 
If by the authority of the government, for what purpose 
were such instructions given? Similar resolutions were 
also passed in the Senate. ° Secretary Stanton referred 
the matter to Stanly, who at once replied outlining his 
policy and asking for instructions. The following points 
on which he desired information show ihe difficulties he 
had to meet almost daily : 

When slaves are taken violently from loyal owners by armed 
men and negroes, what protection can be given for the future? 
When persons connected with the army cause slaves to leave 
their masters, can the latter, if loyal, have permission and 
protection to prevail on them to return? Will authority be 
given to prevent the removal of slave property by vessel 
without the consent of the owners? If the military governor 

'Correspondence of ^Vew York Herald of May 31st, 1862. 
''Sen. Journal, pp. 553, 566. 


should interfere with actions that are in violation of long-- 
established laws of the State, and persons connected with the 
army should make inflammatory appeals to a crowd composed 
of several hundred negroes, exhorting them to violence and 
bloodshed, what action should he take to prevent its recur- 
rence? When slaves of loyal owners are employed by the 
United States authorities, can any steps be taken to secure a 
part of their earnings for their owners?' 

It is apparent that there was a decided difference of 
opinion between the governor and the officers command- 
ing in North Carolina, for in April, General Parke had 
notified citizens of Beaufort, who had appealed to him 
to prevent slaves from coming into his lines, that he 
would not use force to aid owners in their recovery, but 
would only allow them to use persuasion.'' General 
Burnside had also adopted the policy, almost necessarily, 
it is true, of never returning any escaped slaves to their 
owners. 3 In addition to these difficulties, Stanly was 
beginning to discover that a difTerence had arisen be- 
tween himself and those with whom he had been inti- 
mately associated in the past and that Union sentiment 
was at a minimum in North Carolina. Even in New 
Bern, occupied as it was by federal troops, very little 
appeared.'* This change of sentiment, since the time 
when he lived in North Carolina before, had not been 
comprehended by him when he came back to the State, 
and seemed inexplicable. 

In the hope of arousing some feeling he visited the 
various towns in which he was well known, and which 
were now occupied by the Union forces, and made 
speeches. 5 But he accomplished little for the Union 

' Off. Hec, no. 9, pp. 401-2. "^ Ibid., no. 9, p. 382. 

^Ibid., p. 390. *'Ibid., p. 409. 

° Western Sentinel, June 27, 1862. 


cause, for he was generally regarded with hatred and 
suspicion as a traitor to his State, and this kept from him 
the support of all men of character and influence. For 
a time the federal ofBcers in the State thought he would 
be of great benefit to the Union cause, but this feeling 
disappeared when his policy was clearly seen." 

The policy of the state government and of the Con- 
federate officers was to ignore Stanly's pretensions to 
the office of governor and to communicate officially only 
with General Burnside. ^ In the fall of 1862 Stanly wrote 
to Governor Vance and asked for an interview with him 
or with any citizens of the State that he might select. 
He said that he felt sure that North Carolina was 
in the quarrel only through a misunderstanding, and 
he wished to confer in regard to measures that might 
lead to an honorable peace; that he was authorized 
to negotiate an exchange of political prisoners and 
wished this interview with its object to be perfectly 
open. Governor Vance declined the proposal^ on the 
ground that he was without authority from the Confed- 
erate government to treat for peace and that separate 
state action was not to be thought of.'* A correspond- 
ence with General D. H. Hill and General S. G. French 
did not lead to any more hope of reconciliation, but, if 
possible, rendered it more unlikely, since Stanly provoked 
indignation by the violence of his language. 

' Off. Rec, no. 9, p. 397. 

'■ Executive Correspondence, Clark, p. 337. 

'Holden said in 1867 that, on his advice, Governor Vance would 
have consented to treat with Stanly for peace, but was prevented by 
W. A. Graham. As the statement was made in a political attack upon 
the latter, it is not worthy of credit. Standard, January 16, 1867. 

*The correspondence will be found in Ojf. Rec, no. 123, pp. 845-9. 
Governor Vance ignored Stanly's military title, and Stanly himself 
wrote as a private citizen. 



He was greatly handicapped in his peaceful efforts by 
the operations of the Union troops in the eastern part 
of the State. His argument, that they were a " glorious 
army of noble patriots," lost its significance in view of 
their constant plundering and burning, and his protests 
against this were without avail. General Burnside, when 
he first landed in the State, had forbidden all unneces- 
sary injury to the property or persons of the inhabitants,' 
but when General Foster assumed command no atten- 
tion was paid to this order.^ Stanly's last official act 
was a protest against the conduct of the troops in Hyde 
County.' The condition of the "loyal" population was 
thus pitiful. Cut off from Confederate protection, partly 
by circumstances and still more by their own acts, their 
"loyalty" insured them no immunity from outrage and 
violence at the hands of the federal troops. 

In December Stanly ordered an election to be held for 
a member of Congress from the second district. Jen- 
nings Pigott, a native of the State who had been a resi- 
dent of Washington City for many years, and had only 
returned as Stanly's private secretary, was chosen. 
Charles H. Foster contested the election, but neither 
was seated.* 

In the meantime, Stanly had become convinced of the 
hopelessness of his mission. More than that, he was 
utterly out of sympathy with the policy of the adminis- 

^Off. Rec, no. g, p. 3=9. 

'General Foster's course was very different from that of most of the 
Union officers of high rank in the State. In 1863, he gave his ap- 
proval to a plan for beginning a general slave insurrection. Off. Rec, 
no. 26, pp. 1068-9. 

^Ibid., p. 182. 

*■ Contested Elections, p. 462. House Mis. Docs., 39 Cong., 2 sess. 
Globe, pp. 1209-12. 


tration in regard to the slaves. He protested against 
the enlisting and drilling of them on the ground that 
subordinate military officers were unfit to decide when 
their condition was suitable in the meaning of the Presi- 
dent's proclamation, and because it created a danger of a 
servile war.' Finally, January 15, 1863, he sent his 
resignation to the President, giving at the same time the 
reason for his action. He stated that he had assured 
the people of the State that the administration was only 
trying to restore the Union and would secure the rights 
of the people. But since the emancipation proclamation, 
any further assurance of the kind was impossible. Re- 
garding the proclamation he said, "It is enough to say I 
fear it will do infinite mischief. It crushes all hope of 
making peace by any conciliatory measures. It will fill 
the hearts of Union men with despair and strengthen 
the hands of the detestable traitors whose mad ambition 
has spread desolation and sorrow over our country. To 
the negroes themselves it will bring the most direful 
calamities." He reviewed his course as military gov- 
ernor and said concerning this, " That I have offended 
some is probable; but they were those whose schemes 
of plunder I defeated — whose oppressions of the innocent 
and helpless I resisted — whose purposes seemed to have 
been to join or follow the troops and to encourage and 
participate in the most shameful pillaging and robbery 
that ever disgraced an army in any civilized land."" 

' Ojf. Rec, no. 26, p. 525. 

'^ House Report, no. 7 (testimony), pp. 331-2. Stanly's letter to 
Senator Sumner was even more caustic. In part he said, " Had the 
war in North Carolina been conducted by soldiers who were Christians 
and gentlemen, the State would long ago have rebelled against re- 
bellion. But instead of that, what was done? Thousands and thous- 
ands of dollars' worth of property were conveyed North. Libraries, 
pianos, carpets, mirrors, family portraits, everything in short, that 


His resignation was accepted in March, and he re- 
turned to California. No successor was appointed. In 
the State it was thought that Daniel R. Goodloe, a 
North CaroHna abolitionist, would be appointed, but the 
position probably seemed to the President a very useless 
one. In 1864 Stanly wrote the President that he had 
been asked to return to the State and that when he was 
needed in his private capacity he was ready to go.' But 
no occasion for his services ever arose. 

The second attempt at reconstruction had ended as 
disastrously as the first, so far as the progress of Union 
sentiment was concerned.'' It remained for the military 
forces of the United States to begin the final and ulti- 
mately successful attempt when all resistance in the 
State to the authority of the United States was at an end. 


The fall of Richmond and the steady advance of the 
federal army on the state capital showed that the end 
of the struggle was at hand. It was clear that no effec- 
tive opposition to Sherman's advance could be made, 
and preparations were begun to save what little remained 
unhurt in the State, particularly the property of the State. 

could be removed, was stolen by men abusing flagitious slaveholders 
and preaching liberty, justice, and civilization. I was informed that 
one regiment of abolitionists had conveyed North more than $40,000 
worth of property. They literally robbed the cradle and the grave. 
Family burying vaults were broken open for robbery; and in one in- 
stance (the fact was published in a Boston paper and admitted to me 
by an officer of high position in the army), a vault was entered, a 
metallic colSn removed, and the remains cast out that those of a dead 
soldier might be put in the place." Sentinel, Jan. 26, 1870. 

'Governor Stanly, after his return to California, opposed the radical 
policy of Congress, and in 1867, canvassed the State against the Re- 
publican candidate for governor. He died in 1872. 

^Stanly was of infinite service to the people of New Bern as a pro- 
tector against injury. 


Ex-Governor Swain, from his retirement at Chapel 
Hill, entered into correspondence with Senator Graham 
and Governor Vance. Perceiving the impossibility of a 
meeting of the legislature in time to be of service, he 
suggested that Governor Vance should hold a conference 
with the former governors of the State as to the best 
course to follow.' Graham had been convinced ever 
since his return from Richmond, at the close of the ses- 
sion of Congress, that the Confederate cause was hope- 
less and also that, as long as supplies for the army could 
be obtained by the administration, the war would be 
continued. Consequently he thought it the duty of the 
state administration to attempt to make as good terms 
as possible with the federal forces. In any event he 
thought it best that the legislature should be in session 
and ready to act when it should be necessary. He ac- 
cordingly advised Governor Vance to this effect. Then, 
in conference with Swain, he worked out a complete 
plan of action : the General Assembly should be sum- 
moned and should pass resolutions expressing a desire 
for peace and inviting the other Southern States to join 
the movement ; commissioners should be elected to treat 
with the United States and report to a convention which 
should at once be called, and in the meantime a commis- 
sion should treat with General Sherman for a suspension 
of hostilities. 

Senator Graham had warned Governor Vance that the 
North Carolina members of the Confederate House of 
Representatives, or most of them, were ready to call the 
legislature by advertisement. But the governor was 
still doubtful of the wisdom of the proposed plan. He 
did finally summon the Council of State, but only a bare 

'Of these, Swain, Graham, Morehead, Manly, Reid, Bragg, and 
Clark were still living. 


quorum were present, and the vote on the question sub- 
mitted to them resulted in a tie. The governor then 
refused to issue the summons to the legislature. But 
when the plan matured by Graham and Swain was laid 
before him by the latter and when it became evident that 
General Sherman would occupy the capital in a few days, 
he yielded, and after consulting General Johnston, de- 
cided to send for Graham and discuss the question of 
treating with the enemy. The conference was held and 
a letter to General Sherman prepared, asking for an 
interview regarding the suspension of hostilities.' Gen- 
eral Johnston in the meantime had retired westward ; 
but before he left Raleigh he advised Governor Vance to 
make the best terms possible.' Ex-Governor Bragg, 
B. F. Moore, and Kenneth Rayner were consulted and 
agreed to the plan. General Hardee was present at the 
conference and gave Graham and Swain, who agreed to 
act as commissioners, a safe-conduct through the lines. ^ 
In Raleigh there was great excitement but very little 
disorder. The inhabitants were busy concealing valua- 
bles in hope that these might escape the usual fate of 
movable property along the Hne of march of Sherman's 
army. A large number of houses in Fayetteville had 
been burned and it was greatly feared that Raleigh would 
not escape. The legislature, at its last session, had au- 
thorized the removal of all the state records, and cases 
had been made for that purpose. The Council of State, 
at a meeting in March, decided that the governor and 
treasurer or one of them should take the records away if 
it became necessary. They were now placed in the care 
of Treasurer Worth and carried to Company Shops, a 

' Off. Rec, no. loo, p. 178. 

^Dowd, Life of Vance, p. 483. 

^Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, pp. 142-4. 


small place in Alamance County. At the same time an 
immense quantity of supplies belonging to the State was 
distributed along the line of the North Carolina Railroad 
between Raleigh and Salisbury. Governor Vance re- 
mained in Raleigh to hear the result of the conference 
with Sherman, in doubt whether to continue there or to 
retreat with the army as he was urged to do. 

The same day General Archer Anderson notified Pres- 
ident Davis that commissioners were going to Sherman 
with proposals for peace, and ordered General Hampton 
not to allow them to pass. Governor Vance also noti- 
fied President Davis of the fact. General Johnston then 
directed General Hampton to arrest the members of the 
deputation, and to allow no communication with the en- 
emy, except by flag of truce. In the meantime the com- 
missioners, accompanied by three members of the gov- 
ernor's staff, ' had left Raleigh to meet General Sherman 
who was about fourteen miles distant. When they had 
gone som,e distance from Raleigh they were stopped by 
General Hampton, who was unwilling to pass them but 
could not refuse to obey General Hardee's order. Con- 
sequently, after some delay, he passed them and sent a 
courier to General Sherman with communications from 
himself and from the commissioners. They had hardly 
started when the order came from General Johnston for 
them to return to Raleigh. They were again stopped 
and turned back, but on the way to Raleigh the train was 
captured by General Atkins and the commissioners car- 
ried to General Kilpatrick's headquarters. There they 
received the first news of Lee's surrender. From there 
they were sent to General Sherman, who treated them 
with every courtesy and with whom they remained until 

^ These were Surgeon-General Warren, Colonel Burr, and Major 


the next day. ' He requested them to inform the gov- 
ernor that, in accordance with his instructions from the 
President, he wished the state officers to continue in the 
performance of their duties until he could communicate 
with President Lincoln. ' He also replied to Governor 
Vance's letter stating that it was impossible to give him 
an interview at the time, but enclosed a safe-conduct for 
himself and such state officers as would remain in 
Raleigh. ^ 

When the commissioners, on their return, reached 
Raleigh, they found that Governor Vance, who in the 
meantime had decided to remain in Raleigh, had again, 
under military pressure, changed his mind and had gone 
to Hillsboro with General Hoke, who passed through 
Raleigh that day.* Before his departure, he had author- 
ized the mayor to surrender the city, and had written a 
letter to General Sherman asking his protection for the 
capital and the state property. 

The next day the city was surrendered by a committee 
of citizens, and the keys of the Capitol were delivered by 
David L. Swain to an officer of the Union army.' 

Another safe-conduct was then sent to Governor 
Vance, but he declined to return before seeing President 
Davis, who had summoned him to Greensboro. General 
Breckinridge invited him to be present at the conference 
with General Sherman, but for some reason he was ex- 

' Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, pp. 145-55. 

'^ Sherman's Memoirs, vol. ii, pp. 327, 345. 

' Off. Rec, no. 100, pp. 178-g. 

*OnIy with great difficulty did Governor Vance decide what course 
to pursue. Worth entreated him to remain and surrender the Capitol 
himself, but the influence and insistence of the Confederate officers 
probably caused his decision to retreat. 

* Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, p. 162. 


eluded and went on to Greensboro. There he begged 
permission of the Confederate authorities to accept 
General Sherman's offer of protection for the state 
property which was in great danger at the Shops, and 
to send it back to Raleigh in the care of Jonathan 
Worth. This General Breckinridge refused to allow. 
From Greensboro, Governor Vance followed President 
Davis to Charlotte, where they had a conference. Davis 
intimated that he wished Vance to accompany him in 
the retreat, but General Breckinridge interfered, ad- 
vising him to return to his position and its duties.' 
This he resolved to do, and accordingly sent Worth to 
Raleigh with a letter to General Sherman in which he 
volunteered to return, summon the legislature, and 
recommend its calling a convention.'' But General Sher- 
man had left Raleigh, and General Schofield, although he 
and General Sherman had shortly before approved a 
petition asking Governor Vance to return and call a 
special session of the legislature, ^ refusing to see him, 
instructed Worth to bring the records to Raleigh. 

Negotiations had been going on in the meantime 
between Johnston and Sherman in regard to the terms 
of surrender. During the progress of the negotiations 
Governor Vance suggested to the former that if they 
were successful he should turn over the army stores to 
North Carolina in part payment of the debt owed to the 
State by the Confederate government. He stated as an 
additional reason for doing so that the soldiers in John- 
ston's army had taken possession of much of the state 
property. General Johnston declined to accede to the 

' Dowd, Life of Vance, p. 486. 

^Letter from Jonathan Worth to the Sentinel, October 28, 1865. 

-' Warren to Vance, Aug. 27, 1865. 


request and denied that his soldiers had been guilty of 
plundering the State/ When the terms of surrender 
had been agreed upon and General Schofield came to 
Greensboro, Governor Vance asked his protection for 
the state property and offered to surrender himself, but 
General Schofield, in accordance with his instructions, 
refused to receive his surrender and advised him to go 
home.'' Governor Vance then requested that William 
A. Graham, John A. Gilmer, and Bedford Brown might 
go to Washington. By the President's order this was 
refused. 3 Governor Vance then went home and remained 
there until May 14, when he was arrested by the Presi- 
dent's order, carried to Washington, and confined in 
Old Capitol Prison.* Just before going home he issued 
an address to the people urging them to abstain from 
violence of any kind and pledging himself to do all he 
could to restore the civil authority.' 

The capture of Raleigh on April 13 was accompanied 
by very little disorder. Private property, in most 
instances, was respected, though this was by no means 
always the case.^ The ofifices and property of the Con- 
federate and Conservative newspapers were immediately 
destroyed. A few days later General Sherman ordered 
the Progress to suspend publication for criticism of 
some act of his. Later he allowed its publication to be 
re-commenced. When the news of President Lincoln's 

' Off. Rec, no. iii, pp. 419-420. ''Ibid., no. 100, pp. 426. 

^Ibid., pp. 395, 404, 432. 

*He was arrested by General Kilpatrick, who, according to Vance, 
improved the opportunity of stealing two spoons. Most of the furni- 
ture was then taken, and Mrs. Vance, who was ill, was left on the floor. 
Sentinel, Nov. i, 1870. 

^Standard, May 3, 1865. 

''Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, pp. 174 et seg. 


assassination came, there was great fear in Raleigh that 
revenge would be taken by the soldiers upon the town, 
a fear that was shared by the officers.' The guards 
were doubled, and every precaution taken, and no violence 

There was a great deal of destitution in the town, and 
this was relieved, in part, by the action of the jnilitary 
authorities in furnishing rations to those in want. The 
place was crowded with negroes who had followed the 
army or come in from the adjoining country, and these 
were entirely supported by the rations issued. The 
policy was adopted of making them return to their 
homes whenever possible, but this was attended with 
great difficulty. Similar conditions, as regards both 
races, existed in the other towns of the State. In Wil- 
mington there was probably greater destitution. 

General Sherman was anxious to make use of the 
existing state government for the purpose of re-organ- 
ization, but the authorities at Washington prevented 
him. His wish was well known, and members of the 
legislature appealed to him to allow them to meet in 
Raleigh and arrange for holding a session. Of course 
this request was refused.' 

Early in May, General Schofield succeeded him in 
command of the State. The disturbances arising from 
the end of the war and the disbanding of the armies were 
great, and his efforts to bring quiet at first met with 

'Gen. F. P. Blair, who was staying at the residence of Dr. R. B. 
Haywood, a classmate at the University of North Carolina, gave him 
a suit of his own uniform, telling him it might be necessary for him to 
become a Union general instead of a Confederate surgeon. It is a 
matter of tradition in Raleigh that General Logan saved the city from 
being burned by stopping the soldiers who were coming in from Morris- 
ville for the purpose. 

'0#. /?ec., no. 100, pp. 254, 272. 


very little success. Proclamations were issued announc- 
ing the definitive cessation of hostilities and, in order to 
remove all doubt, the freedom of the slaves.' The tak- 
ing of the oath of allegiance was hastened by making it 
a prerequisite for the practice of a profession or for en- 
gaging in any business. Nor could marriage Hcenses be 
issued until the oath had been taken by both parties.' 
The towns were soon quiet, but the country was not. 
Nor were the inhabitants altogether to blame; for the 
federal troops did not soon shake oS the habits formed 
during the war, and even after the proclamation of the 
final cessation of hostilities, the plundering and wanton 
destruction of property continued, often accompanied by 
outrage and violence.' This, however, was the excep- 
tion, and not the rule. The disbanded Confederate 
soldiers, particularly the cavalry, foraged to some extent 
as they went home. But their opportunities were not so 
great and sympathy with them, naturally, was greater. 

To put an end to this condition of affairs, General 
Schofield began the organization of a police force for 
each county,'* detailing General J. D. Cox for the work 
in the western part of the State, General Terry for the 
central, and Generals Hawley and Palmer for the eastern. 
They were instructed to have bodies of troops visit all 
portions of the State and arrest marauders. = General 
Schofield also had the oath of allegiance admmistered to 
certain magistrates of known Union sympathies and left 
them in the exercise of their functions.* Prompt justice 

' General Orders, nos. 31 and 32. '^ Ibid., no. 52. 

^Ojf. Rec, no. 100, p. 330 et seq. Last Ninety Days of the War, 
p. 43 et seq. 
' Off. Rec., no. 100, pp. 460, 522 et seq. 
"General Orders, no. 35. 
^Off. Rec., no. 100, p. 610 et seq. 


was meted out to offenders, in and out of the army, 
whenever it was possible,' and whenever the troops 
showed disorganization they were mustered out.'' Every 
effort was used to have the restrictions on trade removed, 
for the commander felt that peace would be more quickly 
restored when destitution, resulting from the abnormal 
conditions, was relieved, and the people were employed 
in their usual occupations. He also opposed the rulings 
of the treasury department in regard to trade. ^ 

The delay in making known the policy of the United 
States government regarding re-organization of the civil 
government of the State was considered very unfortu- 
nate by General Schofield, since he was convinced that 
the people were well disposed and were ready to make 
and accept any necessary changes.'* For the re-organi- 
zation, he desired the appointment of a military gov- 
ernor who should declare in force the constitution of 
the State as it existed previous to secession, and appoint 
officers to serve until the work was completed. An en- 
rolment should then be made of all citizens qualified to 
vote by state law, after administration of the amnesty 
oath. A convention should be called and its action 
submitted to the people. He was anxious to be selected 
as military governor for North Carolina, provided some 
such plan as this was adopted, but if negro suffrage was 
to be included he preferred to have no part in it.= Gen- 
eral Halleck recommended him for the position, but 
later withdrew his endorsement on the ground that he 
could not recommend anyone who had advised Sherman 
to make the terms which had been proposed with 

^ Off. Rec, no. loo, p. 470. ''Ibid., p. 609. 

^Ibid., p. 593. ^Ibid., pp. 405, 411. 

^Ibid., pp. 461-3. 



Johnston.' General Schofield's measures for pacifica- 
tion and conciliation, meanwhile, were meeting with 
such success that when he applied for leave, early in 
June, he said that the presence of troops in the State 
seemed almost unnecessary.^ His conduct of affairs met 
with the hearty approval of his superiors, ^ and, in every 
way, he deserved and received the cordial gratitude of 
the people of the State. 

'Off. Rec, no. 100, pp. 434, 454. '^Ibid., p. 513. 

Ubid., p. 586. 

Presidential Reconstruction 

i. the provisional government 

On May 9, 1865, the President summoned W. W. 
Holden to Washington for a conference. He was de- 
tained and did not reach there until the eighteenth. In 
the meantime D. L. Swain, B. F. Moore, and WilHam 
Eaton had also been summoned.' In company with 
John H. Wheeler the latter were received by the Presi- 
dent, who showed them the proclamation which had 
already been prepared containing the plan for the restor- 
ation of North Carolina. Moore at once objected and 
urged its unconstitutionality. He desired the President 
to allow the legislature to meet and to call a convention. 
General Sherman had promised transportation for the 
members on the military lines in the State, and it could 
be accomplished very quickly. The President took the 
ground that the body had no legal status, and asked 
further what he could do if, after recognition by him, it 
should refuse to conform to the terms deemed necessary. 
Moore assured him that there was " no one of that body 
who might not be led back into the Union with a silken 
thread." In the discussion he grew very caustic, par- 
ticularly so in stating his objection to the appointment 
of the governor by the President and the calling of a 

' Off. Rec, no. 100, p. 489. 


convention without th? intervention of the legislature. 
The President w^as v^ry good-natured, but was un- 
changeable in his opinion and plan. 

The day after their interview with the President, they 
returned to the White House at his invitation and found 
another party from North Carolina present. It was 
made up of those whom Holden had brought with him.' 
The President laid before them the amnesty proclama- 
tion and the North Carolina proclamation, leaving blank 
in the latter the name of the provisional governor, 
saying that he would appoint the person they should 
nominate. Moore, Eaton, and Swain declined to take 
any part in the proceedings and left the room, as did 
the President, Swain having seen Holden first and urged 
him not to accept the appointment.'' Holden's name 
was then inserted by those remaining, and the President, 
on his return, expressed himself as much gratified at 
their choice and duly made the appointment.^ 

It is an interesting speculation as to who would have 
been appointed by President Lincoln. The North Caro- 
lina proclamation had been prepared the day of his 
assassination,* and it is, at least, likely that he had some 
one in mind for the position. It is hardly likely that it 

'The members of the party, besides Holden, were R. P. Dick, WilHe 
Jones, W. R. Richardson, J. H. P. Russ, W. S. Mason, Rev. Thos. 
Skinner, and Dr. R. J. Powell. The latter was a native of the State, 
holding a position in the Patent Office. 

'Memoirs of IV. W. Holden, p. 47. 

'The account of the interviews with the President is in Wheeler's 
Reminiscences, p. 60 et seg. It is interesting to know that among the 
candidates for provisional governor was George W. Kirk, already- 
notorious for his part in the border warfare in the West, and destined 
to become again famous, or rather infamous, in the Reconstruction 
history of the State. Spencer, Last Ninety Days of the War, p. 229. 

' McCulloch, Men and Measures of Half a Century, p. 378. 


would have been Holden.' His appointment was the 
one that President Johnson would have been expected 
to make, for there was much to make him appear to the 
President the most suitable man for the position. Be- 
tween Johnson and Holden there was the bond of hke 
social origin and like political opinions in the past, and 
this fact, coupled with their old friendship and communi- 
cation during the war, makes it probable that Holden 
was the choice of the President and that his nomination 
by the committee was only a matter of form. At any 
rate, it was certain that the members of the delegation, 
selected with three exceptions by Holden, would choose 

President Johnson formally began his policy of recon- 
struction on May 29 by issuing a proclamation granting 
general amnesty and pardon to those who had been 
engaged in rebellion against the authority of the United 
States. This restored rights of property except in slaves 
and except when legal proceedings for confiscation had 
been instituted. An oath was provided to be taken by 
all accepting the benefits of the proclamation. It was 
as follows : 

I . . .do solemnly swear, (or affirm), in the presence of 
Almighty God, that I will henceforth faithfully support, pro- 
tect and defend the Constitution of the United States and the 
Union of the States thereunder; and that I will in like manner 
abide by and faithfully support all laws and proclamations 
which have been made during the existing rebellion with 
reference to the emancipation of slaves. So help me God. 

'The late D. F. Caldwell, of Guilford, stated that he had authorita- 
tive information that President Lincoln had considered his name and 
that of Jonathan Worth, and had finally decided upon the latter for the 
position. The author has been unable to find any other evidence sub- 
stantiating this or, in fact, any contradicting it. 


Fourteen classes of persons were excepted from the 
benefits of this proclamation. These included the execu- 
tive and diplomatic officers of the Confederacy, those 
who left the service of the United States to aid the Con- 
federacy, the governors of the States in insurrection, all 
military and naval officers in the Confederate service 
whose rank was above that of colonel and lieutenant, 
respectively, and all who voluntarily took part in the 
war whose taxable property exceeded in value $20,000. 
Any person belonging to an excepted class could make 
application to the President for a special pardon, and a 
promise of liberal executive clemency was extended. 
The Secretary of State was directed to establish rules for 
the administration of the oath. 

The same day the President issued another proclama- 
tion appointing William W. Holden provisional governor 
of North Carolina. This was the first of a series of 
similar proclamations for all the Southern States. It 
was based upon the war power of the President as com- 
mander-in-chief. It gave the provisional governor so 
appointed power to prescribe the necessary rules for 
calling and assembling a convention whose delegates 
should be chosen by the portion of the population that 
v^fas loyal to the United States at that time when it 
should be called. This convention was given authority 
to exercise all powers necessary to restore the State to 
her constitutional relations with the United States gov- 
ernment, and present such a republican form of govern- 
ment as would entitle the State to the guarantee of the 
United States against invasion, insurrections, and domestic 
violence. It was directed to prescribe qualifications for 
electors and for holders of office. The proclamation 
itself prescribed as qualifications for electors and dele- 
gates to the convention that they should have taken the 


amnesty oath as provided in the President's proclama- 
tion, and that they should be voters qualified by the 
state constitution in force previous to May 20, 1861. 
All persons in the military and naval service were directed 
to aid the provisional governor and enjoined from hind- 
ering and discouraging the loyal people from organizing 
a state government. The Secretary of State was directed 
to put in force in the State the laws of the United States, 
the administration of which belonged to his department. 
The Secretary of the Treasury was instructed to nominate 
officials and put in execution the revenue laws. The 
Postmaster General was directed to establish post-ofifices 
and post routes and to put the postal laws in execution. 
The District judge was directed to hold courts within 
the State, and the Attorney General was instructed to 
enforce, through the proper officers, the administration 
of justice in all matters within the jurisdiction of the 
federal courts, and to libel and bring to judgment, con- 
fiscation, and sale all property subject to confiscation. 
The heads of the departments of the navy and interior 
were given instructions similar to the others. 

Secretary Seward formally notified Governor Holden 
of his appointment the same day the proclamation was 
issued. For some reason he was not required to take 
the "iron-clad" oath as were the other provisional gov- 
ernors. The appointment was announced to the State 
through the Standard a week later, and, at the same 
time, Holden retired from the nominal editorial control 
of the paper. 

As might be imagined, the appointment was not re- 
ceived in the State with unmixed gratification. It had 
been the hope of the majority that some man might be 
chosen who was without the bitter enmity of so large a 
proportion of the people. But after it was a settled fact 


there seems to have been a general disposition to give 
Holden a fair chance, both from a desire to support the 
President and from policy. But though the feeling 
against him was hidden, it was no less intense. 

On June 12 Governor Holden issued a proclamation 
which had first been submitted to the President for ap- 
proval. After a summary of the President's North 
Carolina proclamation the governor outlined his policy. 
He stated that a call would soon be issued for a conven- 
tion of the people, which would provide for the election 
of a governor and legislature ; that the latter would elect 
two United States senators, and a general election would 
also be held for members of Congress. He announced 
that, in conformity with the rules established by Secre- 
tary Seward, he would appoint justices of the peace to 
administer the amnesty oath, and through subordinates 
hold the election for delegates to the convention. These 
justices would be further authorized to hold county 
courts and appoint sheriffs and clerks. Other necessary 
ofificers would be appointed by the provisional governor 
to serve until the meeting of the convention. He in- 
vited the loyal people of the State to assist him by tak- 
ing an interest in public affairs, by discouraging disloyal 
sentiment, and by electing to office friends of the United 
States government. He devoted some space to violent 
abuse of the Confederate government, congratulating 
the people on their deliverance from it. The latter part 
of the proclamation contained good and kindly advice to 
the colored people of the State, with a promise of assist- 
ance from the government and the people wherever it 
was deserved. He closed with a declaration of " charity 
for all, with malice towards none." 

Beginning soon after the close of hostilities, a series of 
Union meetings were held in the State. Of these there 


were two distinct types. In one class, whicli was 
numerically the smaller, there was manifested an inclina- 
tion to win favor at the North by violent abuse of the 
Confederacy and its leaders, obHvious, apparently, to 
the fact that, four years before, many, if not the majority, 
of those who prompted this policy had been enthusiastic 
members of the "last man and last dollar" party. The 
majority of the meetings, however, passed resolutions 
simply acknowledging that the war had been a failure, 
expressing gratification at the return of peace, and de- 
claring a desire to return to full allegiance to the United 

Governor Holden moved very slowly and carefully in 
carrying out the work of re-organization. This was 
made necessary by the duties of his position which, at 
the time, were enormously increased by the thousands 
of applications for pardon and by the necessity of ap- 
pointing magistrates and other of^cers. The delay in 
calling a convention caused extreme dissatisfaction in 
the State, and criticism which was hardly just, followed. 

The governor's action regarding pardons admitted of 
and caused better-founded criticism. He recommended 
the pardon of a large number of original secessionists 
and war men, and advised the suspension of the pardon 
of such men as William A. Graham, John A. Gilmer, 
Josiah Turner,' John M. Morehead, and many others 
who had striven against secession and for the Union 
until hostilities had actually commenced. This, nat- 
urally, gave great oflfense to the latter class and their 
friends. No other adequate reason than personal preju- 

' Holden recommended the suspension of Turner's pardon on the 
ground that his petition was a bill of indictment against the Demo- 
cratic party. 


dice can be found for this action." In spite of his 
recommendation to the contrary, a pardon was granted 
to ex-Governor Bragg.^ Ex-Governor Clark made ap- 
plication for pardon and was told by Governor Holden 
that he would oppose its being granted, as he would 
under no circumstances recommend or approve Vance's 
pardon, and if he should make any discrimination it 
would give Vance's friends ground for attacking him. 
The application was never forwarded to Washington, 
and was found in the office by Governor Worth during 
the following winter.^ In other ways, not calculated to 
win friends, Governor Holden used the power he had in 
the matter of pardons. + 

To assist him in communicating with the President, 
Governor Holden appointed Dr. R. J. Powell agent of 
the State in Washington. Through him the Presi- 
dent was informed of the governor's opinion of the vari- 

' In his Memoirs, written many years afterwards, Governor Holden 
said it was to protect the President from pardoning too many promi- 
nent "rebels," and because he thought Graham and Turner were not 
sufficiently in sympathy with him. 

* Trinity College Historical Papers, Series III, pp. 103-5. 

'^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, pp. 234-3. 

*The following correspondence gives an example of this: 

"Weldon, N. C., Sept. 18, 1865. 
To Mr. Hanes, 

Secretary to Governor Holden. 

Why have I not been pardoned as well as John B. Odom, J. W. 
Newsom, Samuel Calvert, and others? Thos. I. Person." 

"Raleigh, September 18, 1865. 
To Thos. I. Person, Weldon, N. C. 

Sir: — Your despatch received. The governor instructs me to say that 
Mr. Odom's pardon has not been received but will be received in time 
for him to take his seat in the convention. Also that the pardon of 
those who may take part against Mr. Odom and Dr. Barrow for the 
convention in Northampton will be delayed. L. Hanes. 

Private Secretary." 


ous petitioners apart from his formal endorsement. All 
the applications were referred by the President to the 
Attornej' General for investigation.' On several occasions 
pardons were issued without the approval of Governor 
Holden. George Mordecai and Dr. W. J. Hawkins, both 
prominent in Raleigh in a business way, went to Wash- 
ington and were unable to find any trace of their appli- 
cations for pardon in Attorney General Speed's office. 
At his suggestion they filed new ones which the Presi- 
dent signed. Governor Holden had advised suspension 
of pardon in their case, and he at once complained to 
the President, who declined to revoke their pardons, but 
notified him through Dr. Powell that he might tax them 
for their pardon as he saw fit."" Governor Holden, how- 
ever, took no action of the kind, but wrote that he was 
losing ground because pardons were granted for per- 
sonal reasons when those recommended by him were not 
acted on. 3 By June 27, 1866, pardons had been issued 
to citizens of North Carolina to the number of 1912 
Of these, 1450 bore the recommendation of Governor 
Holden and 419 of Governor Worth. Most of the latter 
were made before Governor Worth took office. It is 
impossible to ascertain how large a number of persons 
belonged to the classes excepted by the President's 
proclamation. Over two thousand applications for par- 
don were forwarded to Washington, but there were 
many in the excepted classes who did not apply. Of the 
pardons issued, 815 were granted to Confederate post- 
masters, many of whom had been United States postmas- 

^ Record of the Provisional Governor, p. 123. 

'Dr. Powell wrote Gov. Holden that they had been obtained by a 
pardon broker who was a cousin of the Attorney General. 
^Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 61. 


ters prior to i85i; 510 came under the thirteenth excep- 
tion, that is, were worth more than $20,000. The 
remainder of the pardons, in the main, were granted to 
Confederate army officers above the rank of colonel, tax 
assessors, mail contractors and carriers, members of the 
legislature, and a variety of minor officers. A few who 
had held high office received pardons, and the circum- 
stances under which some were granted are interesting. 
John A. Gilmer was recommended by a number of his 
former colleagues in the 36th Congress and by several 
army officers stationed in North Carolina, including 
General J. D. Cox. J. C. Washington, who had been a 
member of the secession convention, was recommended 
by Attorney General Speed on condition that he should 
arrange with the freedmen on his land in a manner satis- 
factory to the Freedmen's Bureau. William A. Graham's 
pardon was granted, in spite of Governor Holden's re- 
quest to the contrary, on the recommendation of thirty- 
eight members of the state Senate and forty-three mem- 
bers of the House.' 

By the end of July Governor Holden had appointed 
over three thousand magistrates. He had also appointed 
mayors and commissioners for the towns. " His effort 
was to fill all these places with Union men. In one in- 
stance he declared the action of a county court null and 
void because the county officers appointed by it had in 
the past been disloyal to the United States. He ordered 
a new election of officers, appointing at the same time 
new magistrates, until there was a working majority of 
those of whose opinions he could be certain. ^ In ano- 

' House Ex. Docs., no. 32, 40 Cong., i sess. 
''Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 20. 
^ Record of the Provisional Gover?ior, p. 139. 


th;r case he revoked the commissions of certain Magis- 
trates against whom objections were raised. In the 
same period appointments were made of directors and 
proxies for the various corporations in which the State 
had an interest, and of judges and solicitors of the state 
courts. In almost every instance the appointees had 
originally been Whigs. R. P. Dick was the only Dem- 
ocrat chosen to a high position. He had been appointed 
a federal judge by the President soon after the establish- 
ment of the provisional government, but could not take 
the oath required by law, ' and after two months' waiting 
for the repeal of the law, resigned and was made a pro- 
visional judge. George W. Brooks was then appointed 
and qualified. 

About this time' charges were made at the North that 
Union men were ignored in the appointments to office 
made by the provisional governors. The animus of these 
reports is easy to perceive and was recognized at the 
time. Ground for them regarding North Carolina was 
given by the Progress, which for a time represented the 
State as entirely disloyal, and also by the correspondence 
to the Northern newspapers. The latter painted such a 
lurid picture of the conditions in the State that suspicion 
was aroused as to its source. An examination made by 
Dr. Powell showed that the matter was never telegraphed 
from North Carolina as was claimed, but was probably 
written in Washington. 3 In many instances allusions 
were made to persons as prominent in the State who 
were unknown there. The President, while not credit- 
ing the reports, notified Governor Holden that they were 

' Act of March 2, 1862. 

'August, 1865. 

^Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, pp. 40-42. 


being circulated. ' Governor Holden was thus attacked 
at once on both sides, for in the State, in addition to the 
matter of pardons, many of his appointments were criti- 
cised. It certainly cannot be said with justice that he 
was favorable to the former secession element, unless to 
those who had changed during the war. In public and 
in private he insisted that they must be content to follow, 
not lead, in the work of re-organization. His enforce- 
ment of the directions contained in the proclamations 
and orders of the President seems to have been careful 
and, on the whole, impartial. He refused to allow the 
unpardoned stockholders of the railroads to take part in 
the meetings and gave notice that, when a majority of 
the stock was controlled by such persons, the State 
would take charge of the corporation's affairs until they 
had been pardoned.^ This is a fair type of his action 
when questions of the kind had to be settled by him. 

Throughout this period the governor was giving at- 
tention to all the various details of. state government, 
multiplied by the war and the prostration of the people 
resulting therefrom. Leaving out all question of motive 
or of action in certain individual cases, his work was well 
done. He was less proscriptive than might have been 
expected or, in fact, than was expected when he was ap- 
pointed, in view of the events of the preceding five years, 
and he showed consideration for the feelings of his 
opponents by asking for Vance's release on parole on 
account of the illness of his wife, and by various other 
acts to which his kindly nature impelled him. 

Finally, on August 8, he issued a proclamation order- 
ing the election of delegates to a convention to meet 

'.9i?«. Docs., no. 26, p. 223, 39 Cong., i sess. 
^Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 73. 


October 2. Justices of the peace in every county were 
directed to administer the amnesty oath and to provide 
for holding the election in accordance with law. By his 
delay in ordering the election he had made it possible for 
many to vote who, otherwise, would have been disquali- 
fied for lack of pardon. 

There was very little discussion during the campaign 
of any issues. The questions of secession and slavery 
were regarded as definitely settled and only the matter 
of the war debt remained. It was generally thought 
that the convention ought not to act upon this at all 
during the first session, and, beyond some little discus- 
sion of the matter in the newspapers, little was said re- 
garding it. The Standard published during the cam- 
paign, under the heading " Union Landmarks," the 
following as its policy: "The prompt non-recognition of 
debts contracted by the State in aid of the rebellion ; but 
an equally prompt determination to pay every cent of 
the State debt contracted previously to the war." But 
less than a month later it declared that by non-recogni- 
tion it meant that the convention should leave the ques- 
tion untouched.' 

The quiet in politics, which had settled over the State 
at the close of hostilities, now began to be broken by 
disagreements between the Standard and the Sentinel. 
The latter was a paper established shortly before in 
Raleigh and edited by William E. Pell, a former assistant 
of Holden. It soon began to represent the anti-Holden 
element which was beginning to appear, and, in fact, was 
in part responsible for its appearance. It endorsed the 
administration of Governor Holden until after the meet- 

'^ Standard, August, 25, 1865. The editorial columns of this paper 
must be regarded as expressing the views of Governor Holden, as he 
controlled it actually, if not in name. 


ing of the convention, but at times criticised his actions. 
This was regarded by the Standard as amounting to 
treason and disloyalty to the United States, and it at 
once made charges that an attempt was being made to 
revive Confederate issues. 

The question of the eligibiHty of unpardoned persons 
to seats in the convention was the cause of some discus- 
sion. William A. Graham was the choice of Orange 
County but declined to be a candidate because he had 
not been pardoned, stating at the same time that he be- 
lieved that he was eligible. Governor Holden appealed 
to the President for a decision in the matter and was 
sustained in his, opinion that no person who was un- 
pardoned, and so not a voter, could qualify as a delegate. 
The President also informed him that any unpardoned 
person, elected to the convention, would be immediately 
pardoned upon his recommendation." 

The administration of the amnesty oath and prepara- 
tions for the election were carried on quietly with little 
question of any kind being raised. Occasionally there 
were complaints that partiality was being shown. In 
Rutherford County about forty persons were not allowed 
to take the oath because they were " original war men." 
They went to Morganton and took it before the military 
authorities there, but were not allowed to vote at the 
election in Rutherford." 

The election was held peaceably in every part of the 
State except at Concord, the county seat of Cabarrus. 
General Ruger had given orders that on election day no 
soldier should visit the polls or even leave camp, unless 
summoned by the civil authorities,^ and in no instance 

^Sen. Docs., no. 26, p. 223, 39 Cong., i sess. 
^Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 96. 
^Standard, September 16, 1865. 


were they required. The trouble at Concord was caused 
by the attempt of a party of intoxicated negroes to vote. 
A Union veteran, who lived in the town, fired a pistol 
into the crowd of freedmen and precipitated a sharp 
little fight, which, however, had no serious results.' 

Many persons who were regularly qualified, refused to 
take any part in the election on the ground that, in 
every case, the candidates were dictated. This refusal 
to endorse what was felt to be the dictation of the pro- 
visional governor showed what might be the attitude of 
the State towards him in the fall elections after the con- 
vention should have completed the work required of it 
and adjourned, leaving the government to be carried on 
directly by the people. 

Governor Holden was much gratified at the general 
result of the election, but greatly chagrined at the defeat 
of Dr. Leach and Chief Justice Pearson. He assured 
the President that the ultra-Union men or " straitest 
sect" would control in everything. Eleven persons who 
had not been pardoned were elected, but on the gover- 
nor's recommendation they received pardons in time to 
take their seats. ° 


The convention thus secured by Governor Holden, in 
accordance with the President's directions, met in 
Raleigh on the appointed day (October 2) and organized 
by unanimously electing Judge Edwin G. Reade presi- 
dent.^ Among its members were few who had orig- 
inally favored secession and none who were very prom- 

' Standard, September 28, 1865. 
"Sen. Docs., no. 26, 39 Cong., i sess. 

'An informal ballot had already been held. Nathaniel Boyden re- 
ceived the second larges!; number of votes in this. 


inently connected with the secession party. Most of 
them were old Whigs who, while opposed to secession, 
had submitted to the will of the majority. With these 
were many members of the peace party during the war. 
The delegates were unanimous in their desire to restore 
the State to normal relations with the federal govern- 
ment, and this was constantly shown as the session 

As a whole, probably, the body was composed of less 
able men than the convention of 1861, but it was by no 
means lacking in ability. Three of its members had also 
been delegates to the convention of 1835.' Twelve had 
been members of the secession convention." Two had 
been in the Confederate Congress, ^ and two had been 
Union rangers. A majority were middle-aged, very few 
being either very young or very old.'' The most prom- 
inent member and probably the ablest was B. F. Moore' 
of Wake. His record as a Union sympathizer was un- 
broken, although he was unable to take the " iron-clad '- 
oath, having been a member of the Board of Claims 
elected by the convention of 1861. Thomas Settle, Judge 
George Howard, William Eaton, Nathaniel Boyden, Ed- 
ward Conigland, D. D. Ferebee, Judge M. E. Manly, 
and Bedford Brown all took a prominent part in the de- 
bates and were the leaders of the convention. 

Edwin G. Reade, the president, had long been a prom- 
inent lawyer in the State. He had served one term in 
Congress, and while there, in 1856, was the only mem- 

' These were Faison, Dockery, and Gilliam. 

^^ These were John Berry, Bedford Brown, R. P. Dick, George How- 
ard, Giles Mebane, R. L. Patterson, R. S. Donnell, A. H. Joyce, 
E. J. Warren, D. H. Starbuck, and W. A. Smith. 

"E. G. Reade and G. W. Logan. 

* Sentinel, November 11, 1865. 


ber from the South who voted to censure Keitt for his 
part in the assault upon Sumner. In 1861 he was elected 
a delegate to the convention which the people rejected, 
but refused to be a candidate for the later one, as he was 
opposed to secession. He was for a short time a Con- 
federate senator, and in 1863 was elected a judge of the 
Superior Court. Governor Holden appointed him a pro- 
visional justice of the Supreme Court. He was a most 
suitable choice for presiding of^cer and proved a very 
able one. When he took the chair he made a very elo- 
quent address closing as follows : 

Fellow Citizens, we are going- home. Let painful reflections 
upon our late separation and pleasant memories of our early 
union quicken our footsteps toward the old mansion, that we 
may grasp hard again the hand of friendship which stands at 
the door, and sheltered by the old homestead which was built 
upon a rock and has weathered the storm, enjoy together the 
long, bright future which awaits us. 

The governor's message was brief. He reviewed the 
President's position in regard to the reconstruction of 
the Southern States, praising its breadth and liberality, 
and congratulating the members on the favorable condi- 
tions under which they met.' He alluded to the ques- 
tions of secession and slavery but made no mention of 
the disposition of the war debt. 

The first subject of discussion by the convention was 
the abrogation of the ordinance of secession. So far as 
the end to be obtained was concerned, the convention 
was a unit. Regarding the means, a decided difference 
was noticeable. On the third day, Jones of Rowan in- 
troduced an ordinance repealing the ordinance of seces- 

^ Journal, p. 11. 


sion, with a declaration that the convention in no sense 
endorsed the theory of secession, but wished simply to 
repeal the ordinance out of consideration for the feelings 
of their fellow citizens who had believed in it, and from 
a desire for cordial reconciliation. The same day Na- 
thaniel Boyden from the committee on the subject re- 
ported the following ordinance : 

Be it ordained by the delegates of the good people of the State 
of North Carolina in convention assembled, and it is hereby 
declared and ordained that the ordinance of the convention of 
the State of North Carolina, ratified on the 21st day of No- 
vember, 1789, which adopted the Constitution of the United 
States, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General 
Assemlby ratifying and adopting- amendments to the said 
Constitution, are now and at all times since the adoption and 
ratification thereof have been in full force and effect, notwith- 
standing the supposed ordinance of the 20th of May, 1861, 
declaring that the same be repealed, rescinded and abrogated, 
and the said supposed ordinance is now and hath been at all 
times, null and void. 

Jones's ordinance was then tabled indefinitely with- 
out discussion. The following day Dennis D. Ferebee 
offered a substitute, differing in form from the draft 
reported by the committee, and, in fact, embodying a 
compromise between this and the one proposed by Jones. 
A sharp debate then followed. The opposition to the 
committee's draft was led by Judge Howard. He pre- 
faced his speech with the declaration that he had voted 
heartily for secession, but, convinced that it was a failure, 
he was ready to do all in his power to effect a restora- 
tion; that so far as the United States was concerned 
the ordinance of secession had always been null and 
void ; but to the people of the State it was the charter 


under which they had acted and carried on a de facto 
government for four years, and he would not wrong 
them by taking it away. During the period of the war, 
the State, sustaining its action by arms, was to all in- 
tents independent, with all the machinery of government 
in the full exerc'se of its functions. If the ordinance of 
secession had no effect, all acts in the period following 
were null and void. He denied that the military power, 
while sustaining a theoretical independence of the State, 
had succeeded in making independence actual for any 
period, and held that consequently opposition to the 
ordinance under discussion did not mean hostility to a 
restoration of the Union. Others opposed the proposed 
ordinance on the ground that it was a reflection on the 
convention of 1861, and because the convention was by 
nature a legislative body and not a judicial one.' 

B. F. Moore, who drew the committee's ordinance, 
said his main reason for favoring it was that through it 
the right of citizenship in the United States would be 
retained, and not otherwise. He did not believe that 
declaring the ordinance of secession null and void would 
permanently invalidate all acts done during the war, but 
said that the convention could make them valid by an 
additional ordinance.^ A great deal of feeling was shown 
in the debate by several of those favoring the com- 
mittee's ordinance. Judge Warren, who voted for the 
ordinance of secession in 1861, declared that the object 
of the substitute was to "hoodwink" the convention 
into an endorsement of secession.' Samuel F. Phillips 
voiced the sentiment of a large number when he said 
that, as the convention of 1861 had expressed an opinion 

'Andrews, The South Since the War, pp. 144, 151. 
''Ibid., pp. 150-1. ^Ibid., p. 151. 



one way, a body of equal rank should register a counter 
opinion, and, as the functions of a convention of the 
people in its sovereign capacity were both legislative and 
judicial, it could either repeal or declare null and void 
the acts of a former body. As secession was a creature 
of the mind, and could not, in consequence, be affected 
by the success or failure of an army, it was necessary to 
declare against it/ 

The substitute was rejected by a vote of ninety-four to 
twenty." The original was then put upon its second 
reading and passed with nine still voting in the nega- 
tive.3 A few moments later, after some discussion as to 
whether another reading was necessary, it passed its 
third reading. Several delegates, including Judge How- 
ard and McKay, voted against it, and a still larger number, 
including Judge Manly and Ferebee, declined to vote.* 
Secession, already dead in North Carolina for some time 
past, was legally pronounced never to have had life. 

On October 5, Thomas Settle reported an ordinance 
forever prohibiting slavery in the State. A few of the 
members attempted to have the cause of its abolition in- 
serted as a preamble, but the plan failed and, two days 

' Andrews, T/ie South Since the War, p. 147. 

"The following voted nay: Alexander, Allen, Brown, Conigland, 
Eaton, Faison, Ferebee, Hanrahan, Howard, Jarvis, Joyner, Kennedy, 
Manly, McKay, Mclver, Mebane, Murphy, Ward, Winborne, and 

"These were Allen, Faison, Ferebee, Howard, Joyner, Manly, Mc- 
Kay, Murphy, and Ward. 

* Judge Howard relates that Judge Manly and Ferebee were about 
to leave the hall before the vote, but stayed with him. Settle was 
standing in the aisle and suggested a third reading. He turned to 
Judge Howard and said, "Howard, let it be unanimous. You have 
already voted." Judge Howard replied with emphasis, "I'll see you 
damned first." 


later, the ordinance was passed unanimously.' It was 
then provided that both ordinances should be submitted 
separately to the people at the next election.' An 
amendment was offered to this providing that the peo- 
ple should vote on the question in the words " Seces- 
sion " or "No Secession" and "Slavery" or "No 
Slavery." This was purely for political purposes and 
was resented by those who had opposed the anti-seces- 
sion ordinance. Judge Howard, in opposing the amend- 
ment, attacked bitterly those who never spoke or acted 
for the Union until the Confederacy fell and then be- 
came proscriptive and vindictive. ^ This was aimed at 
several of the members of the convention and was ap- 
plicable to many more* 

The two great objects of the convention were thus 
accomplished. There still remained other matters of 
importance, mainly internal in their nature. These were 
settled in the next few days by the passage of various 
ordinances. The election of state and county officers 
and also of a General Assembly and members of Con- 
gress was provided for.= To remove doubts as to the 
validity of official acts after May 20, 1861, all laws con- 
sistent with the state and federal constitutions were de- 
clared in full force. Judicial proceedings were also held 
valid and contracts declared binding. In relation to the 
latter, it was made the duty of the General Assembly to 
provide a scale of depreciation of the currency from the 

'Journal, p. 28. 

' Ordinances, p. 46. 

^Sentinel, October 25, 1865. 

' Sidney Andrews, in his South Since the War, p. 136, declares 
that he found in the convention much hatred of secession and secession- 
ists, but that it Vi^as from political feeling and not from love of the Union. 

^Ordinances, p. 42. 


first issue until the end of the war, and all contracts 
were to be deemed solvable on that basis, unless evi- 
dence was produced of a contrary intention at the time 
the contract was made. All acts of civil and military 
officers of the State or of the Confederate States, in 
accordance with law, were declared valid, and such offi- 
cers were relieved of any penalty for their actions. The 
acts of the provisional governor and his agents were 
made valid, and it was provided that all offices created 
by him should become vacant at the close of the next 
session of the General Assembly.' Offices whose incum- 
bents had taken the oath of allegiance to the Confederate 
States were declared vacant.^ This produced some de- 
bate, as, by a decision of the Supreme Court of North 
Carolina, it had been held that the holder of an office 
had a right of property therein.' But it was argued that 
a convention was bound only by the Constitution of the 
United States, and the ruling of the Supreme Court of 
the United States on the question differed from that of 
the state court.* 

The State was divided into seven congressional dis- 
tricts in preparation for the coming election. Provision 
was made for the organization of a military police in 
every county, if it should be thought necessary by the 
sheriff and magistrates. The necessity for this action 
was strongly urged by Ferebee and Alfred Dockery, who 
stated that the white people were unarmed and in a con- 
stant state of uneasiness at the presence of many strange 
negroes, the majority of whom were armed. ^ Some 
doubt was expressed as to the wisdom of attempting 

' Ordinances , p. 58. '^ Ibid., p. 63. 

'■'•Hoke V. Henderson , 15 N. C, i. 
^Butler V. Pennsylvania, 10 Hov/ard, 402. 
^Annual Cyclopcsdia, 1865, p. 627. 


such a thing while the State was under martial law. It 
was stated, however, that General Ruger was heartily in 
favor of it, and attention was called to the President's 
approval of Governor Sharkey's establishment of a militia 
in Mississippi. This removed all opposition and secured 
the unanimous passage of the ordinance. The President 
was requested to withdraw all colored troops from the 
State as unnecessary and dangerous." He was also re- 
quested to proclaim speedily a general amnesty,'' and to 
proclaim that the people of North Carolina were restored 
to their rights and privileges under the Constitution and 
in the Union. ^ Congress was requested to repeal the 
" iron-clad " oath.'' Provision was made for revenue in 
1866 by the passage of an ordinance providing for an 
extensive system of taxation.^ Governor Holden was 
requested to confer with General Ruger and secure to 
the people the broken-down horses and mules which 
had been left by the federal troops in exchange for those 
taken away.' In order to define the status of the freed- 
men, the governor was instructed to appoint a commis- 
sion of three persons to prepare and report to the next 
General Assembly a system of laws relating to the freed- 
men, and to indicate what laws then in force should be 

The only matter of importance remaining, upon which 
the convention was likely to take any action, was the 
state debt. As has been seen,^ it had not been the 
subject of much discussion during the period preceding 
the meeting of the convention. When the convention 
met, a committee was appointed to consider the subject. 

^Ordinances, p. bi^. ' Ibid . , p . 6'7 . ^ Ibid., -p. y^. 

'■Ibid., p. 70. '"Ibid., p. 48. ^Ibid., p. 74. 

''Ibid., p. 7Z. "Cf.'' supra, p. 118. 


On October 10, P. H. Winston from the committee 
reported that they had been able to discover no difference 
of opinion on the question of the old debt, all agreeing 
that it should be paid. But in view of the fact that there 
was a great diversity of opinion regarding the debt 
incurred since May 20, 1861, and, since the information 
in the hands of the committee as to the purpose of a 
large part of it was very meagre, they recommended an 
adjourned session and that no action should be taken at 
the time.' Settle at once introduced a resolution pro- 
hibiting the assumption of the war debt. He said that, 
while there had been little or no discussion of the matter 
before the election, he believed the minds of the people 
were made up and that they wanted the thing settled 
finally. He was strongly opposed by D. F. Caldwell 
and Edward Conigland, who represented the element 
favoring the payment of the entire debt. A combination 
of this element with the members who preferred longer 
discussion and a delay until the adjourned session resulted 
in the tabling of Settle's resolution.^ This action was in 
part due to a letter from Dr. Powell, the state agent, to 
Governor Holden, in which an account was given of 
separate conversations with every member of the cabinet. 
Secretary Stanton declined to discuss the subject, but 
all the rest agreed that the convention ought not to take 
any action, at the time, in regard to the debt. This 
letter was circulated and read by the majority of the 
members of the convention. ^ 

The matter seemed settled and, so far as can be judged 
from the press, the people approved. But a surprise 
was in store for the State and the convention, though 

^Standard, Oct. 11, 1865. ^ October 13, 1865. 

^Jonathan Worth to the editor of the Sentinel, Oct. 30, 1865. 


not for certain individuals. Governor Holden, who had 
apparently favored the tabling of Settle's resolution, 
either changed his mind or became aware that his views 
were not in accord with those of the President. So he 
telegraphed the latter as follows : 

Raleigh, October 17, 1865. 
Sir : Contrary to my expectation, the convention has in- 
volved itself in a bitter discussion of the State debt made in 
aid of the rebellion. A continuance of this discussion will 
greatly excite the people and retard the work of reconstruc- 
tion. Our people are believed to be against assuming the 
debt by a large majority. Is it not advisable that our Con- 
vention, like that of Alabama, should positively ignore this 
debt now and forever ? Please answer at once. 


So far as this implied that the bitter discussion had 
occupied the formal proceedings of the convention, it 
was untrue. The whole matter had been tabled on the 
thirteenth with no prospect of further action being taken 
during the session. The discussion had never been 
bitter and had been very brief. The next day Governor 
Holden sent to the convention the President's reply : 

Washington City, October 18, 1865. 
W. W. HoLDEN, Provisional Goverrior: 

Every dollar of the State debt, created to aid the rebellion 
against the United States, should be repudiated, finally and 
forever. The great mass of the people should not be taxed to 
pay a debt to aid in carrying on a rebellion which they, in 
fact, if left to themselves, were opposed to. Let those who 
have given their means for the obligations of the State, look 
to that power they tried to establish in violation of law. Con- 
stitution, and the will of the people. They must meet their 

^Sentinel, March 23, 1866. Quoted from Senate Documents. 



fate. It is their misfortune and they cannot be recognized by 
the people of any State professing themselves loyal to the 
government of the United States in the Union. 

I repeat, that the loyal people of North Carolina should be 
exonerated from the payment of every dollar of indebtedness 
created to aid in carrying on the rebellion. I trust and hope 
that the people of North Carolina will wash their hands of 
everything that partakes in the slightest degree of the rebel- 
lion which has been so recently crushed by the strong arm of 
the government in carrying out the obligations imposed by 
the Constitution of the Union. Andrew Johnson, 

President United States} 

This telegram changed the sentiment of the conven- 
tion. D. F. Caldwell said his opinion was changed by 
the knowledge of the President's desire, and that he 
favored immediate repudiation. B. F. Moore, who had 
taken little part in the debate before, now became 
vehement in his opposition to immediate action. He 
opposed any acceptance of dictation from the President 
and criticised him sharply for sending the message. 
George W. Brooks made a long and rather bitter speech, 
favoring repudiation on the ground that, as the object of 
the debt had been "the persecution of loyal persons," 
they should not be forced to bear the burden.'' Eugene 
Grissom, a close friend of Governor Holden, then moved 
an amendment to Settle's resolution, providing for sub- 
mitting the matter to the people. This was passed,^ 
but later reconsidered and rejected, the convention 
deciding not to put the burden of decision on the peo- 
ple. Settle's resolution was then passed.-i A protest 
against its passage was made by William Eaton, who 
was joined in it by ten others. The ordinance imposed 

^Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 83. 
''i.eniinel, Oct. 20, 1865. ^Journal, p. go. * Ibid., p. 92. 


Upon the General Assembly the duty of providing, as 
soon as practicable, for the payment of the state debt 
not incurred in aid of the war. It further declared all 
debts and obligations created in direct or indirect aid of 
the rebellion void, and removed from the General As- 
sembly all power to provide for their payment.' Presi- 
dent Johnson was notified of the convention's action by 
Governor Holden in the following letter: 

Raleigh, October 20, 1865. 
The President of the United States : 

Sir: — The convention has adjourned. It has promptly re- 
pudiated every dollar of the rebel debt and bound all future 
legislatures not to pay any of it. Your telegram had a most 
happy effect. The Worth faction is working hard, but will 
be defeated by a large majority. Turner and other contuma- 
cious leaders ought to be handled at the proper time. Please 
pardon no leading man unless you hear from me. 

W. W. HoLDEN. 

After passing a resolution of thanks to President 
Johnson and Governor Holden for their endeavors to- 
ward a restoration of the State to its rights in the Union, 
the convention adjourned until May 24, 1S66. 

The action of Governor Holden and the President was 
resented deeply in the State. This feeling was independ- 
ent, in many cases, of opinion regarding repudiation. 
The Sentinel voiced it as follows : " One of the last acts 
of the convention, and certainly the most humiliating act 
ever performed by a body claiming to be the embodi- 
ment of the sovereignty of the people of a State, and 
ever put upon record, was the passage of the ordinance 
repudiating for all time the war debt of the State."" 

The ordinances and resolutions passed by the conven- 

' Ordinances, p. 66. '^Sentinel, Oct. 26, 1865. 


tion were carried to Washington by a committee headed 
by Judge Reade and submitted to the President for his 


On October 14, a letter, signed by fifty-three members 
of the convention, was sent to Governor Holden, re- 
questing him to be a candidate for governor at the ap- 
proaching election. He replied in a somewhat fulsome 
manner, accepting the nomination but declaring that he 
had not sought it. He entered into a criticism of party 
spirit, declaring that faction was the bane of the country. 
He said that as provisional governor he had known no 
party, but for the future, he was a member of the 
National Union Party with Andrew Johnson at its head. 

It was recognized generally that he had endeavored 
during the whole period of his incumbency of the office 
of provisional governor to build up a machine in his own 
interest,'' but many of his political associates were con- 
tent to follow his lead and nominate him. Many, how- 
ever, revolted and refused to give him their support. 
Lewis Hanes, his private secretary, who had been a 
staunch ally in the peace movement during the war, was 
among these. Defining his position, he said : " I believe 
that in everything he [Governor Holden] did, he kept 
constantly in view no object but his own political ad- 
vancement." ^ 

The announcement of Governor Holden's candidacy 
was not made until October 18, when the correspondence 

' Sentinel, Nov. 18, 1865. The Sentinel was strongly in favor of pay- 
ing the debt. 

' Testimony of Rev. Hope Bain, Reports of Committees, part 2, p. 
206, 39 Cong., I sess. 

^ Old North State quoted in Standard, July 18, 1866. 


with the members of the convention was pubHshed. In 
the meantime, sixty-seven members of the convention, 
who had decHned to join in the request that Governor 
Holden should be a candidate, looked about for some one 
on whom the opposition could join. The name of 
Jonathan Worth, suggested during the summer, now 
recurred." He had won golden opinions for his skill- 
ful management of the business affairs of the State, 
and his past record made him eminently suitable as 
a candidate. Many of those who had joined in the 
call on Governor Holden favored Worth, but had been 
induced to sign by the representation that he would not 
be a candidate. Others were known to have signed only 
because they were under such obligations to Governor 
Holden for their pardons and for various political favors 
that they felt bound to support him.' Under such cir- 
cumstances, Worth was urged to allow the use of his 
name and finally, with great reluctance, consented. 
Many of his friends, including John Pool and Lewis 
Thompson, believed that there was no hope of his election, 
and he, himself, was very doubtful at first. Others 
thought it unwise to oppose Holden. Worth, however, 
was convinced that Holden was not a suitable candidate 
on account of the dislike he inspired in so many of the 
people, and soon felt fairly confident of success. His 
candidacy was announced before Governor Holden's, and 
he had the advantage, if there was any, of being the first 
in the field. He at once resigned his place as provisional 
treasurer, expressing his willingness, if Governor Holden 

'William A. Graham, Josiah Turner, P. H. Winston, and C. C. 
Clark were prominent in the movement which resulted in Worth's 
nomination. In spite of their efforts, Worth for a week refused to 
consider it. 

'Hamilton, ed., The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, i, p. 433. 


should so desire, to continue in the performance of its 
duties until the election/ The resignation, however, 
was accepted, and Dr. William Sloan, of Gaston, was 
appointed to succeed him. 

About the same time candidates for Congress were 
announced. Twenty-three aspirants for the seven seats 
appeared. The active work of the campaign was carried 
on by them, for neither of the gubernatorial candidates 
took part in the canvass. The usual newspaper battle 
commenced, and the general line of party division begun 
at this time, has continued ever since. Political peace, 
or even a semblance of it, was to be absent for at least 
twenty years. Worth was at once attacked by the 
Standard, first with ridicule,^ and then, as the growth of 
opinion in his favor became more evident, with violent 
abuse. He was attacked because, in 1861, he had op- 
posed the "stay law." Josiah Turner, who was a candi- 
date for Congress, although as yet unpardoned, had for 
years been closely associated with Worth and was in- 
cluded in the attacks. The two were accused of being 
the representatives of a faction of "place hunters,"^ and 
not only of being the candidates of the "Confederate" 
party, but even of having been original secessionists. 
In proof of the accusation, the declaration of independ- 
ence, which Turner had introduced in the Senate in 
1861,'' and for which Worth and every Union man in 
that body had voted in order to provoke the secession- 

' Worth to Holden, Oct. 18, 1865. 

■'The Standard said the nomination was a "bait composed of old 
secession hooks dressed up in the feathers of a few Union geese." 

= Among these were included Thomas Bragg, Judge Manly, P. H. 
Winston, Judge Howard, T. L. Clingman, Abram Venable, and D. D. 
Ferebee. Standard, Oct. 24, 1865. 

• Cf. supra, p. 25. 


ists, was brought forward and urged as conclusive evi- 
dence.' The prospects of the State for readmission to 
the Union, it was declared, would be entirely destroyed 
if Worth should be elected, and the issue was defined as, 
" W. W. Holden and Go Back to the Union, or Jonathan 
Worth and Stay Out of the Union. Or, in other words, 
Holden and live again under Washington's government, 
or Jonathan Worth and perish."'' This gave Worth 
much uneasiness and he appealed to friends in Washing- 
ton to try to find means to efface the impression which 
was being created by the friends of Holden that the 
President preferred the latter's election.^ Worth's posi- 
tion regarding the war debt was criticised, regardless of 
the fact that, almost until the adjournment of the con- 
vention. Governor Holden held a similar opinion. It 
was stated that, in the event of Worth's election, the 
convention would reassemble and, in defiance of the ex- 
pressed wish of the President, assume the entire war 
debt of the State and crush the people under the burden 
of an immense taxation, besides bringing the State into 
conflict with the authorities of the United States, and 
having martial law under negro troops prolonged in- 
definitely.'' Governor Holden's record was enlarged 
upon, particular emphasis being laid on his hostility to 
the Confederate government and, his part in the peace 

^Standard. Oct. 24, 1865. ''Ibid., Oct. 21, 1865. 

^ Worth to B. S. Hedrick, Oct. 21, 1865. Hamilton, ed., The Corre- 
spondence of Jonathan Worth, i, p. 472. Hedrick had been a professor 
at the University of North Carolina and had been forced to leave on 
account of his being in favor of Fremont in 1856. This was largely 
through the influence of Holden, and Hedrick, in consequence, had no 
good feeling for him. 

^Standard, Oct. 21, 23, and 24, 1865. 


It is not doubtful that many of these arguments had a 
boomerang effect. The people in general, while uncer- 
tain what they wished regarding the final disposition of 
the war debt, were at least certain that they wanted the 
matter considered fi-om every standpoint. The Presi- 
dent's action in forcing repudiation was resented, and 
the burden of this fell upon Governor Holden because, 
after acquiescing in the policy of postponement of the 
question, he had brought the matter to the notice of the 
President and was, to that extent, responsible for repu- 
diation. As regards Governor Holden's record, it was a 
delicate matter, and bringing it up showed a lack of 
political sagacity. It cannot be doubted that, at this 
time. North Carolina was honestly desirous of a return 
to the Union, where peace could be found. The purpose 
to remain loyal to the Union in the future is equally cer- 
tain. The utter failure of secession was recognized, and 
fewer mourned it than might have been expected. But 
there was little or no change of opinion on the question 
of the right involved. It could hardly be expected that 
such a change v^^ould occur, but it was demanded in the 
State by the " straitest sect " element, and in the North 
by the radicals. It would have been a wonderful thing, 
in view of his past record, if Holden had had the love, 
respect, or confidence of the people of North Carolina in 
1865, even if his record since the war had been left 
out of account. The great marvel was that the feeling 
against him remained quiet as long as it did. Only the 
course of the Standard was necessary to arouse it and 
insure his defeat. 

The opposition to him was, to an extent, based on his 
past record, and his numerous changes of political affili- 
ation were once more brought up against him. But 
the main fight was made on his action as provisional 


governor and the claim that his election was a prerequi- 
site for the return of the State to its normal place in the 
Union. As the campaign progressed, the Standard and 
the Progress began to charge that all opposition to 
Governor Holden was an evidence of disloyalty. This 
course of action was sharply criticised by the rest of the 
state press, even by the papers supporting Governor 
Holden. The Charlotte Times, which supported Worth, 
said, "Vote for Holden and be loyal, and vote against 
him and be a traitor. That is the English of it. And if 
that is to be the test, then we are a traitor and glory in 
the treason. As a provisional governor, we have not 
aught to say against him, but as a politician, we are 
against him, and if chance should throw us on the same 
side with him, it would make us question the correctness 
of our view." ' Still another cause of opposition, brought 
forward by the Sentinel, was the necessity of bringing 
out a full vote as an assurance of the loyalty of the peo- 
ple of the State, and as a sign of their acceptance of the 
terms of reconstruction ; and it was thought that, if 
Governor Holden should run alone, it would be regarded 
by the people as dictated from Washington and they 
would not care to vote.^ This was a weak reason, and 
yet the condition stated was actual, as is shown by the 
election for delegates to the convention, when a great 
many failed to vote from the very belief mentioned here. 
Governor Holden had the support of a more influential 
and representative class of men than in 1864. John 
Pool, R. S. Donnell, Bedford Brown, and Thomas Settle 
signed the request that he should be a candidate. B. F. 
Moore, desiring that no party division should occur, was 

'Quoted in the Sentinel, Nov. 22, 1865. 
''Ibid., Oct. 19, 1865. 


in favor of his election, " if he continues to exercise the 
office as heretofore and if his programme of principles 
and measures should not be very objectionable." ' Many 
others of the same type would have supported him but 
for the violence and the proscriptive tendency of the 

The number of congressional candidates was lessened 
by the withdrawal of several before election day. In the 
campaign, no mention seems to have been made of the 
two ordinances submitted to the people. In fact, they 
were not regarded as issues, and, besides, all issues had 
been merged into the one of Holden. His suitability, 
politically and personally, was the one question to be 

The election was held November 9. Its result was a 
victory for Worth, who received a majority of 5,937 out 
of a total vote of nearly 60,000, and carried fifty-four of 
the eighty-nine counties in the State. A much smaller 
vote was cast on the two ordinances, which were both 
ratified.^ The congressional elections were regarded by 
both sides as comparatively unimportant. All who were 
elected had originally opposed secession, and all but two 
had been Whigs. Two had been members of the Con- 
federate Congress, and only one of the seven could take 

'B. F. Moore to T. R. Caldwell, Oct. 14, 1865. Illustrative of 
Moore's foresight, the following is interesting: " A division, placing 
the Unionists on one side and the secessionists on the other, will lead 
to a breach made wider and deeper every day, until the extremest part- 
izan on either side will become the most powerful man of his party, and 
the most dangerous to the quiet and prosperity of the State. With such 
tools as these, we shall be sure to dig up negro suffrage and worship it 
as many did the cotton bag." 

^The vote on the ratification of the anti-secession ordinance was: 
for, 20,870; against, 1,983. Anti-slavery ordinance: for, 19,039; 
against, 3,970. 



the "iron-clad" oath required for admission to a seat in 
Congress.' Of the defeated candidates, only one could 
take the oath. 

Before the election. President Johnson told Judge 
Reade that the provisional government would not term- 
inate at once. Two days after the election, Governor 
Holden was notified by Secretary Seward to continue in 
the exercise of his duties until relieved by directions from 
the President. 

Many things in the campaign tended to create the im- 
pression in the TJorth that the result of the election was 
a victory of those who were still hostile to the United 
States, and who hoped that, in a different way than by 
arms, the results of the war might be changed. This 
impression was largely caused by the course of ^he 
Standard and the Progress, but they met with assist- 
ance from other sources. The result of the congres- 
sional elections, for instance, was not calculated to assist 
the State to its original place in the Union. The elec- 
tion of an unpardoned person, as in the case of Turner, 
created a bad impression. In fact the wisdom of elect- 
ing any of the delegation, except, possibly, A. H. Jones, 
who could take the oath, is doubtful, if it was hoped that 
they would be admitted to their seats. They were all 
men who favored the Union and who represented the 
opinions and feelings of the State, but it was fairly cer- 
tain that none would be recognized when Congress met. 
The opinion of the President on the result is best seen 
in the following communication to Governor Holden : 

'The successful candidates were: J. R. Stubbs, C. C. Clark, T. C. 
Fuller, Josiah Turner, Bedford Brown, S. H. Walkup, and A. H. Jones. 
The last mentioned could take the oath. 


Washington, November 27, 1865. 
Accept my thanks for the noble and efficient manner in 
which you have discharged your duty as Provisional Gov- 
ernor. You will be sustained by the g-overnment. 

The results of the recent elections in North Carolina have 
greatly damaged the prospects of the State in the restoration 
of its governmental relations. Should the action and spirit of 
the legislature be in the same direction, it will greatly increase 
the mischief already done and might be fatal. 

It is hoped that the action and spirit manifested by the leg- 
islature will be so directed as rather to repair than to increase 
the difficulties under which the State has already placed itself. 

Andrew Johnson, 
President of the United States. 

The period between the election and the meeting of 
theTjeneral Assembly was devoid of events of interest. 
So long as something was to be gained from loyalty by 
the element of which the Progress was representative, 
the State had been declared to be loyal. But when the 
result of the election was known, that paper asserted 
that "universal loyalty may come with the next genera- 
tion, but we who live in this will never see it." ' The 
Standard said that the provisional governor was hin- 
dered in his work and that it was the "unmistakable 
work of unpardoned violent traitors."' The latter also 
dilated much upon the lack of wisdom shown in electing 
men to Congress who could not take the oath, forgetful 
of the fact that it had endorsed the candidacy of five 
who were unable to do so. 

After the receipt of the President's letter i-equesting 
him to continue in the exercise of the duties of his office. 
Governor Holden seems to have thought that the pro- 
visional government would be continued until Congress 

^Progress, Nov. 14, 1865. ^Standard, Nov. 17, 1865. 



had recognized the new state government by admitting 
the members from North CaroHna. The people were 
anxious in regard to it, and there was a general desire 
for some assurance from the President as to his inten- 


The General Assembly met on November 27." In the 
Senate, Thomas Settle was chosen speaker over Dennis 
D. Ferebee. This would indicate a majority of the sup- 
porters of Holden. As speaker of the House, Samuel 
F. Phillips was chosen unanimously. 

The governor's message laid special stress on the im- 
portance of immediately ratifying the Thirteenth Amend- 
ment. The House had already taken up the matter and 
passed a ratifying resolution with only four negative 
votes. An attempt was made to amend by adding a 
clause stating that any legislation by Congress upon the 
political status or civil relations of the freedmen would 
be unconstitutional and in opposition to the policy of 
the President, as expressed in his proclamations. This 
was defeated by a large vote.^ In the Senate the oppo- 
sition to the amendment was strongly shown. John M. 
Morehead voiced this in declaring his objection to the 
clause giving Congress the power of enforcement. 
Through it, he thought. Congress was given unlimited 
power of legislation, and a State would be powerless to 
resist. The result of its adoption would be legislation 
giving the freedmen the privilege of bearing arms, giving 
testimony, intermarriage with the whites, and the elective 

' Six members of the Senate and eight of the House were also mem- 
bers of the convention. No informaiion can be obtained of the former 
political affiliations of the majority of the members. 

^ House Journal, 1885, p. 26. 


franchise. He denied any desire to impede its passage, 
but declined to vote for it.' Ferebee made an elaborate 
protest against its passage, which was spread upon the 
journal. His objections were based upon the same 
grounds as Morehead's, and also on the fact that the 
Southern States were not free agents, advantage being 
taken of their condition to force their consent to what 
they would otherwise reject. Three other senators 
united with him in the protest.'' The resolution passed 
without further opposition. The blow at the rights of 
the States was perceived, but just at this time there was 
apparently very little inclination to discuss the constitu- 
tional question of States' rights. Its interest for the 
time had waned. After ratification, the subject was re- 
ferred to a committee, which reported a resolution de- 
claring that the amendment was ratified, with the under- 
standing that the power of Congress to legislate on the 
subject of the freedmen was in no way enlarged. ^ This 
passed at the end of the session and, of course, was 
inoperative, amounting simply to a protest. 

The publication in the Standard of the President's 
criticism of the State's action led to the passage of reso- 
lutions declaring that the people of the State had ac- 
cepted in good faith the terms of the President and had 
complied with the conditions imposed; that they were 
loyal to the government of the United States and were 
ready to make any concessions, not inconsistent with 
their honor and safety, for a restoration of harmony. A 
declaration of confidence in the President and of thanks 
for his liberal policy was added.* 

' His speech is quoted in the Sentinel, Dec. 2, 1865. 

^ Senate Journal, 1865, pp. IS3-S- 

^ Ibid., 1865, p. 84. * Resolutions , i855, p. 10. 


The greater part of the session was spent in filHng the 
various offices declared vacant by the convention. Two 
United States senators were elected, William A. Graham 
and John Pool. The former, who had not been pardoned, 
received the unanimous vote of Orange County for the 
state Senate, but did not make any effort to take his seat. 
A large number of the members of both houses then 
petitioned the President to pardon him. The day he was 
elected United States senator, ' the pardon was signed, 
but it was not sent to him, nor was he notified of the fact 
for some time. Governor Holden, who, a short time be- 
fore, had again advised against his pardon, notified the 
President of his election, adding a characteristic ex- 
pression of doubt whether a Northern member of Con- 
gress could with propriety consent to sit with one who 
had been a member of the Confederate Congress. ^ The 
short term was offered to Holden privately, but he refused 
to accept it. ^ Thomas L. Clingman, who had been elected 
in 1861, claimed the seat and went to Washington with 
the intention of presenting himself as the member, but 
a committee, appointed by the state Senate to investigate 
the matter, declared that he had no claim to the seat, 
and Pool was elected. The legislature also elected a full 
set of judges. In the Supreme Court, two of the old 
members were re-elected, and Judge Reade replaced 
Judge Manly. Five of the provisional Superior Court 
judges and several of the solicitors, appointed by Gov- 
ernor Holden, were elected permanently. Nearly all the 
officers chosen had been formerly members of the Whig 

' Only fourteen votes in both houses were cast against Graham. 

'■Sen. Docs., no. 26, p. 228, 39 Cong., i sess. 

^Sentinel, Dec. 15, 1865. 

*The state officers were as follows: Governor, Jonathan Worth; 



No disposition was shown to take up general legisla- 
tive matters. The members felt that there was no as- 
surance that any act would be regarded as valid, and 
considered it wise to await the outcome of the attempt 
of the representatives-elect to take their seats in Con- 
gress. Consequently, after filling the vacant state offices 
and administering the oath of office to Worth, with a 
provision that he should enter upon the duties of the 
office at the termination of the provisional government, 
the legislature adjourned until February, i865, without 
taking any action regarding the freedmen or other 
matters of importance. 

Governor Holden kept the President informed of the 
actions of the legislature, everything being presented in 
its worst light. He also made a strong effort to induce 
the President to set aside the election and retain him as 
provisional governor.' The President would not con- 
sent to this, and finally, on December 23, sent, through 
Secretary Seward, the following dispatch to Governor 
Holden : 

Department of State, 
Washington, December 23, 1865. 
To His Excellency, W. W. Holden, Provisional Governor of 

the State of North Ca7-olina, Raleigh, North Carolijia: 

Sir : — The time has arrived when, in the judgment of the 
President of the United States, the care and conduct of the 

Secretary of State, R. W. Best; Treasurer, K. P. Battle; Comptroller, 
Curtis H. Brogden; Attorney General, S. H. Rogers; Justices of the 
Supreme Court, R. M. Pearson, W. H. Battle, E. G. Reade; Judges 
of the Superior Court, D. A. Barnes, E. J. Warren, D. G. Fowle, 
R. B. Gilliam, R. P. Buxton, Anderson Mitchell, W. M. Shipp, A. S. 
Merrimon; Solicitors, M. L. Eure, W. T. Faircloth, S. H. Rogers, 
Thomas Settle, Neill McKay, L. Q. Sharpe, W. P. Bynum, David 

'B. S. Hedrick to Jonathan Worth, July 8, 1866. Hamilton, ed.. 
The Correspondence of Jonathan Worth, ii, p. 675. 


proper affairs of the State of North Carolina may be remitted 
to the constitutional authorities chosen by the people thereof, 
without danger to the peace and safety of the United States. 

By direction of the President, therefore, you are relieved 
from the trust hitherto reposed in you as provisional governor 
of North Carolina. Whenever the governor-elect shall have 
accepted and become qualified to discharge the duties of the 
executive office you will transfer the papers and property of 
the State, now in your custody, to his excellency, the gov- 

It gives me especial pleasure to convey to you the Presi- 
dent's acknowledgement of the fidelity, the loyalty and the 
discretion which has marked your administration. 

You will please give me a reply specifying the day on 
which this communication is received. 

I have the honor to be your excellency's most obedient ser- 

William H. Seward.' 

He also notified Governor Worth of the termination 
of the provisional government and ofTered him the co- 
operation of the United States government in all his 
efforts towards an early restoration of the State. Gov- 
ernor Worth replied, on December 28, that he had that 
day assumed the duties of his office, and assured the Presi- 
dent of his hearty desire to establish harmonious rela- 
tions between the state and federal governments." 

As has been noted, ^ the convention passed an ordi- 
nance providing that all offices filled by the provisional 
governor should become vacant at the close of the pro- 
visional government. The legislature made no provision 
for new justices of the peace, and, in consequence, the 

'Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 3. 

