Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Three Cousins Murdered by Yankees in the Old Albemarle Region of North Carolina

The Old Albemarle Region of North Carolina

To fully understand the story, I'll have to start from the very beginning.   As land in the Tidewater Region of Virginia became more and more scarce in the mid 1600's, early European settlers began to migrate down to Northeastern North Carolina by way of  the Dismal Swamp and Pamlico River.  These waterways had provided important transportation routes for Native Americans for a thousand years and would continue to play an important part in the region for generations to come.

The Albemarle Region was the first area of North Carolina to be settled.  The early European settlers were lured to Northeastern North Carolina due to its rich soil and expansive landscape.  More and more settlers began to establish small farms in the area, giving birth to Colonial-era towns like Edenton, Elizabeth City and Hertford.  Old Albemarle County was established in 1664 from lands granted to the Lord Proprietors, eight Englishmen who helped King Charles, II regain his throne.  In 1689 the county was abolished to create the four counties of Chowan, Currituck, Pasquotank and Perquimans.

This area of North Carolina was anything but normal during the American Civil War.  The citizens of the Old Albemarle Region had voted for Compromise Candidate, John Bell in the 1860 National Election.   When Governor Ellis called for a convention in 1861 to consider removing North Carolina from the Union, many of the people living in the Old Albemarle Region voted against a convention and desired to keep North Carolina in the United States.  Many of the early settlers in the region were of the Quaker faith.   Most had been conscientious objectors during the American Revolution.   By the time of the American Civil War, many locals had had abandoned their Quaker roots and now found themselves members of the local Methodist, Baptist, or Episcopal Churches.  Some of the locals who retained their Quaker faith now found themselves among the Unionist minority.   Several of the locals who had moved on to the more conventional churches identified with the Secessionists.   Members of my family identified with both sides and now found themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. Although North Carolina eventually seceded from the Union, the Northeastern part of the State still held a small Unionist minority. 

Despite the Unionist minority in the area, many men from this region enlisted their services to the Confederacy.  Men from Pasquotank County enlisted in Company A of the North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment (first organization), while men from Perquimans County enlisted in Company F of the North Carolina 27th Infantry Regiment.  Men from the area also served in the North Carolina 8th Infantry Regiment.  Because of the political and geographical climate, a large force of Confederate irregulars or guerrillas also sprang up.  The dense canal system in the Great Dismal Swamp provided safe refuge for runaway slaves, Confederate guerrillas and local Unionists. 

Capture of the Forts at Cape Hatteras inlet
Alfred R. Waud, artist, August 28, 1861

In August of 1861, the North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment was garrisoned at Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark in the Hatteras inlet near the North Carolina Outer Banks.  On the morning of August 28, 1861, three Federal gunships, the USS Minnesota, USS Wabash and the USS Cumberland began bombarding Fort Clark.  By 11:00 am, the USS Susquehanna had joined the fight.   The men stationed at Fort Clark began to return fire on the gunboats, but were not successful in hitting their marks.  By about 12:30 am, the Confederates had run out of ammunition.  Most men abandoned Fort Clark and made way for Fort Hatteras.  Meanwhile, Union troops were having trouble with their landings.   Rising winds increased the surf and overturned many of their small landing vessels.

Federal General in command, Benjamin Butler had to suspend further attempts to land.  Butler tried to make a move on Hatteras by sending the USS Monticello into the inlet.  When the Monticello got within range of the Confederate guns, she panicked and became grounded and was struck by 5 shots.  As night began to fall, the remaining Federal boats withdrew in the face of poor weather.  The Federal troops who had made it to land were hungry and disorganized.

Confederate reinforcements from Fort Ocracoke were transported in from the gunboat CSS Warren Winslow bringing the total number of defenders of Fort Hatteras to roughly 700.  More reinforcements were also expected out of New Bern, however they didn't arrive on time.  As dawn broke on August 29, 1861, the Federal gunboats resumed their assault on Fort Hatteras.  The gunboats found a sweet spot in the inlet where they were out of the effective range of the Confederate guns.   The ships maintained their positions and bombarded the Fort with no danger of response.  The defenders of Fort Hatteras were left to endure the bombardment.  After about three hours, a council of officers was called to seek favorable terms of surrender.  Shortly after 11:00 am, a white flag was flown.   Federal General Benjamin Butler accepted the surrender and the Confederates were sent North to prison camps.   Many of these Confederates were paroled and sent home, vowing not to take up arms against the Unites States until they were formally exchanged. The North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment (first organization) was decimated.  The Regiment would never recover and be of further use to Confederate service.  Many men from the fallen 17th joined the ranks of Company B, North Carolina 32nd Infantry Regiment.  Many others returned home, never returning to the ranks of Confederate service.  While others returned home and became involved in local guerrilla activities.

The fall of Forts Hatteras and Clark gave the Union their first notable victory of the Civil War.  More importantly, the loss of the two major points of defense in the area also opened up the region to Federal troops.

Union General Ambrose Burnside

In early 1862, Federal General Ambrose E. Burnside began to promote the idea of a Coast Division that would be made up of fisherman, dock workers, and other watermen from the Northeastern States.   Burnside reasoned that due to their familiarity with ships and coastlines, they would be ideal for amphibious assaults along the Chesapeake Bay.   Burnside's friendship with Federal General-in-Chief George B. McClellan allowed him to get a favorable audience with the Federal War Department.  Soon Burnside's original idea had transformed into a plan to assault the inner coastline of North Carolina.  This assault would be referred to as the Burnside Expedition and was part of Winfield Scott's "anaconda plan" that aimed to close blockade running ports inside the Outer Banks.  Burnside was allowed to organize his Coast Division, comprised of 3 Brigades led by three friends from his West Point days.  Brigadier General John Gray Foster led the first Brigade, Brigadier General Jesse Lee Reno led the second Brigade, and Brigadier General John Grubb Park led the third Brigade.  By January of 1862, nearly 13,000 men filled the ranks of the Coast Division.

