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This webpage reproduces an item in
The North Carolina Booklet

Vol. 4 No. 6 (June 1904), pp18‑24

The text is in the public domain.

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 p18  North Carolina's Record in War
Troops and Generals

By Chief Justice Walter Clark

The following is a list of generals whom North Carolina has furnished and of the various wars through which she has passed.

Before the Revolution

Before the Revolution, North Carolina, owing to the small number of troops she could furnish, had no generals except those of the militia. She had a severe Indian war at home, in 1711‑13, which began with the massacre of 22 Sept. 1711, when two hundred men, women and children in a few hours fell beneath the scalping knife. North Carolina was materially aided in the war that followed by troops sent from South Carolina, her own small forces being commanded by Col. Mitchell and Col. MacKee. In 1715 she sent her first expedition beyond the State, being horse and foot soldiers under Col. Maurice Moore to aid South Carolina against the Yemassee Indians. In 1740 she sent four companies of 100 men each, in the only expedition soldiers from this country have ever made beyond the Continent, to Cartagena, South America. Robert Holton and possibly James Innes (afterwards Colonel in the French war), and Coletrain were three of the captains. In the same year, 1740, she sent troops in the expedition under Oglethorpe against St. Augustine, Fla., then held by the Spanish. Her troops in that expedition, were combined with the Virginia and South Carolina troops into a regiment commanded by Van Derdussen.

In the French war she sent in 1754, the year before Braddock's  p19 defeat, a regiment to Winchester, Va., under command of Col. James Innes, who took the command outranking at the time, Colonel George Washington who then commanded the Virginia forces. In 1755 she sent 100 men under Capt. Edward Brice Dobbs (son of Gov. Dobbs) in the ill-fated Braddock expedition, but fortunately they were in the reserve under Col. Dunbar and did not share in the defeat. In 1756, she sent four companies under Major Edward Dobbs to New York in the French war. Two years later North Carolina sent three companies under Maj. Hugh Waddell in Gen. Forbes' expedition which took Fort Du Quesne, the North Carolinians being the first to enter the fort. In 1759 and 1761 she sent a large force under Col. Hugh Waddell against the Cherokees.

Her troops who fought the battle of Alamance against the Regulators 16 May, 1771, were detachments of militia commanded by their Colonels under Governor Tryon who was in chief command. Gen'l Hugh Waddell, who had seen service against the French and Indians in a lower rank, commanded some 300 militia across the Yadkin but did not reach the battle field.

In the Revolution — 1775‑'83

North Carolina had in the "Continental Line":

One Major General — Robert Howe.

Four Brigadier Generals — (1) James Moore, died in service Feb., 1777; (2) Francis Nash, killed at Germantown, 4 October, 1777; (3) Jethro Sumner; (4) James Hogun, died a prisoner of war at Charleston, S. C., 4 January, 1781.

Besides these, who were regular or Continental officers, the following Generals of Militia commanded troops in action:

 p20  General John Ashe, at Briar Creek, Ga., 3 March, 1779.

General Richard Caswell, at Camden, S. C., 16 August, 1780.

General Isaac Gregory, at Camden, S. C., 16 August, 1780, where he was wounded and the conduct of his men highly praised by the British.

General Griffith Rutherford, at Stono, 20 June, 1779, and at Camden, S. C., 16 August, 1780, where he was wounded and captured. He commanded also in the expeditions against the Scovelite Tories and the Overhill Indians.

General William Lee Davidson, killed at Cowan's Ford, 1 Feb., 1781. (He had been a Lieutenant Colonel in the Continental Line).

General John Butler, at Stono, 20 June, 1779, at Camden, 16 August, 1780, and at Guilford C. H. 15 March, 1781.

General Thomas Eaton, at Guilford C. H., 15 March, 1781.

North Carolina furnished ten regiments of Regulars to the Continental Line, one battery of artillery (Kingsbury's), and three companies of cavalry. Besides this her militia were frequently ordered out on "tours of duty." Alone and unaided they won the brilliant victory at Moore's Creek, Ramsour's Mill and King's Mountain, and helped the regulars lose the battles of Camden and Guilford C. H. Under Rutherford's leader­ship early in 1776, they so crushed the Scovillite tories in South Carolina and in July of that year the Overhill Indians in Tennessee, that neither gave further trouble during the entire war. In the later expedition 2,400 N. C. militia were engaged. They also shared in the battles of Stono, Briar Creek, Cowpens and the defense and surrender of Charleston. The North Carolina Continentals rendered  p21 efficient service at Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth, at the capture of Stony Point (where they had a conspicuous part), at Hobkirk's Hill, Eutaw, at both sieges of Charleston and Savannah and elsewhere, and formed a part of the garrison of West Point, when our Major General Howe succeeded Arnold in command there upon his treason.

In the War of 1812‑'15

Brigadier General Joseph Graham was sent in command of the brigade of North Carolina and South Carolina troops, in 1814 to aid of General Andrew Jackson in the Creek War. General Graham had attained the rank of Major in the Revolutionary War and had been badly wounded at the capture of Charlotte, 26 Sept., 1780. A Brigade of Militia under General Jos. F. Dickinson was the same year marched to Norfolk, where they remained four months and were present when the British fleet was driven back at the battle off Craney Island.