''Ibid., pp. 2-4. 

' Cf. supra, p. 127; also Ordinances, p. 59. 


newly-elected county officers were unable to qualify. 
The machinery of county government was stopped, and 
with it, the execution of state law by the civil power. 
The unimportance of the minor civil officers at this time 
prevented this condition of affairs from being harmful to 
the general welfare of the people, but it was one of the 
anomalies which this period so frequently presented. 
Governor Worth, by the advice of the Council of State, 
at once summoned the legislature to meet in extra ses- 
sion to remedy the defect. The session opened January 
l8, and acts were promptly passed authorizing the pro- 
visional officers to administer the oaths of office to their 
successors and to the magistrates elected by the legis- 
lature at the extra session.' The acts of the de facto 
sheriffs until March i, 1866, were legalized;' and all 
other officers were authorized to hold over until the 
qualification of their successors.^ 

Other questions then engaged the attention of the 
legislature. The legislation regarding the freedmen 
occupied some time. The law of evidence was changed 
in criminal suits so as to admit the testimony of an 
accused person, which up to this time was incompetent.* 
A resolution was introduced into the House requesting 
the President to proclaim a general amnesty. Imme- 
diately a substitute was offered which, after reciting the 
supposed hardships endured by Union men, declared 
that no office should be held by an original secessionist 
or " latter-day war man," and requesting the President 
to declare all offices so held vacant. To avoid discussion 
of this, the original resolution was dropped. The ses- 
sion lasted until the middle of March, most of the time 
being spent on private legislation. 

^Laws, 1866, chap. iv. 'Ibid., chap. vi. 

'■Ibid., chap, xxxvi. '■Ibid., chap. Ixiv. 


Political and Social Conditions Under the Restored 

i. the freedmen 

Even before the termination of hostilities, the negro 
question arose in North Carolina, but at first the problem 
was necessarily one for the military authorities solely. The 
first question requiring solution was regarding the disposi- 
tion of the great numbers of freedmen who had assembled 
in various places, particularly in New Bern and Wilming- 
ton. When Sherman reached Fayetteville, about 8,000 
negroes were with the army. The burden was too great, 
and he sent them to Wilmington, where a great number had 
already congregated.^ When it was decided, on account of 
expense, the danger of disease, and other causes, to dis- 
perse them as much as possible. General Hawley settled 
part of those in Wilmington on Smith's Island, at the mouth 
of the Cape Fear, and part near Fort Anderson, at Old 
Brunswick.^ They were supplied with food and encouraged 
to begin planting crops. 

General Schofield, in his proclamation annoimcing eman- 
cipation, advised the freedmen not to congregate in the 
towns but to seek employment under their former masters. ° 
He was fearful of the result of the delay in settling the 
question of their status and disposal, believing that they 

' Off. Rec, no. 99, p. 978. ' Ibid., no. 100, pp. 39, 80. 

' Ibid., p. 331. 



would become a " huge white elephant " on the hands of 
the government/ On May 15, he published a set of regu- 
lations for their government. Parents were declared to 
have control of their children and, at the same time, the 
obligations of their former masters to take care of the chil- 
dren became theirs. Orphans and the aged and infirm, if 
they had no near relations, were still to remain in the care 
of their former masters, who were forbidden to turn them 
away. The question of wages was left to be decided by 
employers and employees ; but the latter were warned to ex- 
pect only moderate wages or a fair share of the crops. Dis- 
trict commanders were directed to appoint superintendents 
to take charge of matters relating to the freedmen.^ Pro- 
vision was also made for the registration of marriages be- 
tween the freedmen. When the provisional government 
was established no ruling was made on the subject, but 
freedmen were advised to go through the same formalities 
as the whites, and clerks were directed to issue licenses to 
them.^ General Schofield's regulations were fair and, where 
they had any effect, worked for good. The care and sup- 
port of the aged negroes, without the assistance of the 
younger ones, was often a great burden upon the former 
masters, but one that was borne generally with no thought 
of complaint. 

During the spring and early summer of 1865, outside 
influences were brought to bear upon the freedmen and a 
petition was circulated among them which asked the Presi- 
dent, in his work of re-organization, to give them equal 
rights with the whites.* A series of meetings was held in 

^ Off. Rec, no. 100, p. 405. 
2 Ibid., p. 503. 

" E.vecutive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 93. 
* North Carolina correspondence of the New York Herald, May 15, 


various towns to choose delegates to a general meeting to 
be held later. Prominent in the proceedings of these meet- 
ings were negroes from the North who had come down to 
begin a movement among their race for equal rights and 
privileges. Several of these newcomers were natives who 
had escaped to the North and had received some education. 
The general meeting was held in Raleigh in September. 
The whole affair was under the control of J. W. Hood, a 
colored minister from Connecticut, and James H. Harris, a 
native who had been educated in Ohio. The latter had un- 
usual ability as a speaker and was exceedingly shrewd. A. 
H. Galloway, a native, but recently from the North, and 
Isham Sweat, of Fayetteville, were also prominent. This 
group was again to become prominent in 1868. The ten- 
dency of the convention was towards a demand for equal 
political rights, including the suffrage, but, through the in- 
fluence of Harris and Galloway, a set of resolutions ad- 
dressed to the state convention, which was about to as- 
semble, was adopted. These asked in moderate and well- 
chosen language that the race might have protection and 
an opportunity for education. They also asked that dis- 
crimination before the law might be abolished. No refer- 
ence was made to the suffrage.^ Before adjournment the 
convention resolved itself into an Equal Rights League, 
which at once began to work for the abolition of all distinc- 
tions on account of race and color and established a news- 
paper in Raleigh in aid of the cause.^ 

The question of negro suffrage was already under dis- 
cussion. In July, Alfred M. Waddell, a prominent citizen 
of Wilmington, the ante-bellum editor of the Herald and 
later a lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate service, in a 

' Standard, Oct. 2 and 3, 1865. 
' Ibid., Jan, 2, 1866. 



speech to the colored people of Wilmington, denounced tax- 
ation without representation and advocated a future exten- 
sion of the suffrage to those of the negroes that were quali- 
fied for the privilege.^ In September, the Sentinel said it 
was opposed to negro suffrage but was willing to open its 
pages to a discussion of the matter. A series of articles 
favoring it appeared, written by Victor C. Barringer, but 
unsigned. He took strong ground for granting the suffrage 
to the negroes, if only as a matter of policy, since the North 
would soon be united on the subject and it would be well to 
forestall the Radicals and grant qualified suffrage.^ His 
views were probably absorbed from his brother. General 
Rufus Barringer, who, while a prisoner at Fort Delaware, 
had come to the conclusion from his conversation with the 
Northern officers that nothing less than negro suffrage 
would be accepted by the North. ^ 

The noticeable fact about the discussion of the question 
was that it caused no excitement or strong feeling. Oppo- 
sition was expressed, but calmly, and enfranchisement was 
discussed as a possibility, though an objectionable one. 
David L. Swain said that if the freehold qualifications for 
voting for state senators should be restored he would favor 
restricted colored suffrage for the House of Commons.* 
In all the arguments the bitterness shown a year later was 
lacking. But it is true that few believed that there was any 
possibility of the imposition of negro suffrage upon the 
South and there was no objection to a discussion where 
freedom of action was possible. Foremost in opposition to 
any extension of the suffrage was the Standard. Among 

' Sentinel, Aug. 8, 1865. 

' Ibid., Sept. I and 11, 1865. 

'/did., Feb. 7, 1866. 

* Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 265. 


its so-called " Union Landmarks," before mentioned,' was 
" The right of the States to determine the question of suf- 
frage for themselves. Unqualified opposition to what is 
called negro suffrage." ' The discussion was without any- 
good effect and possibly made a calm discussion later a 
matter of difficulty. 

As has been mentioned, the position of the free negroes 
in North Carolina previous to the war was different from 
that in most of the other Southern States. The same was 
true after general emancipation had taken place. By a de- 
cision rendered by Judge Gaston in 1838 * the inhabitants 
of the State were declared to form two classes, citizens and 
aliens. Slaves, from their condition, belonged to the latter 
class, but free persons of color formed part of the former 
class. By emancipation, therefore, citizenship was imme- 
diately conferred upon some 300,000 persons who had 
hitherto been " aliens through the disability of slavery." 
Free negroes hitherto had been, like other citizens, entitled 
to the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, to trial by jury, 
to own property, even in slaves,* to prosecute and defend 
suits in courts of justice, and, as incident to this, to make 
aiifidavits for a continuance and to prove by their own oaths, 
even against white persons, accounts for labor to the amount 
of $60.^ But the free negroes had been accustomed to the 
exercise of their liberties and were limited in number. 
When the end of the war brought general emancipation, the 
fear naturally arose that the f reedmen. newly endowed with 
citizenship, would be unprepared for its rights without 

^ Cf. supra, p. 118. 

' Standard, Aug. 5, 1865. 

' State V, Manuel, 20 N. C, 20, 

* In 1861 free negroes were forbidden thereafter to own slaves. 

^ Graham to Holderby, Feb. 6, 1866. Published in the Sentinel. 


special limitations. The question thus arose as to what 
changes would have to be made to enable this new class of 
citizens to enter upon their rights, and, at the same time, 
their duties, without disturbance and injury to the body 
politic. To decide this question, the convention had author- 
ized a commission to be appointed by the provisional gov- 
ernor, and Governor Holden had appointed B. F. Moore, 
W. S. Mason, and R. S. Donnell, who at once began their 

They presented their report to the General Assembly in 
January, 1866. It was an able and elaborate discussion of 
the whole subject with a proposed scheme of legislation, 
based on the recognized citizenship of the freedmen. They 
advised the repeal of all laws which affected specially the 
colored race, and the re-enacting of such as were necessary. 
The main bill which they recommended, and which was 
passed with a few minor changes, defined as persons of color 
negi-oes and their issue to the fourth generation, even when 
one parent was white in each generation.^ They were de- 
clared entitled to the same rights and privileges and subject 
to the same disabilities as free persons of color prior to 
general emancipation. They were also declared entitled to 
the same privileges as white persons in suits and proceed- 
ings at law and in equity. The law of apprenticeship was 
altered so as to apply to both races alike, with the one excep- 
tion, that in the case of the negroes, former owners had a 
preference over all other persons. The marriage of former 
slaves was made valid, and provision was made for registra- 
tion. Marriage between white and colored persons was for- 
bidden, and a penalty provided for issuing licenses in such 
cases or for performing the ceremony. All contracts, where 

' Indians were included in the bill as first presented, but were 
omitted later. 


one or more of the parties was colored, for property of the 
value of ten dollars or more, were void, unless put in writ- 
ing, signed by the parties, and witnessed by a white person 
who could read and write. Persons of color were declared 
competent witnesses in all cases at law or in equity where 
the rights or property of persons of color were involved, 
and also in pleas of the State where the offence was alleged 
to have been committed against a person of color. In other 
cases their testimony was admissible by consent. This was 
not to go into effect until jurisdiction in affairs relating to 
the freedmen should be left to the state courts.^ All crimi- 
nal laws were changed so as to apply alike to both races, and 
the punishment was made the same except in the case of an 
assault with the intent to commit rape upon a white woman. 
When the assault was commited by a person of color it was 
a capital offence; otherwise it was an aggravated assault 
and punishable under the common law by fine and imprison- 
ment.'' A special court of wardens for the colored poor 
was authorized for each county. 

The scheme, even with its amendments, met with con- 
siderable opposition in both houses and in the State gener- 
ally. The press, however, almost unanimously favored it. 
The Standard was silent on the subject, and the editor was 
hostile to the proposed legislation. It was charged that he 
attempted to defeat the plan in the hope that the State 
might again be put under a provisional government.'' Many 
persons in the State seemed unconvinced that citizenship 
had already been conferred upon the negroes and that any 
deprivation of their rights would be an injustice. When 

' This provision was first inserted in the House. 

' The report will be found in the Legislative Documents for 1865-6 
and in the newspapers of January, 1866. 

' Sentinel, March 14, 1866, 



the November election took place, it is hardly doubtful that 
a majority in the State was opposed to giving negroes the 
right to testify. Their testimony had not been admissible 
against white persons for many years, if ever, but since 
1 82 1, slaves had been permitted to testify against free ne- 
groes.^ When the report of the commission was presented 
the chief fight was made on the portion relating to testi- 
mony, and the debate lasted four days. Two grounds for 
the passage of this part of the bill had been stated by the 
commission : first, that the helpless and unprotected condi- 
tion of the colored race demanded it; and second, that the 
admission of their testimony was necessary to secure to 
colored people their property rights. Other reasons were 
advanced in the debate — the well-known desire of the Presi- 
dent for its passage, the hope that full jurisdiction would 
be given the state courts in cases relating to the freedmen, 
and that the Freedmen's Bureau would be withdrawn. The 
general unreliability of negro testimony was fully recog- 
nized, but it was thought better to admit all than to deny 
any, and at times defeat justice. And it was believed that 
it would be a means of education in telling the truth. In 
opposition, it was urged that it was a step towards negro 
suffrage, and in any case would arouse hopes in the negroes 
that would be of no benefit to them. Finally the bill ob- 
tained in the House of Commons a majority of one vote. 
In the Senate it failed to pass its second reading, but on re- 
consideration it obtained a majority of eight. Many of 
the members had changed their opinion during the debate, 
but were pledged to their constituents to vote against negro 
testimony. This accounts in part for the small majorities 

' It is said that this law was enacted to humble the free negroes. 
' Sentinel, March S, 1866. 


The commission recommended and obtained the passage 
of acts providing punishment for pursuing live stock with 
the intention of stealing,^ for seditious language, insurrec- 
tion and rebellion, and for vagrancy. The vagrancy act 
was a substitute for two statutes already existing which 
made a distinction between the races. Acts were also 
passed to prevent wilful trespass on lands and stealing from 
them, to prevent the enticing of servants from fulfilment 
of contracts or the harboring of servants who had already 
broken a contract, and to secure to agricultural laborers 
their pay in kind. A system of work-houses was provided 
for, to be used in the punishment of minor offences. All 
these laws operated equally upon both races, and the whole 
" code," if it could be so called, was characterized by justice 
and moderation. 

The slight discrimination shown, however, was sufficient 
to cause objection by the officers of the Freedmen's Bureau, 
and, in consequence of their refusal to surrender jurisdic- 
tion. Governor Worth recommended to the convention 
which met in May that it should make alterations satis- 
factory to the Bureau.^ This was done by making penalties 
the same for both races in all cases and abolishing all dis- 
criminations before the law.^ The act was, however, only 
legislative, and did not bind the further action of any gen- 
eral assembly. 

The social and economic condition of the freedmen dur- 
ing 1865 and 1866 was one that might well excite pity. 
Their first instinct upon emancipation had naturally been 
to move about and put their freedom to a test. This test 
was frequently made by a change of name, residence, em- 

' This was made necessary by the increase of theft of live stock, 
particularly of hogs; 

' Journal, p. S. s Ordinances, p. 8. 


ployment, and wife. Town life, with its excitement, fur- 
nished an ahnost irresistible attraction, and only the pres- 
ence of troops was necessary to render it completely so. 
Freedom, in their minds, meant freedom not only from slav- 
ery but from work, with a continuation of their former 
freedom from responsibility. Refusal to work resulted 
naturally in want of the necessaries of life, and sickness and 
destitution were general in the towns. In the country 
matters were somewhat better. There the demoralization 
of those that remained was not so great and support was 
more easily obtained either by labor or dishonesty. Crime 
increased greatly as time went by. The proceedings of 
the provost marshal's court in Raleigh show somewhat the 
extent of petty offences. Serious offences of all sorts were 
turned over to the Freedmen's Bureau, but larceny, disorder, 
and similar transgressions were usually punished by hang- 
ing the convicted parties by their thumbs to the lamp posts 
in the streets. The newspapers, in almost every issue, had 
accounts of violence and crime committed by freedmen, 
and, in most cases, these went unpunished. The Bureau 
agents, either from intention or inability, accomplished little 
to remedy the condition of affairs. In many instances it 
was impossible for the farmers to keep the smaller live 
stock with any degree of security, and even horses and cattle 
were frequently stolen. The large number of wandering 
negroes increased the difficulty of bringing the offenders to 


At the beginning of the provisional government there 
was, naturally, no question of the distinction between the 
civil and military powers. In a sense, the provisional gov- 
ernor was more a military than a civil officer. His appoint- 
ment and authority were based on the war power of the 


President, and the object of his appointment was to restore 
a civil government. This was a work that would necessarily 
take time, and to the military forces was confided the duty 
of at least preserving order. At the close of the war North 
Carolina formed a distinct military department. At first 
General Schofield was in command, but he was succeeded 
by General Thomas H. Ruger. The latter divided the de- 
partment into five districts, each with a general command- 
ing.^ In June, 1866, the State was included with South 
Carolina in the Department of the South and placed under 
General Daniel E. Sickles.^ North Carolina formed a 
separate command under General J. C. Robinson, who was 
also an assistant commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau. 
This arrangement continued until the establishment of the 
military government. 

The first difference which arose was in regard to the 
county police force. While General Schofield was in com- 
mand, he had a definite agreement with the provisional gov- 
ernor, by which the whole matter was left to the various 
county courts. ** Acting in accordance with this agreement, 
Governor Holden gave the justices of several counties per- 
mission to establish such a force. But General Ruger, who 
in the meantime had succeeded General Schofield, refused 
to recognize the agreement or to allow the forces thus or- 
ganized to act.* 

The next matter of which Governor Holden complained 
was in regard to the colored troops stationed in the State. 

' They were as follows: New Bern, Gen. C J. Paine; Wilmington, 
Gen. J. W. Ames; Raleigh, General A. Ames; Greensboro, Gen. S. P. 
Carter ; and West North Carolina, Gen. T. T. Heath, with headquarters 
at Morganton. Off. Rec, no. ico, p. 675. 

' General Orders, no. 32; May 19, 1866. 

' Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. "jy. 

* Ibid., pp. 70, 77. 


The first complaint to Governor Holden came from Wil- 
mington. The town had a negro garrison, and with its 
large negro population was in a state of great alarm. Alfred 
M. Waddell wrote the governor early in June that outrages 
by the troops were of daily occurrence and that the effect 
of the presence of the colored troops on the negro popula- 
tion was very dangerous. Arrests were constantly made 
without any cause, and in one instance the soldiers were in- 
structed, if the person arrested said or did anything, to run 
him through. There was little or no redress, as unusual 
latitude was given the colored troops.^ In July the mayor 
and commissioners wrote describing the conduct of the 
negroes and the apprehension felt by the white people of an 
insurrection. The negroes had demanded that they should 
have some of the city offices and had made threats when 
they were refused. The governor replied that the citizens 
had acted rightly in refusing to appoint the negroes to office, 
as the right to hold office depended on the right of suf- 
frage. He also assured them that if the negroes attempted 
by force to gain control of public affairs or avenge griev- 
ances suffered at the hands of the whites, they would be 
visited with swift punishment; but if obedient to the laws, 
they would be protected. He also wrote General Ruger 
and appealed to him to take steps in the matter, suggesting 
that the police guard of New Hanover County should be 
armed and that the city authorities should have a reserve 
of arms at their disposal. In September, orders were issued 
to muster out all the negro troops from the North that were 
in the State, but a considerable number were left.^ Where- 
ever they were stationed there was genuine alarm among 
the inhabitants. A report in Raleigh in 1866 that a com- 

' Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 35. 
' Off. Rec, no. 126, p. 108. 


pany was to be ordered there caused intense uneasiness/ 
In the case of Elizabeth City and Edenton, all alarm was 
unfounded, as the soldiers behaved very well." But in Beau- 
fort, a party of them from Fort Macon committed a brutal 
rape and were also guilty of attempting the same crime a 
second time. They were arrested in the town and the gar- 
rison of Fort Macon threatened to turn its guns upon the 
town if they were not surrendered.^ The condition of 
affairs there was so bad that General Ruger forbade any 
soldier to leave the fort except under a white officer.'' Near 
Wilmington, Thomas Pickett was murdered and his two 
daughters dangerously wounded by three soldiers from the 
negro garrison at Fort Fisher in company with a negro 
from Wilmington.' In Kinston, a citizen was beaten by the 
soldiers, and, upon Governor Holden's complaint to Gen- 
eral Ruger, the garrison was removed." Soon afterwards 
the governor notified General Ruger that a car of muskets 
and ammunition had been side-tracked at Auburn, and while 
left unguarded had been opened by the freedmen and its 
contents distributed. The possessors of the arms then be- 
came the terror of the community." Complaints of colored 
troops were also sent in from New Bern, Windsor, and 
other eastern towns.* General Ruger and General Cox 
both showed a disposition to do everything in their power 
to prevent any trouble, the latter issuing special orders on 
the subject." In September, 1866, the last remaining regi- 

• Sentinel, Aug. 18, 1865. = Ibid., Sept. 25, 1865. 
' Standard, Jan. 5, 1866. 

* Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 38. 
' Sentinel, Jan. 18, 1865. 

° Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 81. 
' Ibid., p. 82. 8 Ibid., pp. 78-0. 

' Ibid., p. 8. 


ment of negro volunteers was mustered out, and that cause 
of discontent disappeared/ 

The white troops as a general thing, after the confusion 
incident to the surrender was over, behaved well. In Ashe- 
ville, however, they were so disorderly and undisciplined 
that great efforts were made by the citizens to have them 

The chief cause of friction between the civil and the mili- 
tary authorities was, however, as might be supposed, con- 
cerning the administration of justice. Governor Holden, 
as has been seen, appointed a full number of provisional 
judges, and when the civil government went into operation 
the office in every district was filled by election. A number 
of the provisional judges decided that they had no jurisdic- 
tion in cases of offences committed prior to May 29, 1865, 
and the rest assented to this opinion,^ but it only applied to 
the provisional judges and in no way bound those elected 
by the General Assembly. 

The question of conflicting jurisdictions first arose in July, 
1865. In June, a white man in Chatham County killed a 
freedman. Governor Holden had not then appointed any 
judges and therefore turned the prisoner over to General 
Cox, who at once ordered him to be held by the provost 
marshal until the civil courts should be open. In July, when 
Governor Holden requested that the prisoner should be 
delivered to the civil authorities for trial. General Ames 
refused on the ground that in view of the facts of the case 
a military trial was necessary.* The same month the ques- 
tion again arose over three citizens of Person County who 

' House Ex. Docs. no. i, p. 299, 40 Cong., i sess. 

' Vance to Worth, Feb. 6, 1866. 

' The opinion is in the Standard, Dec. 15, 1865. 

* Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, pp. 8, 20, 23. 


were arrested for an assault upon a freedman and carried 
to Raleigh for trial by a military commission. Governor 
Holden at once called the attention of General Ruger to 
the re-organization of the civil government of the county, 
and recjuested that the prisoners might be remanded there 
for a civil trial. General Ruger refused on the ground that 
the military authorities had a clear jurisdiction in all cases 
relating to the preservation of order, and consequently did 
not have to wait for the call of the civil power or to obey 
the writ of habeas corpus. He declared that violence 
toward the freedmen was not uncommon in the State, but 
that he knew of no instance where the provisional magis- 
trates had taken official notice of such cases. He further 
said that he was informed by the agents of the Bureau that 
hostilit}' to the freedmen was succeeding apathy, and that 
consequently no dependence could be put on grand juries, so 
the only remedy for offences against the blacks was prompt 
trial by a military commission. He also objected to the 
procedure of the civil courts as clumsy and productive of 
delay.^ Governor Holden maintained that the proclama- 
tion of the President gave the civil power exclusive juris- 
diction and showed the utter impossibility of concurrent 
jurisdiction. He defended the State against the charge 
of hostility to the freedmen, suggesting that the Bureau 
commissioners had probably heard only one side of the 
question.- But General Ruger was not to be convinced and 
closed the discussion, declaring that martial law existed at 
the surrender, and in his opinion existed still, except where 
modified by the President. He expressed his confidence in 
the honesty of the courts, but declared that they were with- 
out power to prevent violence.' 

' Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, pp. 27-32. 
^ Ibid., pp. 31-6. 3 jjjjj^ p ^y_ 


Governor Holden referred the whole matter to the Presi- 
dent, who did not interfere in behalf of the State. The 
governor in the meantime made every effort to conform to 
the wishes of General Ruger. Courts of Oyer and Ter- 
miner were ordered to be held in various parts of the State, 
and this removed ground for the charge that justice was de- 
layed. Finally Governor Holden reached a definite agree- 
ment with General Ruger as to military and civil jurisdic- 
tion. All cases of misdemeanor or violation of law in which 
white persons alone were concerned were placed within the 
jurisdiction of the courts of Oyer and Terminer consti- 
tuted by the governor, while all cases in which freedmen 
were concerned were declared to be under military jurisdic- 
tion.^ Later the judges of the courts of Oyer and Terminer 
were given power to bind over to court or to bind to keep 
the peace, and even to lodge in jail accused persons, regard- 
less of color. The trial of such cases as concerned freed- 
men was, however, still by military commissions.^ General 
Meade approved the arrangement, assuring Governor Hol- 
den that whenever the laws of the State and the practice 
of the courts left no doubt that the freedmen would receive 
justice, the use of military commissions would cease. ^ 

The conflict of the two jurisdictions was carried to its 
ultimate issue in the trial of Major John H. Gee, of Florida, 
by a military commission for violation of the laws of war 
in his treatment of federal prisoners at Salisbury. A short 
review of the case will be interesting, as it was the most 
important one tried by a military commission in North 
Carolina. The commission assembled in Raleigh on Febru- 
ary 21, 1866. Major Gee, through counsel, claimed that 

' Sentinel, Sept. 19, 1865. 

^ Record of the Provisional Governor, pp. 143-4- 

' Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, p. 74. 


under the terms of the Sherman- Johnston agreement he, as 
a paroled prisoner, was not liable to trial. The commis- 
sion, however, claimed jurisdiction, and the trial followed. 
Major Gee then pleaded his acceptance of the terms of am- 
nesty as laid down in the President's proclamation, but the 
commission decided that he was debarred under the sixth 
exception.^ The trial lasted over eighty days, though only 
fifty-five of these were actually consumed in the proceed- 
ings of the court. More than a hundred witnesses were ex- 
amined. At the close of the examination of the witnesses 
for the prosecution, the defence entered a plea that the juris- 
diction of the commission had been removed by the Presi- 
dent's proclamation declaring that the insurrection had 
ceased,^ and moved that the case should be referred to the 
civil authorities. The commission, after hearing the matter 
argued by counsel, refused to assent to the motion and 
ordered a continuance of the trial. Colonel Holland, coun- 
sel for Major Gee, then sued out a writ of habeas corpus 
directed to General Ruger and returnable to Judge Fowle. 
General Ruger refused to produce Major Gee on the ground 
that he held him under the President's order. Colonel Hol- 
land then moved that an attachment be issued against Gen- 
eral Ruger. Judge Fowle announced as his opinion that, 
under the President's proclamation, the prisoner was en- 
titled to civil trial. But he postponed his decision for two 
weeks. The day before the time specified for rendering the 
decision. President Johnson notified the governor that his 
proclamation was not intended to operate in the case of a 
military commission already instituted, and that General 
Ruger had been instructed to allow the trial to proceed, but 
to report all proceedings to the war department for revision. 

' This excepted those who had violated the laws of war. 
* Proclamation of April 2, 1866. 


The next day,^ Ji^idge Fowle rendered a formal decision 
declaring that, by virtue of the official declaration of the 
President the insurrection was at an end, Major Gee 
was entitled to the privileges of the writ of habeas corpus, 
and consequently that General Ruger's return was insuffi- 
cient. He then issued an attachment against the general, 
with instructions to the sheriff not to serve it if the writ 
should be obeyed. General Ruger of course declined to 
obey the writ or to submit to arrest. The matter was then 
referred to the governor, and thus came to an end.^ The 
result of the trial was the acquittal of Major Gee. 

The most important of the military trials in which the ac- 
cused were citizens of North Carolina occurred in 1867, 
when William J. Tolar, Duncan G. McRae, Thomas Powers, 
Samuel Phillips, and David Watkins, all of Cumberland, 
were accused of the murder of a negro named Archie 
Beebe when he was about to be tried for an attempt at rape. 
The purpose of the deed was to prevent the appearance of 
the woman concerned in court and the negro was shot while 
in the custody of the sheriff of the county. A dense crowd 
was present and it was impossible to discover who had fired 
the fatal shot. McRae and Phillips were soon discharged 
for lack of any evidence against them but the other three 
were convicted after a trial that lasted with some intermis- 
sions for more than three months. The evidence was very 
conflicting but the general impression at the time was that 
one of the three had fired the shot. Major General Robert 
Avery was judge advocate and Colonel J. V. Bomford, 
president of the commission. The defendants had a very 
strong array of counsel and the case was contested at every 

' April 28, 1866. 

" The account of this case has been gathered from the files of the 
Sentinel and Standard for 1866. 


Step. Public sympathy was much on the side of the ac- 
cused, as was usually the case when the trial was before a 
military commission, and, as soon as conviction resulted, ap- 
peals were made to the President for pardon. A year later 
all three were pardoned. 

Another case that attracted much attention was that of 
Mrs. Isham Ball of Warren County, in February, 1866, 
for the murder of a freedman. The testimony showed be- 
yond doubt that he had entered upon her premises after 
being forbidden to do so, and was advancing upon her in a 
most threatening way when she fired the shot which killed 
him. The commission, however, found her guilty of man- 
slaughter, and sentenced her to three years' imprisonment. 
General Ruger reduced it to one, and a later appeal to the 
President resulted in her pardon. No attempt was made to 
procure a civil trial for her. 

These were the chief instances of disputed jurisdiction 
and of trial by military commission. But they are merely 
examples chosen from the great number in the period ex- 
tending from July, 1865, until the establishment of military 
government in name as well as in fact in 1867. 

In the fall of 1865, Captain W. H. Doherty, an assistant 
quartermaster at New Bern, petitioned General Ruger to 
order a military commission to investigate the hanging of 
twenty North Carolina Union volunteers in March, 1864, 
by General George E. Pickett and General R. F. Hoke, 
" merely because of their devotion to the Union cause." 
A board of inquiry was accordingly constituted and recom- 
mended that the officers composing the court-martial that 
ordered the executions referred to, General Pickett, Gen- 
eral Hoke, Colonel Baker, and others unnamed, should be 
tried and punished for violation of the laws of war. The 
testimony taken by the board showed that those executed 
had all been deserters, but the board claimed that it was 


only from the state service, and that consequently the court- 
martial had no authority. The judge advocate general, J. 
Holt, to Vk'hom the case was referred, decided that no per- 
sonal charge could be sustained, as those executed had been 
deserters. Another court of inquiry was constituted in 
January, 1866, but was able to obtain no incriminating 
evidence. In the meantime General Holt had changed 
his opinion in regard to the possiblity of punishment, and 
recommended General Pickett's arrest and trial. ^ General 
Pickett and General Hoke, however, had already appealed 
to General Grant, and this, in connection with the impossi- 
bility of securing a conviction, led to the dropping of the 
whole matter. 

Injudicious expressions of opinion by newspaper editors 
resulted on several occasions in the application of military 
law. The publisher of the Goldsboro News was arrested, 
and the publication of his paper suspended on account of a 
criticism of some women who had come from the North to 
teach in colored schools.^ He was released without pun- 
ishment. Benjamin Robinson, one of the editors of the 
Fayetteville Observe^-, was arrested in December, 1865, for 
so-called seditious language, and was brought to Raleigh. 
Later he was released on parole.^ But the most noted of 
such cases was that of Robert P. Waring, editor of the 
Charlotte Times. He was arrested in December, 1865, and 
after several weeks' confinement was tried on the charge 
of " publishing and circulating disloyal and seditious writ- 
ings within a district under martial law," the writing re- 
ferred to being calculated and intended, it was alleged, to 
produce hostility to the government of the United States. 

' House Ex. Docs., no, 98, 39 Cong., i Sess. 
^ Standard, Jan. 11, 1866. 
' Ihid., Dec. 18, 1865. 


It was an editorial declaring the South to be under a des- 
potism/ To the charge above-mentioned, so far as con- 
cerned the act, he pleaded guilty. The intention alleged 
he denied. He was ably defended, but the result was a 
foregone conclusion and he was found guilty and fined 

The only other important case of interference by the mili- 
tary authorities in criminal proceedings was in December, 
1866, when corporal punishment was forbidden except in 
the case of apprenticed minors. The same order forbade 
the enforcement of the vagrancy laws when any distinction 
was made on account of race." As regards corporal punish- 
ment, the State had no prison, and for many years punish- 
ment by whipping had been administered to the criminals of 
both races. The prejudice against it originated with the 
negroes and the Freedmen's Bureau agents, who alike re- 

' The editorial was as follows : " We are still without Washington 
news, and look forward to the report of the committee on credentials 
with some interest, though without hope of receiving justice. The 
South is now under a more grinding despotism than has heretofore 
found a place upon the face of the earth. Raised under a form of 
government, as expounded by the early fathers of the republic, when to 
say ' I am an American citizen ' was to be equal to a king, we feel our 
serfdom more painfully by reflecting upon what we have lost. We 
have fallen from our high estate, and now there is ' none so poor as 
to do us reverence.' Other nations, suffering under the iron heel of 
lawless tyranny, can console themselves with the reflection that their 
condition is no worse than that of their predecessors. Not so with the 
proud Southron. He once roamed his field a free man, and sat under 
his own vine and fig tree, and none dared make him afraid. He was 
the equal if not the superior of the mercenary race which now domi- 
nates over him." 

^ This was not his first experience of the military power of the 
United States, for, in 1861, when he returned to New York, after re- 
signing the consulship at St. Thomas, he was arrested and confined for 
some time for raising his hat to a Confederate flag. Dowd, Prominent 
North Carolinians, p. 72- 

' General Orders, no. 15. 


garded it, when applied to the former, as a remnant of slav- 
ery. For months before the order forbidding it was issued, 
there had been constant interference by the Bureau in the 
execution of the sentences of the courts. The cruelty of 
the punishment could hardly have been the cause of its 
abolition, for, as has been noticed, hanging by the thumbs 
was the usual punishment administered by the provost mar- 
shal's courts in Raleigh.^ Governor Worth appealed to the 
President, and in company with Thomas Ruffin, David L. 
Swain, and Nathaniel Boyden went to Washington to see 
him, but no change in the order was made. In any case, it 
would have been too late, as the military government was 
established by Congress soon afterwards. 

In numerous other ways military authority was exercised. 
Interference in civil suits, while not so frequent as in crimi- 
nal cases, was not unknown. An instance of this occurred 
in Raleigh in February, 1866. Two men from the North 
rented a hotel property in the town. The owner, after 
some time, unable to collect the rent, sued for the amount. 
Finding that the lessees were about to leave town, he had 
them arrested, but General Ruger, who had refused to inter- 
fere in the suit on account of lack of jurisdiction, now 
forced the sheriff to release them because there was no 
judge to summon the plaintiff to show the cause of their 
arrest. The defendants, soon after their release, left the 
State without settling their indebtedness. General Ruger 
claimed that he had not intended to prevent recovery by the 
plaintiff, but only to delay arrest until a judge should be 
present in the town.^ 

Several times interference occurred in the collection of 

• Proceedings of the Provost Marshal's court, published in the Stand- 
ard during 1865. 
' Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, pp. 44-6. 


taxes. The convention of 1865 levied a tax on all mercan- 
tile business for that year. In Wilmington, in January, 
1866, General Cook, who was then in command, issued an 
order restraining the sheriff of New Hanover from collect- 
ing the tax from firms trading under a federal license. This 
ruling, however, was revoked by General Ruger.^ In 1866, 
General J. C. Robinson interfered in the coUection of a poll, 
tax in Cumberland and Columbus counties, ordering the 
sheriffs to refund all collected above one dollar, as the State 
had only levied that amount. He was probably ignorant of 
the fact that the law had a provision for increasing the 
amount according to the necessities of each county.^ 

Such was the part plaj^ed by the army in North Carolina 
in civil affairs during the period of Presidential Reconstruc- 
tion. Enough has been shown of the workings of the state 
government to make it clear that while, by degrees, much 
was left to the state authorities, the government was prac- 
tically military in that the state government performed its 
functions only through the acquiescence of the military 
commanders. These commanders, in general, showed them- 
selves to be considerate and animated by a desire for peace 
and harmony. But they were naturally inclined to disre- 
gard points of law which were of importance to a civilian, 
and when their minds were made up to any course it was 
practically useless to advance any arguments in opposition. 
While their interference in civil affairs was deeply resented 
and sharply, if uselessly, opposed in the State, the officers 
generally were personally popular in the various communi- 
ties in which they were stationed. 

1 Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, pp. 36-7. 
^ Ihid., pp. 208-9. 



At the close of the provisional government, Holden, em- 
bittered by his defeat and disappointed in his plan to con- 
tinue in office, resumed the editorship of the Standard. He 
still had the ear of the President and felt that through this 
fact he might succeed in the end. But abuse of the Radical 
policy at Washington became less and less frequent in Hol- 
den's paper, and at the same time less violent; and by the 
summer of 1866, it had ceased entirely. His quiet opposi- 
tion to the admission of negro testimony showed what was 
in his mind. No thinking person, aware of the condition of 
public sentiment at the North, doubted that a refusal to 
make this concession, demanded alike by justice and policy, 
would solidify the Radicals in Congress against any recog- 
nition of the existing state government, and it is also very 
clear that Holden did not desire the recognition by Congress 
of those who had defeated him. He was accused of this by 
the Sentinel in March and thereafter.^ 

Early in the year, the Standard said that if the laudation 
of Vance in the state press should continue and should be 
accompanied by disparagement of Holden, an appeal 
would be made to the President to cause Vance to be again 
confined in prison, and with Jefferson Davis to be tried for 
treason.^ In March, Holden said editorially that, while he 
had in the past favored universal amnesty, he was com- 
pelled by the course of the secessionists to demand that the 
law should be allowed to take its course.* Four days there- 
after war was formally declared upon his opponents in the 
following words : " We know that the true Unionists are 
depressed at the prospects before them, and feel that they 
have a right to look to Washington for sympathy and for 

• Sentinel. March 20, 1866. ' Standard. Jan. 17, 1866. 

' Ibid., March 2, 1866. 


such practicable aid as will enable them to put the enemies 
of the Union where they ought to be — under their feet. 
And we now give notice that we have commenced this war- 
fare on traitors, not without having counted the cost, and 
we intend to continue it until they are driven from every 
office of importance in the State. Nothing shall divert us 
from our purpose." ^ The challenge was accepted, and the 
Sentinel became as violent as the Standard. The course of 
the Sentinel was regarded with distaste and apprehension by 
Governor Worth and his friends, who believed that but 
for Pell's violence Holden would be politically dead,^ but 
their appeals to the former were without effect. 

When the convention assembled in adjourned session in 
May, opposition had developed to its taking any action in 
regard to the state constitution. This opposition had a two- 
fold basis. A large number of lawyers opposed any action 
on the ground that the convention had been called for spec- 
ial purposes which it had accomplished at its first session, 
and that it should therefore adjourn sine die. Still others 
desired its dissolution because a large number of its mem- 
bers were adherents of Holden. They based their argu- 
ments upon the same reasons as the former class, but a dif- 
ference is readily seen. As soon as the convention met, 
resolutions for adjournment were introduced, declaring that 
it had no authority from the people, and consequently that 
any alteration of the fundamental law of the State, further 
than was required by existing conditions, would be revolu- 
tionary and dangerous. Without debate the resolutions 
were defeated by a vote of 6i to 30. Samuel F. Phillips at 
once attempted to secure the passage of a resolution direct- 
ing a committee to prepare an ordinance calling for a con- 

1 Standard, March 6, 1866. 

2 Hamilton, ed., The Correspondence of lonathan Worth, pp. 779-83. 


vention of the people to meet in 1871 to amend the consti- 
tution, and providing for the adjournment of the existing 
body. He argued that, as the chief matter of discussion was 
the question of a new basis of representation, it would be 
better to wait until the census of 1870 was taken. His reso- 
lution, however, was tabled and never acted upon. 

Up to this time representation in the State had been based 
upon federal population. This worked an injustice upon 
the west and had been the cause of a long contest prior 
to the war. All efforts to secure a change had failed 
hitherto, but a new movement now began and was favored 
by the " straitest sect " element, as it would greatly increase 
the power of the west where their chief strength lay, and 
might give the control of the legislature into their hands. 

An attempt was made to pass a resolution providing for 
sending a commission to Washington to confer with the 
President and members of Congress in regard to what 
would be necessary to secure the restoration of the State to 
her position in the Union. But the resolution contained 
an indirect endorsement of the congressional policy, and, 
although the wording was changed, it failed. 

The convention remained in session until late in June. 
Most of the time was spent in reconstructing the constitu- 
tion. The draft as proposed to the convention embodied 
most of the old document, with certain additions and amend- 
ments. Its arrangement was the work of B. F. Moore, who 
was the most experienced and learned lawyer in the body. 
Throughout the debates he was its strongest defender, and 
to him was largely due its adoption by the convention. It 
was provided that the new instrument should be submitted to 
the people for ratification.^ The date of the state election was 
changed to October to allow the new constitution, if ratified, 

^ Journal, June 25, 1866. 


to go into effect. This was a shrewd political move by the 
" straitest sect," who thought that by this they would gain 
control of the legislature on account of the change of the 
basis of representation. The influence of this element was 
much more apparent in the convention than in the General 
Assembly, but it was not great enough to overcome the con- 
servative forces. The whole session was marked by a series 
of compromises; so, if the advantage remained with any 
particular faction, it cannot be distinguished. The consti- 
tution, as a whole, was not a matter on which the two fac- 
tions divided. On its final adoption the vote was 63 to 30. 

As submitted to the people, the constitution was a more 
compact instrument than the original, for all the various 
amendments made from time to time were incorporated in 
their proper places. The only important change in the Bill 
of Rights was the addition of clauses prohibiting slavery, 
prohibiting the quartering of troops upon citizens except 
under certain laws, and providing that the courts should al- 
ways be open to ever)^ person. The basis of representation 
for the House of Commons was changed to white popula- 
tion. The office of lieutenant governor was established. 
No one could hold the office of governor or of lieutenant 
governor unless he had been a citizen of the United States 
for twenty years, a resident of the State for five years im- 
mediately preceding the election, be thirty years of age, and 
possessed of land in fee to the value of $2,000. Senators 
were required to be thirty years of age and to possess three 
hundred acres of land in fee or a freehold of not less value 
than $1,000.^ Members of the House of Commons were re- 
Cjuired to have a freehold of one hundred acres, or to the 
value of $30'0. Five years' residence previous to election 
was required for members of both houses. None but white 

1 Formerly it was required that a senator should own three hundred 



persons were eligible as voters or office-holders/ All per- 
sons on taking office were required to take, besides their offi- 
cial oath, one to support the state constitution, in so far as 
it was not inconsistent with that of the United States. It pro- 
vided that no amendment should be made to the constitu- 
tion except by a convention." iVlagistrates were thereafter 
to be chosen by the people for a term of six years. 

In addition to being more compact, the constitution was 
clearer and fuller than the existing one. In fact, only one 
great fault could be found with it, and that defect defeated 
it. As soon as it was submitted to the people an exceed- 
ingly able discussion on the question of ratification began. 
All the opposition of importance was based on the question 
of the validity of the action of the convention. Judge 
Ruffin and Judge Manly were probably the most distin- 
guished of its opponents. The former was opposed to the 
Mfhite basis of representation, but his chief argument was 
against the authority of the convention. He said that it 
had no more authority in law than any voluntary assem- 
blage of persons, and advised the rejection of the con- 
stitution on this ground.'' This involved a doubt of the 
validity of the convention's actions at its first session, and 
also raised a question as to the status of the governments of 
the various Southern States. Thaddeus Stevens later quoted 
him as an authority on his own position regarding them.* 

'The term "white" meant one having less than one-sixteenth of 
negro blood. 

2 Before this the constitution could be amended by the concurrent 
votes of successive legislatures, ratified by the people. 

s Sentinel, July 28, 1866. This letter written to Edward Conigland 
was not published over Ruffin's name, but was recognized. 

^Stevens said: "I quote Judge Rufifin, one of the ablest and fairest 
of secessionists. The Chief Justice is right. Not a rebel State has this 
day a lawful government." Speech at Bedford, Pa., Sept. 4, 1866. 
Standard, Sept. 19, 1866. 


Judge Manly objected to the constitution itself, and also 
claimed that, while the convention had a valid existence 
and authority for the purposes mentioned by the President 
in his proclamation, it had none for any further action/ 
William A. Graham was also opposed to its ratification. 

As might be imagined, B. F. Moore was the strongest de- 
fender of the constitution, or rather of the authority of the 
convention. Unfortunately, his main argument, a discus- 
sion of the war power of the President, and an exceedingly 
able one, did not appear until after the constitution had 
been rejected. It was written in reply to the argument of 
Judge Rufnn, and while not showing, possibly, as great a 
respect for and knowledge of constitutional law as that of 
the former chief justice, it indicated a clearer perception of 
the changed conditions brought about by the war.^ Gover- 
nor Worth also favored ratification.^ Holden was a cham- 
pion of the constitution and said that its rejection would be 
the worst blow that the President's policy had received. 
The Sentinel also favored ratification, but without enthu- 

The vote on the question was taken on August 2, and re- 
sulted in the rejection of the constitution by a majority of 
1,982 out of a total vote of 41,122. 

During the period in which occurred the events just re- 
lated, there were other matters of interest to the State. In 
April, Holden came out in favor of allowing Congress to 
act without opposition.* A little later he declared that while 
he had favored the President's plan of restoration it had 
been rendered useless by the traitors who had obtained 

' Standard, Aug, i, 1866. 

^Ihid., Sept. 12, 1866. 

3 Winston to Worth, Sept. 5, 1866. Hamilton, ed.. The Correspond- 
ence of lonathan Worth, n, p. 763. 

• Standard, April 2$, 1866. 


office, and, as it was necessary for the State to get back into 
the Union and for the control of affairs to be restored to 
loyal men, he would advocate the adoption of the proposed 
Fourteenth or Howard Amendment to the Constitution of 
the United States/ About this time, to the delight of his 
opponents, Holden was nominated by the President as min- 
ister to San Salvador. It is not improbable that the nomi- 
nation was made to quiet him and to get him out of the 
way. He went to Washington to press the matter, but was 
unable to convince the Senate of his suitability and the 
nomination was rejected. It was thought at the time that 
he desired confirmation only that he might decline the posi- 
tion, but still be aided politically.' 

In May, Governor Worth was nominated for re-election 
by a meeting in Randolph County, and a month later he an- 
nounced himself as a candidate. He was much stronger in 
the State than he had been at the preceding election, and in 
consequence there Avas no attempt to run Holden. But 
if not a candidate, Holden was at least in entire control of 
the opposition to Governor Worth. He settled upon Gen- 
eral M. W. Ransom, of Northampton, as the most suitable 
person to oppose Governor Worth, and used every effort to 
induce him to consent to become a candidate; but the gen- 
eral declined on the ground that he was opposed to any con- 
test.'' James M. Leach and General W. R. Cox were then 
mentioned by the opposition, but the leaders, meeting with 
no encouragement, either from them or from the people, 
dropped their names. It then became the idea of most of 
the opposition to try to elect the lieutenant-governor and 
not to attempt to elect the governor. This plan met with 

1 Standard, June 6 and 13, 1866. 
^ Hedrick to Worth, June 20, 1866. 

3 Standard, Aug. i, 1866. Also Hamilton, ed., The Correspondence of 
Jonathan Worth, ii, p. 764. 


favor among men like John Pool and Lewis Thompson, 
who were pledged to support Worth but were in sympathy 
with the Radicals.' The plan probably failed to meet with 
the approval of Holden. For the nomination for lieutenant- 
governor, Thomas Settle was informally chosen by the op- 
position; while to oppose him Pell, in spite of the opposition 
of the Worth leaders, insisted upon pressing the claims of 
Dennis D. Ferebee. The rejection of the constitution neces- 
sitated a change in these plans. The white basis of repre- 
sentation was at once declared by Holden to be the issue of 
the campaign, and George W. Logan, of Rutherford, who 
had been a member of the Confederate Congress, was 
settled upon as a candidate for governor. P. T. Henry 
was a second choice.^ But both were soon dropped, prob- 
ably at their own request. The position of a candidate 
against Governor Worth at this juncture was not one to be 
sought by anyone with political ambitions. 

During the summer, the friends of the national admin- 
istration called a convention of the supporters of the Presi- 
dent and his policy to meet in Philadelphia on August 14. 
By this means it was hoped that a consolidation of the Ad- 
ministration Republicans and the Democrats might be 
brought about. The call met with a hearty response in 
North Carolina, but very little hope was entertained there 
that good results would follow from it. However, a full 
delegation attended, composed almost entirely of the adher- 
ents of Governor Worth.** The movement was strongly 

' P. H. Winston to Worth, Sept. 5, 1866. ' Ibid. 

' R. C. Puryear, George Davis, formerly Attorney-General of the 
Confederate States, William A. Graham, and Judge George Howard 
were delegates from the State at large. From the congressional dis- 
tricts the delegations were as follows: ist, W. N. PI. Smith, H. A. 
Gilliam; 2nd, M. E. Manly, William A. Wright; 3d, Thomas S. Ashe, 
Arch. McLean; 4th, A. H. Arrington, Vacancy; 5th, Jno. A. Gilmer, 
Thos. Ruffin, Jr. ; 6th, Joseph H. Wilson, Nathaniel Boyden ; 7th, M. 
Patton and S. F. Patterson. 


Opposed by Holden who said that the delegates who had 
been chosen would not be admitted. The convention met 
and issued a dignified and able address to the country. The 
opponents of the President's policy ridiculed the proceed- 
ings with considerable effect, and it is doubtful if much 
good was accomplished. Of the North Carolina delega- 
tion, John A. Gilmer was one of the vice-presidents of the 
convention and William A. Graham was on the committee 
on resolutions. 

Two weeks later, another convention met in the same 
city. This was called by Southern Unionists who wished 
an opportunity to explain their sentiments and position to 
the country. Among the signers of the call were Daniel R. 
Goodloe and Byron Laflin, from North Carolina. The 
former was about to return to the State after an absence of 
many years. The latter, a Northern man, had come with 
the Union army and had settled in Pitt County. He was a 
native of Massachusetts and was the first of this class of 
new residents to enter politics in North Carolina. The 
delegation from North Carolina to the convention, besides 
these, was composed of five Northern men and two natives 
of the State.^ The personnel of the delegation is enough 
to show that it was in no sense representative of the State 

' The delegates were A. W. Tourgee, a native of Ohio, who had 
come to Guilford County after service in the Union army ; Rev. Hope 
Bain, a Northern minister, who had settled in Goldsboro before the 
war; G. O, Glavis, a former Union chaplain and Bureau agent, lately 
convicted of dishonesty by a military commission; Rev. James Sin- 
clair, a native of Scotland, educated in Pennsylvania, who had lived 
in the State before 1861, had been a Confederate lieutenant-colonel, 
and after being accused of treason, had become a Union chaplain and 
later a Bureau agent; H. K. Furniss, a Northern man, of whom little 
is known ; J. W. Wynne, a native, and A. H. Jones, a native, who had 
been elected to Congress immediately after the war, but had not been 


as a whole. At the same time that this convention met, 
delegates from most of the Northern States met in Phila- 
delphia to receive the Southern delegates, organizing them- 
selves into a convention for the purpose. The " Loyalists " 
remained in session for five days and adopted an address 
denouncing the President and his policy and demanding the 
adoption of the proposed Fourteenth Amendment as an ab- 
solute necessity in the South. Of the North Carolina dele- 
gates, the most prominent were A. W. Tourgee and Daniel 
R. Goodloe. The former took a very prominent part in all 
the proceedings of the convention but particularly in the 
debate which took place on negro suffrage. Tourgee ad- 
vocated it strongly with the usual argument that it was 
necessary to protect not only the freedmen, but also all 
Union men.^ Goodloe was opposed to the convention's 
taking any definite ground on the subject. 

While this convention was holding its meetings, Holden 
denied that there was any difference between the plans of 
the President and of Congress.' The same day the 
Standard, acting upon the suggestion of a mass meeting in 
New Bern as expressed in its resolution, contained a call for 
a " loyal Union " convention to meet in Raleigh two weeks 
later. The New Bern meeting was presided over by Charles 
R. Thomas, but the resolutions were the work of the North- 
ern settlers in the town. Resolutions of a similar nature, 
except that they demanded negro suffrage, had been passed 

' Tourgee said at the same time that he had been lately informed 
" by a Quaker " that the bodies of fifteen negroes had been dragged 
out of one pond in Guilford County. He also said that 1,200 Union 
soldiers, who had settled in the State, had been forced to sacrifice their 
property and leave the State to save their lives. Executwe Corres- 
pondence, Worth, vol. ii, p. 2. 

' Standard, Sept. 5, 1866. 



in August by a meeting in Guilford which was controlled 
by A. W. Tourgee and G. W. Welker.^ 

The convention thus called met on September 20. It 
passed resolutions favoring the proposed Fourteenth 
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, cen- 
suring Governor Worth's administration, and declaring that 
only the unmistakably loyal ought to hold office in North 
Carolina, and then nominated Alfred Dockery for governor. 
Holden addressed the body and outlined the reasons why 
the conditions of Congress should be accepted. He still, 
however, declared against negro suffrage.^ A regular or- 
ganization was begun, and here, for the first time since the 
war, there was a definite division into parties. The party 
formed now was the germ of the Republican party in North 

Dockery declined to be a candidate, but expressed him- 
self as favorable to the Howard Amendment, in preference 
to risking the action of the next Congress. He also favored 
placing certain disabilities in the State and the retirement 
of those who could not take the " iron-clad " oath.^ Hol- 
den, fearing the consequence to his organization if there 
should be no opposition, advised the people to vote for 
Dockery, regardless of his refusal to run. 

The campaign, if it can be so called, was devoid of in- 
terest. Governor Worth was re-elected, receiving a ma- 
jority of 23,496 out of a total vote of 44,994. Dockery car- 
ried nine counties — among them Randolph, the home of 
Governor Worth. Richmond County, Dockery's home, was 
carried by Governor Worth. 

' G. W. Welker was a minister and a native of Pennsylvania who 
had lived in North Carolina many years. 
' Standard, Sept. 26, 1866. 
» Ibid., Oct. 3, i865. 



Every effort was now made by the Radicals to paint as 
dark a picture as possible of the condition of affairs in the 
State. Petitions in great numbers, from various parts of 
the State, were sent to the President asking that protection 
from " rebel persecution " might be given the signers. In 
the case of one petition, from Camden County, a copy was 
sent to Governor Worth. The petitioners claimed that 
persecution was carried on by means of indictments for 
acts performed during the war in aid of the Union cause. 
An investigation was at once made by Judge Brooks, of the 
United States District Court, who discovered that only two 
of the fifty-six named had been indicted, and that the of- 
fence in those cases was retailing liquor without a license.' 
Several attempts had been made to indict others for acts 
committed during the war, but no court would recognize 
the matter. In the west, where there was more ill feeling 
on account of the greater division in sentiment and the fact 
that the war had there been, in reality, civil war, it is not 
unlikely that cases of persecution occurred, but they were 
private. Careful investigations were made repeatedly by 
Judge iVIerrimon and other judges of the state courts into 
the truth of the charges without their being substantiated. 
The fact of the matter is that every criminal, against whom 
the state courts had an indictment, became at once, in his 
own eyes at least, a Union patriot, suffering for his devo- 
tion to his country, and this view was taken, apparently, by 
the opposition party in the State. 

The General Assembly, like its predecessor, was com- 
posed largely of old Whigs. Judge Manly was elected 
speaker of the Senate, and R. Y. IVlcAden speaker of the 
House of Commons. Governor Worth, in his message, 
earnestly urged the rejection of the Fourteenth Amend- 

' Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, pp. 108-9. 


ment as dangerous and degrading. He reviewed tlie condi- 
tion of the State and suggested much necessary legislation. 

Judge Manly was elected to the United States Senate to 
succeed John Pool who, although he had voted for Worth 
in the last election, was suspected of favoring the radical 
policy, and had become exceedingly unpopular since his 
plea, at the time he sought admission to the United States 
Senate, that- during the war he had sought and obtained 
election as a state senator only that he might embarrass the 
Confederate government. Soon after his defeat, Holden 
went on to Washington to join him there, declaring, before 
his departure, his opposition to the proposed amendment as 
not sufficiently stringent against traitors.^ 

Soon after the legislature assembled, a joint committee 
of both houses was constituted to report on the proposed 
amendment. Its report, signed by twelve members, with 
only one member dissenting, was made within a few days. 
The committee stated that a number of radical changes in 
the fundamental law were proposed with no opportunity of 
accepting one or more without ratifying all, and in strong 
terms expressed their disapproval of such a plan of amend- 
ment, which, they declared, was without precedent in the 
history of the country. They opposed the amendment, also, 
as submitted in an unconstitutional manner, no representa- 
tives from eleven Southern States having taken part in its 
passage, after the same States had been recognized as parts 
of the Union; by Congress in the resolutions of July, 1861, 
declaring the object of the war and in acts apportioning tax- 
ation, assigning to the said States, their respective number 
of representatives, readjusting the federal judicial circuits, 
and accepting as valid the assent of Virginia to the division 
of the State; by the Judiciary in the hearing and decision 

' Standard. Dec. S, 1866, 


of cases carried up from their courts ; and by the Executive 
in approval of the acts of Congress before mentioned. 
The submission of the amendment was also advanced as an 
act of recognition. The committee took the ground that if 
the votes of the Southern States were necessary to a valid 
ratification of the amendment, they were equally necessary 
on the question of submitting it to the States. Another 
ground of disapproval was the fact that the resolution con- 
taining the proposition to amend the Constitution had never 
been submitted to the President for his approval. The 
committee disclaimed any spirit of captiousness or the ad- 
vocacy of merely sectional interests, recognizing, however, 
that the proposed amendment was designed to operate 
mainly upon the Southern States and was proposed only 
for that reason, but declared that the cause of free constitu- 
tional government was at stake, and that too great precau- 
tions could not be employed. The various sections of the 
amendment were then taken up separately. 

The main criticism of the first section was regarding 
the lack of any definition of the " privileges and immuni- 
ties " of citizens of the United States. The committee de- 
clared that the language of the section left the matter in 
too great doubt, for it might mean the privileges enjoyed in 
the past, or any others that the federal government might 
thereafter declare to belong to citizens. In such a case, the 
right of a State to regulate its internal affairs would be de- 

In the second section, the committee claimed that the old 
right of the individual States to regulate the suffrage was 
impaired and the whole matter left in doubt, with an im- 
plication in favor of the power of the federal government 
in the matter. The committee claimed that this clause, in 
conjunction with the final one giving Congress power to en- 
force the article by appropriate legislation, was a dangerous 


innovation, in that it would authorize the federal govern- 
ment to " come in as an intermeddler between a State and 
the citizens of a State in almost all conceivable cases, to 
supervise and interfere with the ordinary administration of 
justice in the state courts, and to provide tribunals — as 
had to some extent been already done in the Civil Rights. 
Bill — to which an unsuccessful litigant or a criminal con- 
victed in the courts of the State can make complaints that 
justice and the equal protection of the laws have been de- 
nied him, and however groundless may be his complaint, 
can obtain a rehearing of his case." This, it was urged, 
was calculated to bring the state courts into contempt and 
ultimately to transfer the administration of civil and crimi- 
nal justice to the federal courts. The same section was 
also opposed on account of the imposition of a penalty for 
any restriction of the suffrage, and the attempt thereby to 
bring about universal suffrage. The change in the basis of 
representation from population to voters was objected to 
for its own sake, as inconsistent with the theory of the 
political system which had always prevailed in the United 

The third section was opposed on account of the fact that 
it was directed against the South, and because thereby the 
majority of the mature men of the State, the committee 
thought, would be disqualified from holding office, and the 
whole state government would be overthrown. The com- 
mittee stated further, as their opinion, that the people of 
North Carolina would prefer to commit their interests to^ 
Congress as then composed, than to intrust them to a class 
of men, no more loyal in most instances than those dis- 
qualified, whose only hope of political advancement lay in 
the banning of better men. The power of Congress to re- 
move disabilities was declared to be an interference with 
the pardoning power of the President, and was also op- 


posed as placing too great a political power in the hands 
of Congress by which it might control elections in the 
States, and even the state governments. 

The fourth section was declared useless on account of the 
intention of the people to pay the federal debt and their de- 
termination that the Confederate debt should not be paid. 
So in regard to compensation for the slaves, the committee 
thought it injustice, but declared that the people of the 
South had never expected to be paid for them. 

The final section was opposed as opening too wide a door 
to congressional interference, with the consequent centrali- 
zation of power in the federal government. 

The committee also asked what guarantees North Caro- 
lina had, in the event that its people should yield up their 
honest convictions of duty in the hope of restoration and 
ratify the amendment, that such restoration would take 
place. They expressed the opinion that ratification would 
not have any effect of the kind. As .to the probability that 
more unwelcome and humiliating terms would be demanded, 
the committee, while asserting their belief that such would 
not be the case, declared, nevertheless, that if it were to be 
so, the State ought not to humiliate itself in the beginning 
by yielding to intimidation, and ratifying a measure of 
which it disapproved. Consequently, with but one dissent- 
ing voice, the committee recommended the rejection of the 

The report of the committee embodied the objections 
which had already been raised in the State and represented 
fairly the opinion of a majority of the people. Consequently 
when it reached the Senate it was adopted with only two 

1 J. M. Leach, H. T. Clark, H. M. Waugh, J, J. Davis, Thomas S. 
Kenan, J. H. P. Russ, Arch. McLean, Phillip Hodnett, J. M. Perry, 
J. Morehead, Jr., D. A. Covington, and W. D. Jones signed the report. 
P. A. Wilson favored the ratification of the amendment. 


dissenting votes. When the rejection resolution came upon 
its passage, C. L. Harris, of Rutherford County, attempted 
to secure the substitution of a ratifying resolution. This 
was defeated, receiving only the vote of Harris. The 
resolution rejecting the amendment also received only his 
negative vote. Six other members had promised to vote 
with him, but failed him when the time came. In the House 
of Commons, fifteen votes were cast against adopting the 
report, but only ten on the final passage of the rejecting 

C. L. Harris and D. A. Jenkins at once went to Washing- 
ton to join W. W. Holden and John Pool in the conference 
going on there with the radical leaders. On December 13, 
the same day the amendment was rejected, Thaddeus 
Stevens had introduced in the House of Representatives, at 
the request of the North Carolinians, a bill providing for 
the reconstruction of North Carolina, which had been pre- 
pared by James F. Taylor, John Pool, and W. W. Holden, 
and approved by the North Carolina radicals.^ This bill, 
after rehearsing the facts of secession, war, and Presidential 
Reconstruction, and calling attention to the duty of Con- 
gress to preserve a republican form of government in all 
the States, and in the " district " named, provided that, on 
May 20, 1867, a convention of the loyal citizens of the "dis- 
trict formerly comprising the State of North Carolina " 
should meet in Raleigh and prepare a constitution which 
■should be afterwards submitted to Congress for approval. 
All male citizens of North Carolina who could read or 

'■ Standard, Dec. 26, 1866. A large part of the material for the bill 
.was furnished to Stevens by W. W. Holden. The North Carolinians 
who were back of the plan were Lewis Thompson, John Pool, D. M. 
Carter, Eugene Grissom, Tod R. Caldwell, R. M. Henry, Thomas 
Settle, R. P. Dick, G. W. Logan, Alfred Dockery, O. H, Dockery, 
C. J. Cowles, J. T. Leach, D. A. Barnes, Charles R. Thomas, J. F. 
Taylor, D. A. Jenkins, and C. L. Harris. 


write, or who owned real estate to the value of one hun- 
dred dollars, could vote. No person who formerly had the 
right to vote could be disqualified. No person could have a 
seat in the convention or hold any office under the new con- 
stitution without taking an oath that at all times, after 
March 4, 1864, he would have complied with the terms of 
the President's proclamation of December 8, 1863, provid- 
ing for the restoration of the seceded States, had it been 
possible, and that, after that date he was opposed to the 
rebellion and Confederacy and gave no aid thereto, but de- 
sired the success of the Union. It was placed within the 
discretion of officers administering the oath to refuse ta 
do so, when doubt existed in their minds as to the truth of 
the applicant's declarations. The existing state govern- 
ment was to cease at the pleasure of the convention. The 
provisions of the act were to be executed by the officials of 
the United States. The bill was referred, and no report 
upon it was ever made. But Stevens later introduced the 
oath as an amendment to a general reconstruction bill, pre- 
viously introduced. In this latter bill, the oath was a pre- 
requisite for voting.^ This met with entire approval from^ 
Holden, for he had already decided that the original was 
too lenient and, in fact, he recommended some such change 
as was made." 

The House of Commons took notice of the charges that 
were constantly made that Union men were being perse- 
cuted in the courts. James Blythe, a member, who made the 
charge on the floor of the House, was examined by a com- 
mittee and testified that there was no use of the courts for 
persecution. He said that by persecution was meant abuse 
of those who favored the Howard Amendment as being in 

1 Globe, 39 Cong., 2 sess., p. 250. 
' Standard, Dec. 25, 1866. 


favor of negro suffrage. C. L. Harris, although a member 
of the Senate, was also examined and gave similar evi- 
dence. The committee's report, that justice was adminis- 
tered in the courts of the State, was unanimously adopted.^ 
Holden tried to create the impression that the legislature 
was taking testimony in order to begin prosecutions for 
treason against the State.^ Harris proved that this was in- 
correct, but it furnished material for numerous appeals to 
Congress to rescue the Union men of the State from " rebel 
persecution for their unswerving loyalty." That the ma- 
jority in both houses of the legislature would have favored, 
if practicable, the punishment of those who were attempting 
to overthrow the existing state government is undoubted, 
and it was frankly acknowledged on the floor of the House 
of Commons.'' To put a stop to the complaints of perse- 
cution in the courts and to go on record against anything 
of the kind, the legislature passed an amnesty act, applying 
to both Union and Confederate soldiers. This act was 
soon put into effect.* 

A commission at Washington was authorized for the 
purpose of looking after state claims, or anything that 
might seem necessary to the governor. Accordingly Gov- 
ernor Worth appointed as the commission Nathaniel Boy- 
den, Bedford Brown, P. H. Winston, J. M. Leach, A. S. 
Merrimon, and Lewis Hanes. John A. Gilmer, Thomas 
Rufifin, and D. L. Swain were also offered appointments, but 
declined. The commission went to Washington and, for 
part of the time, in company with Governor Worth, inves- 
tigated the condition of affairs. At first hopeful, they finally 

' Journal, p. 215. 
^ Standard, Dec. 19, 1866. 
* Journal and debates, Dec. 18, 1866. 
■State V. Blalock, 61 N. C, 242. 


saw what would be the end of the struggle with Congress,, 
and, after conferring with Governor Orr, of South Caro- 
lina, ex-Governor Parsons, of Alabama, Governor Marvin, 
of Florida, Judge J. T. James, of Arkansas, and some of 
the members of Congress, suggested a plan of compromise. 
This was an amendment to the Constitution of the United 
States, designed to replace the Howard Amendment. It 
added a section declaring the Union perpetual, dropped the 
section imposing disabilities, and, while retaining the con- 
nection of apportionment of representation and suffrage, 
limited the power of the States to impose property and in- 
telligence qualifications. A part of the compromise plan 
was an amendment to the state constitution. This extended 
the franchise in accordance with the other amendment.^ 

The scheme was received with no enthusiasm and, after 
being introduced in the legislature, as a substitute for a reso- 
lution proposing a national convention, was withdrawn. 
It would, however, in all probability, have been passed, but 
for the feeling that further humiliation would be required 
and that it was useless to attempt to do anything but save 
self-respect.^ A bill calling a convention of the people was 
then passed, but without the required majority.^ The reso- 
lution proposing a national convention also passed both 
houses, only the extreme radicals voting against it. The 
proceedings of the session were marked by extreme bitter- 
ness, the debates being stormy, with evidence of the most 
intense party feeling. The radical element, while in a 
minority, was strong enough to give trouble to the conser- 
vatives. But all their efforts failed to produce any action 
approving the plans of Congress. 

' The details of this plan are discussed in the American Historical 
Review of October, 1913. 
' Governor Worth to Governor Orr, Feb. 27, 1867. 
* Journal, pp. 387-93 ; March i, 1867. 


In the meantime, the various changes in position of the 
" straitest sect " or " Loyal Union " party, as they now 
called themselves, had finally brought them all to the ex- 
treme position of the Northern radicals. On December 
26, 1866, Holden wrote the Albany Evening Journal, taking 
strong ground for negro suffrage and saying, in conclusion, 
" The rebel leaders, who are controlling these States, are 
totally regardless of political duty, and totally bent on mis- 
chief. You must govern them, or they will at last again 
govern you." ^ And on January i, 1867, at a meeting of 
the negroes in the African church in Raleigh, he declared 
himself in favor of unqualified negro suffrage, and intro- 
duced a resolution requesting Congress to reorganize the 
state government on the basis of " loyal white and black 
suffrage." ^ For the future, or as long as he was in politi- 
cal life,^ he promoted negro suffrage as violently as he had 
opposed it in the past. He at once commenced the 
preparation of petitions to Congress praying that negro suf- 
frage might be established, and circulated them among both 
black and white. 

Beginning now, with the new year, there followed a cam- 
paign based, as similar ones before, on the supposed alarm- 
ing conditions in the State. The life and property of all 
Union men were declared to be in extreme danger, unless 
Congress should interfere at once in their behalf. Those 
conducting the campaign hinted at severe measures, and 
Holden said that he regretted that the property of about five 
hundred persons in each State had not been confiscated, 
and that eight or ten of the leaders in each State had not 
been executed.* Later he said that confiscation was a posr 

^ Quoted in the Wilmington loiirnal, Jan. 7, 18^7. 
' Sentinel, Jan. 3, 1867. Standard, Jan. 9, 1867. 

* In later years he changed his opinion again. 

* Standard, Jan. 9, 1867. 


sibility, and even a probability. Already many of his fol- 
lowers were demanding it in the hope that they would profit 

The whole State was excited and uneasy. Doubt as to 
the outcome of the struggle between the President and Con- 
gress had almost entirely disappeared, and the only ques- 
tion was how far Congress would go in the destruction of 
the institutions of the Southern States. In the west, A. H. 
Jones was leading in an effort to secure from Congress the 
division of the State, so that the Union men of that section 
could protect themselves from the " rebels " of the east. In 
this turmoil and excitement, the news came of the passage 
of the Reconstruction Act and the establishment of the mili- 
tary government. 


Before taking up the consequences of these extreme 
measures, it is important to trace the general course of 
economic and social transformation during the period of 
the presidential regime. 

Secretary Seward, in his letter notifying Governor Hol- 
den of his appointment, stated that his salary and the other 
expenses of the provisional government would be paid out 
of the contingent fund of the War Department. This was 
due to the fact that the provisional government was depend- 
ent on the military power of the President. It was well for 
the State that it was so, for financial conditions were de- 
plorable and the people were at the time unable to bear a 
tax that would pay the running expenses of the state gov- 
ernment. The expenses of the convention were, of course, 
met by the State. Immediately before the close of hos- 

1 Standard, Jan. 16, 1867. The previous autumn Holden said con- 
fiscation would be the result of a failure to ratify the Fourteenth 


tilities the State owned a very large quantity of cotton and 
rosin. Secretary Seward, on July 8, informed Governor 
Holden that the State could take possession of this property 
and use it for the necessary expenses of government. But 
a large part of it had been taken by the troops after the 
close of hostilities and turned over to the agent of the Treas- 
ury Department, and Secretary McCuUoch had directed 
that it should be shipped North. But after he had been 
informed of the financial condition of the State, he con- 
sented that the " ungathered debris " might be collected and 
used by the State, and he accordingly directed his agents 
not to be too inquisitorial in their work.^ 

Jonathan Worth took charge of its collection and found 
a considerable amount. The rosin was particularly valuable, 
for it was still in beds and untouched. Comparatively little 
cotton was secured, for most of what was left by the gov- 
ernment agents was stolen by individuals from the State or 
from the North. Redress was impossible for lack of testi- 
mony against the persons suspected. The records of col- 
lection have been lost, but the sale of the rosin and cotton 
so gathered brought about $150,000. Of this amount, after 
the expenses of the convention and many other demands 
upon the State had been paid, there remained $40,000. 

Even after collection, losses were frequent. An agent 
was sent to Georgia to collect state cotton, and at great ex- 
pense got together seventy bales. It was hauled to the depot 
and while awaiting shipment, it was seized by a Treasury 
agent, and the Department declined to return it. Elsewhere 
in Georgia, 421 bales were seized by the government with 
the same result.^ And when property was safely in the 

1 House Reports, 40 Cong., i sess. McCulloch's testimony in im- 
peachment investigation. 

' The United States later refunded the price of these two lots 
amounting to nearly $50,000. House Reports, no. 7, 45 Cong., 3 sess. 


possession of the State, a close watch was necessary. Soon 
after Governor Worth went into office, he discovered that 
Dr. Sloan, who had succeeded him as provisional treasurer, 
had instructed the firm of Swepson, Mendenhall & Co., of 
New York, who were selling the state cotton, to sell all on 
hand to A. J. Jones, a member of the state Senate, for 33 
cents per pound. The market price on the day the instruc- 
tions were given was 47/4 cents. No money passed at the 
transaction, for the cotton was at once sold at the market 
price and the net amount of $2,224.44 paid to Jones. Gov- 
ernor Worth investigated the matter at once and Jones re- 
funded the amount, declaring that he had decided to do so 
before the investigation was commenced.^ The State also 
owned property of considerable value in England, but from 
various causes, including fraud, nothing was ever realized 
from it. 

Every bank in the State, after the repudiation of the war 
debt, was forced into liquidation. The Bank of North 
Carolina, the most important in the State, compromised 
with its creditors at about 36 per cent. The Bank of Cape 
Fear paid only 25 per cent. Later some of the creditors, 
who had refused to compromise, recovered the full value of 
their notes. All the banks were in better condition than 
might have been expected, but the tax on notes prevented 
any attempt at reorganization from being made. Owing to 
the lack of capital, new banks came very slowly. Three na- 
tional banks, at Charlotte, Raleigh, and Fayetteville, were 
established during the period of Presidential Reconstruction. 

All these things had their effect upon the condition of the 
people at large. This was already serious enough. The 
country, wherever it had been touched by the invading 

1 Legislative Docs., 1865-66, no, 13. A. J. Jones later became notori- 
ous as one of the most unblushing of the thieves that infested the 
State during Reconstruction. 


armies, was stripped of everything of value that could be 
carried away and had attracted the notice of the soldiers. 
This was particularly the case along the line of Sherman's 
march. Horses and cattle had been taken away and some 
killed from pure wantonness.^ A considerable shrinkage 
is noticeable in the number in the State as compared with 
i860. The following table gives the figures: ^ 

i860. 1866. 1868. 

No. of horses 150,661 99,436 98,441 

No. of mules 51,388 32,560 32,885 

No. of milch cattle 228,623 203,555 205,590 

No. of oxen, etc 465,187 292,921 287,062 

No. of sheep 546,749 339,259 325,684 

No. of swine 883,214 1,160,816 975,085 

Value live stock $31,130,805 $22,946,758 $20,052,456 

The decrease in numbers and value shown in 1868, when 
the report was more accurate, forces the conclusion that the 
figures for 1866 were the result of an over-estimate. 

The troops in their march through the State left worn- 
out horses and took good ones wherever found. The worn- 
out stock had scarcely become of value to those holding it, 
when orders were issued by the quartermaster general for 
its collection and sale.^ Numerous protests were at once 
made. In December, 1865, Secretary McCulloch had or- 
dered that such horses and mules should not be taken, but 
this latter order superseded that, and all horses that were 
branded with either the United States or Confederate marks 
were seized. The best terms obtainable were that where- 
ever possible they should be sold in the counties where they 
were taken. Great hardship was produced by this seizure 

' Last Ninety Days of the War, p. 43. 

' These estimates are gathered from the reports of the Department 
of Agriculture. 
^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 11. 


of stock, particularly as, at the time, the direct tax of 1861 
was being collected, and the people had been drained of all 
ready money. The total amount of the tax collected before 
July, 1866, when an act was passed suspending further col- 
lection for two years, was $394,847.63. The quota of the 
State was $576,194.66.' 

Beginning in 1862, the United States levied a heavy tax 
on cotton which rose as high as two and one-half cents a 
pound. This was collected from the seceded States at the 
close of the war, North Carolina paying for this tax $1,- 

Crops in large areas had been destroyed by the horses 
which had been turned out to rest and fatten. Fences were 
gone and often stables and other farm buildings, and even, 
in some cases, the dwellings, were destroyed. The last case, 
however, was the exception. Vehicles of every description 
had almost disappeared. The path of the main army 
was comparatively limited, but foraging parties, during 
and immediately after the war, penetrated to almost every 
portion of the State. The treasury agents followed, and by 
June, 1865, had collected, abandoned, or captured private 
property which sold for nearly $80,000. During the re- 
mainder of the year, $14,000 was added.' The total re- 
ceipts for captured cotton amounted to $428,071.31. 

To alleviate the distress which followed inevitably from 
the conditions outlined, a great deal was done by the Union 
army and the Freedmen's Bureau. Rations were issued to 
the white people as well as to the negroes, and in this way 
many families were literally kept from starvation. Large 
sums of money were received from the North in 1866 and 

' Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1866, p. 62. 

' Ibid., 1865. By January, 1865, property, excluding cotton, worth 
$201,164.42 had been seized. 


1867, and grain and provisions as well. Fortunately the 
crops in 1865, which had been planted before the end of the 
war, were unusually good. The fruit crop, particularly, 
was immense. The crops of the next two years were poor. 
In fact, in 1867, the cotton crop was a complete failure and 
the food crops much smaller than in the preceding year. 
The estimated value of the corn, wheat, rye, oats, barley, 
buckwheat, potatoes, tobacco, and hay in the State in 1866 
was $45,551,450. The next year it was $38,332,716. 

The large loss in the male population consequent upon 
the war, and the great number of disabled, naturally ac- 
counted for a falling off in production. But when, in addi- 
tion, it is considered that the status of the chief laboring 
class had been entirely changed, and that the majority of 
that class were making their freedom evident to themselves 
by abstaining as much as possible from labor, it is not won- 
derful that, apart from bad seasons, the crops should have 
been poor. The whole matter of labor was very much un- 
settled from the nature of the great changes that had taken 
place, and the disturbance was increased by the constant 
interference of the Freedmen's Bureau in the contracts and 
arrangements made, as well as by its general influence in 
creating dissatisfaction among the negroes. 

The actual conditions regarding labor are very difficult 
to ascertain, owing to the chaotic situation in the State. In 
1865, it was difficult in North Carolina, and indeed all over 
the South, to obtain laborers, on account of the belief held 
by the negroes that land would be given them by the United 
States Government.^ However, when Christmas passed 
and the new year began without any gifts, this belief was 
largely abandoned and necessity compelled those who were 

' General Grant thought this belief had been started by the Bureau 
agents. See his report to the President in 1865. 


waiting for " forty acres and a mule " to find employment/ 
The contracts made in 1S65 were very vague, but the dis- 
position of the land owners to treat their employees fairly 
led to a gradual increase in the number made. But long- 
time contracts were discouraged by the Bureau agents and 
were unpopular on account of the suspicion the negroes felt 
at their condition and, in many instances, on account of dis- 
trust of their former owners. Indeed, in very many cases, 
the negroes left their old masters and hired themselves to 
others, at times on plantations immediately adjoining. This 
was in part due to a desire to have some visible evidence of 

The contract system, in general, worked badly on account 
of the tendency of the negroes to stop work, often when 
they v.'ere most needed. Many farmers found it more pro- 
fitable to hire only for a short period and pay wages. The 
average rate was about $10 per month for men and $6 for 
women. The tendency of wages during the period was 
dovi'nward, and in 1867 the average was lower." The ma- 
jority of the people, however, had no ready money to pay 
wages, and the system of working " on shares," in spite of 
its many disadvantages, of necessity, resulted. The usual 
plan was for the farmer to furnish the stock, feed, and im- 
plements and the tenant to furnish the labor. The crop was 
divided between them, the proportion each received varying 
according to the nature of the crop and the section of the 
State. The share the tenant received varied from one- 
fourth to one-half. As examples of the working of the 
system, the following seem fair : 

' Report of Asst, Commissioner, Sen. Ex. Docs., no. 27, p. 17, 39 
Cong., I sess. 

- Report, Dept. of Agriculture, 1867, Report, Frcedmcn's Bureau, 
1866. Sen. Ex. Docs., no. 6, p. 104. 39 Cong., 2 sess. 


In Stanly County, a farmer in i860 had kept six male 
hands, two women, and several children on a plantation of 
160 acres. With the help of six horses, he made an average 
crop of twenty bales of cotton, 150 barrels of corn, 50 
bushels of rye, besides roots, hay, and garden vegetables. 
In 1866, he divided his farm into three lots, the land being 
of the same quality in each. The first he put in charge of 
the most intelligent of his former slaves with his wife and 
four children, old enough to work. The owner supplied 
two mules, feed, and all the tools required. Apart from 
the expenses of his family, there was no charge on the ten- 
ant. The second lot v/as given to two good married hands 
and supplied as the first. The third was given to the son 
of the owner, who hired a colored man for a share of the 
crop. The rent in each case was one-half the crop. Each 
tenant was left to his own judgment in the choice of the 
crop to be planted. The result was that the crops produced 
by the freedmen were small, less than 40 barrels of corn, 
60 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of oats, and four bales of 
cotton between them. They had gone so far into debt for 
provisions that only a little corn and wheat was left as their 
share, with no money to begin another crop. The owner's 
son made as much as both the freedmen together and his 
crop was regarded as below the average. But another side 
is seen in another case in the same county. Two families 
of colored people, composed of six men, two women, and 
four children, undertook to plant a farm of 125 acres. In 
spite of the bad season, they raised 100 barrels of corn, 200 
bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of oats, 25 bushels of peas, 
75 bushels of potatoes, and about 4,000 pounds of ginned 
cotton. The value of the crop was $1,800, and they received 
a half.^ It is safe to say, however, that the efforts of the 

' Report of Dept. of Agriculture, 1867. 


freedmen, unless under white direction, for the most part 
resulted in failure and disaster. In consequence of the war 
and these conditions, real estate between i860 and 1867 
had greatly decreased in value. ^ 

Just as the repudiation of the war debt wrecked the 
banks, it destroyed many private fortunes and reduced thou- 
sands from comfort to extreme poverty. Business was at a 
standstill for lack of money, and the people were utterly un- 
able to meet their obligations. A complicated " stay law " 
was passed by the convention of 1866.^ This did not go far 
enough, and the legislature passed another, which was de- 
clared unconstitutional by the courts.^ As regards the debts 
due by individuals to creditors in the North, some had been 
collected under the Confederate sequestration act. When 
the creditors entered their claims, the debtors pleaded their 
forced payments to the Confederacy as a release. The 
question was argued before the United States Circuit Court 
in session at Raleigh, and Chief Justice Chase held that the 
payment was no discharge of the debt.* War contracts also 
caused dispute, but the Supreme Court of the State held 
that they were valid.'' 

To promote a general economic improvement, efforts 
were made to induce immigration from the Northern States. 
In the fall of 1865, hostile feeling was fast dying out and 
the people seemed genuinely anxious for Northern people 
to come into the State. But when it looked most favorable 
for an influx of new population, the campaign of misrepre- 

' Report Department of Agriculture, 1867. 

' Ordinances, 1866, p. 31. 

' This was a decision in the Superior Court. It never reached the 
Supreme Court. 

* Shortridge v. Macon, I Abbot U. S., 58. 