The Burnside Expedition began with the Battle of Roanoke Island.  This Battle took place between February 7th - 8th of 1862.  This Battle ended in an overwhelming Union victory and built momentum for the continuation of the Expedition.  Two major Battles in the campaign took place in the Old Albemarle Region.  The Battle of Elizabeth City took place on February 10, 1862 and was waged between 13 Federal gunboats and a force consisting of 5 Confederate gunboats, a small 4 gun Artillery Battery manned by 34 Confederates and a Confederate schooner.

Sketch by an unknown Federal soldier depicting "Jas. H. Raymond taking the rebel flag from the burning gunboat Fanny at the brilliant naval action at Elizabeth City shortly after the capture of Roanoke Island."

The overwhelming firepower of the Federal Navy proved to be too much for the Confederates.  Early in the fight, the CSS Black Warrior was lost.  Shortly after, the CSS Fanny was run ashore and burned by her own men.  A boarding party from the USS Ceres captured the CSS Ellis in brutal hand-to-hand combat.  The CSS Sea Bird was rundown and sunk by the USS Commodore Perry.  Overall, casualties were light on both sides.  The Federal fleet lost 2 men killed and 7 wounded, while the Confederates lost in all 4 killed, 6 wounded, and 34 captured.

Civil War-era picture of the USS Commodore Perry

This was the beginning of the end for the Old Albermarle Region during the Civil War.  When they learned of the destruction of their fleet and the impending Federal invasion, the Confederates set fire to Elizabeth City under orders of Brigadier General Henry A. Wise.  Many thought it best to set fire to their houses and retreat by the light, as the Russians had successfully done at Moscow when invaded by Napoleon.  Two blocks were burned before men from the Federal flotilla arrived in time to put out the fires.  Although several blocks were spared by the invading Federals, this act did little to gain favor among the local population. 

Following the Battle of Elizabeth City, Burnside's forces laid claim to the city of New Bern with their victory on March 14, 1862.  Unlike Elizabeth City, Federal forces actually garrisoned the town of New Bern and set up a Union base that was occupied until the end of the war.

Historical Marker for the Battle of South Mills

On April 19, 1862, Burnside's forces returned to the Old Albemarle Region, this time attempting to destroy the Canal locks at South Mills, in Camden County.  The Federal War department had recently learned that the Confederate Navy was building ironclads in Norfolk.  Burnside planned an expedition to destroy the Dismal Swamp Canal locks to prevent the transfer of these ships to the Albemarle Sound.  A piecemeal Confederate force consisting of elements of  General Ambrose Wright's 3rd Georgia Infantry, Ferebee's North Carolina Militia, McComa's Battery and Gillett's Southhampton Cavalry Company were able to protect the locks from the invading Federals.

Although the Federals were defeated at the Battle of South Mills, it wouldn't be the last time they would visit the Old Albermarle Region.   The destruction of Forts Clark and Hatteras coupled with the defeat at the Battle of Elizabeth City now opened up the Region to Federal incursion at anytime.

On May 10, 1862, the city of Norfolk, Virginia was surrendered to Federal General John Ellis Wool and his command of 6,000 Union soldiers.  For the remainder of the war, Norfolk would remain under Union control.   Norfolk is less than 50 miles from Elizabeth City, which is the county seat of Pasquotank County, North Carolina.  With New Bern and Norfolk both being garrisoned by different components of the Federal Army, raiding parties into the Old Albemarle Region were frequent.  The major cities in the Old Albemarle Region, (Edenton, Elizabeth City and Hertford) were never permanently garrisoned by Federal Troops although Union soldiers often visited and took supplies from the area.  Other towns in Eastern North Carolina weren't as lucky.

The town of Little Washington fell into Union hands in April of 1862.  A Federal force under the command of Union Lieutenant Commander A. Murray debarked from their gunship in the Pamlico River and marched to the court house where they raised the American flag.  The troops noticed that there was a high degree of pro-union sentiment in the population of the town.  Murray wrote to his superiors in the Federal War Department that the "woods and swamps of this County are represented as being alive with refugees from the draft .... They are deep and bitter in their denunciation of the Secession heresy, and promise a regiment if called to aid in the restoration of the flag."

Many local men from the area made good on their offer and the 1st North Carolina Union Volunteer Regiment was born.   Edward A. Potter, a Captain on General John Gray Foster's staff was promoted to Colonel and made Commander of the Regiment.

Recruitment Poster for the 1st NC Union Volunteers

On May 1, 1861, Federal soldiers began posting the above recruitment poster in the towns of Northeastern North Carolina.  The poster promised that any volunteer for the Regiment would be "under the protection of the United States" and that they would be paid, clothed and fed by the Federal Government.  This was very enticing to the poor farmers in the area who were barely able to make a living due to their close proximity to several large plantations.  The poster also offered a thinly veiled threat from the Federal Government stating "The Government would not protect those who make no effort to protect themselves."  

By June of 1862, the 1st North Carolina Union Volunteers, had enough men to outfit a Company.  A Company of the 9th New York Infantry Regiment was sent to Plymouth, North Carolina to protect the new Union volunteers.   Federal gunboats were also stationed in the river to offer additional protection.  In August of 1862, Recruiting posts were established in the Northeastern counties.  With Norfolk and New Bern being the only towns in the area that were permanently occupied by Federal troops, recruiting in the other towns in the area became a dangerous job.  Company D from Pasquotank/Camden County was organized with great difficulty.  A cocky Chicago native named Enos Sanders was made Captain of Company D.

