Baptists and the American Civil War: August 8, 1862

A letter from an anonymous North Carolina Confederate soldier is published in today’s Richmond Daily Dispatch, lamenting the Confederate government not protecting his state’s citizens from marauding federal troops.

Thinking it may be interesting to the many readers of your excellent paper and perhaps cause our Government to turn a listening ear to the plaintive cry of a down trodden and outraged people. I give you the substance of a conversation held with a gentleman from Gates county, North Carolina, in which he states that all kinds of depredation is being committed upon the people in that section. Some of the best citizens, after having their negroes stolen, their provisions taken, (including bacon, corn, fodder, pear, cabbage, sugar, coffee, salt, butter, poultry, &c.,) and their wives and daughters insulted, have been fled and marched off under a squad of Dutch. (Pennsylvania hirelings,) for no other crime but guarding their own premises, and refusing to take oath to support Abe Lincoln’s Government in the prosecution of this hell born war against their sons and brothers. Among many sufferers of whom this gentleman spoke. I noticed particularly the Rev. Edward Howell, an aged and much beloved minister of the Baptist Church, to whose farm about sixty Yankee cavalry went, not long since, and took possession of every house on the premises but one, tied their horses in the beautiful yard, cooked, and caused the servants to cook, everything in the house of which they desired to eat, tore down the yard, garden, and field fences, fed their horses on a part of the old gentleman’s cats, and then left, carrying off nearly all the bacon he had, being some three or four thousand pounds; and all this for no cause, save that this aged man of God dared to pray for the blessing of God on these Confederate States. These are not isolated cases, ‘”for,”’ says my informant, ‘”foraging and marauding parties are broadcast over the land, stealing and plundering the barns, smoke-houses, and fields of everything, while the negroes are going off by scores and hundreds, menacing and insulting their owners before leaving.”’ And now, as a son of Eastern North Carolina, and of the glorious old county of Gates, I ask, in the name of that outraged people, how long shall they be thus insulted and menaced with contestation and imprisonment ! How long shall the hoary hairs of our fathers be subjected to abuse and injury ? How long shall the wives, the daughters, the mothers, and sisters of the noble sons of Eastern North Carolina, that have so freely shed their blood in defence of our sunny South, be left to themselves to undergo the present trials and outrages heaped upon them by their almost savage foe? Oh! how long shall the sons of that glorious old North State, that’s now suffering on the war-tented field, be compelled, with heart-burnings, to stand and see the desecration of their ‘”homes and their fires and green graves of their sires,”’ and not be permitted to strike?–May I not ask that some of North Carolina’s sons be sent to their own State to die, if need be, or revenge the wrongs of those they most love? This Government owes Eastern North Carolina protection, and, from its vast resources, we know it is able to pay the debt. We believe it will do it. We shall see. A Soldier Friend.

Source: Editors Dispatch, Richmond Daily Dispatch, August 8, 1862 (link)