^ Phillips V. Hooker, 62 N. C, 193. 


sentation for political purposes began, and deterred many 
from coming. Probably the great cause of their failure to 
come was the presence of the negro. The experience of 
those who did come was not such as to strengthen them in 
the belief that they could profitably engage in agriculture 
with the existing conditions of -labor. Whatever was the 
cause, too few came to have any appreciable effect as agents 
in the economic rehabilitation of the State. Few as they 
were, however, their political influence, in the period which 
followed, was great enough to delay improvement for many 


At the beginning of the war there were about 890 miles 
of railroad in the State. During the war the construction 
of a military road from Greensboro to Danville added about 
50 miles to this. The most important of the systems in 
operation were the North Carolina, Raleigh and Gaston, the 
Atlantic and North Carolina, and the Wilmington and Wel- 
don. The State owned a large interest in each of the three 
first mentioned. All these roads were seized by the United 
States army and used as military lines. Largely to this is 
due the fact that the roads were in condition for immediate 
operation at the close of hostilities; for during this period 
of military occupation, an extensive work of repair and im- 
provement was kept up on all the roads. They were all 
under the control of the Department of Military Railroads, 
which had been created for the management and operation 
of the captured roads in the South. Some idea of what was 
done in North Carolina can be gathered from the following 
tables : ' 

1 Off. Rec, no. 126, p. g68. 



Atlantic and North Carolina, 
Wilmington and W^ldon, 
North Carolina, 
Raleigh and Gaston, 

Morehead City 

HiUsboro, '■ 
Cedar Creek, 


in Miles. 






Atlantic and North Carolina. 
Wilmington and Weldon, 
North Carolina, 
Raleigh and Gaston, 


Track Laid. 





• IS 


Bridges Built. 

Linear Feet. 






Cost of bridges, 
track and main- 
tenance of way. 


Other expenses for labor, rolling stock, and the like, 
brought the amount expended during the period tO' $2,596,- 
660.05, ^ small amount compared to that spent in some of 
the other military departments. 

In spite of this, the condition of the roads was not good, 
for the rebuilt bridges and track were only temporary. The 
North Carolina road had well-equipped shops and was prob- 
ably in better condition than any of the others. It suffered 
less damage from the two armies and also received less in 
the wa)^ of repairs. The road ran from Goldsboro to Char- 
lotte, a distance of 228 miles. At the close of the war it had 
twenty-one engines, all in good condition, and had lost only 
one since i860, but the rest of its rolling stock had become 
scanty in amount and poor in condition. Four engines had 
been bought from the Confederate government, but the 
Baltimore and Ohio road claimed them and the engines 

^ The road from Raleigh to Hillsboro, forty miles in length, was 
restored at once, leaving forty-nine miles under military control, the 
portion from Kil!sboro to Charlotte never having been seized. 


were delivered to it by the United States. The road-bed 
was in fair condition, but seven bridges had been lost by lire 
in 1865, two having been burned by incendiaries, three by 
the Confederate, and two by the Union army. The ware- 
houses, tanks, and stations at Salisbury and High Point 
were burned by Stoneman, the station and warehouses at 
Raleigh by retreating Confederate soldiers the day Sherman 
occupied the town, and the warehouse at Goldsboro acci- 
dentally by Union soldiers. The estimated cost of repairing 
this damage was $75,000. 

The road was restored to the company in October. Re- 
organization had already taken place under the provisional 
government. The financial condition of the company was 
at first thought to be very good, but investigation showed 
that this was an error. The Confederacy had owed the 
road $1,379,941, of which $600,000 had been paid in old 
metal — brass and iron — and a further reduction had been 
made by the transfer of a part interest in the Navy Depart- 
ment's machine shops at Charlotte. The State also owed 
the road a large debt, which could be met by repaying the 
dividends received from the state's interest in the road. 
From securities of a nominal value of $351,535, only $14,- 
324 could be realized. It owed, in addition to its current ac- 
counts and capital stock, about $350,000. 

Great dependence was put by this road in a large amount 
of cotton, over eight hundred bales, which had been pur- 
chased in 1863 and stored in South Carolina. In 1866, a 
committee of investigation reported that a large part of it 
had been lost or stolen. The same committee, after look- 
ing into the management of the sinking fund, reported a 
case of fraud practiced there, resulting in great loss to the 
road. In July, 1864, the road had $58,000 in North Caro- 
lina ante-war bonds, " old sixes " as they were called. In 
the latter part of the year, George W. Swepson, now en- 


tering upon the financial operations which during the next 
few years were to do so much towards the financial ruin of 
the State, contracted to exchange new state bonds for the 
old, at the rate of two for one, to the amount of $25,'000. 
Later he contracted for the remainder at the same rate. On 
January 12, 1865, the directors ordered that no more of the 
old bonds should be disposed of, except for the bonds of 
the corporation. Notwithstanding the fact that Swepson 
had not attempted in any way to carry out his part of the 
contract, which was verbal, the commissioners of the sink- 
ing fund allowed him to deliver the new bonds after Gen- 
eral Johnston's surrender had made them practically worth- 
less. He bought them by this exchange at three per cent of 
their face value. ^ 

The United States, after March, 1862, controlled half 
of the Atlantic and North Carolina road, including its shops 
and ofiices at New Bern. After April, 1865, the whole road 
was thus controlled. After the corporation was reorganized 
in the summer of 1865, the president, Charles R. Thomas, 
applied for the restoration of the road, at the same time 
presenting a bill for $319,500 for its use, and serving notice 
that after September 15, $50,000 per month would be 
charged. But as more than $175,000 had been spent for 
material and labor, the government refused to pay anything. 
The road was not surrendered until the immense stores at 
Morehead and Beaufort had been moved over it. This 
work was completed in October and the road was then de- 
livered to the corporation. At the same time it bought roll- 
ing stock and materials from the government amounting ta 
over $50,000 in value. 

The Wilmington and Weldon road was restored in Au- 

1 Report of the legislative committee on N. C. R. R. Report of 
N. C. R. R. for 1867. The information regarding the railroads not 
otherwise annotated, is from their annual reports. 


:gust. Property to the amount of $50,000 was bought from 
the government. 

The Raleigh and Gaston road was restored early in May. 
Its finances were in better condition, probably, than those 
of any other road in the State. 

The Western North Carolina Railroad was never con- 
trolled and operated by the military forces, but it suffered 
from raiders, so far as track and equipment were concerned. 
The greatest loss it sustained was at Salisbury, where all the 
buildings and shops had been destroyed by Stoneman. The 
road was unfinished and steps were at once taken to con- 
tinue the work of construction westward. Bonds were is- 
sued by the State in 1866 to the amount of $500, 000 for 
the benefit of the road, and stock was taken in payment. 
This was insufficient and the State was again appealed to. 
This, however, belongs to a later period. 

All the roads suffered in 1866 and 1867 from the impov- 
erished condition of the people. The poor crops made the 
freight traffic very light. This was only temporary, and the 
recovery of the roads was steady for some years. It was 
interrupted by events in the State in the period which now 
followed. The connection of the roads with politics was a 
great disadvantage as every change of administration 
brought a change of the officers, the State controlling a ma- 
jority of stock in several of the most important of the roads. 

Closely connected with the railroads was the matter of 
the mails. The United States mail service ceased in North 
Carolina in May, 1861. Many of the persons employed by 
the Post-office Department entered that of the Confederacy. 
Most of the funds belonging to the government were turned 
over to the Confederacy. The total amount was $37,- 
770.42.^ The larger part of this was collected when the war 

' Of this $12,391.38 was due from the seven presidential offices in 
the State: Chapel Hill, Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Greensboro, New Bern, 
■Raleigh, and Wilmington. Report of the Postmaster-General, 1865. 


closed. ^ Immediately after the organization of the pro- 
visional government, the Postmaster General, in obedience 
to the directions of the President's proclamation of May 29, 
notified Governor Holden that he was ready to reorganize 
the mail service as soon as arrangements could be made 
with the railroads. By November, fourteen routes were in 
operation, supplying the service to a large part of the State. 
But there was constant trouble with the railroads on ac- 
count of the small sum paid for transportation, and the un- 
certain and poor service of the roads made the mail facilities 
exceedingly bad. The difficulty of securing persons to fill 
the offices under the requirements of the law also delayed a 
return to good service. It was several years before an ade- 
quate system was established. 

' Report of the Postmaster General, J866. 


Military Government Under the 
Reconstruction Acts 

I. THE reconstruction ACTS 

The experiment, if it be so called, of restoration on 
the plan laid down by the President, lacked, from the 
standpoint of the individual States concerned, but one 
thing to be successful. Within these States the various 
departments of goverment, when free from outside in- 
terference, exercised their normal functions apparently 
in the manner prescribed by law and custom. But the 
relations of these States to the United States were ab- 
normal by reason of the refusal of Congress to receive 
their representatives. Recognition of the existing state 
governments by the legislative branch of the general 
government was utterly lacking. 

There were many things which, united, caused the 
existence of this condition of affairs. Congress, before 
the close of hostilities, had clearly shown and expressed 
the opinion that the matter of the reconstruction of the 
seceded States was a question the solution of which 
properly belonged to Congress. The reason of this, 
beyond jealousy for the prerogatives of the legislative 
branch of the government, encroached upon by the 
executive branch during the war, was largely the dif- 
ference which appeared between the view of the results 
of the war held by the majority of the members and that 
held by the President, particularly as related to the 



Status of the seceded States and the treatment of the 
freedmen. This difference increased after the death of 
President Lincoln and the succession of President John- 
son. A combination of sentimentalism and of solicitude 
for the future welfare of the Republican party caused the 
radical element of that party to demand that the suffrage 
should be extended to the lately emancipated slaves. 
This demand formed a basis of opposition to the Pres- 
ident. ' At first the many dififerences of opinion in the 
party and a desire to avoid an open rupture with the 
President made a policy of waiting advisable, if not act- 
ually necessary. In this period of delay a consolidation 
of opinion took place which enabled the radicals to cope 
with the President successfully when the occasion arose. 
In pursuance of this policy of delay, a resolution was 
passed providing for a joint committee of both houses 
on the condition of the States lately in insurrection. 
The committee was chosen, and to it were referred all 
matters relating to the States in question. = When, at 
the opening of Congress, the delegations from the 
Southern States presented themselves, as has been seen, 
no action vv^as taken at first, and finally a resolution, in- 
troduced by Thaddeus Stevens, was passed by both houses, 
forbidding the admission of members from any of the 
eleven Southern States until Congress should formally 
have declared such a State entitled to representation. ' 
During the period which elapsed before the reconstruc- 

' Dunning, Essays on Civil War and Reconstruction, p. 80. 

^The membership of the committee was as follows: Majority, Sen- 
ators Fessenden, Grimes, Harris, Howard, and Wilhams, and Repre- 
sentatives Stevens, Washburne, Morrill, Bingham, Conkling, Bout- 
well, and Blow. Minority, Senator Johnson, and Representatives 
Grider and Rogers. 

^This resolution passed the House February 20, 1866, and the Senate 
March 2, 1866. 


tion committee reported finally, many individual bills 
were reported by it and considered in Congress. Through 
this discussion the policy of Congress was finally outlined 
and developed. In the meantime, an investigation was 
being made by the committee of the condition of afifairs 
in the South. 

Investigations into the conditions existing in the 
Southern States had already been made. General Grant, 
with the approval of the President and the Secretary of 
War, in November, 1865, visited Virginia, the Carolinas, 
and Georgia. His report was altogether favorable to the 
President's policy, both as to conditions and to the feel- 
ing existing among the people towards the general gov- 
ernment. The two questions which had hitherto divided 
the two sections — slavery and the right of secession — he 
thought were regarded as finally settled by arms, and the 
people were ready to accept the decision in good faith. 
War had left such a condition that military occupation 
was necessary for the time to preserve order; but the 
mere presence of a military force, however small, was 
sufficient for the purpose. Colored troops should be 
entirely withdrawn, as they were provocative of trouble. 
He expressed the belief that the people were anxious to 
return to self-government in the Union, and were ready 
to do what the government required of them, provided 
it was not humilating. He criticised the administration 
of the Freedmen's Bureau, bearing witness at the same 
time to the good accomplished by it.' 

Two other commissioners, Carl Schurz, a major- 
general in the volunteer service, and Benjamin C. Tru- 
man, a civilian, also came south at different times. 
Neither of them came to North Carolina, and it is suffi- 

^Sen. Docs., no. 2, p. 106, 39 Cong., i sess. 


cient to say of their reports that Schurz was more 
gloomy regarding conditions than General Grant had 
been, and his report consequently was more to the taste 
of the radicals/ while Truman, on the other hand, found 
everything most encouraging for a perfect restoration of 
peace and order/ President Johnson sent the two for- 
mer reports to the Senate with a message reviewing the 
conditions in the South. All was without effect, for the 
message and the report of General Grant were regarded, 
as Senator Sumner expressed it, as " whitewashing," s 
and they did not contain the sort of information desired 
by the radicals. To obtain the desired indictment of the 
presidential polic}' and of the South an investigation of 
their own was made. Sub-committees of the recon- 
struction committee were appointed to take evidence 
from the different States. The sub-committee for North 
Carolina and also for Virginia, South Carolina, and 
Georgia was composed of Conkling, Howard, and Blow. 
The testimony for North Carolina, however, was all 
taken by Senator Howard. He remained in Washing- 
ton and summoned such witnesses as he desired. In 
March, William A. Graham wrote to Senator Fessenden 
and asked that, as a claimant for a seat and as a repre- 
sentative of North Carolina, he might be present at the 
investigations of the committee and be allowed to cross- 
examine the witnesses and produce evidence. Fessenden 
responded that the first two parts of the request could 
not be granted, but that the committee would be glad 
to examine any witnesses he might suggest. Graham 
was much disturbed because, so far as he could discover, 
only one witness from North Carolina had been examined 

^Sen. Doc, no. 2, pp. 1-106, 39 Cong., i sess. ''Ibid., no. 43. 

^Annual Cyclopcedia, 1866, p. 187. 


and he was not a native, but an officer of the army and 
an agent of the Freedmen's Bureau. It later appeared 
that there were several more who had been examined. 
Possibly the protest had some effect in causing the 
examination of additional witnesses. 

In all, twelve witnesses were examined by the com- 
mittee for North Carolina.' Of these only one was a 
native of the State. "^ Two had lived in the State prior 
to i860, both ministers of the gospel and agents of the 
Bureau. 3 Eight were or had been officers in the Union 
army, and of these, six were connected with the Bureau.'* 
The other witness was a newspaper editor who had 
been a war correspondent of the New York Herald until 
the capture of Wilmington. ^ Most of the testimony, as 
might be expected, painted a dark picture of conditions. 
Most of the witnesses agreed that the freedmen were 
hated by the whites, and without the protection of troops 
would again be enslaved ; that there was a secret but 
intense hostility to the United States government ; that 
without protection Northern men and all Unionists 
would be unsafe in the State ; * and that Northern people 

'The testimony will be found in House Report no. 30, part 2, 39 
Cong., I sess. 

* Bedford Brown. 

'Rev. James Sinclair and Rev. Hope Bain. The former had been a 
lieutenant-colonel in the Confederate service, but on account of dis- 
graceful conduct at the battle of New Bern was dropped by his regi- 
ment at re-organization in 1862. He informed the committee that he 
had given up his commission because he would not take part agairtst 
the United States. 

* Lieut. G. O. Sanderson, Col. E. Whittlesey, Capt. H. A. Cooke, 
Col. D. A. Clapp, Col. J. A. Campbell, Col. W. H. H. Beadle, Maj. 
H. C. Lawrence, and J. W. Alvord. 

^Thomas M. Cook. 

°Col. Whittlesey and Maj. Lawrence dissented from this and stated 
that there was no danger of violence. 


were disliked, and as a rule not received socially. What 
value this latter fact, true as it undoubtedl}' was, had as 
evidence regarding political conditions would be hard 
to say. One witness complained that no approach to 
equality was allowed the freedmen ; ' another thought 
that every Southern man was opposed to granting the 
negroes equal rights in the courts, and that there was a 
prejudice in the courts against the holding of property 
in land by a negro. ° A majority of those questioned 
about the matter thought the people favored the repudia- 
tion of the war debt of the State, ^ and most of them 
noted, apparently with surprise, that men who had dis- 
tinguished themselves as Confederate soldiers were very 
popular with the people. Major Lawrence, formerly an 
agent of the Freedmen's Bureau and an Illinois Repub- 
lican, dissented entirely from the unfavorable testimony 
given by the other witnesses. He expressed the belief 
and ofifered proof that Northern men in the State were 
entirely safe, quoting General Abbott,'' who said, " Tell 
them (the committee) that a Northern man is just as 
safe anywhere in the State of North Carolina as he is 
anywhere in the North. I do not say that a man cannot 
come here and act so without sense and discretion that 
he will get into difificulty with the people ; he can do 
that anywhere. But a man who comes here and attends 
to his own business and does not take some pains to 
make himself odious, I think, is as safe here as anywhere 

•Testimony of G. O. Sanderson, p. 173. 

* Testimony of W. H. H. Beadle, p. 265. 

'Testimony of Sinclair, Brown, Whittlesey, Cook, and Lawrence; 
for the other view see Cooke and Campbell. 

* A Northern man who had settled in Wilmington. 


else." ' Major Lawrence thought that the people gen- 
erally had accepted the results of the war and were pre- 
pared to show it by their acts, including full protection 
to the freedmen.° 

The testimony so far has been analyzed merely to 
show its general character. It probably had no effect 
upon the opinion of the committee or upon the final 
result of their work. Nor is it likely that any such 
effect was intended. The object of the appointment of 
the committee had been, largely, to gain time while 
plans of legislation might be formed, independently of 
the result of any investigation such as was thus con- 
ducted. The mass of the testimony collected was to be 
used later as a justification and defence of the plan of 
reconstruction formulated and proposed, and also to 
secure the support of the North by means of the effect 
it would have upon the minds of the people. 

The committee made its report in June, 1866. The 
majority report declared that the seceded States at the 
close of hostilities had been in a state of complete an- 
archy, without governments or the power to frame them 
except by permission of the victors. The plan of res- 

' Testimony, p, 290. 

''Ibid., p. 289. Major Lawrence's examination was suggested to the 
committee by Hon. Reverdy Johnson at the instance of Hon. Robert S. 
Hale, of New York. Probably his arraignment of the Freedmen's 
Bureau, an extract of which is here given, was the cause. Major Law- 
rence said, " I confess that I am tired out and half worn out with the 
annoyances of my position and need rest; and am so far from having 
any sympathy with the views that seem to prevail in Congress that I 
am unwilling to be a humble instrument in carrying them out. * * * 
I felt ashamed for myself as an American and for my government when, 
a few days ago, Judge Buxton, of the Supreme [«'c] Court of this State 
called at my office to inquire as to the extent of jurisdiction he would 
be permitted to exercise in a term he v/as about to hold." Globe, pp. 
1483-4, 39 Cong., I sess. 


toration adopted by the President was approved as a 
temporary military expedient for preserving order. The 
President's recommendation to Congress that these 
States should be admitted to representation was declared 
to have been based on incomplete evidence. When he 
made it, he had not withdrawn the military forces or 
restored the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and 
he still exercised over the people of these States military 
power and jurisdiction. Moreover, the report alleged, 
in all the seceded States, except perhaps Arkansas and 
Tennessee, the elections for state officers and members 
of Congress "had resulted almost universally in the 
defeat of candidates who had been true to the Union, 
and in the election of notorious and unpardoned rebels 
who could not take the prescribed oath and made no 
secret of their hostility to the government and people of 
the United States." 

From the evidence which it had secured, the com- 
mittee was convinced that devotion to the Confederacy 
and its leaders was still existent, and republican govern- 
ment endangered by a "spirit of oligarchy" based on 
slavery. The final opinion of the committee was that 
the States lately in rebellion had become, through war, 
disorganized communities; that Congress could not be 
expected to recognize as valid the election of representa- 
tives from these communities, nor would it be justified 
in admitting the respective communities to participation 
in government "without first providing such constitu- 
tional or other guarantees as will tend to secure the civil 
rights of all citizens of the republic ; a just apportion- 
ment of representation; protection against claims founded 
in rebellion and crime ; a temporary restoration of the 
right of suffrage to those who have not actively partici- 
pated in the efforts to destroy the Union and overthrow 


the government, and the exclusion from positions of 
public trust of at least a portion of those whose crimes 
have proved them to be enemies of the Union and un- 
worthy of public confidence."' 

The minority members of the committee presented a 
report dissenting from the conclusions drawn by the 
majority, and attacking the constitutionality of their 
theory and of the legislation proposed. 

This legislation was embodied in a resolution which, 
after modification, became the Fourteenth Amendment to 
the Constitution of the United States, " a bill providing 
that whenever this proposed amendment should become a 
part of the Constitution, and any State lately in insur- 
rection should ratify it and modify its own constitution 
in conformity therewith, its senators and representatives 

' Many statements of fact and inference in the majority report were 
conspicuously untrue so far as concerned North Carolina. For example, 
that "the elections which were held for State officers and members of 
Congress had resulted, almost universally, in the defeat of candidates 
who had been true to the Union, and in the election of notorious and 
unpardoned rebels, men who could not take the prescribed oath of office, 
and who made no secret of their hostility to the government and people 
of the United States." Again, "It appears quite clear that the anti- 
slavery amendments, both to the State and Federal Constitutions, were 
adopted with reluctance by the bodies which did adopt them." And 
again: "The witnesses examined as to the willingness of the people of 
the South to contribute under existing laws to the payment of the 
national debt, prove that the taxes levied by the United States will be 
paid only on compulsion and with great reluctance, while there pre- 
vails to a considerable extent, an expectation that compensation will 
be made for slaves emancipated and property destroyed during the war. " 
The first part of this last extract was without doubt true, but there was 
no basis for the latter part. 

' The chief modification was in the third section where the original 
provided that, until July 4, 1870, all persons who had voluntarily ad- 
hered to the late insurrection, giving it aid and comfort, should be 
deprived of the right to vote for members of Congress and electors for 


might be admitted, if duly qualified, after taking the re- 
quired oath ; and a bill declaring ineligible to office under 
the United States all persons in the classes excepted 
by the President's amnesty proclamation of May 29, 1865, 
except those under the thirteenth exception. ' The two 
bills never passed. 

The fate of the Fourteenth Amendment, when sub- 
mitted to the North Carolina legislature, has been no- 
ticed.'' It met with rejection in all the other Southern 
States except Tennessee. When Congress met in De- 
cember, 1866, enough of the Southern States had rejected 
the amendment to show the prevailing opinion in the 
South, and consequently the question at once arose as 
to what policy should be adopted. The uncertainty in 
regard to this became less as the remaining Southern 
States in turn rejected the amendment. Consequently, 
in February, 1867, it became a determined fact that the 
state governments, as organized by the President, should 
be superseded by others organized under military au- 
thority; that the political leaders of the Southern States 
should be disqualified from taking part in the reor- 
ganization of the governments; and that the right of 
suffrage should be extended to the negro by national 
legislation, in utter defiance of the constitutional right 
of the individual States in the matter. In pursuance 
of this determination, the act of March 2, 1867, "to 
provide for a more efficient government of the rebel 
States," was passed. It was vetoed by the President, 
but was passed over the veto on the same day. Declar- 
ing in the preamble that no legal state governments or 
adequate protection for life or property existed in the 

' This class was composed of those who owned $20,000. 
' Cf. supra, p. 187. 


ten "rebel" States,' the act provided that these States 
should be divided into five military districts, each under 
an officer of the army of not lower rank than brigadier 
general, and made subject to the military authority of the 
United States. North Carolina and South Carolina 
formed the second district. The commander of each 
district was required to protect all persons in their rights 
and to suppress insurrection, disorder, and violence. In 
the punishment of offenders, he was authorized to allow 
the civil tribunals to take jurisdiction, or if he deemed 
it necessary, to organize military commissions for the 
purpose. All interference with such tribunals by the 
state authorities was declared void and of no efifect. It 
was further provided that the people of any of the said 
States should be entitled to representation whenever 
they should have framed and ratified a constitution in 
conformity with the Constitution of the United States. 
This constitution must be framed by a convention elected 
by the male citizens of the State, regardless of race, 
color, or previous condition, with the exception of those 
disfranchised for participation in rebellion or for felony. 
Those persons on whom disabilities would be imposed 
by the proposed Fourteenth Amendment were disquali- 
fied from holding a seat in the convention and from 
voting for delegates. The constitution thus framed, and 
containing the provision that all persons whom the act 
of Congress made electors should retain the electoral 
franchise, must then be approved by Congress. When- 
ever representatives should be admitted, the portion of 
the act establishing military governments would become 
inoperative so far as concerned the State in question. 
Until the completion of this reconstruction, the existing 

' Tennessee was not included in the provisions of this act, as its rep- 
resentatives had been admitted. 


civil governments were declared provisional and liable at 
any time to modification or abolition.' 

On March 23, a supplementary act was passed. The 
original act left the whole matter of the initiation of re- 
construction very indefinite. The supplementary act 
provided that the district commanders should cause a 
registration to be made of all male citizens who could 
take a required oath as to their qualifications as electors. 
The election of delegates to a convention should then 
be held by the commanders. For the sake of giving at 
least an appearance of following the will of the people, 
the act provided that the question of holding a conven- 
tion should be submitted to them at the same time. 
Unless a majority of the registered voters took part in 
the election and a majority in favor of holding the con- 
vention resulted, no convention should be held. Pro- 
vision was made for boards of election composed only of 
those who could take the "iron-clad" oath. Finally, it 
was provided that a majority of those registered must 
take part in the voting on the ratification of the consti- 
tution in order to make it valid. ^ This act was also 
vetoed by President Johnson and promptly repassed by 
the required majorities. 

In July, Congress met again. In the meantime At- 
torney-General Stanbery had sent to the President an 
interpretation of the act, which closely restricted the 
power of the miHtary commanders. At once another 
supplementary act was passed, as an authoritative inter- 
pretation of the former acts. It gave the commanders 
full power to make any removals from office that they 
might see fit, and authorized the boards of registration 

^ Laws, 40 Cong., i sess., chap. vi. 
^Laws, 3g Cong., 2 sess., chap, cliii. 


to go behind the oath of an applicant for registration 
whenever it seemed to them necessary. District com- 
manders, the boards of registration, and all officers act- 
ing under either were relieved from the necessity of 
acting in accordance with the opinion of any civil officer 
of the United States. The executive and judicial offi- 
cers referred to in the imposition of disabilities' were 
declared to include the holders of all civil offices created 
by law for the administration of justice or for the admin- 
istration of any general law of a State. An extension of 
time for registration was authorized, and also a revision 
of the lists of registered voters before the election.' 
This act, as was now the customary thing, had to be 
passed over the President's veto. 

Such was the most important legislation enacted for 
the restoration of the South. Questions of precedent 
and of constitutional law were alike disregarded in their 
passage, and justification found for all. A discussion of 
their constitutionality, however, is not a part of this 
study. It is sufficient to say that the laws were effective. 

Within the State, as has been seen, the debates in Con- 
gress on reconstruction had caused the greatest excite- 
ment and anxiety. In January, Governor Worth ap- 
pealed to the Council of State for instructions as to the 
course he should pursue in the event of the passage of a 
reconstruction bill. He himself at that time favored re- 
sistence to such an extent as would bring the question 
before the Supreme Court of the United States. The 
Council agreed with him and authorized him to secure 
the best legal talent as counsel for the State in his at- 
tempt to bring the matter before the court. ^ Acting on 

' Constitution of the United States, Amendments, Art. XIV. 
''Laws, 40 Cong., 2 sess., chap, xxviii. 
^ Council of State Records, pp. 193-5. 


the advice of Thomas Ruffin and William A. Graham, 
Governor Worth consulted Hon. Benjamin R. Curtis, a 
former justice of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, at this time a practicing lawyer in Massachusetts. 
He agreed with Judge Ruffin that it would be practically 
impossible to get a test case before the court. Judge 
Ruffin also advised that the State should not become a 
party to any attempt of the kind.' 

Accordingly in March, after the first reconstruction 
act had gone into effect, Governor Worth asked the 
Council if he should take any steps in the matter. He 
had come to the conclusion that it was useless and im- 
possible to make any attempt without the authority from 
the General Assembly, and thought correctly that it 
would be impossible for that body to assemble. He ad- 
vised that the people should be urged to register, and, 
after sending as good men as possible to the convention, 
to ratify or reject the constitution as they saw fit. The 
Council agreed with this view and passed a resolution 
containing the suggestion just mentioned.^ With the 
governor, and in fact with all the State, they doubted the 
value of any application to the Supreme Court, feeling 
that, even were the case considered and decided in favor 
of the State, the decision would not be respected by 
Congress. Governor Worth had been in correspondence 
with several of the Southern governors, and now noti- 
fied them that North Carolina would take no part in 
their attempt to secure justice through a judicial decision. 

^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, pp. 395-400. 
'' Council of State Records, pp. 200-04. 



The first reconstruction act was declared in force in 
North Carolina by General Robinson. General Daniel E. 
Sickles, however, was assigned to the command of the 
second district, with headquarters at Columbia, South 
Carolina.^ He was not unknown in the State, for he had 
been in command of the department of which North 
Carolina formed a part, and had been rather popular 
than otherwise. Consequently his assignment was re- 
ceived with as much satisfaction as could be expected 
under the circumstances. As a matter of fact, opposi- 
tion to the enforcement of the reconstruction act was 
apparently dead. It had been violent until the passage 
of the act, and then there seemed to be a general acqui- 
escence if not agreement. But it was only resignation. 
No one can believe that anything approaching a majority 
of the white people of the State favored the destruction 
of the existing state government. But power to resist 
was lacking, and apathy succeeded protestation. The 
Sentinel expressed the feeling, saying, " In a political 
sense we suppose the integrity of the glorious old State 
of North Carolina has been blotted out of existence. 
* * * Well, so be it; we submit. The sword is a 
mighty convincer, and if such be its decision we accept 
it with all the logical consequences present and pros- 
pective." The supplementary act was really received 
with joy by the conservative element.^ This feeling was 
caused by the efifect it had upon the plans of the radicals 

' The orders and correspondence not otherwise referred to will be 
found in Sen. Ex. Docs., no. 14, Correspondence Relative to Recon- 
struction, 40 Cong., I sess. 

^This was later changed to Charleston. 

'The term "conservative" is used merely in contradistinction to 
*' radical." It had not yet become a party title. 


in the State. Immediately after the passage of the first 
reconstruction act, the "loyal" members of the legisla- 
ture, which was then in session, acting under the influ- 
ence of Holden, issued a call for a meeting of "loyal" 
citizens to devise a plan for calling a convention of the 
people. The primary meeting was held and a committee 
appointed to devise and carry out a plan for organiza- 
tion.' By comparison with what this meant, military 
government seemed to the conservatives far preferable. 

General Sickles, soon after he took command, issued 
an order declaring the civil government of the State pro- 
visional, but continuing it with directions that it should 
be obeyed. He requested the cooperation and assist- 
ance of all officers and citizens. He indicated that, in 
general, jurisdiction in criminal cases would be left to 
the civil courts. Particular cases might be referred 
by his order to military commissions.^ His idea and 
intention were, evidently, to cause as little change in the 
state government as possible. Consequently, he con- 
ferred frequently with Governor Worth, who had been 
in Washington with him before he assumed command of 
the district, and who went to Charleston in April at 
General Sickles' invitation for a consultation with him 
and with Governor Orr, of South Carolina.^ General 
Sickles frequently took his advice, particularly regarding 
the appointment of provisional officers. For convenience 
in the military government, the State was immediately 
divided into eleven military posts."* The post commanders 

' The plan included a threat of confiscation of the property of all those 
who should refuse to join in the petition for a convention. 

'' General Orders, no. i. 

^ Sickles to Grant, April i8, 1867. 

'Morganton, Salisbury, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Fayetteville, 
Goldsboro, Wilmington, Plymouth, New Bern, and Fort Macon. 


were instructed to supervise the action of the various 
civil officers, and also to give notice to headquarters of 
elections of any nature that were to be held within the 
limits of their posts, and, if necessary, suggest removals. 

In April, General Sickles, in response to a demand for 
something of the kind in South Carolina, to stay execu- 
tions for debt, issued his well-known "General Order, 
No. 10." After rehearsing the conditions which made 
action necessary, it prohibited imprisonment for debt 
unless accompanied by fraud. Judgments and executions 
on causes of action arising after December 19, i860, and 
prior to May 15, 1865, were ordered not to be enforced 
then or thereafter. On causes arising prior to that time, 
execution was stayed for twelve months. Judgments on 
actions subsequent to May 15, 1865, might be enforced. 
Proceedings for recovery of money in payment for the 
purchase of slaves were suspended. Wages for labor 
were made a lien on crops. A homestead exemption of 
$500 was provided. The requirement of bail in cases 
ex contractu was forbidden but allowed in cases ex de- 
licto. The carrying of concealed weapons was forbidden, 
and when injury resulted from a concealed weapon, it 
was to be regarded as evidence of an intent to commit 
murder. Corporal punishment for crime was forbidden. 

The order was issued with reference to conditions in 
South Carolina. Its injustice in several particulars as 
regarded North Carolina, is manifest. In ordering the 
stay of legal proceedings, the fact that North Carolina 
did not secede until May 20, 1861, instead of on De- 
cember 19, i860, was entirely ignored. It was stated at 
the time, how correctly is uncertain, that most of the 
cases in which a stay was ordered in North Carolina had 
arisen in the interval named. The interference with the 
punishment of criminals worked an injustice to the State ; 


for there was no state prison, and it was a heavy tax on 
the counties to keep criminals idle in jails, but as the 
order forbidding corporal punishment was construed by 
the military authorities to forbid the use of ball and 
chain, convicts could not be worked on the roads.' 
To remedy this condition of affairs Governor Worth and 
General Sickles later began to perfect a plan for the 
establishment of a penitentiary. General Sickles desig- 
nated as a committee to consider the plan, Governor 
Worth, Treasurer K. P. Battle, and M. L. Wiggins and 
J. C. Harper, chairmen, respectively, of the finance 
committees of the Senate and House of Commons." It 
was hoped that the legislature would be allowed to 
meet and complete the plan, but General Sickles forbade 
the session. Owing to the removal of General Sickles 
from command, the matter was left for the attention of 
the new state government. 

The order for a general registration was published in 
May and provided that it should begin in the latter part 
of July. At once the work of organizing the boards of 
registration for the one hundred and seventy registra- 
tion districts began. ^ To the great disgust of the radi- 
cals, the Standard already protesting against " any 
agency whatever by Governor Worth in the work of 
reconstruction,"'* the governor was consulted in the 
appointment of members of the boards and asked to 
recommend suitable persons from each county.^ He ac- 
cordingly sent recommendations for every county except 

'^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 542. 

^ Ibid., pp. 547, 560. 

^ McPherson, Political Manual for 1868, p. 315. 

'Issue of April 27, 1867. 

^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 441. 


Polk and Wilson.' It was necessary to find men who 
could take the oath, and, as very few native whites could 
do so, and as he wished to avoid the appointment of 
negroes, he endeavored to find as many former Union 
soldiers as possible. A few colored men were recom- 
mended by the governor, but very few applied, and he 
refused to recommend any member of the Union League." 
For the general board on rules and regulations one of 
his nominations was accepted. For the other place a 
colored minister from the North was selected by Gen- 
eral Sickles.^ General Nelson A. Miles, who commanded 
the post of Raleigh and was also assistant commissioner 
of theFreedmen's Bureau, had already issued a circular to 
the agents of the Bureau instructing them to select one 
colored and two white men from each election district 
to be registrars and inspectors of elections. He decided 
that one of the white men must be a native of the State 
and the other an army officer or Bureau agent.'' All 
preparations were made for beginning the enrolment of 
the voters, but General Sickles, thinking it best to wait 
until Congress should decide who could vote, and with 
his usual regard for the welfare of the people, wishing 
the "crop laid by" before the distractions incident to 
registration should begin,^ postponed indefinitely the 
beginning of registration. But by August i, the order 
was issued with an elaborate set of rules and regulations. 
Under these, post commanders were given power of 
supervision in their districts, and authority to preserve 

^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 421. 

'^ Ibid., p. 485. 

' H. H. Helper and G. W. Brodie were the persons in question. 

^Standard, May i, 1867. 

■''Sickles to Trumbull. Quoted in Register, July 11, 1867. 


order; provision was made for the recovery of damages 
by persons injured while attempting to vote or deprived 
of employment on account of their registration ; and 
registrars were directed, regardless of any challenge, to 
examine the right of every applicant to register. The 
lists when completed should be exposed for five days 
and then revised.' After the removal of General Sickles, 
a circular of instructions prepared by him was also pub- 
lished. = 

General Sickles failed to exercise his power of re- 
moval to any great extent. When Attorney General 
Stanbery gave a construction to the reconstruction acts 
which deprived district commp.nders of the right of re- 
moval, General Sickles at once wrote the adjutant gen- 
eral that, without the power of removing civil ofificers, it 
was "not practicable to afford adequate security to per- 
son and property." He also said, "Without military 
control I believe reconstruction would be impossible. 
Anarchy would rule — ruin to all interests would follow." 
He also informed General Grant that, up to June 17, 
1867, not more than twelve removals had been made in 
the Carolinas, and that those were for misconduct. Very 
few were made by him later. Policemen in Wilmington 
in several instances were removed, ^ and town commis- 
sioners in Wilson, Newport, and Fayetteville. The 
mayor in the last-named place was also removed. Suc- 
cessors were appointed in these instances, and also when 
the term of office of the municipal officers of New Bern 
expired ; and the realm of politics was left and trustees 
appointed for the New Bern Academy, which was par- 

' General Orders, no. 65, Sen. Docs., no. 341, p. 50, 40 Cong., 2 sess. 

''Ibid., p. 58. 

' Correspondence Relative to Reconstruction, pp. 48-80. 


tially controlled by the town.' A town election was 
suspended in Tarboro until the reconstruction acts could 
go into effect." All appointments were in accordance 
with an agreement made with Governor Worth, at the 
conference in Charleston, that no municipal elections 
should be held until after the meeting of the convention. 
All ofificers ordinarily elected by the people were to be 
appointed by the commander, and those ordinarily 
chosen by the legislature were to be appointed by the 
governor. 3 

Throughout the administration of General Sickles 
there was a marked tendency towards an exceedingly 
strict supervision from headquarters of the actions of 
civil ofificers. All officers empowered to make arrests 
were required to report to the provost marshals and to 
act under their orders.* Orders were constantly issued 
in reference to various subjects that had attracted Gen- 
eral Sickles' notice. For instance, in one order, among 
other things the distillation of grain was forbidden, very 
properly, in view of the destitution in the district ; license 
to sell liquor was confined to inns ; discrimination in 
public conveyances of any kind on account of race was 
forbidden ; any qualified voter under the reconstruction 
acts was declared eligible to hold ofifice, and the remedy 
by distress for unpaid rent was abolished. = 

Interference in the affairs of the courts was more 
general than before and had a greater effect in the State, 
probably, than the rest of the commander's official actions. 
The first instance of this was in the matter of juries. In 

' Correspondence Relative to Reconstruction, p. 79. 

■"Ibid., p. 75- 

^Annual Cficlopadia, 1867, p. 692. 

"■ General Orders, no. 34. 

5 General Orders, no. 32. 


May, General Sickles declared in "General Order, No. 
32," that all citizens who had been assessed for taxes and 
had paid them were qualified to serve as jurors, and the 
proper civil officers were ordered to revise the jury lists 
in accordance with the order. According to his inter- 
pretation, the payment of poll tax was sufificient qualifi- 
cation. ' The requisite in the State hitherto had been a 
freehold. " When Chief Justice Chase held the United 
States Circuit Court in Raleigh in June, he ordered that 
the jury list should contain " all persons, regardless of 
race or color, otherwise qualified. " This, although it 
admitted negroes, in other respects followed North Car- 
olina law and precedent. ^ Governor Worth asked Gen- 
eral Sickles to suspend his jury order until October, when 
it could be ascertained who had paid taxes. Accordingly 
the order was suspended in the North Carolina courts 
till the October terms. '' Judge Barnes in June adjourned 
Edgecombe Superior Court because negroes had not been 
summoned in accordance with General Sickles' order. ^ 
A still more important judicial action was at Martin 
Superior Court in August, when Judge Fowle rendered 
a decision that colored freeholders under the laws of 
North Carolina, without regard to military orders, were 
qualified as jurors. Their exclusion, prior to 1865, he 
held, was a natural and unavoidable result of slavery, 
and the abolition of slavery in 1865 made all negroes, 
otherwise qualified, eligible.'' 

^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 576. 

'Judge Fowle's decision in Martin Superior Court, Register, August 
30, 1867. 

■^Wilmington Journal, June 22, i§67. 

* Annual Cyclopizdia, 1867, p. 548. 

'' Wilmington Journal, June 21, 1867. 

"The decision is quoted in full in the Register, August 30, 1867. 


Interference with the action of the courts was also 
frequent. In one instance the interference was at the 
request of the governor. A conviction of burglary had, 
in accordance with state law, been followed by the impo- 
sition of the death sentence. The case was one in which 
Governor Worth wished to lessen the severity of the sen- 
tence, but under the law he had power only to pardon. 
At his request General Sickles commuted the sentence 
to ten years' imprisonment.' 

Probably the most remarkable case was that of Hen- 
derson Cooper, a freedman. He had been convicted of 
rape, on proof beyond any shadow of doubt, in March, 
1865, in Granville county, and had afterwards confessed 
his guilt. He had been sentenced to be hanged, but hav- 
ing escaped to Virginia, had gone to Washington, where 
he had been arrested and returned to the custody of the 
State in the fall of 1866. Later the sentence was about 
to be carried into effect by order of court, when General 
Sickles, at the representation of Colonel Bomford, the 
commanding officer of the post of Raleigh, declared the 
sentence null and void. Colonel Bomford was ordered 
to investigate the charges against the prisoner, and a 
court of inquiry was accordingly instituted. Neither the 
victim of the assault, the original witnesses, nor the court 
officers at his trial were summoned. The court of in- 
quiry reported, without presenting any testimony to sub- 
stantiate it, and contrary to fact, that the character of the 
prosecutrix was bad. It further stated that at the time 
the assault was committed "the woman's husband was en- 
gaged in overseeing slaves; he was at that time, in fact, 
in the rebel army." The conclusion of the court was 
that "a crime has been committed which, although not 

' Correspondence Relative to Reconstruction, p. 76. 


meriting so severe a penalty as that of death, should re- 
ceive some punishment." A military commission was 
then ordered. The State asked to have counsel present 
but was refused. The commission found the prisoner 
guilty and sentenced him to be hanged. Just at this point 
General Canby replaced General Sickles and held that the 
action of the state court and that of the military com- 
mission were alike void, and directed that the prisoner 
should be remanded to the civil authorities for trial on a 
new indictment. This was virtually an order of release, 
for the prisoner could have pleaded a former indictment 
and conviction and the judge would have been compelled 
to charge the jury to acquit." ' But while the prisoner 
was confined in Granville jail, it caught fire and he was 
burned to death. ^ It was reported at the time that he 
himself set the building on fire in an effort to escape. 
But there is strong ground for the belief that it was 
fired from outside with the object of his destruction. 

Another interesting case was in Buncombe County, 
where a freedman, after a trial which was acknowledged 
to be fair by his own counsel, was convicted of an assault. 
The sohcitor was a Republican, so it could not have 
been political persecution. The convict was bound out 
for costs, but an agent of the Freedmen's Bureau at once 
insisted upon his release, stating that "things were not 
going on right " in that part of the State as regarded the 
colored people. He was sustained by the officer com- 
manding the post, who released the prisoner by military 
force and made an entry on the court records forbidding 
further proceedings in the case.^ 

Provost courts were established at various points to 

' Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. ii, pp. 5-15. 

''Ibid., pp. 111-116. ^ Ibid., vol. i, pp. 554-7. 


have jurisdiction in small cases. The members of these 
courts were not always chosen with the care which their 
importance demanded.' These, also, in several instances 
claimed jurisdiction in matters that were before the state 

These are examples of numerous similar cases. As 
interference became more frequent, the position of the 
state judges became increasingly difficult. They were 
sworn to execute the laws of the State, and the military 
orders often conflicted with the law. Judge Merrimon, 
unwilling to hold the office under the existing conditions, 
resigned in July.° After some delay his resignation was 
accepted by the governor and a successor who could 
take the required oath was nominated. General Sickles 
then accepted the resignation and appointed the gov- 
ernor's nominee. - 

But it was not only the state courts that were liable 
to military interference, though they alone were power- 
less to resist it. In June, 1867, the first Circuit Court 
of the United States held in the South since the com- 
mencement of the war was opened in Raleigh with Chief 
Justice Chase presiding. Since the close of the war the 
justices had declined to hold court in the South on ac- 
count of military occupation with its attendant cessation 
of civil authority. Chief Justice Chase in opening the 
court, said that military authority was still exercised, but 
that it was not in its power as formerly to control judic- 
ial process, state or national, and it could " only prevent 
illegal violence to person and property and facilitate the 
restoration of every State to equal rights in the Union. 

^ For instance, the provost court at Fayetteville was composed of 
c-omparatively uneducated laborers. 
'^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, p. 324. 
'^ Alexander Little. 


This military authority does not extend in any respect to 
the courts of the United States." ' A different view from 
this was held by the military commander. Under an ex- 
ecution issued by order of the court, the marshal at- 
tempted to sell property in Wilmington to satisfy a debt 
owed to a creditor outside the State. The post com- 
mander, Colonel Frank, stopped the execution, and his 
action was sustained by General Sickles. The matter 
was then, through the Attorney-General, referred to the 
President, who sustained the marshal and consequently 
the court. General Sickles' order was suspended, so far 
as it applied to the proceedings of the federal courts, 
and this left the unusual condition of affairs that, while 
a debtor was protected from creditors within his own 
State, foreign creditors could obtain relief. General 
Sickles asked for time to explain his position and action, 
but in the meantime steps were taken by the Attorney 
General to obtain an indictment against him for violation 
of the criminal laws in obstructing the process of a 
United States court. The President closed the matter 
by acting on the advice which the Attorney-General had 
given him more than two months before, and removing 
General Sickles from command of the second district on 
August 26, and assigning General E. R. S. Canby to 
succeed him. General Sickles defended his conduct to 
General Grant and closed his letter with an expression 
of what seems to have been the opinion held generally 
by the military officers. He said: "I do firmly believe 
that Congress, intending to secure the restoration of 
these States to the Union, made all other considerations 
subsidiary to the accomplishment of this end. I do not 
believe that processes of the courts of the United States 

^Annual Cyclopezdia, 1867, p. 547. 


should override the orders Congress has empowered me 
to make for the execution of its measures." ' 

On the whole, the administration of General Sickles 
may be said to have been popular in the State so far as 
any military administration could have been so. It cer- 
tainly was so with the conservative element which op- 
posed many of his acts as unconstitutional, but was 
friendly to him on account of his evident desire for the 
betterment of economic conditions. His constant ap- 
peal to the state officers for advice was also liked by the 
people, and they appreciated his testimony in the State's 
favor, given on several occasions in public and private.'' 
He believed in general amnesty, regarding it as neces- 
sary to successful reconstruction, and favored the re- 
moval of all disabilities, as he thought that very few who 
were fit to hold office were enfranchised. ^ These same 
things made him unpopular with the radical leaders'* 
whom he ignored utterly in carrying on the process of 
reconstruction, and who consequently looked upon him 
with distrust. 

' Annual Cyclopaedia, 1867, p. 548. 

' When President Johnson visited Raleigh in the summer of 1867, 
General Sickles, in his speech, said: " Confident that it is gratifying to 
the Chief Magistrate and the Cabinet ministers present, to witness the 
admirable bearing of the people of this capital, it is mj' duty to testify 
to the President that what he has seen to-day in the capital, prevails 
everywhere over the broad surface of your noble State." — Wilmington 
Journal, June 7, 1867. 

' Letter to Senator Trumbull, July, 1867. 

* The radical convention, which met in Raleigh in September, 1867, 
passed resolutions of respect for General Sheridan, who had lately been 
removed from command of a district, but made no mention of General 



The assumption of command by General Canby brought 
no marked change from the policy of his predecessor. 
All orders of the latter were declared in force soon after 
General Canby reached South Carolina. ' In time, how- 
ever, certain modifications were made. 

The first new order issued from the military headquar- 
ters was one giving notice to all persons who, through 
absence from the State or other cause, had failed to give 
their parole, to do so within thirty days. ^ The jury order 
of General Sickles was then modified by making the 
right to vote the only qualification. ■> In other internal 
affairs there was the same interference. Authority was 
given for the suspension of the payment of taxes under 
certain conditions ; provision was made for compelling 
citizens by military authority to work the roads and build 
bridges ; ^ and, by proclamation, an official interpretation 
was given to certain laws of the State.* The refusal of 
clerks to issue marriage licenses, in cases where the 
parties were of different races, was declared a violation 
of United States law, which furnished ample remedy and 
redress to the injured parties.' "General Order No. 10" 
was modified and a change made in the date to corre- 
spond with the secession of North Carolina, May 20, 
1861, being substituted for December 19, 1860.^ 

'The orders issued during Gen. Canby's administration are to be 
found in Sen. Ex. Docs., no. 341, 40 Cong., 2 sess. Reference will 
only be made to the number of the order and the page. 

'■General Orders, no. 85, p. 60. 

^ Ibid., no. 86, p. 60. ^ Ibid., no. 89, p. 61. 

''Ibid., no. 95, p. 62. ^ Ibid., no. 134, p. 75. 

''Sentinel, April 11, 1868. A letter of General Miles, dated Novem- 
ber 10, 1867, was quoted in full. 

* General Orders, no. 164. 


The important work of registration was carried on 
under General Canby. Finally, on October 18, he de- 
clared registration completed, and issued the order for 
an election to be held November 19 and 20. The usual 
regulations for the conduct of an election were made. 
Sheriffs and other peace officers were ordered to be in 
attendance ; soldiers were forbidden to approach the 
polls except as qualified voters ; all saloons were ordered 
to be closed, and members of the boards of registration, 
who were also candidates for the convention, were for- 
bidden to serve as judges of election in their respective 
counties. The "iron-clad" oath was required, which 
excluded most native whites from service as election 

In the latter part of October, the decisions of the 
general board of rules and regulations in regard to 
grounds of challenge were revised.'' The circular shows 
the interpretation of General Canby as to disqualification 
for registration. The decision of General Sickles that, 
in case entering the service of the Confederacy or giving 
aid and comfort to its adherents had been involuntary, 
no disqualification existed, had already been published. 
Under the interpretation of General Canby the holding 
of only certain specified offices prior to the war consti- 
tuted a disqualification. Among them were the follow- 
ing: sheriff, county clerk, member of the legislature, 
justice of the peace, school commissioner, tax collector, 
constable, postmaster, and marshal. But no disqualifica- 
tion was caused by having held any of the following 
positions : deputy sheriff, deputy marshal, assistant 

' It is impossible to discover how far this rule was carried out. Accu- 
sations were made that it was disregarded. 

' Circular, p. 69. 


postmaster, clerk of the state Senate, keeper of a light- 
house, or notary public.' 

As to the question of what constituted aid to the Con- 
federacy, it was held, among other things, that invest- 
ment in Confederate bonds, collecting supplies for the 
Confederacy, making speeches in support of the war, and 
holding a mail contract or any civil or military office 
were acts that carried disqualification. But making 
charitable contributions or being a candidate for ofifice 
did not constitute aid and comfort in the disqualifying 
sense. Hiring out horses to the Confederacy was dis- 
loyalty, but hiring to Confederate soldiers was not. 

The result of the registration was as follows : ^ 

Whites 106,721 

Blacks 72,932 

Total 179.653 

Nineteen counties ^ had negro majorities, and in sev- 
eral others the white majority was less than a hundred- 
No definite idea can be formed of the number disquali- 
fied on account of disabilities imposed by the reconstruc- 
tion acts. The registration of 1868, when the disabili- 
ties did not have the effect of disfranchisement, showed 
a gain of 17,220. But many who were qualified did not 
register in 1867 and did so in 1868. ■* 

' These are only a few of the cases cited. 

' This is the revised total. The first result was, whites, 106,060; 
blacks, 71,657. 

' Bertie, Caswell, Chowan, Craven, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, 
Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Jones, Lenoir, New Hanover, Northamp- 
ton, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, and Warren had negro 

*Gen. Canby, in 1867, estimated that 11,686 whites and 493 blacks 
were disfranchised by the act of Congress. Also that in 1867, there 
were 7,791 whites and 2,796 blacks qualified who did not apply for reg- 
istration. The estimate was made without any evidence to support it 
and is utterly valueless. 


Many accusations of fraud in the registration were 
made, but there was no disturbance of any kind during 
the whole period. It is undoubtedly true that many 
negroes not of age were registered. But the difficulty 
of determining their age could not be overcome, even 
had it been desired, for in most instances they them- 
selves were as ignorant of the truth as the registrars. 
As a general thing, a negro could register upon applica- 
tion, even if previously convicted of felony. There was 
also a tendency on the part of the registrars in many 
places to deny registration to those who they knew were 
opposed to reconstruction. But it is probable, speaking 
generally, that the registration was as fair as could be 
expected under the system employed.' 

As regards the qualification of the new electorate for 
the exercise of the franchise, the primary fact naturally 
was the dense ignorance among the negroes. Many of 
them, moreover, were vicious and idle, but probably not 
in so great a proportion as during the years immediately 
following. Certainly they were not so vicious. From 
the nature of things, also, they were able to bear a very 
small part of the burdens of citizenship and paid a very 
small part of the taxes.'' 

^The above was written after discussion of the matter with partici- 
pants in the election from dififerent parts of the State, of different polit- 
ical belief, and of both races. 

'The Wilmington Journal Qsi November 17, 1867, had an interesting 
comparison of the number of negroes registered witli those listed for 
poll tax. Only 33,000 were listed as compared with 72,932 registered. 
Probably one-third of those registered were over forty-five years of age 
and, consequently, exempt from the payment of poll tax. This left 
14,771 who bore no part of the expenses of government. In Cherokee 
and Edgecombe counties, employers listed the negroes, with the result 
that Cherokee showed more listed than registered, and Edgecombe, 
after deduction of the estimated one-third exempt from the listed, 
showed the two classes equal. 


Only a small number of removals from ofifice were 
made by General Canby. But his appointments in some 
instances were criticised, and justly. For example, in 
Jones County the sheriff was removed, and a Northern 
man, who had only lately become a resident, appointed. 
No official bond was required." Seventeen magistrates 
were also displaced. In Craven and Pitt the old sheriffs 
were removed and replaced by carpet-baggers.' 

The civil courts had only a nominal authority, their 
action being subject to revision by the military authori- 
ties. In consequence. Judge Fowle resigned, being un- 
willing to enforce military orders that were contrary to 
state law. A. W. Tourgee was mentioned as his suc- 
cessor, and notwithstanding the fact that he had never 
been licensed to practice law in North Carolina, would 
have been appointed but for the opposition of Governor 
Worth. The governor recommended and secured the 
appointment of Colonel Clinton A. Cilley, who had for- 
merly been in command at Salisbury, and, as agent of 
the Freedmen's Bureau there, had won great popularity, 
and having left the army, had settled there and com- 
menced the practice of law. 3 

A direct consequence probably, of the practical over- 
throw of the civil courts, was an increase in crime of 
every sort. The latter part of 1867 showed the begin- 
ning of the lawlessness which was to culminate a few 
years later. The sudden elevation of the negroes to the 
position of voters did not have a peaceful effect on either 
race, and violence on the part of one was met v/ith 
violence by the other.-* The most common ottence was, 

^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. ii, p. 107. 

''/bid., p. 507. '^Ibid., pp. 55, 70. 

*The reports of crime were published in the Report of the Secretary 
of War for 1867, Ho. Ex. Docs., no. i, p. 350, 40 Cong., 3 sess. They 
show an appalling condition of afifairs, but as North Carolina and South 
Carolina were grouped, no separate figures for the former can be given. 


naturally, larceny. The military tribunals inflicted pun- 
ishment in a few instances, but the State was full of 
wandering negroes who could not be identified readily. 
In Orange County nine burglaries were committed 
within two weeks.' Conditions became so bad in some 
sections that General Canby authorized the formation of 
a police force composed of loyal whites and blacks in the 
ratio of registration. The mingHng of the races was not 
popular, and few counties availed themselves of the 
opportunity.'' In April, 1868, a provost court with juris- 
diction over thirty-two counties was established at 
Raleigh, and J. T. Deweese was made judge. 

The military force in the State was very small during 
the whole of 1867. In the autumn, the posts were con- 
solidated into four, with headquarters at Wilmington, 
Raleigh, Goldsboro, and Morganton.^ 

In general, conditions were worse in the State than 
during the administration of General Sickles. More dis- 
satisfaction was expressed with the military government 

' Hillsboro Recorder, March 27, 1868. 

'^Sentinel, January 27, 1868. Jones, Craven, Lenoir, and Pitt coun- 
ties had such organizations. 

' The following table shows the number of troops and where they 
were stationed for most of the time: 

Place. Companies. Officers. Men. 

Raleigh i 7 

Fayetteville i 8 80 

Salisbury i 4 77 

Wilmington 2 4 53 

New Bern i 5 140 

Charlotte i 3 74 

Morganton 2 7 188 

Fort Macon i 3 99 

Goldsboro 3 9 229 

Plymouth i 3 85 

Total 14 S3 1025 


and more was felt. The workings of the reconstruction 
acts became increasingly unpopular with a majority of 
the white people. Bitterness, too, increased, particularly 
after the opening of the campaign for the convention. 

General Canby's name became associated in the minds 
of many with the conditions which prevailed during the 
period in which he was in command, and he was per- 
sonally not so well liked as General Sickles had been. 
In part, this may have been due to the fact that he was 
of Southern birth. Another cause was the fact that he 
generally ignored the state administration, and also that 
he never came into the State from the time he assumed 
command until January, 1868.' 


As has been noted previously, ° a plan originated with 
the minority members of the legislature for calling a 
convention of the people. This was rendered unneces- 
sary by the passage by Congress of the supplementary 
reconstruction act. But the committee chosen to 
manage affairs had already called a meeting in Raleigh 
and published a list of persons they wished to attend. 
These were one hundred and forty in number and in- 
cluded the leaders of the opposition to Governor Worth 
in 1866. There were also a number of Northern radi- 
cals who had settled in the State and had shown a dis- 
position to take an active part in politics. The primary 
meeting which issued the call was presided over by 
C. L. Harris. Its germ may be found in the meeting of 
the previous September when Alfred Dockery was nomi- 
nated for governor. The meeting instructed Harris, 

^Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. ii, p. 53. 
^ Cf. supra, p. 222. 



"in the interests of harmony," to see the negroes and 
ascertain their wishes.' The determination which had 
now been reached by the extreme radicals was expressed 
by Holden in a characteristic editorial. He said on 
March 13, "The people of this State have at length 
reached a point when they must act and restore the 
State to the Union, or incur the hazards of anarchy and 
civil war. The Union people of this State especially 
have borne as much and as long as they intend to bear. 
All honest, thoughtful, decent citizens will either unite 
with them in the work of restoration or retire and 
remain quiet. Traitors must take back seats and keep 
silent. The loyal people, thanks to Congress, are now 
about to take charge of public affairs. The issue is 
Union or Disunion. He who is not for the Union de- 
serves to have his property confiscated and to suffer 
death by the law."^ A week later he threatened that if 
the " rebel " leaders took any part in opposition to re- 
construction, they would "pull down on their own heads 
that final and irrevocable ruin which they so richly de- 
serve. Is Governor Graham pardoned? Is Governor 
Vance pardoned? Congress may sweep away all par- 
dons. There are some it will sweep away." 

Although the original purpose of the convention was 
made unnecessary by the act of Congress, the call was 
continued and the meeting was held on March 27. A 
large number of delegates, white and black, were pres- 
ent, representing fifty-six counties. 

When the question of organization came up, R. P. 
Dick suggested that the meeting should proceed to the 
organization of the Republican party in North Carolina. 

' Harris had been, a short time before, probably the most determined 
opponent of the admission of negro testimony. 
2 Standard, March 13, 1867. 


This had been the well-known intention of many of the 
delegates, and excited no surprise. Daniel R. Goodloe, 
the only native North Carolinian present who had a 
record clear of any adherence to the Confederacy or to 
secession, and who had been a Republican since the 
organization of the party, opposed this on the ground 
that it would prevent the cooperation of many desirable 
persons, if a name should be adopted which had previ- 
ously been so odious to the Southern people generally, 
"and," he added, "to the great majority of your con- 
vention." B. S. Hedrick also opposed it, and suggested 
that "The Union Party" should be the name adopted. 
Both of these opposed any permanent organization at 
the time. But the sentiment of the convention was 
overwhelmingly in favor of identification with the Re- 
publican party, and the name was adopted. 

In a spectacular 'way the colored delegates were given 
a prominent place in the convention. The proceedings 
were opened with prayer by a colored minister, and 
upon organization, the president was escorted to the 
chair by a white delegate on one side and a colored del- 
egate on the other. The negroes made a great many 
speeches, but took little part in the debates. Most of 
the white speakers expressed delight at the advancement 
of the negroes to the right of suffrage. The New York 
Tribune said that the convention showed that the "loyal" 
white people were willing to "unite with the colored 
men on terms of absolute equality."' Whether this was 
true or not, it cannot be denied that such seemed to be 
the case. 

Resolutions were adopted by the convention declaring 
the full agreement of the delegates with Republican doc- 

' Quoted in Standard, April lO, 1867. 


trine, and arrangements were made for a state organi- 
zation. ' 

As was to be expected, the convention received its 
full share of abuse. Its members were given titles that 
were hardly relished by them, such as " Holdenites " and 
" Holden miscegenationists." The claim of the newly- 
organized party to a monopoly of loyalty seemed worse 
than absurd to the Conservatives, and the leaders of the 
party were all distrusted by their opponents on account 
of their former records. Nor was the name of the party 
more popular in North Carolina than in the other States. 
In this expressed dislike of the Republican party, the 
former Whigs were leaders. The Democrats, who had 
formerly been most bitterly hostile to the party, were not 
at all prominent in political affairs just now. As has 
been seen, the state administration was in the hands of 
former Whigs who had opposed secession until the call 
for troops, and some, like Jonathan Worth and Josiah 
Turner, until the passage of the secession ordinance. 
Those who had originally favored secession were in al- 
most every instance in political retirement. With most 
of them this retirement was voluntary. They were fully 
conscious of defeat and ready to accept the decision and 
final settlement of the questions involved in the late 
struggle, and they did not care at this time to take any 
active part in politics. Most of them were convinced 
that things were in general out of joint, and their most 
acute sensation was one of regret at the failure of the 
Confederate catise. To arouse them from this condition 
of mind, a change of conditions was necessary. This was 
accomplished by the enforcement of the reconstruction 
acts. In 1865 and later, the Democratic party seemed 

' Standard, April 3, 1867. 


dead forever in North Carolina, but the organization of 
the Republican party in the State under the leadership of 
W. W. Holden, R. P. Dick, and Thomas Settle, three 
former Democrats, and the first-mentioned the father of 
the secession movement in North Carolina, began its re- 

The first manifestations of feeling were directed against 
the men composing the Republican party. There was 
no organized opposition as yet, and there was no pros- 
pect of any opposition of importance to the reconstruc- 
tion acts.' Holden, naturally, was the favored object of 
attack, particularly of the Sentinel. To the attacks of this 
paper, Holden responded, " Every line of his [Pell's] 
paper containing treasonable sentiment is equal to an 
acre of land." 

The organization of the Republican party was carried 
on in every county. A feature of it was the revival of 
secret political societies. The Heroes of America and 
the Union League were largely extended in membership, 
the latter being particularly valuable to the party in the 
organization of the negroes. It, more than anything 
else, made the efforts to divide the negro vote an utter 
failure. Such an attempt was made in Raleigh by the 
calling of a colored mass meeting, at which Governor 
Worth and several other Conservatives were asked to 
speak. But apparently it made no impression upon the 
negroes. As a matter of fact there was no general dis- 

' The Sentinel of April 27, 1867, expressed very well the feeling of a 
great many: "Again we urge our readiness to unite our people upon 
the one simple platform of the Congress. We argue that only those 
shall vote in North Carolina whom the Congress says shall vote. We 
agree that only those shall hold office whom the Congress says shall 
hold office. We agree that those disabilities shall exist as long as the 
Congress says they shall, but no longer. This is the law. Is this not 
Republican? Is this not Radical enough? 


position evident among the Conservatives to form any 
alliance with the negroes. 

Another means employed to assist in organizing the 
party was a succession of visits to the State by leaders 
of the national Republican party. Senator Wilson and 
Hon. W. D. Kelley were among those who spoke at 
different places in the State. 

The failure of General Sickles to abolish the existing 
state government was, a source of constant annoyance to 
the radical leaders. Consequently, when Congress met 
in July, a committee from the State was sent to Wash- 
ington, headed by James H. Harris, who had become 
the political leader of the freedmen, to petition that the 
existing state administration might be removed, and also 
that Holden might be relieved from his disabilities.' But 
their efforts were unsuccessful. 

As the summer advanced a division in sentiment ap- 
peared among the Republicans. The radical element 
had a decided leaning towards confiscation, and were, in 
general, inclined to be proscriptive. Holden favored a 
test oath which would disfranchise many of the oppo- 
nents of the Republican party. ^ This kind 01 thing was 
persistently urged upon the colored people. Daniel R. 
Goodloe, who had begun the publication of a newspaper 
in Raleigh,^ was foremost in opposition to this policy. 
His advice was always towards moderation. He said, 
" Listen to no man who whispers the word confiscation 
in your ears or disfranchisement, or injury in any form 
to your law-abiding white neighbors." He warned them 
that the result of confiscation would be general ruin to 
black and white alike, and advised them to be suspicious 

' Philadelphia Press, July 11, 1867; Standard, July 24, 1867. 
' Standard, March 20, 1867. 
' The Utiion Register. 


of anyone leading them by promises of the kind. "Ask 
them," said he, "how long they have been champions 
of your rights. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred 
you will find that such men would have sold you to the 
sugar and cotton planters of the far South at any time 
before you were set free." ' 

The question came up more definitely at the Repub- 
lican state convention which was held in September in 
Raleigh." Over seventy counties were represented, the 
negro delegates predominating. In fact the convention 
was largely controlled by the negroes led by the North- 
ern men present. This was sho^vn by the debate on the 
election of a permanent president, General Abbott was 
nominated, and the nomination was opposed by Gen- 
eral Laffin, himself a Northern man, who stated that it 
was bad policy to put Northern men in the important 
positions. General Abbott's organization, however, was 
too strong for the opposition and he was chosen, the 
colored delegates deciding, after a consultation among 
themselves, in his favor, and, as a peace offering to the 
native whites, electing Holden chairman of the state 
executive committee. Alfred Dockery had been led to 
believe that he would be chosen to preside and had 
come prepared, but, to his great disgust, was never 
mentioned during the discussion in connection with the 
position. The resolutions passed at the March conven- 
tion were chosen as a platform. Additional resolutions 
were then introduced opposing confiscation and favoring 
unlimited suffrage and the removal of disabilities from 
all "loyal" men. The resolution regarding confiscation 

' Letter to Republican meeting, July 17, 1867. Register, July 30, 

The account of the convention is gathered from the Standard, Sep- 
tember II, 1867, and the Register, September 6, and 13, 1867. 



brought on a sharp debate. The majority of the colored 
men present ' and quite a number of the whites were too 
favorable to the idea of confiscation to go on record 
against it, and a substitute for the resolution, expressing 
willingness to abide by the action of Congress in the 
matter, was adopted. The other resolution was then 
tabled. There was evidently a strong disinclination on 
the part of those in control to advise a removal of dis- 
abilities, even of those who were acting with the Repub- 
lican party. In fact there were a number of Northerners 
present who felt that their chances of political success 
would be greatly lessened if there should be any gen- 
eral removal of disabilities. Their political ambition ex- 
plains the failure to pass any resolution for the relief of 
the " loyal." Hatred of political opponents caused great 
bitterness of expression. One delegate, ° in reply to a 
conciliatory speech made by James H. Harris, said, 
"They should be taught that treason should be made 
odious. Their children ought to be forced to say, ' My 
father was disfranchised on the ground of endeavoring 
to destroy the best government that ever the sun of high 
Heaven looked down upon.' " John T. Deweese, an 
Indiana carpet-bagger, who had had an extended career 
of disgrace in the army, made a violent attack upon the 
President for which he was dismissed from the service. 

'A. H. Galloway, a negro delegate from New Hanover, opposed con- 
fiscation, but desired owners of large estates taxed a dollar an acre, in 
order that the land might be sold by the sheriffs and an opportunity 
given the negroes to buy land. 

^ W. F. Henderson. He was indicted a few weeks later for steaUng 
a horse or mule. Goodloe, in commenting upon this, said: "A 
revolutionary period like the present is particularly favorable to that 
sort of patriotism which Dr. Johnson declared to be the resort of a 
scoundrel." Register, Oct. 11, 1867. The indictment failed, but was 
destined to serve a purpose for his opponents later. 



He was soon appointed commissioner in bankruptcy. 
He made bankruptcy so attractive, by promising that the 
United States government would collect for the bankrupt 
all bad debts, that many went into it and paid the exor- 
bitant fees which he demanded. Many then considered 
themselves discharged, only to find later that Deweese 
had appropriated the fees to his own use and that they 
had to pay them a second time. ' 

The whole tone of the members of the convention was 
proscriptive. Men like Goodloe, who desired harmony 
in the State, dissented very vigorously from the senti- 
ments expressed, and pointed out that little sympathy 
could be expected from those who had not yet joined the 
party. As a matter of fact the leaders of the party did 
not desire the former political leaders of the State to join 
the party, knowing that it would interfere with their own 
plans. Goodloe declared that the action of the conven- 
tion would utterly alienate the races from each other, 
and indicated the sentiment of the convention and its 
supporters to be " that white men had no rights which 
black men are bound to respect." ' The ratification 
meetings, which followed all over the State, emphatically 
opposed this tendency of the convention, and Holden 
saw that he and his followers had been too hasty, and 
employed a good deal of space in several issues of his 
paper in attempting to prove that there was no desire 
on his part for confiscation. ^ But he soon returned to 
his threatening attitude, and in speaking of the possibility 
of a conservative majority in the convention, he said 
that dire penalties would follow it, and closed with the 

' Sentinel, May 28, 1870. 
''■Register, October 18, 1867. 
^Standard, September 19, i?,()y, passim. 


following statement : " The man who gets in the way 
in this crisis of restoring the Union according to the 
will of the nation should not only lose the last acre of 
land he has, but he deserves death by the halter." ' Gen- 
eral Abbott, in a speech at Wilkesboro, said, " Twenty 
years from today, I would rather be a negro than a 
white man in North Carolina." 

A plan of centralized organization was adopted by the 
convention. Goodloe declared that this was intended to 
control the vote of the negroes in the interest of schem- 
ing whites — " to parcel out the offices among the Ring 
men" — and refused to acknowledge it as binding. ° He 
then called for a new organization of the party, declaring 
the other "a preposterous abortion." ^ Holden imme- 
diately " read him out " of the party and Goodloe retorted 
with considerable force, expressing a doubt as to the 
former's power in the matter. ■• Finally the executive 
committee met and passed a set of resolutions denying 
any desire for confiscation. In the meantime, an address 
to the people was prepared by John Pool, setting forth the 
conservative Republican doctrine. With this view men 
of the type of R. P. Dick and Charles R. Thomas agreed. ' 

As may be supposed, these disagreements in the new 
party were v/atched with delight by its opponents, and a 

^Standard, September 21, 1867. 

"^Register, September 13, 1867. ^ Ibid., September 24, 1867. 

* Goodloe said: "Seriously we would respectfully suggest to Mr. 
Holden the propriety of his getting inside the Republican party, before 
he attempts to read out of it men who were of it and with it when it 
was founded. If he were not a disfranchised rebel, he would be but a 
probationer of less than six months standing; and his efforts to put us 
out, who, in our humble way, assisted in organizing one of the first 
Republican organizations in the United States, may seem to some peo- 
ple immodest, not to say impudent." — Register, September 20, 1867. 

^Register, October i and 22, 1867. 


feeble, half-hearted attempt was made by some of them to 
weaken them further by dividing the negro vote. This was 
largely the work of the Sentinel, which was still in favor 
of voting for a convention. But this action was unpopular 
and the position of the Conservatives was finally taken — to 
make the fight on the question of negro suffrage, declaring 
their unqualified opposition to it and denying the constitu- 
tionality of the whole reconstruction policy of Congress. 
This decision was largely due to the advice of William A. 

A call for a state Conservative convention was issued by 
the Sentinel, and later by over one hundred citizens of AVake 
County, and in the latter part of September it met in Ral- 
eigh. The meeting did nothing beyond passing resolutions 
denoimcing the action and prescriptive tendency of the 
Republican convention. Many of the Conservatives, in- 
cluding Governor Worth, were opposed to any organiza- 
tion. The fact is, they were so utterly discouraged and dis- 
organized that it seemed impossible to reach any settled 
policy. Governor Worth had issued an address to the peo- 
ple urging them to register and vote, but no advice had been 
given as to how they should vote. Another Conservative 
meeting was called, and several prominent men were invited 
to attend and speak. William A. Graham wrote a letter to 
this meeting, in which, after expressing his unqualified op- 
position to any recognition of the right of the negroes to 
vote, he advised the Conservatives to vote against a con- 
vention.^ B. F. Moore, although denying the constitution- 
ality of the reconstruction acts, wrote the meeting that he 
would take no part in it as he favored a convention. No 
definite action was taken by the meeting on the question of 
negro sufTrage, but the position of the Conservatives was 

' Sentinel, October 16, 1867. 



settled from this time on. The Sentinel still persisted that 
it did not favor a white man's party, but in this respect its 
influence was gone. 

As will be remembered, the supplementary reconstruction 
act required that a majority of those registered had to take 
part in the election to make it valid. Despairing of a ma- 
jority of the vote cast, the Conservatives in several of the 
Southern States now devised a plan for accomplishing 
the defeat of the convention. All Conservatives were 
urged to register and vote for delegates for a convention, 
but to cast no vote on the question of holding a convention. 
But General Canby defeated this project by an order tO' the 
effect that no votes for delegates should be counted unless 
accompanied by a vote on the convention question.^ Con- 
servative , candidates were nominated in almost every 
county, but their canvass was listless. 

The election was held November 19 and 20. The result 
was as follows : 

Registered voters 179.653 

Votes cast 125,967 

For convention 93,oo6 

Against convention 32,961 

Not voting 53,686 

Only two counties. Orange and Currituck, had a majority 
opposed to a convention. The vote for a convention showed 
not only a majority of the votes cast, but also a majority 
of the registered voters. Those who failed to vote were 
for the most part white, very few of the negroes failing to 
exercise the privilege.' 


' Wilmington Journal, November 15, 1867. 

^ General Canby, by means of an estimate, proved to his own satis- 
faction that T 1, 210 registered negroes failed to vote. Apart from any 
question of the accuracy, in general, of estimates made by proportion, 
it is a known fact that the figures could not be correct. 


By the failure of the Conservative voters to exercise 
their right, the Republicans obtained an enormous majority 
in the convention. No explanation can be given of this 
failure to vote beyond the widespread feeling that it was. 
useless to resist Congress, and that, consequently, it would 
be without profit to gain a majority in the convention. 

Numerous accusations of fraud were made by the Con- 
servatives, but, as there was no hope of redress, were not 
pressed. That fraud existed is known, but to what extent is 
impossible to ascertain.^ In one instance at least, and prob- 
ably in more, a candidate for the convention was also an 
election official.^ 

The day of the election the Sentinel took the position that 
a white man's party was necessary, and with this declaration 
as a platform, the Conservatives rallied for the remainder 
of the period of Reconstruction. 

'The writer has been informed by a Republican, prominent at the 
time, that fraud was practiced generally. In Rockingham County the 
polling places were changed on the Saturday night preceding the elec- 
tion, and no public notice was given. In this way many white voters, 
were prevented from voting. — Sentinel, November 23, 1867. 

'Gen. Byron Laflin in Pitt County. 

The Convention of 1868 and its Work 

I. THE convention OF I^ 

x-^T the call of General Canby the convention met in Ral- 
€igh on January 14, 1868. The Republicans had a majority 
of ninety-four, the Conservatives having elected only thir- 
teen delegates. Of the one hundred and seven Republicans, 
at least eighteen were " carpetbaggers " and fifteen were 
negroes. Many of the " carpetbaggers," or " squatters," as 
they were called in North Carolina, had formerly been offi- 
cers in the Union army. The more prominent of them were 
General Joseph C. Abbott, a native of New Hampshire and 
formerly an editor and lawyer; Lieutenant Albion W. Tour- 
gee, a native of Ohio, a graduate of Rochester University, 
and a former officer of the 105th Ohio volunteers; General 
Byron Laflin, a native of Massachusetts, formerly colonel 
of the 34th New York Infantry, and Major H. L. Grant, 
of the 6th Connecticut volunteers,^ and a native of Rhode 
Island. Of the other carpetbaggers, David Heaton had 
been a special agent of the treasury department and had 
settled in New Bern ; S. S. Ashley was a native of Massa- 
chusetts and a minister, little else being known of his past 
history; ^ John R. French was a native of New Hampshire 

' He was a paymaster in the volunteer army in the late war with 
Spain and was for a number of years clerk of the United States court 
for the eastern district of North Carolina. 

^ The Sentinel constantly asserted that Ashley was of negro blood, 
and quoted as proof an account in the A'ew York Observer of the pro- 
ceedings of the American Missionary Association, which so classed 
liim. Sentinel, May 28, 1868. 



who had been a newspaper editor and twice a member of 
the Ohio House of Representatives. He had come to North 
Carolina as a direct tax commissioner.^ 

Of the white native North Carohnians in the convention, 
none had been previously of any prominence in the State, 
few being known at all outside their own counties. W. B. 
Rodman had been known as an able lawyer and as an earn- 
est advocate of secession. He, with Calvin J. Cowles and 
J. M. Turner, was disfranchised under the reconstruction 
acts, but the fact that they were Radicals prevented any 
action's being taken to unseat them. 

Several of the colored delegates were, comparatively 
speaking, men of considerable ability. James H. Harris 
was an orator of great power and had a fair education. 
With J. W. Hood and A. H. Galloway, he shared the lead- 
ership of the colored members.^ 

None of the Conservatives were men of political promi- 
nence. The two who at once took the most prominent part 
in the debates of the convention were Captain Plato Dur- 
ham and Major John W. Graham, both Confederate sol- 
diers and men of education.^ 

Temporary organization was effected the first day. The 
next day permanent organization was completed by the elec- 
tion of officers. Calvin J. Cowles was chosen president. 

^ The other " squatters " were Edwin Legg, W. A. Mann, D. J. Rich, 
A. W. Fisher, W. H. S. Sweet, F. F. French, J. H. Renfrew, D. D. 
Colgrove, Henry Chilson, J. W. Andrews, and Edward FuUings. 
The four first mentioned had been Union soldiers. 

' The other colored members were Wilson Carey, John Hyman, J. H. 
WiUiamson, Henry Eppes, J. J. Hays, H. C. Cherry, P. D. Robbins, 
Bryant Lee, C. D. Pierson, Cuffee Mayo, Samuel Highsmith, and 
J. W. Peterson. 

' The latter, who was a son of William A. Graham, had been, before 
the war, a tutor in the University of North Carolina. 



The fact of his disabilities was ignored at the time, but 
later in the session a committee was appointed to examine 
and make a report in regard to the validity of his signature, 
as he was not a registered voter. The committee presented 
an elaborate report, which declared that the general com- 
manding was the judge of the qualifications and election 
of members.^ The convention had already decided that 
Cowles should occupy the chair for the rest of the session, 
regardless of the finding of the committee.^ The conven- 
tion was thus inconsistent, for it summarily declared un- 
seated two Conservative members whom General Canby 
had declared elected, and neither of them was summoned 
before the committee before the resolution declaring their 
seats vacant was introduced.'' The election of Cowles caused 
general surprise in the State, as it was supposed that Gen- 
eral Abbott and Heaton both desired the position and 
that one of them would be elected. Each was ambitious, 
but probably each concluded that more reputation and in- 
fluence could be gained on the floor of the convention than 
as its presiding officer. Cowles was a sincere man of un- 
impeachable honesty, of only fair ability, and of no political 
experience. He was entirely favorable to Reconstruction 
and, accepting the carpetbaggers as leaders, was thor- 
oughly under their influence. Their support, combined with 
the fact that he was a close connection of Holden's by mar- 
riage, procured his election. 

An effort was made immediately after organization to se- 
cure the passage of a resolution declaring that the conven- 
tion would not consider any legislative proposition until a 
constitution had been adopted. This met with little ap- 

' lournal, p. 400. 
^ Journal, p. 372. 
3 These were Williams, of Sampson, and Marler. — Journal, p. 314. 


proval and was referred to a committee and there sup- 

On the third day, action was taken in regard to criticism 
of the convention by the newspapers and their derisive com- 
ments upon it. The day the convention met the Sentinel 
had voiced the sentiment of the majority of the white peo- 
ple of the State, saying, in part : 


The pillars of the Capitol should be hung in mourning to-day 
for the murdered sovereignty of North Carolina. In the hall 
where have been collected, in days gone by, the wisdom, the 
patriotism, the virtue of the State, there assembles this morn- 
ing a body convened by an order of Congress, in violation of the 
Constitution of the United States, and in utter disregard of 
the constitution of North Carolina, a body which, in no sense 
as a whole, represents the true people of the State, which has 
not been elected according to our laws nor chosen by those to 
whom those laws have committed the right of suffrage. In 
the seats which have been filled by some of the best and truest 
sons of North Carolina will be found a number of negroes, a 
still larger number of men who have no interests or sentiments 
in common with our people but who were left in our midst by 
the receding tide of war, and yet others who have proven false 
to their mother and leagued with her enemies. 

The other Conservative papers at once took up the nick- 
name " So Called " and it was used during the whole session 
whenever the convention was mentioned. In addition, the 
Sentinel, in reporting the proceedings of the body, desig- 
nated the colored members by placing " negro " after their 
names. This caused much indignation in the convention,'' 
and Abbott offered a resolution excluding from the hall of 

' J. W. Hood, a negro delegate, in protesting against the language of 
the Sentwel, said that there was not a negro in the convention. 


the convention the reporters of papers which treated the 
convention or its members with disrespect. After a heated 
debate, the resolution was passed, several of the moderate 
Republicans present voting with the Conservatives against 
it. The Conservative delegates then entered a formal pro- 
test. This was objected to and consequently was not re- 
ceived at the time. Later, however, the president decided 
to allow it to be entered upon the journal. By the resolu- 
tion it was left to the president to decide what reporters 
should be excluded. For some time no one was refused ad- 
mittance, but finally the reporter of the North Carolinian 
was expelled from the hall for the language of his report 
of the proceedings, which, he avowed, v^^as intended to be 
insulting, if it were possible.^ 

The Conservatives realized fully their utter helplessness, 
and decided to act in such a way as to make the policy of 
the Radicals stand out clearly. Throughout the entire ses- 
sion, led by Durham, Graham, and Hodnett,^ they were a 
constant source of annoyance and trouble to the Republi- 

The convention, according to precedent, had very few 
offices within its gift, and, strange to say, created compara- 

1 Journal, p. 97. The language was as follows : " The performance 
began at the usual time." The word " negro " was, also, prefixed to 
the names of the colored delegates. Throughout the rest of the 
session of the convention the paper's accounts of the proceedings were 
after the following type : 

" Manager Cowles' Museum ! 

" Wonderful Performances in Natural History! ! 

"The Cowles Museum contains Baboons, Monkeys, Mules, Tourgee, 
and other Jackasses. Also McDonald, Eppes, Congleton, Mayo, and 
' other horned cattle ' too tedious to mention," North Carolinian, Feb. 
II, 1868. 

