Posts tagged ‘North Carolina’

Biography of the Day: General William Wing Loring, C.S.A.

General William Wing Loring, C.S.A. (1818-1886)

Born to Reuben Loring and Hannah Kenan Loring in Wilmington, North Carolina, William Wing Loring moved with his family to St. Augustine, Florida, when he was a small child. As a teenager he fought in the Second Seminole War and rose to the rank of second lieutenant. His parents then sent him to the District of Columbia to attend Georgetown College. After leaving that institution, he studied law and was admitted to the Florida bar. He was also interested in the new state of Florida’s political situation and was elected to the state legislature in the early 1840s.

At the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, Loring received a captain’s commission and commanded a company of mounted rifles. He was promoted to major shortly before Winfield Scott’s Mexico City campaign. On the march to Mexico City, Loring participated in all of the major engagements. He received two brevet promotions and lost his arm in the battle of Chapultepec. At the end of the war, he remained in te regular army and was promoted to lieutenant colonel in March 1848. With his regiment he made a heroic march from Texas to Oregon and assumed command of the Department of Oregon in 1849. He remained there for two years before being transferred to Texas in 1851. He was promoted to colonel in 1858.

Map of New Mexico Territory

At the end of 1860, Loring assumed command of the Department of New Mexico, headquartered at Santa Fe. During March 1861, after the secession of Texas, he grew increasingly concerned for the security of his department. At the same time, he was wrestling with his own decision about whether to follow Florida out of the Union. He expressed views against the doctrine of secession, but apparently the impending secession of his native state of North Carolina decided him on the issue. He resigned his commission on 13 May 1861 and offered is services to the Confederacy. He was commissioned a brigadier general in the Confederate army on 20 May 1861.

In July 1861, Loring was given command of the Army of the Northwest in western Virginia. Throughout the remainder of the summer and fall of 1861, Loring led his men in a futile attempt to prevent Union forces from gaining a foothold in that area. In early August, General Robert E. Lee, who had been sent to western Virginia to advise the commanders there, urged Loring to attack the Federal position at Cheat Mountain. Loring resisted. Finally, because of the discovery of a route that would allow a secret approach overlooking the Federal position, Loring, with Lee present as an advisor, advanced on the position. The attack, planned for 12 September 1861, was never completed because of faulty intelligence.

At the end of the year, his Army of the Northwest was brought under the overall command of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson. From the very beginning, Loring chafed under this arrangement, and when the ensuing campaign produced few results and it appeared his disgruntled army would be spending the remainder of the winter in comfortless Romney, Loring and his officers requested that they be removed from Jackson’s command. To Jackson, such action smacked of insubordination and threatened to tear his entire army apart. It was truly a thorny situation for the War Department. In February 1862, Loring was promoted to major general and shortly afterward was summoned east so that a more suitable command could be found for him. Temporarily placed in command of the Confederate defenses at Suffolk, Virginia, on 8 May 1862 Loring was given command of the Department of Southwestern Virginia.

Through the summer of 1862, Loring defended his department against Union invasion from the Kanawha Valley. In August 1862 he defeated a Union Force at Pack’s Ferry on the New River, and in September he launched a short, though relatively successful, invasion into the Kanawha Valley. On 27 November 1862 he was transferred to the command of Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton at Jackson, Mississippi.

General William Wing Loring, C.S.A.

During the next six months Loring commanded a division under Pemberton in defense of Vicksburg. In March 1863, Pemberton sent Loring north of the city to stop the Federal movement against Yazoo Pass. Loring built Fort Pemberton and repelled the Union offensive. In April 1863, Loring used his division to combat Union colonel Benjamin Grierson’s raid into Tennessee, and on 25 April he prevented the town of Enterprise, Mississippi, from falling to Grierson.

By May 1863, relations between Loring and Pemberton were somewhat strained. Loring disagreed with many of Pemberton’s decisions regarding the defense of Vicksburg, and during the battle of Champion’s Hill on 16 May, he failed to carry out Pemberton’s orders to attack the Union left flank. Loring, charged with guarding the subsequent Confederate retreat back to Vicksburg, managed to separate his division from the remainder of the army and was forced to join General Joseph Johnston’s force outside of Jackson, Mississippi. As a result, Loring missed the siege of Vicksburg and the surrender of the remainder of Pemberton’s army.

