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Friday, March 12th 2010

9:22 PM

A Map of People in NC in the year 1861

This map copyright ©2009George Howard. Terms of use

By 1860 NC was still one of the most rural states. Soon a swarm of young men would appear from the countryside to volunteer for military service and would be sent to one of the larger towns for outfitting and training before riding the rail cars to VA in defence of NC from an invading army that was surely going to march south through VA and NC to get at the seceeded area of SC where military action had been sparked. 

What happened was that in 1861 as the war fever rose all thought surely that Lincoln would send his ships to SC and that he would march troops overland to quell the Indepence of the seceeded republic.

NC did send troops to shore up coastal defenses and stand guard. But they did not expect the ships full of troops to enter the sound side of the outer banks and seal off coastal land areas.

Look at the map to see where the ships and troops of Lincoln were in early 1861.

 Questions for you: Where were your ancestors on the map in 1860? and in 1870?  Were your ancestors among the tens of thousands of war refugees?

If you were Governor of NC in 1860 what would you do to prepare for war and where would you send your troops to defend the state (soon to be republic) from northern invasion by Lincoln's federalized army?

After you consider those questions please consider forgiving my lack of spelling and grammar.

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Tuesday, March 9th 2010

10:00 PM

The Last Confederate Soldier in NC - Teen Blackburn; Black Confederate Soldier

The last actual personality known to have performed as a body servant, in the usual sense of the term, for the C.S.A. was Hamptonville, Yadkin County, North Carolina's Uncle Teen; Blackburn. His place in American and Confederate history is solid, for he was for over nine months the Old North State's lone surviving Confederate veteran following the demise of Samuel N. Bennett of Relief,NC, who had served as a youthful private in Company K, 25th North Carolina infantry, and died March 8, 1951, at age 100 years, 10 months, and 4 days.  

Born April 26, 1842, Blackburn was one of some 250 slaves employed on the estates of the Hampton and Cowles Families. With nineteen antebellum years, Teen held vivid memories of those early yuletide holidays, when the two families would each place a huge oak log in their spacious fireplaces and festively celebrate as long as the logs lasted, usually three full days. Having always been dealt with fairly, young Teen was glad enough to go along to the war with his assigned soldier. The timing of that assignment came early in January 1862, when Col. W.H.H. Cowles had Teen accompany his son-in-law, 2nd Lt. Augustus W. Blackburn. Then he shortly repaired directly to Camp Mangum near Raleigh to train with Company B, 38th North Carolina Infantry, commanded by Major J.J. Iredell. Teen was just nineteen and already legendary for his ox-like strength. He became Lieutenant Blackburn's personal bodyguard, cook, and helper.

It is believed that at times Teen helped a number of other soldiers of the 38th North Carolina through much of their service in Virginia for upwards of two years, until Captain Blackburn, wounded and weakened, reluctantly gave in and allowed himself to be furloughed back to Hamptonville either to recuperate or to die early. Thus, toward the close of hostilities, Teen was already back where he had grown up.

The families there were ever after highly appreciative of Teen's own contributions. Perhaps Uncle Teen's favorite story of all was of the time he took up a sword, drew it against an oncoming Yankee, and thus surely saved the life of Captain Blackburn at Second Manassas. With peace restored, Teen found work on farms.

Soon, however, he began carrying the mails by foot, from Hamptonville to Statesville, way south into Iredell County, and he walked this route for forty years. Then for another twenty years he carried the mail from Yadkinville to Jonesville, off to the northwest; but in this route, most of the time, he regaled in the luxury of a mule (or horse) and buggy. It is evident that walking great distances on a frequent basis was a decided factor in keeping his circulatory system in top condition; and contributed to his longevity and of so many of his fellow body servants.

In the meantime, while still a young man, he had married Lucy Carson of Hamptonville. They raised four sons and three daughters and shared some seventy matrimonial years. Their home was on the north-south Statesville-Elkin highway near Hamptonville. He lived in Haptonville for over a century. It is said that Teen Blackburn walked daily to Mr. G.C. Wallace's Store, which Teen called “town”; to pick up his newspaper, The Yadkin Ripple, and sometimes to buy a plug of tobacco. He also enjoyed reading The Progressive Farmer magazine. It is also said that his children repaid their father's labors by becoming upstanding citizens: schoolteachers, principals, mail carriers, one becoming a policeman in Washington (Beaufort County).

One of the great centers of their lives was Flat Rock Baptist Church in Yadkin County. Something of a local sage, he was known widely for his wisdom and humility and for the ability to look into the future. Whenever somebody was sick, he was one of the first in the community to stay up nights with the afflicted. There was, too, about Uncle Teen a buoyant charm that came through in a disarming number of ways.