' Philip Hodnett was elected as an independent candidate and was 
supposed to be a moderate Republican, but he soon became disgusted 
with the radicals and acted throughout with the Conservatives. 


tively few/ The most useless, probably, was that of ser- 
geant-at-arms. This was created to satisfy the claim of 
Colonel I. A. Peck, a former Union soldier, who had been 
very active in the organization of the Republican party in 
the State. A reporter was also elected to make a place for 
another faithful party-worker.^ The idea of official reports 
of the debates also appealed to some of the delegates." 

The convention, by comparison with all previous public 
assemblies in North Carolina, was exceedingly expensive 
and extravagant. The per diem of members was set at $8, 
with twenty cents mileage each way. This was a compro- 
mise between the views of General Abbott, who wished it 
to be $10, and quite a number of others who, considering 
the condition of the state finances, wished something very 
low. Attempts were made by several members at different 
times to have a limit set to the number of days for which 
remuneration should be received. Tourgee wished the per 
diem reduced to $4 after thirty days. A resolution provid- 
ing that, after March 12, no member should receive any pay, 
was characterized as discourteous.'' Every proposition of 
the kind was voted down, almost without debate. The 

' So far as can be ascertained by the writer, the following is the 
list of the employees of the convention: i reporter at $8 per day; i 
secretary at $8; i assistant secretary at $4; i engrossing clerk at $6; 
5 clerks at $4 each ; 2 doorkeepers at $2 each ; i sergeant-at-arms at 
$8; and 3 servants at $2 each. Ashley, early in the session, introduced 
a resolution providing" that the term " servitors " should be substituted 
for employees as more respectful. This was evidently designed to win 
favor with the negroes. 

' Joseph W. Holden, the junior editor of the Standard and the son 
of W. W. Holden, was chosen. He was already the reporter of the 
debates for the Standard. The reports were never published in book 

' Wilson Carey, a colored delegate, said he favored the publication 
of the debates, as he intended to "expatiate" to the convention and 
wanted his words recorded in the " archives of gravity." 

* Standard, March 3, 1868. 


compensation of the president was fixed at $12 per day, 
with the same mileage as the other members. At the close 
of the session he was directed to remain at Raleigh and 
sign warrants, receiving for his services $6 per day while so 
employed. Absence on the part of the delegates was fre- 
quent, and a resolution providing that no member should 
receive pay for the days he was absent met with prompt re- 
jection. Many members left before the end of the session, 
and, with the consent of the convention, drew their pay to 
the time of adjournment.^ 

Fraud, too, was evident in the mileage accounts. For in- 
stance, the member from Harnett County, who could not 
have lived at the most more than fifty miles from Raleigh, 
and who actually lived only about thirty miles away, 
charged mileage for 263 miles each way." J. W. Hood, a 
colored delegate from Cumberland, who lived sixt)' miles 
away, charged for the same distance. There were numerous 
cases of this kind, but the majority had no conscience in the 
matter, and although a resolution was passed directing the 
sheriffs of all the counties to publish the names, residences 
and correct mileage of all the members, it was never en- 
forced. Fraud was common in the purchase of supplies 
also. Prices far above those of the market were charged 
and paid, particularly for wood and stationery.^ 

' Journal, p. 451. 

^Auditor's Report, 1868, p. 62. Sentinel. March 28, April i, 1868. 
The Sentinel said that he had probably gone to the Cape Fear boat, 
which was further away than Raleigh, and then had come by way of 
Wilmington. Other interesting charges were made as follows : Carey, 
the delegate from Caswell, charged for one hundred and fifty miles 
each way; Eppes and Hayes of Halifax, for two hundred and twenty- 
three each way. Sentinel, March 27. 1868. 

' J. T. Deweese, a register in bankruptcy, and D. J. Pruyn, another 
carpetbagger, furnished wood at $6 per cord, when the market price 
was $4.75. The Conservatives made such an outcry at this that $1 
per cord was deducted from their next account. Journal, p. 425. 


Little regard was had for the necessity of completing 
their work. For a considerable time only one session was 
held each day. Later two were usually held. When the 
Republican state convention met in Raleigh, the convention 
met each day only for roll call, that pay might be drawn, 
and then adjourned that the members might take part in 
the proceedings of the Republican meeting. 

The question of the payment of the members and officers 
of the convention came up soon after the convention met. 
At once a loan of $10,000 was authorized, in order that 
mileage might be paid.^ An ordinance was then passed di- 
recting the state treasurer to pay the per diem of the mem- 
bers from the funds in his possession. But Treasurer 
Battle refused to recognize the convention and declined to- 
pay the members, claiming that he was under bond to use 
the funds in his hands for the purposes for which they had 
been collected, and that the convention would have no legal 
status until its work was accomplished and a new state gov- 
ernment was established. As additional ground for his 
refusal, he quoted the act of Congress of March 23, 1867, 
which directed the convention to provide for its expenses 
by levying a tax." The matter was referred to General 
Canby who replied that the treasurer was correct in his de- 
cision, but informed the convention that as soon as they 
should have levied a tax for the purpose, he would order 
the treasurer to pay the members from the funds on hand." 
A tax was accordingly levied, and the treasurer, thus pro- 
tected, cashed the warrants of the convention. The tax 

' lournal, p. 83. The Conservative press said that when it was an- 
nounced that the mileage would be paid at one of the banks in the 
city, there was such a rush for it that it was impossible to keep a 
quorum present in the convention. Sentinel, February 6, 1868. 

^ Journal, p. 80. . 

^ Journal, p. 125. 


was one-twentieth of one per cent on all real and personal 
property, and consequently bore not at all upon the leaders 
of the majority, and, in fact, very little, comparatively, upon 
the majority of the Republican party. In the meantime 
various other plans had been suggested for raising money. 
One of the carpetbaggers introduced an ordinance provid- 
ing for the negotiation of a loan of $500 for contingent 
expenses.^ This was adopted.^ A negro delegate intro- 
duced a resolution asking Congress for a loan of $3,'000,- 
000.^ Resolutions of this kind were frequent during the 
whole session. 

The expenses of the convention for per diem and mileage 
amounted to $86,356.89. Printing and stationery increased 
this by about $5,000. In the matter of expense. North 
Carolina, compared with most of the other Southern States, 
escaped very easily. But the expenses far exceeded those 
of any other convention in North Carolina.^ 

Comparatively little opportunity for corruption existed, 
but charges were introduced that bribery had been used to 
obtain certain railroad legislation ° and a committee of in- 
quiry was asked for. President Cowles appointed on the 
committee Plato Durham, who had introduced the resolu- 

^ Journal, p. 132. ^ Ibid., p. 143. ^ Ibid., p. 142. 

■* The expenses of the state conventions of North CaroHna, begin- 
ning with that of 1835, and exclusive of printing, which was of Uttle 
cost in the case of all of them, were as follows : 

Date. No. Sessions. Days. Cost. Per Diem. Mileage. 

183s I 38 $8,330.00 $1.50 sets. 

1861 4 108 56,469.02 3.00 5 " 

1865 2 43 30,514.00 4.00 10 " 

1868 I 55 86,356.89 8.00 20 " 

1875 I 31 15,596.98 400 10 " 

* The matter referred to was the endorsement by the convention of 
certain bonds of the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Railroad. 
Ordinances, p. 43. 


tion, S. S. Ashley, and James H. Harris/ who was one of 
the members at whom the resolution was aimed. The two 
first mentioned were not on speaking terms with each other 
in consequence of a difficulty they had had shortly before 
on the floor of the convention, and Durham had never 
recognized any of the colored delegates. It was evident 
that the intention of the president was to prevent any in- 
quiry from being made. The next day Harris retaliated 
by a resolution providing for an investigation as to whether 
Plato Durham, " the delegate (so called) from Cleveland," 
had not obtained his election by fraud.' Neither committee 
succeeded in discovering anything, and both were soon dis- 

Notwithstanding the fact that the main purpose, sup- 
posedly, of the convention was to frame a constitution, no 
great eagerness was manifested to begin the work. Com- 
mittees were appointed to report the various articles, but it 
was quite a long time before they reported. The carpet- 
baggers controlled the committees, capturing the chairman- 
ship of ten of the nineteen standing committees and of most 
of the special committees. They were thus given an oppor- 
tunity to put their constitutional theories into definite form. 
The result of this was that there were many differences 
from the former constitution of the State. Individually or 
collectively the carpetbaggers controlled the convention ab- 

An ordinance was early introduced providing for some 
relief to the people by means of a stay law.* After it was 
ascertained from General Canby that he would enforce 
such an ordinance by military order, one was passed pro- 
viding that civil proceedings founded on causes of action 

' Journal, pp. 171, 178. ' Ibid., p. 178. 

' Ibid., pp. 426, 473. * Ibid., p. 32. 


prior to May, 1865, should be suspended until January i, 
1869, or until the new constitution should go into effect.^ 
General Canby, at the request of the convention," made this 
ordinance operative at once.^ The debate on the ordinance 
led to a discussion of the condition of the State, and there 
was at once noticeable, in quite a number of the delegates, a 
decided sentiment in* favor of repudiating the entire state 
debt. The most earnest advocates of this were A. W. Tour- 
gee and his colleague from Guilford, G. W. Welker. This 
appeared more fully in the debate on the section of the Bill 
of Rights, guaranteeing the public debt of the State. Tour- 
gee declared that the new State of North Carolina, which 
they were constructing, was under no obligation to pay the 
debts of the old State and that it would be ruinous to do so. 
He said, " He would be a fool who would emigrate to 
North Carolina if the new State is to be saddled with the 
debts of the old." This view was not shared by the ma- 
jority, and the section was adopted. Abbott characterized 
Tourgee's doctrine as infamous, and Galloway, Harris, and 
Hood, of the colored delegates, also expressed their horror 
at his proposition.* It was suggested several times that the 
convention should forbid the collection of all private debts 
incurred in aid of " rebellion ", and as one delegate ex- 
pressed it," " give the citizens the same right as the State." ° 
Later an ordinance was passed directing the next General 
Assembly to provide for the payment in cash of the interest 
falling due after January, 1869, on the state bonds dated 
after January i, 1866. AH the coupons due at the time of 

' Ordinances, p. 45. 

' Ibid., p. 125. 

' General Orders, no. 57. Sentinel, April 16, 1868. 

* Sentinel, February 17, 1868. 

* S. W. Watts. * Sentinel, February 17, 1868. 


the passage of the ordinance were ordered to be funded in 
a new issue of bonds/ This was opposed by the Conser- 
vatives, who declared that it was for the benefit of North- 
ern men who held the bonds and that the lobbyists had 
secured its passage." 

Numbers of innovations were proposed and adopted 
through the influence of the Northern members. Their 
main argument was usually that the proposed provision was 
in some New England or other Northern constitution. 
Every effort was made to reconstruct the State on such a 
basis, and the only matter of surprise is that the resulting 
constitution was not more foreign and extreme in its char- 
acter. The main reason seems to have been the rivalry 
among the three carpetbag leaders Abbott, Heaton, and 
Tourgee. In their efforts to strengthen their respective 
positions, they yielded in many things to the natives of the 
State. But as it was, there was a very radical difference 
in the new constitution from its predecessor. 

One of the changes which was most condemned by the 
opposition, and even by many Republican lawyers in the 
convention, was the abolition of the distinction between 
actions at law and suits in equity. This has since been ac- 
knowledge to have been on the whole a wise change.^ 
Provision was also made for a commission to prepare rules 

' Ordinances, pp. 84-85. 

' There was quite a body of lobbyists, the most prominent of whom 
was General Milton S. Littlefield, a native of New York, and formerly 
colonel of a colored regiment. He was said to have been lately con- 
cerned in an extensive lumber steal in Pennsylvania and had come 
South for new and better opportunities. He became very prominent 
in 1869, both in North Carolina and Florida, from his connection 
with the bond frauds in both States. 

' It is, however, admitted that, as a result of the change, there 
has been a development of a lack of accuracy and care in the lawyers 
as compared with those under the old system. 


of procedure and practice in accordance with this change, 
and also to codify the laws. Victor C. Barringer, A. W. 
Tourgee, and W. B. Rodman were appointed as commis- 
sioners for a term of three years with salaries of $200 per 
month. ^ Tourgee had been licensed to practice law in Ohio ; 
and, largely for his benefit, an ordinance had been passed a 
short time before providing that all persons who had been 
admitted to the bar in other States could be admitted in 
North Carolina without examination, upon the production 
of evidence of a good moral character and the payment of 
the required fees." Later the judiciary committee was in- 
structed to report an ordinance which would allow all citi- 
zens of the State who were of good character to practice 
upon payment of the necessary fees.^ 

Another change in regard to the courts was even more 
criticised, and with more justice. The election of judges 
was taken from the General Assembly and put in the hands 
of the people, and the term of office was changed from life 
to eight years. The number of Superior Court judges was 
increased to twelve. This was a necessary increase, for the 
existing courts were over-crowded, and emancipation had 
largely increased the work of the courts. The Conserva- 
tives opposed the increase as a useless extravagance and as 
designed to furnish places for Republican lawyers who were 
ambitious to be on the bench. Judging from the number 
of aspirants, it is not improbable that the change was wel- 
come to many of the members of the bar. 

Naturally a question which arose early in the debate on 

' Ordinances, p. 79. For at least fifteen years after the adoption of 
the constitution, the courts were full of cases brought to secure inter- 
pretation of the instrument. 

' Ordinances, p. 109. 

' Ibid., p. 123. 


the constitution was that of political disabilities. Two 
features of the subject were considered. Regarding the 
disabilities imposed by the Fourteenth Amendment, a com- 
mittee was appointed to prepare a list of those persons 
whom the convention should recommend to Congress as 
suitable objects for relief. After a time the names of about 
six hundred persons, most if not all of whom were acting 
with the Republicans, were presented and a violent debate 
followed, Durham leading the opposition and Tourgee de- 
fending the report. The former went on record, character- 
izing it as " a fraud upon the people of North Carolina and 
so intended to be." ^ Several of the Republicans favored 
a general removal of disabilities, but the majority were 
strongly opposed to such a thing, and all efforts at amend- 
ment of the resolution introduced by the committee fail- 
ing, it was adopted.^ 

The question of the qualifications for voting and hold- 
ing office in the State then came up. The majority of a 
committee, appointed to consider the subject, reported a 
proposed article of the constitution providing for an un- 
qualified manhood suffrage.^ It also provided that all per- 
sons who denied the existence of a Supreme Being, or who 
had been convicted of a felony or of treason, should be dis- 
qualified from holding office under the state government.* 
Three minority reports were submitted. The first, signed 
by two native Republicans,"' provided for the disqualifica- 
tion for suffrage of all those who had ever attempted to 

' He also said : " The secretary may take my words down. I do not 
care for the secretary or the convention either." Journal, p. 411. 

2 Laflin, Legg, and Rice, of the " carpet bag " contingent, favored a 
general removal of all disabilities. Journal, p. 413, 

' Conviction of a felony did not operate as a disqualification for the 
* Journal, p. 232. " Candler and Congleton. 


prevent the exercise of the right of suffrage by any means, 
and of all those disqualified for holding office by the pro- 
posed Fourteenth Amendment, the removal by Congress of 
these disabilities operating to remove the disability imposed 
by the state constitution. It also provided an oath to be 
taken before registration.' The two Conservatives on the 
committee submitted the second minority report. This 
stated that the right of suffrage was not inherent, and that, 
as the great mass of the negroes were not prepared for the 
exercise of the privilege, there was no reason why it should 
be extended to them. Denying the constitutional power of 
Congress to prescribe who should vote in North Carolina, 
and declaring that the whole scheme of reconstruction was 
for the advancement of party purposes by " Africanizing " 
and " Radicalizing " the South to offset the loss of electoral 
votes elsewhere, the signers of the report recommended 
that North Carolina should refuse to alter her constitution 
under dictation by Congress — to " confide the power of 
making laws to those who have no property to protect, and 
to bestow the right to levy taxes upon those who have no 
taxes to pay." ^ The third report, submitted by a carpet- 
bagger, agreed with the majority report, except that it 
recommended that the classes debarred from holding office 
by the Fourteenth Amendm.ent should also be debarred by 
the State until the legal removal of disabilities.^ 

^ Journal, p. 234. The oath was as follows : " I do solemnly swear, 
(or affirm) that I will support and maintain the Constitution of the 
United States and the Constitution of the State of North Carolina ; 
that I will never countenance or aid in the secession of the State from 
the United States ; that I accept the political and civil equality of all 
men ; and that I will faithfully obey the laws of the United States 
and encourage others so to do. So help me God." 

' Journal, p. 235. 

3 He probably meant removal by the State ; otherwise the provision 
was useless on account of the Fourteenth Amendment. 


The debate on the question opened with a great deal of 
heat, and, with some interruptions, lasted for three weeks. 
There was no doubt of course as to negro suffrage; univer- 
sal suffrage was not so certain. There were known to be 
many who favored some limitation so far as the Conser- 
vatives were concerned ; Holden was favorable to some plan 
of this kind.^ During the debate several propositions were 
made. One delegate favored an article which would pre- 
vent those then laboring under disabilities from ever vot- 
ing;" another favored disfranchising all those who should 
vote against the constitution adopted by the convention ; ^ 
while still a third desired that power should be given the 
county boards of registration, the members of which in all 
cases should be required to take the " iron-clad " oath, tO' 
disfranchise any person who aided or used his influence for 
the Confederacy, or who had thrown any obstacles in the 
way of reconstruction.' A seemingly favorite proposition 
was one to require an oath which should express a change 
of opinion from the past and the promise of good conduct 
for the future. ° The Conservatives gave notice at the be- 

' Standard, February 3, 1868. 

' Sentinel, February 22, 1868. 

' Sentinel, February 22, 1868. This member, E. W. Jones, was prob- 
ably, the most bitter and prescriptive of all the members. 

■* Standard, January 24, 1868. 

* An oath suggested by General Abbott is a fair type of those pro- 
posed. It is as follows: "I do solemnly swear, (or afSrm) that I am 
truly and devotedly attached to the Union of all the States and opposed 
to any dissolution of the same ; that I entertain no political sympathy 
with the instigators and leaders of the rebellion, or with the enemies 
of the Union, nor approbation of their principles or purposes ; that I 
will, neither by word or act, encourage or countenance a spirit of sedi- 
tion or disaffection towards the government of the United States, or 
the laws thereof, and that I will sustain and defend the Union of these 
States and will discourage and resist all efforts to destroy or impair 
the same. So help me God." 



ginning of the debate that any imposition of disabilities as 
regarded the right of suffrage would result in the necessity 
of permanent military occupation of the State by the United 
States,^ as any government that might be established under 
such a constitution would fall the day that troops were 
withdrawn. Immediately, and apparently as a threat, the 
amnesty act which had been passed by the General Assem- 
bly in 1866 was repealed." The majority report was then 
adopted without change. 

The other chief matter of party conflict was the ciuestion 
of the division of the races. Early in the debates on the 
constitution, the Conservatives commenced to introduce 
resolutions or amendments designed to put the Republicans 
on record on the subject. The first of these was a series of 
resolutions which, after expressing the desire of the people 
of the State to be restored to constitutional relations with 
the federal government, declared that the reconstruction 
acts were unwise, unjust, and oppressive ; that the white and 
black races were distinct by nature, and efforts to abolish 
such distinctions were crimes against nature: that the gov- 
ernment had been instituted by the whites and should be 
controlled by them, and finally appealed to the masses of the 
Northern people for relief, " from the degradation now 
heaped upon them." The white Republicans were not 
ready to vote for this or against it, and consequently post- 
poned it indefinitely.^ Another attempt of the kind was 
made by the Conservatives in a proposed amendment to the 

1 See speech of John W. Graham in the Sentinel, February 25, 1868. 
He reminded the RepubHcans that the very men whose punishment they 
were then considering, had opposed a test oath in 1862. The test oath 
proposed in 1862, it will be remembered, was defeated largely through 
the efforts and eloquence of his father, William A. Graham, 

2 Ordinances, p. 68. Cf. supra, p. 127. 
' lournal, pp. 32, 35. 


report of the committee on the Executive Department pro- 
viding that no person of African descent should be ehgible 
to any executive office. One of the negro members had al- 
ready introduced an amendment to the effect that either 
the governor or lieutenant-governor should always be a 
negro/ The latter was withdrawn later," and the former, 
needless to say, was overwhelmingly defeated." A propo- 
sition made by Plato Durham * that the qualification for 
governor and lieutenant-governor should be the ability to 
read and write met with the same fate. In the case of the 
militia and public schools the convention refused to recjuire 
separation of the races." A proposed section of the Bill 
of Rights prohibiting the intermarriage of the races was 
promptly tabled," and all marriages that had taken place 
under military authority, including several cases of mar- 
riage between whites and blacks, were validated.'' But the 
same day a resolution was introduced by a colored member 
and passed, declaring it the sense of the convention that the 
intermarriage of the races should be discountenanced, and 
that separate schools should be established.* And finally, a 
proposed section, which provided that nO' white child should 
ever be apprenticed to a negro master and that no negro 
guardian should ever be appointed for a white ward, was 
also rejected." 

The constitution was finally drafted and adopted by the 
convention. The Conservatives on the final vote all voted 

' This was probably the work of some Conservative sympathizer. 

' Sentinel, January 28, 1868. 

' Journal, p. 162. * Ibid., p. 158. 

* Ibid., pp. 175, 287, 343. Graham introduced a resolution providing 
for separate commands in the militia, and also that no white man 
should ever be required to obey a negro officer. 

^Journal, p. 216. ''Ordinances, p. 86. 

* Journal, p. 473. ' Ibid., p. 483, 


against its adoption, and consequently none of them signed 

The convention, while forming a constitution, was also 
engaged in other matters. The State was divided into con- 
gressional districts, with few changes from the former divi- 
sion. This led to a sharp debate among those who had 
aspirations for seats in Congress." Fourteen divorces were 
granted by the convention, and the Conservatives were thus 
furnished with further ground for attack. Several of the 
Republican members also opposed this action of the conven- 
tion.^ A resolution was passed thanking the House of 
Representatives of the United States for the impeachment 
of President Johnson.* Just before adjournment a resolu- 
tion was passed directing the next General Assembly to 
devise some plan, if practicable, to locate every citizen upon 
a freehold." In this connection one delegate wanted a loan 
of $10,000,000 negotiated " to provide homes for the home- 
less and for agricultural purposes." " This, he declared, was 
chiefly to be used for the negroes in payment for their long 
labor without reward, their faithful service during the war, 
and their devotion to the Republican party. 

Most of the daily sessions of the convention were very 
stormy. The Conservatives were few in number, but aided 
by the press, they seemed able to provoke their opponents to 
anger at will. Nor were the relations of the Republicans 

' Durham moved that the Capitol bell be tolled while the signa- 
tures of the delegates were being affixed. 

' Sentinel, February 21, 1868. 

^ One Republican delegate, in protest, introduced an ordinance which 
provided that all men in North Carolina were thereby divorced and 
at liberty to marry again. 

* Ordinances, p. 126. 
' Ordinances, p. 129. 

• Journal, p. 119. 


among themselves always the best, and disputes arose sev- 
eral times when the chair was powerless to restore order/ 

Towards the middle of the session Holden recommended 
that the " gag law " should be strictly enforced, as regarded 
the Conservative members, by means of calling the previous 
question.^ Possibly this, along with the hope of damaging 
his political prospects, caused a Conservative member to 
introduce a resolution providing for an inquiry into Hol- 
den's complicity in the murder of President Lincoln, 
through his editorials in the Standard calculated to inspire 
an assassin." The reading of the resolution was not finished 
before objection was made to its reception, and it was re- 
turned to the member who introduced it, as was his protest, 
the next day, against the action of the convention.* 

After providing for submitting the proposed constitution 
to the people and for holding an election for state officers, 
the General Assembly, and members of Congress at the 
same time, under the direction of the military authorities, 
the convention adjourned on March 17. This adjournment 
was sine die, unless the convention should be called into 
session by the president before January i, 1869. It had 
been in session fifty-five days, and, in addition to the consti- 
tution, had adopted fifty-seven ordinances and fifty-six reso- 

After the signing of the constitution, on the day before 
adjournment, the convention took a recess, which was spent 

' Tourgee, on one occasion, engaged in an altercation with the presi- 
dent and was, at his order, arrested for disorderly conduct. He 
appealed to the convention and, by its vote, was released. 

' Standard, February 8, 1868. 

' Ibid,. June 5, 1861. " Who will plot for the heads of Abe Lincoln 
and General Scott?" Holden, in 1868, denied the authorship of the 

* Sentinel, March 5 and 6, 1868. 


in singing and horseplay. The next morning the same thing 
was done, and General Milton S. Littlefield was invited to 
address the convention and sang " John Brown," the dele- 
gates joining in the chorus. Other songs sung were "Hang 
Jeff. Davis," " Yankee Doodle," and a number of negro 
melodies. Any departure from the dignity thought worthy 
of a legislative body had been previously unknown in North 
Carolina, and the amazement and disgust it caused were in- 
creased by the choice of songs. The Sentinel the next day 
headed its account of the proceedings as follows : 


The Disgraceful Closing Scenes! Corn Field Dance and 

Ethiopian Minstrelsy ! ! Ham Radicalism 

in its Glory ! ! ! 

Amidst this came to an end the " Mongrel Convention," 
characterized by the Standard as " one of the ablest, most 
dignified and most patriotic bodies that ever assembled in 
the State." ' 


The new constitution as submitted to the people differed 
radically from the former one. Apart from the fact that 
the general plan of government was of the type of the 
American state governments, it was practically an over- 
throwing of the institutions of the State. Much that was 
utterly foreign to the customs and ideas of the people was 
introduced, and to the minds of many the best features of 
the old constitution were omitted or amended beyond recog- 

' Standard, February 21, 1868. 

' The original constitution was adopted December, 1776. It was 
amended by the convention of 1835, and the property qualification for 
voting for state senators was abolished in 1857. 


In the Bill of Rights, the original of which had been 
adopted in 1776, there was less change than in any other 
part of the fundamental law. But quite a number of pro- 
visions were inserted. The chief of these were as foUows : 
all men were declared equal; the right of secession was 
denied, and the paramount allegiance of all citizens to the 
United States was affirmed; the public debt of the State 
was declared valid, and the war debt was repudiated ; slav- 
ery was prohibited; the suspension of the writ of habeas 
corpus was forbidden; the people were declared entitled to^ 
the privilege of education;^ the legislative, executive, and 
judicial departments of government were declared forever 
separate and distinct; the freedom of the press was guar- 
anteed, as in the former Bill of Rights, but individuals 
were held responsible for abuse of this freedom; the quar- 
tering of soldiers upon citizens in time of peace was for- 
bidden; it was provided that the courts should always be 
open, and in criminal cases greater protection was guar- 
anteed defendants than in the original instrument, though 
not more than was enjoyed' under the laws of the State and 
the usage of the courts ; and finally it was declared that all 
rights and powers not delegated by the constitution should 
be retained by the people. 

In the Legislative Department greater changes were 
made. The name of the lower house of the General As- 
sembly was changed from the House of Commons to the 
House of Representatives. The property qualifications for 
members of both houses were abolished,^ and they were 

' This was provided elsewhere in the Constitution of 1776. See 
Sec. 40. 

- Previous to this, a senator had to have been possessed, for one year 
before his election, in the county from which he was elected, of 300 
acres of land in fee. A member of the Commons had to have been 
possessed, for six months before election, of 100 acres of land in fee 
or for life. 


obliged to take an oath of allegiance to the United States 
before taking their seats. Senators were required to be at 
least thirty years of age. The elective Council of State 
was abolished and replaced by one composed of the execu- 
tive officers of the State. 

In the Executive Department three new offices were 
created : lieutenant-governor, superintendent of public 
works, and auditor. The latter replaced the office of comp- 
troller which had been created by act of the General As- 
sembly.^ The election of these officers, with that of the 
other state officers, which had formerly been in the hands 
of the General Assembly, was put into the hands of the 
people. The property qualification for governor was abol- 
ished," and his term of office, together with that of the 
other state officers, was increased from two to four years. 
Only two years' previous residence in the State, instead of 
five, was rec[uired for the governor. He was given power 
to commute sentences in addition to the pardoning power. 
All nominations of the governor had to be confirmed by the 
Senate. Provision was made for a bureau of statistics, 
agriculture, and immigration. 

In the Judicial Department, the most complete change 
was made. All distinctions between actions at law and suits 
in equity and the forms of such actions were abolished. 
Only one form of action, the civil suit, could be brought in 
the State. Feigned issues were abolished, and it was pro- 
vided that the fact at issue should be tried by order of court 
before a jury. The county courts were abolished and a 
large part of their powers and duties were given to the 
clerks of the Superior Courts. The number of the Supreme 

' Revised Statutes 1854, chap. 23. 

' Previous to this a freehold in lands or tenements of $1,000 was re- 


Court justices was increased from three to five, and that of 
the Superior Court judges from eight to twelve. Their 
election and also that of the solicitors was taken from the 
General Assembly and given to the people. The term of 
office of judges was changed from life or good behavior 
and made eight years. The election of clerks, sheriffs, and 
coroners was taken from the county courts and put in the 
hands of the people. 

Regarding taxation, the constitution provided that the 
proceeds of the capitation tax should be applied to educa- 
tion and the support of the poor. Provision was made for 
the payment of the interest on the public debt and for the 
creation, after 1880, of a sinking fund for the payment of 
the principal. The General Assembly was prohibited from 
incurring any indebtedness until the bonds of the State 
should be at par, except to supply a casual deficiency or to 
suppress insurrection, unless there should be inserted in the 
same bill a provision for the levying of a special tax to pay 
the interest annually. The General Assembly was also for- 
bidden to lend the credit of the State, except to railroads 
which were in the process of construction at the time of the 
ratification of the constitution or to those in which the State 
had a financial interest, unless the question was submitted 
to the direct vote of the people. It was also provided that 
every act levying a tax should state its object and the pro- 
ceeds could be applied to no other purpose. 

The constitution provided for universal suffrage. No 
one could register without taking an oath to support the 
Constitution of the United States, and every officer had to 
take an oath of allegiance to the United States. All per- 
sons who denied the being of Almighty God, who had been 
convicted of treason, perjury, or any other infamous crime 
since becoming citizens of the United States, or who had 
been convicted of corruption or malpractice in office and 


had not been legally restored to the rights of citizenship, 
were disqualified for holding office. Taking any part in a 
duel also disqualified for holding any office under the State. 

County government was put in the hands of five com- 
missioners in each county elected by the people to exercise 
a general supervision and control of county affairs. It 
was also provided that the people of each county should 
elect a treasurer and a register of deeds. The commis- 
sioners were directed to divide the counties into townships, 
and the people of each township were biennially to elect two 
justices of the peace. No counties or other municipal cor- 
porations could contract a debt without the consent of a 
majority of the voters, and all the counties were forbidden 
to pay any debt contracted to aid in rebellion. 

The General Assembly was directed to provide a general 
system of public schools, and the executive officers of the 
State were formed into a board of education to succeed to 
all the powers and duties of the Literary Board. The State 
University was declared to be forever inseparable from the 
public school system, and the General Assembly was di- 
rected to establish, in connection with the University, de- 
partments of agriculture, mechanics, mining, and normal 

Provision was made for a homestead exemption of $500, 
and it was provided that the real and personal property of 
a married woman should remain her separate estate and 
property, and in no way liable for the debts of her husband. 
These provisions were not new to the State, both having 
been incorporated in the law in 1866. 

Punishments for crime were provided as follows: death, 
imprisonment, with or without hard labor, fines, removal 
from office, and disqualification to hold any office under the 
State. Four crimes were punishable by death : murder. 


arson, burglary, and rape.' Provision was made for a 
penitentiary, and the General Assembly was directed to pro- 
vide for the care of orphans, idiots, inebriates, deaf mutes, 
and the insane, and authorized to provide houses of refuge 
and correction for the punishment and instruction of cer- 
tain classes of criminals, whenever it might seem necessary. 
These were the more important changes. There were 
others of less interest and importance, but they are far too 
numerous to mention. A comparison of the two constitu- 
tions shows a very wide difference, and brings out very 
clearly the part played by the Northern members of the 


Early in January, the Conservative executive committee 
called a State convention of " The Constitutional Union 
Party," as they styled it. It met on Februar}'- 6, about fifty 
counties being represented. The majority of the delegates 
were former Whigs, but a large number of Democrats were 
present. The convention is particularly notable as marking 
the first re-appearance in politics of many who had been 
prominent before and during the war. Ex-Governor Gra- 
ham was made chairman, and among the other officers and 
delegates, were ex-Governors Vance, Bragg, and Manly; 
Judges Manly, Merrimon, and Fowle; and Weldon N. Ed- 
wards, W. L. Steele, R. Y. McAden, Marcus Erwin, A. T. 
Davidson, R. H. Smith, and W. N. H. Smith. A state or- 
ganization was perfected and a series of resolutions, out- 
lining the policy of the party, adopted. These resolutions 

1 Several of the carpetbaggers opposed the death penalty for rape 
as being too severe, and because certain Northern States did not have 
it. Heaton agreed with the native delegates, who favored it, and 
made a strong speech in its defence. 


declared devotion to the United States Constitution; pro- 
tested against the enforcement of the reconstruction acts as 
unconstitutional; declared the great political issue in the 
State to be negro suffrage and equality, if not supremacy, 
and registered their unqualified opposition to it; declared 
the determination of the party to protect the negroes in 
their civil rights and to allow such privileges as were not in- 
consistent with the welfare of both races; demanded early 
relief for the impoverished people of the State; expressed 
gratitude to the President for his efforts to restore the 
Union ; declared the United States Supreme Court, and not 
Congress, the legitimate expounder of the Constitution; 
and, expressing their distrust of " the organization con- 
trolling Congress," the convention "waived all former party 
feeling and prejudice " and invited the people of the State 
to cooperate with the Democratic party, at the same time 
electing delegates to the Democratic national convention. 
Enthusiastic speeches were made by various delegates, 
among them Vance, who urged activity and fearlessness of 
the result of opposition to the radicals,^ saying, " When 
free speech, a free press and a free ballot are restored, the 
wrath and indignation of an outraged people will damn 
them forever. It will be better for them that a mill stone 
were hanged about their necks and that they were drowned 
in the depths of the sea." ^ Nominations for state officers 
were left with the executive committee. This met later in 
the month and nominated a full state ticket.^ Vance was 

1 Holden had warned the Conservatives that every person who took 
part in the meeting would be kept forever under disabiUties. 

' Sentinel, February 20, 1868. 

' The Democratic nominations were as follows : Governor, Z. B. 
Vance, later, Thos, S. Ashe; Lieutenant-Governor, Edward D. Hall; 
Secretary of State, Robt. W. Best; Treasurer, K, P. Battle; Auditor, 
S. W. Burgin; Superintendent of Public Instruction, Braxton Craven; 


nominated for governor, but declined, and Thomas S. Ashe 
was chosen. The latter was a Democrat and had been, 
before the war, several times a member of the General As- 
sembly. He had been a member of the Confederate Con- 
gress and had also been elected to the Confederate Senate, 
but never took his seat. He was, of course, under disabilities. 
In the other nominations, the old Whig influence was evi- 
dent, and with but few exceptions the nominees had for- 
merly belonged to that party. 

The Republican convention met on the same day as the 
Conservative. As was expected, W. W. Holden was nomi- 
nated for governor in spite of all efforts to defeat him.^ 
The carpetbaggers captured the nominations for secretary 
of state and superintendent of public instruction. Later, 
too, A. W. Tourgee was nominated for judge of the Super- 
ior Court, after being defeated for a congressional nomi- 
nation.^ The nominations of both parties for judges coin- 
Superintendent of Public Works, S. F. Patterson; Attorney General, 
Sion H. Rogers; Supreme Court Justices, R. M. Pearson, W. IT. 
Battle, E. G. Reade, M. E. Manly, and A. S. Merrimon ; Superior 
Court Judges, D. A. Barnes, E. J. Warren, Geo. V. Strong, W. S. 
Devane, R. P. Buxton, R. B. Gilliam, Thos. Ruffin, Jr., F. E. Shober, 
W. M. Shipp, Anderson Mitchell, J. L. Bailey, and A. T. Davidson. 

'■ B. S. Hedrick introduced a resolution declaring that the convention 
would nominate no person laboring under disabilities. The convention 
refused to receive it. 

' The Republican ticket, as it finally appeared, was as follows : 
Governor, W. W. Holden ; Lieutenant-Governor, Tod R. Caldwell ; 
Secretary of State, H. J. Menninger ; Treasurer, D. A. Jenkins ; Audi- 
tor, Henderson Adams ; Superintendent of Public Instruction, S. S. 
Ashley ; Superintendent of Public Works, C. L. Harris ; Attorney 
General, W. M. Coleman ; Justices of the Supreme Court, R. M. 
Pearson, W. B. Rodman, R. P. Dick, Thomas Settle, and E, G. Reade; 
Judges of the Superior Court, C. C. Pool, E. W. Jones, C. R. Thomas, 
D. L. Russell, Jr., R. P. Buxton. S. W. Watts, A. W. Tourgee, G. W. 
Logan, Anderson Mitchell, and R. H. Cannon. 


cided in several instances.^ The convention before adjourn- 
ment passed, by a large majority, a resolution introduced 
by one of the carpetbaggers " That it is the sense of this 
convention that rebels should not be enfranchised indis- 

When the congressional nominations were made the 
cai-petbaggers were more prominent. David Heaton, 
J. R. French, and J. T. Deweese were nominated. The last 
was not the first choice of his district, for James H. Harris 
was nominated, but, through the influence of Deweese, 
withdrew and was replaced by the latter.^ The other four 
nominations were given to natives.^ B. S. Hedrick ran as 
an independent candidate against Deweese. 

The canvass was prosecuted with great activity, and ap- 
parently with great hopes of success by both parties. The 
Union League and the Heroes of America were again 
brought into service. Holden was at this time president of 
the former, and James H. Harris was vice-president. W. 
F. Henderson was at the head of the latter organization. 
Each issued addresses to their members urging them to con- 
tinued efforts.* The Republicans fought the campaign 

' The nomination of Judge Pearson by tlie Republicans very nearly 
prevented his selection by the Conservatives, but he gave private as- 
surance that he was a Conservative and was nominated. The Republi- 
cans nominated Judge Warren for a different district from that in 
which he lived and where he had been nominated by the Conservatives, 
He refused to accept. 

' A leader in the Republican party at that time assures the writer 
that, to his personal knowledge, Deweese paid Harris $1,000 to with- 

' The congressional nominations were as follows : 1st district, Re- 
publican, J, R. French, Democrat, Henry A. Gilliam; 2d, David Heaton, 
Thomas S. Kenan ; 3d, O. H. Dockery, T. C. Fuller ; 4th, J. T. Deweese, 
S. T. Williams ; 5th, I. G. Lash, D. F. Caldwell ; 6th, C. J. Cowles, Na- 
thaniel Boyden; 7th, A. H. Jones, B. S. Gaither. 

* Standard, February 5, 1868. 


largely on matters relating to the war which would tend to 
excite bitter feeling. Vance's proclamations against de- 
serters and his speeches favoring the support of the war 
were re-published and commented on. A special effort was 
made to reach the old non-slaveholding class, and, by arous- 
ing class prejudice, to excite them against the Conservatives. 
Among the most active of the Republican speakers was 
General Littlefield who was thus extending his influence 
with a view to future financial benefit therefrom. Every 
efiiort to influence public sentiment in the North was made, 
an interesting example occurring when Sergeant Bates of 
the Union army passed through the State. He was engaged 
in carrying the United States flag through every late Con- 
federate state in order to show the falsity of the rumors 
concerning the state of feeling in the South. Holden sent 
Colonel T. B. Keogh, a carpetbagger from Wisconsin, to 
offer him $10,000 to abandon his journey and report in the 
North that he was forced to do so on account of the hos- 
tility of feeling in the State which made his life unsafe. '^ 

The Conservatives made their fight on the question of 
ratifying the constitution, which they opposed on many 
grounds. They argued that it made the negro a political 
ec|ual and that it was part of an attempt to bring about 
social equality by its failure to require the separation of the 
races in the schools and in the militia and by the opening 
of the University to negroes. They objected to the appor- 
tionment of representation among the various counties as 
being so arranged as to increase the importance of the negro 
vote. Property, they held, had no representation, and 
higher taxes were made necessary without any increased 
benefit to the people. The provision for the election of 
judges by the people was particularly criticised with refer- 

' Sentinel, April 12, 1871, 


ence to the fact that candidates for the Supreme Bench 
were making a political canvass and entering into general 
political discussions. The lack of any test of qualification 
for office was another feature much urged as a reason for 
the rejection of the constitution. They received an unex- 
pected ally in Daniel R. Goodloe, so far as concerned oppo- 
sition to Holden and the rest of the Republican ticket. 
When the nominations were made, he said that Holden's 
name was " a synonym for whatever is harsh, proscriptive 
and hateful to nine-tenths of the white people of the State," 
and declined to support him.^ Goodloe's paper, the Regis- 
ter, while advocating the ratification of the constitution, 
fought almost the entire Republican ticket. H. H. Helper, 
who was associated with him, began the publication of a 
campaign sheet called " The Holden Record," in which he 
gave selections from the Standard which were calculated 
to show the inconsistency and general unfitness of Holden 
for the office of governor. He also advocated the election 
of Goodloe as governor. 

On account, of the great changes in the constitution, the 
Republicans lost the support of many who might have been 
counted upon to act with them. B. F. Moore, who had 
thought the reconstruction acts unconstitutional, but who 
had been in favor of a convention as the best means of 
reaching some settlement of disputed questions and because 
he thought that the constitution needed some amendment, 
opposed the constitution on account of its radical nature 
and declined to act with the Republican party. ^ This was 
the case with many others. 

' Sentinel, February 29, 1868, 

' B. F. Moore, in a letter to his daughter, dated March 28, 1868, 
said : " It is, in my view, with some exceptions, a wretched basis to se- 
cure liberty or property. The legislative authority rests upon ignorance 
without a single check, except Senatorial age, against legislative plun- 


Another political element which to a slight extent played 
a part in the campaign was the mysterious Ku Klux Klan. 
Many statements in regard to its extent were made by the 
Standard, but it does not appear to have reached the greater 
part of the State, and had so far assumed very little im- 
portance. Nor did it commit any violence. According to 
the Standard, the Klan in Warren County indulged in a 
grim joke as a threat to the negroes. Night after night, in 
their fantastic costume, they dug graves along the roads 
which led into Warrenton. But there was no noticeable 
effect upon the vote in the county, where there was a large 
negro majority. In Raleigh and Wilmington placards were 
posted all about the streets. Those in the former place 
were as follows : 

K. K. K. 
Attention ! First Hour ! In the Mist ! 
At the Flash ! Come. Come. Come ! ! ! 
Retribution is impatient ! The grave yawns ! 
The sceptre bones rattle ! 
Let the doomed quake ! 

It is commanded. 
2nd G. C. OF BL. HOST. 

The character of the Republican candidates was attacked 
and attention drawn, often with justice, to their unfitness 
to represent the people properly, or to perform the duties 
of the positions to which they aspired. The most striking 
illustration of the case which the Conservatives were able 
to make against the Republicans was as follows : New Han- 
over County had three delegates to the convention. Gen- 
der by exorbitant taxation. * * * The Radical party proposes to flll 
our Congressional representation with those men recently introduced 
from other quarters of the United States, and to impose them on us 
through the instrumentality and league of the ignorance of the State." 


eral Joseph C. Abbott, A. H. Galloway, and S. S. Ashley. 
The Republican candidates for the legislature were the two 
first-mentioned, L. G. Estes, a carpetbagger, and G. W. 
Price, a negro. Ashley was candidate for the position of 
superintendent of public instruction. Of all these none had 
ever listed or paid any taxes. The assessed value of the 
real estate in Wilmington at the time was $3,200,000. Of 
this the white people owned more than thirty-nine fortieths, 
and were in a minority of over seven hundred. The white 
Republicans, about one hundred and fifty in number, who 
controlled the majority vote, owned, altogether, about 
$150,000. This was an extreme case, but it shows the pos- 
sibilities of the conditions existent at the time. Others of 
the carpetbaggers who were not taxpayers were Tourgee, 
Heaton, Deweese, and J. R. French. The great majority 
of the whites were disgusted with the experiment of the 
negro in politics, and many of the Republicans felt almost 
as keenly as the Conservatives the irritating condition of 

As was to be expected, the campaign was exceedingly 
bitter on both sides. Personal encounters were of frequent 
occurrence among the candidates, and the most violent per- 
sonal abuse was common. Holden was hanged in effigy in 
several places, including the Capitol Square in Raleigh. 

The convention had provided for the submission of the 
question of ratification of the constitution to the voters 
qualified under the reconstruction acts. The state officers 
were to be chosen by the voters qualified imder the new con- 
stitution, which meant manhood suffrage. But the voting 

' The following is illustrative of the workings of the reconstruction 
acts : " During reconstruction in North Carolina, three ex-governors, a 
former justice of the Supreme Court, several ex-Congressmen, and a 
number of other distinguished men were at a dinner together. The 
only person present who could vote or hold office was the negro who 
waited on the table." Sentinel, June 9, 1868. 


on ratification of the constitution and the election of state 
and county officers took place at the same time, and, by- 
order of General Canby, on the same ballot. By this piece 
of entirety unjustifiable partisan politics, which was entirely 
characteristic of Reconstruction methods and morals, all 
who had been disfranchised by the reconstruction acts were 
prevented from voting, and the validity of the acts of the 
legislature thus elected is therefore open to question. A 
new registration had been made, and the number registered 
was increased considerably. The figures were : 

Whites 117,428 

Blacks 79,444 

Total 196,872 

The election was held on April 21, 22, and 23, and re- 
sulted in a complete Republican victory. The vote on the 
ratification of the constitution was — 

For Constitution 93,084 

Against Constitution 74,oiS 

Not voting 29,773 

The vote for governor was,^ 

Holden 92,23s 

Ashe 73,594 

The Conservatives elected only one member of Congress, 
one judge, of those whom the Republicans had not en- 
dorsed, and one solicitor. Of the eighty-nine counties, the 
Republicans carried fifty-eight. It was conceded that the 
Republicans polled almost their full strength. Thus it is 
seen that a large number of Conservatives, qualified to vote, 
failed to do so. This was, in part, the result of the general 
belief that, if the Conservatives were successful. Congress 

• The figures are taken from N. C. Legislative Docs., 1868-9. 


would set aside the election, or refuse to remove the dis- 
abilities of those Conservatives who were elected to office. 
And doubtless, such would have been the case. 

Fraud was common all over the State. By an amenda- 
tory act of Congress, passed March 11, 1868, voting upon 
affidavit instead of registration, was authorized, and ten 
days was set as the period of recjuired prior residence. This 
gave room for illegal voting, and, consequently, many voted 
in different counties on different days.^ 

The Conservatives now directed their energies towards 
organization for the coming national election, hoping that 
victory might result, and that the new government might 
be overthrown. Holden and the Republican leaders, on the 
other hand, entered into communication with the Repub- 
lican leaders in Congress, hoping to hasten the final steps 
of reconstruction. The State had carried out nearly all of 
its part of the process ; and it remained for Congress to 
take final action and restore the State to its place in the 

As has been seen,^ the convention placed itself on record 
in regard to the impeachment of the President. Holden, 
also, had taken strong ground for it, stating that " the sal- 
vation of the South depends on the conviction of Andrew 
Johnson." ^ He now, in the hope of securing the immediate 
admission of the representatives from the State, telegraphed 
various Northern papers, urging the displacement of the 
President, and stating that war would begin again in North 
Carolina if the President should be acquitted before the 
State was admitted to representation in Congress and the 

' Daniel R. Goodloe wrote Charles Sumner protesting against the 
election as a bare-faced fraud. 

2 Cf. supra, p. 271. 

^Standard, April 15, 1868. 


new state government was installed. One of the telegrams 
was, in part, as follows : 

Prompt action on the part of Congress, in relation to the 
administration of North Carolina, will be our only hope to 
avert a terrible civil war again, in the event that the usurper 
in the White House shall be acquitted. In the name of human- 
ity, liberty, and justice, can it be possible that Andrew Johnson 
will be acquitted? 


Although the constitution had been ratified and officers 
elected under it, the approval of Congress had not been 
given to it, nor had consent been given to put the new gov- 
ernment into operation. In addition, a inajority of the 
newly-elected state and county officers and of the members 
of the legislature were under disabilities. Besides the dis- 
abilities which were based upon the proposed Fourteenth 
Amendment, there was also the requirement that all state 
officers installed prior to the formal resoration of the State 
should take the " iron-clad " oath. General Canby an- 
nounced this with the publication of the election returns. 
This caused consternation among the " loyal," and Congress 
was looked to for relief. But Congress for a considerable 
time failed to act. Finally an act was passed which, after 
declaring the constitutions of six Southern States, includ- 

' Quoted in Sentinel, May 20, 1868. John Pool on May 9, 1868, 
wrote Holden, urging him not to give way to any kindly feeling 
towards secessionists, and closed his letter as follows : " I could not 
quietly submit to be again placed under the government of secession- 
ists. They ought to understand that the Union men would resort to 
force and violence before they would be again tyrannized over by 
men whose morality was not shocked by robbery, whose humanity 
was not aroused by either murder or the most atrocious cruelty, 
and whose insane hatred can now be neither opposed nor limited," 


ing North Carolina, republican in form, provided the repre- 
sentatives from them should be admitted, whenever the pro- 
posed Fourteenth Amendment had been ratified by their 
legislatures. Their admission was also upon the condition 
that the constitution of none of them should ever be so 
amended or changed as to deprive of the right to vote in the 
State any citizen or class of citizens of the United States, 
who were entitled to vote under the constitution then recog- 
nized, except as a punishment for crimes then felonious at 
common law, of which they had been duly convicted. '^ This 
bill was vetoed by the President, on the ground that his ap- 
proval of it would imply approval of the reconstruction acts. 
It was then passed over his veto and became a law. This 
was construed by General Canby to remove the necessity 
for the taking of the test oath by the new administration, 
and he so notified the governor-elect, and later issued an 
order to that effect." 

The same day that the bill admitting representatives 
from North Carolina became a law, the disabilities of nearly 
seven hundred persons, the majority of whom had been 
recommended by the convention, were removed. Fifty- 
three of the carpetbaggers also sent in a petition for the 
removal of disabilities. With very few exceptions, the lists 
contained only the names of Republicans.^ This enabled 
the state government to be organized. By the act admitting 
representatives, the governor-elect was authorized to sum- 
mon the legislature to meet, and on June 25, before it be- 
came a law by passage over the President's veto. Governor- 
elect Holden issued a proclamation summoning the General 

' Act of June 25, 1868. 
' Sentinel, June 27, 1868. 

' The convention refused to recommend B. F, Moore, among others. 
His name, however, was added while the list was before Congress. 


Assembly to meet on July i.' On June 29, General Canby 
instructed the chief -justice-elect to take the oaths of office 
before a United States commissioner, and then to admin- 
ister them to his associates and to the state officers. Chief 
Justice Pearson notified Governor Worth that he would ad- 
minister the oaths to the governor on July i. The same 
day, Governor Worth was removed from office by a military 
order from General Canby. The oaths were administered 
to Governor Holden the next day, and Governor Worth 
surrendered the office with the following protest : 

State of North Carolina, 
Executive Department, 
Raleigh, July i, 1868. 
Gov. W. W. Holden, Raleigh, N. C. 

Sir: — Yesterday morning I was verbally notified by Chief 
Justice Pearson that, in obedience to a telegram from General 
Canby, he would, to-day at ten o'clock a. m., administer to you 
the oaths required preliminary to your entering upon the dis- 
charge of the duties of Civil Governor of the State, and that, 
thereupon, you would demand my office. 

I intimated to the Judge my opinion that such proceeding 
was premature, even under the reconstruction legislation of 
Congress, and that I should probably decline to surrender the 
office to you. At sundown yesterday evening, I received from 
Colonel Williams, Commandant of this Military Post, an ex- 
tract from General Orders, No. 12, of General Canby, as fol- 

" Headquarters Second Military District, 
Charleston, S. C, June 30, 1868. 
General Orders, No. 12. 

To facilitate the organization of the new State government, 

' Standard, June 17, 1868. Byron Laflin wrote Holden from Wash- 
ington on June 15, saying that this was the advice of General Rawlins 
and a number of Republican senators. 



the following appointments are made: To be Governor of 
North Carolina, W. W. Holden, Governor-elect, vice Jonathan 
Worth, removed. To be Lieutenant-Governor of North Caro- 
lina, Tod R. Caldwell. Original vacancy. To take effect July 
1st on the meeting of the General Assembly of North Caro- 

I do not recognize the validity of the late election, under 
which you and those co-operating with you claim to be invested 
with the civil government of the State. 

You have no evidence of your election, save the certificate of 
a major-general of the United States Army. I regard all of 
you as in effect appointees of the military power of the United 
States, and not as deriving your powers from the consent of 
those you claim to govern. 

Knowing, however, that you are backed by military force 
here, which I could not resist, if I would, I do not deem it 
necessary to oft'er a futile opposition, but vacate the office with- 
out the ceremony of actual eviction, offering no further oppo- 
sition than this my protest. 

I would submit to actual expulsion in order to bring before 
the Supreme Court of the United States the question as to the 
constitutionality of the legislation under which you claim to 
be the rightful governor of the State, if the past action of that 
tribunal furnished any hope of a speedy trial. 

I surrender the office to you under what I deem military 
duress, without stopping, as the occasion would well justify, 
to comment upon the singular coincidence that the present 
State government is surrendered as without legality to him 
whose own official sanction, but three years ago, proclaimed it 

I am, very respectfully, 

Jonathan Worth, 
Governor of North Carolina.^ 

Governor Holden delivered his inaugural address on 

^ Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. ii, p. 17. Gov. Worth con- 
tinued to reside in Raleigh until his death, in September, 1869. 


July 4 to an enormous audience, composed, for the most 
part, of negroes. He reviewed the new constitution, and 
declared that the government established under it must be 
administered, in every department, by the friends of recon- 
struction. He defended the carpetbaggers, stating what 
was a fact, that most of the leaders in the history of the 
State had also been born elsewhere. He declared his oppo- 
sition to mixed schools and urged a development of public 
education for both races. He promised the colored voters 
that the ballot would never be taken from them, and threat- 
ened confiscation, if an attempt should be made to do so. 
Speaking of negro suffrage, he said : " The repugnance to 
it, which exists among many of our people, will gradually 
subside when they shall be convinced by actual experience 
that none of the evils they anticipated have resulted from 
it." As a whole, the address gave a better promise for the 
future than was expected, and far better than was fulfilled. 
In the meantime, the legislature met and, on July 2, rati- 
fied the Fourteenth Amendment.^ General Canby was noti- 
fied of the fact, and immediately ordered military interfer- 
ence with civil functions to cease. On July 6, three of the 
members of Congress from North Carolina were sworn in, 
and within a few days, two more were admitted. Two were 
unable to take the "iron-clad " oath,' and were compelled 
to wait until the adoption of the substitute for the benefit 
of those from whom disabilities had been removed.* On 
July II, a proclamation by President Johnson announced 
that North Carolina had fulfilled the requirements of Con- 
gress. In the meantime, John Pool and J. C. Abbott had 

' The vote on the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment was : 
Senate, 34 yeas, 2 nays. House, 82 yeas, 19 nays. 

' Nathaniel Boyden and O. H. Dockery. 

'Laws, 40 Cong., 2 sess., chap. 139. 



been elected to the Senate over William A. Graham ^ and 
M. E. Manly, and were sworn in on the thirteenth. By 
July 20, the representation of the State was complete. 
North Carolina was thus restored to her place in the Union 
and, legally, reconstruction was at an end. But from a 
social and economic standpoint, or from an internal politi- 
cal standpoint, it now began. 

' Garrett Davis wrote Graham on July 7, and urged him to present 
himself at once at the har of the Senate and demand to be sworn in 
on the ground of his previous election. 


The Freedmen's Bureau ^ 

i. organization 

Among the most important factors in the work of Recon- 
struction was the Freedmen's Bureau. Created for the 
purpose of caring for the homeless, destitute, and suffering 
of the negro race, regarded by many as the wards of the 
nation, it became by judicious manipulation the most active 
radical political agency in the South, and because of that 
fact it has often failed to receive due credit for the good 
which it actually accomplished. 

No sooner had the Union troops gained control of South- 
ern territory than the problem of the negro became one of 
great importance. Leaving their homes by thousands, the 
negroes thronged to the camps and thus became dependent 
upon the troops, not only for protection against re-enslave- 
ment, but also for food and clothing. It was not in accord 
with Northern sentiment that they should be returned to 
their owners, and it was manifestly impossible to turn them 
adrift, not only on account of the cruelty of the action, but 
because they refused to be left. In several of the States, 
provision was made for their support and employment by 
the so-called Department of Negro Affairs which was con- 
ducted by military officers and which was supported by the 
proceeds of captured and confiscated property and by vol- 
untary contributions from the North. ^ In North Carolina 

'Reprinted from the South Atlantic Quarterly, Jan. and April, 1909. 
2 Garner, Reconstruction in Mississippi, pp. 249-253. Fleming, Civil 
War and Reconstructioti in Alabama, pp. 421-424. 


a multitude of negroes came under control of the army in 
1862 when New Bern was taken by the Union forces. The 
number increased constantly throughout the war and the 
problem of caring for them assumed a serious aspect. In 
1865, when Sherman's columns entered the State, a swarm 
of negroes from South Carolina followed them, augmented 
from day to day by numerous recruits from North Carolina. 
When the army reached Fayetteville about 8,000 were in 
attendance. Most of these were sent from there tO' Wil- 
mington, where a great number had already congregated.^ 
When, in the summer of 1865, General Schofield assumed 
command in the State, he issued a series of regulations for 
the guidance of freedmen. This action, like the policy of 
military commanders elsewhere in the South, was not re- 
garded as sufficient for the solution of the problem, as in- 
deed it was not. 

In the meantime, other agencies for the relief of the 
freedmen had been actively at work. Under the act of 
March 3, 1863," the Secretary of the Treasury had been 
authorized to appoint special agents to collect captured and 
abandoned property in the insurrectionary States. These 
agents, to some extent, took hold of the question of the 
freedmen at once, but by the act of July 2, 1864,^ they were 
directed to provide for the welfare of the former slaves, 
and Secretary Fessenden issued a series of regulations re- 
lating to freedmen. These regulations provided for super- 
vision by the general agent of matters relating to the 
freedmen and for the establishment of freedmen's home 
colonies and labor colonies, the assignment of land to them, 
and the establishment of schools.* The plan went into 

^ Oif. Rec, no. 100, pp. 39, 80. 

^ Statutes at Large, xii, p. 820. ' Ibid.,->6.n, p. 375. 

^Report of the Secretary of the Treasury, 1864, pp. 294-324. 


operation almost immediately, but it was not destined to 
succeed. The military authorities and the treasury agents 
clashed and were soon involved in misunderstanding. In 
many cases, too, the latter were notoriously corrupt. The 
regulations, however, continued in force until the estab- 
lishment of the Freedmen's Bureau in 1865.^ 

Aid by the federal government, however, was not all 
that the freedmen had to look to for organized relief. The 
American Missionary Society by 1862 had missions and 
schools established in New Bern, among other places in the 
South, and its activity continued for many years.'' Other 
organizations rendered valuable relief service elsewhere in 
the South, but did little in North Carolina. 

As early as January, 1863, a bill was introduced into 
Congress providing for the establishment of a bureau of 
freedmen's affairs, but for various reasons its passage was 
not secured, and it was not until March 3, 1865, that Con- 
gress took definite action. On that day, a bill for the estab- 
lishment of a bureau for refugees, freedmen, and abandoned 
lands passed Congress and, signed by President Lincoln, 
became a law. The act provided for the establishment of a 
bureau in the War Department which, under regulations 
prescribed by the commissioner and the President, should 
supervise and manage all abandoned lands and should con- 
trol all matters relating to refugees and freedmen from the 
insurrectionary States and wherever the army was engaged. 
Its duration was limited to one year from the close of the 
war. At its head was to be a commissioner appointed by 
the President, and assistant commissioners might be ap- 
pointed for each insurrectionary State." Provision was 

' Peirce, The Freedmen's Bureau, p. 25. ''Ibid., p. 26. 

' The commissioner was to receive a salary of $3,000, and give bond 
in the sum of $50,000. The assistant commissioners were to receive 
$2,500, and give bond in the sum of $20,000. 


made for clerks, and it was provided that army officers 
might be assigned to duty under the act. Supplies for the 
relief of the refugees and freedmen were to be issued by 
the War Department, and the commissioner might set apart 
confiscated or abandoned lands for the use of the freedmen. 
Of these lands, not more than forty acres might be leased 
to any male citizen, whether refugee or freedman, and he 
was to be protected in its enjoyment for three years. For 
the important office of commissioner, President Lincoln, 
before his death, chose General Oliver O. Howard, and he 
was appointed by President Johnson, who knew the wish of 
his predecessor. General Howard was an honest, kindly 
gentleman, much given to acting upon theories based upon 
insufficient knowledge, and deeply interested in the progress 
and welfare of the freedmen. Lacking as he was in prac- 
tical knowledge and easily deceived, his administration was, 
in many respects, a failure through no fault of his own. 

For the position of assistant commissioner in North 
Carolina, General Howard selected Colonel Eliphalet Whit- 
tlesey, of Maine, a cultured gentleman, formerly a pro- 
fessor in Bowdoin College. The assistant commissioner 
was given supervision over abandoned land and over all 
matters relating to refugees and freedmen. The wants of 
the needy were to be supplied and the freedom of the ne- 
groes guaranteed. Other matters coming within his prov- 
ince were the family relations of the freedmen, the settle- 
ment of differences and difficulties between the negroes and 
the whites, assistance to the negroes in securing land, and 
the removal of prejudice on the part of old masters. This 
last duty shows very clearly the attitude of the bureau. 
Stress was also laid upon instruction of the freedmen as 
to their new duties and responsibilities. The assistant com- 


missioner was subject to military rules, but wide jurisdic- 
tion was given him in matters of detail.^ 

On July I, Colonel Whittlesey entered upon his duties 
and at once issued an address inviting the co-operation of 
both races. On July 15, he issued a second circular organ- 
izing the bureau in the State/ The State was divided into 
four districts and superintendents appointed as follows : 


Eastern New Bern Captain Horace James 

Central Raleigh Lieut. Dexter E. Clapp 

Western Greensboro Major Smith 

Southern Wilmington Captain Robert B. Beath 

Major Chas. J. Wickersham.^ 

Colonel Whittlesey's iirst intention was to make each 
county a sub-district, and in pursuance of this plan he wrote 
a note to every member of the convention of 1865, then in 
session, asking for recommendations of suitable men in 
each county as agents. Not a delegate replied.* He was, 
however, opposed to any but military officers acting as 
agents, and, as there was a lack of these, he had to^ change 
his plan, and in consec[uence two to eight counties were em- 
braced in each sub-district. The eastern district had eight 
sub-districts; the central, nine; the western, six; and the 
southern, four. During the first year there were thirty- 
three assistant superintendents, but the largest number at 
any one time was twenty. Three times the organization 

' Peirce, The Freedmen's Bureau, pp. 50-52. 

' The following were appointed to duty at headquarters : Major 
Charles J. Wickersham, assistant adjutant general; Lieutenant Fred 
H. Beecher, acting assistant adjutant general; Capt. Thomas P. John- 
ston, assistant quartermaster ; Capt. George C. Almy, commissary of 
subsistence; Surgeon Lewis D. Harlan, medical officer. 

' Major Wickersham succeeded Captain Beath almost immediately. 

*Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 27, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 14. 


was almost broken up by the mustering-out of regiments.^ 
In 1867, the State was divided into ten sub-districts, aver- 
aging eight counties each. Whenever possible, a mihtary 
officer was assigned to each section of three counties, but 
this was not often practicable. Later the sub-divisions were 
again reduced to four: Goldsboro, Raleigh, Wilmington, 
and Morganton. In his instructions to the officers of the 
bureau. Colonel Whittlesey stated the following objects: 
(i) to aid the destitute, without encouraging dependence; 
(2) to protect the freedmen from injustice; (3) to assist 
freedmen in obtaining employment at fair wages; and (4) 
to encourage education." In the main. Colonel Whittlesey's 
instructions were marked by moderation and good sense. 
In his address, however, he could not refrain from the fol- 
lowing characteristic advice to the white people of the 
State : " The school house, the spelling book, and the Bible 
will be found better preservers of peace and good order 
than the revolver and bowie knife." But he warned the 
officers that complaints would be greatly exaggerated and 
that prudence was necessary to avoid injustice to both races. 
To the freedmen, he said that they were given new rights, 
but with these rights went new duties and responsibilities 
which must be fulfilled. He further warned them that they 
must be honest, patient, and law-abiding and assured them, 
in such a case, of the friendship of all good men. On Au- 
gust 15, he advised them to enter into contracts for labor, 
assuring them of the falsity of all rumors that they were to 
be given land by the United States government. This 
" forty acres and a mule " myth, which had been begun and 
fostered by subordinate officers of the bureau and by North- 
ern people in the South, he denounced as " an attempt of 

1 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 70, 39 Cong,, i sess., pp. 386, 387. 
'^ Ibid., pp. 3-4. 


rebel politicians to fire the Southern heart/ The myth was 
spread and generally accepted by the negroes until 1866 
and was a great hindrance to any improvement in labor 

In May, 1866, Colonel Whittlesey, in consequence of the 
report of Generals Steedman and Fullerton, was displaced 
and was succeeded by General Thomas H. Ruger, then in 
command of the department. In June the latter was as- 
signed to other duties and was succeeded by General John 
C. Robinson. Upon the departure of the latter, early in 
1867, Colonel James V. Bomford acted as assistant com- 
missioner until April, when General Nelson A. Miles as- 
sumed the office, which he filled until the termination of the 
bureau's activity, January i, 1869. 

During the whole period of the existence of the bureau, 
there was constant changing of subordinate officials, with a 
consequent loss of efficiency through the inexperience and 
ignorance of those who continued the work scarcely begun 
by their predecessors. 


Of all the activities of the bureau, the most important was 
the relief of the destitute. It is in regard to this matter, 
also, that it deserves most praise and least blame. And yet, 
it was in connection with this that the greatest corruption 
appeared. The gravest charges, however, as will appear, 
were not of corruption, but of inefficiency, ignorance, and 
intense prejudice. 

The first problems that had to be settled were how to feed 
the starving and to clothe the naked. Reference has already 
been made to the flocking of the freedmen to the towns, 
where hundreds, if not thousands, declining to work even 

1 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 70, 39 Cong., i sess., pp. 2-4. 


when opportunity was afforded, were without any means 
of support, and were on the verge of starvation. There 
were also many refugees who were destitute and to these 
the bureau gave much needed assistance. Rations were 
issued by the bureau, and to some clothing and medicine 
were furnished.^ It is unquestionable that much suffering 
and destitution were thus relieved. But it is equally true 
that, in spite of many efforts on the part of the higher 
bureau officials to prevent it, advantage was taken of this 
relief by the undeserving and that, in the case of freedmen, 
it was an encouragement to idleness and a serious hindrance 
to an early settlement of the labor problem. Dishonest 
bureau officials also used the system to build up individual 
influence among the negroes, and for these reasons it gained 
for the bureau in time the dislike and opposition of the 
white population. Negroes often came many miles to draw 
rations and then exchanged them for luxuries, which were 
consumed at once." So great became the complaint that in 
August, 1866, General Howard ordered that the issuing of 
rations should be discontinued except to the sick in hos- 
pitals and to orphan asylums.'* This greatly reduced the 
amount expended by the bureau and may have, to some ex- 
tent, improved labor conditions. But in the winter and 

' A ration was as follows : pork or bacon, 10 ounces in lieu of fresh 
beef ; fresh beef, 16 ounces ; flour and soft bread, 16 ounces, twice a 
week; hard bread, 12 ounces, in lieu of flour or soft bread; corn meal, 
16 ounces, five times a week; beans, peas, or hominy, 10 pounds to 100 
rations ; sugar, 8 pounds to 100 rations ; vinegar, 2 quarts to 100 rations ; 
■candles, 8 pounds to 100 rations ; soap, 2 pounds to 100 rations ; salt, 
2 pounds to 100 rations ; pepper, 2 ounces to 100 rations. Women and 
children were also allowed rye coffee at 10 pounds per 100 rations, or 
tea at 15 pounds per 100 rations. Ho. Ex. Docs., no. ii, 39 Cong., 
I sess., p. 47. 

2 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 70, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 387. 

3 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. i, 39 Cong., 2 se-'s., p. 712. 


spring of 1867, owing to the severe winter and the failure 
of crops the previous season, there was much suffering, and 
the order, already carried out only in a modified form, was 
supplanted by a special resolution of Congress, setting aside 
a relief fund. Of this, during May, June, and July, $32,480 
was spent in North Carolina, and ro,i85 persons were as- 
sisted/ Besides this, in the period from June i, 1865, to 
September i, 1868, when the issue of rations was of most 
importance, there were issued in North Carolina 1,895,- 
065J4 rations, valued at $473,766.50.^ No report was ever 
published in relation to clothing and other supplies fur- 
nished by the bureau, but allusions to the matter show that 
a large amount was expended in this way. 

Closely related to this relief of the destitute was the treat- 
ment of the sick, and, as has been seen, a medical depart- 
ment was established at once. Eight hospitals in all were 
established, located at Wilmington, Raleigh, Beaufort, New 
Bern, Roanoke Island, Salisbury, Greensboro, and Mor- 
ganton, with a united capacity of six hundred patients. 
Dispensaries were established in 1865 at Raleigh, New 
Bern, and Wilmington, and later others were added. Regi- 
mental surgeons were assigned to duty in the hospitals and 
dispensaries, but, on account of the lack of such officers, 
there were never more than four in any one year of the 
bureau's existence, and, consequently, contract surgeons 
were employed, the highest number in any one year being 

'^Ho. Ex. Docs., no. i, 40 Cong., 2 sess., p. 641. 

^ The statistics by years in relation to the issue of rations are as 
follows : 

Period To Refugees. 

June I, 1865 to Sept. i, 1866 6,716 

To Sept. 1, 1867 55,129 

To Sept. 1, 1868 23s 

Total for period 62,080 

To Freedmen. 












fourteen. Attendants in the hospitals were employed by 
the bureau, the highest number at any one time being forty- 
five, in 1867. Much benefit came from the work of the 
medical department and it deserves the highest praise for 
its efficiency. In the period from the organization of the 
bureau until July i, 1869, 40,186 freedmen and 157 re- 
fugees were treated. Of these, 4,588 freedmen and 21 
refugees died, a percentage of .114 and .135 respectively. 
The percentage of deaths among the colored patients in 
1865 was .49, falling to .03 in 1868, but rising to .42 in 
1869, when practically all the patients were incurably dis- 

' The following tables give the details of the medical establishment 
in North Carolina: 






Oct. I, i86s 





Oct. I, 1866 





July I, 1867 





July 1, 1868 





July I, 1869 





1 1866 negroes were admitted to the State hospital for the 





Army Surgeons. Contract Surgeons. 




Oct. 1, 186s 





Oct. 1, 1866 





July I, 1867 





July I, 1868 





July I, 1869 











Died. Per Cent. 



Per Cent. 

Oct. 30, 1865 







Sept. I, 1866 





July I, 1867 





July I, 1868 





July I, 1869 




■ — 


But the bureau was created not only to care for those 
incapacitated for labor ; its purpose was also to furnish an 
opportunity for labor to those who could support them- 
selves. This was done in two ways : ( i ) by settling the 
freedmen upon confiscated and abandoned land, and (2) 
by exercising supervision of the contracts made for labor 
on the part of the freedmen. The land contemplated by 
the act of Congress was in the hands of the Treasury De- 
partment, but was soon turned over to the bureau. Much 
of it had already been leased out by the treasury agents, 
and no attempt was made by the bureau to interfere in such 
cases, but plans were made to dispose of it to freedmen and 
loyal refugees at the expiration of the terms of lease. 
President Johnson, however, took the sound view that a 
pardon restored property rights, and, to General Howard's 
great disappointment, he ordered the restoration of the 
property of all such pardoned persons.^ Consequently the 
restoration of the land commenced at once. The bureau 
had possession in North Carolina of 98,568 acres and 420 
pieces of town property. By January, 1866, 50,029 acres 
and 287 pieces of town property had been restored and most 
of the remainder was restored within the next two years.' 
The bureau officials were guilty of overbearing and im- 
proper conduct in a number of instances in the seizure of 
property. In Wilmington, the city library room in the city 
hall was seized and occupied for nearly a year, in spite of 
numerous protests by the citizens and the city authorities." 
And a still more flagrant case occurred in New Bern, where 

' General Howard in his Autobiography, vol. ii, chap, xlix, has much 
to say of what he calls the injustice of the President's action, 

^ The figures given are approximatelj' correct, according to the re- 
ports of the assistant commissioner. So much carelessness appears, 
and so many contradictions, that they cannot be entirely accurate. 

^ Wilmington Journal, Oct. 2, 1866. 


Capt. Horace James,' of the bureau, seized the house and lot 
of Dr. Samuel Marten. Later on Captain Rosekrans suc- 
ceeded James and, the house having seven rooms, opened 
a boarding house. Dr. Marten applied for the restoration 
of his property, but was refused on the ground of a previous 
difficulty he had had with Captain James. The complaint 
was forwarded by Governor Worth to Colonel Whittlesey, 
who refused to surrender the house, stating that it was 
needed by the bureau.* It was later restored by General 
Howard upon the recommendation of General F. D. 
Sewall." Such conduct was well calculated to render the 
public blind to much of the good that the bureau was actu- 
ally accomplishing. 

In some cases the negroes were settled upon private prop- 
erty, and, in spite of all efforts on the part of the owners 
to dislodge them, possession was secured for a long period.' 
On Roanoke Island the government had divided the seized 
land into one acre lots, and the negroes were so well satis- 
fied with government support that, in November, 1866, 
1,700 were still there in spite of the efforts of the bureau 
to dislodge them; and the district superintendent recom- 
mended the restoration of the land to its owners, that they 
might compel the freedmen to move."' In one or two in- 
stances farms were established for dependent paupers, as 
at Goldsboro in 1866." 

Even more far-reaching in its effects upon the State as a 

''■ James, according to his own account, had been General Howard's 
first choice for assistant commissioner. 
' Executive Correspondence, Worth, vol. i, pp. 57, 61. 
' Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 35. 
* Bryan v. Spivey, 109 N, C, 57. 
'^ Sen. Docs., no. 6, 39 Cong., 2 sess., p. III. 
« Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 4. 


whole than the relief of the destitute, was the relationship 
existing between labor and the bureau. Soon after the 
bureau commenced its operations, General Howard issued 
instructions to his subordinates outlining the general policy 
of the bureau in this regard. Agents were to be appointed 
in each sub-district to look after labor matters, with the 
special duty of approving contracts and settling the rate of 
wages. In regard to certain things, such as the freedom 
of choosing employers, the abolition of any form of com- 
pulsory, unpaid labor, the abolition of the overseer system, 
and the prevention of any acts of oppression, the rules were 
general and inflexible, but his instructions otherwise were 
merely advisory, to be modified as local conditions might 
demand. Written contracts were recommended as safer 
and less likely to cause misunderstanding. To facilitate 
the work of furnishing employment, Colonel Whittlesey 
entered into an arrangement with L. P. Olds & Co., a iiimi 
of land agents, by which an intelligence office was main- 
tained in almost every county in the State. The agents at 
once began supervising the making of contracts, and by 
March 31, 1866, 717 had been witnessed and approved, and 
over 6,000 negroes had been given employment.^ The rate 
of wages varied, but the average was between $8 and $10 
per month. ° The witnessing of contracts, however, was far 
from making labor conditions satisfactory. Even Colonel 
Whittlesey, always inclined to regard the freedmen with a 
more partial eye than he did the Southern whites, was ob- 
liged to confess, as early as the fall of 1865, that it was 
extremely difficult to make the negroes keep their contracts.^ 
In their unsettled and excited condition, a long period of 

' No figures are available as to the whole number of contracts 

^ Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 70, 39 Cong., 2 sess., p. 391. 
^ Ho. Repojts, no. 30, 39 Cong., i sess., p. igi. 


work seemed too irksome, in fact, a return to slavery, and 
the tendency to idleness was increased by the issue 
of supplies by the bureau and the ease with which 
they were obtained. Even when they consented tO' 
make contracts, it was in most cases for a short 
period and, whenever possible, for wages rather than 
for a share of the crop. This was natural, but, in the 
practical working out of the plan, most disastrous. In most 
cases no sooner was a pa3anent of wages made than the 
laborers, regardless of whether the period of employment 
had expired or not, abandoned work and proceeded to spend 
their earnings in riotous living. The bureau was power- 
less to remedy this; though in most instances that came 
before him, Colonel Whittlesey did all in his power to 
assist employers so treated. The same, however, could not 
be said of most of his subordinates. Another apparently 
popular plan of the negroes was to refuse to work just when 
the crops needed most attention. In many cases of this sort, 
employers were forced by the bureau to fulfil the terms of 
the contract, regardless of the failure of the other parties. 
This injustice rankled and was the cause of many of the 
cases of cruelty which were reported by the bureau in such 
horror. It was hard for the planters to accustom themselves 
to a condition of affairs in which a negro could refuse 
to work, often in a defiant and insolent way, and not be 
punished for it ; and so it is not a remarkable fact that they 
at times took matters in their own hands. Nor is it to be 
denied that there were cases of great cruelty and oppres- 
sion. But these were the exception rather than the rule. 
The bureau officials, partial to a degree in favor of the 
negroes, said that four-fifths of the white people were ready 
to treat the negro with fairness ; ^ and it is a fact that many 

1 Ho. Reports, no. 30, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 191. 


of the remainder would have been so incHned had it not 
been for the bureau. As time went by, hostihty was in- 
jected into the relation between the races, and labor condi- 
tions remained in a most unsettled condition for many 
years. That they were finally settled after a fashion was in 
no sense due to the exertions of the bureau, but to the edu- 
cation which experience gave both races, and to the natural 
laws which govern labor. The bureau officials kept the 
freedrnen stirred up and the charge was frequently made 
that many of the agents made a regular practice of levying 
contributions from employers b)' means of threats of tak- 
ing awa)' their laborers.^ 

To enforce fulfilment of contracts and to protect the 
freedmen from injustice, the bureau was given judicial 
pov/ers. The jurisdiction of the bureau courts extended 
wherever civil courts were interrupted, where negro testi- 
mony was not allowed, or where punishment differed for 
mem.bers of the two races, in all cases in which a negro was 
a party." When the punishment exceeded one month's im- 
prisonment or one hundred dollars fine, the case went to a 
military commission.' In such cases as went to the civil 
courts, bureau officers were directed to appear as counsel 
for the freedmen. 

For some time after the establishment of the bureau, its 
courts acted without interruption, but when the provisional 
state courts established by Provisional Governor Holden 
began their work, complaint was made of the exercise of 
jurisdiction by the bureau. Governor Holden and General 
Ruger, who was in command of the department, made an 
agreement as to the jurisdiction of the civil and military 

1 This charge was wide-spread, but the author has never been able 
to substantiate it. 

'^ Ho. Ex. Docs., no, ii, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 45. 

^ Ibid., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., pp. lo-ii. 



courts, which was satisfactory for a time, but was not gen- 
erally observed by the bureau courts.^ 

As soon as Governor Worth came into office, he made 
efforts to secure full jurisdiction for the civil courts. The 
laws of the State, after March 10, 1866, made little dis- 
crimination between the races, and it was thought that no 
valid objection could be made to leaving the entire admin- 
istration of justice to the state courts. In the case of but 
one crime was the punishment different for black and 
white, ^ and negro testimony was adm.itted in all cases where 
a negro was concerned. In all other cases it was admissible 
by consent. This difference, however, was sufficient to pre- 
vent the bureau from surrendering full jurisdiction, espec- 
ially as it was provided in the law that negro testimony 
should not be admitted until state courts were given their 
full jurisdiction. Jurisdiction in all cases of crimes com- 
mitted by freedmen, however, was transferred at once.^ 
In April, 1866, Colonel Whittlesey attempted to interfere 
with the whipping of a negro convicted of larceny by writ- 
ing to Judge Fowle that, as white men were in most cases 
tried by military commissions, a discrimination against the 
negroes was the result. Judge Fowle with much point re- 
plied that under the law the penalty was the same for black 
and white and that, if military interference with the courts 
resulted in injustice, a remedy was easily to be found in 
leaving the cases to the civil courts.* 

1 Executive Correspondence, Provisional Governor, pp. 177-g. The 
agreement was that cases concerning white persons only should be 
tried by the civil courts, while all those cases concerning negroes 
should be left to military courts. But the civil courts were given 
power to order the arrest of negroes and bind them for trial. 

' An assault with intent to commit rape by a negro upon a white 
woman was made a capital offence. 

8 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 5. 

* Standard, April 25, 1866. 


In July, the convention removed all distinctions which ex- 
isted so far as justice was concerned, and, on the thirteenth. 
General Robinson, who had succeeded Colonel Whittlesey 
as assistant commissioner, directed the bureau agents to 
transfer all cases to the proper civil courts except such as 
related to wages due under contracts witnessed by bureau 
officials, which, for the sake of promptness, should be ad- 
judicated as before/ Other claims went to the civil courts, 
but bureau officials were ordered to attend courts and see 
that justice was observed. They were also directed to take 
jurisdiction in such cases as the civil courts neglected. Gen- 
eral Robinson stated later that he had no cause to regret his 
action, as in nearly every instance the courts were fair and 
impartial. This opinion was also expressed by General 
Sewall.^ This was particularly true in regard to the super- 
ior courts.^ Jurisdiction in the reserved cases was retained 
until the completion of reconstruction in 1868, when it was 
surrendered to the regular courts. To facilitate the transi- 
tion. Governor Holden commissioned all the bureau agents 
as magistrates.* 

No accurate figures are preserved regarding the judicial 
work of the bureau, but an idea of the immensity of it can 
be gained from a statement of Colonel Whittlesey in May, 
1866, that ten thousand cases of difficulty between blacks 
and whites had already been settled." General Miles wrote 
General Howard in 1867 that in one office six hundred cases 

' A short time before this Governor Worth had been engaged in a 
very heated correspondence with General Robinson, who he thought 
was making a deliberate effort to bring the administration of justice 
in the State into disrepute. 

- Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 35. 

3 Sen. Docs., no. 6, 39 Cong., 2 sess., pp. 101-2. 

* Ho. Ex. Docs., no. i, 40 Cong., 3 sess., p. 1038. 

■'' Ihid., no. 123, 39 Cong., 1 sess., p. 21. 


and in another four hundred were settled within a period of 
four months/ 

As to the character of the justice administered by the 
bureau there is but little doubt. Probably in many cases it 
prevented injustice; certainly in more it perpetrated injus- 
tice. The testimony of a negro, regardless of his character 
and often of his knowledge of the matter involved, was 
usually accepted as more reliable than that of white per- 
sons of the highest character and the fullest knowledge of 
the case.^ And yet ignorance and prejudice were more re- 
sponsible for the conduct of the officials than bad inten- 
tions. But in many cases the power of the bureau was used 
by its officials for the purpose of humiliating white citi- 
zens and thereby giving the negroes a most vivid and popu- 
lar manifestation of that power. That the influence of the 

' Standard, December 31, 1867. 

2 An instance of this may be seen in the following case : W. R. Pool, 
of Wake, in 1867, had a cotton gin burned and fifteen of his hogs 
stolen. Some of these were killed near by and the blood and tracks 
were traced to the house of a freedman named Hinton, where a 
quantity of fresh pork was found concealed in a bed. He was indicted 
and at once complained to the bureau. The following letter was the 
result : 

" Bureau of Feeedmen, Refugees and Abandoned Land, 
Office of Agent Sub-District of Raleigh, 

Raleigh, N. C., Dec. 4, 1867. 
W. R. Pool: — Albert Hinton complains that you charge him with 
stealing meat. Mr. Pool, things have come to a strange pass if a 
colored man cannot buy meat from a wagon in the road without in- 
curring the charge of stealing. You had better look further than this 
man's house. Perhaps your olfactories will enable you to get on the 
right scent. You might come to market and seize every piece of meat 
you find on the stand, on the same principle on which you charge him 
of stealing. You will call at this office and explain this matter. These 
men shall be protected in what is just. Yours respectfully, 

H. C. Vogell, 
Agt. B. R. F. & A. L." 
This letter is to be found in the Sentinel, Dec. 19, 1867. 


bureau courts upon the negroes was bad is testified to by 
many competent and qualified to judge. Nor was its in- 
fluence good upon the white people, for it tended to bring 
about a condition of utter insubordination and contempt for 
all courts/ 

' A. S. Merrimon to Jonathan Worth, Aug. 9, 1867. Executive Cor- 
respondence, Worth, i, p. 5SS. 

