An account of the sufferings of Friends of North Carolina Yearly meeting, in support of their testimony against war, from 1861 to 1865







1861 TO 1865.

Published by Order of the Representatives of North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends.


Corner of Baltimore and St. Paul Streets.










1861 TO 1865.

Published by Order of the Representatives of North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends.



Corner of Baltimore and St. Paul Streets.





Of North Carolina Yearly Meeting, in support of their

Testimony against War, from 1861 to 1865.

WE believe it right to record the sufferings of Friends in North Carolina during the late Rebellion, not that they so greatly exceeded those of others, but because principles of such high importance were involved in them as totally to separate them in character and results from the general calamities of war. The position of Friends in this State was a peculiar one. Utterly opposed not only to war itself, but, as was well known, to the system of slavery, which was the leading object of the contest, they had a double portion of enmity to bear. While many others reaped as they had sown, or were innocently involved in the fatal choice of their rulers, they suffered for conscience sake, they endured grief, suffering wrongfully; it was emphatically "the trial of their faith," and as such, precious, we believe, in the sight of the Lord, and worthy of remembrance among men. We desire also to commemorate the loving kindness of our God; for He who said "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you" has Himself been with His people as their Refuge, and has proved his faithfulness in strengthening them to bear their testimony for Him, in delivering them from danger, and in overruling all for good.

We think it right to refer more minutely to our position respecting Slavery:—a position reached by patient and


continuous effort about one hundred and fifty years after the origin of our Religious Society. The first action on the subject by North Carolina Yearly Meting was in 1740, and went no further than to advise that negroes be well used. The next record in 1758 refers to making provision for Negroes' Meetings. In 1770 the importation of Negroes from Africa was declared iniquitous, and buying them from traders or dealers was also disapproved. In 1776 the subject of slaveholding itself was at last solemnly considered, and about ten years after was formally condemned by our Discipline.* For more than thirty years those Friends who were not fully convinced of this evil or were so involved in it as to render their extrication difficult, were the objects of faithful and patient care. "One Committee after another was appointed. Deficient members were again and again advised and dealt with in love and tenderness. A very few were disowned. They mostly yielded to their conviction of duty. Truth and justice triumphed. Slave-holding in the Society was abolished."* In 1818 a brief record of the Yearly Meeting shows this final result, "none held as Slaves."

No sooner had Friends assumed their own decisive position and embodied their convictions in their Book of Discipline, titan they began to extend their efforts. In 1787 they laid the subject before the General Assembly of' the State. For many years after, they presented almost annually similar protests against the unjust and oppressive laws that upheld slavery, clearly pointing out its inseparable evils. After a first, or sometimes second reading, these appeals were laid upon the table. Yet we believe such faithful words, evidently actuated by no party spirit, and heard


*The same step was taken by Virginia Yearly Meeting in 1785. For similar movements in other Yearly Meetings, See "A Brief Statement of the Rise and Progress of the Testimony of the Religious Society of Friends against Slavery, and the Slave Trade. Published by direction of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, 1843."

*See "A Narrative of some of the Proceedings of North Carolina Yearly Meeting on the subject of Slavery, within its limits, published by order of the Meeting for Sufferings of North Carolina Yearly Meeting," 1848


year after year by all our legislators down to the year 1834, could not have been wholly lost.* At least it was perfectly understood that one religious Society* in their midst could not for conscience sake participate in what law and custom and even religious opinion so fully sanctioned.

We believe that Friends endeavored to maintain their testimony faithfully as the darkness around grew thicker; but it was at the cost of' much that the world counts most


*As a specimen of these faithful appeals, and also as indicating clearly the increasing severity of the Slave laws, we give the following extract from a memorial presented in 1834. "Your memorialists are emboldened under a weighty sense of religious duty, to petition the present General Assembly to repeal all those laws, enacted by preceding legislatures of this State against the literary instruction of Slaves, whereby it is made a finable offence for any to be found teaching their slaves to read. And they also respectfully request your consideration of the repeal of the laws recently enacted, prohibiting all colored persons in this State—bond and free—under a penalty, of corporal punishment, from preaching and exhorting publicly in their respective religious congregations. We consider these laws unrighteous—contrary to the spirit of Christianity—offensive to God. And your memorialists believe, if not repealed, they will in-crease the difficulties and danger they are intended to prevent.

"Your petitioners, so far from using any measures either publicly or privately, that would tend to increase the discontent of the slaves with their situation, feel it their indispensable duty on all suitable occasions, to encourage slaves to obedience and faithfulness to their masters, as the probable means of mitigating their sufferings and ameliorating their present condition; and we do exhort masters to be kind to their slaves, as we have no doubt Christian usage would induce a reciprocity of kindlier feeling between them, and ultimately tend to increase the happiness of both. May we not believe the more we live in the spirit and practice of the precepts of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the more kind and gentle will be our treatment of every grade of our fellow creatures—for was not the harmonizing and evangelizing of' the whole human family one of the grand purposes for which this religion was introduced into the world?

"And lastly, your petitioners would respectfully submit to your consideration not only the repeal of the laws before mentioned, but the enactment of other laws and regulations for the general instruction of' slaves in the doctrines of the Christian Religion, and in at least so much of literary education as would enable them to read the Holy Scriptures, which would undoubtedly tend to the improvement of their general character, and greatly lessen, if not wholly remove, the apprehension of danger from them."