Loring served under Johnston for the remainder of the summer, fighting at Jackson after the surrender of Vicksburg. For the remainder of the year into early 1864, Loring and his division were headquartered at Canton, Mississippi. In early 1864, serving under Lieutenant General Leonidas Polk, Loring commanded his division in the attempt to stop William T. Sherman’s Meridian campaign. Failing to stop Sherman, Loring moved his division to Montevallo, Alabama.

As part of Polk’s Army of Mississippi, Loring moved into north Georgia in May 1864 to join Joseph Johnston’s efforts to stop Sherman’s move toward Atlanta. He commanded his division in the early phases of that campaign, and when Polk was killed on 14 June, Loring assumed command of the Army of Mississippi, effectively a corps in Johnston’s army.

Loring led his corps through the remaining engagements of the campaign and moved north with General John Bell Hood after the fall of Atlanta. He fought under Hood in the disastrous battles of Franklin and Nashville. In early 1865 he took what was left of his army to join Joseph Johnston in the attempt to slow Sherman’s march through the Carolinas. In April 1865 he surrendered with Johnston in North Carolina.

After the war, Loring engaged in various business activities in New York City, but, missing the military life, in 1869 he accepted a brigadier general’s commission in the Egyptian army. For ten years he fought with distinction in several Egyptian campaigns. He returned to the United States in 1879. In retirement in New York City, Loring wrote extensively about his varied military career. He died of a heart attack in New York City on 30 December 1886.

– David & Jeanne Heidler

[Souce: Heidler, David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler. Encyclopedia of the American Civil War]

For further reading:

Raab, James. W.W.W.Loring – A Biography (1997).

Wessels, William L. Born to be a Soldier; the Military Career of William Wing Loring of St. Augustine, Florida (1971).

For further reading:


Sisters pen book on Civil War history

by Mark Wineka, Salisbury (N.C.) Post

MOCKSVILLE — For five years, sisters Mary Alice Hasty and Hazel Winfree relied on John Spillman to supply the ham biscuits and coffee for breakfast or the tomato soup and grilled sandwiches for lunch.

Meanwhile, they sat at Spillman’s dining room table — piled high with their research — and wrote out in long-hand the manuscript for a state award-winning book, “The Civil War Roster for Davie County, North Carolina.”

Davie County sisters, Mary Alice Hasty and Hazel Winfree, spent years compiling and preparing a book that lists all of the 1,147 Davie County men that served in the Civil War. Photo by Jon C. Lakey, Salisbury Post.

“I was a referee,” Spillman says, laughing. “I kept them from clawing and biting each other. I kept the momentum going and gave them the praise they needed.”

The sisters called him their business manager. His pay in the end: a free book.

Published in 2009, the women’s book gives short biographies of 1,147 Davie County Confederate soldiers before, during and after the war.

It’s filled with photographs and includes invaluable extras such as the company and regiment rosters for Davie County soldiers, townships covered by the census information they used, cemeteries in Davie County where Confederate soldiers are buried, the names of the Davie men who died in the Civil War and a complete bibliography and index.

“It would make a movie,” Spillman says of the sisters’ devotion to the project. “Not ‘Gone With the Wind,’ but …

“The sequel,” Winfree says, finishing the thought.

Hasty and Winfree won the 2009 Willie Parker Peace History Book Award from the N.C. Society of Historians Inc. They didn’t even know their book was in consideration until after the awards ceremony in Morehead City.

Their research also led to the discovery that 55 names of Davie soldiers who died in the Civil War were left off the Mocksville monument memorializing the county’s Confederate dead.

That omission has since been remedied with the additional names carved into the stone.

The sisters’ book started when they were researching their own family history, and Doris Frye, librarian at the Martin-Wall History Room of Davie Public Library, directed Hasty to “The Civil War Roster of Davidson County.”

In that book, Hasty quickly found evidence of her great-great grandfather Nicholas Miller, leading her to discover that her great-grandfather Michael Miller died in the war when her grandfather John was only six months old.

