First Wednesdays – North Carolina Union Volunteers (white)

May 1862 marked one year since then Governor John Ellis (deceased) had refused President Abraham Lincoln’s call for troops to put down the rebellion.  During this year North Carolinians experienced the heady political-high of Secession, a call to arms of their militia for volunteer service, a conscription of men by the national Confederate government for service, and the tramp of United States soldiers and sailors on North Carolina soil as the Federals attacked and occupied roughly the northern most two-thirds of the coastal region.  To those three kinds of soldiers (Confederate volunteer and conscript and Union soldier) yet a fourth type of soldier appeared in North Carolina during the Burnside Expedition as African Americans, free and enslaved, joined the Union army or navy.  A plea for yet a fifth type of soldier, a guerrilla fighter, also appeared during the first year of the war in North Carolina.  In May 1862, acting military governor Ambrose E. Burnside announced the recruitment of yet a sixth category of soldier in North Carolina – North Carolina Union volunteers (white).   Recruitment began in Union occupied Washington, NC, where this proclamation was most likely distributed and then forwarded through the lines to Governor Henry Toole Clark.  Just prior to this announcement the Mayor of Washington, Isaiah Respess, had been arrested by Confederate cavalry in the middle of the night and then spirited off to Richmond to stand trial for treason – hence the  note on the proclamation.  This proclamation, essentially announcing US policy to let local loyalists defend themselves and their families, represented another step towards war-time reconstruction of North Carolina.

United States Recruitment Poster for the People of Eastern North Carolina, May 1, 1862

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2 Responses to First Wednesdays – North Carolina Union Volunteers (white)

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