General John Gray Foster

In July of 1862, General Burnside was transferred to Virginia.  Command of the Department of North Carolina was passed to 1st Brigade commander, John Gray Foster.  Foster was promoted to Major General and also assumed command of the North Carolina 1st Union Volunteers.

The term "buffaloe" began being used to refer to these new Union Volunteers from North Carolina.  The Confederate majority in the area began to view these men as traitors.  The answer is complex as to why a native North Carolinian would chose to join a Federal Regiment.  Many of these men were anti-slavery and had opposed secession.  Some of these men wanted to "teach a lesson" to the planter class. Others were poor farmers who were looking to make money to feed their families.  The financial incentives of Union service attracted many poor whites who were motivated by the Bounties that paid recruits $100 for enlisting in 1862.   This amount was more than some men made in an entire year.

My 2nd Great Grand Uncle, Benjamin Pendleton enlisted as a Private in Company D, 1st North Carolina Union Volunteers on September 17, 1862 in Pasquotank County.  Benjamin was 21 years old at the time of his enlistment and had been a farmer prior to the war.  Benjamin will be the focus of his own entry some time in the future.

Many buffaloes began to commit depredations against their neighbors.  Men who had been poor all their lives now began to assert their new found power over their more prosperous neighbors.  Local Confederate sympathizers began to form small bands of Militia and Home Guards to protect their assets.  The yankees often referred to these irregular units as guerrillas.  Since the opposing groups were comprised of relatives and neighbors, tensions rose quickly. 

Captain Enos Sanders and Company D of the 1st North Carolina Union Volunteers made their base at Shiloh township in Camden County.  Camden had the most pro-union sentiment of all the counties in the Old Albemarle Region.   In September of 1862, Captain Sanders returned from a recruiting expedition in Pasquotank County to find local Confederates had captured men and equipment from his base at Shiloh.  His men would be at risk from small scale attacks by Confederate sympathizers through out the war.

The home where Thomas Mullen Newby was murdered

It is not known why Federal troops visited the house of my 4th cousin 7x removed, Thomas Newby, in November of 1862.  Newby was one of the largest slave owners (36) in Perquimans County according to the 1860 Federal Census.  For whatever reason, probably looking for supplies or encouraging emancipation among the slaves, Federal troops entered the house of Thomas Newby on November 20, 1862.  It is my belief that an argument commenced between one of the Federal Officers and Thomas Newby's son, Thomas Mullen Newby.  One could only assume that Newby was not pleased with the Federal invasion of his father's home.  Although it is not known why Federal troops were at the Newby House, the one thing that is known is that Thomas Mullen Newby was shot and killed by a Federal Officer.  Thomas Mullen Newby was only 37 years old when he was murdered by the hands of a Yankee Officer.  His burial location is not known at this time.  Following the death of his son, Thomas Newby moved to Hertford for safety.   He joined his son in death a year later in 1863.

Here's my relation to Thomas Mullen:

Thomas Mullen Newby (1825 - 1862)
is your 5th cousin 6x removed
Thomas Newby (1793 - 1863)
father of Thomas Mullen Newby
Exum Newby (1762 - 1793)
father of Thomas Newby
Thomas Newby (1727 - 1793)
father of Exum Newby
Nathan Newby (1690 - 1735)
father of Thomas Newby
Nathan Newby (1665 - 1735)
father of Nathan Newby
William Newby (1630 - 1704)
father of Nathan Newby
John Newby (1654 - 1690)
son of William Newby
Rebecca Newby (1678 - 1750)
daughter of John Newby
Charles Overman (1710 - 1806)
son of Rebecca Newby
Charles Overman (1745 - 1806)
son of Charles Overman
Mary Overman (1785 - 1866)
daughter of Charles Overman
Margaret White (1807 - 1840)
daughter of Mary Overman
Martha M White (1828 - 1898)
daughter of Margaret White
Joseph Thomas White (1860 - 1910)
son of Martha M White
Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White (1892 - 1985)
daughter of Joseph Thomas White
Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes (1918 - 2013)
daughter of Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White
Selby Edward "Stokey" Stokes Jr. (1946 - )
son of Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Selby

When Abraham Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation" went into effect on January 1, 1863, the 1st North Carolina Union Volunteers began going from farm to farm in Northeastern North Carolina, encouraging slaves to emancipate themselves.  As slave labor began to phase out, tensions continued to grow.  The Confederate majority in the area didn't like the fact that their farms were subject to Union invasion at any time.  They especially didn't like the freeing of their slaves.  Some of the former slaves were given arms and were encouraged to join their emancipators.  In early January of 1863, Captain Enos Sanders enlisted between 80-250 African Americans into the Federal Army.  He began to drill them in the streets of Elizabeth City.  The local Home Guard or guerrillas began to watch the every move of their enemy. 

On January 5, 1863, as they were returning from a local party celebrating emancipation in Elizabeth City, two Federal soldiers were ambushed and killed by local guerrillas.  One of the Federal soldiers that was killed was 1st Lieutenant Nathan H. Sanders, brother of Captain Enos Sanders.  Company D filled the streets of Elizabeth City and killed 3 of the guerrillas, while another 5 were taken prisoner.  One of the 5 men taken prisoner was my 3rd cousin 5x removed, Addison White.  Unfortunately for Addison, he was caught with a rifle on his shoulder. Sanders was enraged.  He began to fire off letters to his superiors. A letter dated January 6, 1863 stated "The Guerrillas have killed my brother… and I am compelled to revenge his death.  We have three or four of the devils which I intend to hang."  Sanders didn't follow through with his threat immediately.  Addison and his guerrilla associates were confined to the prison in Elizabeth City.  Local Pasquotank resident, Thaddeus Cox of Company D was promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant to replace Nathan Sanders. 