Johnson Blakely, of Wilmington, in command of the "Wasp" rendered efficient service at sea. Capt. Otway Burns was most prominent among the privateersmen from this State. North Carolina Troops were also sent to Canada, where Captain Benjamin Forsythe was among the slain.

In Mexican War, 1846‑'7

Colonel Robert Treat Paine, of the North Carolina Regiment and Colonel Louis D. Wilson, 12 U. S. Infantry, who died at Vera Cruz, 13 August, 1847.

North Carolina had no General in that war. She furnished one regiment of volunteers — Paine's; and one company to the 12 U. S. in the regular service.

 p22  In the Civil War, 1861‑'65​a

Two Lieutenant Generals, (1) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.T. H. Holmes, (2) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.D. H. Hill.

Seven Major Generals, (1) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Robert Ransom; (2) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.W. D. Pender, died of wounds received at Gettysburg in July, 1863; (3) R. F. Hoke; (4) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.S. D. Ramseur, killed at Cedar Run, 1864; (5) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.W. H. C. Whiting, died of wounds received at Fort Fisher, 21 January, 1865; (6) Bryan Grimes; (7) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Jeremy F. Gilmer, a distinguished Engineer Officer and Chief of Staff of the Army of the West.

Twenty-six Brigadier Generals: (1) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Richard C. Gatlin;º (2) L. O'B. Branch, killed at Sharpsburg, 17 September, 1862; (3) J. Johnston Pettigrew, died of wounds received at Falling Waters, 14 July, 1863; (4) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.James G. Martin; (5) Thomas L. Clingman; (6) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Geo. B. Anderson, died of wounds received at Sharpsburg 17 September, 1862; (7) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Junius Daniel, died of wounds received at Wilderness, May, 1864; (8) John R. Cooke; (9) James H. Lane; (10) Robert B. Vance, since M. C.; (11) Matthew W. Ransom, since U. S. Senator; (12) Alfred M. Scales, since M. C., also Governor 1885‑1889; (13) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Lawrence S. Baker; (14) William W. Kirkland; (15) Robert D. Johnston; (16) Jas. B. Gordon, died of wounds received at Yellow Tavern, 14 May, 1864; (17) W. Gaston Lewis; (18) W. R. Cox, since M. C.; (19) Thomas F. Toon, since Superintendent of Public Instruction; (20) Rufus Barringer; (21) A. C. Godwin, killed at Winchester 29 September, 1864; (22) William MacRae; (23) Collett Leventhorpe; (24) John D. Barry; (25) William P. Roberts, since State Auditor; (26) Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Gabriel J. Rains.

Gen. Iverson, for a while commanded a N. C. Brigade, but he was a Georgian. There were many natives of N. C.  p23 not in the above list because appointed from other States, as Gen. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Braxton Bragg, Lieut. Gen. Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Leonidas Polk; Major General Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.C. M. Wilcox, Brigadier Generals Zollicoffer, McCullough, and many others. On the other hand Maj. Gen. Whiting, born in Mississippi, and Brig. Gen. Cooke, born in Missouri, are in the list because they threw in their fortunes with North Carolina during the war and were appointed from this State.

At sea, James I. Waddell in command of the Shenandoah illustrated the courage of his race and State on every sea and was the last to lower the Confederate flag in November, 1865. In the above lists the generals are named according to the dates of their respective commissions — except Generals Gilmer and Rains.

Notwithstanding the State furnished 127,000 troops to the Confederacy it had at the close of the war in service only one Lieutenant General, D. H. Hill, and three Major Generals, Robert Ransom, Robert F. Hoke and Bryan Grimes — Pender, Whiting and Ramseur having been killed in battle. Of her 26 Brigadier Generals six (Branch, Pettigrew, Anderson, Daniel, Gordon and Godwin) were killed; one was on the retired list, one in the State service as Adjutant General, and four prisoners of war — leaving nine in service and four at home wounded, several of our depleted brigades being commanded by colonels and majors and one even by a captain. At the Appomattox surrender (9 April, 1865) the parole list shows from North Carolina one Major General — Bryan Grimes, commanding division, and six Brigadier Generals were paroled in command of their respective brigades — John R. Cooke, James H. Lane, M. W. Ransom, W. G. Lewis, William R. Cox and W. P. Roberts. Another, General Rufus  p24 Barringer, had been captured the week before during the retreat.

At Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.Joseph E. Johnston's surrender, 26 April, 1865, North Carolina had one Lieutenant General, D. H. Hill; one Major General, Robert F. Hoke and one Brigadier, Kirkland; though Leventhorpe and Baker, with their commands, were also embraced in the terms.

To this war North Carolina sent "84 Regiments, 16 Battalions, and 13 unattached companies and individuals from this State serving in commands from other States, and 9 regiments of Home Guards and militia rendering short terms of duty." 4 N. C. Regimental Histories, page 224.

Thayer's Note:

a Since Indicates a West Point graduate and gives his Class.E. Parker Scammon is omitted from the list — the only West Point-graduated North Carolina general on the Northern side in the War between the States — it's clear the author's list counts only Confederate officers.

A more detailed list of the Confederate generals appointed by North Carolina is given on this page at Thomas's Legion: full names, date of rank, place of birth.

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