She asked Frye whether Davie had a similar Civil War roster book, learned that it did not and declared that she would correct that situation. Hasty immediately called Winfree to tell her they were going to collaborate on a book.

Hasty remembers Hazel saying, “Oh, shoot.”

“That’s not exactly what I said,” Hazel recalls, “but that’s the way we’ll print it.”

Over the next five years, the women turned to federal census information, marriage and cemetery records for Davie County, Civil War pension applications, family correspondence, 1851-1892 injury and obituary notices from “The People’s Press” in Salem and the published works of more than 20 authors for backup.

They also received assistance from Frye and Jane McAllister at the Davie Public Library, historian Jim Rumley of Cooleemee, archivist Earl Ijames at the State Archives in Raleigh and Sion Harrington, a state military collection archivist and an old neighbor of Hasty’s from Harnett County.

“We wanted to do it right,” Hasty says.

Cousins Marie Roth and Brenda Bailey typed all of their manuscript pages and worked closely with the Jefferson publisher, McFarland & Co.

The sisters — Winfree is 87, and Hasty will be 80 in August — brought plenty of their own tenaciousness and expertise to Spillman’s dining room table.

Hasty is a retired English teacher and assistant principal from Harnett County, where she led the effort in 1993 to publish a large-volume Harnett County heritage book.

Winfree is a retired Salisbury Post proofreader and voracious reader in general.

Together, they make a pair, always jabbing and kidding with each other.

“We spent as much time laughing as writing,” Hasty says. “It was just so much fun.”

Winfree remembers overhearing Hasty on the telephone with an archivist in Raleigh, asking for forgiveness and saying, “If I tell you my assistant is 83 years old, will that help?”

“It made me feel sorry for her,” Winfree says.

Hasty jokes that she always takes a pill before giving Winfree a call at her home in Cooleemee. The women worked out of their friend Spillman’s house because it was close to the library and, when they started, Hasty was in the transition from Harnett County and still waiting for her condominium to be constructed in Mocksville.

As with many historians, the sisters discovered information that didn’t jibe with some published accounts from the past. Their work also helped to untangle the branches of family trees in Davie County.

The case of W.C. Perry Etchison, private in Company F, 42nd Regiment, is a good example. For generations his descendants lived with the belief that he had been shot as a Confederate deserter.

Having left the Confederate Army on many occasions only to be apprehended later, Etchison finally was sentenced to be shot for desertion in 1865. But the sisters’ research revealed that the sentence was suspended, and Etchison received a parole June 7, 1865.

“The execution order of 1865 overshadowed reality and the following rumor evolved:” the sisters’ book says. “Perry deserted, came home, was accosted on a path by Captain Clement and a contingent of men. He was shot where he stood by Captain Clement and that his body was left where it fell, and Perry’s 16-year-old son found his body and buried him where he lay.”

But Hasty and Winfree point out that Etchison would have only been 19 years old himself and could not have had a 16-year-old son.

“Unfortunately for his descendants,’ the women write, “the good news of Perry’s life was never told.”

They learned that Etchison had married Nancy Parker in January of 1865, and the couple had two daughters, Sarah in 1867 and Hetty in 1871. The family lived in the Clarksville district for a while, where Etchison was a farm laborer. He died March 14, 1923, and is buried in Rose Cemetery.

Hasty and Winfree also contacted Louise Stroud, “who had lived in Davie County 90-plus years and had a flawless memory,” the women wrote. She recalled that as a girl of 5 or 6, she watched a white-haired Etchison, Mocksville’s only policeman of the time, conducting his evening rounds in the square and lighting the kerosene lamps.

“It was pure detective work,” Winfree says of the whole process behind the book. “… And some facts didn’t add up.”

The sisters regret that one of Etchison’s descendants, George Smith, died before hearing that his ancestor was not executed as a deserter. Estelle, his wife, bought 11 of their books (at $60 each) and distributed them among relatives so they would know the real story.

“I just wish George could know this,” Hasty says.