The Red Marker shows the location of the Jonathan White House

The land east of the Chowan River is fertile and lush.  Many farms in that area date back to the late 1600's.  Members of my family still live on and farm land that has been in my family since the 1700's.  My Great Aunt lives in a house in Belvidere, Perquimans County, that was built by my 1st cousin 7x removed, Jonathan White, Sr. in 1798.   Jonathan was the grandfather of Addison White. Addison White was born in Perquimans County, North Carolina in 1832.  The 1860 Federal Census shows that Addison had relocated to Pasquotank County.  It is not clear why Addison chose to join up with the local guerrillas. Confederate Sympathizer and local journalist, Richard Benbury Creecy described Addison White as an "obstinate, unyielding and intense Confederate of the stalwart type."  He goes on to state that Addison "made no confession."

Normally I try to stick as close to the facts as possible but I'm going to break from that and interject my own opinion here.  It is my belief that these guerrillas were first and foremost loyal North Carolinians.  I believe that having an occupying Federal force in their back yard, who took their supplies at any given time probably wore pretty thin on these men.  These men also disdained the fact that their farms were now being used to provision the occupying Federal Army.  After emancipation, these men faced a new threat of armed African Americans.  Freed slaves in the area that chose to join the emancipating Federal army were given rifles and were now used to further intimidate the local Confederate majority.  Both buffaloes and guerrillas alike were known to cause depredations to the local citizens of the Old Albemarle Region.  It wasn't unlikely to see Confederates on your property one day and then Yankees the next.  My family owns a plate that was part of a china set owned by my relatives in Perquimans County during the war.   They buried the china along with other valuables in their garden to "prevent them from being stolen by the invading Yankees."   

China plate that was part of set buried in my family's garden during the Civil War

The day after Addison White was taken prisoner, it was reported that a known local Confederate had snuck into town and was hiding in his home.  Sergeant Edward Fowler of the 1st North Carolina Union Volunteers led a search party of seven armed African Americans to the house of the Confederate.  Upon answering the door, his wife was shocked to see armed blacks.  She wrote a letter to her husband stating "the first thing I saw was a negro with a musket.  You may be sure I was angry.  I endeavored to restrain my feelings knowing we were in their power, but oh my dear, it is hard to bear".  The use of armed African Americans both shocked and frightened the local citizens of Northeastern North Carolina.

Thaddeus and Mary Ann Cox

Addison White remained a prisoner for a little over a month.  Following his promotion to Lieutenant, Thaddeus Cox of the 1st North Carolina Union Volunteers was warned of threats from the Confederate guerrillas.   On February 9, 1863, Cox and his family piled in a wagon and began to travel to safe haven in Pasquotank County.  Cox and his family were escorted by 4 men from his Regiment and 10 armed African Americans.  Unfortunately for Cox, the local guerrillas were informed of his movements.  As the party passed over the bridge at Newbegun Creek, the guerrillas opened fire.  Cox and his four year old daughter, Martha were killed instantly.  His wife, Mary Ann, was mortally wounded in the shoulder by a bullet and died shortly after.

When Sanders received the news of Cox's death, he was enraged.  Federal soldiers and local unionsists began to cry out for revenge.  They called out for all the guerrillas that were being held prisoner to be killed immediately.  Surely his brothers recent death had something to do with his reaction.   For whatever reason, Sanders refused to have all the Confederates rounded up and shot.  He did order that Addison White be brought out of the prison.  The angry mob took Addison to the Waterfront where they tied him up.  Captain Enos Sanders then shot and killed Addison White as the crowd looked on.  Sanders wouldn't allow Addison's family to retrieve his body until the next day.  Although Addison had no involvement whatsoever in the death of Lieutenant Cox and his family, he was killed by Sanders on the Elizabeth City Waterfront on February 9, 1863.  Captain Sanders presumably murdered Addison White for the selfish reason of avenging his brothers Nathan's death, an event that Addison had not been formally charged with involvement. 

Historical Marker in Elizabeth City marking where Addison White was killed

Addison White was only 31 years old at the time of his death.  He left behind a 23 year old wife, Alethia,  that he had married in 1859. Addison's burial location is not known at the time of this entry.

Here's my relation to Addison:

Addison White (1832 - 1863)
is your 3rd cousin 5x removed
Jonathan White Jr. (1803 - 1860)
father of Addison White
Jonathan White Sr. (1766 - 1823)
father of Jonathan White Jr.
Thomas White Jr. (1730 - 1809)
father of Jonathan White Sr.
Thomas White (1696 - 1761)
father of Thomas White Jr.
Benjamin White (1744 - 1808)
son of Thomas White
John White (1773 - 1848)
son of Benjamin White
Margaret White (1807 - 1840)
daughter of John White
Martha M White (1828 - 1898)
daughter of Margaret White
Joseph Thomas White (1860 - 1910)
son of Martha M White
Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White (1892 - 1985)
daughter of Joseph Thomas White
Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes (1918 - 2013)
daughter of Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White
Selby Edward "Stokey" Stokes Jr. (1946 - )
son of Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Selby

The murder of Addison White was one of the last events in the Federal military career of Captain Enos Sanders.   On February 26, 1863 Sanders requested a leave of absence that would allow him to travel to Norfolk, Virginia and prepare his brothers body for transport.

Federal General Innis Newton Palmer

Meanwhile a new Yankee sheriff was in town.  Federal General Innis Newton Palmer had recently taken charge of the newly formed Albemarle District, which included Edenton, Elizabeth City and Plymouth.  Palmer was a West Point graduate and veteran of the Mexican war.  He attempted to restore some sort of order to the Old Albemarle Region.

Palmer brought in Major J.W. Wallis at the end of February with a Company the 8th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and one from the 3rd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment as reinforcements.  Wallis now assumed command of the Elizabeth City recruiting post, however Captain Sanders continued to recruit in the area until his resignation in May.  