The following extract from a letter of Major H. C. Lawrence to 
William A. Graham, dated Feb. 14, 1866 shows such a clear perception 
of conditions by a Northern Republican and a former agent of the 
Bureau that it seems well to quote it. 

" Whilst there was and could be, no law but military law, or rather 
authority, the Bureau was a necessity to some extent. But to continue 
it after the States shall have given the blacks their civil rights seems 
to me the very reverse of sound policy, considered simply with refer- 
ence to that. It will engender hatred towards the blacks on the part 
of the whites, as a favored class to whom extra legal protection is 
given by the Federal Government — hatred towards the Government 
itself, which, by this system, pronounces the people regardless of 
justice, and brands courts and bar and juries, in advance, as ready 
perjurers. It substitutes for men learned in the law and soon to 
administer it, for trial by jury and the right of appeal, the decision 
of men who, in many cases, if not most, will know nothing of law; 
who will often be prejudiced, and some corrupt. It will incite in the 
blacks, to some extent, a sense of independence of the local laws, 
sanction their distrust of them, the courts, and people, and certainly 
cannot tend to educate them in the duties of citizens. Instead of 
allaying, it will beget jealousy and ill-will between the races to a 
greater degree than now exists, and finally produce the very evils 
it is intended to guard against. And how such a system can be exer- 
cised, except as a temporary military necessity in a conquered country, 
I cannot conceive. It is liable to all our old objections to the " fugitive 
slave law", and, unlike that, will be an ever-present, ever-acting evil; 
and its provisions are very incomplete for the end proposed, unless it 
is assumed that military authority is to remain paramount. ***** 
But if a State should establish such a judicial system, I think the 
Federal Government might well be called upon to enforce its guaranty 
of a republican form of government to the people of that State. I 
think it would be a less outrage upon the principles of self-govern- 
ment and upon the Constitution to treat the South as conquered 
territory and govern it by our territorial system, than to do what is 
proposed to be done." 


Another activity of the bureau was the apprenticing of 
orphan negro children and watching the county courts to 
see that no such children were illegally bound out. Under 
the act of March 10, 1866, former masters were given the 
preference in securing apprentices, and this was held by the 
bureau to be a discrimination, working injustice to the 
negro and smacking too strongly of slavery. Consequently 
it was overruled at once. Colonel Whittlesey thought the 
whole system of apprenticeship wrong, because it resembled 
slavery.^ In this matter the bureau undoubtedly rendered 
a good service, for it checked a disposition* on the part of 
many to hold colored children in a state of subjection. All 
persons to whom colored children were bound were required 
to give a bond for the fulfilment of the contract, which re- 
quired education of the apprentice to the extent of reading, 
writing, and arithmetic.^ The theory of the bureau in re- 
gard to apprentice cases was based upon sound principles, 
but in its practical application it was at times severe upon 
both races. Arbitrary methods marked this sphere of 
bureau activity as they did all others. Opposition devel- 
oped in the State, and Governor Worth even appealed to 
General Howard against General Robinson's action in cer- 
tain cases but without effect.^ The system continued until 
the State was reconstructed. 

Closely connected with the relief work of the bureau, 
though not a part of it, was the Freedmen's Savings and 
Trust Company, a banking institution, chartered by Con- 
gress and intended to encourage habits of thrift among the 
negroes. Three branches were established in North Caro- 
lina, at New Bern, Raleigh, and Wilmington, respectively. 
The conduct of the company was characterized by care- 

1 Sen. Docs., no. 27, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 16. 

- Ibid., no. 6, 39 Cong., 2 sess., p. 112. 

3 Executive Correspondence, Worth, i, p. 306. 


lessness, extravagance, and fraud, and it soon failed. In 
time the depositors received a part of their money, but a 
large part was gone forever. The following table shows 
the total deposits in the North Carolina branches and what 
was repaid : 




New Bern 









Total $57,046.30 $37,478.96 

The experience of the negroes with this institution bred 
a deep distrust of banks, which has not to this day been en- 
tirely removed. A more serious injury was the discourage- 
ment of habits of saving which resulted from this first ex- 


Probably in the mind of the commissioner of the Freed- 
men's Bureau, the most important duty intrusted to that 
organization was the education of the freedmen. Work in 
this field had been commenced in New Bern in 1862 by Vin- 
cent Colyer, of Massachusetts, and had been extended later 
by various religious denominations and benevolent associa- 
tions. When the bureau undertook the relief of the desti- 
tute, these organizations devoted practically their whole at- 
tention to education.^ 

The act for the establishment of the bureau made no pro- 
vision for negro education, and, therefore, for the first year 
it did little in the way of educational work. Some assist- 

1 The following were the most important of these organizations: 
The New England Freedmen's Relief Association, New York National 
Freedmen's Relief Association, American Missionary Association. 
Friends' Freedmen's Aid Association, Freedmen's Commission, the 
Protestant Episcopal Church, and the Presbyterian General Assembly. 


ance, however, was given to the charitable organizations 
just mentioned. Colonel Whittlesey in his address had 
held out to the freedmen a promise of education, and on 
July 15, he gave assurance that schools and teachers would 
be protected by the bureau, and he directed all officials to 
exercise supervision of the schools/ A short time later, 
Rev. F. A. Fiske, a native of Massachusetts, was made 
superintendent of education, and preparations were made 
for a vigorous educational campaign. Buildings were as- 
signed by the bureau for the use of the schools, but the en- 
forced surrender of the property of pardoned owners made 
this assistance of a temporary nature only. But by the 
provisions of the second bureau act, authority was given 
for increased educational activity, and the commissioner 
was empowered to supply buildings and furnish protection 
for the schools. More important still, a considerable sum 
was appropriated for educational work, and this was in- 
creased by later acts." 

In North Carolina the number of schools receiving as- 
sistance fluctuated, but a steady increase is to be noticed 
from year to year. On October i, 1865, there were 63 such 
schools in operation with 85 teachers and 5,624 scholars. On 
July I, 1869, there were 431 schools with 439 teachers and 
20,227 scholars.'* The majority of the teachers were white, 

1 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 70, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 4. 

' Statutes at Large, xiv, 173, 434. 

' The following table shows the increase from time to time : 

TiMR Schools Teachers Pupils 

October 1 , 1865 ■. 6z 8S 5,624 

January 1, 1866 88 119 8,506 

April I, 1866 : 119 154 11,314 

October r, 1866 62 68 3,493 

March I, 1867 156 I73 11,102 

October i, 1867 158 158 7,897 

April I, 1868 336 239 i6,435 

July I, 1869 431 439 20,227 


and nearly all of them, both white and colored, were from 
the North. Transportation to and from the North was fur- 
nished by the bureau for a time in order to encourage teach- 
ers to come South, but the supply was limited and the need 
of institutions for the training of colored teachers was soon 
recognized, and substantial aid was given such institutions 
at St. Augustine's School in Raleigh and Biddle Memorial 
Institute in Charlotte.^ 

As might be expected no figures are available as to the 
amount spent by the bureau for educational work in North 
Carolina, but the following facts may throw some light 
upon the subject. From January to June, 1867, the bureau 
spent $5,525.85.' In 1869 and 1870, about $35,000 was 
spent yearly." The expenditure in 1869 was $1,700 
monthly for support alone.'' Here, as in other departments 
of the bureau, existed opportunity for fraud, which, in con- 
sequence, was by no means unknown.^ By this time the 
public school system of the State, as re-established by the 
convention of 1868, had gone into operation. Public and 
private schools included, there were in the State 347 schools 
for colored people, employing 372 teachers and having in 
attendance 23,419 pupils." 

All concerned with educational work among the negroes 
bore testimony to the eagerness with which they sought 
knowledge, and high hopes were entertained of the result.' 

' Now Biddle University. Both these institutions are still in exist- 
ence and are doing a useful work among the negroes. 

2 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. i, 42 Cong., 2 sess., p. 653. 

° -V. C. Leg. Docs., 1870-71, no. 6, p. 315. 

* Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction for 1869-70, p. 26. 

* N. C. Leg. Docs., 1870-71, no. 6, p. 269. 
'•Ibid., p. 280. 

' The following is a typical account of school work among the 


Such an eagerness was to be expected, for the freedmen, 
naturally imitative, were striving for everything which 
seemed an attribute of freedom, and the teachers never 
lost an opportunity of telling them of the new life which 
education, as they said, would open up to them. No thought 
apparently was given to the real conditions to be faced, and, 
to the average freedman, a smattering of education meant 
freedom from all toil thenceforth. The trouble with the 
whole plan was the one which has hampered progress ever 
since. It opened no new field for the activities of the negro, 
and, in far too many instances, entirely unfitted him for the 
sphere for which his circumstances as well as his nature and 
capabilities best prepared him. At best the education given 
was, as might be expected, of a merely superficial kind and 
would have been insufficient under the most favorable cir- 
cumstances. Upon the negro it was in most cases pro- 
ductive of little if any good. 

Much complaint was made of opposition to negro educa- 
tion on the part of the native whites. This was in great 
part due to the bureau and to the teachers in the schools. 
From the beginning there was opposition among the lower 

negroes, pathetic in its utter misunderstanding on the part of both 
teacher and taught of the realities which had to be faced : 

" The benefits of education are opened to old and young, and it is no 
infrequent occurrence to witness, in the same rooms and pursuing the 
same studies, the child and the parent — youth and gray hairs, all eagerly 
grasping for that which obtained, they are intellectually regenerated 
and are then prepared to enter the new career of life so long a sealed 
path to them. 

"As an evidence of the great interest manifested for acquiring knowl- 
edge, an instance, probably never before equalled in the history of 
education, is to be found in one of the schools of this State, where 
side by side sit representatives of four generations in a direct line, 
viz. : a child six years old, her mother, grandmother, and great- 
grandmother, the latter over seventy-five years of age. All commenced 
their alphabet together, and now each can read the Bible fluently." 


element and a general disbelief among all classes that much 
good would result from the attempt to educate the freed- 
men, but among the influential and thinking people of the 
State there was no hostility, and it was favored by them 
rather than otherwise, provided that they were not taxed to 
pay for it. It was the fault of the bureau that this class 
was not actively enlisted in the cause of colored education. 
It was also constantly charged, and with truth, that the 
negro school houses were often burned by white people, 
but it was not generally recognized that the true explanation 
of these demonstrations of hostility was that they were di- 
rected not against the schools, but against the Union 
League, which, in many cases, used the school houses for 
meetings. The school house thus became the center of 
political activity among the negroes, to say nothing of its 
being also the source of much violence and crime. 

But the explanation of the hostility which later devel- 
oped towards colored education, as carried on under the 
auspices of the bureau, is easily to be found. With a due 
appreciation of the courage, devotion, and often the self- 
sacrifice of the teachers frorp the North, one is still forced 
to the conclusion that, as a class, they lacked moderation, 
tact, knowledge of the real condition and needs of the negro, 
and, in far too many cases, that most priceless possession, 
common sense. They were free in their criticism of the 
South and frank in expression of their dislike for Southern 
people. They were indiscreet in public speeches and per- 
sistently sought to antagonize the negroes against the white 
people of the South. They interfered with labor, particu- 
larly by influencing house servants so as to create discon- 
tent with their surroundings, and with this, they encour- 
aged, directly or indirectly, insolence to employers. They 
lived often on terms of absolute equality with the negroes 
and complained that they were not received socially. Fin- 


ally, in some instances, they were of bad character.' These 
things were nearly all matters within their own discretion. 
They were not crimes, but simply mistakes fatal to any 
manifestation of sympathy on the part of the majority of 
the white people of the State. They are stated, not as ac- 
cusations, but only by way of explanation of the feeling 
towards bureau education. And so was lost the valuable 
ally that the white people of the State would have proved. 

After all, however, the main objection to the school work 
was not this phase of it, but the growing dislike for the 
bureau, the distrust of its methods, the coming of the negro 
into politics, and the apparent effect of the so-called educa- 
tion upon him. In the face of all these things it is not re- 
markable that bitter prejudice should have been aroused 
among the white people. In addition, there was a strong 
feeling that the North, having freed the slaves and deprived 
the South of the power to settle the future relations of the 
two races, was thereby charged with their education. Con- 
sequently by 1868, the prevailing attitude was one of indif- 
ference, varied in many cases by violent hostility. 

The statement is constantly made that the bureau began 
the public school system in the South. Whatever it did in 
other States, and it is by no means clear that any are in- 
debted to it to any great extent,^ this was not the case in 
North Carolina and any statement of the kind displays 
only ignorance on the part of the author.® No direct in- 

1 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 37. This statement is 
made upon the additional authority of information from many persons 
of entire reliability. 

^ Peirce, The Freedmen's Bureau, pp. 85-86. 

' General Howard in his Autobiography, p. 338, asserts : " It is a 
wonderful thing to recall that North Carolina had never had before 
that time a free school system even for white pupils, and there was 
then no publication in the State devoted to popular education. The 


fluence of the bureau affected the provision for public edu- 
cation in the constitution of 1868. The former constitution 
also contained a provision for schools and, had the bureau 
never existed, it would still be found there. The State had 
long been committed to public education. 

In a final estimate of the educational work of the bureau, 
great praise must be given for the zeal and activity with 
which it was carried on. The great defects of the system 
were, as elsewhere in the bureau, largely the result of ignor- 
ance and inefficiency. Owing to this it is doubtful if the 
negroes received directly from the bureau much permanent 
benefit. Certainly, so far as concerned the attitude of the 
white people of the State towards negro education, it was 
productive of direct injury from which recovery was very 
slow, if indeed it has ever come. 


No more difficult task can confront the historical inves- 
tigator than an attempt to form a just estimate of the work, 
character, and general influence of the Freedmen's Bureau. 
Possibly no agency of Reconstruction excited more preju- 
dice among the white people of the South regardless of 
political opinions; probably none more justly deserved criti- 
cism and condemnation. That it accomplished much good 
is undeniable, but that it was of unmixed benefit, or prob- 
ably even that it accomplished more for the benefit than for 
the injury of either race, is a delusion, carefully fostered 
by its own officers and to be found only in the minds of an 

death of slavery unfolded the wings of knowledge for both black and 
white to brighten all the future of the ' Old North State.' " 

From 1840 to 1865 North CaroHna had a system of common schools 
in operation, with Calvin H. Wiley, after 1852, as Superintendent of 
Public Instruction, and ■ about $255,000 was expended yearly for their 
stTpport. In i860, there were 2,854 schools, 2,164 licensed teachers, and 
135.479 pupils. 


over-credulous portion of the public mainly in one section 
of the country and that the one knowing least about actual 
conditions in the South. 

A summary of its work in North Carolina will show its 
best and its worst features. As has been seen, four objects 
were stated by Colonel Whittlesey when he took charge, 
(i) the relief of the destitute, (2) protection of the f reed- 
men, (3) assistance of the freedmen in obtaining employ- 
ment, and (4) education. Regarding the first, it is found 
that great relief was furnished by the bureau during its 
operations and that hundreds and probably thousands were 
thus kept from suffering and starvation. And yet it is 
clear that it encouraged dependence on the part of freed- 
men, was a cause of considerable confusion in labor matters 
upon which the prosperity of both races rested, and gave 
opportunity for extravagance and fraud on the part of the 
agents. In this connection mention must be made of the 
scandal in bureau affairs in the State in 1866. 

In the spring of that year, in response to orders from 
the President, General James B. Steedman and General J. 
S. Fullerton made a tour of the South for the purpose of 
investigating the work and administration of the bureau. 
Their report in relation to bureau affairs in North Carolina 
was a most severe indictment of many of its officials, in- 
cluding Colonel Whittlesey.^ They reported that feeling in 
the State against the bureau was most intense and general 
and was probably due to the misconduct of its officers, many 
of whom were working plantations, running sawmills, and, 
with all the advantages which their position gave them, in 
many other ways coming into direct business competition 
with citizens employing colored labor. Complaint was also 
made of the arbitrary methods of the officials and of their 

' The report is to be found in the Sentinel of May 3, 1866. 


ignorance and disregard of local laws and customs. Col- 
onel Whittlesey was accused of making a false report to 
them in regard to the matters referred to, and also of being 
engaged in farming in Pitt County. Similar charges were 
made against Captain F. A. Seeley, superintendent of the 
eastern district. Captain Isaac Rosekrans was accused of 
theft, as was G. O. Glavis, an army chaplain and superin- 
tendent of the central district. Charges of cruelty and ex- 
tortion were made against one Fitz, assistant superintendent 
of the Trent River settlement, opposite New Bern. The 
charge was made that Captain Horace James, formerly 
superintendent of the eastern district, with an employee, 
had killed a negro convict without any action's being taken 
against them. Other officials were charged with various 
offences. Major Clinton A. Cilley, superintendent of the 
western district, was mentioned as a bright exception and 
was highly commended.^ Vehement denials were made by 
those accused, and it was later clearly shown that the ex- 
amination had been very hasty and inadequate and that 
many errors had been made.^ It is also true that the in- 
spectors had been sent for the purpose of gathering dam- 
aging evidence against the bureau to use as proof of the 
charges President Johnson had made in his veto of the sec- 
ond bureau act, and that, on this account, their report must 
be taken with a grain of salt. But it is also evident that far 
too much of it was true.* 

' Major Cilley was a Democrat and not at all popular with his col- 
leagues of the bureau. 

2 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 123, 39 Cong., i sess. 

' The following is an extract from the report, which gives an idea 
of the methods of some of the bureau officials : 

" In one of our interviews with the freedmen at New Bern, some of 
them who were employed in the commissary department of the bureau, 
stated that rations in bulk had been taken from the supply warehouse 


General Howard at once declared that the connection of 
bureau officials with industry was beneficial and that he had 
encouraged it. He further made the astonishing statement 
that every accusation against the bureau or against its offi- 
cials was false/ Opinion in the State was divided on the 
question of the connection of bureau officials with agri- 
culture, but, among other papers, the Sentinel took the 
ground that nothing could be said against it. But, on May 
21, General Howard prohibited bureau officials from en- 
gaging in business. General F. D. Sewall was also sent by 
General Howard to inspect and report on the condition and 
work of the bureau in the State. His report shows utter 
carelessness on the part of the officials, but he praised the 
institution in no uncertain terms, more than seems deserved 
from his own statements of fact, which were as biased in 
favor of the bureau as those of Generals Steedman and Ful- 
lerton had been against it.^ 

at unusual hours, before the doors were opened for the transaction of 
business, and hauled off in carts and wagons, and that on one occasion 
they had followed a cart containing four barrels of pork, to see if it 
went to the freedmen's ration-house. They ascertained that it did not. 
We investigated the case. Captain Rosekrans stated that he knew 
nothing about it. His brother, a citizen, whom he has employed to act 
as commissary sergeant, stated that the four barrels alluded to were 
ordered by himself to be taken from the store-house to the building 
from which rations are issued to the freedmen, but that the driver of 
the cart had made a mistake and took the pork to the wrong place, a 
provision store kept by Mr. P. Merlin, and immediately upon discover- 
ing the mistake he had it rectified and the pork returned to the store- 
house. Afterwards we called upon Mr. Merlin, who stated that at 
about the time Mr. Rosekrans said that the pork had been sent by mis- 
take to his store, he borrowed four barrels of pork from Captain Rose- 
krans, which he had not yet returned. He also stated that Captain 
Rosekrans on that day, and after his examination before us, called at 
his store and requested him to return the four barrels of pork imme- 
diately." Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., p. 68. 

' Howard to Rev. George Whipple, Standard, May 23, 1866. 

2 Ho. Ex. Docs., no. 120, 39 Cong., i sess., pp. 31-39. 


Colonel Whittlesey at first said that he had no time to 
answer such charges, but both time and opportunity were 
given him, for the President on May i6 directed the arrest 
and trial by court martial of all the accused, including such 
citizens as were in business partnerships with bureau offi- 
cials. Few were convicted,^ but suspicion of the bureau 
remained, and with cause." General Howard was directed 
by the court martial to censure Colonel Whittlesey, but said 
the direction to censure was sufficient, and, refusing to obey 
the order, recalled him at once to Washington where he 
gave him duties at bureau headquarters. No stain what- 
ever attaches to Colonel Whittlesey's name, and, during his 
whole administration, he acted as fairly and impartially as 
his bias for the negro would allow him. 

In the matter of protection of the freedmen, the bureau 
rendered a substantial service to the cause of justice to the 
negro, but here again another side, not so favorable, ap- 
pears. Injustice to the white people was common, and a 
false idea of freedom and of their position was instilled 
into the minds of the freedmen to their later detriment. 

Little can be said in criticism of the bureau's assistance 
to the freedmen in securing employment, except that it en- 
couraged dependence and that, through its operations, the 
negroes were led to distrust the Southern whites.^ If the 

' The author has been unable to discover the result of all these trials. 
Glavis was convicted on several counts and was dismissed from the 
service. Nation, December 20, 1866. 

' George O. Sanderson, of Massachusetts, for two years superinten- 
dent of the colony at Roanoke Island, testified before the Reconstruc- 
tion Committee that many agents in North Carolina were corrupt. At 
Roanoke Island, he said, a regular trade was carried on in Govern- 
ment supplies. Ho. Reports, no. 30, 39 Cong., i sess., pp. 179-180. 

• On October 12, 1865, when General Howard visited Raleigh, a pub- 
lic meeting was held. Among the speakers, two in particular con- 
demned the bureau as a bad influence in labor matters. These were 


charge before mentioned in this connection is true, the case 
is presented in a much worse light. 

Finally, in its educational activities, the bureau was of 
considerable assistance in encouraging negro education, but, 
even in this regard, it held out false hopes to the negroes, 
gave encouragement to false educational ideals which have 
not yet been entirely replaced by sound ones, and through 
fanaticism and lack of tact made many enemies for negro 
education in general. 

Apart from the direct objects of the bureau, it was active 
in a way that created the most intense hostility on the part 
of the white people. As early as September, 1865, its 
agents were busying themselves in a political way and pre- 
paring for the organization of the freedmen. This activity 
increased as time passed, and in 1867, the bureau agents 
were among the most active in extending the organization 
of the Union League and in arousing the negroes to politi- 
cal activity. An example of bureau methods was seen in 
Raleigh in 1867, when Dr. H. C. Vogell, a surgeon and 
bureau agent, issued a circular to the colored people advis- 
ing them to deal with certain merchants, presumably those 
favoring the reconstruction policy then in operation.^ 
Opinions may and do vary as to the correct view of the 
reconstruction measures, but there can be but one opinion 
of such an action as this. Political activity, particularly of 
the sort that strove to array race against race, was not the 
true policy, or even a defensible one, for the bureau. When 
it had come to this, it had outlived its usefulness and it was 
a good thing for black and white when it ceased to exist.^ 

Edwin G. Reade, president of the convention of 1865, and Alfred Dock- 
ery, a member of the same body, both inclining already to the Repub- 
lican party and both later to become radicals. Standard, Oct. 13, 1865. 

' Western Democrat, November 12, 1867. 

' Major H. C. Lawrence, a bureau agent, in his testimony before the 
Reconstruction Committee, said that the bureau was no longer needed. 


That the faults of the bureau were in the main due to the 
character of its officials is proved by the fact that, where 
the agents were men of character and ability, the bureau 
was an influence for good. This was true in a marked de- 
gree in Raleigh, Charlotte, Tarboro, Goldsboro, and Salis- 
bury/ But these were exceptional cases, and in general the 
officers were to be distinguished for ignorance and ineffi- 

Prejudice,^ often with a reasonable basis, existed towards 
the bureau from the autumn of 1865, and, though at a later 
period than that its services were often requested,^ by Jan- 
uary I, 1869, it had become utterly hateful to the great 
majority of the white people of the State, who witnessed 
its demise without regret and with no respect for the de- 

' Colonel J. V. Bomford in Raleigh, Captain John C. Barnett in 
Charlotte, Captain Teal in Goldsboro, and Major Clinton A. Cilley in 
Salisbury, were popular with both blacks and whites, and there was but 
little friction between the races while they were in charge. 

' As an example of the attitude of the press the following extract 
from the New Bern Commercial of May, 1866, is quoted : 

" The Freedmen's Bureau is an institution of doubtful utility and 
needs all proper investigation. It most certainly has a very bad repu- 
tation generally, whether deserved or not, and, if half that is reported 
of it be true, the sooner it is locked and laid aside, the better." 

' In a number of instances the assistance of the bureau was asked 
by the state or county governments for the suppression of violence on 
the part of the negroes. 

The Union League ^ 

The Union League was instituted in the North in 1862, 
when the cause of the Union was at its lowest ebb, with a 
view to organizing and strengthening loyal sentiment. The 
idea was popular and the society spread rapidly over the 
North, the local organizations being connected by a loose 
federation. Much credit is given' the organization for 
political effect when it was most needed. When the need 
disappeared, the various branches disbanded or tended to 
become social clubs composed of members of the same 
political affiliations. 

The society came to North Carolina with the Union 
armies and from time to time new members were admitted 
from the Union men in the State. A few negroes were 
also initiated. But no systematic attempt was made to ex- 
tend it widely until 1866 when it became evident that Con- 
gress would control Reconstruction in the interest of the 
Republican party, and that negro suffrage was inevitable. 
The agents of the Freedmen's Bureau had been actively at 
work among the negroes with a view to using them politi- 
cally if the opportunity should present itself, and had ex- 
tended their influence very widely among the newly-emanci- 
pated. They had, at the same time, done all in their power 
to alienate them from the native white population. In the 
process, they had learned much of the characteristics of 
the negroes and had become aware of their general insta- 

1 Reprinted from the Sewanee Review of Oct., 1912. 



bility. It was therefore clearly apparent that there was a 
necessity of taking further steps to control them; to bind 
them to the interest of the ambitious Northern politicians 
by something which would appeal to their pride and their 
emotions, and would at the same time organize them. The 
Union League furnished an ideal instrument through the 
effect of its ritual upon the ignorant and emotional negro 
and through the discipline of its organization. It was for 
this reason the chosen instrument of the carpet-baggers to 
carry on the work so well begun by the Freedmen's Bureau, 
and it thus became the second handmaid of Radicalism in 
the reconstruction of the State. Introduced by carpet- 
baggers, it was, for the entire period of its existence in 
North Carolina, controlled by them, chiefly for their own 
aggrandizement, and for that reason alone would have 
won the undying hatred of the native white population. In 
its development, however, it gave additional and abundant 
evidence of its entire unworthiness, and its very name has 
remained a symbol of all that was evil in Reconstruction. 

During the latter part of 1866 and the early months of 
1867, a campaign of extension was entered upon. This 
was entirely in the hands of the aliens, for, while nearly 
every native white Republican joined to prove his "loyalty" 
and new-found devotion to the Union, the more respectable 
element soon became disgusted, and those who had joined 
from selfish motives soon found that whatever hopes they 
might have cherished of gaining advancement through the 
power of the organization were limited by the wishes and 
aspirations of the carpetbaggers who regarded the organi- 
zation as a personal asset and employed it accordingly. It 
often suited them to allow the election of natives to im- 
portant positions, but frequently the natives got only what 
was left. Even when the position was thus secured, more 
frequently than not, there was recognition of the fact that 



it was due to the grace of the aliens, and in consequence, 
their influence was preponderant in the conduct of the office. 
In the western part of the State, the League never became 
so important a factor because of the small negro population, 
the large number of native white Republicans, and also be- 
cause here were to be found few of the carpetbaggers. 
Western Republicans joined the League, but it was never 
popular, and the part of its history that is of importance is 
confined chiefly to the central and eastern parts of the State. 
The work of extension proceeded rapidly and by April, 
1867, the State was well organized,^ and by August of the 
same year, practically every negro who would vote at the 
approaching election was an enthusiastic member of the 
League. Some few declined to join, preferring to be guided 
by their former owners in their entrance to political life. 
This species of ingratitude, not to say treason, for so it was 
regarded by the carpetbaggers, was seen to be a very dan- 
gerous menace to the political solidarity of the race, and 
the colored members of the League were not only encour- 
aged but ordered to deal with such unruly members of the 
race in a way that would convince them of the wisdom of 
yielding to Northern guidance and of acceptance of the 
planned hostility to the whites. The treatment accorded 
the dissenters was usually effective and a very small pro- 
portion of the negroes dared remain out of accord with the 
majority of their color. Those who did were subjected to 
every type of violence and intimidation. In Wilmington, a 
negro was severely whipped by order of the League.^ In 
Edgecombe, there was a similar case. In Franklin county, 
in 1868, the League sent a deputation to attack a reputable 
white farmer who had advised a servant, who had come to 

' Conway Report. 

' Sentinel, July 20, 1868. 


him for counsel, not to join.^ Instances of this sort might 
be multiplied indefinitely for they occurred all over the 
State. Notices containing threats were posted,^ and politi- 
cal addresses abounded in suggestions of violence.'' Strict 

• Sentinel, Aug. 21, 1868. 

' An example of this is seen in the following notice which was 
posted on the door of a Conservative negro in Hillsboro : 


"A d — n Concurvitive . . . , we understand you ware out with Con- 
curvitive lys, but d — ^^n your time if you don't look out you will catch 
h— 1 shure. We herd you come very near catching it in Sharlot and if 
you don't mind you will catch it in Hills Boro shure enough and that 
Right. If your d — n Concervitive friends can protect you, you had 
better stick near to them in that hour for great will be your Desterny. 
This is the last of Our example. The next time will tell you your 
will on good behavior. 

" Postscript. You mind me of the sun of Esaw and who sold his 
birth Right for one mossel of meat and so now you have sold your 
wife and children and yourself for a drink of Liquers and have come 
to be a Conservitive boot licker. 

" Thorn, I would not give a d — n for your Back in a few days ; you 
Conservitive . . . ." Sentinel, April 10, 1868. 

' The following is a characteristic example : 

" Nov. 4, 1867. 
"Genlman of Cole Rain, Bertie County. 

"Voters of Weston Districts will Bare in mind that the (2) Dela- 
gats now is Orthorised for the frend of all collars, and that contains 
Black and White Genlmans. Want you all To Du the Best for them 
that you can for this Country is in such mens hands like them and I 
know that you all Have sum under-standing as Well as me. And if 
you have not for Gods Sacke go to sum Person that you know will 
Correct you. if you Du not we are Hunted fer Ever. But you all 
know That your self and farther were genlmans — how can you vote for 
a man whar hav had your labor all your Days and thar ar not meny 
That will give you and mee justice, how can a collard man vote any 
other way only fur a cullard man at this time, and after the Constitu- 
tion then we Will send any Person that we Pleas White or cullard. 
But for this time try and make the Best step that you can. if thar 
should Bee any cullard Person that wants to vote A Democratic vote, 


orders were given members by their leaders not to attend 
Conservative meetings/ To assist in controlling the men, 
a league was established for negro women who bound them- 
selves not to marry or otherwise associate with men who 
were not members of the League.^ Thus, though boasting 
of the liberality of their ideas, and condemning the tendency 
of the South to resent differences of opinion in matters 
political, the carpetbaggers, from the beginning, not only 
discouraged but prevented any possibility of the negroes' 
exercising any independence in the enjoyment of the fran- 
chise. That, of course, was not the purpose of Reconstruc- 
tion and they cannot be very severely condemned, when 
their character is remembered, for refraining at the be- 
ginning from overturning a policy intended mainly to se- 
cure party supremacy. Such a thing was scarcely to be ex- 
pected from their kind, and therefore the chief condemna- 
tion must be directed against the policy itself and against 
the bare- faced hypocrisy which accompanied its execution. 
The plan looked simply to a complete and unyielding or- 
ganization which should force the negroes to register; 
arouse them to a high pitch of enthusiasm for the Repub- 
lican party and a corresponding degree of hostility against 
the Conservatives, and for that matter, in many cases, 
against all the white natives ; lead them to the polls in an un- 
broken phalanx which should secure Republican supremacy 
in the State and assist in preserving it in the nation ; and in 
the process, put into positions of honor, trust, and profit 

frail him untill he Knows Northing, if you Du that Will Bee just 
like thay served them in Veriginia & if thar shud Bee a man of such 
a Carractar make him shure fur a while. 

Thes are able Dellagats 

Mr. Parker D. Robbins. 
Briant Gee." 

1 Sentinel, April 17, 1868. " Ibid.. April 25, 1868. 


(with due emphasis upon the latter), the patriotic would-be 
statesmen who had dominated the organization from the 
beginning. Never was a political plan carried out with 
greater temporary success, for never were the members of a 
political organization so unfitted through ignorance for the 
privilege of suffrage, and therefore, unmoved by argument, 
they were as easily handled as so many sheep. It is no ex- 
aggeration to say that out of the Union League to a great 
extent grew the Solid South. The native white people from 
it conceived a dread of Republican supremacy which be- 
came inseparably connected in their minds with negro domi- 
nation, and learned from it a lesson in political organiza- 
tion which has not yet been forgotten. 

The results of the League organization are thus seen 
somewhat clearly, as well as the purposes of those conduct- 
ing it. But it is very evident from a study of its constitu- 
tion and ritual that its career in the South was a perversion 
of the intent of its founders, and that nothing was further 
from their minds than the violence and crime with which its 
name is inseparably connected. It is therefore very diffi- 
cult for one who knows the organization only through these 
documents to understand the positive detestation in which 
its memory is held. That is the result of its later develop- 
ment, due in large part to the bad character of the white 
leaders, and the license into which liberty soon developed 
with the negroes. It is true that only in scattered cases is 
there proof that the League in council resolved upon the 
commission of crimes, though there are more instances of 
this than are usually known. But it is a fact established be- 
yond question that the members of the organization very 
frequently acted together in crime and that the meetings 
were the occasion for violent and incendiary speeches in- 
tended and calculated to arouse the negroes against the 
whites at whatever cost, and that in them all sorts of rash 



and extreme statements and violent threats were made.^ 
It is not wonderful then that the ignorant and emotional 
negroes should go away with the firm belief that the gospel 
of "kill and burn," which was so constantly preached by 
their leaders, was indeed a command with final authority 
behind it. This was emphasized by the character of the 
literature sent out by the national organization. Much of 
this was incendiary; all of it was intended to arouse hos- 
tility against political opponents.^ 

The element of secrecy in the League was a powerful 
factor in making it irresistibly attractive to the negro. The 
ceremony of initiation was skilfully devised to heighten this 
feeling. Professor Fleming aptly expresses it in saying, 
" It made him feel fearfully good from his head to his 
heels." ^ The meetings were always held at night, not only 
to secure full attendance, but because their effect was thereby 
greatly increased. The night, too, was the time that the 
negroes regarded as particularly their own. The chief de- 
light of the freedmen was to be found in the initiations. 
In outline they were as follows: The council assembled in 
the hall, usually a school house or church,* and the assistant 
vice-president went to an ante-room where he addressed the 
candidates, describing the purposes of the order as the pre- 

' A young man in 'Raleigh who was noted for his power of mimicry 
went disguised night after night to the League meetings. His testi- 
mony was conclusive as to the character of those he visited. Infor- 
mation constantly leaked in other ways as well. But the author has 
been unable to persuade any member of the League to say anything 
good or bad about the organization. 

' The most widely distributed of these documents was a " loyal cate- 
chism," prepared for the use of the negroes. 

' Fleming, Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama, p. SS9- 

* This explains the burning of so many schools and churches by the 

white people. The number, however, for North Carolina was vastly 



servation of liberty, the perpetuation of the Union, the 
maintainance of the supremacy of the laws and the Consti- 
tution, the securing of ascendency of American institutions, 
the protection of loyal men, particularly of members of the 
League, the elevation and education of labor and laboring 
men, and the giving of instruction in citizenship. The can- 
didates then declared their attachment to the principles of 
the Declaration of Independence and their allegiance to the 
United States, pledging themselves to resist all attempts to 
overthrow it, to obey all rules and orders of the League, 
and to keep inviolate all its secrets. The neophytes were 
then led into the council room where there was an altar, 
draped with the United States flag, with the Bible, the 
Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution resting 
open upon it. Other emblems placed in prominent positions 
were a censer of incense, sword, gavel, ballot-box, sickle, 
shuttle, anvil, and other emblems of industry. " Hail Co- 
lumbia " and " The Star Spangled Banner " were then 
sung, and the president made a prescribed address which 
was entirely beyond the comprehension of the freedmen. 
A prayer for the loyal people of the United States ^ and 
the members of the League followed, after which the " fire 
of liberty " was lighted on the altar and the neophytes 
placed their hands upon the flag and took the oath of alle- 
giance to the United States, one to support only " reliable 
Union men and supporters of the government " for any 
office, and furthermore pledged themselves, if elected to any 
office, to carry out the objects and principles of the League. 
Secrecy and protection to brother leaguers were also sworn. 
The entire series of oaths having been re-affirmed, they 
were then given the " Freedmen's Pledge," to defend and 

' This was based upon the prayer for Congress in the Book of 
Common Prayer. 


perpetuate freedom, and then, with all, including the mem- 
bers of the council grouped about the altar, the president 
made a charge containing the explanation of the more im- 
portant symbols. The signs ^ having been given, the cere- 
mony ended. 

The organization in the South vi^as very complete and 
consisted of a national council ^ and one council for 
each State and territory with subordinate councils in each. 
The constitution of the national council was very elaborate 
but was never of any great importance as the work of the 
League was distinctly of a local nature. The state council 
was composed of representatives from the subordinate 
councils and had general supervision and direction of the 
League within the State. The officers were president, vice- 
presidents, recording and corresponding secretaries, and 
treasurer, with an executive committee composed of mem- 
bers from each judicial district. Meetings were held annu- 
ally unless called more frequently. Subordinate councils 
were established by the president through a deputy for each 
county and certain deputies for the State at large. All 
" loyal " citizens of eighteen years of age or over were 
eligible. New members were elected by a three-fourths 
vote of those present. The officers of a local council were 

' To pass as a member when questioned, give " Four L's " as 
follows : Right hand raised to Heaven, thumb and third finger touch- 
ing their ends over the palm, pronounce " Liberty." Bringing the hand 
down over the shoulder, pronounce " Lincoln." Dropping the hand 
open at side, pronounce " Loyal." With hand and fingers downward in 
the chest, the thumb thrust into the vest or waistband across the body, 
pronounce " League." 

' North Carolina regularly sent representatives to the national coun- 
cil. In 1867, James H. Harris was Grand Marshal and John L. Hays 
and David Heaton were members of the executive committee. In 1870, 
General M. S. Littlefield presided over the meeting which was held at 
Long Branch. 


president, vice-president, treasurer, secretary, marshal, her- 
ald, sentinel, and chaplain. 

So far as can be discovered, Albion W. Tourgee, who in 
1866, organized the League in Guilford, Alamance, and the 
adjoining counties, was the first president of the state coun- 
cil/ He was succeeded by William W. Holden, who held 
the office until he became governor. Upon his resignation. 
General M. S. Littlefield became president, but the negroes 
generally were never told of the change and continued to 
regard Governor Holden as their head as long as the League 
lasted. In the same way, they regarded the Standard as 
the governor's mouthpiece and so the organ of the League. 
Consequently all the violent demands and threats of that 
paper were regarded as authoritative utterances by such of 
the negro members as it reached. All of this was no doubt 
the intention of the leaders, who knew that the governor's 
name and official position would lend importance to the 
League and, hence, to themselves. His constant pardoning 
of members of the order, guilty and convicted of crime, 
strengthened this belief, which was not entirely confined to 
negroes, for white men applied to him for charters as late 
as May, 1869,' and Jordan Potter, of Granville, who suc- 
ceeded James H. Harris as vice-president of the state coun- 
cil, said publicly and constantl)'- that Governor Holden was 
still president in 1870.^ Governor Holden authorized the 
Standard to state that he had resigned and this was prob- 
ably the truth, but he constantly alluded to the fact that he 
had at his call and absolute disposal eighty thousand men,* 
and there is no doubt that his power over the League re- 

1 Senate Report, no. i, pp. 147, 269, 42 Cong,, i sess. 
' Whittemore to Holden, Executive Correspondence. 
^Sentinel, Feb. 18, 1870, 
* Senate Report, no. i, p. 22, 42 Cong., 2 sess. 


mained as strong as though he were its head. Therefore, 
he was in a great measure held responsible for its acts and, 
inasmuch as he could control its activities, justly so. Even 
many of the Republicans believed that he had influenced the 
League to nominate persons for office whom he could con- 
trol for unworthy purposes.^ This was, however, scarcely 

There are no accurate sources of information as to the 
membership of the League in North Carolina, It is safe to 
say that it had over ninety per cent of the negro voters and 
some who were younger. In the west, it had at first a large 
white membership. On August i, 1867, Buncombe county 
had nineteen councils and 1,800 members.^ Rutherford 
had 1,200 members;^ and Burke, Lincoln, and Cleveland 
were all well organized; and for a time, the League was 
strong in a number of other western counties. Governor 
Holden's estimate for the whole State has l^een mentioned. 
In 1869, the Standard placed the total membership at 70,- 
000,* and this was no overestimate, though it must be re- 
membered that by now most of the white members had 
withdrawn and the League was practically dead in the west. 

Soon after the organization of the League, a step was 
taken which was calculated to arouse the sharpest hostility 
among the white natives. In 1867, arms were procured and 
many local councils were converted into military companies 
which were drilled constantly. They speedily became a 
menace to the peace and good order of their respective com- 
munities. Often, these drills took place on the public roads 

' An example of this feeling is to be seen in the testimony of Judge 
George W. Brooks before the Senate " Outrage " Committee. Senate 
Report, mo. I, p. 282, 42 Cong., i sess. 

" Standard, Sept. 14, 1867. 

^ Senate Report, no. i, p. 130, 42 Cong., i sess. 

• Issue of August 26, 1869. 


and, at such times, armed sentinels were posted on both 
sides to turn back anyone who might come up.^ Lawless- 
ness of this sort, which was entirely without remedy by 
legal means, greatly increased the public hostility already 
felt. Public parades were early among the activities of the 
councils and were of great assistance in adding to member- 
ship, for never before had the negroes been given the op- 
portunity to take part in demonstrations of the kind and 
they appealed irresistibly to their nature. The processions 
in many cases now became of a military character and the 
freedmen were entirely captivated. The effect upon the 
mass of the white population can readily be conceived. In 
any event, trouble was to have been expected and when the 
fact is added that a procession of armed negroes was al- 
ways seeking trouble, it is no matter for wonder that they 
often found it and that mild riots frequently resulted. It 
speaks well for the self-restraint of the average citizen of 
the State that nothing worse happened, especially in such 
cases as when an entire council in Raleigh in 1868 marched 
under arms to register. Fear of what the future held in 
store increased and was soon justified, for as the League 
became conscious of its strength, it began to take matters 
into its own hands. It became increasingly difficult and 
dangerous to arrest a member, and, once arrested, more 
difficult to hold him. In Chatham County on two different 
occasions the League opened the jail and released its mem- 
bers who were imprisoned, and in many places, prisoners 
were taken from the arresting officer. When, in spite of 
the activity, in their behalf,^ which was rather usual on the 
part of the judges, conviction was secured, there was al- 

' Sentinel, Aug. 19, 1869. This statement has been confirmed to the 
author by the testimony of personal witnesses. 
' Judge Tourgee, Judge Thomas, and Judge Watts were all accused 

of this tendency. 


most the certainty of a pardon from Governor Holden. 
In December, 1869, at Wilson court, in the case of two 
members of the League who were indicted for whipping a 
negro for voting the Conservative ticket, Judge Thomas 
refused to admit any evidence to show that the League 
had ordered the whipping, and sentenced them, when con- 
victed, to thirty and sixty days' imprisonment respectively. 
They were immediately pardoned by the governor. In one 
western case, the convicts were pardoned before they 
reached Raleigh. '^ The Leaguers as well as the Conserva- 
tives soon came to believe that the governor had promised 
immunity from punishment. 

The most common of the graver outrages committed by 
the negroes was barn-burning. The full seriousness of this 
offence can be justly estimated only when the economic 
condition of the people is realized. The loss of a bam, 
more frequently than not, meant complete ruin and was 
often accompanied by the menace of absolute want of food. 
In almost every county in the State, there were cases of 
the sort, and there is a mass of evidence which proves con- 
clusively that in many instances it had been decided upon in 
a meeting of the League, and in many more, that it had 
been done by the members under the influence of the teach- 
ings they received in the councils. Often, naturally, it was 
the result of some private grudge. The counties that suf- 
fered most were Orange, Caswell, Granville, Chatham, 
Edgecombe, Wake, Jones, and Gaston. In the last-men- 
tioned county, there were twenty-eight cases in one week.^ 
Edgecombe in two months in 1869 lost two churches, sev- 
eral cotton gins, a cotton factory, and a number of bams 
and dwellings. Most of these could be traced to, negro in- 

1 Senate Report, no. i, p. 315, 42 Cong., i sess, 
" Ibid., p. 365, 42 Cong., I sess. Shotwell MS. 


cendiaries/ Granville County lost by incendiaries during 
1869 about one hundred thousand dollars. In Orange, 
there were many scattered cases during 1868 and 1869. In 
the latter year, three barns were burned at one time in sight 
of each other.^ The perpetrators, two negroes named Mor- 
row, were hanged by the Ku Klux for this offence com- 
bined with threats they had made against women in the 
community. The Chatham and Wake barn-burners, who 
were particularly active, said that the burning had been 
ordered by Governor Holden." This was of course not 
true, but it gives an insight into League methods. 

It is not to be supposed that the members of the League 
confined themselves to politics and the burning of property. 
More profitable employment was popular. Ever since 
emancipation, theft by the freedmen had increased, but this 
was caused only by the nature and needs of the negro. The 
propensity was now organized by the League, and live 
stock became increasingly unsafe in the neighborhood of 
the meeting place of a council, and movable property of 
all sorts was stolen to such an extent that the burden be- 
came almost unendurable.* It is not in any degree likely 

' Tarhoro Southerner, Nov. 18, 1869. 

- Senate Report, no. i, p. 191, 42 Cong., i sess. 

' Sentinel, Dec. 23, 1870. Senate Report, no. i, pt. 2, p. 41, 42 Cong., 
1 sess. 

* In the beginning the white people of the State had none of the 
hatred of the Union League which developed later. It was regarded 
as a cause of the general demoralization of the negro as a laborer, and 
as a contributing cause to the increase of theft by the colored popula- 
tion, but responsibility for more serious offences was not placed upon it. 
The following extract from a collection of semi-humorous essays writ- 
ten about this time will illustrate this : 

" The order was subdivided into neighborhood organizations, and the 
heads of these were white men, while their vertebral force was re- 
cruited from the voting population above described, the chief being as 
completely en rapport with the African brother as if he had been in 


that the League as an organization often voted, counseled, 
or gave formal approval to such actions. It is certain, 
however, that its very existence, the character of its lead- 
ers, and the sort of emotional stimulation given the negroes 
at the meetings were responsible for much of the theft as 
well as the injury to property which so distinguished the 
period. And before a great while, the League got the 
credit for every violation of the law, even though com- 
mitted by white men who were not members. 

Acts of personal violence by members upon white people 
were by no means unknown, but in general, the organization 
worked in secret. It seldom gave warnings such as were 
later employed by the Ku Klux, and rarely intimated the 
source of any violence committed. Much of its activity was 
deliberately inspired by its leaders; more, probably, was 
sheer unprovoked deviltry, the responsibility for which be- 
longs nevertheless to the leaders who had begun the move- 
ment. In Anson County, the members of the Leagxte en- 
tered into an agreement for murder and robbery.^ In Edge- 
combe, there was a similar agreement.^ Murder was com- 
mitted by armed bands of negroes a number of times, 
notably of Colonel John H. Nethercutt and his wife in 

truth his congener and not simply dependent upon him for patronage. 
Their locus in quo was nowhere and everywhere — each city and town 
numbering its lodges and sub-lodges, and the diffusion thereof, through- 
out the agricultural districts, being in the somewhat extravagant ratio 
of one to the square mile. Their object was plunder. Their raids, 
directed against the ' white trash,' contemplated everything that might 
be classed under the term commissaries, and ranged from a pig-pen to 
a well-grown tuber. The goods and chattels of the unreconstructed 
were, by Act of Congress, their lawful prey, and if their foraging 
expeditions were conducted by moonlight it was from constitutional 
reasons and not from any well-grounded fear of resistance on the part 
of the intimidated whites." 

* Wadesboro Argus, June 2, 1868. 

' Sentinel, May 13, 1867. 


Jones in 1867; of the entire Foscue family in Jones in 1869; 
of Mr. Green in Jones in 1869; and of Willis Briley in Pitt 
in 1869. These two counties each had many councils of 
the League which had almost entirely corrupted the negro 
population. If not directly responsible, their influence un- 
doubtedly brought about the condition of affairs which 
made such happenings possible. Of protection by the 
courts there was practically none, even in the rare cases 
where individuals were detected. At first, some attempt 
was made by white Conservatives to check the growth and 
activity of the organization by refusal of employment to 
all its members. But it soon became evident that this 
meant refusal to employ colored labor at all, and the time 
came when the employing class became suppliants, so 
sharply was the need of laborers felt. Throughout its ex- 
istence, the League exerted in one way or another an evil 
influence upon labor,' and this was not the least important 
count in the indictment brought against it in the State. 
Add the alarming fact that life and property almost totally 
lost security in the larger portion of the State, and wonder 
ceases that respect for the courts and the law began to dis- 
appear, and that counter-organization followed, equally be- 
yond the law, but intended to preserve public order. A re- 
taliation so violent, and a retribution so swift came that in 
a very short time after the appearance of the Ku Klux, the 
activities of the League became beautifully less, and it van- 
ished altogether by the end of 1870. 

1 Senate Report, no. i, p. 207. 42 Cong., i sess. 


The Republican Regime 
i. inauguration of the holden administration 

Governor Holden in his inaugural address laid down 
the doctrine that no part in government should be played 
by those who had opposed Reconstruction. He then advo- 
cated and threatened the use o£ force by the state admin- 
istration. These two ideas, with his defence of the carpet- 
baggers, were prophetic of the character of his administra- 
tion, for it was bitterly partisan throughout, force was em- 
ployed to uphold it, and it was entirely controlled by carpet- 
baggers. With the one exception of John Pool, who was, 
throughout his administration, his evil genius, no one had 
any such influence upon him as was exerted by the corrupt 
gang of aliens who infested the State and surrounded him. 
All played upon his ambition, and there lay his most fatal 
weakness. Into their hands he committed his future, be- 
lieving that high national honors were soon to be his, and 
the result was not only disastrous to himself, but well-nigh 
ruinous to the State. 

The first matter to receive the attention of the governor 
was, as was to be expected, the filling of such offices as lay 
within his gift. At first there were only justices of the 
peace to be chosen and the governor busied himself with 
the appointments, keeping clearly in mind their political 
value, and taking care that the negroes obtained their full 
share of these cheap honors. The office of magistrate in 



North Carolina had always been one of honor and im- 
portance. It now became a by-word and a reproach. Gov- 
ernor Holden's appointments were notoriously poor and, in 
the main, the white men appointed were not much more 
fitted to discharge the duties of the office than were the ne- 
groes. Hundreds of them could not read or write and 
prisoners often had to make out the papers to which the 
justice laboriously affixed his mark.^ Much of the later 
trouble in the administration of justice was due to these 
ignorant and often corrupt appointees of the governor. 

The towns next won the governor's attention and, with- 
out any authority, he commenced the appointment of 
mayors and commissioners for the various towns of the 
State. The municipal officers of Raleigh refused to yield 

1 The following are two examples of the learning of magistrates ap- 
pointed by Governor Holden : 

" Isaac saSSer j P. AuGest 

THE 29 1868 
I sertevfy that w p hittleley compelams that saide Wiles Grant has 
not wyork the Rod a Cordinly to law ant i hav yarned him a IsaaC 

SaSSer j. p." 

" Brunswick countey 
Nov. iSth, 1868. 
You Henry Kelly, special Constable, are hereby commanded in the 
name of the State personally to appear before me on the 28th day of 
November, 1868 at Fair Oaks Plantation, the person of Fred Shaw in 
a plea of debt of $6.58 due by him to Mrs. Clara Rosalfy. 
Herein fail not. 

Given under my hand and seal. E. M. Rosalfy, 

Justice of the Peace." 

A very interesting story is told of one of the new magistrates in Pitt 
county who went to town to take the oath of ofRce. He told the clerk 
that he wished to qualify. The clerk asked him what he meant, and 
upon his replying that he wished to be sworn in, said: "Yes, you can 
be sworn in, but all h— 1 could not qualify you." King, Sketches of Pitt 
County. A constable in the same county, being unable to procure a 
firearm, carried a grubbing-hoe as his official weapon. 


to the new administration which was headed by the gover- 
nor's brother-in-law. The governor then telegraphed to 
General Canby for a military force to seat his appointees.^ 
The next day he wired for the necessary force to oust the 
sheriff of New Hanover who also declined to recognize an 
appointee of the governor.^ General Canby declined to act 
in the Raleigh matter, stating it as his belief that the gov- 
ernor's action was illegal,^ but the new sheriff of New Han- 
over was installed by military force.* The sheriffs of Gran- 
ville, Randolph, and other counties refused to yield and in 
every case military force was employed.'^ The towns still 
held out and finally the legislature came to the governor's 
relief and vacated all the offices.'* This gave him a free 
hand and he gradually filled most of the town offices. The 
Orange County officials refused to yield and the attorney 
general carried the case to the Superior Court and Judge 
Tourgee decided against him. The governor also appointed 
new state proxies for the various railroads in which the 
State had stock and reorganization followed. New boards 
of directors for the state institutions were then appointed 
and all came under the control of Republicans. The most 
notorious of these latter changes was the one which re- 
moved Dr. Fisher from the position of superintendent of 
the insane asylum and replaced him by Dr. Eugene Gris- 
som, of Granville County, who had been active in politics 
since the war and had been a radical member of the con- 
vention of 1868. His politics constituted his sole title to 
the place. 

When these pressing matters were disposed of, the gov- 

' Executive Correspondence, Holden, i, p. 20. 
" Ibid., p. 21. ' Ibid., p. 23. 

* Ibid., p. 26. '•'Ibid., pp. 22-29. 

' Laws, 1868, chaps, ii. iv. 


ernor took up the organization of the militia which at his 
suggestion had been authorized by the legislature. He ap- 
pointed as adjutant-general, Abial W. Fisher, a carpet- 
bagger from Bladen County, who had been a member of 
the late convention. F. G. Martindale, of Martin County, 
another carpetbagger, was made major-general of the east- 
ern division : J. Q. A. Bryan, " the Red Fox of Wilkes," 
who had been during the war a Union ranger, was 
placed in command of the western division; and Willie 
D. Jones,^ of Wake County, a favorite of the governor, was 
chosen for the middle division.^ Byron Laflin, a carpet- 
bagger from Pitt, Robert M. Douglas, of Rockingham, 
lately of Illinois, William A. Moore, of Chowan, another 
carpetbagger, and William S. Pearson, of Burke, were ap- 
pointed aides with the rank of colonel. On September i, 
eighty-nine colonels, one from each county, were appointed. 
The question of arming the force still had to be settled 
and, as there were many objections to submitting the ques- 
tion to the legislature, chief of which was the publicity in- 
volved, the governor sent Adjutant-General Fisher to the 
North to do what he could in the way of securing a loan 
from some radical state administration. On October i6, 
Fisher wrote the governor that he had succeeded in obtain- 

' The following comment of the Sentinel upon this appointment gives 
a view of the earlier career of Jones : " We suggest a uniform for 
Maj. Gen. Willie D., viz. A chapeau made of paper, upon which shall 
be inscribed ' Negroes should not be allowed to testify in the courts ' ; 
a swallow-tailed coat, with a strip pinned a posteriori, and emblazoned 
with the device, 'I voted against the Howard Amendment'; spurs 
sixteen inches long; fourteen pistols and the sword which he used in 
the ' rebel ' service, girded around his waist. The tout ensemble will 
be complete, and military glory will be at its climax." Issue of Aug. 
29, 1868, 

'Standard, Sept. 2, 1868. 


ing a thousand Springfield rifles from Vermont. Gover- 
nor Page had approved his plan and a veiled resolution 
would be put through the legislature authorizing the trans- 
fer, and no one would be the wiser. From the debate on 
the militia bill, the State became aware that something of 
the sort was on foot, and the Sentinel, commenting on the 
arrival of a case of arms in Wilmington, said, " In God's 
name, and in the name of peace, we beseech these North- 
ern governors to keep their arms and not to send them to 
North Carolina." 

All during the fall, the militia was employed in various 
counties and was shown to be entirely worthless except as a 
means of distributing the loaves and fishes to the hungry 
adherents of Radicalism. The " North Carolina State Mil- 
itia " (N. C. S. M.) was entitled by opponents of the ad- 
ministration, the " Negro, Carpet-bag, Scalawag, Militia," 
and the title endured.^ 

During this period, ten companies of negro federal troops 
were concentrated in Goldsboro and a reign of terror fol- 
lowed during which depredations of all sorts were com- 
mitted and the conduct of the troops was so violent that it 
was unsafe for women to leave their homes. ^ The ex- 
ample was not a good one for the militia which was not by 
nature inclined to lawful methods. 

The other executive officers of the State were occupied 
in the meantime in coming to a realization of the full 
financial and political importance of their offices. The 
legislature gave abundant opportunity for extravagance 
and the officers for the most part lived up to their opportu- 
nities from the beginning. 

From the outset, no branch of the state administration 

' Sentinel, August 29, i858. 
2 Ibid., Sept. 12, 1868. 


was the object of more caustic criticism than the judiciary. 
The habits of the chief justice were weU known when he 
received the endorsement of both parties, so little was said 
of him at first. But E. W. Jones, Superior Court judge 
for the second district, early brought shame to the bench. 
Starting to Raleigh for the inauguration of the new gov- 
ernment, he made a triumphal progress of continued drunk- 
enness and indecency. He was a public spectacle in Wil- 
mington, and in Raleigh, he remained intoxicated during 
his entire stay. On several occasions he was guilty of de- 
liberate exposure of his person upon the streets and was 
finally arrested as a nuisance. Early in the session of the 
legislature, James Sinclair introduced a resolution calling 
for an investigation of his conduct with a view to impeach- 
ment, but the House by a vote of 51 to 31 declined to act 
on the ground stated by A. S. Seymour and General Abbott, 
both carpetbaggers, that they had nothing to do with 
public morals and that drunkenness was not an impeachable 
offence.^ Judge Starbuck declined to serve, and the gov- 
ernor appointed John M. Cloud, of Surry, who was honest 
but entirely lacking in qualifications for the position.^ 
Judge Tourgee still had his eye set upon a seat in Congress, 
and divided his time between holding courts to which he 
was always late and which he always adjourned early, can- 
vassing for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 
fifth district, and, in company with Judge Rodman and 
Victor Barringer, transferring the New York Code to 
North Carolina and drawing for the work $200 per month 
in addition to his salary as judge. All of the Supreme 
Court judges and most of those on the Superior bench 

^Sentinel, July 11, 1868. Journal, p. 38. 

' In 1865, Judge Cloud threatened to cowhide a neighbor if he should 
let his (Cloud's) negroes know that they were free. 


busied themselves in politics during the summer, and Chief 
Justice Pearson went so far as to issue a campaign letter in 
the interest of Grant's candidacy. Here the Conservatives 
abandoned him and heaped upon him their strongest con- 
demnation. The Standard and the Republicans generally 
claimed the judges as strong partisans, and candor compels 
the statement that there was little in their conduct to dis- 
prove the claim, and the respect for the courts, which had 
always been a characteristic of the people of the State, 
dwindled rapidly. 

It was not a favorable outlook for North Carolina, though 
the real evils of Reconstruction were scarcely dreamed 
of. The leaders of the dominant party were holding back 
until the presidential election should be won, when they 
would be safe from unfriendly interference by the national 
government. To that time they looked forward with more 
eagerness than any slave had ever hoped for freedom and 
with more longing than any weary Hebrew had ever felt 
for the Promised Land. 


The General Assembly which met on July 3, 1868, was 
of the type to be expected after a consideration of the 
chaos in the State. The ignorance and prejudice of the 
majority of the Republicans made them easy prey for the 
corrupt minority of the party which at once assumed lead- 
ership in the body. Venality was profitable and many who 
did not belong in such company were betrayed into joining 
in the spoliation of the State. 

The party division of the General Assembly was as fol- 

Senate. House. Joint Ballot. 

Republicans 38 80 118 

Conservatives 12 40 52 


Of the Republicans in the Senate, seven were carpet- 
baggers and three were negroes.^ In the House, more than 
twenty of the RepubHcans were carpetbaggers and six- 
teen were negroes.^ Most of the negroes and some of the 
whites were iUiterate. The Conservatives were much 
stronger than they had been in the convention, both in 
numbers and abihty, but even then they were in a hopeless 
minority and at first it seemed that they would only be able 
to put their opponents on record and make no mark in legis- 
lation. During the whole of the first session, the attend- 
ance was poor, never reaching above forty in the Senate and 
one hundred in the House. 

The qualification of the members was attended with the 
usual disputes as to the right to a seat, and resulted in the 
refusal of the Republicans to qualify nine Conservatives 
in the Senate and ten in the House on the ground that they 
were under disabilities imposed by the proposed Fourteenth 
Amendment. A committee was appointed later to consider 
the question and gravely reported that although the pro- 
posed amendment was not a part of the Constitution, it had 
been ratified by North Carolina and should therefore be 
construed to exclude all such persons from the legislature." 
Some of those at first excluded were later admitted upon 
proof that they were not banned. A number of the Repub- 
licans were equally banned, but all proposals for investiga- 

1 The carpetbaggers were Colgrove, Cook, Davis, Hayes, Legg, Mar- 
tindale, W. A. Moore, Rich, and Sweet. The negroes were Eppes, 
Galloway, and Hyman. 

2 The carpetbaggers that the author has been able to identify were 
Abbott, Ames, Estes, Laflin, Peck, Renfrew, Seymour, Stevens, Stilley, 
Foster and Downing. The negroes were Cherry, Cawthorn, Falkner, 
Harris of Wake, Hayes, Hutchings, Leary, Mayo, Morris, Price, Rob- 
bins, Sweat, Sykes, Crawford, Williamson, and Carey. 

° Journal, p. 40. 


tion of their cases were voted down. The partisan intent 
of the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment was thus 
speedily carried out in North Carolina. A proposal was 
early made to petition Congress to remove the disabilities 
of all persons elected to any office, but this was opposed so 
bitterly by the carpetbaggers as well as by extreme radi- 
cals that it was defeated.^ The matter was brought up 
again and again by E. W. Pou and Sinclair, both of whom 
worked unceasingly to secure the passage of such a resolu- 
tion, but the carpetbagger influence was too great. Abbott 
insisted that it would " debauch " the politics of the State." 
The Standard also strongly opposed removal of disabilities 
from others than Republicans.^ The Republican caucus 
finally adopted a resolution instructing the senators and 
members of Congress to vote against all removals except 
upon the recommendation of the secretary of the Repub- 
lican executive committee.* In the meantime, the seats of 
the excluded Conservatives were declared vacant and some, 
who had been allowed to qualify, were unseated. In the 
Senate, Bedford Brown, of Caswell, was unseated, after a 
contest, by John W. Stephens, and a new election ordered. 
In the House, Wilson Carey, of Caswell, the negro well- 
known for his " archives of gravity " speech in the conven- 
tion, took the place of William Long, the sitting member. 
The debates upon the subject of the cases were very bitter, 
particularly as the majority showed no inclination to listen 
to argument. 

Organization was completed at once as the Republicans 
were well disciplined. In the House, Joseph W. Holden 

' Sentinel, July 4, 1868. Journal, p. 16. 
'Sentinel, July 11, 1868. 
|: ' Standard, June 24, July 15, 1868. 
* Sentinel, July 25, 1868. 


was chosen speaker over Plato Durham. This was the 
result of an agreement between Governor Holden and Gen- 
eral Abbott, the latter giving his support in exchange for 
the Holden influence in behalf of his own candidacy for 
the United States Senate. The early days of the session 
were largely spent in playing politics. A committee was 
appointed to consider the question of granting aid to the 
destitute and to those who did not have sufficient means 
to finish planting their crops. On July 25, all municipal 
offices in the State that had been filled by the former state 
government were declared vacant and the governor was em- 
powered to fill them.^ The governor was then given simi- 
lar powers with regard tO' county commissioners.^ Later 
on, the House discussed at length a proposed law to punish 
those who had committed offences under the authority of 
the Confederate government. Governor Holden saw un- 
limited political possibilities in such a law and sought to 
have it passed, but it was referred to the judiciary com- 
mittee and, upon its recommendation, postponed indefi- 

The position of legislator did not prove as profitable as 
desired by some of the members and, in spite of the fact 
that they were furnished with comforts and luxuries 
hitherto unknown to them, they desired more. Many propo- 
sitions for small benefits were made, the most interesting 
of which was contained in a resolution introduced by J. H. 
Renfrew, a carpetbagger, to furnish free postage to all 
members. Some difficulty was encountered in deciding 
what should be the compensation of the members, but it 
was finally settled at $7 per diem and twenty cents mileage. 
This was, strange to say, less than the committee recom- 

1 Laws, 1868, chap. ii. 2 Ibid., chap. iv. 

' Sentinel, Aug. 20, 1868. 


mended and the decision was a blow to many of the mem- 
bers, one of whom voiced the sentiments of his kind by- 
saying that they wanted something worth while to compen- 
sate them for the persecution they had to endure and the 
fear that they would never be allowed to come back/ It 
was not long, however, before many discovered that in that 
legislature other compensation than per diem could readily 
be obtained for service of a certain sort. 

Among the gratuities at the disposal of all, were the re- 
freshments dispensed by what was popularly known as 
" the third house." Throughout the session, a bar abun- 
dantly supplied with wines, liquors, and cigars was con- 
ducted in the west wing of the Capitol. It was installed by 
General Littlefield and his associates who were making 
plans for extensive financial operations based upon the 
credit of the State. The later success of those plans, thanks 
to the cooperation of the legislature, makes it entirely cor- 
rect to say that the expenses of the bar were paid by the 
State though without legal warrant. Mere words cannot 
adequately express the disgust and hatred felt by the re- 
spectable people of the State, outside of the legislature, for 
this open shame in the Capitol. There is, however, no doubt 
that many Conservative members daily enjoyed the hos- 
pitality of the " third house," though without surrender- 
ing any right to condemn it in public. 

At the beginning, the Conservatives did not hope to exert 
any influence in legislation, even in the way of opposition. 
As in the convention, they sought chiefly to place their op- 
ponents on record, particularly in regard to the race ques- 
tion which they already saw would be of first importance 
in the future politics of the State. This was done by the 
introduction of a resolution in the Senate which declared 

• Wilmington Journal, July 28, 1868. 


that racial differences were recognized and that therefore 
intermarriage between the races should be forbidden and 
that in the schools and militia there should be separation. 
This was contemptuouslj^ refused. Later on, somewhat 
similar resolutions, introduced by Shoffner, were adopted 
by the Senate. The resolution directed against the inter- 
marriage of the races received more opposition than any, 
three negroes and four carpetbaggers voting against it.^ 
Plato Durham, with the training he had received in the 
convention, was the Conservative leader in the House, and 
was ably seconded in the Senate by William M. Robbins. 
The latter attempted in vain to secure the passage of a reso- 
lution declaring that North Carolina did not consider itself 
bound by the Omnibus Bill which had admitted it to repre- 
sentation in Congress. This was intended as a warning to 
the Republicans and to the world of the view of the Con- 

But little constructive work was done during the session. 
The financial legislation will be discussed later in detail and 
that occupied but little time, as light was not desired by 
those promoting it. Much of the time was spent in useless 
discussion of matters of small moment and but few laws of 
interest or importance were passed. The board of educa- 
tion was directed to prescribe and report to the next ses- 
sion a code of laws for the establishment and regulation of 
a new system of public schools.^ Criminal courts were es- 
tablished for Wilmington and New Bern with exclusive 
jurisdiction and the old county criminal courts were abol- 
ished, but no provision was made for the transfer of the 
cases brought in the latter.* Acts providing for the regis- 

' Sentinel, Aug. 26, 1868. Senate Journal, p. 238. 
' Resolution 10, Laws, 1868. 
' Laws, 1868, chap. xii. 


tration of voters, giving the right to vote anywhere in the 
county on certificate, and forbidding any challenge of a 
registered person on election day, were passed.^ A new 
law in relation to punishments was adopted and murder 
and rape became the only capital offences. Corporal pun- 
ishment was abolished.^ A joint committee of the two 
houses, with the superintendent of public works, was di- 
rected to select and purchase a site for the penitentiary and 
to put the convicts to work upon the buildings. To pay the 
expenses of the purchase and work, the treasurer was au- 
thorized to sell six per cent bonds to an amount not to 
exceed $200,000.^ The duties of certain county olScers 
were prescribed.* The ordinance of the convention ad- 
mitting lawyers from other States to practice before the 
Supreme Court was amended so as to include the Superior 
Court.^ An act to punish bribery and coercion in elec- 
tions made it unlawful to bribe, to attempt to influence a 
voter by threats of discharge from employment, or to dis- 
charge because of any vote cast." The danger of such ex- 
treme legislation was shown, but without effect. A law pun- 
ishing conspiracy and rebellion was passed which classed 
as such an offence any opposition to the enforcement of a 
law or aid and comfort to those opposing it.'' 

One of the most interesting and significant acts of the 
legislature was the passage of a resolution affirming the 
validity and constitutionality of the state government. It 
was based upon President Johnson's contemptuous refer- 
ence to Governor Holden as " the man who writes himself 
governor of North Carolina " — which the Republicans held 

' Laws, 1868, chaps. xlix-I. ^ Ibid., chap. xliv. 

3 Ibid., chap. Ixi. ■* Ibid., chaps, xx, xxxv. 

' Ibid., chap, xxxvi. * Ibid., chap. Ixii. 

' Ibid., chap. Ix. 


to be an incitement to insurrection ; upon Governor Worth's 
letter of protest to Governor Holden, when he surrendered 
his office as governor to the latter; upon the Democratic 
national platform of 1868, which declared the whole pro- 
cess of Reconstruction unconstitutional; upon Frank P. 
Blair's Brodhead letter ; and upon the North Carolina Con- 
servative platform of 1868, which was of like tenor with 
the other documents mentioned. These were declared cal- 
culated to produce civil war, and in order to restore confi- 
dence, the state government was declared valid in every 
respect.^ The resolution was introduced by L. G. Estes 
and shows the fear of the Republicans that the administra- 
tion might be overturned. It also bears testimony to the 
deep-seated determination of the Conservatives not to 
recognize the validity of the acts of the state government. 

The most important act passed was that providing for 
the organization of the militia. The motives which under- 
lay it have already been discussed. On July 17, the gov- 
ernor sent a message to the legislature urging the organi- 
zation of a militia and police force, making the entirely 
false charge that without it the officers recently appointed 
by him could not be installed. Calling attention to the 
fact that many people in the State did not recognize the 
existing government as lawful, he announced it as his policy 
to overawe them by a display of force, and reiterated the 
intention expressed in his inaugural of appointing to offi- 
cial position in the State only such persons as were friendly 
to his administration.^ On the same day, G. W. Welker 
introduced in the Senate a militia bill which was passed. 
But the House hesitated to agree, and finally, after a fierce 
filibuster by the Conservatives, adopted a substitute intro- 

' Resolution 35, Laws, 1868. 

' Legislative Documents, 1868-1869, no. 7. 


duced by Seymour/ The question was then taken up by 
the Republican caucus and later F. G. Martindale's substi- 
tute, based on the action of the caucus and drawn by John 
Pool, was adopted in both houses.^ In neither house did it 
receive the undivided support of the Republican members. 
Pou and Sinclair in the House were among its bitterest 
opponents and lost no opportunity of attacking it. The 
latter denied its constitutionality and, claiming that it 
served notice to the world that government by the Repub- 
lican party in North Carolina was a failure, said that it 
stamped Reconstruction as revolutionary, contrary to the 
will of the people, and only to be supported by force. He 
expressed the belief that the bill was designed to cause 
trouble at the polls and to give the executive too mtich 
power both in directing the militia and over the treasury. 
After a prophecy of riot and disorder, he read a letter from 
B. F. Moore containing an tmanswerable argument against 
the constitutionality of the bill. It closed as follows : " I 
cannot omit to declare it my most solemn opinion, that, if 
passed into law, it will spread terror over the State and 
produce much more bloodshed than it will ever prevent, and 
open and aggravate wounds now nearly closed." ^ In the 
Senate, R. I. Wynne, of Franklin, was its chief Republican 
opponent. The Conservatives, it is needless to say, opposed 
the bill unanimously. W. L. Love in the Senate attempted 
to secure the adoption of an amendment forbidding the 
placing of white persons under negro officers, but the propo- 
sition was defeated.* After the final passage of the bill, 
twenty-nine members of the House, including Sinclair, en- 

1 House Journal, pp. 133-149. 

» Senate Journal, p. 181 ; House Journal, p. 183. 

• Sentinel, Aug. 8, 1868. 

* Senate Journal, p. I7S- 


tered a protest against it as unconstitutional, inexpedient, 
and calculated to cause civil war/ 

The provisions of the bill were as follows : Every per- 
son liable to military duty had to serve unless excused by a 
physician or relieved by the annual payment of two dol- 
lars. All power of appointment was in the hands of the 
governor who was authorized to accept and organize not 
more than six regiments of infantry, apportioned through- 
out the State and divided into three divisions, east, west, 
and middle, each to be the department of a major-general. 
He was also empowered to accept three regiments of cav- 
alry and one battery of artillery. The total enrollment of 
the militia could not exceed fifty for each member of the 
House of Representatives, or 6,000 in all, unless the gov- 
ernor deemed that number inadequate, in which case he 
could raise more. Provision was made for the separation 
of the races in different companies. Every member had to 
be an elector in the State. At the request of any five jus- 
tices of a county, the governor was empowered to direct the 
colonel commanding there to detail a force to preserve the 
peace and enforce the law. The force was under the com- 
mand of the governor and could be sent by him to any part 
of the State. In addition, any officer of the militia could 
call out the force at the written request of any judge, jus- 
tice of the peace, sheriff, deputy sheriff, county or town 
constable, or county commissioner. He could also call it 
out whenever he deemed it necessary to preserve the peace. 
The governor was directed to appoint an adjutant-general 
to organize the force." 

It will be seen that the act was admirably adapted for the 
establishment of a military despotism. It was mainly in- 
tended for that purpose. It looked to the establishment of 

' House lournal, p. 155. ' Laws, 1868, chap. xxii. 


a standing army which was in violation of the state con- 
stitution and the Constitution of the United States, and in 
addition, a recent act of Congress had expressly forbidden 
the establishment of a militia system in the lately seceded 
States.^ But Governor Holden and his allies were too well 
aware that their position was insecure; that unless extra- 
ordinary measures were resorted to, the first election would 
put an end to their tenure of power. That terrorism and 
fraud would in time react upon them seems not to have oc- 
curred to the native leaders of the dominant party, and the 
most important and influential of the leaders — the carpet- 
baggers — did not care. When such a reckoning should 
come, most of them hoped to be living in comfortable re- 
tirement somewhere north of Mason and Dixon's line and 
beyond the reach of a just retribution. 

The debates in the legislature showed that the member- 
ship, with a few exceptions, was far below the average in 
ability. Prejudice and party feeling were rampant on both 
sides and the majority treated the minority with utter con- 
tempt, usually denying them the privilege of debate, and 
even going so far as to print the bills, which had been de- 
cided upon by the Republican caucus, before they were in- 
troduced.^ The sessions were perhaps more orderly than 
those of the convention, but occasionally there were angry 
scenes in which the lie was passed with frequency. Abusive 
language was not uncommon. Sinclair became unpopular 
with his Republican colleagues because of his opposition 
to several measures, particularly the militia bill, and was in 
constant open quarrel with them, particularly with F. W. 
Foster, the carpetbagger representative from Bladen.' As 

1 Laws of the United States, chap, clxx, 39 Cong., 2 sess. 

' Wilmington Journal, Aug. 14, 1868. 

' Sinclair related with great gusto a story of Foster's activities at the 



in the convention, the accounts of the proceedings as given 
in the Conservative papers excited anger and the reporter of 
the Sentinel was excluded from the House for putting 
"negro" after the names of the colored members. Tv^renty- 
one members entered a formal protest against this action.^ 

The reputation for extravagance, set by the convention, 
v^ras continued. The session lasted forty-seven days and the 
expenses of the legislature alone were more than $80,000. 
It is impossible to give any accurate figures as to the inci- 
dental outlay. 

Adjournment was the occasion for the presentation of a 
gold watch to the speaker of the House. L. G. Estes, with 
true carpetbag thrift, collected the money for it from the 
members, bought the watch, but neglected to pay for it.^ 
The closing scenes were marked by the same horseplay and 
boisterousness which had accompanied the adjournment of 
the convention. Morris and Carey, two of the negro mem- 
bers occupied the chair in succession and the other negro 
members were called upon for speeches. Dancing, sing- 
ing, and obscene stories occupied the last hours of the ses- 
sion, and with the adjournment, the decent element of the 
State drew a breath of relief. 


The Conservatives were naturally greatly disheartened 
by their overwhelming defeat in the state election, but, as 

close of the war. As an undertaker in Wilmington, he received an 
order from a gentleman in the North to disinter his son who had died 
in service in Wilmington as the result of the amputation of his left 
leg. Foster could not find the body and, being a thrifty soul, selected 
another, cut off a leg, and shipped it North. By mistake he cut off 
the right leg and in this way the substitution was discovered. Sentinel, 
July 29, 1868. 

■ House Journal, pp. 46-47. 
' Sentinel, Aug. 3, 1868. 


there had been no real expectation of victory, there was no 
surprise. There was, however, still hope of an overthrow 
of Congressional Reconstruction through Democratic suc- 
cess in the approaching presidential election, and to that 
consummation, all directed their best energies. A full dele- 
gation attended the national Democratic convention at New 
York and commenced the break which resulted in the nomi- 
nation of Seymour. The nominations were entirely ac- 
ceptable to the party, and the emphasis laid in the platform 
on the unconstitutionality of Reconstruction won immediate 
favor. Not less attractive to them was Blair's letter to 
Colonel Brodhead with its threat of the complete over- 
throw of the system. 

The Republicans were not less pleased with the choice of 
Grant and Colfax. As a matter of fact, any nomination, 
even though it had been of His Satanic Majesty, would 
have been entirely acceptable, so entirely and unthinkingly 
were the members of the party committed in their alle- 

The Conservative leaders had good hopes of carrying the 
State and at once called a state convention for the pur- 
pose of perfecting their organization. In the meantime, 
Democratic and Conservative mass meetings were held all 
over the State and great enthusiasm was excited. 

Just at this time. Chief Justice Pearson published in the 
Standard an address to the Conservative party, urging their 
support of Grant and the Republican party on the ground 
that Democratic success would mean civil war. He denied 
entirely any belief in the constitutionality of the Recon- 
struction acts, but, declaring them extra-constitutional, he 
said that a subjugated people had no right to protest, par- 
ticularly as the presidential plan of restoration was equally 
unconstitutional. He stated that two other members of 
the Supreme Court, unnamed, agreed with him in his analy- 


sis of the situation and of the law. The letter provoked 
much criticism from the Conservatives who said with truth 
that North Carolina had not been accustomed to political 
activity on the part of its judges. The Standard imme- 
diately claimed that all of the Supreme Court and most of 
the Superior Court judges were active Republican partisans 
and said that Judge Pearson's letter was the best campaign 
document that had appeared. Fifty thousand copies of it 
were distributed by the Republican executive committee. 

The Conservative convention was called for August 13, 
and delegates from every part of the State poured into 
Raleigh. The delegations from the east, headed by the 
one from New Hanover, arrived the night before and were 
received by the Conservative club of the city. The negroes 
made a demonstration against the procession and only the 
forbearance of the crowd and the efforts of A. H. Gallo- 
way prevented a riot.^ 

The convention met the next day with an attendance of 
more than one thousand. It remained in session for two 
days. R. H. Cowan, of Wilmington, was elected presi- 
dent. Addresses were made by Josiah Turner, R. H. 
Cowan, William M. Robbins, William A. Graham, James 
C. Dobbin, E. G. Haywood, and others, all of whom de- 
voted most of their attention to the situation in the State. 
Nominations were made for electors for the State at large,* 
and a resident central committee was chosen.' The plat- 
form endorsed the national Democratic nominations and 

^Sentinel, Aug. 15, 1868. 

' These were James W. Osborne and Joseph J. Davis. 

' The resident central committee was composed of M. A. Bledsoe, R. 
C. Badger, Seaton Gales, Bryan Grimes, E. G. Haywood, D. G. 
Fowle, and A. S. Merrimon. The state executive committee was as 
follows : Charles Latham, W. G. Morisy, J. A. Engelhard, James S. 
Amis, A. M. Scales, R. M. Oates, and A. C. Avery. 


platform, declared the acceptance by the party of the war 
and its legitimate results, condemned Reconstruction, the 
election of carpetbaggers and other men without fitness 
for their positions, and the extravagance and the proscrip- 
tive tendencies of the Republican party, denounced the 
militia bill as unconstitutional and intended as a party meas- 
ure, and finally, called upon the Conservatives of the State 
to rally to the cause of good government/ 

In connection with the convention appears an interesting 
example of Radical policy. W. A. Smith, the president of 
the North Carolina Railroad, refused to give any reduced 
rates for the occasion and his example was followed by the 
other roads. A little later, for the Republican convention, 
the rate was reduced more than one-half. Another inter- 
esting sidelight upon Republican sentiment is to be found 
in the Standard's editorial greeting to the convention. "We 
tell you, decrepid, back-broken, old rebels, that your days 
are numbered. We are willing that you should gasp a 
little, and, therefore, look on your feeble efforts to rise 
from your backs with pity and compassion. But attempt 
to rise higher than your knees, or to assume any other atti- 
tude than that of prayer, and you will be thrust back to the 
earth, never to rise again." ^ 

On August 17, there was a state meeting of the Union 
League in Raleigh for the purpose of reorganization. Gen- 
eral Littlefield was elected grand president and H. J. Men- 
ninger, grand secretary. Throughout the campaign, the 
activity of the League continued and as always it was a 
most effective instrument for rousing the negroes and keep- 
ing them in line. John T. Deweese performed a valuable 
service for it by sending out all of its documents under his 

^Sentinel, Aug. 15, 1868. 
• Issue of Aug. IS, 1868. 


congressional frank/ As has been mentioned, the white 
members of the League had by this time become disgusted 
with the negro and carpetbagger domination of the so- 
ciety and were rapidly leaving it. The leaders of the party 
saw the necessity of taking some action and on August 26, 
W. F. Henderson issued an address to the Heroes of 
America/ and once more, and for the last time, the " Red 
Strings " appeared in North Carolina politics. 

When the General Assembly adjourned, eighty-eight of 
the Republican members signed an address to the people, 
written by John Pool and Judge Reade.* No more incen- 
diary document has ever been published in the State than 
this address. It was directed against the Conservative 
party which was accused of threatening war, of duplicity 
and bad faith, of having rejected both President Johnson's 
plan of restoration and the Ploward Amendment, and of 
disturbing the peace by threats and intimidation, with negro 
suffrage as a pretext, but in reality with hostility to the 
United States as a basis. The chief proofs of this char- 
acter of the party which were recited were the same hap- 
penings which had been enumerated as reasons for passing 
the resolutions afifirming the validity of the state govern- 
ment. The address was full of threats and was calculated 
and intended to inflame the negroes and alarm the Conser- 
vatives. It was a deliberate step in the policy of terror 
adopted by the Republican party in North Carolina. The 
following is a characteristic extract which excited much 
attention and condemnation : 

* Sentinel, Sept. 30, 1868. He was later indicted for this. 

