The collection includes a series of Civil War letters between Edward Clement Yellowley (1821-1885), his family, officers in his command, and associates. Much of the correspondence is also from superior officers concerning general orders, special orders, and confidential messages as well as notes from the battlefield during field operations. Yellowley, a Greenville, N.C., lawyer, was commissioned a captain in 1862 and raised a company in Greenville, N.C., which became Company G of the 8th Regiment N.C. State Troops. He was captured in February 1862 at Roanoke Island, N.C., and paroled home to Greenville until he could be exchanged. Early in 1863, he was detached from his regiment to serve as Acting Judge Advocate in Wilmington, N.C., and then returned to his company. He was promoted to major in July 1863 and was an unsuccessful candidate for the Confederate States Congress. In October of that year, he was promoted to the rank of lt. colonel in the 68th (66th) Regiment under Colonel J. W. Hinton, where he saw service in the Albemarle region of North Carolina. His companies formed a separate battalion of the regiment. He then was stationed in Burke and Wilkes counties, N.C., in the summer of 1864, monitoring elections in the latter county. Yellowley was in Martin County during the latter part of 1864 and moved between Kinston, Goldsboro, Edgecombe County, and Fort Branch in early 1865. After the war, he was elected to the North Carolina House of Commons for one term (1865-1866).
Of particular interest are commentaries concerning the activities of Yellowley's companies and regiments throughout the war. In October through November 1862, while with the 8th Regiment, he reported on the trials his company endured in trying to reach Camp Campbell near Kinston, N.C.; picket duty by four companies that were posted near New Bern, N.C., at Core Creek Church; how picket duty functioned; and a "demonstration" of force to be made against the enemy at Bachelor's Creek and near Trenton, N.C. While Yellowley was acting as judge advocate at a courts martial in Wilmington, N.C., he described his duties in a letter to his nephew (March 1863).
Amos J. Hines, a lieutenant in the 8th Regiment, reported on events at Sullivan's Island, S.C., during September and October, 1863, where his regiment and the 31st were sent as part of Clingman's Brigade. He described an attack on Fort Moultrie, the condition of Moultrieville, the salute for General Bragg's victory over Rosencranz, Yankee shelling from Morris Island, and the Confederate defense on James Island. In October of that year he mentioned that Charleston, S.C., was quiet and that their ironside had been damaged by a torpedo. In November, he described enemy fire on Fort Sumter and occasionally at Charleston and Forts Moultrie and Johnson.
In October 1863, Col. J. W. Hinton wrote informing Yellowley of his commission as lieutenant colonel of the 66th Regiment. The 68th (66th) Regiment received special orders to establish two camps, one in Pasquotank Co., N.C., as Camp Hinton, and the other in Perquimans Co., as Camp Vance (November 1863). Camp regulations and drills were pointed out by Col. Hinton (of Headquarters N.C. State Forces) as important factors in achieving battle readiness (September, November 1863). Hinton sent Yellowley ammunition and arms and requested artillery for both sides of the Chowan River. Correspondence (1863-1864) reflects activities of Yellowley and his regiment in the areas around Elizabeth City, including Hertford, Gatesville, Woodville, and Winton. Commentaries concern the duty of guarding against enemy gunboats, providing picket duty, alerting forces of enemy activity in that area, and providing resistance. The troop movements of other N.C. Infantry regiments are occasionally mentioned in the letters including the 44th in Greenville, N.C. (July 1862) and at Hanover Junction and Fredericksburg, Va. (June 1863), and the 51st at Camp Campbell near Kinston, N.C. (October 1862).
Other letters (December 1863) comment on disobedience and desertion of soldiers. Officers reported that insubordination among enlisted men was rampant and deserters were neither arrested nor punished. Correspondence (July 1864) reflects the ordering of Colonel Yellowley to send a company under a discrete officer to Wilkes County, N.C., and later to Yadkin County, N.C., to prevent interference in elections by deserters. Back in eastern North Carolina, Yellowley was commanded by Gen. Collett Leventhorpe.
Subsequent correspondence reflects the presence of Yellowley in Martin County, N.C., where he is directed to face the enemy at Poplar Point in Martin County, N.C., and cover Fort Branch in order to establish communication with Tarboro, N.C. (December 1864). Also documented is the consolidation of troops (Jan. 1865), defense measures for Fort Branch (Feb. 1865), and a final effort to keep the enemy from eastern North Carolina.
Among other Civil War topics discussed are conscription and the establishment of companies (July 1861, August 1863); arresting conscripts who failed to volunteer for state service (November 7, 1863); exemptions from service for men with large families (November 19, December 10, 1863) or who were magistrates or militia officers (November 14, 1863); cancellation of conscription in the 1st District (March 1864); regulations for discharging the physically unfit (May 1864); and furlough regulations (February 1864).
The scarcity and costliness of supplies were a frequent topic of discussion. Letters indicate that food was sent to officers by their families as were clothes and boots, and slaves were hired out to make shoes (1863). Other commentary concerned the need for officers to have conscripts supply their own horses; seizure of food from the public to be paid for in Confederate money at government prices (November 1863); and the prices for cotton, clothes, provisions, Negroes, and boarding schools. Currency problems (March 1864) also were mentioned, including the public reluctance to accept old issue currency (July 1864).