When Palmer visited Elizabeth City for the first time in March of 1863, he found the citizens to be afraid and in a panic.  Some citizens of Elizabeth City began to tell Palmer of the depredations they had faced at the hands of Union Soldiers.  Some went on to complain that they were missing several pieces of silver.  While in Elizabeth City, Palmer also began to receive several complaints about the murder of Addison White. In May of 1863, Palmer ordered Wallis to "disarm any blacks and restrict any resupply missions or raids outside Elizabeth City unless they were under close supervision by commissioned officer."

Palmer continued to receive complaints about the depredations Sanders committed while in charge of the Elizabeth City recruiting office.  Most of the complaints were regarding Sanders public murder of Addison White.  General Palmer initiated an investigation of Sanders role in the death of Addison White and the acts he committed while in Elizabeth City.  

On May 23, 1863, Captain Sanders penned a letter to Lieutenant Colonel McChesney where he apologized for "any acts or neglect that I have been guilty of that would tend to injure discipline."   Three days later, while at the Federal Military base in Little Washington, North Carolina, Captain Enos Sanders tendered his resignation, effective immediately, stating: "Private business at home requires his immediate attention and have failed to procure a leave of absence therefore this unconditional and immediate." On June 5, 1863, Sanders was honorably discharged from his service in the Federal Army.   He returned to his home of Chicago, Illinois.

As Palmer's investigation continued, more and more depredations against the people of the Old Albemarle Region began to come to light.  Satisfied that he had enough evidence to charge Sanders, on November 12, 1863, General Palmer sent a message to the Provost General in Springfield, Illinois stating “You will make every effort to discover and arrest one E.C. Sanders, late Captain in the 1st NCUV.”  On November 24, 1863, a description of Sanders was sent to Federal Lieutenant Colonel James Oakes in Springfield, Illinois.  Nearly one month later, on December 23, 1863, Enos C. Sanders was arrested in Illinois.  On December 27th, Sanders was sent to Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois.   Sanders was then sent by train to New Bern, North Carolina where he arrived on January 6, 1864.  Sanders remained confined at New Bern until September of 1864.  Unfortunately the evidence against Sanders disappeared.  It is my belief that a former crony of his in the Federal Army "made" the evidence disappear.  In any event, on September 3, 1864 General Palmer released Sanders by making the following statement, "Documentary evidence in the case of Captain Sanders has been lost, he is hereby released from arrest and permitted to leave the District of NC when he sees fit."   Fearing repercussion from the guerrillas, Sanders wasted no time getting out of town. 

It would later come to light that Sanders wasn't even a citizen of the United States.   He was actually Canadian.  Sanders lied about his place of birth when he enlisted in the Federal Army.  He claimed that he was from Chicago, Illinois.  In reality, Sanders and his wife, Mary were both from Nova Scotia, Canada and had been married there just before the war.   If Sanders couldn't prove that he was a legal resident of the United States, he wouldn't be eligible for a Pension.  Sanders and his wife concocted a story about how they were married in Chicago in 1857 when  he applied for his Veterans Pension in 1866.  Conveniently for him, the minister they claimed had married them had passed away by the time of his application.   Although Sanders had fled rather quickly from North Carolina following his discharge, the good ol' North State wouldn't release her grip on him quite as easily.   Enos Sanders died on July 20, 1867 from an illness he had contracted several years before while reigning terror in North Carolina.  It is believed Sanders was around the age of 40 when he died.  This seems fair due to the innocent lives he cut short while in North Carolina.  His wife, Mary would continue their lie about being born in Illinois when applying for a widow's pension in 1867. 

The murder of Addison White both shocked and frightened the citizens of the Old Albemarle Region. Unfortunately, things would only get worse.  In December of 1863, General John Gray Foster was sent to Tennessee, where he was placed in command of the Department of Ohio.  Foster commanded this unit for a short time before he was injured in a fall from his horse.  Once Foster recovered from his injury, he took command of the Department of the South and was instrumental in the surrender of Savannah, Georgia.

Federal Major General Benjamin F. Butler

In November of 1863, Major General Benjamin "Beast" Butler was given command of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina.  Butler had been instrumental in the capture of New Orleans in May of 1862.  Butler was already unpopular in the South due to his General Order No. 28 of May 15, 1862 which stated "if any woman should insult or show contempt for any officer or soldier of the United States, she shall be regarded and shall be held liable to be treated as a "woman of the town plying her avocation", i.e., a prostitute."  This was in response to women throwing buckets of their own urine on the occupying Federals soldiers as they marched in the streets of New Orleans.  Butler's order gave Federal soldiers the authority to treat unladylike women as men.   For instance, if a woman punched a Federal soldier, the soldier now had the authority to punch her back.  This order was unpopular in both the North and South as well as parts of Europe.  It led to the use of the nickname "beast" when referring to Butler.

Butler also picked up another nickname, "Spoons Butler" during the Civil War.  This nickname was a direct result of Butler pilfering the silverware of the Southern homes in which he occupied during the war.  Butler used his time in New Orleans to amass a personal fortune from it's citizens.   Butler was known to confiscate cotton and then rig the bidding of the cotton auctions in his own favor.   At the time of his death, it was reported that Butler's estate was worth nearly $7 million dollars, most of which came from his time in New Orleans.

Butlers actions caused Confederate President Jefferson Davis to issue General Order No. 111 which identified Butler as "a felon deserving capital punishment, who if captured should be reserved for execution."  His time in New Orleans grew unpopular favor in the North and prompted President Lincoln to authorize his recall in December of 1862.  "Beast" Butler was both directly and indirectly involved in depredations against loyal Confederates in New Orleans.  The acts of depredations against the Southern citizen would continue with his new assignment as head of the Department of Virginia and North Carolina.

