Below follows a transcription of the 1905 newspaper article – my lead not only into who Dixon was but also the larger story of national healing forty years after the war:
Raleigh, News and Observer, Thursday, March 9, 1905
An Old Testament. Union soldier seeking to find owner of book found After Ft. Fisher.
Governor Glenn has received a letter from one J. E. Reid, late of the 115 regiment of New York Volunteers, asking information as to the whereabouts of H. A. Sledge, supposed to have been a Confederate soldier at the siege of Fort Fisher, near Wilmington.
Mr. Reid’s purpose in writing to the Governor is to offer to return to Mr. Sledge, or to his relatives, if he be dead, a testament which was found after the capture of the fort by a Union drummer boy and given to the writer on January 16th, 1865.
Mr. Reid says that the testament bears signs of blood stains from which he presumes that the owner must have either been killed or wounded during the fighting at the fort. On the fly leaf are written the words: “H. A. Sledge, October 9th, 1864 A present given to H. A. Sledge by McKinnon, chaplain of 36th N.C. Troops, Fort Fisher, N.C., October 9th, 1864.”
On another page is the inscription: ” Miss …….. D…..” in all probability the sweetheart of the soldier to whom the book belonged.
Dr. Dixon, to whom Governor Glenn turned over the letter, went over the rosters of the State troops carefully yesterday in search of some information as to the Sledge referred to. Beyond the fact that in Company F, 36th N.C. regiment there was a “Herbert A. Sledge,” who was one of the artillerymen who defended the fort, Dr. Dixon was unable to ascertain anything definite. The roster of the 36th regiment did not contain the name of any McKinnon as chaplain. The “Sledge” referred to in the roster was stated to have enlisted in the Confederate army on August 4th, 1862.
Mr. Reid states in his letter that he tried in 1880 to get the information desired from Wilmington, failing in that, had forgotten the matter until his attention was drawn to it by the act of Congress authorizing the return of flags.
[Footnote CSR – Herbert A. Sledge joined at Ft. Caswell, 4 August 1862, from Halifax County, age 18 at time of enlistment, captured January 15, 1865 at Ft. Fisher, sent to Point Lookout, MD 22 January 1865, and released 20 June 1865, fair skin, brown hair, grey eyes, 5ft 7in, resided in Halifax County, NC, on list of oaths as “Hubbard.” Footnote CSR – Luther McKinon, chaplain, 2nd Artillery (36th), appointed January 15, 1864. Ancestry.com 1860 Census: Halifax County western district, Brinkleyville- H. A. Sledge household, Herbert Sledge age 16. – unable to confirm after 1860; service record says he survives war; 1880 census shows father H. A. Sledge still alive in Brinkleyville. Halifax Estate Records record H.A. Sledge (father) died intestate in 1888; among heirs is one H.A. Sledge of Edgecombe County] [Dixon is most likely the State Auditor Benjamin F. Dixon]