In 1818 and 1823 Memorials were presented to the Congress of the United States,

*The Methodists and Moravians both gradually gave up their testimony. The disruption of the former from the Northern Conference occurred in 1844.


desirable. Free labor was with great difficulty obtained, and to labor with their own hands was, through the blighting influence of slavery, held as degrading. Thus they were compelled by the force of' surrounding circumstances to con-tent themselves not only with smaller gains, but to take also a lower social position.

Under these depressing circumstances, in a land impoverished by slave culture, cut off in various ways from the privilege of a good education for their children, many of our most enterprising members turned to the free and fertile West. It is impossible to determine the amount of this emigration,* but the present results are very evident. There have sprung up, largely from this source, the Yearly Meetings of Ohio, Indiana, Western and Iowa, numbering at present over forty thousand members, extending through the Western States. We gratefully record our sense of' the blessings which thus rewarded the faithfulness of one generation in the prosperity of the next; and overruled their straitened position in their own land for the spreading abroad of their tents, we trust to the honor of Him who "setteth the poor on high from affliction, and maketh him families like a flock."

We now proceed to consider the position of Friends in North Carolina during the ]ate War. A Convention met in the Fifth month of 1861, and passed an ordinance of Secession for the State. In the Twelfth month of the same year an attempt was made to pass an "Ordinance concerning Test Oaths and Sedition," by which every free male per-son in the State above sixteen years of age was required to appear publicly and renounce all allegiance to the Govern-


*The following figures furnish the only Statistics in regard to our numbers, which we can give with any degree of accuracy.

Number of members in 1851 over five years of age about 3,000

"" in 1861 """"2,000

"" in 1867 """"2,000

The decrease from 1851 to 1861 was entirely owing to emigration and as this continued largely throughout the war and at its close, the actual increase since 1861 is much larger than shown by these figures.


ment of the United States, and also promise to "support, maintain and defend the independent Government of the Confederate States." The alternative was banishment in thirty days. An earnest protest was entered against this act which would fall with much severity upon Friends. Their peaceful, industrious and moral character was fully recognized and their peculiar stand-point in regard to war and slavery urged on their behalf. It was claimed that the exception and special provision made in their favor by an Act of Assembly in 1777 ought still to protect them, and the final appeal was made in these words—"Upon the expulsion from among us of' such a people the civilized world would cry shame."* The proposed act fell to the ground, but not so the hostility that was capable of suggesting it.

In the excitement which now prevailed throughout the State in the effort to promote volunteering, Friends were, in various ways, exposed to much anxiety. Many left the State, though every means was now used to prevent this, and several parties of' emigrants were arrested and brought back. A few friends were occasionally included in the Draft, but obtained their release upon various grounds without much difficulty. It was not until the summer of 1862 that the great and general trial came. By the passage of a Conscription Act in the Confederate Congress, in the Seventh Month of this year, every man between eighteen and thirty-five years of age was required to enter the army. This Act, as early as 1863, was made to include all between the ages of eighteen and forty-five; and finally, in 1864, all between seventeen and fifty years of age. Meantime, in the Fourth Month of 1862, Friends had petitioned both the State Assembly and the Confederate Congress for relief. The State Government first passed an Act of Exemption, releasing them from military duty upon the payment of one hundred dollars each, and on the 11th of 10th month a similar bill passed


*See "Speech of Hon. William A. Graham, of Orange, in Convention of North Carolina, Dec. 7th, 1861, on the Ordinance concerning Test Oaths and Sedition. Raleigh, 1862."


the Congress at Richmond, which exempted all who were members at that date upon the payment of five hundred dollars.

Unlike our Friends in the Northern States, it was not upon a few that the trial came; but upon the many. And in another more important respect our positions differed widely. In our own case, the existing Government and the officers who executed its will, were far from having sympathy with us. We were still loyal at heart to the Government of the United States, and though submitting passively to a temporary usurpation, this was little merit in a community that called for the utmost zeal in the new cause. We testified against slavery, and in the fresh effort to establish it more firmly this was no small offence. Above all, we could not fight, and with the spirit of war so rampant in our midst, that the preaching of the Gospel of Peace gave way in almost every place of worship to a call to arms, the hatred and malice thus aroused fell with much violence upon us.

In proceeding to give some details of the consequent suffering, it may be well, for the sake of clearness, to group them under three heads, viz:

1. Cases of suffering previous to passage of the Exemption Act, or under irregular proceedings.

2 Cases among the Newly Convinced Members, on whom the persecution fell most heavily.

3 Cases of those who could not conscientiously pay the Exemption Tax.

The first division, while embracing the largest number of instances, does not furnish the cases of greatest suffering. Rude arrests, short but uncertain imprisonments and violent threatenings were the common lot of many who were drafted or conscripted, but refused to fight. In not a few instances they were also hung up by the thumbs for several hours. Some of these escaped to the West, some obtained release on the ground of inability; others felt at liberty to engage


in the State Salt Works, and some other kinds of employment which protected those thus occupied—though not a few of' the latter, finding their work too closely connected with war, relinquished it. We are willing also to acknowledge, that at this early stage of the war, the trial that fell so suddenly upon us found some of us unprepared. There was naturally for a time some unsettlement and much uncertainty; but very soon we believe there was experienced a deeper rooting for the storm, and those whose faith was really overthrown were very few indeed. After exemption had been obtained for our Society, there were still occasional instances of cruelty. In the constant search for Conscripts, thousands of' whom were hidden in the woods, our Friends were often exposed to suspicion and danger. Sometimes from neglecting to carry their papers with them they were sadly maltreated. Space which will be needed for more important cases will allow us to give only one such occurrence in detail.