Political Cartoon from 1863 depicting Benjamin Butler after he "cleaned up" New Orleans

One of the Officers of Benjamin Butler's staff was newly promoted Brigadier General Edward Augustus Wild.  Wild was a Harvard educated medical doctor who had served in the Ottoman Army in the Crimean War.  He was also a staunch abolitionist.  At the outbreak of the Civil War, Wild abandoned his successful physicians practice and joined a Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment.  The war had been unkind to Wild.  He had lost of the use of his right hand at the Battle of Fair Oaks in June of 1862.  His left arm was amputated following an injury at the Battle of South Mountain in September of 1862.   Despite his injuries, Wild returned to the Federal Army.

Federal Brigadier General Edward Augustus Wild

Following his promotion to the rank of Brigadier General in April of 1863, Wild sought out to recruit one of the first all African American Regiments.  Many men in Wild's Regiment were freed slaves from Northeastern North Carolina. The Federal Army's official correspondence would refer to his unit as "Wild's African Brigade."

In December of 1863, Brigadier General Edward Augustus Wild led his force of nearly 1,800 African American soldiers in an expedition of the Old Albemarle Region of North Carolina.  Butler and Wild targeted the Northeastern part of North Carolina due to the guerrilla resistance in the area.  They also targeted the Old Albemarle Region due to it's rich agricultural resources.  Union supply officers were having trouble resupplying the Federal forces in the area.  Wild began to target the homes of loyal Confederates in the area.  In his official report, Wild recounted "we were obliged to live off the country for a few days; which we did judiciously discriminating in favor of the worst rebels."

Dr. William Gaskins Pool

Wild and his African Brigade arrived in Elizabeth City, North Carolina on December 10, 1863.  He established his headquarters at the home of local unionist, William Gaskins Pool, who just so happens to be my 5th cousin 5x removed.  Pool was a physician in Elizabeth City, having established a practice there in 1853.   To complicate the matter, William Gaskins Pool's sister, Susan S. Pool was married to James W. Hinton, the Colonel of the North Carolina 66th Infantry Regiment, and also my 5th cousin 5x removed.  William Gaskins Pool working with the Union and his sister's husband a Colonel in the Confederate army surely had to put a tremendous strain on their family.   While in Elizabeth City, General Wild decided to see who remained loyal to the Union.  With the assistance of  William Gaskins Pool, he compiled a list containing nearly every local unionist who remained in Pasquotank County.  When the list was completed, it contained 53 names.  Wild gave his men the authority to remove slaves from the local plantations. His actions disrupted the racial pecking order of the day.  Wild's men were given the authority to confiscate the property of the people who's homes they raided.  As Wild's men continued to operate in the Old Albemarle Region, they began to encounter more and more resistance from the local Confederate guerrillas

On one of their raids, a band of Pasquotank Confederate guerrillas captured one of Wild's men, Private Samuel Jordan, U.S.C.T.  Wild responded with kidnapping the wives of two local guerrillas, Phoebe Munden and Elizabeth Weeks. Phoebe Munden was the wife of William J. Munden, a successful Pasquotank farmer who had joined the local Confederate guerrilla Company.  William J. Munden was the Great Uncle of my Great Aunt, Elizabeth Nowell's husband, Reginald Morgan Munden.    Elizabeth Weeks was the wife of another local Confederate guerrilla.  Wild threaten to treat these women with the same treatment that Private Samuel Jordan received, even if it meant hanging them.  Munden and Weeks were taken to Union occupied Norfolk where they spent three days confined behind bars with their hands and feet bound. 

Following the capture of Private Samuel Jordan, Wild sent out a raiding party to Hertford.  The main objective was to disrupt a local guerrilla camp in Perquimans County.  When the group arrived to the banks of the Perquimans River, they found the bridges to have been burned and the water unfordable.   The Federal soldiers returned with only one suspected guerrilla, my 2nd cousin 5x removed Daniel Bright.

Previously I discussed the North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment's decimation after the fall of Fort Hatteras  on August 29, 1861.  Many of the Confederates who were captured were sent to Northern prison camps before they were paroled.   These paroled Confederates were allowed to return home, but vowed not to take up arms against the United States until they were formally exchanged.

Two of these "paroled Confederates" were brothers, Daniel and Dozier Bright, my 2nd cousins 5x removed.  Dozier Bright was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina on November 10, 1828.   On April 23, 1861, Dozier enlisted as a Private in Company A, North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment.  He was 32 years old at the time of his enlistment.   His younger brother, Daniel Bright, was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina in 1832.  Daniel followed in the footsteps of his older brother and enlisted as a Private in Company A, North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment on August 1, 1861.  Daniel was 29 years old at the time of his enlistment.  He left a young wife and two small children at home.   Prior to the war, the Bright brothers were farmers by trade.  Dozier and the other members of my family that served in the North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment will be the focus of a future entry. 

Daniel Bright had been in the Confederate Army for just 28 days before he was captured at Fort Hatteras on August 29, 1861.  On November 1, 1861, Daniel was sent to Fort Warren, Boston, Massachusetts where he remained confined until December 16, 1861 when he was sent to Fortress Monroe, Virginia.  On December 17, 1861, Daniel was paroled and sent home to Pasquotank County, North Carolina, where he waited to be formally exchanged.

POW Roll for Daniel showing he was "on parole waiting to be exchanged"

Daniel returned to his Regiment which had now become the North Carolina 32nd Infantry Regiment due to consolidation.  On April 1, 1862, Daniel completed the terms of his enlistment and was formally mustered out of Confederate service.