While writing the book, the women took out newspaper notices asking people to bring them family photographs of ancestors who were in the Civil War. Sometimes, they also would make themselves available at the Davie Public Library on Sunday afternoons.

Since the book’s publication, they have had four book signings.

Spillman says people should realize that Hasty and Winfree produced the book out of love for the subject and at their own expense. They’ll never recoup the investment they have in the project, he says, but they’ve left Davie County with a historical treasure.

The sisters want desperately to do another research project.

“Man, I’d start tomorrow,” Winfree says. Meanwhile, after a 40-year break, Winfree has begun painting landscapes again. “I’ve decided I’m going to be the next Grandma Moses,” she says. (She is a great-grandmother.)

Hasty has a more personal project in the back of her mind. Over 15 years, she taught English to 1,650 students in Harnett County. Through Facebook and other means, she would love to contact all of those students and give them another writing exercise.

She would ask them to write about the most significant thing that has happened in their lives “since we parted.” She would collect the answers, she says, and publish them in a book.

“Should I go get us some lunch?” Spillman asks.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or

Civil War dead commemorated

By David Freeze

For the Salisbury post

Tuesday is Confederate Memorial Day.

63rd NC Confederate Troops Reactivated soldier enactor, Mike Hurst kneels during the reading of the list of 2,800 names of the men who served in the Confederate Army from Rowan County in front of the Rowan Museum during the Confederate Memorial Day Ceremony. photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post

By the end of the Civil War, 2,834 soldiers from Rowan County had served the Confederacy, more than any other county in the state.

Likewise, North Carolina provided more soldiers than any other state.

It’s not surprising that Confederate war dead are still honored locally, a recognition with special significance during the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.

The Rowan Rifles, Camp No. 405, of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, hosted a local memorial service Saturday morning to mark Confederate Memorial Day, which occurs each year on the date of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s death. The commemoration is older than the national Memorial Day now celebrated later in May.

Members of the Rowan Rifles began the morning by reading the names of Rowan citizens who served between 1861 and 1865. The old Rowan County Courthouse at 202 N. Main Street was the backdrop.

Union Gen. George Stoneman spared the 1854 Courthouse on his raid through Salisbury in April 1865.

There were 77 regiments in North Carolina, but one of the first came from Salisbury. The 6th Regiment, Company G, was formed and paid for by Charles Fisher.

The regiment trained in Charlotte, then in Burlington, and was later sent to the epic battle of First Manassas in Virginia.

Fisher was killed in that battle. Most of the rest of the regiment was captured at Remington, Va., on Nov. 7, 1863, and spent the rest of the war in prisoner of war camps.

The 49th and 57th Regiments trained at Camp Fisher, just east of Salisbury, near Crane Creek and Stokes Ferry Road.

After the memorial reading, period re-enactors and many others gathered again at the Old Lutheran Cemetery on Lee Street to honor the veterans with a service of music, prayer and speeches. About 200 graves of Civil War veterans were adorned with Confederate flags. Seats were arranged around a podium under a large tree, providing a somber setting in the old cemetery.

Steve Poteat, commander of the Rowan Rifles, and Tom Kesler, 1st lieutenant commander, welcomed the crowd and spoke of honoring ancestors and the supreme sacrifices of many.

Kesler told of the hard life of the Civil War soldier, often serving without shelter or shoes. Many suffered from exposure and disease.

Sarah Miller and Jim Shoemaker entertained with period music, including selections “Going Home” and “Dixie.”

The Rev. Perry Miller offered the invocation and the benediction.

Ronnie Roach of the Charles Fisher SCV Camp gave the keynote speech, providing insight into North Carolina’s involvement in the war.

“Why do we still honor them?” Roach asked, and then he sought to answer his question.

He told of a North Carolinian, Henry Wyatt, who was the first soldier killed in action. Wyatt had just turned 19.

In all, 700,000 troops served the South. Of that total, North Carolina provided 125,000 men and boys, more than twice as many as any other state. More than 40,000 of those died and 13,000 remain unaccounted for. Roach spoke of the ideals that made soldiering honorable. Those ideals were honor, courage and commitment.

