The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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Captain Arthur Cotten, and lived at the old homestead near St. Johns. He was as amiable as he was brave, and universally beloved. He lived long after the war, and many now alive may recollect his exemplary and pious character. He was the last of his name in Hertford, for he left no sons; but he left two daughters, who were the belles and beauties of their day. One of them was the lovely mother of Dr. Godwin Cotten Moore, of whom we shall write when we come to Hertford.--(Moore's Hist., Sketches of Hertford, IX, XVI, 556)

        In December, 1775, Howe was ordered to take command of the troops raised in North Carolina, and march to aid Virginia. Unavoidable circumstances prevented him from reaching the Great Bridge until two days after the brilliant battle, [9 Dec. 1775] but he took post at Norfolk, and rendered good service in driving the Royal Governor (Lord Dunmore) and his forces out of this section of the State; for this he received the thanks of the Convention of Virginia, and of the General Congress at Philadelphia, and was promoted to the rank of brigadier general.

        When General Lee, in March, 1776, arrived in Virginia, Howe joined him with his regiment and went south. As he passed through North Carolina he received the thanks of the Convention at Halifax and at New Berne for his services, and he was received with public honors.

        As an additional evidence of appreciation of his patriotic efforts, he was especially excepted from the offer of pardon proclaimed by Sir Henry Clinton to all who should down their arms, and his estates on the Cape Fear were ravaged by the English troops. This was the second time that Howe had been the honored subject of Royal indignation and marked enmity. This second proclamation of Sir Henry Clinton was a grateful acknowledgment to General Howe for compelling Sir Henry's friend, Lord Dunmore, to leave Virginia forever.

        General Howe was placed in command of the North Carolina troops in defence of Charleston and Savannah; and the latter end of July General Lee undertook an expedition against Florida. But by an express he was ordered North, and General James Moore succeeded him. Soon after General Moore was ordered to join the Army of the North, and Howe was appointed to succeed him in the command of the Southern Department.

        On the 2d of October, 1777, Howe was appointed by Congress major general; and in the Spring of the next year he made an unsuccessful expedition against Florida. From want of proper supplies, insubordination of some of the officials of Georgia and South Carolina and the health of his troops, he was compelled to retreat to Savannah. The retreat was commenced in July, 1778; the conduct of General Howe was severely commented upon in various publications. Among these was a letter of General Gadsden, which was highly offensive to General Howe, and led to a duel near Charleston. Howe's second was C. C. Pinckney, and Gadsden was accompanied by Colonel Barnard Elliot. They fought, 13th August, 1778. Howe's ball grazed his opponent's ear, on which Gadsden fired his pistol in the air. The parties then shook hands, and became reconciled.

        He was attacked at Savannah by the British in force, and defeated.

        From the commencement of Howe's administration, South Carolina and Georgia had been urgent in memorials to Congress to recall him and to replace him by an officer of more experience.

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