In the spring of 1865, about forty men, professing to be in search of' Conscripts, came to a mill belonging to J. D. of Cane Creek, Chatham Co. The miller was first hung up by a rope three times to force him to betray his sons, who were hidden. Upon hearing the screams of the miller's wife and children, J. D. went out to the crowd. The same information was demanded of him, but he assured them of' his entire ignorance as to their retreat. He was at once seized and carried into the barn. A rope was tied around his neck, and thrown over a beam, while he was mounted upon a box. Then beginning to tighten the rope, they said, "You are a Quaker, and your people, by refusing to fight and keeping so many out of' the army, have caused the defeat of the South," adding, that if he had any prayers to offer, he must be quick, as he had only five minutes to live. J. D. only replied, that he was innocent, and could adopt the language "Father forgive them, they know not what they do." They then said they would not hang him just then; but proceeded to rob him; then ordered him under a horse-trough, threatening to shoot him if he looked up. While lying there he could hear them hanging up the miller three



different times, till the sound of strangling began. After finally extorting a promise from him to find his sons, they left, charging J. D. to lie still till they came back with some others to hang. They did not return, however, but went on to one of his Methodist neighbors whom they hung until unconscious, and then left him in that state; and the next night they found one of the missing conscripts, whom they hung until dead. Such were the persecutions at the hands of violent men, of which many instances could be given.

We now proceed to the Second Division—the newly convinced members of our Society.

J. G. of —— Co. was conscripted in the autumn of 1862. About two months before this, his fear of the coining evil was so great, that he left his home and family, and escaped to Tennessee. But finding that the step did not result in peace of mind, he returned, and quietly awaited the result. In about two weeks he was arrested and carried to Camp Holmes. In a few days the Conscripts were all summoned and offered bounty money if they would now volunteer. J. G. and two others refused the offer. An attempt was next made to entrap them by giving them a paper to sign, without which they were assured they could have neither money nor clothing. They were adroitly told of the great need they might soon have of the latter, or if not needing it themselves, of the good they might do in giving it to the needy. These offers were steadily refused, and the wily arguments met by the open assertion, that "all war was opposed to the whole spirit and teachings of the Gospel and the mission of the Christian. His weapons, they said, were not to be carnal, but spiritual." Bundles of clothing were, however, soon tossed to them, with many offensive epithets, and they were now told that they must either obey orders or be shot; and that if they did not fire when in battle, the men behind were ordered to shoot them. J. G. replied, "You have me here, and may inflict on me any punishment you will; but I cannot do more than submit to


what you inflict. My hands are clean of the blood of men, and I intend to keep them so, cost what it may.

An attempt was then made to force the Bounty Money upon them, but in vain. One of the officers now came for-ward and said, "Boys, I want to give you some good advice. Take your clothing and money and go along. Obey your officers and do right, or else you will be put under sharp officers of Col. S. who will have you shot into strings if you don't obey. Just put away your Quaker notions now and do right. What regiment will you be sent to?" Refusing to commit himself by any choice, he was ordered to Richmond, Va.; but while on his way, he, with several others, was released through the efforts of Friends, and the payment of the $500 required. He was at this time in connection with the Methodists but was soon after united to Friends.

It was in the midst of such commotions that many were led to very serious thoughts upon the inconsistency of war and fighting with the loving and quiet spirit of a disciple of Jesus. Decided first upon this point and then led on to the consideration of others, many sought admission to our Society. The whole number of these, including those members of their families who were often received with them, was about six hundred. There were many other grounds upon which the more quiet citizens of our State were opposed to the War, but such motives could rarely have been the inducement for them to unite with us. Nor did such a step allow of much hope of escape from suffering. Only those who were actually members at the time the Exemption Act was passed were allowed the benefit of it. It is true that through the leniency of some officers in the Confederate War Department this act was sometimes so construed as to cover other cases. But for this, special application had to be made, and such influences brought to bear, as few could hope to secure; while the release was usually obtained after a lengthened period of trial had tested the reality of their convictions. Thus it fell out that the storm burst with the greatest violence upon those who were in many ways the least prepared to meet it. By their old associates such views were regarded as lacking the excuse of early


training, and in the family circle the suffering had often to be more or less shared by those who did not partake of the conviction that occasioned it. But He whose strength is given ac-cording to our need, prepared many of these to suffer cheer-fully for His name's sake, and to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. In the great multitudes that swelled the two vast armies arrayed against each other, there could not have been found instances of more lofty hero-ism, of calmer courage, and fearless unshrinking endurance of death, and agonies beyond those of death, than were exhibited by that little band, who made up another army, and followed as their only Captain the Prince of Peace. No hope of higher honors lured them on. No exulting nation gave them its gratitude. Reviled and persecuted, their Heavenly Leader sustained them with one sure promise, "Great is your reward in heaven."

