The Raleigh Civil War Roundtable will host Civil War scholar Edwin C. Bearss Saturday January 14 at 11:30 at the North Carolina Museum of History. Bearss served as chief historian of the National Park Service and was featured in Ken Burns' PBS series, "The Civil War," and A&E's "Civil War Journal." His presentation will be Vicksburg & Gettysburg: The Campaigns that Changed the Civil War. Tickets are $10. Contact David June at email@example.com for more information.
The historians at the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources have posted a 1933 obituary of baseball pitcher Alphonse Martin, including his connection to North Carolina.
While stationed at Fort Reno on the northern end of Roanoke Island during the occupation of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Union soldiers often had free time. Martin, a native New Yorker, had played on a pre-war team called the Unions, one of 16 teams that competed regularly in the metropolitan New York area. Union soldiers brought baseball down South during the war, as it had originated in Maine as “town ball” and spread through New England.
Martin was known for a slow, curved pitch that was incredibly difficult for batters to hit, and he earned the name “Phoney Ball.” After the war, Martin returned to New York and pitched for the New York Mutuals and the Brooklyn Eckfords. Although Martin pitched the curve during the Civil War, Arthur “Candy” Cummings is credited with inventing the pitch in 1867, playing for the Brooklyn Excelsiors.
A plaque for Cummings at the Baseball Hall of Fame states “Inventor of the Curveball,” but Cummings admitted to baseball historian Alfred H. Spink that he felt Martin had first pitched a curve ball. Cummings reportedly said of other pitchers, “But none of those pitchers knew they had a curve, and I suppose it is fair to say I was the first to find out what a curve was and how it was done.”
Governor Perdue has proclaimed next week Archives Week in North Carolina. In celebration, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources' State Archives has a couple of events planned to highlight the archive collections.
On Monday October 24, the public is invited to browse some rarely exhibited items from the Civil War collection. These include the 1863 letter bearing the last words of the mortally wounded Col. Isaac Avery from Burke County and a map of General Sherman's Carolinas Campaign, as well as a letter from a young mother asking her husband what to name the new baby and including a paper cutout of the child's tiny hand. Archivists will be on had to provide context and further information about the items.
These Civil War treasures will be on display from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the State Archives Search Room at 109 East Jones Street.
On Wednesday October 26, a collection of historical films will be showing in the State Archives Conference Room from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These films include footage of small town North Carolina from the 1930s and 40s filmed by Lexington photographer and filmmaker H. Lee Waters.
The schedule for this mini film festival can be found here. All events are free to the public.
Local author Suzy Barile will discuss her book Undaunted Heart: The True Story of a Southern Belle & a Yankee General tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the State Capitol's historic Senate Chamber. The talk is free to the public.
Barile is the great-great-granddaughter of Ella Swain and General Smith Atkins, the book's main characters. Ella Swain, daughter of a former N.C. governor and University of North Carolina president, shocked citizens across the state when she fell in love with and married the Union general whose troops occupied Chapel Hill.
Barile will discuss her research in family letters and the process of separating fact from fiction in the process of writing her novel.
This lecture is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources’ 2nd Saturdays program.
If your research takes you to the Civil War, the NC State Archives has many resources covering that period. Individual states maintained records of creating and equipping their armies during the startup of the war. Beginning in 1862, the Confederate States of America took over, and records from that time forward reside in the National Archives. However, the State Archives has purchased copies of many of these resources, and many others have been digitized and are available online.
You can find a full explanation of Civil War resources on the North Carolina Civil War 150 blog.
One of the best places to find information about individual soldiers is the many rosters that have been compiled.
North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A Roster, which was begun at the Civil War's centennial in 1966, attempts to list every NC soldier, both Confederate and Union, with information from service records, muster rolls, Adjutant General’s records, pension applications, private collections, period newspapers, and another published roster, Roster of North Carolina Troops in the War Between the States (Moore’s Roster). It is currently up to 18 volumes, and more are planned, including an index. It is published by the Historical Publications Section of the NC Office of Archives and History and is available at many local libraries.
More information on individual soldiers can be found by searching his company or regiment records. The two most complete rosters of NC troops that will provide a company and regiment designations for individual soldiers are North Carolina Troops and The Roster of Confederate Soldiers 1861-1865.
