Four Claims about North Carolinians and the Civil War

A 1909 ad for a band of Civil War veterans from the N.C. Museum of HistoryOn November 12, 1903, the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association appointed a committee to settle scores remaining from the Civil War. The following spring the group received the committee’s report, boasting “First at Bethel, Farthest at Gettysburg, Farthest at Chickamauga, and Last at Appomattox.” The claims had been emblazoned upon the Confederate monument erected at the Capitol in 1895, and stamped upon the covers of the regimental histories collected in 1901, popularly known as “Clark’s Regiments.”

Just as Gov. Charles B. Aycock sought to redeem the state from a legacy of ignorance, the members of the association sought to raise the cultural awareness of citizens. Early leaders made it their task to “correct printed misrepresentations about the state.” J. Bryan Grimes, who took office as Secretary of State when Aycock was governor, persuaded the Literary and Historical Association to answer perceived slights.

North Carolinians were particularly irked by and contentious about competing claims made by Virginians.  A 90-page publication on the topic, with documentation and first-hand accounts, appeared in 1907 under the auspices of the North Carolina Historical Commission.

Though the group endorsed all four claims, we know now that they aren’t easily provable.

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