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Abbott versus Vance U.S. Senate Election

  In 1870 incumbent Joseph Abbott lost the U.S. Senate election to Zebulon Vance.  So Abbott filed a complaint discounting Vance’s eligibility to serve, for the Fourteenth Amendment included a provision that prevented Confederate supporters from holding federal office.  After a year of deliberations, the Senate Elections Committee ruled in Vance’s favor; however, Vance had resigned before the committee issued its verdict.  Matt Ransom was then elected to replace Vance in 1872.

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Salisbury Prison

Operating from July 1861 until February 1865, the Confederate Prison at Salisbury held nearly 10,000 Union soldiers during the Civil War. The prison was the only one of its kind in North Carolina, and overcrowding and poor prison conditions led to the deaths of many Union prisoners of war. Today, the Salisbury National Cemetery honors those who died at the prison garrison.

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Stoneman's Raid

Stoneman’s Raid has been described as the final blow to the Confederacy during the Civil War. From March until April 1865, Major General George Stoneman led a Union army into North Carolina and Virginia with the order to destroy Confederate structures and railways. The raid caused utter destruction in western North Carolina, and the task of rebuilding the many buildings and railroads proved to be a struggle through Reconstruction.

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Gatling Gun

The first successful machine gun, known as the Gatling gun was invented by North Carolina native Richard J. Gatling in 1862. The gun saw limited use in the Civil War because the original model proved ineffective but once Gatling perfected his machine gun, the United States Army purchased 100 guns in 1866. Although the patent was eventually purchased by Colt’s Armory, the more developed guns built by Nordenfeldt and Maxim gun manufacturers outlasted the Gatling machine gun.

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Robbins, Parker D.

Parker David Robbins (1834–1917) Inventor and public servant Parker David Robbins was born near the Chowan River in northeastern North Carolina, on July 5, 1834, and died in Duplin County, North Carolina, on November 1, 1917.

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Eppes, Henry

Henry Eppes (1831-1917). Born on September 16, 1831, in Halifax County, North Carolina, Henry Eppes died there in 1917.

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Fort Hamby Gang (Civil War)

The American Civil War was a tumultuous time.  In the North Carolina mountains, in particular, the war offered opportunities for mountaineers to be unjustifiably violent.  In some high country places, civility ended, outlaws ruled, and cruelty prevailed.  The Fort Hamby Gang of Wilkes County provides an example.

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Shelton Laurel Massacre

Not the only incident in the turbulent wartime mountains, the Shelton Laurel Massacre of Madison County proved, writes historians John Inscoe and Gordon McKinney, that “guerrilla warfare blurred the lines between combatants and noncombatants and obscured the rules of war.”  It also revealed that Confederate sympathizers were as willing as Union sympathizers to be bushwhackers and redefine mountain warfare.

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Reilly, James ( ? -1894)

The last commander of Fort Fisher before its surrender to Union forces, James Reilly’s postwar years reveals the bond that many former Confederate and Union soldiers exhibited during the 1880s and 1890s.  They had declared an ideological truce and recognized each other as Americans and the bravery that each side had shown approximately 30 years prior. 

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Trogdon, Howell Gilliam (1840 - 1894)

Howell Gilliam Trogdon, born in Randolph County in 1840, was the first North Carolinian to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. There is no better illustration of the ever-divided loyalties of Randolph County than one of its native sons, born in the last state to join the Confederacy, who received the highest award for valor in action that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Army of the United States of America.