The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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proud, aristocratic

                         * * * * * * "blood,
                         That has crept through scoundrels ever since the flood."

        Dr. Scales, the father of General Scales, had seven sons and three daughters. Every son was in the civil war, except one who was disabled, three sons and one son-in-law died of wounds and diseases incurred and contracted in the war.

        General Scales was educated at the Caldwell Institute and fitted to enter the junior class at college.

        Then he entered at Chapel Hill in 1846, but only remained for one session. He sought employment, and was placed in charge of a free school with the pay of $15 per month, and before the first month ended was offered double the amount to continue the school as a subscription school, with the promise of an increase of salary. The offer was accepted and at the end of the year, the salary was again increased. He was then made tutor in the Caldwell Institute, but resigned after one year's service to begin the study of law with Judge Settle, afterward with Judge Battle, and so he paid his own way until he was located in the practice of his profession. He was made County Solicitor in 1852 and as such was most acceptable to the people and the bar. He became a member of the House of Commons for 1852-53, and stood as candidate for Congress in the District in 1854, which had always given the Whigs a majority of at least one thousand. His competitor, Col. R. C. Puryear, was very popular and an able man. He had already served one term in Congress, but his majority was very much decreased by General Scales. In 1854 General Scales was again sent to the Legislature, where he served as Chairman of the Committee on Finance. He was nominated for Congress by acclamation in 1857 against his former competitor and was elected to the 35th Congress by a majority of seven hundred. After two years service he was unanimously renominated and canvassed the District against General Jas. M. Leach. The contest was exciting--their friends were well-satisfied with the champions chosen. The District was Whig in sentiment and General Leach received a majority of the suffrage.

        He was made Clerk and Master of the Court of Equity of Rockingham County in 1858, and this he held until the civil war began.

        He was nominated with Governor D. S. Reid on the ticket in favor of the Convention of 1860, opposed by Dr. E. T. Brodnax and Thomas Settle. The discussion was made by Settle and Scales, as Governor Reid was in Washington City, serving on the Peace Conference. General Scales did not favor immediate secession; several States had already severed their relations with the General Government, and he took the ground that a convention was necessary to place our State in a condition to act as she might deem best, and she could only be heard by her convention. He wished to save the Union of the States; if this failed, then we should not hesitate to declare our intentions and act with the other Southern States, and share one common fate. The opponents made the contest a question of union or dissolution, and when the contest began at least two-thirds of the people were against any convention. They had only one week in which to discuss the points, and Scales was beaten by only 150 majority.

        In 1861 he was one of the electors of the State at Large on the Breckenridge and Lane ticket. In this, as in every other act of his political career, he evinced his firm, undeviating devotion to democratic principles,--which can be said of very few in these times of political tergiversation. Many, it is true, have since joined the Democratic ranks, but General Scales is one of the original panel, not a talesman or time-server in any sense.

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