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Brief Return to Native State for Edward Stanly

A portrait of Stanly from the Library of Congress.On May 27, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Edward Stanly appointed military governor of North Carolina.

Born in New Bern, Stanly served in the state legislature and practiced law in Beaufort County before being elected to Congress in 1837. After losing his third bid for re-election he returned to the state legislature, briefly served as state attorney general.

He moved to California after losing the Whig nomination for governor in 1848.

Stanly fiercely opposed the secessionist movement in California and believed that North Carolina was tricked into joining the Confederacy, so he volunteered to return to the Tar Heel State to work for peace.

Stanly found few friends back home in New Bern. Those on the Confederate side viewed him as a traitor, while many Unionists were angry that he wouldn’t authorize schools for African Americans. Outraged at Lincoln for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation which he believed would make peace between North and South impossible, Stanly resigned from his post less than nine months after taking it.

He returned to California where he died in 1872.

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