The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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Legislature or on the stump, Mr. Clingman led the cohorts of the Whigs, and like Henry of Navarre, his white plume was seen proudly floating in the van of every contest. Such was his ability and eloquence that he was elected a member of the 28th Congress (1843, 1845,) over that veteran politician Hon. James Graham. He was elected to the 30th Congress, 1847-'49, and successively to 1857-'59, when (in May, 1858,) he succeeded Hon. Asa Biggs, as Senator in Congress, in which elevated position he continued until 1861, when the State seceded from the Union.

        To attempt to detail all the events in the political career of Mr. Clingman, and the prominent parts filled by him, would far exceed the limits of our work. His political history is so interwoven with that of the Nation, that an accurate sketch of the one would be a record of the other. In his long and varied career there were few questions that he did not examine and exhaust. So acceptable were his views that he was, during his last year's service in the House, the chairman of one of its most important committees (Foreign Affairs.)

        His early career was in unison with Mr. Clay, (with whom he was personally a great favorite,) and the Whig party; but he never allowed the shackles of party to bind him to any cause in his opinion inimical to the true interests of the State or the people. When his convictions of right were settled, he followed where they led regardless of consequences, political or personal. He became convinced that the Whig party had become thoroughly denationalized, and that the only national party with which Southern patriots could consistently act, with any hope of good, was the Democratic party. His exertions and influence were used in promoting the election of Governor Reid, and of General Pierce. He has for years been an ab'e, decided and consistent Democrat.

        On retiring from the Senate with his distinguished colleague, Governor Thomas Bragg, he felt his duty called him to the field, and by his efforts to defend his native soil. He joined the Confederate army and attained the rank of brigadier general. He was in many engagement in which he conducted his command with military skill and undaunted bravery.

        He was distinguished for his defence of Goldsboro, (17th December, 1862,) which he saved from a superior force under Foster, whose retreat was so precipitate that he left much of his materials, as blankets, muskets, and even horses.

        General Clingman's brigade consisted of the

        8th Regiment, Colonel Shaw.

        31st Regiment, Colonel Jordan.

        51st Regiment, Colonel McKethan.

        61st Regiment, Colonel Radcliffe.

        In July, 1863, he took command at Sullivan's Island, which exposed position he held until December following, during the most active part of the seige of Charleston. He was then ordered to Virginia, and in the attack on New Berne, February, 1864, led the advance force of General Pickett's army, in which he was wounded by the explosion of a shell. On the 16th May following, in the battle of Drury's Bluff, he was ordered with General Corse to attack General Butler. This was done with such spirit that the lines of Butler were broken, and he retreated rapidly to Bermuda Hundreds, where he was, to use General Grant's expression, "bottled up."

        He was then ordered to Cold Harbor, and on 31st May, met the advance of General Grant's army, and a severe engagement occurred. The next evening (1st June) one of the severest engagements of the war occurred, in which General Clingman's command received heavy loss, in rank and file, from its exposed position. Every staff officer, as well as himself, was wounded. One-third of the
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