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Download e-book The Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina [Illustrated Edition]

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One person found this helpful. This review originally posted in is based on the facsimile reprint by the Broadfoot Press, which includes a short introduction by Diane Cobb Cashman about Cornelia Phillips Spencer, as well as what appears to be an index that wasn't in the publication. If you can locate a copy of the original book in good shape, of course, you've got a very valuable treasure!

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One hopes the reprint version might be re-released by Broadfoot, or picked up and distributed by another publisher UNC Press, are you there? Spencer, the widowed daughter of a University of North Carolina faculty member, experienced the Civil War from what was then the village of Chapel Hill. She was well-acquainted with North Carolina's leading citizens, including Gov. Vance and the president of the state university, former Gov.

Research OnLine - Bibliography for South Carolina Civil War Research

Using this personal access, and corresponding with other witnesses to the closing weeks of the war, she pieced together an engaging, if somewhat episodic, account of those final days of conflict. After the war and publication of this book, Spencer took an active role in "reconstructing" the University of North Carolina. She is widely celebrated for her efforts that helped reopen the university in , but she also is condemned by some for her white-supremacist views, hardly uncommon in her era.

It also lacks the objectivity that one associates with more modern history and journalism. Spencer deals with three major themes in the book: Most observers, including Spencer, hold that President Lincoln's appeal to North Carolina for troops to put down the rebellion in neighboring southern states turned most Tarheels against the Union. North Carolina was the last of the Confederate states to secede, on May 20, , five weeks after the attack on Fort Sumter. Spencer's account is unabashedly opinionated: She both vilifies and praises Gen. Sherman, for the destructiveness of his Union troops and for his magnanimous peace terms in accepting the surrender of Confederate Gen.

The numerous examples of Yankee theft, vandalism, arson, abusiveness, and occasional murders, as related by Spencer's correspondents, must be considered with some caution - emotions were still running high in the months after the war ended - yet the preponderance of evidence presented shows an appalling degree of bad behavior by Union troops, and not just the "bummers," in March and April of This includes also the large Union cavalry force, under Gen. George Stoneman, that invaded North Carolina from the west and penetrated as far east and south as Greensboro and Charlotte.

Sherman's troops, who had inflicted considerable damage on public and private property in South Carolina as they marched northward that spring, had been instructed by their general to go easy on North Carolina, as that state had presumably been a reluctant participant in the Southern rebellion. The Union soldiers may have been incensed with the high degree of Confederate sympathy they encountered in the southern Piedmont of the state; certainly, the accounts Spencer presents argue that the Union troops did not spare North Carolinians the terrors of Sherman's "fear and dread" mode of warfare.


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  • Stoneman's Raid: Salisbury and the Yadkin River Bridge.

Spencer's book is particularly valuable for her account of efforts by Vance, Swain, and others to reduce the destruction and end the fighting in their state. Stokes then made good his escape. Civilians fled with their belongings and flooded the road south toward Gold Hill. Bruner, the editor of the Carolina Watchman, admitted that he "'lit out' that morning, after the town was given up, and only saw things from a hill top on the south side of town creek.

Beyond Town Creek, the Confederates lost their pursuers and vanished into the woods. From there, they made their way to join York's forces above the Yadkin. Bradshaw related, "The rebel troops quitted Salisbury, fell back to a new position to defend a railroad bridge spanning the Yadkin River. As the last of the Confederate soldiers disappeared, the federals pitched camp on "Murphy's Woods", later called "Herrington Heights", across Town Creek from Salisbury. They built a large officers' quarters of pine poles chinked with mud, as well as bake ovens.

Having driven all Confederate defenders from Salisbury, Stoneman began the work of occupation. Miller's brigade was sent to destroy the railroad bridge over the Yadkin River, six miles east of town. Foremost to Stoneman was the liberation of the prisoners at the Salisbury Prison. Unknown to him, all but those too sick to travel had been shipped out to Wilmington and Richmond in February, and the prison itself had become a storehouse.

Old days in Chapel Hill : being the life and letters of Cornelia Phillips Spencer

This chapter could only be appropriately closed in a purification by fire. An expensive private tannery was also burned. Stoneman's second-in command, Brig. For miles around the locality of the city was marked during the day by a column of dense smoke, and at night by the glare from burning stores. Rice of Unity Township recalled his mother waking the children. Throughout the day, Union soldiers and camp followers went from house to house, searching through every room, closet, and drawer.

Amidst threats, they took food and liquor. They demanded silverware and pocketwatches, but found few valuables, which had been hidden away. Summerell's wife had buried her silver spoons in old shoes underneath a row of grapevine cuttings. The doctor had taken his pocketwatch, in the toe of a sock, to one of his patients at the County poorhouse.

She had sewn it inside her skirt. Horses were taken to the woods behind Macay's millpond. Shober, of North Fulton Street, according to the family Bible, had given birth to a baby boy "Born on the fateful day of Stoneman's visit. The family silver had been buried among the ties of the nearby railroad tracks. Many of Salisbury's citizens asked General Stoneman for protection, which he granted when he could. The home where Harriett Ellis Bradshaw was a child of eight, ransacked earlier in the day, had been given a guard.

When the guard left, he carried with him a Confederate flag "which had been hauled down from the entrance of the Yankee prison. Fastened to a short pole set up against the ouside frame of our front door, the flag had rippled its rebel folds all the day long. Palmer's troops, from east of the Yadkin, arrived in the afternoon. They were sent out again to destroy the railroad to Charlotte. Wiley and his school, James E. We were made to start and tremble every moment at the terrific and unbearable explosions of shells at the arsenal, which continued for 36 hours at least.

By the next morning, immense amounts of military and civilian supplies had been hauled out of every warehouse in Salisbury and piled onto Innes and Main Streets. In these last days of the war, Salisbury had become the "Storehouse of the Confederacy.

The last ninety days of the war in North Carolina

Besides these, Governor Vance had deposited a large amount of state property here. Poor people, both white and black, carried away what they could. Miller's brigade, unable to capture or destroy the Yadkin bridge, returned to town in the morning. As their final act, about 2: When Stoneman left, Salisburians considered themselves fortunate, in comparison to Columbia and Fayetteville, that the town had not been completely destroyed.

Margaret Beall Ramsey's closing comment was that "Salisbury In the summer of , Capt. Kirk led a band of raiders from Morristown, Tennessee into western North Carolina. These secret arrangements may have been with a band of deserters and Union sympathizers in Yadkin county. On February 12, , Bradley T. Johnson in Salisbury reported: A few cavalry will disperse them. A report by Brig. The E-mail Address es field is required.

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