The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

Bookmark and Share

of Bull Run as a spectator. He was taken prisoner, and at the date of this letter was an inmate of the Libby Prison in Richmond:

        "Mr. ELY:--Your letter to Mr. Stanley, proposing to him to cherish the feeling of "Unionism" in North Carolina, came to my hands in an unsealed envelope, directed to my wife. I take the liberty of setting you right upon a fact, and showing you what a hopeless task you have proposed to Mr. Stanley.

        "There is no Union feeling in North Carolina, as you suppose, and is probably supposed by the generality of Northern men.

        "There was in this State a very strong Union feeling--a strong love for the Union as established by our forefathers--but as soon as Mr. Lincoln's proclamation of April, 1861, appeared, offering us the alternative of joining an armed invasion of our Southern Sister States, for their subjugation, or resisting the authorities of the United States, our position was taken without a moment's hesitation. A Convention was promptly called, and instantly, without a dissenting voice, that Convention resolved to take our sides with the already seceded States, and share their fate for good or evil. From that moment, however we may have differed in other things, there has not been, and there is not, any difference; hence our people with one heart sprung to arms. Our people have now nearly sixty regiments in the field, (not skeletons, but full regiments,) and among them not a single conscript or drafted man. Hence we have taxed ourselves freely; have used our credit freely in making loans to support the war. The spirit which has produced this has never flagged; but is now as high and active as at first.

        "Mr. Ely, think a moment! We have been invaded by an enemy as unrelenting and ferocious as the hordes under Attilla and Alaric, who overrun the Roman Empire; he comes to rob us; to murder our people; to insult our women; to emancipate our slaves, and is now preparing to add a new element to this most atrocious aggression, and involve us in the direful horrors of a civil war. He proposes nothing else than our entire destruction; the desolation of our country; universal emancipation--not from a love of the slaves, but from hatred to us. 'To crush us;' 'to wipe out the South;' to involve us in irremediable misery and hopeless ruin.

        "Now, Mr. Ely, if your own State of New York was so threatened, what would be your feelings and purposes? From these, you may judge of ours.

        "We look with horror at the thought of being again united in any political connection with the North. We would rather, far, that our State should be a Colony of England, or France, or Sardinia.

        "The North may be able (though we do not believe it) to conquer us, and even to keep us conquered, and if it should be the wise and good purpose of the Almighty that this should happen, we shall endeavor to suffer with patience whatever ills may befall us; but a voluntary return to any union with the North, we cannot, will not, accept on any terms--a revival of any Union sentiments is an impossibility.

        "I think, therefore, Mr. Ely, you would do well to advise Mr. Stanley to abandon his enterprise.

        "He a Governor of North Carolina! a Governor deriving his authority from a commission of Mr. Lincoln!

        "The very title is an insult to us. The very appointment is the assumption of the rights of a conqueror. But we are not yet conquered. And do you think Mr. Stanley's coming here, in such a character, supported by Northern bayonets, serves to commend him to our favor; to breathe in us the gentle sentiments of amity and peace toward himself or those who sent him here? Mr. Ely, as you have opened a correspondence with Mr. Stanley, you had better write to him yourself, and say this to him:

        "If he wishes the honored name of Stanley to become a bye-word and a reproach, and to be spoken with scorn and hatred by all North Carolinians henceforth and forever, let him prosecute his present mission. If he does not wish this, let him return whence he came, and leave us to fight out the contest as best we may, without his interference.


        Whether Mr. Stanley ever received this letter or read it we are not advised; but, as already stated, he soon resigned his post, went to California, from whence he never returned. But as to Judge Badger, when the finale of the unhappy contest was settled, and all the hopes, as expressed in the foregoing graphic letter, were destroyed, his majestic mind sunk under the blow. Like some gallant ship in her
Page 18 of 471
Index - Contents
Featured Books & CD-ROMS