The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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                         "Here lie a Hillman and a Swain,
                         Their lot let no man choose
                         They lived in sin and died in pain,
                         And the devil has his Dews."

        Those who are familiar with the playful and happy turn of thought and expression which distinguish the lighter writings of Washington Irving will not be surprised to learn that Mr. Dodge is his nephew.

        The next and last college genius to whom I shall call your attention was the late Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew. Born in the County of Tyrrell, he was prepared for college at the celebrated school of William J. Bingham, a son of the Rev. William Bingham already mentioned, and entered the Freshman class here in the year 1843. His whole college course was a continued series of literary triumphs. In a class containing many members of more than ordinary talents he was among the best, if not the very best, in all his studies; but mathematics was his speciality. In that he was far ahead of all his classmates. I well remember being present at the examination of the class on Astronomy, when the learned Professor, after having worried several members by putting questions which they could not answer, called up Mr Pettigrew. As he did so one of the class, in a whisper loud enough to be heard half across the room, said, "You can't stick him," and sure enough he couldn't. After taking the Bachelor's degree, and after a short term of service n the Naval Observatory in Washington city, he selected the Law as his profession, and went to Europe to perfect himself in that department of it called the civil law. On his return he settled in Charleston and became connected in practice with his distinguished relative, the late Hon. James L. Petigru, who was perhaps the ablest and most profound lawyer in South Carolina. During his brief residence there he became one of the representatives of the city in the Legislature of the State. While a member of that body he greatly distinguished himself by sending in from a committee a minority report against a scheme then proposed for taking steps towards the reopening of the slave trade. He himself constituted the minority, and his report was so profound in its views, and so convincing in its arguments, that the proposed measure failed to secure the sanction of the Legislature, though strongly urged in a report agreed upon by all the other members of the committee.

        When the war broke out between the North and the South he espoused the cause of his section of the country. After some service at Charleston he came to this State, was elected Colonel of one of its regiments and was afterwards promoted to the rank of Major-General. Of his merits as a soldier and an officer it is unnecessary for me now to speak. His untimely death, in a slight skirmish near the banks of the Potomac during General Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania, caused his friends and his country to deplore an event which extinguished the light of his genius long ere it had attained its meridian splendor.

        My young friends, my task is done and no one can feel more sensibly than myself how imperfectly it has been accomplished. No one can know more fully than myself how difficult it has been to withdraw my thoughts from the unhappy condition of our country and apply them to the work of attempting to prepare an offering worthy of your acceptance.

        In the commencement of my address I had occasion to refer to the low condition to which the war had suddenly reduced our beloved University. Its declension was as great as it was sudden. Before the war it had attained, in a very few years, a height of prosperity of which scarcely a parallel can be found in any country. In the extent and variety of its studies, the number and ability of its instructors and the number of its students, it surpassed nearly all similar institutions in our own section of the
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