' The address appeared in the Standard, August 26, 1868, and was 
evidently prepared by someone else as he was almost illiterate. 

' Their connection with the address was not made public, but the fact 
was given to the writer by a leader in the Republican party. 


Did it never occur to you, ye gentlemen of property, educa- 
tion, and character — to you, ye men, and especially ye women, 
who never received anything from these colored people but 
services, kindness, and protection — did it never occur to you 
that these same people who are so very bad, will not be willing 
to sleep in the cold when your houses are denied them, merely 
because they will not vote as you do; that they may not be 
willing to starve, while they are willing to work for bread? 
Did it never occur to you that revenge which is sweet to you, 
may be sweet to them ? Hear us, if nothing else you will hear, 
did it never occur to you that if you kill their children with 
hunger they will kill your children with fear? Did it never 
occur to you that if you good people maliciously determine 
that they shall have no shelter, they may determine that you 
shall have no shelter? 

And now, be it remembered that in the late election there 
were more than twenty thousand majority of the freemen of 
North Carolina who^ voted in opposition to the democratic 
party. Will it be safe for the landholders, householders, and 
meatholders to attempt to kick into disgrace and starve to 
death twenty thousand majority of the freemen of this State? 

The Republican convention met in Raleigh on Septem- 
ber 16. A tremendous crowd attended, the majority being 
negroes, and the Capitol was full of them, eating, drinking, 
singing, fighting, and, when night came, sleeping there. The 
call for the meeting contained the main features of the pro- 
gram, and provided for a great mass meeting and, to the 
utter horror of conservative citizens, irrespective of party, 
who were full of reverence for the judiciary, it was an- 
nounced that Judges Reade, Dick, Rodman, and Settle, of 
the Supreme Court, and Judge Tourgee, of the Superior 
Court, would take prominent parts in the demonstration, 
Judge Reade being president, Judges Dick, Rodman, and 
Settle vice-presidents, and Judge Tourgee grand marshal 
of the day as well as chairman of the committee on railroad 


transportation.^ The press was not chary of hostile com- 
ment, and the Supreme Court judges were soon made to 
recognize the light in which their conduct was viewed, and 
when the meeting was held, none of them were present. 
But Judge Tourgee, although an able man and one who in 
time became an exceedingly strong judge, was throughout 
his public career in North Carolina, entirely shameless and 
without any sense of propriety, and he not only acted as 
chief marshal at the Raleigh meeting, but served on the 
Republican state executive committee, and, with his eye 
still on the nomination for Congress, made stump speeches 
throughout his district even from the bench.'' 

There was little business before the Republican conven- 
tion other than the ratification of the national ticket and 
platform. The time of the meeting was given up to 
speeches from the leaders present and the reading of letters 
from prominent Republicans elsewhere, including George 
S. Boutwell, John W. Forney, and William C. Wickham. 
Governor Hawley, of Connecticut, was the guest of the 
day and made an address, as did also Governor Holden, 
Attorney General Coleman, Joseph W. Holden, and A. H. 
Galloway. The governor said in part, " Meanwhile see to 
it, on your own acount, and on account of those gallant 
dead who sleep in graves all over this land, fallen in de- 
fense of your rights and of mine; by your regard for un- 
born posterity, while we regard the rights of rebels so long 
as they demean themselves as they should — see to it that in 
no event does any rebel get a single ' bite ' at a public 
office." The speech of J. W. Holden, as reported, was very 
violent. A part of it follows: "I do not address you as 
Joseph W. Holden, but in the name and spirit of an inspired 

' Sentinel, Aug. 19, 1868. 
"Ibid., Sept. 19, 1868. 


prophet. Go' to the polls, armed with guns, pistols, and 
bludgeons and vote. Implore the God of turpentine to 
shower down torches or flames upon the dwellings of the 
rebels." ^ 

Both parties nominated candidates for Congress in every 
district.^ Nathaniel Boyden, after serving faithfully as a 
Democratic member of Congress, came home and an- 
nounced that he would support Grant. He was at once 
nominated by the Republicans and the Conservatives nomi- 
nated a new candidate. But the Republicans were in serious 
difficulties in two districts. In the first, C. L. Cobb, the 
sitting member, received the regular nomination and John 
R. French, a carpetbagger, led a bolt in his own interest. 
In the fifth, W. F. Henderson secured the nomination of 
the convention, and Judge Tourgee, after denouncing Hen- 
derson as a liar and thief and being himself described by 
the latter as " an escaped Ohio convict," ' with the aid of 
Judge Dick, organized a bolting convention which gave him 
the nomination. A heated campaign followed, marked by 
bitter personal abuse, culminating in a personal encounter.* 
Henderson then withdrew in favor of I. G. Lash, the sitting 
member, and Tourgee soon followed suit. In the fourth, 
Deweese was confronted by the renewed candidacy of 

1 Holden absolutely denied saying anything of the sort, and there is 
no doubt that he did not intend to do so. 

'The candidates were as follows: ist district, Republican, C. L. Cobb, 
John R. French; Democrat, D. A. Barnes. 2d, David Heaton; T. S. 
Kenan. 3d, O. H. Dockery; A. A. McKay. 4th, J. T. Deweese; S. H. 
Rogers. 5th, I. G. Lash, W. F. Henderson, and A. W. Tourgee; 
Livingston Brown. 6th, Nathaniel Boyden; F. E. Shober. 7th, A. H. 
Jones ; Plato Durham. 

» This charge, which was entirely without foundation, was constantly 
made against Tourgee during his entire stay in North Carolina. 

* Sentinel, Oct. 21, 1868. 


James H. Harris who depended upon his color for his 
strength. His claim was finally settled by the payment by 
Deweese to him of two thousand dollars. John A. Hyman, 
another negro of influence, had to be paid five hundred dol- 
lars before he would consent to support Deweese.^ 

The Standard was very bitter throughout the campaign, 
but particularly so during the early part. The paper was 
nominally owned by N. Paige & Co., but was really the 
property of General Littlefield, who bought it from Gov- 
ernor Holden for $40,000, but did not wish the fact to be 
known. On September 2, the following editorial appeared: 


Something must be done. The law of self-preservation must 
necessarily be obeyed. Something must be done at all haz- 
ards ; but the more quietly and peaceably it can be done, so 
much the better. The question then is. Can there be any 
remedy under the forms of law ? We think so, unquestion- 
ably. Of course it is not to be supposed that men and women 
and children will starve to death while corn is still standing in 
the fields and while hogs and cattle are not kept under lock 
and key ! But these are matters of minor importance and are 
to be expected, however much the necessity may be deplored. 
What we mean is, that there is one efficient remedy for this 
wholesale crusade of oppression carried on against the colored 
race to starve him intO' voting against his choice. The remedy 
is this : Whenever the Republicans have control of a county, 
let a meeting of the commissioners be called at once. Let 
them make out a list of all the colored stonemasons, bricklay- 
ers, plasterers, painters, and carpenters. Then let them select 
a site of sufficient dimensions for a village of from five to 
fifteen hundred colored paupers, as the case may be. The 
work itself will give employment to a considerable number of 

1 Letter of Deweese to Cleveland Leader copied in Cliarlotte Demo- 
crat, Aug. 28, 1876. 



persons, and some time will be required to complete it. Then 
let the county paupers be moved in and be provided with 
houses and food at the expense of those who have made them 
paupers. Let the tax be so laid as to affect only the large 
land-holders. Not one in twenty owns any land at all, and the 
large land-holders are much rarer. This tax will fall lightly 
upon the great mass of the people, while the oppressive land- 
holder will be compelled to throw his broad acres upon the 
market to raise money to pay the taxes. And in addition to 
this, let the legislature deprive these exacting tyrants of the 
benefit of the stay law and compel them to pay their debts, to 
pass their lands under the sheriff's hammer and give the poor 
a chance to buy land. 

On September 19, the following appeared : 


But whatever else you work, don't forget to work among 
the women. The Confederacy wouldn't have lasted a year if 
it hadn't been for them. One good rebel woman is worth a 
dozen rebel men. Go after the women, then. They will make 
their husbands and their lovers shout for Grant and Colfax 
until they are hoarse, if you will manage to replace some of 
the diamond rings and laces Frank Blair stole from them when 
he was here. And don't hesitate to throw your arms around 
their necks now and then, when their husbands are not around, 

and give them a good . They all like it, and the Yankeer 

you are the better it takes. Our experience with female rebs 
is, that with all their sins they have a vast amount of human 
nature, and only want to have it appreciated to be the most 
loving creatures imaginable. Scalawags and carpet-baggers ! 
Don't fail, therefore, as you canvass the State, to look after 
the women. You are all good-looking and they know it, but 
with native modesty, like sweet New England girls, they like 
to be approached first. Don't be afraid of their eyes — they 
glare like young leopards by daylight, but under the moon no 
blue, death-stricken fawn is half so tender or half so deep. 


Don't read Judge Pearson's letter to them, but give them 
Byron and Shelley in volumes, and you will have them in 
your arms, if not in your party, in less than a week.^ 

The paper had hardly reached the public before organi- 
zation commenced among certain of the citizens of Raleigh 
and but for the fact that information v^^as given to Paige 
in some way which enabled him to leave before night, he 
would have been lynched. Feeling ran high and in conse- 
quence N. Paige & Co. had to give up the nominal control 
of the paper, and J. B. Neathery & Co. took it and, as 
before, the real control was in the hands of General Little- 
field, probably acting under the advice of Governor Holden 
as to general policy. The feeling aroused by the article 
continued very bitter and while it had little if any effect 
upon the pending election, it was not forgotten and aroused 
considerable public sentiment against the Republican party 
and the administration. The Sentinel placed it at the head 
of its editorial columns where it remained for a long time. 
It may well be questioned why the editorial of a news- 
paper owned and edited by carpetbaggers should arouse 
indignation against the state administration, but it must be 
remembered that the Standard vi^as the organ of the gov- 
ernor and bore the stamp of his general approval at least. 

' The National Intelligencer had the following comment on the edi- 
torial : 

" The wives and daughters of the people thus marked out for the 
insulting advances of Radical emissaries, it will be remembered, are 
the wives and daughters of the same men who, for four years, re- 
sisted the entire power of the Federal Government, and were able to 
put three hundred thousand men in the field. They fought, as we 
believe, in an entirely mistaken cause. Whether they will be able 
to make as good a contest in defence of the honor of their wives, 
daughters, and sisters thus marked out as the prey of the spoiler and 
the libertine, is a question which Wall Street and its speculators would 
do well to consider." 


The Conservatives devoted much of their attention to 
the extravagance of the state administration and implored 
all thinking people to assist in ridding the State of the bur- 
den of Radical misrule. Not yet, however, had the people 
come to know the party, and many of those who were op- 
posed to the state administration, were favorable to the 
election of Grant. The apathy of the voters was unusual 
and the congressional campaign really excited more interest 
than the presidential contest. 

Governor Holden was determined not to take any 
chances of losing the election, and throughout the fall he 
busied himself with the campaign to the exclusion of nearly 
everything else. In September, he appealed to General 
Meade to authorize General Miles to station troops as he 
[the governor] might wish " to inspire a salutary terror " 
among the disaffected.^ General Meade at once refused to 
do anything of the kind,^ so the governor was compelled to 
fall back upon the resources of the administration which 
were the militia and the Union League, Governor Holden's 
twin allies in his policy of terror. In order to provide a 
basis for his military activity, he pretended to discover, or 
thought he discovered, that arms in large quantities were 
being imported into the State by the Conservatives for 
use at the election, and on October 12, he issued a proclama- 
tion, stating the supposed fact and admonishing the people 
to be orderly.^ The Standard cooperated with him and 
urged the Republicans to arm themselves and drill in prep- 
aration for the third of November.* Much delight had 
been felt by the Republicans when the proposition was made 

' Executive Correspondence, Holden, i, p. 44. 

^Ibid., p. 47. 

° Western Democrat, Oct. 20, 1868. 

* Issue of Sept. 30, 1868 et seq. 


in Congress to furnish Southern governors with arms. All 
the North Carolina delegation favored it except Dockery 
and Boyden, the latter acting at the time with the Conser- 
vatives, but prepared to join the Republican party.' Both 
of them denounced the plan in the strongest terms," and 
declared that there was no need of them in North Carolina. 
But the carpetbaggers put their usual policy into operation, 
and the press and the halls of Congress were full of the 
clamor of carefully manufactured recitals of " rebel out- 
rages." Only by national aid, it was insisted, could 
" loyal " men be protected. Pressure was brought to bear 
on the governor and he ordered the organization of the 
" detailed militia." The matter was brought to the atten- 
tion of General Meade and shortly thereafter, Governor 
Holden suspended his order. The probability is that he 
was warned by General Meade that the organization would 
not be allowed. The militia, however, were sent to Halifax 
and Robeson counties where they did no good and not 
much harm. In neither county was there any threat of in- 
terference with a free election but it seemed to the gover- 
nor good politics to think that danger of such a thing ex- 
isted. Just before the election, General Littlefield and At- 
torney General Coleman went to Washington and without 
success besought Grant and the Secretary of War to send 
troops to North Carolina to quell this threatened uprising 
of the Conservatives, or, as they phrased it, the " rebels." 
Two interesting examples of political activity came to 

'^Boyden said on the floor of the House: "Great God! We can- 
not afford to fight each other. ... I warn the House that if arms 
are sent there, we will be ruined; we cannot live there. H we need 
anything in the way of arms, in God's name send an array of the 
United States there, but do not arm neighbor against neighbor." 
Sentinel, Aug. 8, 1868. 

2 Globe, Appendix, p. 472, 40 Cong., 2 sess. 


light during tlie campaign. In New Bern, in October, a 
Union League circular, containing instructions, was found 
on the streets and published. It urged tri-weekly meetings 
of the League with as much excitement of the negroes as 
possible. They were to be drilled constantly and told that if 
the Democrats won the election, they would all be sold back 
into slavery. Farms and mules should be promised to all 
who voted for Grant, with the additional promise that, if 
he was elected, most of the offices should go to negroes. 
All methods were to be employed to poison their minds 
against the native white people, and if riots followed, no 
harm would be done. If needed to rouse them, some cabins 
should be burned and the deed attributed to the Conserva- 
tives.'^ The other was a circular, signed by S. Schenck, 
which was sent out, purporting to come from the national 
Republican headquarters, directing those to whom it was 
sent to urge the League and the Republicans generally to 
enroll in the militia, but to give assurance to the white men 
that they would not be called into service. It further stated 
that, if Grant was elected, the negro vote would not be 
needed again and the next Congress would inaugurate a 
system of colonization for the race. The Republicans de- 
nied responsibility for the circular and accused the Conser- 
vatives of having prepared it for circulation ; and the latter 
asserted that the Republicans were employing it to con- 
ciliate such of the white Republicans as would not " swal- 
low " the negro. It does not appear who was responsible 
for it. 

A few days before the election. General Miles issued a 
general order forbidding officers and soldiers of the army 
from fraternizing with political parties. To the citizens of 

' New Bern Journal of Commerce, Oct. 27, 1868 ; Sentinel, Oct. 31, 


the State, he said that the campaign had been conducted 
with creditable quiet, and he expressed the hope that this 
would be the case until the end. " The record of North 
Carolina is yet unmarred by acts of lawlessness . . . and 
the present exercise of moderation and wisdom will 
hereafter be the source of much satisfaction to her citi- 
zens." ^ In company with many of the officers and sol- 
diers in his command, he promptly, and in violation of the 
laws of the State, registered and voted." 

The election, except for one disturbance, was very quiet 
throughout the State. Troops were stationed in a number 
of places and the one outbreak occurred at Asheville. A 
riot, commenced by negroes, resulted as usual in their dis- 
persal by the white people and in the killing of one negro. 
The coroner's jury found the civil authorities guilty of ne- 
glect in not guarding against such an occurrence.'' All 
over the State the negroes voted illegally and the authori- 
ties made no efforts to prevent them. 

The result of the election was a sweeping victory for the 
Republicans. Grant carried the State by a majority of 
12,890, the vote standing as follows: 

Grant 96,449 

Seymour 83,559 

Five of the Republican candidates for Congress were 
elected, the Conservatives electing F. E. Shober and Plato 
Durham. But in the case of the latter, the secretary of 
state held up the returns for about three months and, after 
reporting to the governor the election of Durham,* with 
the governor's knowledge, altered the returns and gave 

' General Order no. 10, Oct. 31, 1868. 

2 Sentinel, Nov. 3, 1868. ' Ibid., Nov. 18, 1868. 

* Report of the Secretary of State, 1869, p. 20. 


A. H. Jones the certificate of election.^ John Pool had 
already written the governor that if possible Jones must 
be given the certificate. C. L. Cobb was successful over the 
Conservative candidate and J. R. French. Nathaniel Boy- 
den unsuccessfuly contested Shober's election and the latter, 
although he was under no disability other than his inability 
to take the " iron-clad " oath, had to wait until the law was 
altered to take his seat." 

The result of the election gave a free hand to the plun- 
derers, who waited eagerly to begin their real work, and the 
State lay open to their hands. 

4. THE LEGISLATURE OF 1868-1869 

The legislature met in adjourned session in November. 
The governor in his message congratulated the General 
Assembly on the re-establishment of the state credit on a 
firm basis. Speaking of the state debt, and estimating the 
value of the property in the State as $200,000,000, he ad- 
vised the levy oi zn ad valorem tax of one per cent to raise 
the necessary revenue. He recommended internal improve- 
ments, the encouragement of immigration, public educa- 
tion with separate schools for the two races, the repeal of 
all stay laws, and the thorough organization of the militia. 
The recommendation as to taxation was the most remark- 
able feature of the message. The estimate of the value of 
the property was far too high and the state constitution 
forbade the legislature to tax property more than at the 
rate of two-thirds of one per cent, both for state and county 

* Raleigh Era, Sept., 1872, quoted in Wilmington Journal, Sept. 13, 

2 Globe, pp. 245-248, 42 Cong., 2 sess. 

'The New York Express, in commenting upon the message, said : " It 
is difficult to tell which is most to be pitied, — the people of the State 
or its finances." 


The legislature went to work very slowly. Three newly- 
elected senators, Gates, Purdie, and Avery, were declared 
banned by the Fourteenth Amendment and refused seats. 
Avery's seat was at once declared vacant,^ while Gates was 
allowed a month's time to get his disabilities removed. At 
the same time, a resolution in the House, looking to an in- 
vestigation into the question of what members were banned, 
was voted down.^ The Senate, a few days later, passed a 
similar resolution,^ but nothing was done under it. John W. 
Stephens took the seat made vacant by the exclusion of 
Bedford Brown at the previous session. Among the other 
new members was one carpetbagger, G. Z. French. Jasper 
Etheridge and A. J. Jones, two of the new members, were 
both banned but since they were Republicans were not 
troubled. The changes made in this way made the political 
complexion of the two houses as follows : 


Republicans 41 

Conservatives 9 

Republican majority .... 32 44 76 

There was the same laxity in attendance which had been 
seen in the previous session. Renfrow, of Halifax, was a 
mail agent on the Raleigh and Gaston railroad; Stevens, 
one of the carpetbaggers, was very much occupied in look- 
ing after a boarding-house and a fish market which he had 

^ Sen. lour., Nov. 20, 1868. Avery had been a comity solicitor be- 
fore the war and had never taken the oath of allegiance to the 
United States. Judge Brooks, Chief Justice Pearson, and two Superior 
Court judges had already given opinions that county solicitors were 
not banned. Later the Supreme Court decided that they were, the 
chief justice dissenting. 

' Ho. Jour., Nov. 19, 1868. 
' Sen. Jour., p. 17. 


Joint Ballot 






established; Lieutenant-Governor Caldwell left his seat to 
go to Burke County and take the stump in the campaign for 
a successor to Avery ; Etheridge was absent at his fishery ; 
and Estes and a number of others held positions in the 
internal revenue service. Others failed to attend because it 
suited their convenience, and it was estimated that at least 
fifty members were absent daily. 

At the opening of the session, it was proposed by a Con- 
servative member that the per diem of the members should 
be reduced to four dollars and the mileage to ten cents. 
The Republicans ridiculed this and postponed indefinitely 
the consideration of the motion.^ In the Senate, Shoffner, 
a Republican, offered a resolution for the appointment of a 
committee to examine members on oath as to mileage ac- 
counts. This was greeted with a howl by the carpetbag- 
gers and some of the others who felt themselves not only 
insulted by the proposition but also threatened with financial 
injury.^ One member, so it was stated on the floor, had 
already drawn for fifteen hundred miles and his was not a 
solitary case. In this connection, the cost of the session in 
per diem and mileage, is interesting. The session lasted 
one hundred and fifteen days and cost $195,529.10. Print- 
ing ^ for the session amounted to $23,8g3.'o8, and contingent 
expenses and the like made the total cost upwards of quar- 
ter of a million dollars. The members, however, were not 
satisfied and motions were made to pay those who remained 
in Raleigh during the Christmas recess $3 per day. In 
April, just before the session closed, G. Z. French made the 
same proposition for the summer recess. The only remark- 

> Standard, Nov. 23, 1868. 

^Sentinel, Nov. 25, 1868. 

' Everything possible was printed even when the motion to print 
failed. Bills agreed upon in the RepubHcan caucus were often printed 
before they were introduced. 


able thing about these attempts is that they were not success- 
ful. Truly might Josiah Turner, who assumed control of 
the Sentinel in December, say, " Yes, we have a new North 
Carolina and every true son of the State hangs his head in 
humiliation and sorrow as he looks upon the evidences of 
the metamorphosis. In the gubernatorial chair, a man re- 
jected and flouted, over and over again, by the people of 
old North Carolina and owing his accidental elevation 
(which commands no respect while obedience is yielded), 
to an unscrupulous reversal of all his former principles! 
In the judiciary, mountebanks, ignoramuses, and men who 
bedraggle the ermine in the mud and mire of politics! In 
the offices of State, mercenary squatters and incompetents! 
In the Legislative halls, where once giants sat, adventurers, 
manikins, and gibbering Africans ! " ^ 

Rumor which had been busy with the legislature during 
the recess, now became more active, and on November 30, 
W. H. S. Sweet, a carpetbagger from Craven, introduced 
a resolution for an investigation of the charges of bribery 
and corruption in the legislature, particularly in relation to 
the acts concerning the Chatham Railroad. He stated that 
he was able to prove conclusively that votes had been 
bought. A good deal of opposition was at once manifested, 
but the resolution passed the Senate. When it reached the 
House, Estes, French, and Laflin, though not daring to 
voice any active opposition, never lost an opportunity to 
hinder its passage. It was finally amended so as to reduce 
the power of the committee, and then passed. At once, 
Pou, Ingram, and Seymour joined with the Conservatives 
in supporting the original resolution and, leading the fight, 
finally secured a reconsideration which resulted in its pas- 
sage. An attempt in the Senate to remove Sweet from the 

' Issue of Dec. 10, i863. 


committee failed only by the vote of the lieutenant-gov- 
ernor which broke the tie. The Standard attacked Sweet 
very bitterly, but every other Republican paper in the State 
endorsed his course. The investigation resulted in little 
except a blow to the Conservatives. Senator Robbins had 
been exceedingly active in securing the investigation and, 
to the horror of his party, the report of the committee 
showed that at the preceding session he had accepted a fee 
of twenty dollars to assist John \V. Stephens in securing his 
per diem and mileage in his contest with Bedford Brown. 
Robbins, at the time he took the fee, had already publicly 
announced his intention of voting in Stephens' favor, and 
he at once made a frank acknowledgment of the whole 
matter to the Senate. The committee reported that they 
were convinced that he had not acted dishonestly, but, 
viewed in any light, it was an unfortunate happening for 
the Conservatives. At his own request, he was censured by 
the Senate, an attempt to expel him failing by a decisive 
vote. The Standard demanded that he and Sweet should 
both be expelled, and an attempt was made without success 
to censure the latter. The charges made by Sweet were the 
result of information given him by a Mrs. Caverley who 
promised to testify, but Littlefield succeeded in getting her 
out of the State and rapidly followed with " Judge " Alden, 
a carpetbagger lobbyist who was working for him. After 
the committee was discharged, Littlefield returned. 

Early in January, the news leaked that the location 
of the penitentiary had been accomplished by gross fraud 
upon the State, and a committee of investigation was at 
once raised. This met with a good deal of opposition from 
the more venal who openly condemned investigation of 
every sort. Hugh Downing, who was a member of the 
penitentiary committee, offered to buy the property, stating 
that he had an immediate chance to realize a large profit 


upon the transaction. Pruyn, who with J. M. Heck had 
handled the deal, now came forward and offered to buy the 
land with certain deductions. Both offers wese refused. 
The facts of the case were these. The penitentiary com- 
mittee, composed of C. L. Harris, superintendent of pub- 
lic works, R. W. Lassiter, J. H. Harris, J. H. Renfrow, 
J. A. Hyman, Hugh Downing, and W. M. Robbins, upon 
the representations of Heck and Pruyn and after a visit to 
the building site alone, Harris having visited the rest, agreed 
to purchase certain lands upon Deep River, not then owned 
by the other contracting parties. A tract of twenty-five 
acres was selected for the site and eight thousand acres ad- 
ditional were accepted, separated from the former by about 
seven miles. The owner of the latter tract was on the point 
of giving away about six thousand acres of it to negroes 
to avoid the taxes, when Heck bought it at sixty cents an 
acre. The other land was purchased by him at a higher 
rate, one thousand acres at $3, and three hundred and fifty 
at something under $15. Before the purchase. Heck agreed 
to sell to Pruyn for $56,000, and the latter came to an 
agreement with the committee, Robbins dissenting strongly, 
for $100,000. No deeds passed until the whole deal was 
complete. Then Harris gave Pruyn and Heck orders upon 
the treasurer for the bonds to the amount of $44,000 and 
$56,000 respectively and received deeds in return which 
were not warranted and in which over six thousand acres 
were undescribed. None of the land was suitable, and the 
report of the committee to the effect that there were val- 
uable mineral deposits there proved false. ^ 

Much interest was excited by resolutions which were in- 
troduced in both houses requesting Congress to remove the 
disabilities of all citizens of the State. After considerable 

' Legislative Documents, 1868-1869, no. 7 and no. 19. 


debate, in which the prescriptive tendencies of the carpet- 
baggers appeared very clearly, the resolutions were rejected. 
In the main the negroes favored removal and men like In- 
gram and Pou of the white Republicans were untiring in 
their efiforts in behalf of the resolutions. How far the 
majority of the party were from such a point of view is 
best illustrated by the fact that, a little later, they seriously 
debated the question whether Vance's name should not be 
stricken from the list of incorporators of an insurance com- 
pany which had applied for a charter. , 

The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified in March with 
large majorities in both houses, the vote being as follows : 

For Against 

Senate 32 6 

House 88 20 

A number of Conservatives voted for it and supported it, 
including Hodnett, Jarvis, and Osborne. 

A great deal of freak legislation was proposed and some 
was enacted. Notable in this was the " twenty dollar law- 
yer " act which admitted to the practice of law anyone who 
would pay the license tax mentioned and was of good moral 
character.^ This later requirement was effectual only in 
theory. Naturally there was much opposition to it, but the 
argument that it was favorable to the negroes was very 
effective in securing its passage. A resolution was passed 
which, after reciting the confidence felt by the legislature 
in President Grant, instructed the senators and requested 
the members of Congress to vote for the repeal of the tenure 
of office act. A proposal to annex the city and county of 
Norfolk, Virginia, excited considerable interest and was 
seriously debated. A resolution was proposed which, after 

'^Laws, 1868-1869, chap. xlvi. 


Stating that doubt existed as to the length of the term of 
the members of the legislature, declared it to end in 1870. 
This did not suit the plans of those who had caused the 
ambiguity in the constitution and the resolution was stifled. 
At the previous session, the apportionment of rooms in 
the Capitol to the state officers had been placed in the hands 
of a committee. In August, the papers and other effects of 
the Supreme Court were removed to the third floor of the 
building and put in small rooms not at all suited to the 
needs of the court. Adams, the auditor, and Ashley, the 
superintendent of public instruction, then took possession 
of the two rooms hitherto occupied by the court. The first 
meeting of the court was not due until January and it was 
currently rumored that its early hours would be interesting. 
When the court assembled, it took possession of its former 
quarters, had its papers brought down, and ordered Ashley 
to leave and remove the property of his office. .A.shley 
ignored the order and the court appealed to the legislature 
for assistance. With some opposition on the part of the 
carpetbaggers, a resolution was passed ordering Ashley 
to vacate; another resolution instructed the attorney gen- 
eral to inquire into the legality of the action of the com- 
mittee in moving the court ; and the governor was requested 
to assign rooms to the state officers. The last resolution, 
as introduced, placed the location of the court in the gov- 
ernor's hands, but the friends of the court, realizing that 
he would ally himself with his colleagues, succeeded in 
striking out that provision. About the same time, the au- 
ditor was directed by the court to vacate the clerk's office. 
He ignored the order and, on February 13, was arrested by 
the marshal and committed to jail for contempt. The 
papers of the office were thrown into the corridor where 
they remained for some time. As the marshal, starting to 
jail with Adams, passed Governor Holden's office, the latter, 


rushing out in great excitement, exclaimed, "Supreme Court 
or no Supreme Court, chief justice or no chief justice, d — d 
if my officials shall go to jail. If they do, it shall be over 
the dead bodies of my militia." A crowd collected and 
forced the marshal with his prisoner into the office where 
he remained until peace was restored and the court placated 
in some way never made public. The debate in the legisla- 
ture on the subject was angry, abounding in denunciation 
of the court and its action, and revealing considerable fric- 
tion between the court and the legislature, but the auditor 
was finally given another room on the ground floor and the 
superintendent moved to the loft of the Capitol. 

One of the most important acts of the session was the 
passage of a law making it a felony to go masked, painted, 
or disguised upon the highway with intent to terrify any 
citizen.^ This was introduced by a carpetbagger and was 
of course directed against the I<!u Klux who were beginning 
to attract public attention. A few days before, the gover- 
nor had sent militia to Alamance County and the time was 
ripe for legislative action. As first presented, the bill ex- 
empted from punishment anyone who killed a person so 
disguised, even without provocation. In this form it passed 
the House, but the Senate struck out this provision which 
its opponents said was of such a character that the law 
should be entitled " An act to legalize murder." 

The legislature could not be accused of a disinclination to 
legislate. Two hundred and eighty-two public laws and 
sixty-three public resolutions and almost as many of a 
private nature were passed. Much of this was of course 
the enactment of the code of civil procedure which was 
ground out by the code commission with the assistance of 
the New York Code which lawyers pronounced entirely un- 

' Lmt's, 1868-1869, chap, cclxvii. 


suitable to North Carolina law. The duties of state officers 
were defined/ and the salaries of the governor and treas- 
urer fixed at five thousand and three thousand dollars re- 
spectively.^ An elaborate act defining contempt of court 
and providing rules of procedure in contempt cases was 
passed." This later proved an irksome limitation upon the 
power of some of the judges who were inclined to be thin- 
skinned where political criticism was concerned. A bill to 
define and punish bribery, introduced into the Senate the 
day after the exposure of Robbins' conduct in the Stephens 
matter, was characterized by one member as an insult to 
the State, but passed nevertheless. It was very stringent 
and provided a maximum punishment of a fine of five thou- 
sand dollars and five years' imprisonment. Members of 
the legislature, if convicted were thereby deprived of their 
seats and rendered forever incapable of holding office of 
honor, trust, and profit under the State. ^ Could this have 
been enforced, there would have been many vacancies in 
the body which passed the act. 

One of the most creditable acts of the legislature was in 
relation to the swamp lands owned by the board of educa- 
tion. It became a matter of common knowledge that these 
were to be sold below their value for the benefit of certain 
interested parties, and immediately an act was passed mak- 
ing the consent of the legislature necessary to any sale of 
property appropriated to educational purposes." An inter- 
esting light is thrown upon local economic conditions by 
the passage of forty-nine acts authorizing county commis- 
sioners to levy special taxes. Thirty-six of the counties 
concerned were in the hands of the Republicans. The reve- 

^ Lams, 1868-1869, chap, cclxx. 

^ Ibid., chap. ex. s Jl/id^^ chap, clxxvii. 

* Ibid., chap, clxxvi. ° Ibid., chap. Ixxix. 


nue bill, which was debated a long time, when finally passed, 
imposed a tax wherever possible. Like the Irishman at the 
fair, whenever they saw a head, they hit it. The act in- 
cluded an ad valorem tax of one-third of one per cent on 
real and personal property, an income tax of two and one- 
half per cent, an inheritance tax, progressive according to 
relationship, license taxes of every conceivable kind, and 
franchise taxes. ^ 

The most important, and, from the standpoint of some 
of the legislators, most profitable, legislation was in rela- 
tion to railroads. Sixteen acts on the subject were passed 
and nine of these carried provisions for state aid which 
would increase the state debt by fifteen million dollars. 
Fifty-five thousand dollars was appropriated to build two 
turnpikes. In none of this legislation were proper precau- 
tions taken to secure the State, and in the execution of the 
laws, the state officials were even more careless. By this 
time railroad legislation had become deservedly a scandal, 
and public criticism was severe. The majority of the legis- 
lators were either ignorant or reckless and far too many 
were entirely corrupt. Bill after bill was introduced with- 
out regard for constitutionality or policy. By the close of 
the session repudiation was in sight. Even such carpet- 
baggers as Sweet and Seymour began to protest. The 
f onner had had his eyes opened as to the motives and con- 
siderations influencing the legislation; the latter considered 
it chiefly from the standpoint of policy and expediency. In 
a speech made by him the last of January, he called atten- 
tion to the fact that the convention had authorized the issue 
of bonds to the amount of $3,i5o,'000, the legislature at its 
first session had authorized $6,700,000, and that by Febru- 
ary, 1869, bills had been introduced which would authorize 

' Laws, 1868-1869, chap, cviii. 


a further increase of $17,650,000. He showed the impos- 
sibility of paying the interest and called attention to the bad 
policy of increasing the already serious depreciation of the 
state bonds by further issues. The result, he said, would 
be heavy taxation for one year, " taxation such as no free 
people ever endured," and total repudiation the next.^ 

By the close of the session the legislature was entirely dis- 
credited with all thinking people. There was little hope in 
anyone's mind of its doing any good and the only question 
was how it might be prevented from doing more harm. 
It had recklessly plunged the State so deep in debt that it 
was on the verge of avowed bankruptcy, and in doing so, it 
had been utterly contemptuous of constitutional restric- 
tions.^ It had shown itself partisan, selfish, incompetent, 
and corrupt. Judge Alden, before mentioned, told a New 
York banker that he could buy a majority of the body. 
George W. Swepson and M. S. Littlefield had bought for 
their joint use, among others, Abbott, Laflin, Estes, Foster, 
Hyman, Sinclair, Stevens, J. H. Harris, and Rev. Hugh 
Downing.' These facts were not clearly proved as yet, but 
they were suspected, and the result was fatal to the ma- 
jority. At the beginning of their term they had presented 
a united front to the Conservatives who were ignored in 
debate or silenced by the call of the previous question. This 
condition of affairs was now soon changed. Friction among 
themselves increased until the majority was apparently 
about to break up into hostile cliques. The deportment of 
the members was never good and became worse as the ses- 
sion progressed. Abusive and profane language was com- 

' Sentinel, January 30, 1869. 

' Almost every bill authorizing the levy of a special county tax was 
in violation of the constitution. Art. II, sec. 16. 

• The proof of this fact is to be found in the two fraud commission 


mon in debate and there were occasional personal en- 
counters. Horseplay and buffoonery were usual and on the 
day of adjournment for the Christmas recess, a brass band 
was brought into the hall of the House and played from 
time to time. At the April adjournment, a large number 
of the members bought fox horns from a peddler and in 
the two houses and all over the Capitol, including the 
top of the dome, blew them constantly and vociferously. 
A large number were drunk and the scene was disgraceful 
beyond words. During the session, a circus visited Raleigh 
and the doors of the two houses had to be locked and the 
seregants-at-arms sent out to arrest absent members ^ in 
order to secure a quorum. 

The record was not one to inspire reverence for govern- 
ment or admiration for Reconstruction and its results. 
How full of evil those results were, was, however, not yet 
clearly seen. 

' Sentinel, March s and 9, i86g. 


The Republican Regime {Continued) 


The lines of cleavage in the Republican party were not 
concealed from the Conservatives, but the latter received 
with the knowledge no promise of immediate benefit; it 
only seemed to indicate a cause for hope for the future. 
Nevertheless, no opportunity was lost to widen any breach 
that was visible, nor was the battle against the Radicals 
lessened at all when the legislature adjourned. The most 
influential agency in this contest was the Sentinel, edited 
by Josiah Turner with an enthusiasm for polemics that 
seemed little short of diabolical to his opponents. He was 
a man of positive genius for political warfare, sparing not 
and caring little where he struck. Quick-witted, ingenious 
in putting an opponent on the defensive and keeping him 
there, and at the same time ignoring a counter attack, gifted 
with a keen sense of humor, he saw the ridiculous side of 
everything and employed it as a means to an end, realizing 
clearly that in politics a dangerous enemy is often rendered 
harmless by laughter and ridicule. He had a nickname for 
nearly every carpetbagger and for a number of the native 
Republicans. The " hands," " Pilgrim " Ashley, " Windy 
Billy " Henderson " who stole Darr's mule " (or as he later 
phrased it, " who was tried and acquitted of stealing Darr's 
mule "), " Kildee " Lassiter, " Chicken " Stephens, "Greasy 
Sam " Watts, " Blow your Horn Billy " Smith, " the Gov- 
ernor's son Joseph," " Ipecac " Menninger, " Colonel Heck 


who teaches the Sunday School," " Parson " Sinclair, 
" Sleepy " Downing,' " Ku Klux " Ingram, " Grapevine " 
John Ragland, and " Captain " Thomas Settle, are terms 
that are familiar in North Carolina even to-day. No man 
in the State was so bitterly hated by the Republicans and, 
as time went on, so intensely feared. He saw everything. 
Through sources of information never revealed, he learned 
of plans and policies that were studiously concealed from 
the public by their originators. He never forgot or over- 
looked a vital point, never lost his temper, and never for- 
gave, but cunning as a serpent, writing with a pen that 
seemed dipped in gall, he relentlessly pursued what now be- 
came the chief aim of his existence, the overthrow of the 
Republican party in the State. No man was ever better 
adapted to such work, for his genius was destructive always 
and he naturally belonged to the opposition. He was the 
inspiration of the Conservative party in its deepest gloom, 
and to him more than to any other one man belongs the 
credit for the speedy overthrow of Reconstruction in North 

Among the first to- writhe under his lash was Governor 
Holden. The first manifestation of this was an attack made 
upon Turner by Joseph W. Holden. In company with sev- 
eral of his associates, including Laflin, Sloan, and Pruyn, 
all carrying heavy sticks, he visited the Sentinel office in 
March. Turner was absent, but upon his return that after- 
noon, he was met outside the railroad station by Holden, 
Menninger, a brother of the secretary of state, C. L. Harris, 
and a number of others. Menninger accosted him and was 
threatening him when Turner, seeing the group advancing 
upon him, drew a pistol and warned them to keep away. 
He was at once arrested, carried to the mayor's office, and 
bound over to a higher court. Holden was also held to bail. 
The governor was present and gave bail for his son's ap- 


pearance, after which he made a speech in which he said 
that he had been aware of what was planned, that he ap- 
proved it fully, and that he had come down for the purpose 
of giving bail. The mayor, who was his son-in-law, sought 
without success to silence him. Turner then suggested that 
they should hold a joint debate and the governor in a rage 
almost precipitated a riot. The incident was of course 
turned to advantage by Turner. 

One of the most important political happenings of the 
year grew out of an action on the part of the bar of the 
State which was not intended to have any partisan politi- 
cal bearing. Reference has already been made to the part 
played by several judges in the presidential campaign of 
1868. Nothing in Reconstruction caused such a shock to 
the bar as their action which was so far removed from the 
precedents set by the bench during the period prior to 1868. 
B. F. Moore, the " father of the bar," was much aroused 
and felt it incumbent upon himself to sound a note of warn- 
ing and take such steps as would prevent the recurrence of 
such conduct. He therefore drew up the following protest 
which he sent over the State for signatures : 

A Solemn Protest of the Bar of North Carolina Against 
Judicial Interference in Political Affairs. 

The undersigned, present or former members of the bar of 
North Carolina, have witnessed the late public demonstration 
of political partisanship by the judges of the Supreme Court 
of the State with profound regret and unfeigned alarm for the 
purity of the future administration of the laws of the land. 

Active and open participation in the strife of political con- 
tests by any judge of the State, so far as we recollect, or tra- 
dition or history has informed us, was unknown to the people 
until the late exhibitions. To say that these were wholly un- 
expected, and that a prediction of them by the wisest among 
us would have been spurned as incredible, would not express 


half of our astonishment, or the painful shock suffered by our 
feelings when we saw the humiliating fact accomplished. 

Not only did we not anticipate it, but we thought it was 
impossible to be done in our day. Many of us have passed 
through political times almost as exciting as those of to-day; 
and most of us recently through one more excited; but never 
before have we seen the judges of the Supreme Court, singly 
or en masse, moved from that becoming propriety so indispens- 
able to secure the respect of the people, and throwing aside 
the ermine, rush into the mad contest of politics under the 
excitement of drums and flags. From the unerring lessons 
of the past we are assured that a judge who openly and pub- 
licly displays his political party zeal renders himself unfit to 
hold the " balance of justice," and that whenever an occasion 
may offer to serve his fellow partisans, he will yield to the 
temptation, and the " wavering balance " will shake. 

It is a natural weakness in man that he who warmly and 
publicly identifies himself with a political party will be tempted 
to uphold the party which upholds him, and all experience 
teaches us that a partisan judge cannot be safely trusted to 
settle the great questions of a political constitution, while he 
reads and studies the book of its laws under the banners of 
a party. 

Unwilling that our silence should be construed into an in- 
difference to the humiliating spectacle now passing around us, 
influenced solely by a spirit of love and veneration for the 
past purity, which has distinguished the administration of the 
law in our State, and animated by the hope that the voice of 
the bar of North Carolina will not be powerless to avert the 
pernicious example, which we have denounced, and to repress 
its contagious influence, we have under a sense of solemn duty 
subscribed and published this paper. 

One hundred and eight lawyers signed it.^ In order to 

• Judge Battle, Judge Manly, and Judge Ruffin, all of whom had been 
members of the Supreme Court, declined from motives of delicacy to 
sign the protest. Judge Battle, in addition, thought it would do no 
good, but the others heartily approved it. 


prevent a political construction from being placed upon their 
action, the matter was not made public until April 19, 1869, 
when it appeared in the Sentinel and other papers. It ex- 
cited less comment in the press than might have been ex- 
pected. It won general approval from the Conservative 
papers and ridicule from the Republican, but no one voiced 
any belief that the Supreme Court would take official notice 
of it. When the court met in June, to the entire surprise 
of the protesting lawyers, the chief justice stated that the 
protest was a contempt of court and directed the clerk to 
serve a rule upon twenty-five of the protestants, who prac- 
ticed before the court, to show cause why they should not 
be silenced until they had purged themselves of the con- 
tempt. Those affected, who were present, were not allowed 
to appear in their cases. It was finally arranged that the 
rule should be served upon B. F. Moore, E. G. Haywood, 
and Thomas Bragg, and that the matter should be argued 
before the court a week later. Chief Justice Pearson de- 
clared in court that " as the case appeared, it was as if the 
bar had been lying in wait to murder the judiciary." 

There was naturally great excitement not only among the 
lawyers, but also among the politicians. A storm of protest 
against the action of the court came from the Conservative 
press, while the Republican papers declared the protest sim- 
ply an example of the dishonest political methods employed 
by wily politicians who had now fallen into their own net.^ 

On the appointed daj^ the case was called. The respond- 
ents were represented by an unusually able body of coun- 
sel, including one former Supreme Court judge, three 
former Superior Court judges, and a future chief justice, 
all of whom volunteered for the case.^ The chief justice 

' Standard, June 10, 1869. 

^ W. H. Battle, D. G. Fowie, D. A. Barnes, S. H. Person, and W. 
N. H. Smith were the lawyers alluded to. 


announced that the proposed mediation of the bar would 
not be accepted and then called the case against Moore. His 
answer was declared to be the answer of all. In substance, 
it was : ( I ) He admitted signing the protest, but denied the 
jurisdiction of the court. (2) He claimed that the publica- 
tion was neither libellous nor calculated to impair the respect 
due the court. (3) He admitted that the purpose of the 
protest was to express disapproval of the conduct of in- 
dividuals on the bench, but disavowed any intention of com- 
mitting a contempt, declaring that his motive was to pre- 
serve the purity which had always distinguished the admin- 
istration of justice in the courts of the State. In the argu- 
ment which followed, Moore's counsel held that such pro- 
ceedings could not be commenced except upon affidavit; 
that there could be no contempt without intent; and that 
the court had no authority for its act, particularly since the 
passage by the legislature of an act defining contempt, under 
which the protest could not come. They also recalled the 
activity of the judges in the campaign. 

The decision of the court was read by the chief justice 
on June 19. He declared that no affidavit was necessary 
for opening the case; that the statute, referred to in the 
answer, did not deprive the court of its common law juris- 
diction over the behavior of its attorneys; and that the pro- 
test was libellous and of a character " to impair the respect 
due to the authority of the court " ; but he accepted the dis- 
avowal as sufficient, and ordered the rule discharged, at 
the same time administering a scolding to Moore for the 
reference in his answer to the conduct of individuals on the 
bench. In the other cases, a disclaimer was accepted with- 
out further process. The opinion of the chief justice was 
weak and unworthy of his intellect and ability. But the 
court, bent on revenge, had taken an indefensible position 
and discovered the fact too late. The protesting attorneys 


came out of the case with credit and the court suffered a 
severe blow in reputation and in public respect.^ In private, 
many supporters of the judges condemned them for their 
action,^ and the political effect of the matter was distinctly- 
injurious to the Republican party. The question was also 
raised by some of the judges later. Judge Dick and Judge 
Settle refused to allow signers of the protest to appear be- 
fore them in proceedings at chambers until they had an- 
swered the rule. Thomas Ruffin, Jr., later a judge of the 
Supreme Court, was silenced by the former who asked him 
afterwards what he thought of the action. Ruffin's reply 
was that the judge had behaved contemptibly. Judge Dick 

' Moore wrote to his daughter soon after the decision of the court: 
" While I rejoice that my course is sustained by all the virtuous and 
sensible, yet I weep over the degradation into which the Court has 
plunged itself and the liberties of freemen. I had no purpose to degrade 
the Court; God knows that my only object was to purify it and elevate it. 

"The conduct of individuals composing the Court was unbecoming 
the judges, according to my judgment, founded upon all the past ex- 
amples of the enlightened men who had adorned our annals. I saw that 
if such conduct should be tolerated and become common, the judiciary 
would sink into partizan political corruption. I felt it my duty as the 
oldest member of the bar to lift my wavering voice against the pernic- 
ious example. I did so as an act of duty. I feel now still more sensibly 
that it was my duty. I made no sacrifice in doing my duty. The ordeal 
I have passed through has made me proud of my position. I felt that I 
was called to account for having rebuked a great vice, for having dis- 
charged fearlessly a high and noble duty, and I was prepared to ccme 
off more than conqueror. I feel no stain on my name. There is none. 
I am cheered by every lawyer and gentleman I have heard speak, with- 
out as well as within the State. Every man of sense ridicules the opin- 
ion of the Court. It is without law to sustain it, contradictory, des- 
potic, spiteful, and malignant. It is the common sport of every man. 
I wish I could have saved the Court frcm the degradation into which 
they have fallen, but it was bent on revenge and lo! they have fallen 
into their own pit." 

'Judge Watts, in speaking of the matter, said, "If any member of 
the bar insults me in court, I say, ' Go to jail; ' if out of court, I say, 
' Go to hell.' " 


called him a liar and was the immediate recipient of a 
vigorous chastisement. 

In the summer, a disagreement arose between the gover- 
nor and C. L. Harris as to the right of the former to ap- 
point a state proxy and directors for the railroads in which 
the State had an interest. Each hurled injunctions against 
the other, but the governor was successful. The quarrel 
was important as the first outward manifestation of the de- 
fection from Holden of the important Harris-Logan group 
of Republicans in Cleveland and Rutherford. Governor 
Holden had persuaded Harris to accept the nomination for 
superintendent of public works, instead of demanding the 
presidency of the North Carolina Railroad which had been 
promised him, by assuring him that he should have the 
entire control of the state railways. The governor now de- 
clined to fulfil the agreement, and the break came. The 
Rutherford Star, a Republican paper, began to criticise the 
governor and, by the end of the year, was openly hostile. In 
the meantime, the Standard threatened to read Harris out 
of the party. This paper was still owned by Littlefield whom, 
in the face of protest, the governor had shamelessly ap- 
pointed state printer. It was the most devoted supporter 
of the administration. The New Bern Times, also Repub- 
lican, was another exponent of hostility to the governor. 
This was caused by the belief that Holden was seeking to 
discriminate against the east in his railroad appointments 
and policy. This same thing won him the enmity of Alfred 
and Oliver H. Dockery. 

Spice was added to politics in the State by the personal 
difficulties of the radicals, particularly of Senator Abbott. 
In the spring. Senator Sprague, of Rhode Island, on the 
floor of the Senate, called him a "puppy dog." Abbott 
blustered, declared that such language might be endured 
by cold-blooded senators from the North, but that, to a 


Southern man, it was unbearable. He therefore made a 
pubHc demand for an apology, which Sprague contemptu- 
ously declined to make, and Abbott subsided. A little later, 
he attempted to threaten into silence the editor of a New 
Hampshire paper who was commenting upon certain not 
altogether creditable incidents of Abbott's career in that 
State. The only result was a flood of caustic criticism. 
In August, Abbott wrote an editorial for the Wilmington 
Post, which he owned and controlled. The article was 
grossly insulting to J. A. Engelhard, the editor of the Wil- 
mington Journal. He then had himself put under bond to 
keep the peace. Engelhard challenged him, offering to pay 
the bond. In reply, Abbott expressed his willingness to 
join in a retraction of all harsh words and in a truce for the 
future. This was declined by Engelhard's friends in the 
matter who insisted upon an unconditional apology, which 
Abbott then made. The incident was particularly humorous 
because of the fact that he had charged Engelhard with 
cowardice.^ These were not all of Abbott's troubles. As 
talk of the Ku Klux became general, he began to address 
the negroes in Wilmington advising them to arm and pre- 
pare to defend themselves. He did not always confine him- 
self to such comparatively pacific suggestions, but, by im- 
plication at least, suggested retaliation. There were no Ku 
Klux in Wilmington, but a number of citizens shortly there- 
after went to him and warned him to desist on pain of 
personal punishment. He blusteringly replied that he would 
not be threatened. The answer to this was that the warn- 
ing was not intended as a threat but only as a simple notice 
that, in the event of any trouble in the city with the ne- 
groes, he would instantly be put to death." For the rest of 

' Sentinel, Aug. 20, 1869. 

'This information was given the author by one of the participants in 
the interview. 


his public career, the general was the most reserved of all 
the carpetbaggers. He had said in August, 1868, while in 
the legislature, " the people must learn that we are their 
masters," but, during the two years of Republican rule, he 
learned several lessons to the contrary. In the Senate, he 
still spoke of Raleigh as " the capital of the province," but 
any influence that he might have had disappeared, and in 
1870, the Nation said that a Conservative victory in North 
Carolina would be a blessing, if only for the fact that it 
would remove Abbott from the Senate. 

Other Republican leaders were not so' prudent as Abbott 
when personal safety was concerned. J. W. Holden and 
William M. Coleman fought in public, and, on another oc- 
casion, the former engaged in a public brawl somewhat to 
his disfigurement and entirely to his discredit. He was in 
bad company — that of the worst element of the carpet- 
baggers — and this evil influence rapidly transformed a 
nature that seemed to have had much in it that was attrac- 
tive and caused the prostitution of an intellect far above 
the average. 

During the summer, so it was said, the influence of the 
state administration was brought to bear upon the Presi- 
dent to secure the removal of Coleman by means of some 
foreign appointment. He was regarded as incompetent and 
was thought to be an injury to the party. He was ap- 
pointed consul to Stettin and, accepting, departed from the 

Early in the year, the discussion of the state debt became 
general. The Republicans were put on the defensive at 
once and were never able to justify themselves to the public 
for its creation. Not only its size, but the methods by which 
it had been incurred and the squandering of the funds were 
discussed with no resulting benefit to the administration. 
Repudiation was openly and generally advocated and the 

3q8 reconstruction in north CAROLINA 

doctrine daily found new adherents. The activity of the 
railroad lobby excited disgust which increased as the credit 
of the State sank steadily lower. The extravagance of the 
administration was also largely discussed by the Conserva- 
tives with considerable political effect. 

The Ivu Ivlux operations which were not very widely ex- 
tended and not nearly so lawless as those of the Union 
League, excited the anger, fear, and hatred of the Repub- 
lican leaders. The sending of militia to Alamance County, 
to be followed later by federal troops, had a corresponding 
influence upon the Conservatives. The governor planned to 
send troops to Hillsboro, but his friends warned him not 
to do so.^ Late in the same month, he warned the people 
of Orange, Chatham, Lenoir, and Jones to abstain from 
lawlessness and threatened to declare them in insurrection. 
About the same time, Chief Justice Pearson wrote a letter 
to George Little, in which he said the entire State was in 
as profound peace as it had ever been. The governor's 
action did not at all aid the Republican party and was prob- 
ably a cause of strength to the opposition. The mass of 
the people were fully aware of the fact that, if the gov- 
ernor had been more zealous in trying to prevent radical 
lawlessness, he would not have had as much occasion to 
worry over Ku Klux outrages, many of which had been 
carefully invented for the press with a full realization of 
their political value. At the same time, it seems beyond 
question that Governor Holden believed that the condition 
of affairs seriously menaced the safety and welfare of the 
State as well as of his party. In so far he was justified. 

There were a number of elections in August to fill vacan- 
cies. The results gave no indication of political change. 
One of them gives a striking example of the political 

'T. C Evans to W. W. Holden, Oct. 26, 1869. 


methods in vogue. Pitt County before this time had seven 
voting precincts. These were now reduced to five. One 
was one hundred yards from the Edgecombe Hne ; the sec- 
ond, three miles from the Martin line; the third, three miles 
from the Craven line; the fourth, half a mile from the 
Greene line; and the fifth, in Greenville, the county seat. 
Some of the voters had to go nearly thirty miles to vote, 
while the negroes from the adjoining counties mentioned 
could very conveniently come to help out the Republican 
cause in Pitt.^ The Sentinel had little comment to make 
upon the results of the elections, but sounded this note of 


^ -n ^ ^ 'K 'T^ 

Our firm conviction is that the people will not tolerate these 
villainies a great while longer ; the day of reckoning cometh, 
and it will be terrible. The carpet-bagger race will then hurry 
off to some other field of sjwils and laugh at the calamity of 
their dupes and co-workers in iniquity, but the native culprits 
must answer at the bar of public opinion, and in many cases 
at the bar of the Court of high crimes. We tell the native 
scalawags that the day is not far distant when the veil that 
now hides their crimes from the public gaze will be with- 
drawn, and they will be exposed to the scorn and indignation 
of an outraged people.^ 

A month later, getting a clear view of the situation, it ad- 
vocated a complete acceptance of Reconstruction and its 
results, including negro suffrage, and urged renewed efiforts 
on the part of all citizens to secure good government.' This 
was good politics, for there was no hope of overthrowing 
the new order, and its acceptance was necessary before re- 

' Sentinel, Oct. 6, 1869. 'Issue of Aug. 6, 1869. 

'Issue of Sept. 9, 1869. 


form could be secured. The time was ripe for Conservative 
activity, for the Republican party was in worse straits than 
it realized. In addition to the factions already mentioned, 
others were forming. The negroes were becoming dissatis- 
fied with their share of the spoils and their leaders boldly 
claimed a large proportion of the public plunder. The 
white natives, attempting to fix upon the carpetbaggers the 
blame for extravagance and corruption, were so busy de- 
fending themselves that they had small time to question the 
" loyalty " of their opponents. The witty saying that " loy- 
alty means stealing by statute " was rapidly coming into 
general acceptance and the word lost caste. The beginning 
of the end was seen in the autumn ^ and the session of the 
legislature, dreaded at first by the Conservatives because of 
the financial burden it entailed, was nevertheless welcomed 
as the opportunity of proving conclusivelj^ that the Repub- 
licans were unfit to rule. 


The third and last session of the " mongrel " legislature 
differed greatly from its predecessors. The credit of the 
State was gone, all resources were taxed to their limit, and 
there remained nothing for the corrupt to exploit; nothing 
to steal. The haughty and proscriptive spirit displayed by 
the majority had disappeared, and the hitherto despised 
minority began to assume importance as the majority of a 
rapidly approaching to-morrow which would bring a reck- 
oning. In consequence, unity departed from the Repub- 
licans, and, during most of the session, the Conservative 
minority drove before them the badly-demoralized ma- 

The governor's message was of little importance except 
in respect to three things. He recommended the payment 

' New York Herald, Oct. 27, 1869. 


of the interest on the debt, declaring that the State had re- 
ceived the money from the bonds, but advised against any 
further increase of the debt. He advised an appeal to Con- 
gress for a general amnesty bill, not because he thought 
amnesty was deserved, but because it would relieve fric- 
tion. Most important of all, was a request to the legisla- 
ture to increase his power in the use of the militia. Gover- 
nor Holden evidently desired to appear to his political 
opponents equipped with an olive branch and a sword. 

There was some slight change in the membership of the 
legislature, caused by death or resignation, but the political 
complexion remained the same. One more negro was in the 
House, succeeding Estes who had resigned.^ 

Immediately after the session began, bills to carry out 
the governor's suggestions were introduced. A resolution 
favoring general amnesty passed both houses by good ma- 
jorities.^ One introduced by Seymour endorsing the valid- 
ity of the debt, opposing any increase, and condemning 
repudiation, failed to pass. The debate indicated clearly 
that most of the members did not expect the bonds to be 
paid. Later, a bill was passed, intended to restore the 
credit of the State by requiring strict account by the var- 
ious railroad presidents for the bonds received from the 
State, with the return to the treasury of all that were still 
unsold, as well as of the unexpended money received for 
those already sold. The bill also provided that no bonds 
should be sold for less than sixty cents on the dollar.^ The 
Conservatives exerted a large influence in the debates on 
this bill. 

The third recommendation of the governor resulted in a 

'J. S. W. Eagles of New Hanover. 
'>■ Resolutions, 1869-1870, p. 333. 
'^ Laws, 1869-1870, chap, xxxviii. 


bill " for the better protection of life and property," intro- 
duced in December by Senator Shoffner, of Alamance, and 
thereafter known by his name. The author of it, however, 
was John Pool and rumor had it that Shoffner was paid a 
considerable sum of money for consenting to father it. 
The act empowered the governor, whenever, in his judg- 
ment, the civil authorities in any county were unable to 
protect its citizens, to declare the county in a state of insur- 
rection and to call into active service the militia of the 
State for its suppression. The judges and solicitors were 
given power to remove to another county the trial of any 
person indicted in any county for murder, conspiracy, or 
going masked, painted, or disguised. All expenses incident 
to either action were to be borne by the county concerned, 
the privilege being given to the county to tax the costs upon 
any persons convicted.^ The bill was vehemently opposed 
by the Conservatives who declared it unnecessary and de- 
nounced it as unconstitutional and intended simply to give 
the governor unlimited miltary power to use for political 
purposes." It passed all three readings in the Senate on the 
day of introduction by a strict party vote and was sent to 
the House where it came up on the following day, but many 
Republicans were absent, and the Conservatives succeeded 
in preventing a quorum from voting on the third reading, 
and the bill went over until after the Christmas recess. 
During this time, the Sentinel strove to arouse public senti- 
ment against the bill to such an extent as to insure its fail- 
ure, but the Republicans were determined to- force it 
through, and, after a bitter debate, passed it with a number 
of the party voting against it, for Republican sentiment 
was not at all united on it. W. T. Gunter, of Chatham, an 
intense Republican, led the fight on it in the House and even 

^Laws, 1869-1870, chap, xxvii. '^Sentinel, Dec. 18, 1869. 


Deweese wrote many letters from Washington in opposi- 
tion to its passage. Seymour, who was its chief defender, 
acknowledged that it was wrong in principle but declared 
that the times demanded it. In private conversation, he 
made no secret of the fact that it was passed as the only 
hope of holding the State Republican.^ The chief defence 
of the Republicans was that the bill did not authorize the 
suspension of the writ of habeas corptis. 

The most interesting feature of the session was the 
amount of time spent in discussion of investigation of the 
widespread charges of fraud, and in making such investiga- 
tions, at least three-fourths of the time of the session being 
consumed in this way. The session had scarcely com- 
menced before bills providing for various inquiries were 
introduced. The one that attracted most immediate atten- 
tion provided for an investigation of the Western North 
Carolina Railroad. A. J. Jones, a railroad president him- 
self, who had already stolen a large amount of bonds, was 
vehement in his opposition and denunciation of the resolu- 
tion.^ It failed, but others followed, were passed, then 
reconsidered and defeated only to be replaced by others. 
All the influence of the administration was brought to bear 
against any investigation, and the carpet-baggers fought 
every suggestion of such a thing, declaring the very propo- 
sition an insult. The Standard pronounced any such resolu- 
tion " a stab at the Republican party," and called upon the 
party to form a solid phalanx and act without regard to a 
" snarling minority." Speaking of Republicans who voted 
with Conservatives, it said, " Let them be refused the con- 
fidence of Republicans or admittance to the councils of the 
party. Let them be treated as Judases, who seek to betray 

'^Report of the Senate Ku Klux Committee, p. 224. 
^Sentinel, Nov. 20, 1869. 


those who have trusted them. Let RepubUcans act with 
Republicans and not with enemies." ^ The last editorial 
was caused by the action of the House in going into the 
commitee of the whole and summoning the treasurer before 
it. Immediately, Littlefield left Raleigh. Nothing came of 
the investigation so conducted. The Republicans voted 
down every genuine effort to secure the truth, and, when 
the committee of the whole met, showed the same disposi- 
tion, demanding that the Conservative members should 
conduct the investigation, but declining to assist or to sus- 
tain them. The superintendent of public works was sum- 
moned and showed a complete ignorance of the condition 
of the various railroads in which the State was interested. 
The treasurer was summoned a second time and with the 
governor's approval declined to appear.^ The sittings of 
the commitee continued until close to the end of the session, 
amounting to little because of the determination of the Re- 
publicans to protect certain persons. In March, Littlefield 
finally appeared, but Sinclair, Seymour, French, Downing, 
and James H. Harris combined and were able to exert 
enough influence to prevent his being seriously troubled.^' 
Governor Holden and W. A. Smith, the president of the 
North Carolina Railroad, got Swepson out of town on a 
special train at midnight to avoid appearance. 

In January, the Senate authorized a committee of inves- 
tigation, and Lieutenant-Governor Caldwell appointed 
Thomas Bragg, S. F. Phillips, and W. L. Scott, who con- 
ducted an investigation as exhaustive as the time allowed 
them permitted. The testimony taken by them showed to 
some extent the condition of affairs, but no action was 
taken. The situation became increasingly embarrassing 

' Issues of Nov. 20, 1869, and Nov. 29, 1869. 

^Sentinel, Dec. 15, 1869. '^Ibid., Mar. 8, 1870. 



for the Republicans, for the Conservatives v^ere pressing in- 
vestigation at every point, and it was bad poHcy to oppose 
such plans openly, and still worse to allow investigation to 
continue. One element never ceased opposition and the 
Standard became its mouthpiece. The Sentinel, referring 
to this, said, " Rave on, ye Radical plunderers ; but your 
days of iniquity and fraud and corruption are fast coming 
to an end. The people, insulted and robbed, will not much 
longer suffer you to pursue your foul practices and elude 
public justice." ^ A little later, it addressed the following 
to the legislature : 

Did you never read, Hands, that " there is a time when 
great States rush to ruin " ? That time is now upon this State. 
North Carolina is now no more like the North Carolina of 
former days than Chicken Stephens is like Bartlett Yancey, 
or Cuffee Mayo is like Judge Gilliam. The North Carolina 
served, loved, and honored by Gaston, Nash, Badger, Swain, 
and Ruffin is the same North Carolina no more. She is now 
the " hog trough " of the Union where Littlefield, Deweese, 
Laflin, Tourgee, Heaton, Ashley, Brewer, and Abbott, and 
such swine, come to wallow with native hogs like Id^olden, 
Victor, and Greasy Sam.^ 

In spite of the entreaties of the Standard and the carpet- 
baggers, the legislature passed a number of resolutions 
under Conservative pressure. The treasurer was requested 
to inform the legislature as to the whereabouts of the bonds 
issued to Pruyn and Heck for the penitentiary site, and of 
those issued to the Chatham Railroad, which had been de- 
clared unconstitutional. He was also asked for reports on the 
sums paid to the code commissioners and clerks of the leg- 
islature, on the number of bonds issued, and on the expenses 

'Issue of Feb. 9, 1870. 

■'The reference is to Judge Watts. Issue of Feb. ig, 1870. 


of the State government. The auditor was asked to report 
the amount and items of contingent expenses, the amounts 
spent on the Capitol Square and for ice. Committees were 
appointed on these and a number of other matters, includ- 
ing the state printing. Finally, Littlefield and his coterie 
determined to check the movement and, on the night of 
March i, 1870, a large number of Republican members of 
the legislature were entertained by Littlefield at an oyster 
supper at which liquor was unlimited. A large number 
were soon drunk and party spirit having been roused to a 
high degree, nineteen senators agreed to vote for abolishing 
the fraud commission, and this was done the next day.^ 

In the meantime, something more than investigation had 
been accomplished, though against the real desire of the 
majority. The Senate passed a resolution instructing the 
treasurer not to pay any interest on the special tax bonds 
until further action by the legislature. This is interesting 
as an expression of sentiment on the subject. The office of 
state printer was abolished to dispose of Littlefield and re- 
established a few days later with the power of appointment 
vested in the legislature. Most important of all was the re- 
peal of all appropriations of bonds in aid of railroads,^ 
which was accomplished after a bitter debate. At this 
point, the Standard repudiated the legislature in the follow- 
ing words: 

Its every act now directly injures the State. Under pre- 
tense of benefiting the people, bills are passed which are an- 
tagonistic to the interests of the people. 

It has ruined the credit of the State. It has forced dishonor 
upon a people whose good name none have dared till now to 

^Sentinel, March 4, 5, 1870. Report of the Bragg Fraud Com- 
'Larvs, 1869-1870, chap. Ixxi. 



It has, led by men who care for nothing save their unworthy 
selves, passed laws which will render its name infamous for- 
ever, forever.^ 

A pretty piece of rascality came to light after the close 
of the session, though it never became known generally. 
O. S. Hayes, a carpetbagger, introduced a bill requiring 
foreign insurance companies to deposit with the state treas- 
urer a sum in gold equal to one-half the amount of their 
policies in force in the State. This was passed and ratified 
and was then taken from the office of the secretary of state 
and not included in the published laws. Soon after ad- 
journment, Barry Brothers, of Wilmington, who repre- 
sented the Liverpool, London & Globe Insurance Company, 
were notified that such an act had been passed and that if 
they v^rould pay a proper amount, it would never be heard 
of again. They at once inquired of the secretary of state 
if such a law had been passed, but he did not reply. A visit 
by an agent secured the statement that there was no record 
of such a law. Once more a demand was made for money 
coupled with the statement that the Republican executive 
committee was in urgent need of funds for the coming 
campaign. Barry Brothers and Silas N. Martin, the Re- 
publican mayor of Wilmington, then laid the case before 
Governor Holden. Immediately a letter came from the 
secretary of state saying that the bill had been stolen, and 
referring them to Foster, of Bladen, another carpetbagger, 
as a person who knew all about it. Martin and Barry 
pressed the matter, the former declaring it would ruin the 
party, and Governor Holden, who seemed entirely indiffer- 
ent, said, " Dishonesty and corruption on the part of a few 
cannot injure the Republican party. The party as a party 
is not to blame." Martin replied that the party was justly 

' Issue of Feb. 22, 1870. 


blamed. " With our credit completely annihilated, our 
taxes large, our progress slow, it becomes us to root out all 
dishonest men. If we do not, our fate is beyond doubt." ^ 

Not long after the legislature assembled, the question of 
the length of its term again arose. The point of the matter 
was this. One provision of the constitution declared that 
the term of the legislature chosen in April, 1868, should 
" terminate as if they had been elected at the first ensuing 
regular election." A later provision made the term two 
years and ordered the first election to be held on the first 
Thursday in August, 1870. With this ambiguity as a basis, 
a considerable group shamelessly attempted to prolong the 
life of the legislature to 1872. The intention was evident 
and Plato Durham, in order to draw public attention to the 
matter, introduced a resolution declaring that the term 
ended in 1870. The matter was finally referred to the 
Supreme Court which had, of course, nothing to do with the 
matter. But Chief Justice Pearson was known to have been 
favorable to the four-year tenn," and it was probably 
thought that he would carry the court with him. Gover- 
nor Holden was believed to have favored it at first but to 
have changed his mind upon discovering that a majority of 
the existing body favored Judge Settle as Abbott's suc- 
cessor in the Senate. The Standard also opposed the plan 
for somewhat the same reason. In the midst of the discus- 
sion, Judge Tourgee volunteered the information that he. 
Sweet, and Heaton had agreed in the convention that the 
first legislature would be unpopular, and that, for the sake 
of the party, they had inserted the clause mentioned in order 

'Barry to Holden, April 11, 1870; Martin to Holden, April 11, 1870, 
April 20, 1870; Barry to Martin, April 20, 1S70. These letters are to 
be found in the Holden papers in the executive office in Raleigh. 

'' Memoir of TV. W. Holden, p. 159. 


that the body might hold over/ Sweet and Heaton at once 
denounced Tourgee as a har so far as his charges concerned 
themselves.^ Much discussion was provoked and the Sen^ 
tinel wittily said that the Radicals " were trying to per- 
suade Cuffee Mayo that biennial meant once in four years 
and four months." When the matter was referred to the 
Supreme Court, Judges Pearson and Dick declared in favor 
of the two-year term and the other three judges declined to 
discuss the question. The matter was put off until the 
suspicion became general that the majority would fail to 
order an election. Finally, when that course was seen tO' be 
dangerous, the election was ordered. 

But little legislation of importance was secured. A 
proposition for a constitutional convention was voted down. 
Forty-eight counties were allowed to levy special taxes and 
seven to issue bonds. As usual, most of them were under 
Republican control. 

In March, J. W. Holden resigned the speakership to as- 
sume editorial control of the Standard for the coming cam- 
paign, and was succeeded by W. A. Moore, of Washing- 
ton. The legislature adjourned on March 28, having been 
in session ninety-seven clays. The expenses of the session 
were heavy, $74,176.20 being spent for per diem and mile- 
age and $19,156.43 for printing. The cost of the other 
items, such as stationery, was large, but is not definitely 
known. Several attempts were made by members of both 
parties to secure the reduction of the per diem, but the sug- 
gestion was received with scorn and mockery.^ 

Adjournment was accompanied by wild demonstrations 

' Wilmington Journal, Dec. 4, 1869, Dec. 31, 1869, Jan. 21, 1870. 

-Sentinel, Jan. 15, 1870. 

' Blythe, a Republican, introduced sucli a bill which, after being 
amended so as to apply to him alone, was passed. Seniinel, Jan. 13, 


on the part of the Republican members and by quiet rejoic- 
ing on the part of the opposition. The Sentinel said : 

" Sound the loud timbrel o'er Carolina's dark sea! " • 

Yesterday exactly at 12 o'clock, M., that body which con- 
vened in this city in special session, on the first day of July, 
1868, and has been in session, off and on, nearly ever since, 
by courtesy called the General Assembly of North Carolina, 
having done all the mischief that presented itself to their per- 
ceptive faculties, adjourned, sine die.' 


The two leading characteristics of the administration of 
public affairs during the Republican regime were extrava- 
gance, combined with corruption, and incompetence. The 
former appeared in every department of government, for 
the poverty-stricken condition of the people was ignored 
and those in office sought to fatten at public expense. The 
salaries of the state officers were higher than ever before 
and their number was greatly increased.^ 

In addition, every department was allowed almost un- 

' Referring to Laflin's song at the close of the convention of 1868. 

' Issue of March 29, 1870. 

'The following is the table of salaries: 

Governor $5, 000 

Secretary of State 2,500 

Treasurer 3 ,000 

Auditor 2,500 

Superintendent of Public Works 2,500 

Superintendent of Public Instruction 2,500 

Attorney General i ,500 

Five Supreme Court Judges 12,500 

Twelve Superior Court Judges 30,000 

Adjutant-General i ,200 

Total $63,200 


limited clerical assistance.^ The state officers were author- 
ized to purchase all necessary furniture and supplies. In 
consequence, every department had more clerks than it 
could keep occupied and every office was rather elabor- 
ately refurnished. The expenses in the gross were very large, 
for everything was purchased at the highest price and usu- 
ally from someone with whom the administration was 
closely connected. The number of cuspidors used in the Cap- 
itol must have ben enormous to judge from the amounts 
paid for them. New carpets were purchased at a cost of 
$3,750, and shades put in all the windows. The latter were 
very expensive, running as high as $24 per pair. While the 
taxpayers were pinched by poverty, the public officials lived 
in a luxury to which not one had been accustomed. The 
ice bill for the four summer months of 1869 amounted to 
over $600, and over forty-five thousand pounds were con- 
sumed. The contingent expenses which had always been 
low, rose amazingly and covered much graft. ^ For the 

' The following is the table of clerks and salaries under the law : 

Department. Number of clerks. Total salaries. 

Executive ... 3 $2,700 

State 4 3,700 

Treasury 3 3, 700 

Auditor 3 3,600 

Adjutant-General i 1,080 

Public Works 2 i ,goo 

Public Instruction 3 3,400 

Capitol 4 2,030 

Total 23 $22,110 

'Table of contingent expenses: 

1866 $29,997.93 

1867 29,876.05 

1868 35,345-94 

1869 76,506.64 

1870 57.884.82 


years 1869 and 1870, they amounted to $134,391.46, and 
of this, about $70,000 was expended on the Capitol Square 
for which a force of hands was kept constantly on the pay 
roll. Large numbers of fancy trees and shrubs were pur- 
chased, none of which survived. Over five thousand dol- 
lars was employed in subsidizing Republican newspapers by 
paying for the publication of laws and proclamations. The 
expenses of the departments were increased by much travel- 
ing, most of it useless. The attorney general had no clerks, 
but the State, during two years, paid $5,400 in counsel fees. 
Interestingly enough, the attorney-general himself received 
$500 of this. 

Other costly features of the government were the militia, 
which cost the State $76,607.61, and the detective service, 
which cost $4,179.59. Stationery during the two years 
cost $37,718.83. Some of this was sold and the secretary 
of state, who had charge of the purchase and issuance of 
it, was accused of fraud. He escaped by blaming one of 
the doorkeepers of the legislature.^ Menninger was, how- 
ever, corrupt and profited greatly from his office, coming 
out of it quite well off, although he was bankrupt when he 
took it. Another expense of the government which proved 
profitable to some was the purchase of wood. It was ob- 
tained from D. J. Pruyn, the carpetbagger with whom 
Deweese had been in partnership, who always received 
twenty-five per cent above the market price. 

Government had always been economically administered 
in North Carolina and it had become traditional. If the 
high cost of government had procured a correspondingly 
high quality of administration, it would not have been alto- 
gether a bad thing, but never before or since was the State 
so hopelessly misgoverned by its officials from township 


constables to chief executive. The governor was much 
more interested in party politics and personal advancement 
than in good government and was surrounded by incom- 
petent sycophants and highly-skilled plunderers. For party 
reasons he w^as ready to overlook any lack of honesty, as 
was shown by his selection of Laflin for state proxy in the 
North Carolina Railroad in spite of the protests of Swep- 
son, himself openly dishonest, and by his forcing the elec- 
tion of Littlefield and Swepson as railroad presidents and 
approving the election of Sloan and Jones. He was fully 
aware of the character and record of all and, in the case of 
Swepson, Sloan, and Jones, he had definite proof in their 
cotton transaction in 1865 of their entire unworthiness for 
public position. He never, so far as can be discovered, 
profited to the extent of a penny from the frauds committed 
by them and others, but he attempted to shield them and 
must be held at least partially responsible for their acts. 
A strong man and a good one in his place could have held 
back the plunderers and crowned his name with honor, but 
with his eyes open, he chose the worse part. ^ 

The other state officers were incompetent or worse. Dr. 
Menninger, as has been noted, was utterly corrupt,^ and, at 
the close of his term, after he had gone North, Governor 
Caldwell had to threaten him with criminal indictment for 
misappropriation of funds. D. A. Jenkins seems to have 
been personally honest so far as the funds in his hands 
were concerned, but, like all the administration, he was 
perfectly aware of the wholesale stealing that was going on. 

' Daniel L. Russell in his testimony before the Senate committee on 
the Ku Klux said that the frauds were largely due to Holden's imbecil- 
ity and incapacity. Page 183. 

'' There is evidence to show that his house was largely furnished at the 
expense of the State. An instance of this is to be found in the Report 
of the Shipp Fraud Commission, p. 534. 


Henderson Adams, the auditor, was a nonentity. C. L. 
Harris, the superintendent of pubHc works, was personally- 
honest but was a " practical " politician and very partisan. 
When he protested against a proposed fraud, his colleagues 
read him out of the party. Ashley was corrupt. On every 
side there was nepotism. The governor made his son di- 
rector of two railroads, his brother a director of one, one 
son-in-law attorney general and another mayor of Raleigh. 
Josiah Turner, commenting on this in the Sentinel, said, 
" But if any provide not for his own, and especially for 
those of his own house, he hath denied the faith and is 
worse than an infidel." Ashley had a near relative in his 
office and secured a professorship at the University for his 
brother-in-law. In respect to this latter achievement, he 
was rivalled by Judge Settle and John Pool.^ Adams and 
Menninger each had brothers as clerks and Jenkins had his 
son in his office. 

In the judicial branch, conditions were somewhat better 
as regards morals and worse as regards ability. The Su- 
preme Court was a very able body with the grave fault that 
it was actively in politics. Of the justices, Reade was the 
worst ofifender, though he was very successful in concealing 
it. The condition of the Superior Court bench was pitiful 
indeed. E. W. Jones was not only an habitual drunkard 
but was brazenly immoral and entirely incompetent. 
George W. Logan seems to have been honest on the bench, 
but was entirely " innocent of law " in addition to being 
incompetent from lack of ability. He never lost sight of 
politics. Tourgee was without character, partisan, and un- 
dignified, but had more than usual ability, and, being very 
studious, became a most capable judge in all cases where 

' Few families benefited by Reconstruction as much as the Pools. 
Six offices were held by them. 


politics could not enter/ In other cases he was likely to 
lose all sense of propriety. Judge Henry was of only aver- 
age ability and while charges that he was habitually intoxi- 
cated were constantly made, there is no proof of their cor- 
rectness. Judge Cloud and Judge Cannon were honest but 
unlearned country lawyers who could never have reached 
the bench except in Reconstruction. Judge Buxton was 
exceedingly able but somewhat inclined to dabble in 
politics. Judge Watts was ignorant and corrupt, being 
hand in glove with the corrupt carpetbaggers, and, 
having received from Littlefield five thousand dollars 
when the latter was presented by the grand jury of 
Wake, Watts adjourned the court at once in order 
to prevent the solicitor from drawing a bill. He was a 
bitter partisan and was very active in politics, taking the 
stump in every campaign, or rather making one of the 
bench. C. C. Pool and Charles R. Thomas were both of 
average ability. Almost all the judges were careless and 
nearly every court was delayed by the tardy arrival of the 
judge. Tourgee was also in the habit of adjourning court 
early and, on one occasion, he left Orange court before the 
grand jury closed its session. That body then, at the insti- 
gation of Josiah Turner, presented him. An interesting 
contrast of the idea of law of the Superior Court judges 
with that held by the higher court is to be seen in the re- 
versal of their decisions in seventy of the one hundred and 
fourteen cases heard on appeal by the latter court at Janu- 
ary term, 1870. 

In the counties conditions varied. In the black counties, 
they were terrific; in many white counties in the hands of 
the Republicans, there seems to have been honest and cap- 

' A number of able lawyers, who were his political opponents, have 
assured the writer that Tourgee was the ablest judge that they had ever 
practiced under. 


able administration. Nor were all the Democratic counties 
fortunate in government. But there was a marked ten- 
dency in the Republican counties to an extravagance not 
warranted by the abilities of the people. The county com- 
missioners were wasteful at first and, in many counties, in- 
competent and corrupt. A notable example was in Wake 
County where the board was in session for one hundred and 
fifty days during the first year of the new system. Two 
members who lived in Raleigh charged mileage for one hun- 
dred and fifty-four miles, and a third, who had a home in 
the country but who lived in the city, of which he was post- 
master, charged for 4,268 miles. ^ The chairman of the 
board in Craven County stole $1,260 from the school fund." 
The most common offenders among the county officers were 
the sheriffs, and their opportunity for rascality was natur- 
ally great. Wake and New Hanover both had carpetbag- 
gers in the oifice and both suffered from their defalcation 
in large sums. Because of its financial importance, the posi- 
tion attracted carpet-baggers more than any other county 
office, and there were a number of them in the State. Pitt 
County was ridden with carpetbaggers, having aliens for 
senator, representative, sheriff, deputy sheriff, tax collector, 
treasurer, chairman of the board of county commissioners, 
a justice of the peace, and the deputy register of deeds who 
did all the work of the office. This seems to be the record 
for the State, though Craven labored under a very heavy 
burden of the same sort. Many of the Republican county 
officers could not give bond and it was the practice of 
Abbott, Deweese, and other carpetbaggers to go on their 
bonds so as to enable them to qualify. It was good politics 
and even the governor soon followed their example. 

Probably the highest average of ignorance, inability, and 

''Sentinel, Sept. 29, 1869. 'Ibid.. Sept. 13, 1870. 



inefficiency was to be found among the magistrates. One 
negro magistrate in Wilmington had a prisoner, who was ac- 
cused of murder, carried to the body of the victim to see if 
the blood would fiow.^ Another New Hanover justice, ap- 
pointed by Holden, was a convicted felon, who was never- 
theless allowed to qualify and serve. So far as can be dis- 
covered, no negro magistrate was competent to fill the posi- 
tion and the same may be said of many of the white ones.' 
In the federal service, conditions were little if any better. 
From those appointed, one could not be blamed for arriving 

■ Raleigh News, June 18, 1875. 

' The following are interesting examples of official papers issued by 
three of the county officials: 

" Notis. 
" Wil be sole next tusdy was a week at John Engh's sicks mills on 
Roily rode won hoss 4 yerr ole. Won cow and cafe. Won silver 
spune. Won sow with pigs by me. 

G. Imbles, 


" Mr. Robbard Ivy, I hearby Notify you to Come over to Tryal Sat- 
urday morning 10 oClock to my house if you donte the plaintiff Will tak 
Jugrnent Against yo. ISaac Wooten, J. P. 

By Cear Caesar Wooten." 

" State of North Carolina, 
" guilford County. 

"to ina lawful officer to execute forthwith whereas informa- 
tion has this Day been made to me one of the Justices of the Said Centy 
on oath of Andrew pelekten that on the 19 of December, 1868 and in 
said County one Henry Coe her set forth the efence of and against the 
State and against the peace and dignity of the State, this is therefore 
to Comand you to arest the said henry Coe and have Henry Coe before 
me or Sum other Justices of the said County to anser the foresaid Com- 
plaint and bee further dwelt according to law herein fail not and have 
you ther this warnt given under mi hand and Seeal this 22d Day De- 
cember, 1868. Frederick Smith, J. P. 