S. F. who had become a member with us after the passage of the Exemption Act, and could not avail himself of it, was arrested in the Twelfth Month, 1864, and taken to Salisbury. On refusing to take a gun, he was subjected for two hours to the brutal punishment known as bucking; in which the person is placed in a stooping position, the wrists firmly tied and brought in front of the knees, with a pole thrust between the elbows and the knees, thus keeping the body in a painful and totally helpless position. After this he was made to carry a pole for two or three hours, and then tied during the night. The next morning he was tied up by the hands for two hours. The same afternoon a gun was tied to his right arm and a piece of timber to his neck. Unable longer to endure the weight of it, he sat down in order to support the end of it upon the ground, when he was pierced by a bayonet. They then bucked him down again, and gagged him with a bayonet for the remainder of the day. Enraged at the meekness with which these cruelties and indignities were borne, the Captain began to swear at him, telling him it was useless to contend further, he must now take a gun or die. As the Captain proceeded to


tie the gun upon his arm, S. F. answered quietly: "If it is thy duty to inflict this punishment upon me, do it cheerfully—don't get angry about it." The Captain then left him, saying to his men: "If any of you can make him fight, do it—I cannot." Two young men now appeared with their guns, telling him they were going to take him off and shoot him. "It is the Sabbath," he replied, "and as good a day to die as any." They however took him to the Colonel of the Regiment, who, more inclined to mercy, advised him to consult a lawyer and procure exemption, if possible, but assured him that if not so released he must take his gun or die. Two days after his gun was tied to his arm with great severity, and a strap passed around his neck, by which he was dragged around nearly the entire day. The next day the bucking was resorted to. A Friend, who visited the camp at this time, remonstrating against such cruelty it was given up; though he was still retained as a prisoner till the surrender of Salisbury not long after restored him to his family.

J. B. of Chatham County, N. C. was, at the commencement of the war a Baptist and Colonel of the Militia. He threw himself' eagerly into the Southern cause and began to raise volunteer companies. The refusal of some Friends to join in a parade, led him to examine the ground which they held. The result was, that he first hesitated to order the Captains of the different companies to enroll the Friends, and soon after, in the Fall of 1861, he resigned his own commission, under a full persuasion that "it was not right to slay his fellow-men." Starting on a dark night not long after to attend a political meeting, to be held near him, he lost his way, and wandering, in no small distress of mind, he reached at last the public road, and the steps of a building which proved to be the Friends' Meeting-House. While seated there alone, in solemn meditation, he became satisfied that it was his duty to unite himself with the people who worshipped there. Delaying a little to perform the vow which he had at that time made, on the 6th of' Third Month, 1862, he was drafted. He evaded the search made for him


by escaping into another County. Venturing to return in the Eighth Month he was for some time unmolested. He was received into membership with Friends in the First Month, 1863. He soon after paid the Exemption Tax. But the enmity which followed his decided course, and hitherto singularly held in check, now had its way. Early in the next year his exemption was revoked by a sub-officer, and he was sent under guard to Camp Holmes, near Raleigh, and then to Wilmington, where for four weeks he suffered much abuse. But his spirit was so far changed that he was able to endure it meekly, and even literally when smitten on the one cheek turned the other also. A petition for his release from his friends proving ineffectual, he resolved to escape. After a perilous journey on foot of 200 miles, he reached his home only to be recaptured the next morning, and was soon again at Wilmington under still more cruel treatment. Believing that he had erred in his hasty escape, he now became resigned to whatever they might be able to inflict. An alarming illness, which brought him to the brink of the grave, led to his discharge. Upon his recovery he was again ordered to Camp, and put in jail for a week. Passed on again as a prisoner from Camp to Camp, he had, in each place, to bear his testimony amid sneers and taunts and cruel threats. At times he met with kinder treatment, and was allowed such work as he could conscientiously perform. He was finally released by the surrender of Johnston's army, after having, for three years, endured peril and hardness, and, for the last year, almost continuous persecution.

E. P. H. who has since become a member of our Society, became strongly convinced of the principles of peace. He was ordered to Salisbury to guard Government stores; but refusing to participate in any way in the work of war, a gun was fastened to his back, and he was tied to a guard post. In writing of this to a friend, he spoke of it as "the first punishment he had had the blessed privilege of enduring for Christ's sake." Often the curious crowds gathered around him to witness what in their eyes, as naturally in his own,


stamped him as a coward and despicable. But instead of yielding to such an imputation, he fearlessly explained the conviction that led to his singular position; thus sometimes opening the eyes of others, and compelling the respect of nearly all to a courage far beyond their own. Strikingly were the words of the Apostle Peter verified in his experience—" If ye be reproached for the name of' Christ, happy are ye; " and—"If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this


The surrender restored him to his family, and the life thus ennobled by patient endurance, has since been earnestly devoted to the relief of the suffering around him, and the highest welfare of his fellow men.

