Monday, February 11, 2013

Adhering to the Enemy – Lincoln’s Proconsul Edward Stanly

North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission

 Edward Stanly

Most of eastern North Carolina lay open to the Union troops from early 1862, and by degrees they stripped the entire region of everything of value that was moveable and whole shiploads of booty were sent north. New Bern-native Edward Stanly was appointed military governor by Lincoln in late May 1862 and sent to occupied Morehead City to govern his subjects, but even he lost hope of restoring the Tarheel State to the Union after watching shiploads of loot heading northward.  He resigned his appointment a year later.   

Stanly wrote: "Had the war in North Carolina been conducted by soldiers who were Christians and gentlemen, the State would have long ago rebelled against rebellion. But instead of that, what was done? Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of property were conveyed North. Libraries, pianos, carpets, mirrors, family portraits, everything in short, that could be removed, was stolen by men abusing flagitious slave holders and preaching liberty, justice and civilisation.

I was informed that one regiment of abolitionists had conveyed North more than $40,000 worth of property. They literally robbed the cradle and the grave. Family burial vaults were broken open for robbery; and in one instance (the fact was published in a Boston newspaper and admitted to me by an officer of high position in the army) a vault was entered, a metallic coffin removed, and the remains cast out that those of a dead [northern] soldier might be put in the place.” (Hamilton, pp. 94-95)

Colonel William Lamb wrote from Wilmington in mid-1862:
“Northern emissaries had kindled the flames of disloyalty in the East, and 18 November 1861, a convention of delegates claiming to represent forty-five counties met at [enemy-occupied] Hatteras, repudiated secession, announced their loyalty to the [Northern] Union, and named one Marble Nash Taylor, Provisional Governor of North Carolina. The conduct of these Tories, or Buffaloes as they were called, was a source of annoyance to the patriots, but only served to strengthen their loyalty to their country.” (Clark’s regiments, pp. 629-631)

North Carolina Governor Zeb Vance wrote to Stanly in late October 1862:
“Your proposition [of discussing surrender] is based on the supposition that there is baseness in North Carolina sufficient to induce her people to abandon their confederates and leave them to suffer alone all the horrors of this unnatural war, for the sake of securing for themselves, a mistake which I could scarcely have supposed anyone so well acquainted with the character of our people as your self could have committed.”  In a second letter, Vance “told Stanly how his name was execrated and cursed and that “damnable atrocities” were committed daily almost under his eyes.” (Champion of Personal Freedom, p. 200)   

Col. William Lamb, Thirty-sixth Regiment, Clark’s Regiments
Reconstruction in North Carolina, J.G. deR. Hamilton, Books for Libraries Press, 1971
Zeb Vance, Champion of Personal Freedom, Glenn Tucker, Bobbs-Merrill, 1965
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Pillaging and Robbing North Carolina:

June 12, 1862:

"Stanly, the renegade, the traitor governor, appointed by Mr. Lincoln to rule his native State, finds the way of the transgressor hard. He has stopped the Negro schools as being contrary to the Statute Law of North Carolina, by which he has offended his Northern masters, but with a strange inconsistency he ignores the fact (of which Mr. [George Edmund] Badger has reminded him however) that his being here, as Gov, is as much an infringement on our rights, for the Laws of N.C. provide for an election of the Gov by the people. He said that if there was one man in N.C. whom he regarded more than another, one man whom he loved, that man was Richard S. Donnell, & yet the first sight which greeted him on stepping ashore at New Berne was the coffin of Mr. Donnell's mother with her name & the date of her birth & death cut on it, waiting shipment to NY, her remains having been thrown out to give place to the body of a Yankee officer! Such is our foe.