"Nnten H. parker you are debitised to attend to this warnt. I 
hereby Debetize N. H. parker to arest and return this warnt. 

Frederick Smith, J. P." 


at the conclusion that an evil character was the highest 
recommendation. Many of them made good use of their 
time. L. G. Estes, collector of internal revenue, was con- 
victed of malfeasance and judgment for $30,000 entered 
against his bondsmen, of whom Abbott was one.^ H. E. 
Stilley, a carpetbagger and an embezzler, later was ap- 
pointed collector of the first district. The assessor of in- 
ternal revenue was a carpetbagger who traveled over the 
State accompanied by a negro woman of ill-fame, and A. 
H. Galloway declined to allow him to come to his house.* 
The same illiteracy and incompetency were to be found 
among the federal office holders that has been noticed in the 
state and county service.^ Well might H. H. Helper write 
Secretary Boutwell of the federal officials, " They are for 
the most part pestiferous ulcers feeding upon the body 

' The defaulting collectors accoi'ding to the newspapers were: 

District. Collector. Amount. 

I W. C. Laflin $1,621.36 

2 L. G. Estes 74,774.67 

3 C. W. Woolen 56,816.25 

4 John Read 56,948.66 

5 W.H.Thompson 50,327.79 

5 John Crane 166,290.09 

6 John B. Weaver 59,125.47 

Total $465,904.30 

The author has never been able to verify these figures. 
'H. H. Helper to Secretary Boutwell, March 23, 1871. 
'The following is an example of an official document issued by a 
revenue official: 

Lincolnton November the 2 day, 1871. 

This is to surtifi That was Rain By Mea Beefore the U. S. com- 

ishner R. P. Vest at the coat Hous in Lincoton of Bein Berlongin to 
the in viserl Emphire and was Dischargd of the vilatin of the Acct of 
congress charged in the With in Warrant, This 2 day of November, 
1871. Thos. W. Womble, 

D P Marshal. 


One of the most common charges against the governor 
was his free use of the pardoning power, particularly in 
behalf of his party. Compared with the usage of to-day in 
the State, it was not a startling exercise of executive clem- 
ency, but for that time, it was far more frequent than was 
usual. During his term of two years, Holden pardoned one 
hundred and seventy-five persons, some of whom were un- 
doubtedly deserving.^ 

The evil characteristics of the Republican administration 
have been indicated sufficiently clearly to show one of the 
chief causes of the uprising of the people at their first op- 
portunity. To one familiar with the character of the people 
of North Carolina, no other result would seem possible, and, 
while it was assured by other contributing causes than bad 
government, this alone would have been sufficient. 


The congressional policy of Reconstruction, designed 
primarily to work a political revolution, also brought about 
a social and economic one. It is true that the war had done 

' The following table shows the pardons by year and the offences for 
which the persons had been convicted: 

Ofifence. 1868 1869 1870 

Larceny 20 32 20 

Assault 5 24 S 

Houseburning i 

Murder 9 5 8 

Burglary i 3 

Afifray 4 

Riot I • ■ I 

Horsestealing J 

Manslaughter • • 3 2 

Attempt at rape • • 3 i 

Robbery ■ ■ 1 i 

Miscellaneous •■ iS 9 

Totals 42 86 47 17s 


this to some extent, but there were evidences of an ap- 
proaching adjustment in 1865 and 1866 which was pre- 
vented by the establishment of the military government. 
The effect of the whole system was to postpone for some 
time a settlement of the relations of the two races upon any 
basis that was acceptable to the white people. The negroes 
were separated from them in politics and in religion and a 
strong effort was made for political reasons, and with some 
success, to persuade the negroes that they had no interest in 
the prosperity of the white people. In consequence, labor 
conditions were unsettled during the whole period and, 
combined with this, sufficient in itself to cause economic 
distress, there were bad seasons for several years. Short 
crops and the burden of taxes, which were largely paid by 
the land-holding class, made the industry of agriculture lan- 
guish and, since then the key to the whole economic situa- 
tion of the State was to be found in agriculture, the indus- 
trial development which has been so phenomenal having 
then scarcely begun, the situation could not have been much 

Other elements contributed to the distress of the State. 
Crime increased and public morals degenerated. Theft 
became so common that it was a menace to prosperity. Live 
stock was stolen until in some communities the raising of 
sheep and hogs was abandoned. Farm .products of all sorts 
were taken to such an extent that the profits of a farm were 
often thereby swept away. This was partly due to the 
natural propensities of the negroes, intensified by their 
necessities, but they were also encouraged in it by white 
thieves who dealt largely in farm products purchased at 
night in small quantities with no questions asked. This 
evil assumed such proportions that the legislature of 1871 
passed a law forbidding the purchase of such commodities 
after dark. That want was common among the negroes is 


well known, but it is not a matter of such common knowl- 
edge that among the white people there were many who 
scarcely knew from day to day from whence the next day's 
support would come and this in spite of the fact that every 
effort was made to find work that could be done. The war, 
which swept away so much property, in many cases did not 
leave the capability of making a living. That so many suc- 
ceeded in acquiring that capacity argued well for the stock 
and bore good promise of future performances in the eco- 
nomic and industrial upbuilding of the commonwealth. It 
is interesting to see how helpless emancipation left both 
classes who were freed by it. The one which was really 
most benefited was the slower to realize it, but when once 
it saw the truth, ceased to bewail the lost shackles which had 
bound it to the institution of slavery and made haste to lend 
its aid in the process of dignifying labor. It was without 
doubt a bitter experience but that it was productive of good 
results is proved beyond all question by the facts of to-day. 
The negroes, on the other hand, were stimulated into an 
outburst of ecstasy at relief from the metaphorical chains 
of bondage, and, regarding liberty as inseparable from idle- 
ness, proceeded to put it to the test. It must be said for 
most of them, however, that, when undisturbed by political 
agitators or outside influences, their behavior was good. 
They, too, had a bitter lesson, but were prevented from 
learning it thoroughly by the syren voices of the carpet- 
baggers who assured them of the gratification of every de- 
sire when once they obtained the franchise and lifted their 
alien friends to profitable office. It took many years of 
experience before the mass of them discovered that their 
race had been employed as a step to help white men into 
office and that their activity in politics had won the dis- 
pleasure of those who paid wages for labor and to whom, 
instinctively and in spite of slander and falsehood, they 


turned when in trouble. In the meantime, the morals of the 
race had degenerated, the opportunity of political instruc- 
tion, and, of greater importance, political division, had 
passed, and the white man's party would have none of 

From the presence of the negro in politics grew one of 
the greatest evils for which Reconstruction was respon- 
sible, namely, the inevitable blunting of the political moral 
sense of the white people. North Carolina, unprogressive 
as it was, had always a highly-developed political sense and 
an equally high standard of political morality. The great- 
est shock of Reconstruction was the revelation of the depths 
to which politics could sink. But during these two years of 
Radical misrule, when the ideals of the community were 
shattered, when an ignorant, inferior, and lately enslaved 
race, controlled by selfish and corrupt aliens, held the bal- 
ance of power and, by combination with a small minority of 
the native whites, administered the government, then the 
practical necessities of the case overcame scrupulous notions 
of political morality, and a determination to rule by any 
methods possible possessed the mass of the white people and 
held them during the three following decades. That they 
were right is not to be doubted in the face of the facts, but 
it must nevertheless continue to be a cause of regret that 
such a thing was necessary to secure good government. 

How far political and social conditions affected the eco- 
nomic interests of the State can not of course be determined. 
That there was a close relation existing must of course be 
true. Wages were low, but probably would have been so 
under any government the State might have had. They 
fluctuated little during the period. Money was scarce and 
the usual plan in the country was to rent land to " croppers " 
on shares which varied in proportion to what the owner 
supplied. The plan was uncertain in its results but prob- 


ably not so much so as was the hiring of hands with regu- 
lar wages, for, in the latter case, there was little or no re- 
dress for an employer when his hands deserted him. When 
wages were paid, they were about as appear in the follow- 
ing table where they are contrasted with earlier rates. 

Year. Men. Women. Boys. 

i860 $110 $49 $50 

1867 104 45 47 

1868-1870 89 41 39 

The usual wages for servants in town were $120 for men 
and $60 for women. 

The period saw a steady decline in the value of most of 
its agricultural products though its live stock rose slowly in 
number. The following tables are illustrative : 

Year. Corn. Wheat. Rye. Oats. Barley. 

1867 ...■■$18,692,960 $7,205,650 $548,450 $2,226,560 $4,500 

1868. ■■•• 18,225,480 5,942,000 501,810 2,261,350 3,875 

1869 . 17,400,000 5,921,100 460,000 2,275,oco 3,500 

i87o....^ 17,550,000 5,103,780 388,000 1,567.500 1,220 

Buckwheat. Potatoes. Tobacco. Hay. 

1867... •■ $19,580 $519-560 $6,956,676 $2,158,740 

1868... ■■ 19,090 745,820 6,849,672 2,790,000 

1869. 12,070 540,000 4,589,500 1,937,600 

1870 .•■■• 10,324 519,400 4,230,000 1,938,430 


1867 $38,332,716 

1868 37,339,097 

1869 33,138,770 

1870 31,308,654 

The Statement of property values for the same period is 
still more interesting, though the assessments were probably 
somewhat low. 




Town lots. 

Live stock. 

Other personalty 

1867 .. 



Not available. 

Not available. 

1868 ... 

. .. 82,204,267 



Not available. 

1869 ... 

. .. 69,990,991 




1870 . • 

. •• 68,240,609 




Upon this property, taxes increased with a leap when the 
reconstructed government was established. The following 
table will show the figures : 



Income.' ; 

State tax.' S 

pecial Ta 



$1. to $3.50 



.. .50 

.50 to I. 




.. .50 

.50 to I. 



1869 . 

.. 1.05 


■ 35 


1870 . 

.. l.IO 




The chief burden of this taxation fell upon the Conser- 
vatives not only because a majority of the white people 
belonged to that party, but also because they possessed the 
greater part of the wealth of the State. In addition, in 
many Republican counties, property was assessed so as to 
bring about that result. This continued long after the 
Conservatives obtained control of the state government. 

The result of these conditions was to force upon the 
market much of the land, particularly of large holders, 
which ceased to be profitable. A great deal was sold for 
taxes and still more to get rid of it. The prices were piti- 
fully small. In 1869, twenty-three plantations containing 
7,872 acres were sold for taxes in Wake County and 
brought only $7,718.^ In 1871, twenty-five thousand acres 

•This is the tax on $100. 

'•' This tax was levied on personal property consisting of luxuries and 

' Tax levied for the convention of 1868. 

* Special taxes authorized to pay interest on railroad bonds. 

^Sentinel, May 3, i86g. 


and one hundred and thirty-three Wilmington town lots 
were sold for taxes in New Hanover and brought $3,- 

In an industrial and commercial way, the State was mov- 
ing ahead but slowly. In 1870, the industrial situation con- 
trasted with that of i860 was as follows : 

Year. No. estab- Hands. Capital. Wages. Value of 

lishments. products. 

i860 3689 14,217 $7,456,860 $2,383,456 $g, III, 050 

1870 3642 13,622 8,140,473 2,195,711 19,021,327 

The manufacture of cotton was beginning and the manu- 
facture of tobacco was already of great importance. In 
the latter industry, the negroes found employment in large 
numbers and had a practical monopoly of certain branches 
of it. 

During the whole period, there were only six banks in 
the State, all of them national, having a combined capital 
of less than one million dollars. A number of small firms 
did a private banking business, however, without charter. 

Because politics was of such absorbing interest, news- 
papers flourished more than was to be expected. In 1870, 
there were fifty-two in the State, excluding six religious 
publications, and thirty-six of these were political. Twenty- 
six were Conservative, seven. Republican, and three, inde- 
pendent. Eight of the total number were dailies. Of the 
Republican papers, five were edited by carpetbaggers. 

The growth of religious organizations was normal except 
for the increase due to the establishment of negro churches 
of the various denominations in almost every community. 
By 1870, the separation of the races in religious affairs was 
as complete as it was in things political. 

In daily life and in business alike, uncertainty was the 

' Sentinel, June 3, 1871. 


chief characteristic of the attitude of the people. No one 
knew what to expect of the future and it became increas- 
ingly difficult to plan for it. Conditions grew steadily- 
worse and, when partial political redemption came in 1870, 
there were not a few who believed that economic salvation 
was impossible. The overwhelming debt threw a gloom 
upon business and injured personal credit as well as that of 
the State. Thousands went North or West to begin life 
again and their number would have been greatly increased 
had means to go been more easily obtained. It was a 
gloomy population that inhabited North Carolina, and, 
viewed from any standpoint, the economic outlook for the 
future was dark. 

Railroad Legislation and the Frauds 

The policy of internal improvement by state aid had 
been begun by North Carolina many years before the war. 
Practically all the bonded debt had been incurred in aiding 
in the construction of railways and other channels of com- 
munication. Much had been accomplished for the benefit 
of the State by the roads thus built and there were many 
who honestly believed that further steps in the same direc- 
tion would result in the increased prosperity of all the peo- 
ple, as a result of which, in 1866, and 1867, in spite of the 
economic and financial depression in the State, the public 
debt was increased by $3,015,000 in aid of railways. The 
experience of the war had proved very conclusively the 
need of improved transportation facilities, and those who 
advocated state aid therefore looked to the new govern- 
ment to continue it. Unfortunately, a gang of plunderers 
fixed upon the same policy as the one best adapted to their 
plan of looting the State, and for a time they used honest 
men who were without suspicion of their sinister designs, 
not only as tools to accomplish their evil purpose, but also 
to shield the character of their operations from public ob- 

Practically all of the new railroad legislation was enacted 
by the convention of 1868 and the legislature at its special 
session of 1868 and its regular session of 1868-1869. On 
January i, 1868, the public debt of the State was as follows : 



Contracted prior to May 20, 1861 $8,510,000 

Contracted between 1865 and 1868 5,214,900 

Total $13,724,900 

On this debt was due interest amounting to nearly $2,- 
000,000. In addition, the State during the war had issued 
bonds to the amount of $1,128,000, under the authority of 
acts passed before the war in aid of internal improvements. 
On this there was about $150,000 due in interest. This was 
not recognized by the convention of 1865 though not spe- 
cifically repudiated. 

On January i, 1868, the bonds of the State were selling 
at 70. On July i, they had risen to 75 but fell again almost 
immediately and fluctuated until October when they fell to 
65. In December the old bonds were 62J/2 and the new, 


The work of increasing the debt was begi.m by the con- 
vention which was attended by a quiet but influential lobby. 
Bonds of the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Rail- 
road to the amount of one million were endorsed,^ in spite 
of considerable opposition. A little later, the Northwestern 
North Carolina Railroad, planned to extend from Greens- 
boro and Lexington to Salem and thence to some point on 
the northwestern boundary of the State, was chartered and 
authority given the state treasurer to loan the company fifty 
thousand dollars for every section of five miles between 
Greensboro and Salem, as soon as the grading should be 
completed, the loan to be secured by a mortgage on the 
entire road." The next move was the passage of an or- 
dinance directing an exchange of state bonds to the amount 
of $1,200,000 for an equal number of the bonds of the 
Chatham Railroad,^ and the same day a loan of $150,000 

^Ordinances, chap. iii. 'Ordinances, chap. xvii. 

' Ordinances , chap. xix. 


in bonds to the Williamston and Tarboro Railroad, secured 
b}^ a mortgage upon the road, was authorized.' By a later 
ordinance, the Western Railroad was directed to return the 
bonds of the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Rail- 
road to the amount of half a million dollars which sum had 
been paid to it by the State, and receive in return the same 
amount of state bonds." Still later the first legislature was 
directed to fund the interest on the valid debt of the State 
in bonds and to provide for paying in cash the interest fall- 
ing due on January i, 1869, and thereafter.^ In addition to 
this assistance to the railroads, the convention gave to the 
Chatham Railroad all the State's interest in the Cape Fear 
and Deep River Navigation Company between Gulf Dam 
on the Deep and Northing Dam on the Cape Fear.* Practi- 
cally all of this legislation was accomplished by the use of 
money, and accusations to this efifect were made on the 
floor of the convention.'' 

By the terms of the constitution, until the bonds of the 
State should reach par, the legislature was forbidden to con- 
tract an}^ new debt except to supply a casual deficit or to 
suppress invasion or insurrection, unless in the same bill it 
should levy a special tax to pay the interest. It was also 
forbidden to give or lend the credit of the State to any per- 
son, association, or corporation, except for the completion 
of such railroads as were unfinished at the time of the adop- 
tion of the constitution, or in which the State had a direct 
pecuniary interest, unless the subject was first submitted to 
a vote of the people and ratified by them.* 

' Ordinances, chap. xx. ' Ordinances, chap. xxx. 

''Ordinances, chap. xHv. ''Ordinances, chap, xxxiv. 

"Shipp Fraud Commission Report, p. 527. Hereafter, this will be 
referred to by the name of the chairman alone. 

' Constitution, art. v, sec. 5. 


When the legislature met in special session in July, li 
the work begun by the convention was continued, for there 
was small thought of constitutional restrictions, and by 
this time a well-organized lobby was crying loudly for the 
prosperity which could only come through the building of 
railroads and the issue of state bonds for the purpose. At 
the head of the lobby was General M. S. Littlefield with an 
able body of allies, chief of whom were John T. Deweese 
and George W. Swepson, the latter being the paymaster of 
the " Ring." Beginning at this session, he allowed mem- 
bers of the legislature to cash their per diem at the Raleigh 
National Bank, of which he was a director, without charg- 
ing them any discount. The " third house " aided greatly 
in the work of the lobby, and Littlefield's readiness to make 
loans to needy statesmen with no expectation of their being 
repaid, made him the idol of the carpet-baggers and cor- 
rvipt scalawags, while his Radicalism commended him to 
Republicans who were not tainted with dishonesty. His 
charm of manner and bonhomie made his company accept- 
able to many Conservatives who at first did not question 
his motives or character. In the legislature, Byron Laflin 
was the chief member of the Ring, and as chairman of the 
committee on internal improvement, was able to render 
great service to the cause. The Ring not only put through 
its own schemes, but in a short time undertook to market 
bond legislation at the rate of ten per cent of the bonds re- 
ceived. Only through its aid could such legislation be se- 
cured and it was thus able to make its own terms. During 
the period the following sums were paid by Swepson to 
members of the legislature and other persons in public 
position : 


A. W. Tourgee $3,702.55 

Joseph W . Holden gso.oo 

John T. Deweese 16,000.00 

John T. Deweese and R. J. Wynne 200.00 

John A. Hyman 2,100.00 

Byron Laflin 785.00 

James H. Harris 7,500.00 

Andrew Jackson Jones 10, coo. 00 

James Sinclair 3,500.00 

George Z. French 500.00 

G. Z. French and L. G. Esles 20,913.74 

J.H.Davis i,oco.oo 

Henry Eppes 95.00 

Hugh Downing 4,000.00 

L. G. Estes 13,000.00 

Joseph C. Abbott 20,000.00 

T. Foster 25,000.00 

G. P. Peck 4,500.00 

Total $133,746.29 

Swepson also paid Littlefield in cash $66,i'03.46, most of 
which was used for the corruption fund.^ Four of the 
items are known. A. W. Stevens received $1,200, J. W. 
Stephens, $100, J. T. Harris, $75, and J. H. Harris, $100.'' 
How much more was paid is not known. The expenses of 
the bar in the Capitol were met by a note of Littlefield's 
which he later refused to pay. 

Very little was done by the legislature at the special ses- 
sion because of the approaching national election which 
carried with it the possibility of the complete overthrow of 
Reconstruction. There was a disposition on the part of 
the plunderers to avoid offending public sentiment as much 
as possible and to wait until the regular session, which 
would begin after the election was past. But quietly the 
treasurer was authorized to issue to the Chatham Railroad, 
in exchange for bonds of the company, state bonds to the 

' Shipp, pp. 316-17. 'Shipp, p. S15. 


amount of two million dollars/ Against the passage of 
this bill, twelve senators, including a number of Repub- 
licans, protested, on the ground that with this issue the State 
became responsible for $3,200,000 for a road not more than 
one hundred and fifty miles long, which could not possibly 
confer a corresponding advantage upon the State. In ad- 
dition, they argued that the act was unconstitutional since 
no special tax was levied to pay the interest, and because 
the question was not submitted to the people. In the House, 
strong opposition developed, led by E. W. Pou, a Repub- 
lican member, who throughout the term of the legislature 
was the inveterate foe of all dishonesty and corruption. 

A similar act was passed authorizing the Williamston 
and Tarboro Railroad to receive bonds to the amount of 
three hundred thousand dollars.^ The Western North 
Carolina Railroad was divided into two parts, the eastern 
division from Salisbury to the French Broad River, and the 
western from there to the Tennessee line. Its authorized 
capital stock was increased to twelve million dollars, the 
State being pledged to subscribe for two-thirds of it.' The 
charter of the Northwestern North Carolina Railroad was 
amended so that the State became responsible for ten thou- 
sand dollars per mile of the road from Salem to Mount 
Airy as soon as it was graded, and one hundred thousand 
dollars additional stock was subscribed.* Finally, in obe- 
dience to the instructions of the convention, an act to fund 
the interest due on the state debt was passed.^ 

These appropriations were not made without much pro- 
test and criticism. Conservative members of the legislature 
on the floor of the two houses gave warning that the bonds 

^ Private Laws , 1868, chap. xiv. '^ Ibid., chap. xv. 

'^ Ibid., chap. xxiv. '■Ibid., chap, xxviii. 

''Laws, 1868, chap, xxxii. 


were invalid and would not be paid. The Sentinel, while 
favoring several of the appropriations, in and out of season 
implored greater care in passing such laws, and even the 
conservative Charlotte Democrat said : ^ 

The impression prevails among the people that a considerable 
amount of the appropriations are going unfairly into the pockets 
of a set of speculators and sharpers whose influence induces 
the Legislature to make them ; thereforCj no one need be sur- 
prised if a disposition to favor repudiation is engendered by 
extravagance and burdensome taxation. 

The time may come when the people of this State will not 
be willing to be taxed to pay $100 in gold to the man who 
holds a bond that cost him only $50 or $70 in paper money, 
or that cost him nothing at all, except a little scheming about 
Raleigh and the Halls of Legislation. 

These objections all had their effect, and in the autumn 
the rumor spread that the interest on the bonds due in Janu- 
ary would not be paid. In September, Governor Holden 
sent out a public letter stating that all the interest would be 
paid on time. This was done for the October interest by 
the sale of the State's dividend from the North Carolina 
Railroad, which was paid in bonds of the road to the 
amount of $180,000. These were sold to G. W. Swepson 
and A. J. Jones at a price far below par, and were soon after 
sold at a large advance by them. Swepson knew some time 
before the public that the interest was to be paid and specu- 
lated in state bonds, clearing a large sum. Of this he paid 
Treasurer Jenkins six hundred dollars.^ 

In the meantime, the Chatham Railroad and the Wil- 
liamston and Tarboro Railroad had received their bonds. 
Both roads gave mortgages which, under the existing 

' Quoted in Sentinel, Aug. 26, 1868. 
' Shipp, p. 354- 


United States internal revenue laws, required stamps to the 
amount of one-tenth of one per cent. The attorney gen- 
eral decided that no stamps were needed, and the treasurer 
issued the bonds, although the act required that the mort- 
gages should first be registered with the secretary of state 
who, for his part, declined to register them for the lack of 
stamps. The most remarkable feature of the whole case 
was the fact that the Chatham mortgage included lands un- 
described, which were not at the time in the possession of 
the company. 

Of the Chatham bonds, 1,502 were sold at prices ranging 
from 54 to 63, including one hundred sold to Littlefield, for 
his draft at sixty days without endorsement, at 60 when 
the market price was 65, for his services in getting the bill 
passed.^ Forty-eight were hypothecated by J. F. Pickrell, 
of New York, for iron, leaving 1,650 in the hands of the 
company. The total amount received was $906,196.74, 
and over $600,000 was spent upon the road. 

The Williamston and Tarboro Railroad sold thirty-eight 
of its bonds for twenty-five thousand dollars and held the 
rest. About this time, the question of the validity of the 
bonds was raised, and the New York Stock Board excluded 
the new state bonds from the Exchange. 

This was the situation when the legislature met in No- 
vember, free from any fear of interference. What was 
going to be done was well recognized, and John Pool wrote 
Governor Holden a most caustic letter, in which he said 
the reputation of the State was already greatly injured by 
the frauds known to have been committed which were al- 
ready notorious, and urged him to use his influence to pre- 
vent any repetition of them. The Ring was better organ- 
ized than ever, and a flood of railroad bills was introduced 

' Bragg Fraud Commission Report, p. 127. This report will here- 
after be referred to by the name of the chairman. 



within a few weeks authorizing an increase of about twenty 
million dollars in the debt. 

This was accompanied by much protest, but so thor- 
oughly organized were the forces of plunder that they were 
able to command at all times a majority in each house. 
Outside the legislature, however, there was much feeling, 
intensified by the rumors that had been current regarding the 
methods by which the legislation of the previous session 
had been secured, and the continuance of those methods in 
the existing session. Consequently, late in December an 
act was passed, which, after reciting that doubts existed as 
to the validity of the bonds issued for certain railroads, re- 
enacted the acts of the preceding session in relation to the 
Williamston and Tarboro and Western North Carolina 
railroads, and after providing that upon the surrender of 
the bonds already received, the treasurer should issue new 
ones to the same amount, levied a special tax of one-thir- 
tieth of one per cent to pay the interest on the bonds of the 
former and one-twentieth of one per cent for the interest 
on those of the latter. To the Chatham Railroad, which 
was permitted to extend its line, the treasurer was directed 
to issue bonds to the amount of two million dollars upon the 
surrender of a like amount of those already received, and a 
special tax of one-twentieth of one per cent was levied toi 
pay the interest.^ For this act, Swepson paid Littlefield, 
acting for the Ring, personally or on his order as men- 
tioned above, more than $240,000 in cash and a large num- 
ber of bonds.'' Seven members of the House, representing 
both parties, entered a protest against the passage of the 
act, on the ground that it was unconstitutional in several 
respects and did not properly safeguard the interests of the 

' Lazvs, 1868-1869, chap. vii. ' Shipp, p. 203. 

* Sentinel, Dec. 21, 1869. 


On December 29, A. J. Galloway, of Wayne, as a tax- 
payer, applied to Judge Watts for an injunction to restrain 
the treasurer from issuing the bonds to the Chatham Rail- 
road, on the ground that the act authorizing them was un- 
constitutional. The injunction was granted and the case 
heard on January 4, when the injunction was dissolved and 
the case carried to the Supreme Court on appeal, where the 
contention of the plaintiff was sustained and the act declared 
unconstitutional because it had not been submitted to the 
people, and the bonds therefore void.^ 

The unsold bonds of the Williamston and Tarboro Rail- 
road, two hundred and sixty-two in number, were ex- 
changed for new ones, which were then sold for $135,- 
948.47 which was expended upon the road. 

Under the same act, four million dollars in bonds was 
issued to the western division of the Western North Caro- 
lina Railroad and a little later the charter of the road was 
amended so as to allow the capital stock of the western 
division to be increased to ten million dollars and that of 
the eastern division to six and one-half millions, the State 
being still pledged to take two-thirds of the stock as soon 
as five per cent of the rest was paid in. Of the amount 
appropriated to the eastern division, eighty thousand dol- 
lars was to be spent in the construction of a branch line to 
some lime beds in Catawba County, said to be owned in 
part by Dr. J. J. Mott, the president of the road. An in- 
junction was at once obtained against the use of the bonds 
under the latter clause. The former acts in relation to the 
road were declared valid and the special tax was increased 
to one-eighth of one per cent." Under the authority of 
these acts, bonds were issued to G. W. Swepson for the 

' Galloway v. Jenkins, 64 N. C, 147. 
' Laws. 1868-1869, chap. xx. 


western division to the amount of $6,367,000 and to Dr. 
Mott for the eastern division to the amount of $613,000. 
The western division held a meeting of the stockholders at 
Morganton for the purpose of raising the additional stock 
required by the first act, and only about three hundred 
thousand dollars was subscribed. Thereupon, Littlefield, 
Swepson, R. M. Henry, who was known to be insolvent, 
and S. McD. Tate, a former president of the road, made 
up the rest. Littlefield took a large part of it, and also took 
the contract for building the whole road, a step necessary 
to securing the bonds. Later, in a similar way, the second 
subscription of stock was made by taking Littlefield's check 
for five per cent of $1,100,000, although he had never paid 
his first subscription. The law required the president of the 
road to certify to the governor that the stock had been sub- 
scribed and the required amount paid in, but so far as can 
be discovered Swepson never certified for the second sub- 
scription. Nevertheless, Governor Holden ordered the 
bonds issued to him. 

The bonds received by Swepson were then used in var- 
ious ways. Ninety were lent to Hooper, Harris and Com- 
pany of New York; twenty to the North Carolina Home 
Insurance Company; some were deposited as margins for 
Laflin, Martindale, W. A. Moore, and Judge Rodman, who 
were all speculating in state bonds ; ^ and a large number 
were sold to pay for obtaining control of the Florida Cen- 
tral and Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Mobile railroads, upon 
which he and Littlefield had designs." Both became promi- 
nent in that State to its great injury. General J. C. Abbott 
and General Thomr.s L. Clingman were their agents in part 

' These speculations proved disastrous for Swepson, who lost on ac- 
count of Laflin, $76,000, Martindale, $26,000, and Moore, $28,000. 

'' An account of their work in Florida is to be found in Wallace, 
Carpetbag Rule in Florida. 


of the work there. The sum of $1,287,036.03 was spent in 
this way.^ In the process, 6,263 of the bonds were disposed 
of. In his account, Swepson was unable to locate 1,278 
bonds, but later said that they had been disposed of as the 
others. The highest price received was 62^ and the lowest 
43, the average being 53%. The number sold was 3,132 
and 1,924 were hypothecated. Soutter and Company, of 
New York, the financial agents of the State, handled most 
of them. Very little was spent upon the road. Both Swep- 
son and Littlefield, who succeeded him in 1869 as presi- 
dent, intended to build the road by bonding it, and it is likely 
that they had in mind the plan of securing the bonds and 
getting possession of the road. Littlefield was made state 
proxy by Governor Holden, who regarded the state interest 
in the railroads only as a political asset of the Republican 
party, and used it as such. The governor was directly re- 
sponsible for the election of both of them and indirectly 
for the choice of William Sloan and Andrew J. Jones for 
the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford and Western 
railroads. Through the state vote, a bonded indebtedness 
of $1,400,000 was incurred with the provision that, when- 
ever the interest was not paid on time, the mortgage might 
be foreclosed. The road was scarcely paying running ex- 
penses and the annual interest upon the bonds was $1 12,000. 
The bonds were hypothecated for $240,000, on which the 
interest was seventeen per cent, and were later sold at an 
average of 25^. Sibley and Clews sued in the United 
States Circuit Court in 1872, and in November the mort- 
gage was foreclosed. 

Of the six hundred and thirteen bonds received by the 
eastern division, one hundred and seventy were sold, ninety- 
three hypothecated with Henry Clews and Company, and 

' Shipp, p. 290. 


fifty hypothecated with Soutter and Company. The high- 
est price received was 45^ and some sold as low as 23. 
The amount received from sales and hypothecation was 
$166,580, all of which was spent upon the road. 

By the next act, the capital stock of the Wilmington, 
Charlotte, and Rutherford was increased to seven million 
dollars, and the treasurer was given authority to make a 
subscription for the State of four millions in bonds, a tax 
of one-eighth of one per cent being levied to pay the inter- 
est.^ L. G. Estes paid Deweese $2,500 to be divided be- 
tween Laflin and himself for the former's vote and influ- 
ence in behalf of this bill. The amount was repaid to Estes 
by Soutter and Company whose agent he probably was. It 
was proposed to divide the road and give the western divi- 
sion alone six million dollars, but the plan was defeated. 
R. H. Cowan was president of the road, but it was arranged 
that he should be forced out and William Sloan put in his 
place, and this was soon accomplished. Before that time, 
however, Cowan received 1,000 bonds, of which 970 were 
sold for $436,988.84 and 30 deposited with Soutter and 
Company to be held for the road. All the money received 
was spent in paying the various expenses of the road. The 
thirty bonds mentioned were later paid by Soutter and 
Company to D. G. Fowle, E. G. Haywood, and Samuel 
Person, the lawyers who were engaged for the rehearing of 
the University Railroad case presently to be described.^ Dr. 
Sloan became president in July, 1869, and received 2,000 
bonds. Of these, 1,700 were hypothecated with J. F. Pick- 
rell and 300 deposited with him. The loan made by Pickrell 
was $391,026.62, and in ten months, by means of commis- 
sions and interest, it was made to grow to $481,100.65.* 

^ Laws, 1868-1869, chap, xxvii. 

' Shipp, p. 402. '^ Ibid., Shipp, p. 18. 


About this time, Sloan sold Pickrell a half interest in an 
unworked and undeveloped sulphur mine for $25,000. The 
bonds were sold at 173/2 and from the amount received 
there was a deduction of seven and three-fourths per cent 
of the face value for commissions. Sloan also hypothecated 
company bonds to the amount of $600,000 with Pickrell for 
a loan of $272,000. They were sold at 46^ and practically 
none of the money received was spent upon the road. 

Another act incorporated the University Railroad Company, 
authorized three hundred thousand dollars in construction 
bonds, and levied a tax of one-one-hundredth of one per cent 
to pay the interest.^ The directors of the road were to be 
appointed by the governor and were instructed to organize 
at once. The appointments were promptly made ^ and 
Henry C. Thompson, of Orange, was elected president. 
In the meantime Governor Holden had consulted the at- 
torney-general, who pronounced the act unconstitutional.* 
The directors at once applied for a mandamus against the 
governor and treasurer to force the issue of the bonds. 
This was refused and the case carried to the Supreme 
Court on appeal. It was argued there, and, while the entire 
court concurred in declaring the act unconstitutional, there 
was division among the judges as to how far the decision 
extended. Chief Justice Pearson thought all the special tax 
bonds unconstitutional, and, at the request of his col- 
leagues, prepared an opinion as a basis of discussion. He 
read the opinion to William Johnston, president of the At- 
lantic, Tennessee, and Ohio Railroad, a former law pupil 
of his, who told Swepson of it and also mentioned the 
matter to K. P. Battle. Battle telegraphed the informa- 

^ Laws, 1868-1869, chap. xxii. 

'The directors were J. W. Holden, T. M. Argo, H. C. Thompson, 
Solomon Pool, and E. A. Wood. 
''Executive Correspondence, Holden, i, p. 139. 


tion to his friend T. H. Porter, a member of the firm of 
Soutter and Company, who had asked that he be kept ad- 
vised of the status of the case. Most of the judges seem 
to have discussed the matter rather freely/ The news 
spread in New York, and Judge Person, the attorney of 
the Wih-nington, Charlotte, and Rutherford Railroad, who 
was in New York, telegraphed a request for a rehearing 
which was granted by the court. With him, as counsel for 
the roads which had received special tax bonds, were asso- 
ciated D. G. Fowle and E. G. Haywood. The expenses of 
the rehearing as charged by Soutter and Company were di- 
vided between the western division of the Western North 
Carolina Railroad and the Wilmington, Charlotte, and 
Rutherford Railroad, the former paying sixty bonds and 
$21,250 in cash, and the latter thirty bonds and $8,259 in 
cash. Of this, seventy-five bonds and $20,500 in cash were 
paid to the counsel. What became of the rest is not 
known. Dr. J. J. Mott and A. J. Jones agreed for their 
roads to pay a proper proportion, but never did so. The 
decision of the court, handed down on July 21, declared 
the act unconstitutional because there was no grantee, no 
power was given the legislature to contract the debt, and 
the tax was not in a proper proportion. Judge Pearson's 
opinion was strongly against the validity of the special tax 

Many accusations were made against the Supreme Court 
at the time, but there is no evidence to show improper con- 
duct on the part of any particular member of it. Swepson, 
on one occasion, tapped his pocket and said that he had 
there another decision which had been prepared by the 
court and that it had cost him a large sum of money to 

' Shipp, pp. 460 et seq. 

'University R. R. Co., v. Holden, 63 N. C, 410. 


prevent its being rendered, but his word carries little 
weight/ The following telegram, sent him two days before 
the case was first argued, casts an unpleasant light upon the 
general situation of affairs : 

Raleigh, N. C, June 24, 1869. 
George W. Swepson, 

Baltimore, Md. 
The case will be tried, but the opinion of the Court re- 
served until your return ; this is all I can effect. 


A few days after the passage of the University Railroad 
act, the charter of the Western Railroad was amended 
and the state treasurer was directed to exchange five hun- 
dred thousand dollars in bonds for an equal amount of 
stock in the road, to issue an equal amount in exchange for 
the bonds of the Wilmington, Charlotte, and Rutherford 
R.ailroad, which had been paid to the former road by the 
State, and, for the purpose of extending the road to Wilkes 
County, to make an additional stock subscription of five 
hundred thousand dollars, making a total authorized issue 
of $1,500,000. To pay the interest, two special taxes were 
levied, one of one-eightieth of one per cent and one of one- 
fourth of one per cent. The act provided for the retention 
by the treasurer of one hundred and eighty of the bonds as 
security for the payment by the road, during the first two 
years, of ninety thousand dollars for interest, both of 
which sums were to be repaid at the expiration of that 
time.^ Under the provisions of this act, A. J. Jones, the 
president of the road, received 1,320 bonds. Fifty-five of 

' Shipp, p. 307. 

' An autograph copy of this telegram is in the Holden papers in the 
Executive Correspondence at Raleigh. 
^ Laws, 1868-1869, chap, xxviii. 


these were sold by New York brokers for $24,255, and, 
from that amount, seven and five-eighths of one per cent 
of the face value of the bonds was charged as commissions, 
so that the company only received $20,893.13. The rest 
of the bonds were deposited with certain brokers in New 
York, by whom, under instructions from Jones, part were 
hypothecated in an attempt to raise money to buy bonds 
on margin to bull the market. A pool was formed for 
this purpose by Swepson, Littlefield, Sloan, Jones, and a 
number of bondholders, including T. P. Branch, a Rich- 
mond broker. S. McD. Tate, T. W. Dewey, and R. Y. 
McAden. Treasurer Jenkins and Governor Holden were 
present in New York when it was formed and were fre- 
quently consulted by the members. At the same time it 
was decided by the railroad presidents that Henry Clews 
and Company should succeed Soutter and Company as the 
financial agents of the State. To this, Governor Holden 
consented and the change was made. Soutter and Com- 
pany had been paid a thousand dollars a year as compensa- 
tion for their services.^ 

The interest on the debt due in January and April, 1869, 
had not been paid and the bondholders began to complain 
loudly. Governor Holden was overwhelmed with corres- 
pondence from the North, where practically all the bonds 
were held, demanding payment, and it was clear that there 
was no chance for the bonds to rise in price unless some- 
thing was done to satisfy the holders of those already sold. 
Swepson and Jones now agreed to advance the money to 
pay the interest on the special tax bonds, and Jenkins ad- 
vertised that the April and October interest would be paid,^ 
and Governor Holden wrote an open letter to Clews and 
Company in which he said that the State would pay all its 

' Shipp, p. 552. '/did. 


debts, especially the special tax bonds/ The railroad stock 
owned by the board of education was now sold at a very 
low rate, and the proceeds, $150,000, along with the money 
received from the land scrip, $125,000, were invested in 
special tax bonds. The bonds rose slightly. Black Friday 
came, and the pool was broken with a loss of between three 
and four hundred thousand dollars. According to the 
agreement, $280,000 of this was to be borne by Swepson, 
Sloan, Jones, and Littlefield, in addition to their share of 
the rest. Jones paid his share, Swepson paid for himself 
and Littlefield, and Sloan declined to pay anything at all. 

Jones never accounted to his road for the bonds, but it 
was known that a large number were sold at a very low rate, 
the money going no one knows where, and a large number 
were gambled away by Jones in New York. On one oc- 
casion, he sat in a gambling room there, with a pile of bonds 
on a chair beside him, which he cashed in for chips, one 
by one, losing in a very short time sixty of them.^ This 
method of disposition was prolonged for several weeks 
with results that can readily be conjectured. Some of the 
bonds fell into the hands of the notorious Josie Mansfield, 
and the rumor was general that they circulated largely 
among the demi-monde. 

Four other railroad acts were passed on the same day as 
that for the Western road. The first provided that, when- 
ever fifty thousand dollars should be subscribed to the stock 
of the Oxford Branch of the Raleigh and Gaston Rail- 
road, the treasurer should subscribe to a further amount 
of two million dollars, payment to be made in bonds with 
the usual amount retained as security for the payment of 
interest. To pay the interest, a special tax of one-twen- 

' Sentinel, Nov. 2, 1869. 

' Statement of a bystander to the author. 


tieth of one per cent was levied/ No bonds were ever issued 
under this act, which was clearly unconstitutional. The 
second act authorized the extension of the Williamston 
and Tarboro Railroad to Plymouth, Washington, and Wil- 
mington, and from Edenton to Suffolk, Virginia, and pro- 
vided that when two hundred thousand dollars additional 
stock should be subscribed, the State should subscribe to 
the amount of $2,7oo,'00o. A special tax of one-sixteenth 
of one per cent was levied to pay the interest.^ The usual 
amount was to be retained to pay interest. No bonds were 
issued under this act. 

The next road to benefit was the Atlantic, Tennessee, 
and Ohio Railroad, the charter of which was amended so 
that it was aided to the extent of two million dollars in ex- 
change for bonds of the company to the same amount. A 
special tax of one-twentieth of one per cent was levied for 
interest.' Sloan and Laflin both opposed the bill and were 
paid $20,000 apiece to withdraw their opposition to it and 
consent to its passage. In June, John T. Deweese, after 
being refused by several lawyers to whom he had applied, 
employed E. G. Haywood to secure an injunction forbid- 
ding the treasurer to issue the bonds authorized by the act. 
As Deweese was not a taxpayer, he secured Robert C. 
Kehoe as the nominal plaintiff, though the latter had no 
interest in the matter, Deweese and probably W. F. Askew 
and Littlefield being the real parties in the matter. Appli- 
cation for an injunction was then made to Judge Watts, 
who declined to grant it without giving the matter further 
consideration, but the next day issued the injunction. De- 
weese said five thousand dollars was paid Watts to induce 
him to grant it and there is abundant evidence, including 

^ Laws, 1868-1869, chap. xxix. ''Ibid., 1868-1869, chap. xxx. 

'^ Ibid., 1868-1869, chap. xxxi. 


that of Watts himself, to show that he received from De- 
vveese five bonds of this issue. The judge maintained that 
it was simply a personal loan from Deweese. The whole 
purpose of the suit was to force the company to compro- 
mise by delivering a part of the bonds to the Ring. Wil- 
liam Johnson had promised Littlefield the usual ten per 
cent for the passage of the bill, but the latter fled the State 
to avoid appearing before the Sweet investigating com- 
mittee, and no bonds were paid him.^ Deweese had al- 
ready threatened to bring suit if he was not paid five thou- 
sand dollars.^ The officers of the company saw through 
the thing and R. Y. McAden, who was financial agent of 
the road, employed Littlefield to secure the compromise. 
The latter, acting through Tim Lee, the carpet-bag sheriff 
of Wake, secured this for seventy-seven bonds and charged 
for his own services eighty-six, ten of which he gave to 
Lee and the rest sold in New York.^ Of the seventy-seven 
received by Deweese, five were given to Judge Watts,* four 
to Kehoe, ten to Askew, and sixteen to Fowle and Badger, 
who assisted Haywood as counsel for Deweese. Deweese 
and Haywood seem to have divided the rest.^ Fowle and 
Badger became convinced, after the compromise, that the 
whole suit had been instituted for the purpose of blackmail, 
and returned the bonds they received to the company." 

The company received from the treasurer 1,760 bonds 
of which one hundred and sixty-three, as mentioned, were 
paid to Littlefield. The others were then deposited in New 
York with Clews and Company and Soutter and Company 
to secure the money advanced to the State to pay interest. 
They were later released and, the price of North Carolina 

' Shipp, pp. 208-09. 'Bragg, p. 151. 

'Hid., p. 178. * Ibid., p. 162; Shipp, p. 464. 

''Ibid., p. 466. ^Ibid., p. 158. 


bonds being now below 30, were never sold and were later 
returned to the State. 

The last of the acts passed on the fatal third of Febru- 
ary was in aid of the Northwestern Railroad to which 
the treasurer was directed to loan bonds to the amount of 
$20,000 per mile for each division of the road as soon as 
five per cent of a stock subscription of $150,000 for one 
and $100,000 for the other should be paid in and a mort- 
gage of the entire road delivered to the State. A tax of 
one-twentieth of one per cent was levied to pay interest 
and three hundred and sixty bonds were ordered retained 
as security for the payment of $180,000, as in the case of 
the other roads. ^ Edward Belo, the president of the road, 
received 1,080 bonds and, considering the market price too 
low, made no attempt to sell them and later returned them 
to the State." 

Two other railroad acts were passed during the session. 
One chartered the Eastern and Western Railroad, the di- 
rectors to be appointed by the governor, authorized the 
construction of the road through the counties of Granville, 
Person, Caswell, Rockingham, Stokes, and Surry, appro- 
priated two million dollars in bonds to pay for it, and 
levied a tax of one-twentieth of one per cent to pay the in- 
terest.^ The other chartered the Edenton and Suffolk Rail- 
road, the directors to be appointed by the governor, au- 
thorized the issue of eight hundred and fifty thousand dol- 
lars in bonds to pay for it, and levied a special tax of one- 
fortieth of one per cent to pay interest.* Both these acts 
were clearly unconstitutional and were so pronounced by 
the attorney general to whom the governor referred them 

^Laws, 1868-1869, chap, xxxii. 'Bragg, pp. 122-23. 

*Laws, 1868-1869, chap. xcii. 
*Ibid., i868-i86g, chap, cxxxviii. 



before he appointed directors/ Consequently no organiza- 
tion was ever made and, of course, no bonds were issued 
under them. 

These acts ended the work of the Ring in securing legis- 
lation. By this time the whole State knew what was being 
done and the people were greatly roused. By the end of 
the summer of 1869, talk of repudiation was general and 
when the legislature met in the autumn no further legis- 
lation was possible and, as has already been seen, the presi- 
dents of the various roads were directed to return all un- 
sold bonds to the treasurer and to account for the rest. A 
little later all the acts in aid of railroads were repealed. 

The following tables give the available information in a 
condensed form : 

Road. Amount authorized. Issued. Returned. 

Chatham $3,200,000 $3,200,000 $1,650,000 

Western N. C, W. D. 6,387,000 6,367,000 None. 

Western N. C, E. D. 613,000 613,000 None. 

Williamston & Tarboro 300,000 300,000 None. 

W. & T. (Branch line) . 2,700,000 None. None. 

University 300,000 None. None. 

Northwestern. 2,000,000 1,080,000 1,080,000 

Western 1,500,000 1,320,000 None. 

Atlantic, Tennessee, & Ohio- • 2,000,000 1,760,000 1,615,000 
Wilmington, Charlotte, & 

Rutherford 4,000,000 3,000,000 None. 

Oxford Branch 2,000,000 None. None. 

Eastern & Western 2,000,000 None. None. 

Edenton & Suffolk 850,000 None. None. 

Total $27,850,000 $17,640,000 $4,345,000 

'Executive Correspondence, Holden, i, pp. 133, 139. 


Special tax Tax on 

Road. levied. $100. Bonds left outstanding, 

Chatham ^\ oi 1% .05 $1,550,000 

Western North Carolina, 

both divisions ^ of 1% .125 6,980,000 

W. & T. ^V of 1% .0333 300,000 

W. & T. (Branch line) •• j\ of i % .0625 None. 

Univ. j^-^oiife .01 None. 

Northwestern ^^ of 1% .05 None. 

Western -j-^^ of i % .0375 1,320,000 

A. T. & O. ,Vofifo .OS 163,000 

W. C. & R. I ofi% .125 3,000,000 

Oxford -^-g of 1% .05 None. 

E. & W. is oil % .05 None. 

E. & S. jijy of 15^ .025 None. 

Total 1+ of I fo or .6683 $13,313,000 


Prices of State Bonds in 1869. 

Highest. Lowest, 

Old. New. Old. 

January 66 73 62 

February 64X 61 >^ 62 

March 64 $9^ 60^/i 

April 63^ s6yi 60X 

May 63X 56X 57 

June 60^ S6^ S8 

July $9^/2 S3 SoX 

August 58>^ 56 49/4 

September ... 56^ 48 50>^ 

October S2>^ 40^ 47 

November ... 48 38^^ 40 

December 43^ 33/4 4iX 


January 43 29 40 

February 48 26'/^ 40>^ 

March A7X ^iVs 45 

April 47 22?4 a(>% 

May Not listed. Not listed. 











24 >^ 





From the dishonest officials, Httle was ever recovered. 
Littlefield, after leaving the State, went to Florida, where, 
resting- under the protection of the various governors of 
that State, he defied requisition papers. All refused to sur- 
render him upon the demands of Governor Caldwell who 
never rested in his efforts to capture him.^ Once Littlefield 
had to surrender to the sheriff of Leon County on a charge 
of bribery to avoid being sent to North Carolina, and, on 
another occasion, Governor Caldwell sent a member of 
the legislature to abduct him if necessary, and he was al- 
most captured. The legislature offered a reward of five 
thousand dollars for him and two attempts were made by 
Floridians to win it. In both, Littlefield succeeded in escap- 
ing. With Swepson, he was indicted in Buncombe County 
in 1870, and requisitions were made upon the governors 
of New York and New Jersey for them." Swepson was ar- 
rested in Raleigh in 1871 upon a bench warrant issued by 
Chief Justice Pearson upon the governor's affidavit, and 
held to appear at Buncombe court, but was never punished. 
He and Littlefield, the latter being in London, at different 
times made partial settlements with the Western North 
Carolina Railroad represented by N. W. Woodfin, but the 
road received only a very small part of what was due it. 
Swepson's account with the State, skilfully handled by his 
lawyers, Merrimon and Ransom, steadily grew less, until it 
seemed wise to accept and make an immediate settlement. 

William Sloan and John F. Pickrell were indicted in New 
Hanover for a conspiracy to defraud the Wilmington, 
Charlotte, and Rutherford Railroad, and the former was 
criminally indicted for not accounting. He was found 
guilty in the latter case, but the Supreme Court reversed 

'^Executive Correspondence, Caldwell, pp. 34-35, 146. 
''■Ibid., p. 30. 


the decision on a technicality, and he escaped/ A. J. Jones 
was convicted of not accounting and appealed to the Su- 
preme Court, which, as in the Sloan case, reversed the de- 
cision.^ He was also criminally indicted in Moore County, 
convicted, and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary. 
He appealed in this case and died before the case was 

A number of attempts were made to force the payment 
of the interest upon the special tax bonds. L. P. Bayne 
and Company sued for a mandamus against Jenkins to 
compel him to pay the interest which the legislatiu'e had 
forbidden, but the Supreme Court on appeal dismissed the 
case. Later, another case was brought in the federal 
courts with the same result. No attempt was made to pay 
interest and the matter rested for several years. The 
holders of the bonds, issued before the war, to aid in the 
construction of the North Carolina Railroad, by suit in the 
federal court secured the sequestration of the stock of the 
road held by the State, and thus obtained payment and se- 
curity for the principal. For the rest, the State, having 
received little or no benefit from the railroads, was left 
with the burden of the bonds dishonestly issued and cor- 
ruptly spent, a debt which was in addition invalid, without 
reference to the methods employed to create it, because of 
the fatal defect in the election of the body by which it was 

' State V. Sloan, 67 N. C, 357- ' State v. Jones, 67 N. C, 211. 


The Ku Klux Movement 

i. purposes 

The Ku Klux movement, which appeared in ahnost 
every Southern State during the decade following the war, 
grew naturally out of the chaos in society which was caused 
by the ordinary results of the war and, more especially, by 
Reconstruction. The old order with its security and sta- 
bility had disappeared and the people of the South were 
confronted with problems which required immediate solu- 
tion. Not the least pressing and important of these was 
that of the relation of the races, with its important bearing 
upon the labor question. The first attempt towards a settle- 
ment of this furnished one of the chief pretexts of the 
radicals in entering upon their policy and the adoption of 
the congressional plan apparently destroyed any possibility 
of the control of the lower race except by force. The force 
of law, the power of the government, were in the hands of 
aliens or their tools, and conditions grew rapidly more un- 
settled until the statement of the committee on Recon- 
struction that the governments of the Southern States " af- 
ford no adequate protection for life or property, but coun- 
tenance and encourage lawlessness and crime,"- false when 
it was made in 1866, became entirely true. Liberty with 
the negroes rapidly degenerated into license and, banded 
together in secret leagues which to radical officers served 
as a valid political cloak for all offences, instigated to vio- 
lence by unprincipled adventurers who had been lifted into 


political power by the negro vote, alienated from their 
former friends by slander, they unconsciously set about the 
destruction of civilization in the South. Crime and vio- 
lence of every sort ran unchecked until a large part of the 
South became a veritable hell through misrule which ap- 
proximated to anarchy. Called into existence by this state 
of affairs, the Ku Klux lifted the South from its slough 
of despond by the application of illegal force which over- 
threw Reconstruction and ultimately restored political 
power to the white race. In the process, it furnished pro- 
tection to the oppressed, but, degenerating from its high 
purpose and estate, as might have been expected from its 
nature and organization, it was often violent and some- 
times oppressive, and in the end, fell into the control of 
reckless spirits who- used it for private vengeance rather 
than public punishment. But when this evil day came, its 
purpose was in a fair way of accomplishment. The women 
of the South once more could leave their doors without the 
accompaniment of a deadly terror. Property became fairly 
safe again. Heart had been put into the despairing whites 
and a revolution had been wrought through its operations, 
or, to be more exact, the results of a revolution had been 
overthrown and a form of government, wickedly, illegally, 
and unconstitutionally imposed upon the people, had come 
into the hands of the class best fitted to administer govern- 
ment, and the supremacy of the white race and of Anglo- 
Saxon institutions was secure. 

The inherent evils of the movement are plain, but it is 
an old adage that desperate diseases require desperate 
remedies. Certain it is that no open revolt could ever have 
accomplished so much of good as did the secret operations 
of the so-called Klan, and few to-day would deny that there 
was necessity for some remedy for the conditions then ex- 
istent. The justification for the movement even then some- 


times seems difficult, but wlien all the elements are consid- 
ered, the conclusion seems inevitable that if there be such 
a thing as the sacred right of revolution, then the Ku Klux 
movement as planned and carried out at first was justifiable. 
No free people ever labored under more galling oppression 
or more grievous misrule, and, in the absence of any ef- 
fective legal remedy, the principle of sains popnli would 
seem to apply. At any rate, it is clear that the movement 
was primarily designed for protection and its influence 
upon politics was purely incidental. The evidence is over- 
whelming in support of the theory that the chief purpose 
of the Ku Klux was to oppose the Union League and check 
its operations.^ The unfortunate thing is that such an ex- 
treme and, under ordinary circumstances, indefensible 
policy should have been necessary. Like practically every 
other evil of Reconstruction, its effects survive and are too 
often manifested in Southern life and thought. The re- 
sponsibility for it must ultimately rest upon those who 
planned and put into effect for partisan purposes the con- 
gressional plan of Reconstruction. 


In North Carolina, the Ku IClux movement was directed 
by three separate organizations, all of which were included 
under the generic term, and all of which were alike in out- 
ward seeming and, to a very slightly less extent, inward 
character. These, in the generally accepted but very doubt- 
ful order of establishment in the State, were The White 
Brotherhood, The Constitutional LTnion Guard, and The 
Invisible Empire. The exact, or, for that matter, approxi- 
mate time that they appeared cannot be ascertained. The 
White Brotherhood seems to have come late in 1867 or early 

'A striking example of this is to be found in the testimony of H. W. 
Guion before the joint committee on the Ku Klux. See pp. 246-83. 


in 1868. Its origin is unknown but it seems to have had 
no vital connection with the original Tennessee Ku Klux. 
Its purpose was primarily the protection of the homes and 
families of its members and of all Confederate soldiers, 
and its entrance upon an aggressive political campaign was 
ii departure from its original intent so grave in its nature 
tliat one " camp " at least, the one at Hillsboro, disbanded 
Ijecause the large majority of its members were opposed 
to the active aggressions of some of the members who 
acted without the consent of the camp. The organization 
v/as spread very v/idely and finally became in fact, though 
not in name, a part of the Invisible Empire. 

The ritual of the White Brotherhood was not very elab- 
orate.^ Under its laws each person initiated had to receive 
the unanimous vote of the camp. The camps were under 
the direction of a captain and all the captains in a county 
v/ere responsible to the county chief. The oath which 
summed up the purposes of the order was as fohows: 

You solemnly swear in the presence of Almighty God that 
you will never reveal the name of the person who initiated 
you ; that you will never reveal what is now about to come to 
your knowledge ; and that you are not now a member of the 
Red String Order, Union League, Heroes of America, Grand 
Army of the Republic, or any other organization whose aim 
and intention is to destroy the rights of the South, or of the 
States, or of the people, or to elevate the negro to political 
equality with yourself ; and that you are opposed to such 
principles : So help you God. 

You further swear before Almighty God that you will be 
true to the principles of this brotherhood and the members 
thereof; and that you will never reveal any of the secrets, 

' No copy so far as is known was ever printed, but enough of its 
secret work appears in the reports of the various investigations to form 
a definite conclusion as to its nature. 


orders, acts, or edicts, and that you will never make known 
to any person, not a known member of this brotherhood, that 
you are a member yourself, or who are members ; and that 
you will never assist in initiating, or allow to be initiated, if 
you can prevent it, any one belonging to the Red String Order, 
Union League, Heroes of America, Grand Army of the Re- 
public, or any one holding radical views or opinions ; and 
should any member of this brotherhood, or their families, be 
in danger, you will inform them of their danger, and, if neces- 
sary, you will go to their assistance ; and that you will oppose 
all radicals and negroes in all of their political designs ; and 
that should any radical or negro impose on, abuse, or injure 
any member of this brotherhood, you will assist in punishing 
him in any manner the camp may direct. 

You further swear that you will obey all calls and sum- 
monses of the chief of your camp or brotherhood, should it 
be in your power so to do. 

Given upon this, your obligation, that you will never give 
the word of distress unless you are in great need of assistance ; 
and should you hear it given by any brother, you will go to 
his or their assistance ; and should any member reveal any of 
the secrets, acts, orders, or edicts of the brotherhood, you 
will assist in punishing him in any way the camp may direct 
or approve of : So help you God.^ 

The sign of recognition was to slide the hand down the 
lapel of the coat as if looking for a pin and the answer 
was the saine motion on the other side of the coat, and 
the sign of distress was the word, " Shiloh," or two claps 
of the hands. ^ There was also a grip ^ and a code. The 
latter was simple, being as follows: 

^ Senale Report, no. i, p. xiv, 42 Cong., i sess. This will be indi- 
cated hereafter in this chapter by the title Senate Ku Klux Report. 

"^Senate Ku Klux Report, p. 265. 

^ Ibid., p. 7. It was given by pressing the forefinger upon the back 
of the hand and was returned by pressing the thumb and forefinger 
upon the middle finger between the second joint and the hand. 


A B C D E eic. 
K L M N O etc. 


signs of meeting were given by symbols, a day meet- 
ing being indicated by intersecting lines with figures, and 
a night meeting by a half moon with figures, as 

ijJ 4 X 3 — I2th at 9 o'clock A. M. 

4]^ 4X3 = i2th at 9 o'clock P. M. 

When at meetings or on a raid, disguises were worn, 
made often by women who had been initiated, and an- 
swering generally to the following description : 

It is a large loose gown, covering the whole person quite 
closely, buttoned close around and reaching from the head 
clear down to the floor, covering the feet and dragging on the 
ground. It is made of bleached linen, starched and ironed, 
and in the night by moonlight it glitters and rattles. Then 
there is a hood with holes cut in for eyes, and a nose, six or 
eight inches long, made of cotton cloth, stuffed with cotton, 
and lapped with red braid half an inch wide. The eyes are 
lined with the braid, and the eyebrows are made of the same. 
The cloth is lined with red flannel. Then there is a long 
tongue, sticking out about six inches, made of red flannel also, 
and so fixed that it can be moved about by the man's tongue. 
Then in the mouth are large teeth that are very frightful. 
Then under the tongue is a leather bag placed inside, so that 
when the man calls for water he pours it inside the bag and 
not into his mouth at all. The head dress has three horns on 
top, made of cotton, about a foot long ; these were also lapped 
with red braid. ^ 

But little has been made public regarding the Constitu- 
tional Union Guard. It is known, however, that it was or- 
ganized in the North in 1868 with an entirely political 

' Senate Ku Klux Report, p. 9. 


purpose. Its aim was to secure the election of Seymour 
and Blair, and when it was brought South, its initiates were 
told that it had a membership in the North and West of 
over a million/ It is scarcely likely that this had any basis 
in fact and there is certainly no proof of any. It continued 
to exist, side by side or blended with the other orders, 
until the movement had spent its force. Its reputed state 
head was Edward Graham Haywood, of Raleigh, but there 
is no proof that he had connection with it and considerable 
reason to believe that he had none. 

The Constitutional Union Guard was organized into> 
" Brians," each under the orders of a south commander, as- 
sisted by a west commander, a north commander, and an 
east commander, ranking in the order named. Other offi- 
cers were conductor, outside guard, inside guard, secretary, 
and treasurer. The south commander of the oldest klan 
was the commanding officer of the county. The sign of 
recognition consisted in crossing the right hand over the 
heart, which closely resembled the sign of the White 
Brotherhood. The sign of distress was given by passing 
Ijoth hands clasped over the head backward and forward, 
spreading out the thumbs. The word of distress was 
"' Ahoy." ^ The disguises of the members were nearly al- 
\vays black and had tall pointed caps without the horns 
which adorned those of the White Brotherhood. Practi- 
cally nothing is known of the ritual except that it was 

The Invisible Empire was the original of the Ku Klux 
orders, being founded in Pulaski, Tennessee, in 1865. In 
its origin, it had no special purpose other than a social one, 
but its possibilities were soon seen and it spread with incon- 

' It is very likely that the story that President Johnson was at the 
head of the Ku Klux grew out of the origin of this organization. 
' Hoi den Impeoxhrnent Trial, p. 1973. 


ceivable rapidity. General Nathan B. Forrest became its 
head, or Grand Wizard, and did much to control its activi- 
ties and to spread its organization. It was first brought to 
North Carolina by an emissary of General Forrest who 
visited many counties in the State and began the work of 
organization by initiating some chosen person in each. 
The date of this visit is not known, some persons placing it 
in 1867 and some in 1868. In 1870, General Forrest him- 
self visited Greensboro but there is no evidence that his 
visit had any connection with the Ku Klux. As he had 
officially disbanded the order in 1869, it is probable that it 
had not. 

The constitution and ritual of the Invisible Empire were 
the most elaborate of those of any of the orders.^ At the 
head of the order was the Grand Wizard; over each State, 
a Grand Dragon ; over such districts as might be set up, a 
Grand Titan; and over each county, a Grand Giant, who 
in North Carolina was usually called Grand Mogul; and 
over each den or local organization, a Grand Cyclops, with 
. numerous subordinate officers associated with each. On 
paper, there v/as provision for a very complete and effective 
organization, but it was never perfected because, from the 
very nature of the order, its officers could not control it. 
Its ritual shows clearly that it could not have been other 
than political, whatever may have been the purposes and 
intentions of its leaders. After denying that he had ever 
been a member of the Radical Republican party, the Loyal 

'Two prescripts of the Ku Klux Klan were printed; the original early 
in 1867, and the Revised and Amended Prescript, probably in 1868. 
Of the former only one copy is knov.'n to be in existence and is in the 
possession of Professor Walter L. Fleming. Of the latter there are 
three, one in the Library of Columbia University, one in the Library 
of the University of North Carolina, and one in the possession of Mr. 
J. L. Pearcy. Both editions are reprinted in Fleming's edition of 
Lester and Wilson: A'w J^iux Klan. 


League, and the Grand Army of the Republic, and that he 
had fought against the South in the war, and after affirm- 
ing his opposition to the organizations mentioned, to negro 
equalit}^ social and political, and expressing his belief in 
constitutional liberty, a free white government, and the in- 
alienable right of self-preservation of the people against 
the exercise of arbitrary power, the initiate took the fol- 
lowing oath. 

I, , before the Great Immaculate Judge of Heaven 

and earth, and upon the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God, 
do, of my own free will and accord, subscribe to the following 
sacred, binding obligation : 

I. I am on the side of justice and humanity, and constitu- 
tional liberty as bequeathed to us by our forefathers in its 
original purity. 

n. I reject and oppose the principles of the radical party. 

ni. I pledge aid to a brother of the Ku Klux Klan in sick- 
ness, distress, or pecuniary embarrassments; females, friends, 
widows, and their households shall be the special object of 
my care and protection. 

IV. Should I ever divulge, or cause to be divulged, any of 
the secrets of this order, or any of the foregoing obligations, 
I must meet with the fearful punishment of death and traitor's 
doom, which is death, death, death, at the hands of the 

There were several signs of recognition. One was given 
by stroking the side of the head above the right ear with 
the ends of the fingers of the right hand and the answer 
was given in the same way, the left hand being used. An- 
other was picking the right lapel of the coat with the right 
hand and in the answer the left hand was used. This, it 
will be seen, was about the same sign as that employed by 

^ House Report, no. 22, pt. 2, p. 309, 42 Cong., 2 sess. This will 
hereafter in this chapter be called Joint Report. 


the other two orders. A third was given by standing at 
attention with the right hand in the side pocket of the 
trousers with the thumb left outside, the left hand being 
used in the same way for a reply. The grip was given by 
locking the little fingers and pressing the wrist with the 
forefinger. " Avalanche " was the word of distress and 
the hailing sign in the dark was " I S.A.Y," the answer 
being " N.O.T.H.I.N.G." ' The costumes varied with the 
locality but were usually more decorated than those of the 
other two orders. But a man who belonged to all three, 
as was often the case, usually had but one disguise. Red 
suits were seen frequently and on one raid in Orange 
County all wore them." 

At the head of the Invisible Empire in North Carolina 
was Colonel William L. Saunders, of Chapel Hill, who, 
although he directed it, and, through it to an extent, the 
other two orders, for the membership was often, and the 
leaders nearly always, identical, never took the oath of 
membership and hence was, strictly speaking, not a mem- 
ber.^ There are few more convincing tributes of confidence 
than this and well did he deserve it. Summoned in 1871 to 
appear before the joint committee on " affairs in the insur- 
rectionary States," he declined in spite of threats and the 
attempts of the committee to punish him for contempt, to 
answer any question which in any way related to the Ku 
Klux, and in the end, escaped any punishment.'' Below 
him in rank were the chiefs of the various counties, but 
few of whom, apparently, were in any communication with 

' Joint Report, p. 399. 
^ Senate Ku Klux Report, p. 44. 

^ Colonel Joseph Webb in a letter to the author, dated December, 
*■ Joint Report, pp. 3S4-6i. 


It is impossible at this time to distinguish in most of the 
county organizations between the three orders. The same 
is true of their leaders. Often the same person was county 
chief of more than one and sometimes of all three. So far 
as can be discovered, the leaders were as follows : Orange : 
Colonel Joseph Webb and later F. N. Strudwick; Ala- 
mance: White Brotherhood and Invisible Empire, Jacob A. 
Long; Constitutional Union Guard, James A. J, Patter- 
son ; ^ Mecklenburg : Hamilton C. Jones ; Lincoln : Dr. 
Ephraim Brevard ; Gaston : Dr. Joseph Graham and later 
Calvin E. Grier ; Burke : A. C. Avery ; Cleveland : Lee M. 
McAfee; Rutherford: Ladson Mills and R. A. Shotwell in 
succession ; Franklin : Joseph J. Davis ; Caswell : John G. 
Lee; Lenoir: Jesse C. Kennedy; Guilford: Major Steiner 
and Macon Apple. 

Beneath these were the local " dens," " camps," or 
" klans," as the case might be. In .A.lamance, there were 
ten camps of the White Brotherhood each under its chief. ^ 
There were five klans of the Constitutional Union Guard. ^ 
The organization in other counties during the period is not 
known, but in 1870, Rutherford had five local organiza- 
tions; Polk, two; Cleveland, six; McDowell, two; and 
Burke, three.* 

^ Holden Impeachment Trial, pp. 2249-50. 

'These were: i, Jacob A. Long, who was also county chief; 2, Jasper 
N. Wood; 3, John T. TroHnger; 4, Albert Murray; 5, George Anthony; 
6, David Mebane; 7, William Stockard; 8, John Durham; 9, James 
Bradsher; 10, Job Faucette. Impeachment Trial, p. 2250. 

^The leaders of these were: I, James A. J. Patterson; 2, Eli Euless 
and John T. Fogleman; 3, Jasper N. Wood; 4, Jacob A. Long; 5, 
George Anthony. 

■■Shotwell Manuscript. At one time or another the following were 
local chiefs: Rutherford: William Webster, J. R. DePriest, Fayette 
Eaves, Elias Hambrick, who was a Republican, Madison McBraytr, 
William Edgington, John Witherow, and Mack Deck; Cleveland: 
Joseph Walker, Matt McBrier; Polk: Aden Rucker. 


The discipline of the movement was good at first. Nearly 
all the manifestations of its power were carefully planned, 
executed with silence and dispatch, almost always by camps 
from other counties, and not mentioned by the members. 
At first designed for protection, it acted only as a regulat- 
ing influence and, as a result of its operations, a large part 
of the population of the State had lifted from it a burden 
of terror. Crime of all sorts grew rapidly less, and so by 
illegal methods the observance of law was maintained. But 
as the organizations became more political in character, the 
membership increased and, the mass of the members real- 
izing their power, discipline relaxed until finally there was 
none. Punishment became more frequent until the very 
nature of the movement was radically changed. The Ku 
K^lux continued to be a terror to evil-doers, but it was alsoi 
a terrible menace to the personal Cjuiet of its active political 
opponents. When the tendencies of the movement were 
seen, the orders were officially disbanded, but they were 
beyond the control of their leaders ^ and, the best element 
in the main having withdrawn, the name of Ku Klux by 
the summer of 1870 had come to be associated with much 
of unjustifiable violence, of injustice, and of wrong. It 
became the cloak for the private vengeance of those who 
were unworthy, and in many instances, of those who had 
never been connected with it. In Alamance, there was a 
raid by negroes dressed as Ku Klux, all of whom were cap- 
tured and convicted. Randolph Shotwell in his autobiog- 

'The Invisible Empire was disbanded by General Forrest in i86q, but 
it is not likely that the order was obeyed in many parts of North Caro- 
lina, if indeed it ever reached the State. The White Brotherhood and 
Invisible Empire in Alamance were disbanded in the same year by the 
chiefs of the local camps, upon the advice of Jacob A. Long. The 
Constitutional Union Guard in Alamance was disbanded in 1870. In 
almost all the counties, efforts were made by the original leaders, with 
small success, to check the activities of the orders. 


raphy speaks of the difficulty expei"ienced by genuine Ku 
Klux in Rutherford on account of the activity of independ- 
ent imitators who sought only the gratification of private 
wishes. This was the heritage that was to be expected and, 
while the worthy original members of the orders had no 
part in it, they were in part responsible and no estimate of 
the movement is correct or adequate which does not include 
in its calculations the work of this bastard offspring of the 
Klan. Through its activity, the defenders of the move- 
ment were alienated, its very originators became its ene- 
mies, and an efficient public sentiment was aroused which 
greatly assisted in putting an end to its existence. 

It is not likely that the full extent of the organizations 
will ever be known, either as regards membership or terri- 
tory covered. Few if any of the members knew themselves. 
Forty thousand was a very usual estimate but there is noth- 
ing to prove the correctness of the figures. Certainly no 
such number were ever active in the State. Many were 
doubtless initiated who, for various reasons, were never 
called upon to do anything. In some of the counties which 
had an organization, the leaders never found any occasion 
to use it. Estimates of the number of members in certain 
counties are interesting even though not entirely reliable. 
The following table gives some of these. 

County Number. 

Alamance 600-700 

Orange 1800 ' 

Guilford 800 

Lenoir 100 

Cleveland 800-1000 

Rutherford 500 

The territorial extent of the movement is exceedingly in- 

'This was probably exaggerated, though Orange was probably better 
organized than any other county. 


teresting. It was essentially a movement of the Piedmont 
region of the State and was never very successful in spread- 
ing in the eastern counties where there was a large negro 
population. The only counties with negro majorities in 
which the Ku Klux appeared were Caswell, Lenoir, Jones, 
Franklin, and Wayne, and only in Caswell were they 
active. The counties in which the orders displayed any ac- 
tivity fall into two groups, a central and a western one. In 
the former, were Alamance and Orange, where Daniel R. 
Goodloe said the movement was hereditary and closely 
akin to the Regulation, Caswell, Chatham, Cumberland, 
Duplin, Harnett, Lenoir, Jones, Moore, Person, Franklin, 
Wayne, Guilford, Rockingham, and Stokes. In the latter, 
were Burke, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Meck- 
lenburg, Polk, McDowell, Rowan, and Rutherford. Orange 
and Alamance formed the storm centre of the central group 
and Cleveland and Rutherford of the western. So far as 
outward manifestation is proof, the movement was of com- 
paratively little importance elsewhere. But it is not to be 
doubted that it was in a quiet way very important, both 
protectively and politically, in many counties where it did 
not attract any public attention. In the latter respect it was 
an organization which kept its members aroused. Its chief 
work in the State and in the South, in addition to the pro- 
tection it furnished, was in restoring heart and courage to 
the white people who at first seemed overwhelmed by the 
immensity of their misfortunes. In this way it was the 
active agent which secured political redemption. The west- 
ern group of counties was largely influenced by South Caro- 
lina and was practically unconnected with the central group. 
In fact the chief activities in the west commenced only as 
the movement ceased further eastward. In the west the or- 
ganization was far less complete and the discipline less 
effective. Its punitive measures were far less productive of 


public benefit and, in its period of greatest activity, the 
movement had little to recommend it. 


The activities of the Ku Klux organizations may be clas- 
sified under two heads: punitive, or those of a regulating 
nature; and political. From the fact that the orders were 
organized for the protection of the white people through 
the process of spreading a salutary terror among the evil- 
doers of the various communities where they operated, their 
history as regulators of public conduct is far more ex- 
tended and probably more important than their political 
activity which was always a secondary consideration. Ref- 
erence has already been made to the appearance of the Ku 
Klux in Warren County during the campaign of 1868. At 
that time there was no violence of any sort committed. The' 
fact that the organization never appeared again in that sec- 
tion of the State might lead to the belief that it never 
really existed there and that the one manifestation of its 
presence was really the work of practical jokers; but it was 
probably genuine Ku Klux activity, though, when the 
orders commenced their real work later, it was a much 
more serious affair. 

During the presidential campaign of 1868, the Repub- 
licans spoke in vague terms of Ku Klux outrages in various 
parts of the State. Governor Holden even wrote the sheriff 
of Granville in October that some had occurred in that 
county,'- but no evidence that such was the case was found. 
But there is abundant evidence that the Klan was at work 
in other sections of the State, although no violence occurred 
that was worthy of special mention until the next year when 
a different condition of affairs presented itself. In a num- 

' Standard, Oct. 21, 1868. 


ber of counties, severe punishment was inflicted upon evil- 
doers, for the orders at once constituted themselves active 
censors of public morals and manners. The localities 
chiefly affected were Alamance, Orange, Caswell, Jones, 
Lenoir, and Chatham counties. 

In Alamance, the organization was widespread and there 
was a very general sentiment among the people in favor of 
the movement. Only one raid was ever made by the White 
Brotherhood or Invisible Empire with the official sanction 
of the county chief. The town of Graham, which was a 
quiet little village, suddenly arrived at the dignity of a 
night police force consisting of three negroes who were in- 
structed to stop all persons (and this in its enforcement 
meant Conservatives) who came on the streets after nine 
o'clock, and ascertain their business. This naturally excited 
much anger in the town, and Jacob A. Long ordered thirty 
men in disguise, without arms, to ride through the town 
with the purpose of frightening the police. Thirty-one men 
came in, all armed, and when fired upon by Wyatt Outlaw 
and Henry Holt, two negroes, the former the head of 
the Union League in the county, they returned the fire to 
the extent that each one emptied his pistol. Long saw at 
once the impossibility of controlling the orders and refused 
to give his consent to any other demonstration. Later he 
called a meeting of the local chiefs and they disbanded the 
White Brotherhood and Invisible Empire. His belief was 
justified by facts ; the movement was beyond the control of 
any man, whatever his authority; and without regard to 
the laws of the orders, a period of great activity on the part 
of the individual members followed. An attempt was 
made to whip Henry Holt, but he eluded his pursuers. 
Caswell Holt, another negro whO' had grossly insulted a 
young girl in the country by exposing his person in her 
presence, was severely whipped in January, 1869. He sus-. 


pected several persons who were arrested and carried before 
a Republican magistrate, but all were cleared.^ About a 
year later he was visited by the Ku Klux who fired into his 
house wounding him severely." The second visit was prob- 
ably due to his loud and frequent threats against the Ku 

Probably the most interesting example of Ku Klux pun- 
ishment in the State was a case, the details and even the 
fact of which have never before been published. In the 
country lived the widow of a Confederate soldier with one 
daughter, a young girl of about sixteen years of age. All 
of their former slaves left except a boy who had always 
been a house servant. He told the girl one day that he was 
going to marry her, that he was free and as good as she. 
Upon her ordering him to be silent, he told her that if she 
ever mentioned what he had said, he would kill her mother, 
and that she might as well remember that he was going to 
marry her. The girl was young and simple and, terribly 
alarmed for her mother's safety, remained silent but stead- 
ily lost health and spirits. Finally at church, her uncle, 
who lived in another section of the county, remarked upon 
her loss of health and she told him the story of what had 
occurred. He took her to his home, and that night with six 
other members of the Ku Klux went to see the negro, who 
never appeared again. The matter never attracted any 
public attention since the negroes were so constantly moving 
about that a sudden disappearance of one without a family 
excited no comment. 

In the autumn of 1869, the Ku Klux whipped Alonzo Cor- 
liss, a Northern man who was teaching a negro school at 
Company Shops. He had been president of the Union 
League and shortly before this had insisted upon the ne- 

' Senate Ku Klux Report, p. 343. 'Ibid., p. 345. 


groes' going to church and sitting among the white people.^ 
In addition to whipping him, they shaved one side of his 
head and painted one side of his face blacl<.' He had four 
men arrested and examined before a RepubHcan magis- 
trate but could produce no evidence against them. He was 
a cripple and many Ku Klux were angry at what had been 
done to him, but shortly thereafter, a flag was set up in the 
road near his school, trimmed with crape, and a coffin 
stamped upon it with the following inscription : " Corliss 
and the negroes. Let the guilty beware. Don't touch. 
Hell." ' 

During the year a large number of persons in the county 
were whipped, nearly all for some particular ofifence or for 
their general mode of life, and none so far as can be dis- 
covered for political reasons. Many negroes were whipped 
for the purpose of intimidation, eighteen of them in one 
section in one night. In one case, a child was trampled 
and died from its injuries.* In another case, a negro woman 
used an axe with such effect that one of the visitors carries 
its mark across his face to-day. A coffin was placed at the 
door of a white Republican, who had been talking loudly 
against the Klan, with the inscription across its head, "Hold 
your tongue, or this will be your home," and down its 
length, "Alive to-day, but dead to-morrow. K. K. K." ° 
Negroes and whites were visited and made to grasp skel- 
eton hands or bring buckets of water for the thirsty spirit 
who " had not had a drink of water since he was killed at 
Shiloh." One old man, Benjamin Cable, burst into the 
ofifice of the clerk of the court, the day after such an experi- 
ence, crying, " God, Albright, the Ku Klux don't hurt any- 

^ Senate Ku Klux Report, p. 254. '^ Ibid., p. 145. 

"■Ibid., p. 149. ^Ibid., p. 33. 

^Impeachment Trial, p. 1502. 


body but they scare a man 'most to death. They made me 
bring six buckets of Avater and then I said, ' Go to the 
spring.' " 

In 1870, still more severe measures were taken. T. M. 
Shoffner, who had introduced the bill " for the better pro- 
tection of life and property," lived in Alamance and his 
death was voted by the Orange Ku Klux who prepared to 
kill him and send his body to Governor Holden.^ The 
news reached Alamance upon the day chosen for his assassi- 
nation. James E. Boyd told Dr. John A. iVEoore, " They 
are going to suspend Shoffner's writ of habeas corpus 
to-night," and remarked that he was going to leave the 
county for the night. ^ The latter at once rode to the ap- 
pointed place to stop the proposed murder and turned back 
the visitors. In the meantime, Eli Euless, the head of a 
klan of the Constitutional Union Guard, carried Shoffner 
to Greensboro.^ Shoffner was naturally terribly alarmed 
and soon after moved to Indiana. 

Wyatt Outlaw, as has been noted, fired upon the Ku Klux 
at their first public appearance in the county. He was a 
blatant negro who as head of the League was reported by 
the negroes to have said, " Put fire to mills, barns, and 
houses," and his death was determined upon by certain 
members of one of the orders. A party of them rode into 
Graham on the night of February 26, 1870. and, seizing 
Outlaw in his home, carried him to a tree in the court- 
house square and there hanged him, leaving upon his breast 
the inscription, " Bewar, ye guilty, both black and white." 
As the raiders went home, a semi-idiotic negro named Wil- 
liam Puryear saw some of them and reported the fact. He 
d'sappeared that night and was found some weeks later in 
a neighboring pond.* All attempts to discover the perpe- 

^ Impeachment Trial, pp. 1975-76. ''■Ibid., p. 1526. 

^ Ibid., p. 1976. * Senate Ku Klux Report, p. 35. 


trators of these two murders were unavailing. Public sen- 
timent in the county strongly condemned the hanging of 
Outlaw, but many believed that the Ku Klux had nothing to 
do with Puryear's death. 

With these acts, the operations in Alamance came to an 

In Orange, the Ku Klux were probably less active but 
their punishments were more severe, though whipping and 
milder punishments were not unknown. Five persons, all 
negroes, were put to death during the year 1869, none for 
any political reason. 

Late in July, three barns in sight of each other were 
burned on the same night and at the same time. The owner 
of one of them, with complete ruin staring him in the face, 
lost his mind and committed suicide the next day.^ A few 
days later, the county jail was opened and two negroes ac- 
cused of another barn-burning taken out. One was released, 
but the other was shot and died of his wounds two weeks 
later.^ Suspicion, in the meantime, fell upon two negroes, 
Dan and Jeff Morrow, who had burned the barns, and on 
August 7, they were hanged on a tree by a public road in 
the southern part of the county and left with the inscrip- 
tion, " All barn burners and women insulters, we Kuklux 
hang by the neck until they are dead, dead, dead. K. K. K." 

Later in the year, Wright Woods, a negro who had 
threatened rape, was found hanged with a paper on his foot 
on which was written, " If the law will not protect virtue, 
the rope will." ^ Later still, Cyrus Guy was hanged for the 

' A member of the League, who had been whipped a few days before 
this happening and was in a communicative frame of mind, said that 
the burning had been inspired by the governor who had said the negro 
must rule. Sentinel, July 27, 1869. 

^Senate Ku Klux Report, pp. 41-47; 190-201. 

" Sentinel, Sept. 28, 1869. 


same offence. Public sentiment in Orange was somewhat 
more divided than in Alamance, and Thomas Ruffin, W. A. 
Graham, John Norwood, W. H. Battle, and others were 
outspoken in their opposition to the movement. But with 
the mass of the white people, it was very popular and, con- 
sidering the protection it had given, naturally so. 