G. M. was arrested and removed from one guard house to another, till reaching Richmond, he was sent on to join the army of General Lee, then in the Valley of Virginia. Refusing to fight, he was ordered to the rear to cook. He explained, that while willing to do his own cooking, he could take no part in any of' a soldier's duties. For this refusal he was bucked down for some hours. The next day the army was obliged to retreat, and on the way he was offered a gun. He replied, that he had no use for it, as he could not fight. The General in command of' his division then threatened him with immediate hanging, and he was marched towards some trees selected for the purpose. But arriving there he was allowed to go on with the retreating army. Refusing to accept any occupation that was military, even to carrying the baggage of' the Officers, after varied abuses, (among which were much knocking and kicking,) he was put in close custody at Petersburg, where his hardships were great; water to wash with being refused him for three weeks. But the surrender of' Lee's army at Appomattox Court House followed, and he was discharged, after bearing his testimony for conscience sake, through seven months

of great trial and suffering.


Other members of this same family were called upon to lay down even their lives for a testimony.

J. M., who had recently become a member, and had

obtained employment in some iron works, in order, if possible, to keep from the army, was arrested and hurried away

without being permitted to see his wife and family—first to Raleigh and then in a few days to the Army in the Valley of Virginia. He was forced into the battle at Winchester, and in the retreat, finding the balls flying thick about him, he lay down upon the ground for safety. Being taken prisoner, he was carried to Point Lookout, where, in a few days, he died. It was believed by his family that his death was hastened by the mental suffering which he endured, both in his separation from them and in witnessing such scenes of carnage, in which he could take no part, and from which the natural tenderness of' his soul recoiled.

A. M. another brother of this family had received a Christian training, and being fully convinced both from the Scriptures and his own experience that he could not resist evil, and that he was bound so far as possible to live peace-ably with all men, he sought admission to the Society of Friends. He had obtained a discharge from the army which was disregarded. The Sergeant who was ordered to arrest him was an old schoolmate, who, while endeavoring to pro-cure his release, also protected him from abuse. From the first he had a strong impression that his days were now numbered; and while still in health he wrote to his father giving his last messages to his brothers and sisters, and also his wishes respecting his own burial. He was taken to Richmond, refused to fight, and was put under guard. The rations

given him consisted only of meal made from cane seed.

This unwholesome diet led quickly to severe illness, and in

one of the Hospitals at Richmond, he laid down his life for

-the Gospel of Peace, a good soldier of Jesus Christ and

early permitted a happier discharge and a more glorious reward than any of earthly giving.


S. W. L. of Randolph Co. N. C. was another of the number who proved faithful unto death. He had been a member of our Religious Society but a few months, when he was arrested as a conscript and sent to the Camp near Peters-burg, Va. Upon his arrival he was ordered to take up arms. This he refused to do, and as a punishment, was kept from sleep for thirty-six hours. As this did not move him, for about a week after he was daily bucked down for some length of time and then suspended by the thumbs for an hour and a half. Being still firm in his refusal to fight he was court-martialed and ordered to be shot. A little scaffold was pre-pared on which he was placed, and the men were drawn up in line ready to execute the sentence, when he prayed, "Father forgive them; for they know not what they do." Upon hearing this, they lowered their guns, and he was thrust into prison. Not long after he was sent to Winder Hospital, at Richmond, Va. where after a long and suffering illness the end came in his peaceful release for a mansion in heaven. A few lines from an officer in the Regiment to which he has been assigned closed the suspense of an afflicted family, when his widow and his seven children were left with little other legacy than the like precious faith. "It is my painful duty to inform you that S. W. L. died in Winder Hospital, at Richmond, on the 8th of December, 1864. He died as he had lived, a true, humble and devoted Christian,

true to his faith and religion We pitied him and

sympathized with him but he is rewarded for his

fidelity and is at rest."

J. M. J., A. J. and D. J. were three brothers, who joined Friends after the passage of the Exemption Act. After their names were placed upon the list of conscripts in 1863, they still remained quietly at home, not even hiding in the woods. Their protest against bearing arms was unheeded, and they were arrested and sent on to the army at Orange Court House, Va. There they were ordered into ranks but on refusing to obey, J. M. J. was knocked down with a gun, and a long gash cut in his head. On attempting to rise, the


blow was repeated, this time nearly cutting off a portion of

his ear. This was done a third time, and he was then sent

to prison. His brother A. was at the same time undergoing

his trial, being pierced with a bayonet to the depth of nearly

an inch. The third brother though severely tried, suffered

less in person. They were soon after sent to the Rapid Ann

to General Scale's command where new trials awaited them.

The American officers finding all their efforts to fail in subduing them, turned them over to a German officer, who boasted

that he could make soldiers of them. Various punishments

and abusive, threatening language were used in vain. He then

ordered them to be kept in close confinement for three days

and nights, without food or drink, making it a court-martial

offence for any one to relieve them. A Kentucky soldier, in

the darkness of the night nobly risked his safety and passed

in to them a little water to their great relief. The end of

this trial found them still unwavering. They were then all bucked down for three or four hours. This cruel punishment, following so closely upon the others, proved too much for the mind of the youngest, which became for a time deranged. He was allowed medical treatment in a Hospital until his recovery, when he was again sent back to Camp. This severe treatment had now been continued for four or five weeks, when a Friend who was searching for them obtained first the suspension of this cruelty, and soon after, by application to Richmond, their release.