Service records show enlistment and the whereabouts of the soldier at various points of his military career.
The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, which includes official correspondence and reports made during the war, is available and searchable online.
The activities of troops following their service also creates a paper trail for researchers. These include pension records, the state auditor’s records of the old soldier’s home, and records of the issuance of artificial limbs. The Governor's Office papers from each of the governors during the Civil War contains correspondence, such as petitions for help from the state, that provide information about the period and people.
Ashley Yandle, an information management archivist at the State Archives, will be giving a lecture August 8 at 10:30 about finding Civil War records online. She will introduce the Digital Civil War Collection available through the North Carolina Digital Collections in the NCDC and discuss how to search the online catalog. This program will be held at the State Library & Archives Building and is free to the public. Call (919)807-7310 to register and reserve your seat.
Confederate veterans. Photo courtesy of the NC State Archives.
Historians are taking another look at the number of North Carolina soldiers who died in the Civil War. Research historian Josh Howard heads the North Carolina Civil War Death Study at the NC Office of Archives and History. He has looked though official military records, but also the records of hospitals, cemeteries, churches, prisoner of war camps, pensions, and census, as well as newspaper accounts and diaries to determine deaths among the state's Confederate and Union units.
He found that traditional counts did not include African American and white North Carolinians who died serving the Union army.
Howard will give a lunchtime lecture on July 27 at the NC Museum of History, discussing his research and sharing interesting stories of the soldiers' experiences. The program, called Recounting Civil War Sacrifices, is part of the museum's History a la Carte series. It starts at 12:10 and is free to the public.
Confederate soldiers who fought in the Battle of Bentonville and died in the care of the Harper family will receive permanent grave markers at a ceremony Saturday. Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz headed the team of archaeologists and historians who discovered the location of the graves and will give a presentation on the project. Other activities during the day include artillery demonstrations and a re-enactment of life in camp.
Derrick Brown, an assistant manager at the site, told WUNC radio that all of the headstones say "unknown soldier" since they have not identified who was buried on the site.
The ceremony dedication will take place at 2 p.m.
N&O Staff Photographer Corey Lowenstein provides a look at today's re-enactment of North Carolina's historic vote to join the Confederacy 150 years ago. Once again, a handkerchief was dropped from the Capitol’s west portico to signal secession.
See the full photo gallery here.
May 20 marks the 150th anniversary of North Carolina seceding from the Union to join the Confederate States of America. To mark the anniversary, the N.C. Museum of History will open a small exhibit called North Carolina and the Civil War: The Breaking Storm, 1861-1862. It will highlight events leading up to the outbreak of the Civil War and some early battles. The exhibit runs through October 29, 2012 and includes the Confederate first national flag of the 33rd Regiment N.C. Volunteers, 1861-1862; and an M1833 dragoon saber and scabbard (1861-1862) used by Zebulon B. Vance, colonel of the 26th Regiment N.C. Troops and later the state’s wartime governor.
On Saturday May 21, the State Capitol will host a re-enactment of the historic vote to join the Confederacy. According to accounts, following the unanimous vote, someone dropped a handkerchief from the Capitol’s west portico to signal to the crowd below that North Carolina had seceded and joined the Confederacy. Maj. Stephen Dodson Ramseur’s artillery unit, which was posted on the grounds for the occasion, announced the historic moment by firing its cannons. Activities at the re-enactment will include readings from Secession Convention speeches, drill and dress parade, and a field music concert. Activities at the State Capitol run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The same convention that passed the ordinance of secession also adopted the first state flag. The original ordinance called for a blue field with a white V and a star encircled by the words, "Surgit astrum, May 20, 1775." By the time the first design was approved, it was a red field with a white star in the centre, and the inscription, above the star in a semi-circular form, of "May 20th, 1775," and below the star, in a semi-circular form, of "May 20, 1861." ... there shall be two bars of equal width, ... the first bar shall be blue, and the second shall be white.
This was the flag that went to war with the North Carolina troops. (It was the only flag except the national and Confederate colors used by North Carolina troops during the Civil War.)
The first date on the flag, May 20, 1775 is the date of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. The second date was later changed from the state's secession date to April 12, 1776 in honor of the Halifax Resolves.