The acts of the Klan in Orange at first excited more at- 
tention in the State than those of any other county, and 
Governor Holden decided to send troops to Hillsboro, but 
changed his mind after receiving good advice from there. 
On November 3, the Standard, declaring that it was speak- 
ing for the governor, threatened a proclamation that the 
county was in insurrection. A week later, it closed an edi- 
torial on the subject of the Ku Klux with the following sen- 
tence : " They will be dealt with as traitors by both the State 
and general governments, even if there has to^ be a gibbet 
for every tree in the forests of Orange." 

Jones County was early notable for several acts for which 
the Ku Klux received the credit. Lawlessness was very 
prevalent in the county and members of the League had 
murdered a large number of persons. Three carpetbaggers 
who had won the hatred of the mass of the white people 
by their activity among the negroes were D. D. Colgrove, 
a member of the convention, his brother O. R. Colgrove, 
and one Shepperd, who enjoyed the title of colonel. O. R. 
Colgrove had served a term in the New York penitentiai"y 
before he became a captain in the Union army. General 
Canby had appointed him sheriff of the county and, al- 
though he could not give bond, kept him in the position 
which he succeeded in retaining under the new dispensation. 
He had the reputation of being a bad and dangerous man.^ 
Shepperd was from Pennsylvania and, after serving in the 

' Senate Ka Klux Report, pp. g8, 373. 


federal army, remained in North Carolina where he became 
a county commissioner and colonel of militia/ Notices 
were posted warning him and Colgrove to leave, but both 
disregarded them. In May, Colgrove and a negro who was 
driving with him were shot and killed. No one was ever 
implicated in the murder, although the responsibility of 
the Ku Klux was quite clearly proved.^ On August 16, 
Shepperd, who was running a saw mill, was shot and killed 
by some unknown person across the river and, while no 
clue was ever found, public opinion settled upon the Ku 
Klux as responsible. 

Chatham County had the reputation of great Ku Klux 
activity, but in time, it was clearly proved that many of the 
supposed Ku Klux outrages were in reality the work of the 
Union League. The Ku Klux organization in the county 
was, however, quite widespread and at times perniciously 

Caswell County suffered bitterly at the hands of the 
League, which was under the guidance of John W. 
Stephens, who was one of the governor's detectives, a man 
of bad reputation and of evil political Hfe. In organizing 
the League, he had advised violence and, finally, at a meet- 
ing at the home of his brother-in-law, one Jones, gave to- 
each of the twenty negroes present a box of matches, still a 
rarity among them, and told each one to burn a barn. Not 
all followed his instructions, but nine barns were burned 
in one night. Some time afterwards, a white man in the 
neighborhood overheard two of his negro hands mention 
Jones as connected with the burning, and that night, Jones 
was taken from his home and given an opportunity to tell 
what he knew. He refused at first, but when the hickory 

^Standard, Aug. 19, 1869. 
''Senate Ku Klux Report, p. 242. 


Sprouts began to strike his bare back, he confessed the 
vv-hole thing. The Ku Klux were well organized and 
Stephens' death was resolved upon. In March, 1870, a 
large Conservative meeting was held in Yanceyville. 
Stephens was present taking notes upon a speech of Judge 
Kerr when he was rec[uested to come down stairs for a few 
moments. In company with the person making the request, 
he walked down stairs, through the corridor which was 
crowded with people listing taxes, and went into an unoc- 
cupied office. Instantly, seven men seized him, and his 
companion departed closing the door after him, leaving 
Stephens tightly held. After three seven-shot revolvers 
had been taken from him, he was bound, gagged, and laid 
upon a pile of wood in the corner. One man, left to keep 
guard, stretched out on the hearth in order that the negroes 
who thronged the square on which the windows opened 
might not see him, and the other six left and walked down 
the corridor to Judge Kerr's office, which was unoccupied 
during its owner's speech upstairs. The original plan had 
been to keep Stephens until night and then to hang him in 
the sc[uare, but the danger of discovery was so great that it 
was now decided not to delay at all. Walking back through 
the crowd, they re-entered the room and cut his throat, at 
the same time drawing a rope tightly about his neck, and 
stabbed him to the heart, after which they left. The pro- 
vocation was undoubtedly great, but few can deny the 
horror of the punishment. His body was not discovered 
until the next day and, while the Ku Klux were at once sus- 
pected, no evidence could be secured. IVfany people, in- 
cluding a large number of Republicans, thought that he had 
been killed by members of his own party, since he was 
known to have many enemies in its ranks, and this opinion 
gained strength when it became known that a short time 
before Governor Holden had said to a delegation of ne- 


groes, who had gone to discuss with him the condition of 
affairs in Caswell and to complain of the violence of 
Stephens in speech and act, " We must get rid of Stephens," 
meaning of course as a party leader. No one accused the 
governor of complicity or of evil intention, but many 
thought that his words had been misunderstood by the ne- 
groes and that the death of Stephens was the result. 

With the exception of this striking example of its power 
and secrecy, the activity of the Ku Klux organization in 
Caswell was very slight. Two or three negroes were 
whipped for stealing, some were warned,^ and that was 
about all. There, as elsewhere, its influence upon the ne- 
groes was beneficial to the public. 

In the other counties of the central group, the activity of 
the Klan amounted to little, so far as the public was aware. 
Undoubtedly many of the doings of the organizations 
never became publicly known, while, on the other hand, they 
received the credit for much with which they had no connec- 
tion. The Standard published the confession of Daniel 
Graham, a supposed reformed member, in which he accused 
some of the best men in Cumberland County of various 
horrible crimes, but upon investigation, he proved to be a 
murderer and one-time outlaw, so his testimony was not ac- 
cepted by the public. Shortly before this time, a horrible 
murder had occurred in the county, but the victim happened 
to be a Conservative and members of the Union League 
were suspected of being the perpetrators of the crime, so 
the governor apparently gave himself little concern about it. 
In Robeson County, the Lowry Gang were committing all 
sorts of depredations but, as they were all Republicans and 
supposed to be Red Strings, they were not molested by Gov- 

' A negro magistrate received the following warning in the spring of 
1870: " Mr. Cook beware. Talce care of your head or we shall have it 
before you leave the county for we are Kuklux and sworn." 


ernor Holden or by his successor, Governor Caldwell. In 
the Northern press, they were first said to be Ku Klux and 
later, when more was learned of them, that their acts were 
in retaliation for Ku Klux outrages. As a matter of fact, 
their lawlessness antedated the Ku Klux organization. 

These are the most notable examples of the work of the 
Klan. A study of all available sources of information con- 
cerning the organization brings conviction that only in a 
very small degree was it political in purpose. In effect it 
was a very powerful political influence. 

No correct estimate can be made of the number and char- 
acter of the visitations made by the Ku Klux. The follow- 
ing table, which includes the western counties to be dis- 
cussed later, was prepared from the entirely unreliable 
documents and testimony found in the two reports of- con- 
gressional investigating committees and in that of the im- 
peachment trial : 































OJ « 













..1 o 




I .. 
























Harnett - 

2 -. 










• ■ 
















Comment upon the work of the Klan was not lacking at 
the time. The Republican papers were full of editorial 
denunciation of the perpetrators of the real and imaginary 
outrages which crowded their columns. A few Conserva- 
tive papers, including the Charlotte Democrat, condemned 
the organization and its acts. The Sentinel either ignored 
them or used them as a text to preach against the Union 
League. The usual Conservative attitude is to be seen in 
the following editorial from the Wilmington Journal: 

The crimes committed in the earlier months after the war, 


and which aroused the people in some portions of the State to 
organize for mutual protection, were almost universally com- 
mitted by members of the Loyal League We have 

known the time when the arrest of a Loyal Leaguer in Wil- 
mington, regardless of the offence which he had committed, 
was attended with difficulty and danger. 

The same condition of things existed throughout the State, 
and in some counties the crimes were more frequent and 
flagrant. This state of affairs resulted from the direct teach- 
ings of the Leagues or fronj a belief that such conduct would 
not be punished and that the offenders would find protection 
from the civil or military departments of the government. 
None of them were punished and this immunity caused a 
rapid increase in the number and boldness of crimes. 

It was in this crisis that counter organizations were formed 
for mutual protection. Some may have been bound together 
by oaths, but many had no other rallying cry than self-protec- 
tion — the first great law of nature. We do not here propose 
to go into an argument as to how far the citizen may go for 
protection when the law is inadequate, or its administrators 
unwilling to furnish it. We know what they will do under 
such circumstances, and what human nature justifies them in. 
Their organizations were intended only, as we honestly be- 
lieve, for protection. If, in some instances, they have taken 
the law into their own hands, it has always been to punish 
some offender of the League who had made himself amenable 
to the law, but had not been punished. We are no defenders 
of such conduct. Men who violate the law should be ade- 
quately punished — the majesty of the law should be vindi- 
cated at all hazards. But we can see how citizens, law-abid- 
ing citizens, may be led into the committal of acts which they 
would scorn to do had they not lost confidence in the will or 
ability of their duly constituted authorities to afford them 
protection ; who did not believe that a band of political crimi- 
nals in their midst were afforded protection by the officers 

If the Governor will disband his Loyal Leagues, all counter 


organizations will be broken up. If all criminals are dealt 
with without favor, citizens will not be tempted to take the 
law into their own hands. If our civil officers will act so as 
to deserve the confidence of the people, the old regard and 
veneration for the law will return. And when it does, Loyal 
Leagueism and its offspring, Ku Kluxism, will be buried in a 
common grave. ^ 

In spite of the hysterical press notices which would indi- 
cate the contrary, there was never a time when the Ku Klux 
were disturbers of general public peace and order. In fact, 
for a time, at least, after their appearance, there was im- 
provement in this respect. The courts were undisturbed 
and the officers of the law went unhindered about their 
duties. Wrong-doers and radical politicians, names then 
too often synonymous, trembled, a small class of timid 
whites became alarmed, and panic, not soon allayed, spread 
among the negroes,^ but the mass of the white people re- 
mained undisturbed and unafraid. Reference has already 
been made to Chief Justice Pearson's statement that North 
Carolina in 1869 had as much law and order as it had ever 
had,^ and while the facts of the case would scarcely bear 
out his belief, it would be even more incorrect to say that 
there were anarchy and widespread violence. 

The Ku Klux movement ended in central North Carolina 
in the summer of 1870. In the western counties, it reached 
its climax during the following six months. Conditions in 
several counties, particularly Rutherford and Cleveland, 
were bad, and the Invisible Empire there had degenerated 

' Wihnington Journal, quoted in Sentinel, Nov. 6, 1869. 

^The writer remembers distinctly in his boyhood in Orange County, 
more than a decade after the events narrated, when the sound of more 
than two horsemen passing along the country roads together was suffi- 
cient to make many negroes spend the rest of the night in the woods. 

"■ Tarboro Southerner, July 22, i86g. 


until it bore little or no resemblance to the organization else- 
where. In Rutherford a number of Republicans had joined 
it in order to protect blockade stills.^ One of these was for 
a time county chief. Additional proof that it was not a 
party organization is to be found in the whipping of three 
Conservatives in Cleveland." But it was violent, unre- 
strained by its nominal leaders, and greatly influenced to 
its detriment by the South Carolina counties just across the 
line. It had clearly outlived any usefulness it may have 
had and deserved the downfall vifhich soon came. 

Three notable cases of its work occurred in Rutherford 
in 1871. The one of most importance had little real con- 
nection with the Ku Klux, since it was the result of what 
was in the nature of a neighborhood feud. Aaron Biggar- 
staff, an old man who had been a Union sympathizer during 
the war and a Republican afterwards, was one of a number 
of men who fired into the house of his half-brother. Shortly 
thereafter," a band of disguised men visited him and as- 
saulted him most brutally, hanging him and leaving him for 
dead. He was cut down and having recognized a number 
of the party present at this " Home Raid " as it was called, 
had them arrested on bench warrants issued by Judge 
Logan. There was not sufficient evidence to hold them, so 
Judge Logan put them under heavy bond, and they were 
then arrested on a LTnited States warrant, and Biggarstaff 
and his daughter were summoned as witnesses. While on 
their way to the hearing, they encamped for the night and 
the " Grassy Branch Raid " occurred in which both Biggar- 
staff and his daughter were assaulted, the former receiving 
very serious injuries. The case was not tried in the Dis- 
trict Court at Marion, but was postponed until the meeting 
of the Circuit Court in Raleigh in September. 

^ Joint Report, pp. 222, 234, 532-33, 552, 572. '^ Ibid., p. 330. 

'April 8, 1871. 


The other two cases, occurring on the same night, were 
of genuine Ku Klux origin. James M. Justice, a lawyer 
and member of the legislature, who had been very active in 
politics and in the hearings before Judge Logan, growing 
out of the Biggarstafif raids, was visited. His house was 
broken open and he was struck several times and, partially 
unconscious, was dragged out and carried some distance 
away. He was then lectured in regard to his politics, 
threatened, forced to promise to keep quiet and abstain 
from politics, after which he was released.^ Justice thought 
he recognized a number of his assailants and they were at 
once arrested and held for trial. 

The same night, the office of the Rutherford Star, a Re- 
publican paper, edited by J. B. Carpenter, clerk of the court 
of the county, and Robert Logan, a son of the judge, was 
wrecked, the press broken, the cases cut to pieces, and the 
type pied.^ 

In Cleveland County there is much general evidence of 
the activity of the Klan btit there were no cases of special 

In none of these counties did the organization operate 
after 1871, for the passage of the enforcement acts speedily 
brought it to an end, a consummation worthy of praise and 
one likely under any circumstances to have been accom- 
plished by the growing sentiment of the people in relation 
to it. 

'Joint Report, pp. 115-31. ^Ibid., pp. 126-27, 176-77- 


The Reign of Terror 

i. suppression of the ku klux 

Republican opposition to the Ku Klux was to be ex- 
pected from the very nature of the case. The operations 
of the orders were mainly directed against members of that 
party and, even when they were not, the very existence of 
the secret organizations of self-constituted regulators indi- 
cated a condition of affairs which the party had no reason 
to be proud of. In addition, from the very beginning, the 
organizations were regarded by Republican leaders, at 
least, as political in nature. Less important members of 
the party agreed to this in public, but many of them in their 
hearts probably had a guilty consciousness that the offences 
for which they feared the visitation of the dreaded night- 
riders were not at all political ; that, in fact, their Repub- 
licanism was the least of their sins. In some communities 
that had suffered greatly at the hands of the negroes, the 
Republicans were secretly grateful to the Klan, and, in the 
days of its degeneracy, a considerable number of them 
joined it, in order that, under the shelter of its disguise and 
its fellowship, they might violate the laws of the land, par- 
ticularly those in reference to the manufacture and sale of 
Vv'hiskey. But this of course was not loyal Republicanism. 
Hatred of the Ku Klux speedily became a cardinal doc- 
trine of the party and it was regarded as good party policy 
to magnify the violence of its acts as much as possible, con- 
necting it at the same time with the opposition party, and 


thereby to attract as much attention as possible in the North. 
Right faithfully most of the " loyal " carried out this ob- 
ligation, taking due care, however, not to get their names 
connected with the ingeniously manufactured product which 
appeared in the press under the heading, " Southern Ku 
Klux Outrages." 

As has been mentioned, the governor, just before the elec- 
tion of 1868, issued a proclamation warning the people 
against disorder.' Though the Ku Klux was known to 
exist in the State, this was issued chiefly for political effect. 
During the next session of the legislature, Governor Hol- 
den sent a company of militia under the command of a 
Raleigh saloon keeper, to Alamance County where Caswell 
Holt had been whipped. Nothing was accomplished in 
Alamance, but the expedition did much to secure the imme- 
diate passage of the law which made going masked, painted, 
or disguised a misdemeanor, and made any act of trespass, 
force, or violence, committed while so disguised, a felony. 
On April 16, 1869, Governor Holden issued a proclamation 
publishing the law and expressing his determination to see 
that it was enforced.^ The same legislature authorized the 
governor to employ a force of detectives to assist in arrest- 
ing fugitives from justice. Governor Holden construed 
the law to empower him to employ detectives as he saw fit 
and he at once planned a secret campaign against dis- 
turbers of the peace who wore Ku Klux costumes. He 
delegated his powers to Adjutant General Fisher who ap- 
pointed more than twenty detectives, including two members 
of the House, one of the Senate, himself, and two other car- 
petbaggers. Their activity was largely directed towards 
increasing expenses and, with one exception, they accom- 

' Holden, Third Annual Message, Appendix, p. i. 
^ Ibid., Appendix, p. 6. 


plished nothing. One of the detectives was William 
Huskey, of Chapel Hill, who, clothed with new authority, 
began to open letters in the post office until he was sus- 
pected. He expressed a strong wish to join the Ku Klux, 
but could find no one who would assist him in obtaining 
his desire. Finally, he was invited to join, and, late at 
night, was carried to the town pump, tied to a neighboring 
tree, and given sixty lashes on his bare back with a buggy 
trace. This, he was informed, was the initiation into the 
first degree; the next one would be conferred the following 
night. From that day to this, the would-be member of the 
Ku Klux has never appeared in Chapel Hill. Governor 
Holden then asked for and secured federal troops for the 

In the meantime, the activity of the Klan presented a 
difficult problem to the governor and other officers of the 
law. Judge Thomas, upon the application of one of the de- 
tectives, issued bench warrants for certain persons in Greene 
and Lenoir counties, who were arrested and given a pre- 
liminary examination, after which he bound them over to 
the Superior Court. ^ This ended the operations of the 
Klan in the counties named. Judge Settle twice issued bench 
warrants and conducted examinations, but discovered noth- 
ing.^ Judge Tourgee announced loudly on the train that he 
was on his w^ay " to give Orange county h — 1," but further 
than changing his quarters every night to avoid unpleasant 
visitors, he did nothing, though for once he held court for 
the entire term. The solicitor of his district, J. R. Bulla, 
was a very timid man who was of no assistance to the judge 
in obtaining evidence. In Rockingham, in a charge to the 
grand jury, Tourgee advised retaliation as a means of 

' Senate Ku Klux Report, pp. 92-100. 
'^ Ibid., pp. 84-92. 


putting an end to the disorder. It was such judges as he 
that gave the Klan a reason for existence. In Alamance, 
in 1 87 1, he issued bench warrants for a large number of 
persons for the murder of Outlaw, in spite of the fact that 
there was no evidence against them. Jacob A. Long, the 
county chief, was one of these, and Tourgee attempted to 
bribe him with immunity and immediate release provided 
he would implicate the higher officers of the orders. His 
offer was peremptorily refused and, the solicitor refusing 
to draw the bill of indictment, Tourgee drew it himself. 
The grand jury refused to act upon it, and Long was re- 
leased. A company of militia was sent to Jones County 
during the summer of 1869, and, beyond proving themselves 
a menace to law and order, did nothing worthy of note. 
Disordei-s of a grave sort occurring in Chatham, Thomas 
B. Long was appointed an aid to the governor and sent 
there and to Orange to see the people and talk over the situa- 
tion with them in the hope of composing the troubles.^ It 
was an unfortunate appointment and did no good. In the 
meantime, the governor had issued another proclamation, 
warning the people of Lenoir, Jones, Orange, and Chatham 
that if the disorders did not cease, he would proclaim those 
counties in a state of insurrection and exert the whole power 
of the State to enforce the law.^ 

When the legislature met in the autumn of 1869, the gov- 
ernor urged the passage of a law which would give him 
greater power and, as a result, the law " for the better pro- 
tection of life and property " was passed in January, 1870, 
which gave him power to declare a county in a state of in- 
surrection. Shortly thereafter, Wyatt Outlaw was hanged 
and, on March 7, 1870, the governor issued a proclamation 

' Standard, Oct. 30, 1869. 

'Holden, Third Annual Message, Appendix, p. 7. 


declaring Alamance in insurrection/ But he sent no troops 
there and took no steps to carry out the most admirable and 
commendable sentiments expressed in his message. Had 
the governor's acts been in accordance with his words, there 
could be no criticism of him in this connection. 

Affairs in Orange had been in some respects worse than 
in any other county. There were in Hillsboro a large num- 
ber of influential citizens, Conservatives in politics, who 
were opposed upon principle to the existence of such an or- 
ganization as the Ku Klux, and who saw the impending 
danger. A group of these gentlemen approached Dr. Pride 
Jones, who was a man of much influence in the county.^ 
and perstiaded him to apply to Governor Holden for a com- 
mission with a view to disbanding the organization in the 
county." The governor at once appointed him a captain 
on his staff, and N. A. Ramsey received a similar appoint- 
ment for Chatham. Both accomplished much good. The 
truth is that the force of the movement was spent and the 
majority of the members, in Orange at least, were tired of 
it and ready to sever their connection with the orders, if 
there was any security that conditions would improve and 
that they would not be punished. For this reason. Dr. 
Tones suggested to the governor that it would be well to 
authorize him to give assurance of this and also that the 
League should be put upon the same footing as the Ku 
Ivlux. The governor replied that he had no power to pro- 
claim amnesty,* but disavowed any intention of wreaking 

'Holden, Third Annual Message, Appendix, p. lo. 

'Dr. Jones had been a member of the White Brotherhood, but had 
withdrawn in company with a number of others when its protective 
character was lost sight of by a number of aggressive members. This 
information was given the author by his father, who, with Dr. Jones, 
called the meeting for the purpose of disbanding. 

'Holden, Third Annual Message, Appendix, pp. 41-47. 

' Governor Holden did have the power of amnesty but may not have 
known it. It is certain that he had no desire to employ it. 


vengeance. By implication, he defended the League, but de- 
clared that the time had passed for secret political societies. 
A little later, Dr. Jones wrote him that Orange was quiet. ^ 
A few days after this, the governor notified the President 
of his action in relation to Alamance, and asked for federal 
troops. He suggested that Congress authorize the Presi- 
dent to suspend the writ of habeas corpiis in order that 
criminals might be arrested and, after trial by military 
tribunals, shot.^ Pie also notified the Senators and members 
of Congress from North Carolina of his action, making 
similar suggestions to them. He did not rest with this, but 
three days later sent the following telegram : 

State of North Carolina, 
Executive Department, 
Raleigh, March 17, 1870. 
Hon. J. C. Abbott, U. S. Senator. 

Washington, D. C. 
What is being done to protect good citizens in Alamance 
County? We have federal troops, but we want power to act. 
Is it possible the Government will abandon its loyal people to 
be whipped and hanged ? The habeas corpus should be at once 
suspended. Will write you to-morrow. 

W. W. HoLDEN, Governor. 

Caswell County had been troubled by very little disturb- 
ance, but reports of disorder reached the governor, who 
wrote Thomas A. Donoho, a prominent citizen, and ap- 
pealed to him to use his influence to restore quiet. Donoho 
replied that the reports were exaggerated and that the 
county as a whole was in good condition. He placed the 
blame for most of the trouble on John W. Stephens, and 

' Executive Correspondence , Holden, i, p. 350. 

^ Governor Holden enclosed copies of the various North Carolina 
laws which served as models for the later Ku Klux legislation of Con- 


suggested the employment of some moderate " gentleman 
of character " to do the same work that Dr. Jones had done 
in Orange. Stephens was one of the governor's detectives 
and was devoting a large part of his time to incendiary poli- 
tics. On May 21, he was murdered, and investigation failed 
to reveal the offenders. Wilson Carey fled in terror and 
the governor wired Pool and Abbott that he had been driven 
out of Caswell and that Congress should act.^ On June 6, 
the governor issued a proclamation reciting eleven outrages 
supposed to have been committed by the Klan, offering a 
reward of five hundred dollars for the arrest of any per- 
son connected in any way with the crimes, and enjoining all 
officers to bring the offenders to justice. 

The campaign for the August elections was now in 
progress. The governor was deeply interested in the re- 
sult and the prospects were dark. He was in constant con- 
sultation with his chosen advisers, who were in favor of 
putting the condition of affairs in the State to practical 
political advantage, and accordingly, in pursuance of a plan 
devised by Pool, on July 8, he proclaimed Caswell County 
in a state of insurrection. The final results of his action 
will be discussed later. 

2. POLITICS IN 1870 

The campaign of 1870 was formally begun by the Con- 
servative members of the legislature who, at the time of 
adjournment, issued an address to the people of the State, 
in which, after accepting Reconstruction as final, condemn- 
ing the record of the Republican party for the preceding 
two years, denouncing the governor for his Alamance proc- 
lamation,^ and expressing their condemnation of the crimes 

^Executive Correspondence, Holden, i, p. 369. 

'The following extract is taken from the address: "There is and has 
been no armed resistance — no uprising of the people— no outbreaks to 


committed by the League and the Ku Klux, they called upon 
the people to observe the law and preserve order, and urged 
the support of the Conservative party at the approaching 
elections. A state executive committee was appointed, and 
organization was thus begun. 

There was every reason for hope on the part of the Con- 
servatives. Not only was it generally evident that the peo- 
ple of the State were weary of the Republican administra- 
tion and legislature, but the very leaders of the radicals 
were hopeless of success. This was made evident by the 
fact that frequent attempts were made by some of them to 
bring about a new alignment of parties. One plan was in- 
tended to secure a combination of native white Republicans, 
backed by such a part of the negroes as they could control, 
with the old Whigs. The carpetbaggers were to be rigor- 
ously excluded from the organization and were to be made 
scapegoats for the sins of the Republican party. Such Con- 
servatives as would not submit were to be ignored. The 
old Whigs, however, could not be induced. Josiah Turner 
was approached upon the subject and his editorial comment 
was that it was " a plan devised solely on account of the 
political necessities of Holden, Settle, Reade, and Co." It 
is almost beyond doubt that the governor was ready to make 
terms. He inclined very much at this time to some such 
plan, but could not find a friend in the opposition, and, 
having made his bed, had perforce to lie in it. Nor was 

disturb or hinder the full administration of the civil law. We assert 
that there is not a county in the State in which any sheriff or other 
peace officer may not go unattended, and with perfect safety, and exe- 
cute any process upon any citizen of the State. It is true that murders 
and other outrages have been committed, but they have not been con- 
fined to any locality or any one political party; ard when Governor 
Holden represented to the President and to Congress that these acts 
are evidences of disloyalty, he is guilty of a wilful libel upon a people 
whose rights he has sworn to protect." 


the party united, for in the west the Harris-Logan faction 
was still heartily opposed to the administration and was 
not slow to attack it. The Rutherford Star, edited by Judge 
Logan's son, said, " Shall W. W. Holden, or the honest 
Republicans of North Carolina rule the State?" The in- 
fluential Dockery clan, sincere Republicans though they 
were, were shocked at the way the state government was 
conducted and were almost as open in their hostility. The 
most serious menace to party success, however, was the 
breach in the rank and file, who were disgusted with the 
negroes and alarmed at their violence, and who, over- 
whelmed with taxes, were showing no uncertain signs of a 
wavering of allegiance that might at any time develop into 
revolt. The relations existing between the factions of the 
party were clearly displayed when the Standard repudiated 
the legislature. And finally all over the State rose mut- 
terings against the aliens who were chiefly responsible for 
its ruin. The more brazen of the carpet-baggers, seeing 
the state of affairs, made no secret of their belief that their 
day Vv'as nearing its end. Byron Laflin took the bus at the 
hotel the day the legislature adjourned, and, when a by- 
stander asked, "You are coming back. General?" replied 
with a leer, " Is there an3'thing to come back for? " ^ The 
rats were deserting the sinking ship. 

The exposure of new rascality on the part of Republican 
officials at the beginning of the campaign was also a heavy 
burden for the party. Deweese was, by a resolution declar- 
ing him unworthy to hold a seat in Congress, forced to re- 
sign. His offence was selling a cadetship for five hundred 
dollars. He made no attempt to defend himself other than 
by the statement that he was not expelled for selling the 
cadetship but for underselling the market. He accused A. 

' Wilmington Journal, June 28, 1870. 


H. Jones of offering one to George W. Swepson for one 
thousand dollars, but this was vehemently denied by Jones/ 
Deweese did not come back to the State, but removed to 
Cleveland, Ohio, where he had invested his tidy savings in 
a city block. Here he lived in affluence and was heard of no 
more until 1876, when, his newly-honest soul revolting at 
the corruption in the Republican party, he appeared as the 
champion of Tilden and political morality, and assisted the 
cause by shamelessly unfolding thefale of his own villainy 
and that of his associates during his stay in North Caro- 
lina. Still another blow was the revelation of the dishon- 
esty of federal and local officials. The Raleigh News in 
July ^ published a list of seven defaulting revenue collectors 
whose stealings amounted to $465,904.30. It was known 
at this time that a number of the sheriffs were defaulters, 
some of them in large sums, and the mileage accounts of the 
commissioners in many counties as well as their per diem 
became a public scandal. 

The Sentinel was the most active and effective agency in 
the State in the publication of Republican wrong-doing, and 
its editorial page, conducted with more than customary 
spirit and ingenuity, was one of the most powerful influ- 
ences in the campaign, though many of the Conservatives 
began to declare Turner too violent. He discovered early 
that Governor Holden meditated a policy of intimidation, 
and he first called attention to the fact that the trusted 
agent of the governor, who visited President Grant to se- 
cure his assistance in the campaign, was General Littlefield. 
Judge Settle had already visited Washington and, by his 
account of conditions in the State, prepared the way. The 
selection by the governor of Littlefield, the leader of the 

' Sentinel, April 26, 1870; Standard, April 29, 1870. 
''Issue of July 15, 1870. 


spoilsmen, for such a mission excited a hostility against 
Holden that was not confined to Conservatives. 

On the Conservative side, the chief burden that had to 
be carried was the Ku Klux. But this was not so heavy as 
might be supposed. In spite of all the violence for which, 
justly or unjustly, it received the credit, its service to the 
people was recognized by the masses, who had never re- 
garded it in the same light as the political leaders had. 
In the next place, the very denunciation of it by the Repub- 
licans, combined with their highly-colored accounts of its 
real and supposed outrages, tended to intimidate the negroes 
politically far more than the Ku Klux had ever done, and 
thousands of negroes who had never been molested by the 
Ku Klux determined to have nothing to do with politics, 
in this campaign at least. The truth is that many of the ne- 
groes, chiefly those in the country, were beginning to dis- 
cover the falsity of political promises and had come to be- 
lieve that politics as conducted by the carpetbaggers and 
other whites had little of good for them. Disappointed in 
the past by their failure to receive " forty acres and a mule," 
they were taking steps to acquire those coveted possessions 
by hard work. 

In addition to the regular congressional elections, there 
were special elections in two districts to fill the vacancies 
caused by the resignation of Deweese and the death of 
Heaton. Both parties nominated dififerent candidates for 
the unexpired term and the new term. There were thus 
nine candidates from each party in the field.^ In the first 

'The candidates by district were, i. Republican, C. L. Cobb. Con- 
servative, Timothy Morgan; 2, 41st Cong., Joseph Dixon, C. J. 
O'Hara; 42A Cong., Charles R. Thomas, L. W. Humphrey; 3, O. H. 
Dockery, A. M. Waddell; 4, 41st Cong., M. Hawkins, R. B. Gilliam; 
42d Cong., J. H. Harris (colored), S. H. Rogers; 5, W. L. Scott, 
J. M. Leach; 6, F. H. Sprague, F. E. Shober; 7, A. H. Jones, J. C. 


district, Timothy Morgan, a Republican of liberal views, 
ran as an independent candidate and was endorsed by the 
Conservatives. Judge Thomas, who was the Republican 
candidate in the second district, conducted his campaign 
without leaving the bench and was much criticized by the 
Conservatives in consequence. The precedent set by him, 
however, is not without later Democratic followers. In the 
seventh district, Plato Durham was nominated, but with- 
drew. James H. Harris obtained the Republican nomina- 
tion in the fourth district and remained the candidate 
throughout the campaign, possibly because no one was will- 
ing to do what Deweese had done and pay him liberally 
for the nomination, and possibly because no one had a 
Swepson to advance the money. More probably he was 
convinced that it was time for men of his color to be given 
a chance. This was certainly the case so far as concerned 
the nominations for the legislature, a very large number of 
negroes being successful in securing the endorsement of 
their party. Arguments that such a course would injure the 
party had no effect, for they were determined to obtain 
fuller recognition than had hitherto been accorded them. 

The chief interest in the campaign, apart from carrying 
the legislature, lay in the contest for attorney general. The 
Democrats nominated William M. Shipp, a man of ability 
and good record. The Republicans held a convention in 
Raleigh in May which was the scene of a sharp factional 
contest. Senator Abbott was very anxious to be presi- 
dent, as was John Pool. Governor Holden was very bitter 
against the former as a carpetbagger, and because he him- 
self had designs on the seat in the Senate which Abbott was 
trying to retain. He was also anxious that his administra- 
tion should receive the endorsement of the convention and 
that his son-in-law, L. P. Olds, should be nominated for 
attorney general. Pool kept very quiet and, thus winning the 


governor's support, was elected president. The carpet- 
baggers were angered and Pool then used them to prevent 
the desired endorsement and nomination.^ It was out of 
the question, from the standpoint of party policy, to nomi- 
nate Olds. He was of poor ability and his appointment by 
his father-in-law had been very unpopular. Samuel F. 
Phillips had been agreed upon and, receiving the nomina- 
tion on the first ballot, appeared in the convention and, de- 
claring himself a Republican, accepted. The whole thing 
had been carefully planned and he had an elaborate speech 
prepared in which he said, " The constitution framed by 
the state convention of 1868 will live in history as one of 
the grandest and most beautiful instruments of the charac- 
ter ever formed. The spirit of magnanimity alone which 
pervades it will render it imperishable." He denied the 
charges of extravagance and corruption and endorsed the 
financial policy of the party without reservation." Few 
political acts ever gave such a severe shock to North Caro- 
lina as this defection of Phillips. It was known that he 
was not entirely in accord with his party and that he had 
voted for Grant in 1868, but no one had ever dreamed of 
his forming this alliance and at such a time. To the ma- 
jority of the people, it seemed simply that he had sold him- 
self for office, and his reputation, which was an enviable 
one, suffered a blow from which it never recovered. His 
more intimate friends maintained that he had entered the 
Republican party in the hope of " putting on brakes ", but 
his later extreme radicalism, particularly as chairman of the 
Republican executive committee, does not lend much weight 
to this argument. 

From the beginning, the campaign was conducted with 
great activity by the Conservatives, who carried on political 

^Sentinel, June 16, 1870. ^Standard, May 13, 1870. 


" protracted meetings " in every section of the State. In 
their minds, there was a clear assurance of victory, and 
against this feehng the Republicans could not prevail. The 
Standard strove to fasten the blame for the extravagance 
and corruption of the legislature upon them.^ It tried in 
every way to arouse discord between the Whigs and Demo- 
crats in the opposition, calling attention to the prominence 
of the former.^ It was stated at the time that about eighty 
per cent of the nominees for county office were old Whigs. 
Five of the men nominated for Congress had been Whigs, 
as had been Shipp. At the same time, it belittled the 
friction among the Republicans.^ The burden fell upon 
the Standard because of its location and former influence 
and because there were now in the State only seven Repub- 
lican papers, two of which were hostile to the governor. 
He made the fatal mistake of entering the campaign 
through his son, who was editor of the Standard, for the 
opinion that he was using his high office for selfish ends 
was already prevalent,* and a bitterness was excited which 
in many quarters was intense. An extreme example of this 
is to be seen in the following editorial from the Tarboro 
Southerner, after the plans of the governor were known : 
" In the days of old, when a ruler of the people prostituted 
his position to wicked purposes of oppression, and so basely 
betrayed his public trust as the Governor of North Caro- 
lina has so frequently done for partisan purposes, the 
swords of patriots leaped from their scabbards, the knife 
of the assassin felt, uneasily but surely, for the heart of the 
ruffian ruler. . . . While we do not advise and could not 

' A good example of this is to be seen in the issue of Feb. 18, 1870. 
^ Issue of June 25, 1870. 
'Issue of- May 2, 1870. 

*The correspondent of the New York Tribune soon discovered this 
fact, as hiS' letters of that summer show. 


countenance anything not warranted by law, we are at a 
loss to say what should be done with such a Governor." '■ 
Not any less bitter were the threats of the Standard. 

But the Conservatives were not to be intimidated or 
disheartened. Theirs was the cause of righteousness and 
everywhere there was shown a determination to win and 
thus put an end to the horrible conditions which had existed 
in the State during the whole period of Republican suprem- 
acy. This determination expressed itself in a confidence 
and a unity which revealed to the radicals their own weak- 
ness and should have proved to the governor the truth of a 
remark made to him by a relative early in the year, " The 
white people of this State are like caged lions. When once 
they realize their strength, they will beat you by thirty thou- 
sand votes." But he was unconvinced. 


Governor Holden now faced certain defeat unless new 
measures could be taken to win the election. The inspira- 
tion for such measures was soon furnished by his evil 
genius, John Pool. Acting upon his advice, the governor 
determined to raise a force of state troops and put into 
full effect the policy of terror which he had constantly 
threatened but from which he had shrunk through timidity 
and from motives of policy. He realized clearly that the 
effects of failure might be very disastrous, but he seems 
never to have comprehended the certainty of failure and 
the extent of the impending disaster. He thought the spirit 
of the people was broken to a far greater degree than was 
possible, and he had expressed this feeling a little earlier 
by 3aying of the people of the State, " They remind me of a 
terrapin lying flat on his back with his shell cracked; all he 
can do is to wiggle his tail." Not for one instant did he 

' Issue of June lo, 1870. 


comprehend the immensity of their just wrath against him 
and his administration, and thus guided by the villains who 
were his trusted advisers and impelled by a gnawing ambi- 
tion, he went forward to his ruin. 

On June 2, Pool wrote Governor Holden that he would 
be in Raleigh on June 7, and that it was most important 
that some action should be taken at once. The day after he 
arrived, a meeting was held in the governor's office at which 
were present, on Holden's invitation, in addition to Pool 
and himself, James H. Harris, Isaac J. Young, W. D. Jones, 
W. J. Clarke, W. F. Henderson, Richard C. Badger, A. 
W. Fisher, S. F. Carrow, Henderson Adams, D. A. Jen- 
kins, and J. W. Hood. There was much discussion of what 
should be done and Holden stated that in his opinion the 
militia was not worthy of confidence and that United States 
troops were no good for their use. Pool thereupon sug- 
gested the organization of a force of two regiments of 
regular troops and their use in arresting various persons in 
the State. Badger opposed this vehemently, but Holden 
was entirely in Pool's hands and Badger finally yielded upon 
the latter's insistence that it was the proper course to pur- 
sue, particularly when Governor Clayton's action in Ar- 
kansas ^ would serve as a precedent. The question then 
arose as to the effect of the issue of a writ of habeas corpus 
for the persons arrested and Badger suggested that it 
should be refused. Pool's idea was that it should be obeyed 
and then followed by immediate re-arrest on some other 
charge. This plan, he said, was favored by President Grant. 
It was then decided to use a military commission to try and 
to punish those arrested by the troops, but Badger finally 
succeeded in persuading them to send a judicial officer with 
the force. 

' Goverhor Powell Clayton was at this time using state militia to 
great partisan advantage. 


Pool now made a characteristic suggestion that a friend 
of his, one McLindsay, a pirate/ should be employed, who, 
if any of those arrested gave trouble, would kill or lose 
them. Holden looked to Badger for a decision and the 
latter denounced the suggestion as villainous to the last de- 
gree. Pool attempted to pass the whole thing off as a joke, 
and, turning to Holden, told him that it was necessary for 
him to do something as he was called a failure in Washing- 
ton ; that President Grant had said so.^ 

With the plan thus outlined, it only remained to put it 
into effective execution. Holden seems to have had some 
misgivings, but, as he told Oliver H. Dockery later, " Pool 
suggested it and I am ready to follow where Pool leads and 
the election must be carried anyhow." " Dockery was bit- 
terly opposed to the scheme as wrong and entirely unneces- 
sary, and when he entered upon his campaign for re-elec- 
tion to Congress he denounced the plan freely and con- 
sistently, thereby winning the hostility of Holden and his 
carpetbag adjutant general, A. W. Fisher, both of whom 
hoped for his defeat.* 

In accordance with the plan. Governor Holden, on the 
day of the conference, wrote to W. W. Rollins, at Marshall, 
to report to him for service and to enlist forty-five or fifty 
stout and loyal mountaineers to be placed on a footing with 
soldiers in the regular army.^ At the same time, William 
J. Clarke, who was to command the other regiment, was 
sent to Washington to secure an outfit for the force. On 
June 1 8, he wrote the governor that on the day before he 
had seen the President, who had granted his request. Gen- 

'McLindsay later denied publicly the character assigned him by Pool. 

''Sentinel, April 8, 1871. Testimony before Senate Committee. 

' Sentinel, July 30, 1870, and private information to the author. 

* Fisher to Holden, July 2, 1870. 

''Executive Correspondence, Holden, vol. i, p. 378. 


eral Sherman sent word that Holden would have to sign a 
bond to pay for the suppHes, but that in effect it would " be 
payable at the day of judgment." Grant had also spoken 
of sending four companies to the State and Clarke urged 
the governor to apply for them. He closed his letter as 
follows : " Heaven seems to smile on us and I trust that the 
undertaking will end as auspiciously as it has begun." ^ 

Major Rollins, who was in Washington when Holden's 
call reached him, was wisely unable to take command and 
recommended George W. Kirk who was also in Washing- 
ton. Kirk was thirty-three years of age and lived in Wash- 
ington County, Tennessee. He was a native of that State 
and, except for a few months spent in North Carolina in 
1866, had always lived there. He had been in the United 
States service during the war as colonel of the Third North 
Carolina United States Volunteers and v/as notorious for 
his desperate and brutal character.^ Holden at once wired 
Rollins to send Kirk to Raleigh, and, on June 20," the latter 
reached there, accompanied by George B. Bergen, of New 
Jersey, a kindred spirit, who now entered North Carolina 
for the first time.* Holden laid the plan before Kirk, who 
consented to serve, and the governor himself wrote the fol- 
lowing call of which he had five hundred copies printed for 
Kirk's use : ^ 

' Clarke to Holden, June 18, 1870. 

''Senate Report no. i, 42 Cong., i sess., p. 5 et seq. Hereafter in 
this chapter this volume will be referred to as Senate Report, simply. 

^Kirk himself said June 21, but a letter to Holden from him shows 
that to have been an error. 

*• Senate Report, p. 150 et seq. 

*The evidence in the impeachment trial proved that Holden had 
written the call, but the printer said that Kirk had brought it to the 
ofEce in April. There is no other evidence to show that Kirk was in 
Raleigh at that time, and it is not possible that such was the case. Im- 
peachment Trial, pp. 282, 283. This book will hereafter be referred to 
as Impeachment. 







Your old commander has been commissioned to raise at 
once a regiment of State troops, to aid in enforcing the laws, 
and in putting down disloyal midnight assassins. 

The blood of your murdered countrymen, inhumanly butch- 
ered for opinion's sake, cries from the ground for vengeance. 

The horrible murders and other atrocities committed by 
rebel K. K. K. and " southern chivalry ", on grayhaired men 
and helpless women, call in thunder tones on all loyal men to 
rally in defence of their State. The uplifted hand of justice 


must overtake these outlaws. 


are wanted immediately, to serve six months unless sooner 
discharged. These troops will receive the same pay, cloth- 
ing, and rations as United States regulars. Recruits will be 
received at Asheville, Marshall, and Burnsville, North Caro- 

For further information address or call on me at Asheville, 
N. C. George W. Kirk, 

Colonel 2d Regiment State Troops. 

Kirk left Raleigh and, on June 22, wrote Holden from 
Burnsville that he was leaving for the Greasy Cove of East 
Tennessee but would post no handbills outside the State 
and none would know of his presence there. From there 
he would slip back with the men he had enlisted through 
the mountain passes to Asheville and Marshall.^ This 
letter would seem to settle forever the question of Governor 
Holden's knowledge of the nature of Kirk's force. 

' Kirk to Holden, June 22, 1870. This letter has never been published. 


By this time, the handbills were scattered throughout the 
western part of the State to the horror and alarm of all 
the inhabitants save political extremists and those of like 
character with Kirk. Immediately the governor was 
flooded with letters from prominent Republicans urging 
him not to carry out his plan ; reminding him that Kirk was 
not a citizen of the State; that he was known to be of bad 
character and a man who allowed his passions to control 
his reason ; that he was generally detested ; and that the 
plan would do great harm and would result in the entire 
overthrow of the Republican party at the coming election.^ 
On June 27, a petition came from Asheville signed by a 
large number of persons there, including Judge Cannon, 
Judge Henry, Solicitor V. S. Lusk, and the clerk and the 
sheriff of Buncombe County, urging the governor not to 
raise troops or use Kirk, and protesting against his circular/ 
Judge Henry went further and in his charge to the grand 
jury at the spring term of Buncombe court, denounced the 
governor for organizing the force and declared that there 
was no need for it/ Other Republicans known to oppose 
the governor's course were W. P. Bynum, D. A. Jenkins, 
and H. J. Menninger. 

Some, of course, approved, but few had much to say. J. 
W. Bowman asked and secured the appointment of H. C. 
Yates as major under Kirk, urging that the entire pro- 
gramme be carried out and the election won."* Dr. J. J. 
Mott, the president of the eastern division of the Western 
North Carolina Railroad, wrote Holden early in July not to 
withdraw ICirk as he was the best appointment that could 
have been made. " Let him alone except to assist and en- 

' Unpublished Executive Correspondence not included in letter books. 
■' Unpublished Executive Correspondence and Sentinel, April 4, 1871 . 
'^Sentinel, July S, 1870. 
■•Bowman to Holden, June 28, 1870. 


courage him. And by the Eternal God, I say deluge the 
State in blood from one end to the other rather than our 
people should suffer again the treatment of the last six 
months." ^ 

In the meantime, of course, the whole State had learned 
of the plan. On June 15, the Standard had announced the 
intended organization of state troops and the next day had 
stated that they would deal with the Ku Klux in a sum- 
mary manner. At the same time, the tone of the paper 
changed and became more confident. In answer to the at- 
tacks of the Conservative press upon Kirk, it said, " Let the 
weight of a finger be laid upon him. The loyal men who 
fought under him during the war will avenge his death." 
As early as June 11, it contained threats that, if necessary, 
the leading Democrats in the State would be killed.^ On 
June 16, with the statement that it spoke by the governor's 
authority, it warned the editors of the Roanoke News, who 
vvere very hostile to him, that soldiers might be sent for 

'J. J. Mott to Holden, July 2, 1870. 

■'The editorial was as follows: "We are authorized by the Governor 
of the State to announce that these outrages must come to an end. 
His purpose is fixed to punish these assassins, and to protect the peo- 
ple in their houses, and in the freest expression of their political opin- 
ions. He intends to demand and to have indemnity for the past and 
security for the future. In doing this he will strike the so-called highest 
as soon as he v.'ill the poorest and humblest; as well the leading man 
who encourages or winks at these outrages as the depraved devil in 
human shape who plays Ku Klux whether on foot or horseback. The 
Governor will do this, and there are threats that he will be assassinated 
for so doing. Let them try it. The Governor does not fear these 
fiends in human shape. If he is even personally menaced, his friends 
will resent it and punish the man or the men who may do it; if he is 
slain or even wounded, it is already determined that leading Democrats 
and Conservatives, who might be named, will be put to death. The 
Governor's mind is made up. He will allow these outrages to proceed 
no further, and he will promptly arrest and punish any man who may 
preach sedition, or who may counsel resistance to State or Federal 



them if they advised any resistance to law or any step to 
subvert established authority, and that, if they resisted, they 
would be shot. 

Immediately after the conference in Raleigh, Pool had 
gone back to Washington to carry on a campaign of mis- 
representation in order to build up public sentiment in the 
North in favor of the proposed scheme/ To quote him: 
" We intend to use the military in the election and must get 
these statements [of supposed outrages] disseminated 
through the North." ^ He told a reporter of the Washing- 
ton Chronicle that, to carry the State, it was necessary to 
use troops,- and he wanted lists of North Carolina outrages 
published regularly to rouse the North.'' A part of the 
North Carolina delegation in Congress visited President 
Grant on June 17, and he assured them that he was behind 
the movement.* It was common talk with Pool and Ab- 
bott at this time that William A. Graham was to be arrested 
for complicity in the Ku Klux outrages.^ On June 28, the 
former advised Governor Holden to come on to see the 
President," and the governor left for Washington the same 
day. On July 30, he and Pool had an interview with Grant 
who, according to Plolden, agreed to stand behind him and 
said, " Let those men resist you. Governor, and I will move 
with all my power against them." ' Whether this be true 
or not, Governor Holden came away with entire confidence 
that he would be sustained by the President in all that he 
might do. He also determined to institute a military corn- 


' Cincinnati Gazette, July 23, 1870. 

' New York Tribune, June 22, 1870. 

"Appendix, Globe, p. 232, 42 Cong., i sess. 

* Washington Chronicle, June 20, 1870. 

'" Sentinel, July 14, 1870. 

« Pool to Holden, June 28, 1870. 

' Standard, July 22, 1870. 


mission to try the arrested persons. This suggestion may 
have come from Pool ; it is not at all unlikely that it came 
from President Grant himself. It was at least in entire 
accord with his methods. 

On July 6, Kirk and a part of his force left Morgan- 
ton. His entire force consisted of nine companies ^ with a 
total of 670 men, 399 of whom were under age, and 64, 
over forty. Over 200 were from other States, most of 
them from Tennessee, but some from Virginia and South 
Carolina. All the field officers were from outside the State.^ 
Enlisted in the force, and in violation of the laws, were a 
number of negroes. The progress of the force was marked 
by the most extreme rowdyism and disorder, for the troops 
were always utterly undisciplined. At Newton they left 
the train and forced the bystanders to do their bidding at 
the pistol's mouth, meanwhile, in like manner, preventing 
the engineer from starting the train.'' All along the route 
and at every stop they fired pistols, cursed the citizens, and 
showed their lawless character. When they reached Salis- 
bury, they made threats of burning the town and, pretend- 
ing that they had been fired upon from the hotel, they ran 
to the windows of the dining-room and made a demonstra- 
tion against women and children with muskets, bayonets, 
and pistols.* At Salisbury, Kirk received orders to carry 
his command to Company Shops (now Burlington), and 
he reached there that day. He then hastened to Raleigh for 
a conference with the governor, who gave him instruc- 
tions and furnished him with a list of persons to be arrested. 

All this time. Governor Holden was being congratulated 

^ Se7iate Report, p. 11. 
''■Impeachment, p. 2306. 
5 J. F. Murrell to Holden, July 8, 1870. 

*W. F. Henderson to Holden, July 9, 1870. Senate Report, p. 67. 
Sentinel, July 13, 1870. 


by the vile brood of sycophants that surrounded him, and 
was made to beHeve that he had performed the greatest 
act of his hfe and one that would greatly advance him in 
reputation. W. F. Henderson, who was one of his trusted 
advisers, wrote him that the Kirk movement was necessary 
for the success of the party and for. his [Holden's] future 
advancement.^ Whatever excuses were made later for the 
movement, it is clearly evident that at this time Holden's 
sympathizers, as well as his opponents, regarded it as under- 
taken for party benefit pure and simple. Nor has any evi- 
dence been discovered which attacks seriously the correct- 
ness of their estimate. 

On July 15, Colonel Stephen A. Douglas,^ the governor's 
aid and the acting adjutant general, went to Company 
Shops and mustered the force into the service of the State, 
using the United States articles with merely the substitution 
of the words " North Carolina" for " United States." ^ 

The next step to be taken was to provide for the trial of 
the prisoners. The military commission, as finally consti- 
tuted by the governor, consisted of the officers of Kirk's 
regiment and Major General Willie D. Jones, Brigadier 
General C. S. Moring, Brigadier General W. R. Albright, 
Colonel H. M. Ray, Major L. W. Hardin, and Captain R. 
W. Hancock, all of whom were of ability less than medi- 
ocre, and partisan to a degree. In addition, most if not all 
of them were entirely subservient to Governor Holden in 
all things and were chosen for that reason.* Bergen was 

' W. F. Henderson to Holden, July 18, 1870. 

'A son of Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois. 

^Impeachment, p. 2306. 

■'William A. Graham in his speech in the impeachment trial had this 
to say of them: 

"These, Mr. Chief Justice and senators, are the sages who are to 
supersede the judges and juries appointed by law for the trial of citizens 


ordered to serve on the commission but was possessed of 
sufficient foresight to decline.^ Dr. Mott was urged by the 
governor to serve, but he also was cautious.' Holden's first 
plan was for the commission to assemble on July 25, so 
that sentence could be executed just before the election, but 
he later set the time for the second week in August. 

On July 17, he ordered about twenty men sent to Cleve- 
land County " to keep an eye on Plato Durham ". Later, 
he ordered Kirk to send as many home to vote as possible. 
The company raised in Gaston County was to remain 
there, as their votes were needed and they could " control 
Gaston, Lincoln, and Catawba ".^ 

At first, the Conservatives had viewed the threatening 
situation with disgust, but with more fear of an outbreak 
on the part of the citizens than of violence by Kirk's men. 
The movement was regarded as a scheme to carry the elec- 
tion by threats rather than by actual violence, for the full 
plan was of course not known to the public. The state 
executive committee of the Conservative party, on July 7, 
issued a powerful yet calm and dignified address to the 
people of the State, condemning the action of the governor 
but urging patience and moderation. In it is to be seen a 
recognition of some of the underlying purpose of the move- 
ment. It said in part, " It is very generally believed, and 
there is much ground for such belief as we have reason to 

accused of crime; and their trial is to be conducted, not according to 
the doctrines of the bill of rights, of Coke, Foster, or Blackstone, but 
by the laws and usages of war as expressed by Turenne or Vauban, 
McComb or Halleck— authors who have doubtless been profoundly 
studied by these improvised heroes, some of whom were offered here as 

''Senate Report, p. 153. ''J. J. Mott to Holden, July 15, 1870. 

■'• Impeach7nent, p. 2318. These letters were in Holden's own hand 
and were left by Kirk in Alamance. They were not copied in the offi- 
cial letter book. 


know, that this armed movement has been set on foot by 
preconcert and arrangement just before an important gen- 
eral election in the State, for the purpose of controlling it 
by intimidation or defeating it entirely, by provoking the 
people to a violent conflict with the armed men referred to, 
and then proclaiming the whole State in insurrection." ' 
Ex-Governor Reid, from his retirement, issued an appeal 
to the people to the same effect." In a political way the 
movement was of great importance, though with different 
results from those intended. The Conservatives, already 
active, were given new life and spirit. Instead of terror- 
izing them as intended, it aroused such hostility that, more 
than ever, the Republicans were put on the defensive. In 
addition to the burden they already carried, which would in 
all probability have defeated them, they now had that of 
supporting the administration in this new policy, and many 
refused to do anything of the sort, and, badly split as they 
already were, their demoralization became worse and their 
defeat became a foregone conclusion. 

On July 15, Bergen arrested at Graham, James S. Scott, 
a merchant, James E. Boyd, the Conservative candidate for 
the House, and Adolphus G. Moore, and refused to give 
them any reason for their detention other than that it was 
by order of Kirk who was acting under instructions from 
Governor Holden. They were carried before Kirk who 
declined to admit them to bail. Later Bergen informed 
them that they were to be tried by a court martial.^ 

On the sixteenth, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus 
in behalf of Moore was presented to Chief Justice Pearson 
in Raleigh by an eminent body of counsel.* Judge Pearson 

^Annual Cyclopaedia, 1870; Sentinel, July 7, 1870. 
''Sentinel, July 29, 1870. 'Impeachment, p. 602. 

* William A. Graham, Thomas Bragg, Augustus S. Merrimon, E. S- 
Parker, and William H. Battle and Sons. 



at once granted the writ returnable to him in Raleigh. The 
writ was served upon Kirk the next day as, in response to 
orders from Holden, he was proceeding to Yanceyville with 
a large part of his force. He listened to the reading of the 
writ, looked at the signature, and replied that he could take 
no notice of such papers; that they had " played out." He 
directed the server of the process to take it back and reply 
that a cotirt had been appointed to try the prisoners, and 
that he would not surrender them except upon the gover- 
nor's order. ^ Application was then made for a writ of 
attachment against Kirk and for a precept to some sheriff 
to bring the petitioner before the chief justice, employing a 
posse coiuitatiis if necessary. Richard C. Badger was pres- 
ent and suggested that the governor might wish to be 
heard. Chief Justice Pearson accordingly wrote him en- 
closing copies of the writs, for by this time, the other pris- 
oners had also sued out writs, and adjourned the case 
until the next day. AVhen the hearing began on the nine- 
teenth. Badger, acting as counsel for the governor, read the 
following letter : 

Executive Office, 
Raleigh, July 19, 1870. 
To the Hon. Richmond M. Pearson, 

Chief Justice of North Carolina. 
Sir: Your communication of yesterday concerning the ar- 
rests made by Col. Geo. W. Kirk, together with the enclosed 
is received. 

I respectfully reply: — That Col. Geo. W. Kirk made the 
arrests and now detains the prisoners 'mamed by my order. 
He was instructed firmly but respectfully to decline to deliver 
the prisoners. No one goes before me in respect for the civil 
law, or for those whose duty it is to enforce it, but the condi- 
tion of Alamance County, and some other parts of the State, 

' Battle, Habeas Corpus Cases, p. 8. 



has been and is such that, though reluctant to use the strong 
powers vested in me by law, I have been forced to declare 
them in a state of insurrection. 

For months past there has been maturing in these localities, 
under the guidance of bad and disloyal men, a dangerous secret 
insurrection. I have invoked public opinion to aid m.e in 
suppressing this treason! I have issued proclamation after 
proclamation to the people of the State to break up these un- 
lawful combinations ! I have brought to bear every civil power 
to restore peace and order, but all in vain! (The Consti- 
tution and the laws of the United States and of this State 
are set at naught; the civil courts are no longer a protection 
to life, liberty, and property ; assassination and outrage go 
unpunished, and the civil magistrates are intimidated and are 
afraid to perform their functions. * 

To the majority of the people of these sections the approach 
of night is like the entrance into the valley of the shadow of 
death ; the men dare not sleep beneath their roofs at night, 
but abandoning their wives and little ones, wander in the 
woods until day. 

{ Thus civil government was crumbling around me. I deter- 
mined to nip this new treason in the bud. 

By virtue of the power vested in me by the Constitution and 
laws, and by that inherent right of self-preservation which 
belongs to all governments, I have proclaimed the county of 
Alamance in a state of insurrection. Col. Geo. W. Kirk is 
commanding the military forces in that county, made the ar- 
rests referred to in the writ of habeas corpus, and now de- 
tains the prisoners by my order. 

At this time I am satisfied that the public interests require 
that these military prisoners shall not be delivered up to the 
civil power. 

I devoutly hope that the time may be short when a restora- 
tion of peace and order may release Alamance County from 
the presence of military force and the enforcement of military 
law- When that time shall arrive I shall promptly restore the 
civil power. W. W. Holden, Governor. 


The enclosures mentioned were his five proclamations 
against the Ku Klux. The chief justice, after the letter 
had been read, laid down four lines of argument for the 
counsel, (i) Did Kirk have a reasonable excuse for re- 
fusing to make return? (2) Did the facts show an insur- 
rection of such an extent as to suspend the writ? (3) If 
the writ was not suspended, would not an attachment pro- 
duce civil war, and was not the act of 1868- 1869 providing 
for an attachment on failure to make proper return of a 
writ of habeas corpus in effect subservient to the militia 
clause of the constitution? (4) If so, should the writ be 
directed to the governor ? 

The counsel for the petitioners ^ then addressed the court 
arguing that the governor's letter should not be noticed, 
and Badger, for the governor, argued that the latter had 
power by law to declare a county in insurrection and that 
the constitution empowered him tO' declare martial law and 
that therefore the writ was suspended. 

On July 23, the chief justice delivered his opinion in the 
case, which was in accord with the views of Governor Hol- 
den. He accepted the argument of R. C. Badger as to the 
power of the governor, but denied that the writ had been 
suspended. He therefore acknowledged the right of the 
petitioners to a writ of attachment, but refused to address 
it to any sheriff as it would plunge the State into civil war. 
He denied any power to call out a posse comitatus because 
the counties concerned were in insurrection and insurgents 
could not be called into the service of the State. No one 
else could serve in those counties, and in addition, the citi- 
zens, being militia, could not be called out into conflict with 
the governor vv^ho was the commander-in-chief. Only 
moral power, he said, was possessed by the judiciary; the 

' B. F. Moore had by this time been added to those mentioned above. 


physical power was entirely in the hands of the executive. 
He closed his opinion as follows : 

The writ will be directed to the Marshal of the Supreme 
Court, with instructions to exhibit it, and a copy of this opin- 
ion to His Excellency the Governor. If he orders the peti- 
tioner to be delivered to the Marshal, weU; if not, following 
the example of Chief Justice Taney, in Merriman's case. An- 
nual Cyclopedia, for the year 1861, page 555, I have discharged 
my duty; the power of the Judiciary is exhausted and the 
responsibility must rest on the Executive. Pearson. 

The chief justice in his opinion was very critical of the 
counsel for the petitioners because of their display of feel- 
ing, and said that their language, though more courtly, was 
fully as strong as that employed by Kirk. All had used 
the expression, " Let justice be done though the heavens 
fall." Judge Pearson said, " Justice must be done, or the 
power of the judiciary be exhausted, but I would forfeit 
all claim to prudence tempered with finnness, should I, 
without absolute necessity, add fuel to the flame and plunge 
the country into civil war, provided my duty can be fully 
discharged without that awful consequence. Wisdom dic- 
tates, if justice can be done, ' let heaven stand.' " 

This was in striking contrast to his utterance in 1863, 
when he was making use of every legal technicality to dis- 
charge Confederate soldiers from the service. Said he, 
" Will it be said that this denial of justice is necessary for 
the good of the public to prevent desertion? God forbid. 
Fiat justitia mat coeliim, let justice be done without regard 
to consequences." 

On the same day, Judge Pearson issued writs for all the 
other prisoners held by Kirk. Governor Holden, on July 
26, replied as follows : 


Executive Department, 
Raleigh, July 26, 1870. 

To the Hon. R. M. Pearson, 

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of N. C. 

Sir: — I have had the honor to receive, by the hands of the 
Marshal of the Supreme Court, a copy of your opinion in the 
matter of A. G. Moore; and the Marshal has informed me of 
the writ in his hands for the body of said Moore, now in the 
custody of my subordinate officer, Col. George W. Kirk. 

I have declared the counties of Alamance and Caswell in a 
state of insurrection, and have taken military possession of 
them. This your Honor admits I had the power to do "under 
the Constitution and laws." And not only this, " but to do 
all things necessary to suppress the insurrection," including 
the power to " arrest all suspected persons " in the above-men- 
tioned counties. 

Your Honor has thought proper also to declare that the citi- 
zens of the counties of Alamance and Caswell are insurgents, 
as a result of the Constitutional and lawful action of the Ex- 
ecutive, and that therefore, you will not issue the writ for the 
production of the body of Moore to any of the men of the 
said counties ; that " the posse comitatus must come from the 
county where the writ is to be executed," and that any other 
means would be illegal. 

I have official and reliable information that in the counties 
above-named, during the last twelve months, not less than 
one hundred persons, " in the peace of God and the State," 
have been taken from their homes and scourged, mainly if 
not entirely on account of their political opinions ; that eight 
murders have been committed, including that of a State Sen- 
ator, on the same account; that another State Senator has 
baen compelled, from fear for his life, to make his escape to a 
distant State. I have reason to believe that the governments 
of the said counties have been mainly if not entirely in the 
hands of men who belong to the Ku Klux Klan, whose mem- 
bers have perpetrated the atrocities referred to ; and that the 


county governments have not merely omitted to ferret out 
and bring to justice those of this Klan who have thus violated 
the law, but that they have actually shielded them from ar- 
rest and punishment.^ The State judicial power in the said 
counties, though in the hands of energetic, learned, and up- 
right men, has not been able to bring criminals to justice:- 
indeed, it is my opinion, based on facts that have come to my 
knowledge, that the life of the Judge whose duty it is to ride 
the circuit to which the said counties belong, has not been 
safe, on account of the hatred entertained towards him by the 
Klan referred to, because of his wish and purpose to bring 
said criminals to justice. For be it known to your Honor that 
there is a widespread and formidable secret organization in 
this State, partly political and partly social in its objects; that 
this organization is known, first, as " The Constitutional Union 
Guard," — secondly, as " The White Brotherhood," — thirdly, 
as " The Invisible Empire " — that the members of this or- 
ganization are united by oaths which ignore or repudiate the 
ordinary oaths or obligations that rest upon all other citizens 
to respect the laws and uphold the government ; that these 
oaths inculcate hatred by the white against the colored people 
of the State ; that the members of this Klan are irreconcilably 
hostile to the great principle of political and civil equality, on 
which the government of this State has been reconstructed; 
that these Klans meet in secret, in disguise, with arms, in 
uniform of a certain kind intended to conceal their persons 
and their horses, and to terrify those whom they assault or 
among whom they move ; that they hold their camps in secret 
places, and decree judgment against their peaceable fellow- 
citizens, from mere intimidation to scourgings, mutilations 

' Few official communications in the history of North Carolina con- 
tain so large a proportion of falsehood as is to be found in this letter, 
particularly in the portion to this point. The statements were untrue 
and Governor Holden knew them to be so. 

' But for the fact that he would have been guilty of party disloyalty, 
the governor might truthfully have said that they had made no very 
strenuous efforts to do so. 


and murder, and that certain persons of the Klan are deputed 
to execute these judgments; that when the members of this 
Klan are arrested for violations of law, it is most difficult to 
obtain bills of indictment against them, and still more difficult 
to convict them, first, because some of the members or their 
sympathizers are almost always on the grand and petit juries, 
and secondly, because witnesses who are members or sym- 
pathizers unblushingly commit perjur}' to screen their confed- 
erates and associates in crime ; that this Klan, thus consti- 
tuted and having in view the objects referred to, is very 
powerful in at least twenty-five counties of the State, and has 
had absolute control for the last twelve months of the coun- 
ties of Alamance and Caswell. 

Under these circumstances I would have been recreant to 
duty and faithless to my oath, if I had not exercised the power 
in the several counties which your Honor has been pleased to 
say I have exercised constitutionally and lawfully; especially 
as, since October, 1868, I have repeatedly, by proclamation 
and by letters, invoked public opinion to repress these evils, 
and warned criminals and offenders against the laws of the 
fate that must in the end overtake them, if, under the auspices 
of the Klan referred to, they should persist in their course. 

I beg to assure your Honor that no one subscribes more 
thoroughly than I do to the great principles of habeas corpus 
and trial by jury. Except in extreme cases, in which beyond 
all question " the safety of the State is the supreme law," 
these privileges of habeas corpus and trial by jury should be 

I have already declared that, in my judgment, your Honor 
and all the other civil and judicial authorities are unable at 
this time to deal with the insurgents. The civil and the mili- 
tary are alike constitutional powers — the civil to protect life 
and property when it can, and the military only when the 
former has failed. As the Chief Executive, I seek to restore, 
not to subvert, the judicial power. Your Honor has done 
your duty, and in perfect harmony with you I seek to do mine. 

It is not I nor the military power that has supplanted the 


civil authority ; that has been done by the insurrection in the 
counties referred to. I do not see how I can restore the civil 
authority until I " suppress the insurrection," which your 
Honor declares I have the power to do ; and I do not see how 
I can surrender the insurgents to the civil authority until that 
authority is restored. It would be a mockery in me to declare 
that the civil authority was unable to protect the citizens 
against the insurgents, and then turn the insurgents over to 
the civil authority. My oath to support the Constitution makes 
it imperative on me to " suppress the insurrection " and restore 
the civil authority in the counties referred to, and this I must 
do. In doing this I renew to your Honor, expressions of my 
profound respect for the civil authority, and my earnest wish 
that this authority may soon be restored to every county and 
neighborhood in the State. 

I have the honor to be, with great respect. 
Your obedient servant, 

W. W. HoLDEN, Governor. 

This letter was read on the twenty-seventh, and the coun- 
sel for the petitioners at once sought an attachment against 
the governor or one against Kirk and asked that instruc- 
tions be given the marshal to bring the prisoners before 
Judge Pearson. On the twenty-eighth, the chief justice 
denied all three motions and the case rested. Judge Mitchell 
about this time issued the writ and it was served upon Kirk 
who tore it up.'- So far as furnishing a remedy was con- 
cerned, the judiciary was indeed exhausted. Had Judge 
Pearson taken other ground, there would have been little 
difficulty in enforcing the writ. Several thousand citizens, 
so it is said, had volunteered for service on the posse comi- 
tatus and Kirk's force would have been overwhelmed. 

In the meantime, Kirk had transferred a large part of 
his force to Yanceyville, where on the eighteenth, he oc- 

'^ Sentinel, July 23, 1870. 


cupied the court-house. On the same day, another detach- 
ment of his men took possession of Alamance court-house 
at Graham. As soon as he was settled at Yanceyville, he 
proceeded to terrorize the town. Here and in Alamance, 
his men, entirely undisciplined, plundered and robbed 
without let or hindrance. It was their custom also to un- 
dress and bathe in full sight of the town, and it soon became 
unsafe for women to appear upon the streets for fear of 

On the day of his arrival, he arrested a number of promi- 
nent citizens of the county, including John Kerr, Samuel P. 
Hill, Frank A. Wiley, Jesse C. Griffith, the sheriff, and 
Felix Roan. Several of these were accused of complicity in 
the murder of Stephens, but against a large number, in- 
cluding John Kerr, there was no charge whatever. John 
Pool later said that Kerr was arrested for an imprudent 
speech he had lately made in Roxboro, and it is likely that 
such was the case.^ Some of these men remained under ar- 
rest, enduring close confinement and exposed to the bru- 
tality of the troops, for five weeks. When a hearing finally 
came, no evidence at all was presented against them. 

On July 26, the same group of counsel that had appeared 
for the other petitioners, applied tO' the chief justice for 
writs in behalf of these new prisoners. George William- 
son, who attempted to serve the writ on Kirk, was not al- 
lowed to see him and was finally driven away from the 
camp by a squad of men under Major Yates.^ Judge Pear- 
son upheld Kirk on the ground that Williamson was a citi- 
zen of Caswell and therefore an insurgent. The writ was 
then served by the marshal only to have the return refused.' 
As before, Judge Pearson refused to grant an attachment, 

'^ Senate Report, p. 403. 

'Battle, Habeas Corpus Cases, p. 50. '^ Ibid., p. 55. 


Stating that he had discussed the cases with the other jus- 
tices of the Supreme Court and that they all concurred 
with him.^ 

When Kirk carried James E. Boyd to Yanceyville, W. 
R. Albright, of Alamance, went to Raleigh at Boyd's sug- 
gestion and told Holden that Boyd would tell all he knew 
about the Ku Klux. The result of the conference was' that 
Kirk carried Boyd to Raleigh where he had a number of 
interviews with the governor. On the seventeenth, Holden 
wrote Kirk that Boyd was going to confess; and on the 
nineteenth, Boyd was released upon his own bond in the 
sum of $50,000, and accepting a fee of $250 as counsel, 
agreed to work up evidence against the Ku Klux and make 
a public confession. He returned to Alamance and pub- 
lished a card the next day denying that he had made any 
revelation to the governor and stating that he had no knowl- 
edge to reveal." He then devoted his energies, according 
to his own account, to securing evidence.^ On July 30, the 
Standard contained a confession of membership in the Ku 
Klux signed by Boyd and fifteen others whom he had in- 
duced to join him.* Tremendous excitement followed and 
several hundred young men hastily left the State for the 
Southwest, many of them never to return. Immediately 
upon the publication of his card, Boyd withdrew from the 

His public confession revealed practically nothing that 
was of value to the administration. Its chief value was its 
effect upon the public mind. He was twice judicially ex- 

' Battle, Habeas Corpus Cases, p. 59. 

'Impeachment, pp. 1616-1620. 'Boyd to Holden, August i, 1870. 

*The signers of the confession were Clement C. Curtis, James E. 
Boyd, Robert Hanner, John R. Stockard, Jacob Michael, J. N. H. 
Clendenin, Henry Albright, James H. Foust, D. D. Teague, A. J. 
Patterson, J. A. J. Patterson, John G. Albright, Christ. C. Curtis, S. 
A. Curtis, W. S. Bradshaw, and Jasper N. Wood. 


amined in North Carolina ^ and suffered badly at the hands 
of the lawyers who cross-examined him. His testimony 
makes highly interesting and enlightening reading.- He 
was also examined by the Senate " outrage " committee in 
1 87 1, and in the minority report, signed by Senators Blair 
and Bayard, was harshly condemned.' Both Blair and 
Bayard later on the floor of the Senate * expressed their 
highly uncomplimentary opinion of him, one, it is needless 
to say, common to many in North Carolina at the time, 
and not wholly unknown to-day. 

Returning now to the time preceding the events just re- 
lated, on July 19, Colonel W. J. Clarke, with two com- 
panies of negro troops from New Bern, arrived in Raleigh 
and encamped there. Governor Holden was becoming 
alarmed for his own safety and desired protection. A few 
days later (July 26), three companies of United States 
troops, sent by the President in accordance with his promise 
to the governor, also came to Raleigh. A few days later, 
the governor was furnished with five thousand ball cart- 
ridges from Fort Monroe. Holden was becoming excited 
and this was clearly reflected in the Standard, which on 
July 18, warned all editors and other persons not to rant 
about arbitrary power, and on the twenty-third, said that 
Josiah Turner, who was bitterly denouncing the governor, 
must beware. 

In Alamance, Kirk and his force had arrested eighty-two 
men, who were confined and treated with great brutality 
and cruelty. Lucien Murray had a noose put about his neck 
and was suspended until he was unconscious. He was later 
threatened with death if he would not confess to some 
knowledge of Outlaw's death. Upon further denial of any 

' See proof. '' Impeachment, pp. i$?,<y-i(&y. Sentinel,Sept.2, 1S70. 
^Senate Report, pt. 2, p. 8. 

^ Globe, Appendix, pp. 17-18, 211, 42 Cong., i sess. Since 1900 Boyd 
has been federal judge of the Western District of North CaroHna. 



knowledge, he was called " a damned liar." ^ William Fat- 
ten was drawn up by a noose until he fainted, was called a 
" God damned liar," and was finally tied up for an entire 
night. He was later forced to sign a paper denying any ill- 
treatment.^ George S. Rogers was hung by the neck for 
some time.^ Jeremiah Albright was arrested at the house 
of Miss Barbara Bason who begged the men not to hang 
him. The officer in command replied, " God damn you, I 
ought to hang you for having such a God damned set of 
scoundrels in your house and I have a damned good notion 
to bum your house." * 

In Caswell, the prisoners were treated with the same bru- 
tality. Captain George B. Rodney, an army officer sta- 
tioned there included in his report the following statement : 
" The condition of affairs in Yanceyville is beginning tO' be 
serious, the North Carolina State troops under Colonel Kirk 
being nothing more than an armed mob, and the more gen- 
erally exasperated at the present condition. I have fears 
of an outbreak. Colonel Kirk is endeavoring to create a 
disturbance between the people, or my men, and his troops, 
in order to justify his recent conduct. His men roam 
around the country, and pillage and insult the people with 
impunity, and some threaten to attack my men. . . . The 
militia threaten to burn the town of Yanceyville when they 
leave, and unless there is a strong force of United States 
troops there when they are disbanded, nothing will prevent 

As in Alamance, many persons were arrested in a brutal 
fashion. W. B. Bowe, when he was taken, was the object 
of epithets that are unprintable. Kirk himself would rush 
in on occasions and curse the prisoners most viciously. At 

^Impeachment, p. 660 et seq. '^ Ibid., p. 672 et seq. 

^Ibid., p. 701 et seq. '•Ibid., p. 716^; seq. 


times, the soldiers fired at them/ and blows were not infre- 
quent. At Yanceyville, the rumor came that a rescue was 
to be attempted and Kirk prepared to shoot down the pris- 
oners.^ On another occasion, his men threatened to shoot 
up the town or to burn it.^ Their occupation of Casv,fell 
court house greatly injured it, and with Holden's approval 
they excluded the county officers from the building.^ The 
recital of happenings such as these could be continued in- 
definitely, but enough has been told to indicate the char- 
acter of the " State Troops." Well did they deserve the 
title of " Kirk's Lambs " which was of course at once ap- 

During the period of excitement over the situation, Bed- 
ford Brown ^ went to Washington to try to persuade the 
President to interfere. In reply. Grant assured him that, 
if Holden was resisted, he would employ the United States 
army to uphold him.° That portion of the army which was 
in the State, though not taking any part in the struggle, had 
discovered the truth of the situation and were in entire 
sympathy with the citizens by whom they were hailed as 
friends and protectors.'' 

In the North, much attention was attracted, and while a 
few extreme papers defended Governor Holden, most of 
their comment was bitterly critical.* Public opinion, as re- 

^ Impeachment, p. 796. "Ibid., p. 820. 

'Ibid., p. 750. 'Ibid., p. 745. 

^William A. Graham and Matt W. Ransom were to accompany him, 
but for some reason failed to do so. 

' Sentinel, September 9, 1870. 

''Senate Report, pp. liv-xciv. 

" Several examples follow: The Washington Star, a Republican paper, 
quoted in the Sentinel of August i, 1870, after bitterlj' denouncing Gov- 
ernor Holden's course, said: " It is the fault of just such men as Holden 
that North Carolina is not soundly Republican to-day, if she is not. In 


vealed in the press, was overwhelmingl)' against the gov- 

The election was held quietly on August 4, and resulted 
in a sweeping Conservative victory. Shipp was elected by 
a majority of 4,221 in a total vote of 171,075. His vote 
showed a gain of 3,902 over that of Seymour in 1868, 

no State of the South was there so large a Union element during the 
war and in no State was the work of reconstruction entered upon under 
more favorable auspices. As for Holden, he is simply a demagogue, 
trickster, and political desperado. A blatant secessionist when seces- 
sion was uppermost, he is just the style of a man now to persecute with 
rabid vindictiveness not only his secession neighbors, but all Republi- 
cans who oppose his oppressive reign." 

The A^ew York Times on August 2, 1870, said editorially: "The 
troubles in North Carolina have assumed a phase which renders an in- 
terpretation of their real character comparatively easj'. At an earlier 
stage they suggested a contest between the local Executive and the 
enemies of law in limited portions of the State. They now exhibit the 
Governor as the enemy of law, and as the arbitrary, unrestrained, mili- 
tary ruler of a State in which civil authority should be supreme. * * * 
The population of North Carolina are not wholly unknown and they 
are known not to be either thieves or assassins, or the aiders and 
abettors of robbery and murder. * "" * Governor Holden has chosen 
another course and one so flagrantly wrong that it is impossible to re- 
spect his motives, and at the same time credit him with a judgment be- 
fitting his position. We must conclude either that he is playing the 
part of a reckless partisan, and without regard to decency or right is 
preparing to control the State election, — or, that yielding to bad ad- 
visers, he forgets his duty to the people whose servant he is, to the 
State whose interest and honor he has sworn to protect, and to the law 
whose majesty is superior to even his pretensions." 

On August 15, the Times said: "The tone of Governor Holden's 
organ, the Raleigh Standard, is simply infamous. If its purpose were 
to provoke civil war, it could not be conducted differently. . . . The 
Republican Party cannot too soon or too emphatically repudiate both 
the man and his doings." 

The New York World, quoted in the Sentinel of July 29, said, "The 
imbecility of the judiciary of North Carolina is, if possible, a shade 
more disgraceful to the present administration of affairs in that com- 
monwealth than the insolent rapacity of its Executive." 


while Phillips received 12,795 fewer votes than Grant. 
The total Conservative gain was therefore 16,697. 
Twenty-five counties showed Republican gains over 1868. 
Five regular Conservative candidates for Congress were 
elected,^ as well as one of the Conservative candidates to 
fill out an unexpired term.' The legislature was overwhelm- 
ingly Conservative, the Senate with a two-thirds majority. 
The day of the carpetbagger and the scalawag was over 
and the first step was taken in the overthrow of Reconstruc- 

The day after the election, and while the result was still 
in doubt and while Holden thought the Republicans had 
won, he ordered the arrest of Josiali Turner. Turner had 
been a thorn in the side of all the Republicans but had at- 
tacked no one else with the same severity which marked 
his editorials on the subject of the governor. Holden ap- 
parently now determined to get his revenge. Undoubtedly, 
too, he believed that Turner was a Ku Klux. All during 
June and July, the threats of the Standard against him had 
grown more and more definite and increasingly bitter, and 
finally, the accusation, constantly made by the governor, that 
Turner was " the King of the Ku Klux " was repeated in 
its columns. Late in Jul3^ Turner's house near Hillsboro 
was fired upon several times and he left Raleigh to go home 
and protect his family. Governor Holden then wrote to 
him offering protection, hoping thereby to silence him. 
Turner replied editorially on July 18 with a bitter attack 
upon the governor, refusing at the same time to accept pro- 
tection from one who, he said, was responsible for the 
whole condition of affairs. He was unwearying in his 

'Alfred M. Waddell, Sion H. Rogers, James M. Leach, Francis E. 
Shober, and James C. Harper. 

'Robert B. Gilliam. 


efforts to arouse sentiment against the administration in 
this way and by laying the whole situation before the public. 
He also made the entirely correct statement of the fact, not 
then generally known, that the use of Kirk and his force 
was the result of a conspiracy.^ He wished for nothing 
more than to be arrested in Orange County which had not 
been declared in insurrection, and that fact probably had 
some influence upon his remaining there. On July 28, re- 
ferring to the threat of the Standard that he would be ar- 
rested, he said editorially : 

The devil incarnate who signed the ordinance of secession 
and called for the head of Abe Lincoln before Booth took it 
off, cannot and shall not threaten through his son our arrest 
and hanging in the jail yard without our throwing back defi- 
ance in his teeth. 

This wicked rascal who, through his Railroad Presidents has 
wronged, robbed, despoiled, and plundered the people, shall be 
told of it. Grant and his grand army of the Potomac cannot 
silence us nor shut the complaining mouths of the hundred 
thousand taxpayers of the State who are groaning under the 
burden, oppression, and insult that have been heaped upon 

On August 2, he wired the following editorial to the 
Sentinel : 


The governor has been lying on us for twelve months; his 
profligate son and organ lies on us to-day by calling us a 
Ku Klux. If we are, why don't the pumpkin-faced rascal 
arrest us ? We defy and dare him to arrest. 

On August 3, the following was at the head of the Sen- 
tinel's editorial column : 

-Sentinel, July 26 and 27, 1870. 



Gov. Holden : — You say you will handle me in due time. 
You white-livered miscreant, do it now. You dared me to 
resist you ; I dare you to arrest me. I am here to protect my 
family; the jacobins of your club, after shooting powder in 
the face of Mrs. Turner, threw a five-pound rock in her win- 
dow, which struck near one of my children. Your ignorant 
jacobins are incited to this by your lying charges against me 
that I am King of the Ku Klux. You villain, come and arrest 
a man, and order your secret clubs not to molest women and 

Yours with contempt and defiance — habeas corpus or no 
habeas corpus, Josiah Turner, Jr. 

Late in the evening of the fourth, or early in the morning 
of the fifth, Governor Holden telegraphed the order for the 
arrest of Turner.^ On the fifth, he was arrested in Hills- 
boro by a detachment of Kirk's men and carried to Com- 
pany Shops, from which place he was taken to Yanceyville, 
confined in the room in which Stephens was killed, and re- 
fused all comforts even such as soap and towels. Part of 
the time he was locked in a cell with a negro under sentence 
of death and was not even given a seat of any sort. The 

' In his answer to the articles of impeachment, Holden denied that 
he had ordered the arrest of Turner in Orange County. An inside view 
of the matter is interesting. Colonel C. L. Harris, who was superin- 
tendent of public works in 1870, told the author in igo6 that he heard 
on the morning of August S that the order had been given and, al- 
though he and Holden had not spoken for a year, he went at once to 
the latter's office to be greeted with the question, "What in h — 1 are 
you doing here?" Harris replied, "Governor Holden, is it true that 
you have ordered Turner's arrest? " Holden then said, "