We come now, under the third division, to cases of still greater suffering, and under circumstances which gave the closest possible test of fidelity to Christ as the Prince of Peace. Some Friends accepted the provisions of the Exemption Act; others again could not conscientiously do so. The

Yearly Meeting of 1862, adopted the following Minute upon the subject:

"We have had the subject under serious consideration, and while, in accordance with the advice issued by our last Yearly Meeting; ' we do pay all taxes imposed on us as citi-


zens and property-holders, in common with other citizens, remembering the injunction, tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom ;' yet, we cannot conscientiously pay the specified tax, it being imposed upon us on account of our principles, being the price exacted of us for religious liberty. Yet we do appreciate the good intentions of those members of Congress who had it in their hearts to do something for our relief; and we recommend that those parents, moved by sympathy, or young men themselves, dreading the evils of a military camp, who have availed themselves of this law, be treated in a tender manner."

In the Spring of 1862 two brothers, H. M. H. and J. D. H. were drafted, arrested and taken to Raleigh. Being allowed to return home for ten days they faithfully reappeared. They were soon sent to Weldon, where they were required to drill, and were warned of their liability to be shot if they proved refractory. They were, however, only kept in close custody in the guard-house, and the next month were discharged and sent home. About a year after this, they were included in the Conscription. They were assigned to an artillery company at Kinston, and after various threats were sent to Gen. R , who declared that his orders should be carried out at all hazards. They were now confined in an upper room without food or drink. Various persons were al-lowed to converse with them, and, as day after day passed on, so far from sinking under the suffering, they used their little remaining strength gladly in explaining their testimony, and telling of their inward consolation. They felt that, in this time of fiery trial, this did indeed turn to them for a testimony, and that they knew the promise fulfilled. "It shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak." Their sufferings from thirst were the most acute. On the third night the brothers were wakened from a peaceful sleep by the sound of rain. A little cup had been left in their room, and from the open window they could soon have refreshed themselves. The first thought of each was to do so. They were in nowise bound to concur in this inhuman punishment. Yet an impression was clearly made upon their minds, before consult-


ing each other, that they must withhold, and they scarcely

felt the copious showers tempt them. The next morning

several officers entered the room and questioned them closely.

They claimed it to be impossible for them to retain so much

strength without any food, and charged them with having

secretly obtained it. They then, in much simplicity, told

them of their not feeling easy to take even the rain that fell.

This evidently touched the hearts of the officers. Soon after

the end of four and a half days' abstinence, a little water was

allowed, and about the end of five days their rations were

furnished again. This remarkable circumstance was widely

spread and they had constant opportunities of bearing an open

testimony to Christ, and not a few of those who crowded

around, appeared to be persuaded of the truth which they held.

Even ministers of different denominations came and encouraged them to be faithful. J. D. H. was next taken before

General D—, who said he would not require him to bear

arms, but would set him in the front of the battle, and use

him to stop bullets. On declining to work on the streets as a part of the soldier's duty, he had a log of wood tied on his shoulders and was marched around until quite

exhausted. He was next sent to a guard-house, then placed in a dungeon for a day--then in a prison cell. His persecutors seemed at their wits' end, but they finally devised a rude and barbarous punishment. A forked pole was thrust round his neck, and upon the prongs, as they projected behind it, a heavy block of wood was fastened. This they blasphemously called the Cross of Christ. The soldiers and town's-people were looking on, while he was thus "made a gazing stock by reproaches and afflictions." No sooner had the Captain fairly completed this work than in a rage he pulled it off again, and tied another log upon his shoulder, and marched him about till exhausted, when he was sent back to jail.

Meantime his brother H. had been enduring a different punishment. At three different times he was suspended by his thumbs, with his feet barely touching the ground upon the toes, and kept in this excruciating position for nearly two hours each time. They next tried the bayonet. Their


orders were, they said, to thrust them in four inches deep; but, though much scarred and pierced, it was not so severely done as they had threatened. One of the men, after thus wounding him, came back to entreat his forgiveness. In the various changes of the next four months, some kindness was occasionally shown to them, but mingled with much cruelty. It was not till seven months had been passed in these fiery ordeals, that their release was obtained—another Friend thinking it right to pay their exemption money for them. The value of this tax, at that time, was only equal to a little more than a barrel of flour—a small sum indeed, could they have felt themselves easy to avail themselves of this provision. It was no small addition to their sufferings that their families at home were sharing in it. In the extreme scarcity of labor, their wives were compelled to toil hard in the fields to raise the food for the coining winter, and this proved not merely a passing hardship, but left one of them in greatly enfeebled health.

Another brother of the same family, W. B. H. was arrested on the 8th of Sixth Month, 1863. The officers to whose division he was assigned, were unusually rough and severe. Finally, after a full explanation of his views and the necessity he was under of refusing all military duties whatsoever, the Colonel said he should be shot, and the only favor allowed should be the choice of time—that night or the next morning. After a little pause, W. H. replied, that if it was his Heavenly Father's will that he should lay down his life, he would far rather do it than disobey one of his commands. But if it was not His will, none of them could take his life from him; however, they might give the order to do so. He then spoke of the three men who were cast into the burning fiery furnace, and of Daniel in the lions' den, who all trusted in God, and He delivered them. As to the time of his death, he could make no choice. The officer seemed greatly at a loss, and sent him to the wagon yard for the night. The next morning he was ordered out with a foraging party. He explained that he had two objections to this. It was, in the first place, military work, and