This truth is reflected in what Lewis S. Brumfield, a genealogical researcher of Yadkinville, came across recently: Teen's 1941 income tax return, whereon he listed his occupation as Confederate Soldier (Retired). Having been a body servant, Uncle Teen qualified for a Class B Confederate (state) pension of $26.26 monthly. At least North Carolina recognized and rewarded her body servants. The Federal government gave them nothing until it was too late, 1953! However, these veterans were awarded by their respective state governments a final recognition: $100 for burial expenses, the same as for Class-A Confederate veterans.

A devoted Christian and of jolly disposition, Uncle Teen was one of the Old North State's last known citizens who had been a slave. He was a Class-A American. Like so many Old Rebs and Old Reb body servants before him, Uncle Teen Blackburn, Yadkin County's eldest citizen at the time, went down in the grand manner. He died in his own house in his own bed, the ultimate poem.

[Source: Selected Correspondence - The Black Confederate Experience from Forgotten Confederates: An Anthology about Black Southerners, Compiled and Edited by Charles Kelly Barrow, J.H. Segars and R.B. Rosenburg; Journal of Confederate History Series Vol. XIV Copyright 1995 Southern Heritage Press Post Office Box 347163 Atlanta, Georgia 30334; Teen Blackburn38th North Carolina

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Sunday, March 7th 2010

6:05 AM

A Call To Arms at University of North Carolina, April 1861

  • Mood: Reading
  • Music: The Who, Rain O'er Me.

The UNC Library has kindly allowed me  to browse the various collections this morning, once again, in search of pearls. Here is one!:

Within the plain blue covers of the April,1861 issue of the University Magazine  (published by UNC students of the  Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies) this call for patriots:

" Sound your bugles--mount your horses,
Hasten to the battle field
  There to strew a thousand corpses 
Ere our dearest rights we yield.
Hear ye not the tumult rising
From the gory field afar
Where our comrades, freedom prizing,
Brave their foes in direful war?

. . . As a band of brothers brave,
Though a Union's ties we sever,
  We must die or Freedom have."

In rapid short order 376 students answered the call and went to the field. So many left that the remaining students petitioned president Swain* to close the university, but it was kept open throughout the war. Six of the fourteen faculty members volunteered, the rest being clergymen or too old for service.

In 1864 there were only nine seniors in a class that had numbered sixty-eight four years earlier. Of these, two had seen hard service in the army, two had enlisted, two had substitutes, one was under age and one was permanently disabled. Five of the fifteen members of the junior class were killed in action, and sixteen out of twenty-four men in the sophomore class joined the army.

The tablets in Memorial Hall remind us of the 312 students and alumni who were killed or died in service in the Confederate Army. All together 1,062 Carolina men fought under the Stars and Bars. [*David L. Swain, governor of North Carolina from 1832 to 1835, and president of the University of North Carolina from 1835 to 1868]

Those boys and men were on a path of knowledge for use to better mankind. They were scholars overseeing only themselves as they taught and studied. Still, they forsook their own future and fortune to stop armed encroachments to this fair and free land of North Carolina - their homeland, and now it is mine and yours still fairer than any other land even if less free. 

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Friday, March 5th 2010

8:45 AM

1860 North Carolina - Pre-war Politics / the curtain rises

With more than a dozen years in the preproduction of the war to come, politics made for strange bedfellows who were not above changing beds in the middle of the night. The war itself was the grand finale- a bloody end to a badly produced and directed play that would open before 1860 crossed into the past.

Good analogy or bad, that is the way I see it
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Wednesday, March 3rd 2010

9:34 PM

The Best Blog About The Civil War In NC History 1861-1865

  • Mood:

Welcome Y'all! This is your opportunity to come in and share what you know and ask about what you don't know.

What makes this the best blog on the CW in NC history is our commitment to writing essays, with source notes where needed, in a review of North Carolina's part in the War Between the States (hereinafter: WBTS) and it will take us about five years to complete this review.

For those who only have one term or semester to study our subject of the WBTS in NC - we will offer you a compressed quick run of the 'late unpleasentness'. You may have to ask for that, though.

Unfettered by the textbooks and bounds of college quads and school classrooms we are going to get into the real history, much of which still lives. If you don't like the study of history as presented in the bland textbook variety from school or college - then you are not alone.

The most interesting (yes: "interesting") of histories is those told by the people who were there as participants or spectators of events as they unfolded and who wrote them down or passed on to their families by oral histories. Such is the case with the history of the War Against Southern Independence. (There are as many names for the war as there are stories of those who lived and died during the war of 1861-1865). 

If we 'right' any of the 'wrongs' done to the history of NC and it's people then society is served and our goal in sight.

A big Thank You goes out to the NCSCV for their diligence in preservation of history and the sharing of knowledge freely.

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