Roach closed with a tombstone inscription about those soldiers: “Fate denied him victory, but blessed him with a glorious immortality.”

Following a rendition of Taps, the company of re-enactors offered a 21-gun volley to honor the fallen soldiers interred in the cemetery and throughout the South. The company then marched from the cemetery to close the service.

Raymond Hawkins and Benita Smit were on hand for the ceremony. Hawkins had six ancestors in the war.

“My family served in the war, and we thought this would be a good way to honor them. We enjoyed the service,” he said.

John Goodson of Woodleaf also had ancestors in the Civil War.

“I wanted to come out to honor those who fought, and I am going to start going to more of these. Salisbury is so rich with history. I want to learn a lot because we need to know our own history, and today’s memorial helped me to do that,” Goodson said.

“One hundred and fifty years ago, these men of Rowan County answered the call to arms. We met here today to honor them,” Poteat said.

Civil War re-enactors remember the fallen at historic courthouse

By Leigh Kelley
Times-News Staff Writer

Shots from Confederate Civil War “soldiers” rang out on Main Street Saturday as members of several area Civil War re-enactment groups celebrated Confederate Memorial Day with a ceremony in front of the Historic Henderson County Courthouse.

Dressed in period costumes, the men fired three volleys in honor of May 10 being Confederate Memorial Day.

Civil War re-enactors, representing the MacBeth Light Artillery and the 22nd and 25th North Carolina infantries, fire their weapons in honor of Confederate Memorial Day in front of the Henderson County Historic Courthouse on Saturday. Photo by Mike Dirks/Times-News

The event was being held Saturday instead of on the actual day since employers don’t recognize it as being a holiday, said Warren Scott, a member of the MacBeth Light Artillery unit.

“It’s a legal holiday in North Carolina,” he said. “It is even more significant this year, since this year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.”

As part of the short ceremony, the soldiers raised the 1861 North Carolina flag, the first national flag and the Confederate flag.

The unit that Scott belongs to was actually a South Carolina group that was stationed in Asheville during the Civil War, he said.

“If you go into Asheville where the Battery Park Hotel is, when they built that hotel, they plowed down a hill named Stoney Hill, which was where one of the batteries for the artillery unit was at,” Scott said. “Asheville had an armaments factory during the Civil War.”

Even though the Confederacy was on the losing side of the Civil War, the soldiers deserve to be remembered, he added.

“The men who fought for the South are respectable and honorable men, and they should be recognized as such,” Scott said.

Sesquicentennial Symposium May 20 examines Civil War, memory

From the Apex Herald; Apex, North Carolina

In observance of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, an examination of perceptions of what happened will be presented at the conference, “Contested Past: Memories and Legacies of the Civil War.” The May 20 conference at the N.C. Museum of History is one of 200 events being presented by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources during the sesquicentennial observance ( to commemorate the war that cost more than 600,000 American lives, about 35,000 from North Carolina.

Race and Reunion: Has Civil War Memory United or Divided America? is the keynote address to be presented by noted Yale University historian David Blight. Other topics include “More Memorials to their Dead than any Kingdom or Commonwealth”: Confederate Soldier Monuments in North Carolina, Loyal Deserters: The Memory of Desertion and Dissent in Piedmont North Carolina, and Risky Remembrances: African American Accounts of the Civil War and Reconstruction, along with other thought-provoking subjects.

“People will come away with a new understanding of forces that shaped today’s political and cultural landscape,” says Cultural Resources Deputy Secretary Jeffrey Crow. “This program comes on the 150th anniversary of North Carolina’s secession from the Union.”

Altogether the daylong conference will present 10 concurrent sessions with a boxed lunch and will be followed by a closing reception. Each presentation will be followed by a response. Historians from universities in and out of state, the State Archives and State Historic Sites are among presenters.

Registration is $25, which includes morning refreshments, boxed lunch and the closing reception. Mail a check payable to the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association (NCLHA) to Parker Backstrom, 4610 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4610. The pre-registration deadline is May 10.

For additional information on the symposium, one of three scheduled during the sesquicentennial commemoration, call Michael Hill at 919-807-7290.
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information on Cultural Resources is available 24/7 at

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