Tuesday, February 5, 2013

NC Patriots of ’61 – Private Henry Armand London


Henry Armand London Papers, 1862-1887 

North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission

                             North Carolina Patriots of ’61 – Private Henry Armand London

Born at Pittsboro 1 March 1846 to Henry Adolphus and Sally Lord London, schooled at Pittsboro Academy and the University of North Carolina. He abandoned his studies at Chapel Hill in November 1864 to enlist as a private in Company I (Chatham County) of Col. E.C. Brabble’s Thirty-second North Carolina Regiment, detailed as a headquarters courier for General Bryan Grimes at Petersburg. During the retreat to Appomattox he carried the final order that directed General William R. Cox to cease firing and withdraw, as Lee had surrendered his army.

He returned to Chapel Hill after the war and received the degrees of A.B and A.M., and studied law under Dr. John Manning. London opened his law practice at Pittsboro in January 1867, and also served as reading clerk of the North Carolina Senate 1870-1872. In 1878 established the Chatham Record, a successful and influential weekly newspaper he edited for forty years. London married Bettie Louise Jackson (1853-1930), the granddaughter of Gov. Jonathan Worth. Their union produced eight children.

London was a leader in local and State politics, for forty years a member of the Democratic State Committee. He was elected State Senator in 1900, reelected in 1902, and served as a Trustee of the University of North Carolina. Proud of his patriotic service to North Carolina during the war, London served as adjutant-general and chief of staff of the North Carolina Division, United Confederate Veterans. He helped establish and maintain the Confederate Home at Raleigh, and made sure to attend all local, State and national reunions of Confederate Veterans.

A regular lecturer of the time on historical topics to the Press Association and other groups, he contributed greatly to the literature of the war to include an 1886 memorial on the life and services of Gen. Bryan Grimes, “The Last at Appomattox,” and his History of the Thirty-second North Carolina Regiment, found in Judge Walter Clark’s Regimental Histories. Major London was instrumental in the erection of a monument at Appomattox marking the location of General Bryan Grime’s Division, and the last shot fired by North Carolinians.

Major London died “during the night of January 19th, 1918, on General Lee’s birthday,” being dressed in his grey uniform and “given the last rites of a Confederate soldier.” It was reported that “many distinguished North Carolinians attended his burial” in the churchyard of St. Bartholomew’s at Pittsboro, the service conducted by Bishop Joseph B. Cheshire. Judge Walter Clark, London’s Chapel Hill classmate, eulogized that he was “as gallant a soldier as ever wore the gray, and since the war, a leading lawyer and editor and one of the most prominent men in the State.”


North Carolina, Rebuilding an Ancient Commonwealth, Archibald Henderson, AHS, 1928

Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, William S. Powell, UNC Press, 1991

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