This site is dedicated to the people of the Olde North State, some remembered and many forgotten, who gave their lives and fortunes to build and rebuild our great land, that ultimately, freedom and justice should prevail.
This site is dedicated to the brave men and women of the Old North State, both those who fought for the Confederacy, and those who fought for the Union, during the period of American History known as the Civil War, 1861-1865.
North Carolina was not one of the great “Cotton” States, and many non-slaveholders of eastern swamps and western mountains felt no need to involve themselves in the preservation of a slave system of which they had little part. In the Central Piedmont region of the state the Quakers were particularly opposed to slavery, and in fact the underground railroad began in this region. But “Secession Fever” swept through the Southland, and North Carolina found herself in the middle of that turmoil.
John Willis Ellis was Governor of North Carolina at that time, and while he was more inclined to agree with those who would favor secession, he was not entirely supportive of the radical steps taken by South Carolina with the firing upon Fort Sumpter. Governor Ellis, in fact , refused to grant permission to the citizens of Wilmington to take over the forts on the Cape Fear on the grounds that he had no authority to do so. The people acted on their own, however, upon news that a United States Cutter was on its way to Fort Caswell, and seized Fort Caswell and Fort Johnson on January 9, 1861. When Governor Ellis learned of these actions, he demanded the immediate evacuation of the forts, and sent a message to President Buchanan to insure that the President received a true account of the situation. Secretary of War, Joseph Holt sent word to Ellis to insure him that the President had no intentions of garrisoning the forts of the State.
The new President Lincoln, in April of 1861, called for 75,000 troops to suppress the “Insurrection” in South Carolina. It was this action that finally pushed North Carolina into the Confederacy. North Carolina was ordered to furnish two regiments of Militia for immediate service , and Governor John Willis Ellis responded immediately to this request:
“Your dispatch is received, and if genuine, which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt, I have to say in reply, that I regard the levy of troops made by the administration for the purpose of subjugating the states of the South, as a violation of the Constitution, and as a gross usurption of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina.”