Political topics discussed included Yellowley's nomination as a candidate for the Confederate Congress against R. R. Bridgers and Col. Grimes and his subsequent defeat by Bridgers (October 1863, January 1864); a discussion by William B. Rodman II on the Secessionists versus the Conservatives in that election (October 1863); anti-Holden sentiment among Yellowley's friends and associates (October 1863; June, August 1864); Yellowley's election to the state legislature after the war's end (1865); his comments on elections in progress for judges, solicitors, and governor; and the chances of a pardon for N.C. Confederate Governor Zebulon Vance (December 1865).
Correspondence from family, friends, and retainers (especially in Pitt and Nash counties, N.C.) often relayed both family and local news as well as news of wartime events and rumors. Union raids on Greenville, N.C., including a near bridge burning, a description of Negroes in uniform, and the Union troops' invitation for slaves to leave with them (November 1862) are noted. In May 1863, a relative in Livingston, Miss., told of Yankee looting and burning near Jackson, Miss., and mention was made of being able to hear the cannons at Vicksburg where General Johnston reportedly had 40,000 men. B. G. Albritton wrote Yellowley (January 1864) that Yankees had been making weekly raids and had burned two churches at Black Jack and at Red Banks, in Pitt County, N.C., and taken horses, artillery and some men. In March 1864, rumor of French recognition of the Confederacy was passed as was news of Longstreet's preparation for the Kentucky campaign. In September of the same year, it was reported that the Yankees had control of the railroad between Weldon, N.C., and Petersburg, Va. Several letters mention the valuation of slaves for tax purposes in Warrenton, N.C. (July - September 1864); the wages paid for hired out slaves in Nash and Warren counties, N.C. (October, December 1863; January 1865); and the prices received for the sale of slaves in Warrenton, N.C. (January 1865).
Family news often concerned conditions affecting the home and surrounding area, the health of family and friends, and prices. Weather and condition of crops are frequently noted as are the attitudes of the slaves and whether they were to be maintained at home or rented out. Illness, including typhus fever in Granville County, N.C. (April 1863), diphtheria in Greenville, N.C., and Spartanburg, S.C. (October 1862, October 1863), smallpox in Rocky Mount and Tarboro, N.C. (October 1862), neuralgia (December 1863, January 1864), and whooping cough (January 1864) and typhoid fever in Nash County, N.C. (September 1862) are all mentioned. While judge advocate in Wilmington, N.C. (March 1863), Yellowley described balls and parties, theater visits, and foreign steamers breaking the blockade.
Education was a prominent topic. Yellowley's nephew, James Brownlow Yellowley, attended the Bingham School in Orange County, N.C. (January - April 1862), Mr. Graves's school in Brownsville, N.C. (1862-1863), and then back to the Bingham School (1864). Correspondence concerning the Brownsville school mentions the number of students, list of subjects, daily routine, rental of books, cancellation of classes due to typhus, and fees charged. At the Bingham School, he reported a military regimen, an increase in school fees, which were to be paid in meat, and the possibility of moving the school to Mebanesville (January - September 1864). In July 1864 William Bingham wrote to discuss boarding and tuition costs and the possibility of patrons actually paying them.
Miscellaneous Civil War-era materials (not concerning Yellowley) include legal testimony made in 1909 and correspondence about a slave marriage (1861-1862) in an attempt to substantiate a pension claim and a talk by Henry King about "How Pitt County Went to War, 1861-1865" (1903). Early slave sale records (1799, undated) from Pitt County include the name, sex, number of children of the women, and price.
Other Yellowley items include an eye witness account of a duel Yellowley fought with fellow Greenville lawyer H. F. Harris on the North Carolina-Virginia border on October 1, 1847, a series of essays written while he attended the University of North Carolina (graduated in 1844), poems composed by Yellowley and others (1840s-1850s), instructions to a grand jury probably written in the 1850s when he was either clerk of the Superior Court or solicitor of the county court, speeches given at Whig party conventions in 1849 and in 1865 when nominated for election to the N.C. House of Commons, and a few miscellaneous financial records (1845, 1860s).
Of particular interest is an extensive file of late nineteenth century newspaper clippings kept by Henry T. King, most of which concern a wide range of Civil War topics. Included are articles on Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, the song "Dixie," the presence of British officer "Chinese" Gordon in beseiged Richmond, the election of 1862, the Lincoln Conspiracy, the
MERRIMAC and the advent of ironclads, the battle of Fort Fisher, the sinking of the Confederate ram
ALBEMARLE, and the capture of the Union transport
MAPLE LEAF by Confederate POWs and their escape through Currituck County. Other articles pertain to the battle of Gettysburg; Kilpatrick's escape; the Hampton Roads conference; Zebulon B. Vance; the 1st, 4th, 17th, 18th, 21st, 30th, 35th, 45th, and 53rd N.C. regiments; Col. Harry K. Burgwyn; and the Confederate surrender at Appomatox.