besides, it was taking the property of others. The Colonel, now greatly excited, came forward and had him laid on the ground, while a gun was tied to his back. He refused to rise with it on. The men were then ordered to run their bayonets into him, but they continued only to pierce his clothes. A squad of men was then drawn up in readiness to fire; but as the order was about being given W. H. raised his arms and said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Not a gun was fired, and some of the moll were heard 'saying, "They could not shoot such a man." The enraged officer struck at his head, but missed his aim. He then spurred his horse repeatedly to ride over him, but the horse sprang aside at each attempt, and he remained unharmed. The officer then left, saying, he was not yet (lone with him—but was himself killed the same or next day in the battle of' Gettysburg. As W. H. was sick at the time of this battle, no attempt was made to force him into it. He found in the retreat, with which he was unable to keep up, a shelter and kind care at a farm house, but was soon taken prisoner by the Union Cavalry and sent to Fort Delaware, as a rebel prisoner. He had been ill there a week before a message could reach Philadelphia. Application

was at once made at Washington, and a telegram was promptly dispatched from the War Office ordering his release upon taking an affirmation of allegiance to the United States. But loyal as he had ever been, he could not promise "to support, protect and defend" the Constitution and Government. He had already suffered too much and been too marvellously preserved to flinch now from

bearing any portion of his testimony. He was told, while

thus apparently upon the eve of his release, that there were

two alternatives—this affirmation or imprisonment until the

close of' the war. But upon a fuller explanation of the

nature of his scruples, an alteration was promptly made in

the form of the affirmation. He was released, and like many

others, found a home in the West till the close of' the war

allowed him to return to his beloved family. The God whom

he served had indeed been able to deliver him.


At the same time that W. B. H. was arrested, four others, having a birth-right membership with us, and opposed to the payment of the Tax, were taken by force from their homes in Randolph County, C. and A. B., brothers, and T. and J. H., also brothers, and cousins of the former. Although detained in the army for nine months, they suffered comparatively little from the cruelty of officers; yet the uncertainty of their lot, and the painful surroundings of camp life, kept them in constant dependance upon the care and loving kindness of their Lord. On their passage from Weldon to Camp French, near Blackwater, V a. the Con-scripts were packed standing so closely in a car, that they could only rest themselves by leaning on each other's knees, and were kept in this way without water, and with only the little food a few chanced to have with them for nearly twenty-four hours. They were assigned to the 52d N. C. Regiment. On declining to drill, they were entreated to pay the commutation tax, and were assured that their money should be used only for civil purposes. They steadily urged that liberty of conscience ought not to be purchased in any way. The Colonel then assigned them to Captain K and from him and his company their quiet and consistent course won unexpected favor. The Lieutenant, however, for a time was very harsh, and ordered his men to compel them with guns and bayonets to aid in clearing ground for a camp. He was just ordering two men to press steadily upon them with the points of their bayonets, until they moved, an order which they contrived to evade for a few moments, injuring them but slightly,—when Captain K. appeared, and reproving the Lieutenant, told them they might remain quiet for that time. As they trusted in the Lord, He often turned the hearts of their commanders, so that even this same Lieutenant became kind and considerate. All sorts of work were offered to them, cooking, waiting on the sick, &c. But though willing to do the work itself, they could not accept such labor as military service. At one time they were ordered to help bring in some fodder. On refusing, they were first fastened together and then tied behind a


cart, so as to force them to run or be dragged three or four miles and back, through mud and water, upon a very cold day. If they still refused to load the fodder, the order was to pitch them into the river,—but such orders were more easily given than executed. Even the wagon master, who at first seemed fierce, relented, and after watching them pass through this humiliating trial, declared he could not help respecting men who stood up to their principles in that way. Their presence in the army became more and more perplexing. The wish was expressed that they would run away, but this they would not do. Furloughs were often given, and a written endorsement on one of these assigned as a reason for it, that "they were of no manner of use in the army." At the battle of Gettysburg, their prayers were heard, and though often ordered to the front, they were never forced to go. They shared the same lot as their friend W. B. H. and were released from Fort Delaware by the same order.

Such were the heroes of the Army of Peace! Who shall estimate the power of such examples? Volumes may be written upon the impolicy and evils of War, but how feeble are all words by the side of such quiet deeds wrought in the Grace of their Blessed Leader. Most meekly, yet most nobly, did they keep the charge—"Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." Let it be remembered, they were in the hands of men whom slavery had long trained in the exercise of almost irresponsible power. The many lawless and cruel threatenings which they endured exhibit this most clearly. Such threats were not unfrequently executed upon others.

A single well authenticated instance may suffice:

A young man, formerly a Friend, was forced into the army, and, though reluctantly, entered upon military duties. One day he remarked quietly that he wished all the men, North and South, would go home and leave the rulers who brought on the war to fight it out. This unguarded speech was reported. He was tried by Court-Martial, and sentenced to be shot that day at noon. A few hurried trembling lines


of farewell, endorsed by a Chaplain, bore the awful tidings to a stricken family, where the mother's death, and a still darker cloud falling upon the mind of his desolate widow, were the after results.

Among all those who steadily refused to bear arms, and of whom many were imprisoned, not one suffered a violent death, which must surely be traced to the overruling Providence of Him by whom "Even the very hairs of our head

are all numbered."

