patronymic he bore, was a most upright, honest, and enterprising farmer, and raised his sons to that useful and honorable avocation. On these sons he bestowed every advantage that wealth and education could present. General Grimes was born November 2d, 1828; and graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1848, in the same class with Victor Clay Barringer, [now a judge in Egypt,] Oliver H. Dockery, [in Congress 1867, '68, '69, '71,] Seaton Gales, late Document Clerk to the House of Representatives; Willie P. Mangum, Jr., [now Consul of the United States in China,] Judge Oliver P. Mears, and others. Averse to political excitement and public position, he embraced the pursuit of agriculture, and was distinguished for his success and enterprise in a section of the State distinguished for its fertility and prolific productions. He, however, in the exciting times of 1861, was a member of the convention at Raleigh that seceded from the Union. With his characteristic sincerity he sustained his opinions and convictions of duty by his deeds. He entered the Confederate service, and was appointed by Governor Ellis, major of the 4th Regiment of North Carolina State Troops, commanded by George B. Anderson as colonel, and John H. Young as lieutenant-colonel. He served throughout the whole war. He was among the first to enter the field and was the last to quit it. Such was his gallantry and devotion to the cause that he was distinguished in every prominent battle in Northern Virginia. He was with Lee at Sharpsburg and Gettysburg, and was severely wounded at South Mountain. For his gallantry he was promoted through the several grades of service and attained the position of Senior Major-General of Stonewall Jackson's corps. In these fearful ordeals his brave spirit had never quailed, and he gallantly led his troops in the desperate and furious strife. Like Henry, of Navarre, at Ivry, he was ever "foremost in the fray," and, like Henry, urged his troops to combat.
"Press where you see my white plume shine amidst the ranks of war,
And be your oriflamme to-day the helmet of Navarre."
This poetic idea was realized by General Grimes, for his division made the last charge Appomattox. The history of that last effort of the Lost Cause tells us that General Lee, seeing the last gallant and fruitless charged asked "What troops are those?" When told that it was a North Carolina division, his placid face brightened and he exclaimed, "God bless North Carolina! She is the first and last in every charge."
I add, "God bless Pitt County!" Her son, Henry Wyatt, was the first offering on the altar of his country at Bethel in 1861, and her son, Grimes, led the last charge at Appomattox. Pitt, glorious Pitt, the alpha and omega of the civil war!
The war ended, General Grimes returned to his home and to its peaceful pursuits. But his active and useful career was soon to be terminated by a tragic end. On Saturday evening, the 14th, of August, 1880, General Grimes was returning from Washington to his home in his buggy. A lad, about twelve years of age, named Bryan Sattherwaite, was with him. When about two miles from his residence, near Bear Creek, about six o'clock in the evening, he was fired upon by some miscreant in ambush and killed. His death occurred in a few moments after the fatal shot was fired. Thus perished one of the purest and best men of the State.
Prominent in his character was his devoted patriotism, his modest and decided conduct, his devotion to truth, and his abhorrence of any kind of artifice or intrigue. Decided, honest and firm in his opinions, he expressed them with dignity, firmness and courtesy. His gallantry in the field was only excelled by his kindness to and scrupulous regard for his troops.
Index - Contents