Early King correspondence (1887-1888) reflects disagreements with Robert Randolph Cotten concerning the management of a ferry and the building of a bridge in Pitt County, N.C. Henry T. King's legislative correspondence reflects constituent interests. Correspondents expressed opposition to a petition for a bicycle path alongside main roads because of racial issues (1902), support for cessation of the tax that white people pay for Negro education (1902), the desire that the manufacture and sale of liquor be kept at least three miles from schools in Ayden (1903), and the need to keep a fence law bill on track (1903).
King was involved in a suit over payment for his services in publishing notices and pro-bond issue editorials in favor of the Raleigh and Pamlico Sound Railroad (1906-1908). Correspondence with J. Bryan Grimes (1906) concerns Grimes's affidavit on the case while a letter from N.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Walter Clark (1908) advises a modification of the language in documents on the case. Notes concerning the suit are also found in the collection.
Correspondence from U.S. District Court Judge Henry G. Connor relative to King's appointment as U.S. Commissioner (1912) makes note of a state prohibition for holding both federal and state offices at the same time and gives information about contradictory statements from witnesses. U.S. Attorney H. F. Seawell, Sr. (1913) makes note of the Webb liquor law and a privilege tax on buying tobacco from a farmer; and King corresponds with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels concerning his detailed proposal on how to increase the efficiency and thickness of armor plate while decreasing its weight (1916).
Also of interest is King's effort (1922-1923) to have a federal prohibition agent dismissed for collusion with still operators and accepting a bribe to protect moonshine operators. While unsuccessful in his efforts, the activities of this prohibition agent are extensively detailed.
Genealogical materials include correspondence concerning the Teel and Cherrie/Cherry families of Pitt County, N.C. (1915-1916), the Clark, Sampson and Hardee families of Pitt county, N.C. (1922), and the Bunn family of Dare County, N.C. (1931); and a miscellaneous item noting a Taft/Hardee marriage date.
Sketches of Pitt County, and the collection includes drafts of the work. Historical notes on the Christian Church in Farmville, N.C. (1913), are given in the correspondence as is information about the Free Will Baptist Church, Marlboro, N.C., ca. 1870 (1917). Correspondence (1917) includes a discussion of the school building (later known as Horton Hotel) in Farmville which opened in 1861 as well as the Aurora Institute and Pitt County Female Institute. Pamphlets include a Pitt County bond promotion (1907) to secure E.C.T.T.S. (now ECU) as well as an ad (p.21) in the February 1914 issue of
North Carolina Education for that school; a Woman's Christian Temperance Union pamphlet (1892) from Waynesville, N.C.; and pamphlets (1901, 1904,
ca. 1908) concerning the Revolutionary War battle at Elizabethtown, the Guilford Battle Ground, and the Mecklenburg Resolves and Declaration of Independence. A file of historical information lists postmasters in Pitt County (up until 1919) and gives information about the Horton Hotel in Farmville and the Whitehurst twins of Pitt County who fought in the Civil War.
A file of political material includes a resolution in support of Henry T. King for the N.C. House of Representatives written in 1902 by W. H. Ragsdale for publication purposes, a speech (1912) written by King concerning the "new republicanism," a broadside (
ca. 1906) concerning the controversy over state bonds issued (1866) to pay for stock for the Western North Carolina Railroad, and xeroxes of state documents (1830s) concerning redemption of scrip issued by North Carolina and payment on the shares reserved to the state in the capital stock of the Bank of the State of North Carolina.
Other King material includes two calendar books for 1919 and 1920 which contain notes about cash accounts, politics, court cases, and individuals; legal notes concerning court cases; the certificate and order appointing King as U.S. Commissioner for the Eastern District of N.C. (1911); a ledger (1908-1909) listing subscribers and/or advertisers for the journal
Southland published at Greenville, N.C.; poems and prose; and financial records including tax receipts and bills related mainly to estates he administered.
Miscellaneous items include extracts from proceedings (Jan. 1902) of the Grand Lodge A. F. and A. Masons of N.C. at Raleigh that pertain to the history of Crown Point Lodge in Pitt County; a 1910 circular advertising an administrator's sale conducted by Henry King; a circular (undated) advertising productions at the Strand theatre; a draft of an article about a public meeting of Pitt County farmers concerned with road conditions (1903); and a draft of a 1923 Pitt County promotional article.
Non-Civil War topics in the clipping file concern such historic topics as the battle of Alamance of 1771; the Revolutionary War battle of Elizabeth Town; slavery; crime and punishment; Raleigh cemeteries; the Alexander family of Mecklenburg, N.C.; N.C. A. & M. College; and the disenfranchisement for Blacks. Biographical profiles pertain to such individuals as War of 1812 hero Johnston Blakely, U.S. Senator Willie P. Mangum, and N.C. Superintendent of Public Schools Thomas F. Toon. Geographical articles reflect the history of Edenton, Edgecombe County and Tarboro, Franklin County, Fayetteville, Cape Hatteras, Hillsboro, the Cape Fear region, and Washington, N.C..