The pecuniary loss sustained by Friends of North Carolina was not small. As they could not fight, and as they were charged with favoring the cause of the Union, they were frequently marked out for special plunder. In the few small Meetings in Tennessee, included in the limits of this Yearly Meeting, the loss (in gold) was $35,000. In the vicinity of Goldsboro', in a Quarterly Meeting of about forty families, the whole loss of property was estimated in official returns at $98,220 (in gold.) This resulted, in part, from the army being quartered. upon them at various times during the four years' struggle, but chiefly from the desolating march of General Sherman in the Spring of 1865. In not a few cases Friends were pointed out as very obstinate Secessionists and deserving of no mercy. Their homes were stripped of almost every comfort. Much of the bedding and clothing; furniture and food, which they could not carry off was wantonly destroyed. Their stock was generally swept away and scarcely a living animal, even to a chicken, remained. The sick were taken from their beds, that the soldiers might search for gold. So extreme was the destitution that followed, that those who had lived in plenty were now seen upon the track of the army—searching for fragments of food to sustain life. A few old bones were counted a welcome treasure, and when this resource failed, and rations were distributed in Goldsboro', delicate women and children had often to walk ten or fifteen miles to procure a few days scanty food. The seed placed in the ground had been mostly destroyed and they could obtain no more.



The fellowship between members of other Christian De-nominations had been sundered by the War, whilst Friends had maintained their Christian love and brotherly confidence unbroken during these years of separation and trial. And no sooner had the tidings of this great suffering reached Friends of Baltimore, than the most prompt and generous measures were taken for their relief. Funds were also freely contributed by Friends elsewhere; clothing and various little comforts, such as love only could suggest were pre-pared, and shipments of food went forward immediately; the Secretary of War promptly giving passes to those who were the bearers of' this relief, the first we believe sent after the surrender. Though personally strangers, they were welcomed with tears of joy and gratitude by Friends; and even others who still felt alienated from fellow professors, and even kindred at the North, looked on in wonder at this exhibition of' love unfeigned.

Meantime the Friends living in the Counties of Alamance, Chatham, Randolph and Guilford* and comprising by far the largest portion of' those in the State were placed in most imminent peril. After the fall of Richmond and the surrender of General Lee, the army of General Johnston was still near Greensboro, while the army of General Sherman moved on from Goldsboro to the other side of Raleigh, and with a day or two's march between, demanded the surrender of the Confederate forces. While awaiting the answer, President Lincoln was assassinated. Roused by this to a still more determined spirit, the army of Sherman seemed prepared for the most utter devastation. Between the two opposing forces, and indeed partially surrounded by them, lay our peaceful homes, with an apparently almost certain destruction hanging over them. We had neither weapon nor shield, save our prayers and our trust in the Arm of the Lord. But these were all we needed. The threatening cloud of battle roiled away and the surrender of the last of


*Corresponding nearly with the limits of four Quarterly Meetings. Western, New Garden, Deep River and Southern.


the Southern armies was affected without bloodshed in our very midst. Through four years of danger and distress on every hand, the Lord had been increasing the faith of His people and now they were left to rejoice in safety over their last, crowning and signal deliverance.

Whilst the physical wants of our Friends were being relieved, others as important existed still. Our educational privileges, never at any time large, had been almost entirely suspended by the war, and our children for four years (with many of them, the most important period for mental training) had been cut off from schools and hooks. The Baltimore Association, which had received large aid from the other Yearly Meetings and held it in charge, proceeded now to follow up this higher need. Their efforts have resulted in the establishment of forty schools of the best character, including a Normal School, embracing in all, about 2,600 scholars; and a Department of Agriculture; and these privileges are shared to a large extent by our neighbors.

In thus reviewing the trials to which our members have been exposed during the past four years, we have desired to commemorate and magnify the Grace which has supported us through all. We rejoice that peace has again come, and that the great curse and incubus of Slavery has been lifted from off our laud.

We wish also gratefully to acknowledge our sense of the love of our Brethren of the other Yearly Meetings, both in this country and across the Atlantic; whose efforts to repair our losses, promote the education of our children, and benefit our agriculture have cheered, comforted and encouraged us.

None of our members have passed through the terrible ordeal of the War, without sharing somewhat the calamities inseparable from it; but we record, with thankful hearts, the merciful preservation, which has so manifestly been extended to those whose only defence was their trust in the Lord; whereby our faith in His ever excellent Name has been strengthened and our love for one another increased.


He Himself has condescended to be with those whom He has permitted to suffer for His Name's sake, enabling them to bear a testimony for Him, and giving them, as we humbly believe, the assurance of His presence and love. To Him only be the glory!

Signed by direction and on behalf of the Representatives of North Carolina Yearly Meeting of Friends, held at Deep River, N. C., Seventh Month 18th, 1868.


An account of the sufferings of Friends of North Carolina Yearly meeting, in support of their testimony against war, from 1861 to 1865
An account of the sufferings of Friends of North Carolina Yearly meeting, in support of their testimony against war, from 1861 to 1865. Pub. by order of the representatives of North Carolina Yearly meeting of Friends. Baltimore: William K. Boyle, 1868. 28 p. Imperfect: torn front cover.
Original Format
13cm x 22cm
Local Identifier
E540 .F8 F73
Location of Original
Joyner NC Rare
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