Muster Roll showing Daniel was mustered out on April 1, 1862

Following his mustering out of Confederate service, Daniel returned to his family in Pasquotank County, North Carolina and resumed farming.  By April of 1862, his wife had given birth to another child, a son named Daniel Bright, Jr.  Their household now consisted of 2 adults, 3 infant children and 1 slave.   Daniel's farm was relatively small in comparison to some of his neighbors.  From April of 1862 to December of 1863, little is known about the life of Daniel Bright.  Daniel was a citizen of Elizabeth City during Captain Enos Sanders tenure as "commander" of the Elizabeth City recruiting office.  It is quite possible that Daniel could have witnessed Sanders commit depredations against his neighbors.  It is also possible that members of the Federal Army could have committed depredations against Daniel Bright and his family.

Again, I'm going to divert from my normal presentation of the facts and give my own opinion.  I believe that the continued Federal occupation of Northeastern North Carolina weighed heavily on Daniel's mind.  Although his service in the North Carolina 17th/32nd Infantry Regiment had ended, I believe that Daniel wanted to contribute to the Confederate cause in any way he could.  In studying this topic, I've often asked myself what I would do if there was an enemy force in close proximity to my home and family.  It is without a doubt that I would do whatever I could within my means to a) protect my family and b) to make the enemy invaders wish they had never set foot on North Carolina soil.

In December of 1863 Daniel Bright was picked up by Wild's men for failing to produce an enlistment document proving he was a Confederate regular at home on furlough.  The day Daniel was captured, two homes in Pasquotank County were burned to the ground by Wild's men.   The homes belonged to Daniel Bright and William Twine White 

Axey Nixon Morgan and William Twine White

William Twine White was the commissary officer for the local guerrillas.  He is also my 3rd cousin 5x removed.  William was a distant cousin of Addison White.  William stored supplies on his farm for the local Confederate guerrillas.  William was born in Pasquotank County, North Carolina on November 10, 1824.  At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a Private in Company A, North Carolina 17th Infantry Regiment, however never reported for duty.  He decided to join the local guerrillas instead.  William was operating with the guerrillas when his house was burned. He returned and rebuilt his home and fortune in Pasquotank County.  His income in 1870 was roughly $4,000 more than the income he reported in 1860.  William Twine White died in Pasquotank County, North Carolina on October 29, 1897 at the age of 72.  His burial location is not known at this time.

Here's my relation to William:

William Twine White (1824 - 1897)
is your 3rd cousin 5x removed
Thomas White (1785 - 1839)
father of William Twine White
Nathan White (1757 - 1824)
father of Thomas White
Thomas White Jr. (1730 - 1809)
father of Nathan White
Thomas White (1696 - 1761)
father of Thomas White Jr.
Benjamin White (1744 - 1808)
son of Thomas White
John White (1773 - 1848)
son of Benjamin White
Margaret White (1807 - 1840)
daughter of John White
Martha M White (1828 - 1898)
daughter of Margaret White
Joseph Thomas White (1860 - 1910)
son of Martha M White
Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White (1892 - 1985)
daughter of Joseph Thomas White
Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes (1918 - 2013)
daughter of Sarah Elizabeth (Sallie) White
Selby Edward "Stokey" Stokes Jr. (1946 - )
son of Ruth Adelaide Nowell Stokes
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Selby

Brigadier General Edward Augustus Wild believed that Daniel Bright was both a Confederate deserter and suspected guerrilla.  Here's where things get a bit unclear.   Wild ordered a private hearing for Daniel Bright.  No official records of the hearing exist.  Daniel Bright supposedly claimed to be a member of the 62nd Georgia Cavalry, but was unable to produce any official documents that could confirm his status.  In their official reports, Confederate Authorities stated that Bright was indeed a member of the 62nd Georgia Cavalry who had been sent home on leave to attempt to raise a new Company of Cavalry that had been recently authorized by North Carolina Governor, Zebulon B. Vance.  They claimed Bright was unsuccessful in his recruiting attempt and had returned home to his farm. 

Wild believed that Bright was a deserter from the Confederate Army who had returned home to Pasquotank County and joined the local Confederate guerrilla Company.  Local unionists added to Wild's accusations claiming to have witnessed Bright in collaboration with the local guerrillas.  All evidence was circumstantial at the least and probably was more along the lines of hearsay.  Wild acted as both judge and jury, convicting Daniel Bright and sentencing him to death. 

On December 18, 1863, General Wild and a large force of his African Brigade escorted Daniel Bright, who was described as being "a man of about thirty, a rough, stout fellow...dressed in butternut homespun" to an empty cider barrel in an unfinished post office in Hinton's Crossroads, just outside of Elizabeth City.  A Federal soldier fastened a rope with a hangman's noose to a ceiling joist right above the cider barrel.  The soldier then placed the noose around the neck of Daniel Bright and prepared to carry out the death sentence that had been handed down the day before.  Bright was given just a moment to say a brief prayer before General Wild kicked the cider barrel from underneath him.  He cried out, “O merciful Father ! Look down upon me!”  A Federal soldier's account of the hanging stated "he did not die immediately from the fall since his neck was not broken, but instead suffered death by strangulation, his heart not ceasing to beat for twenty minutes." 

Phoebe Munden and Elizabeth Weeks were in the crowd of onlookers that witnessed the murder of Daniel Bright.   Certainly they wondered if they would receive the same fate.  A note was left on Bright's body stating "this guerrilla hanged by order of Brigadier-General Wild, Daniel Bright of Pasquotank County."  Bright's body was ordered not to be taken down and remained hanging at Hinton's Crossroads for two days.  On December 20, members from the 62nd Georgia Cavalry arrived on the scene to find Bright's body still hanging from the makeshift gallows.   One of the members of the 62nd Georgia Cavalry, Richard Barfield, recorded that the men gave Bright a full Military funeral.  Why would complete strangers give someone a full military funeral if they had not been associated with one another?   Daniel Bright was only 31 years old when he was murdered by Federal Brigadier General Edward Augustus Wild.  He left behind a wife and 3 small children to mourn his death.  His burial location is not known at this time.

Here's my relation to Daniel:

Daniel Bright (1832 - 1863)
is your 2nd cousin 5x removed
Levi Bright ( - 1838)
father of Daniel Bright
Ephraim Bright Sr. (1755 - 1836)
father of Levi Bright
Ephraim Bright ( - 1762)
father of Ephraim Bright Sr.
Jesse Bright (1760 - 1824)
son of Ephraim Bright
Ephraim Bright (1782 - 1876)
son of Jesse Bright
Joseph Bright (1817 - 1895)
son of Ephraim Bright
Josephine Bright (1855 - 1880)
daughter of Joseph Bright
Edward Stokes (1875 - 1961)
son of Josephine Bright
Selby Edward Stokes (1910 - 1997)
son of Edward Stokes
Selby Edward "Stokey" Stokes Jr. (1946 - )
son of Selby Edward Stokes
Chip Stokes
You are the son of Selby 

Major General George E. Pickett

When Confederate authorities caught wind of Bright's execution, they were enraged.  Major General George E. Pickett, who was now in command of the Department of Southern Virginia and North Carolina, ordered the immediate hanging of Private Samuel Jordan, U.S.C.T.  On January 13, 1864, residents of South Mills in Camden County discovered a body hanging at Turn Pike Gate with the following message attached,  “Here hangs Private Samuel Jones [sic]…by order of Major-General Pickett in retaliation for Private Daniel Bright of Company L, Sixty-second Georgia Regiment,  hung December 18, 1863, by order of Brigadier General Wild.” 

When Benjamin Butler received news of the hanging of Private Jordan, he immediately ordered Wild to release Phoebe Munden and Elizabeth Weeks.  Confederate authorities and newspapers labeled Wild as a "terror".  The Federal War Department saw things differently.   They lauded Wild as a hero and promoted him to the overall command of the Department of Norfolk on January 18, 1864.  He went on to participate in the Siege of Petersburg and Richmond.  Following the war, Wild became a mining engineer.  He relocated to Columbia, South America where he died while surveying the route of a new railroad in 1891. 

General Wild's troops as they marched to Norfolk

On March 5, 1864, Northern Newspaper, the New York World wrote: “If [Bright] was a guerrilla, Wild had no right, under the laws of war, to hang him, and under any other government, [Wild] would have been promptly court-martialed and either cashiered or shot. He was not, however, even rebuked, so far as we have heard, and he cost a poor Union soldier his life….”

Benjamin Butler's official correspondence to Confederate Colonel James W. Hinton showed how removed from the situation he was.  In defense of Wild, Butler stated "General Wild found Daniel Bright a deserter from the 62nd Georgia Regiment, carrying on robbery and pillage in the peaceable Counties of Camden and Pasquotank.  He was further informed, and believed, that being such a deserter he and his Company had refused to obey any order given by you, or the Governor of North Carolina, because you had frequently ordered the squad, of which he pretended to be one, across the Chowan River, and they had refused to obey."  

The atrocities done by members of the Federal army to Southern citizens during the Civil War were numerous.  Unfortunately, they would not end for quite some time.  From Sherman's destruction of personal property in his Georgia and South Carolina Campaigns to the depredations against the people of Northeastern North Carolina, there is tangible evidence of this "total war" attitude against the people of the South.  On the other hand, no depredations were ever done to Northern citizens during Robert E. Lee's Maryland or Pennsylvania Campaigns.  Lee's official orders from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania from June 27, 1863 specifically mention Confederate soldiers treatment of Northern citizens:

Gen. Orders No. 73., Hdqrs. Army of Northern Virginia,
Chambersburg, Pa.,
June 27, 1863.

The commanding general has observed with marked satisfaction the conduct of the troops on the march, and confidently anticipates results commensurate with the high spirit they have manifested.

No troops could have displayed greater fortitude or better performed the arduous marches of the past ten days.

Their conduct in other respects has, with few exceptions, been in keeping with their character as soldiers, and entitles them to approbation and praise.

There have, however, been instances of forgetfulness, on the part of some, that they have in keeping the yet unsullied reputation of the army, and that the duties exacted of us by civilization and Christianity are not less obligatory in the country of the enemy than in our own.

The commanding general considers that no greater disgrace could befall the army, and through it our whole people, than the perpetration of the barbarous outrages upon the unarmed and defenseless and the wanton destruction of private property, that have marked the course of the enemy in our own country.

Such proceedings not only degrade the perpetrators and all connected with them, but are subversive of the discipline and efficiency of the army, and destructive of the ends of our present movement.

It must be remembered that we make war only upon armed men, and that we cannot take vengeance for the wrongs our people have suffered without lowering ourselves in the eyes of all whose abhorrence has been excited by the atrocities of our enemies, and offending against Him to whom vengeance belongeth, without whose favor and support our efforts must all prove in vain.

The commanding general therefore earnestly exhorts the troops to abstain with most scrupulous care from unnecessary or wanton injury to private property, and he enjoins upon all officers to arrest and bring to summary punishment all who shall in any way offend against the orders on this subject.

R. E. LEE,

The depredations against Southerners that were done by the hands of Northerners would continue well into the 1870's with unfavorable Reconstruction policies. 

Two books have been written recently about the Northeastern part of North Carolina during the Civil War.  I found them both to be incredibly helpful in my research.

Elizabeth City, North Carolina and the Civil War: A History of Battle and Occupation by Alex Christopher Meekins.  Published November 15, 2007.

Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865  by Barton A. Myers.  Published Winter 2010.

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