19 August 1863: “…Governors of N.C. had always claimed & exercised the exclusive right of appointing its line officers & did not recognize the reviewing authority of the C. S. …”

Item description: Letter, dated 19 August 1863, from Col. William Cox to William A. Graham.  Cox relates a story of confusion and dissent over the command of a regiment, calling into question the authority of the Confederate Department of War to appoint officers in North Carolina troops.

[Item transcription available below images]

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Item citation: From folder 204 of the William A. Graham papers #285, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Camp near Orange C. H. Va.

Aug. 19th 1863.

Hon. Wm. A. Graham,

Hillsboro, NC.


Upon this resignation of a Captain in the Regt. & upon the representations of Col. [?] that the 1st Lt. of the company was unfit for pro-motion, Gov. Clark appointed & duly commissioned the 1st 2nd Lt. as Captain of the same.

The defeated party appealed to the Governor for redress who declin-ed to reconsider his action & there the matter rested until the Battle of Sharpsburg, when Col. [?] was killed & the said Lt. taken prisoner,  After being paroled, he re-mained in Richmond upon Surgeon’s Certificate & finally by permission of the Sectry of War, until early in Jany 1863.  When he returned with an order from Adj. Genl. Cooper stating that he was entitled to the Captaincy of the company.  Col. Benjamin who was thus in command of the Regt. refused to recog-nies him as such, as a recognition would invalidate the Commissions of all the officers of this Regt. as we are commissioned alone by the Governor of N.C. The Lt. was, however, permitted to return to Richmond & soon after Col. Benjamin’s resignations an inquiry was forwarded by Adj. Gen. Cooper desiring to know why the order of the Presid’t was not obeyed? I replied that the “Ten Regt. State Troops” being formed originally for the War, the same rules did not apply to them as did to the 12 months men whereupon the Sec. of War returned the Lt. to duty & ordered that if any doubts existed as to his qualifications for the Captaincy a Board should be called to decide the matter.  Maj. Hurt then being in command of the Regt. de-clined to obey the order & upon re-turning to the Regt. recently, I had the correspondence between the Lt. with War Dept. in which the matter had been referred to the President who endorsed that a “question of authority is presen-ted to which attention is directed, the law of promotion governs” & the Sectry inquired why the order of the Dept had not been obeyed? I replied, that I was advised that the “Ten Regts of N.C. State Troops” were transferred to the Confederacy “with their organization” that the Governors of N.C. had always claimed & exercised the exclusive right of appointing its line officers & did not recognize the reviewing authority of the C. S. & that I respectfully requested that the matter might be finally adjusted between the Confed-erate & State authorities so that my du-ties might be clearly printed out.

I have been thus minute in the details of this case in order to print out the the question at issue & not knowing but that the Dept. may refuse to further confer with the Governor of N.C. on the subject I respectfully inquire of you as one of the commissioners appointed by the Convention to turn over the troops to the Confederate States, who then the right of appointing its line officers was reserved to N.C.?  Not being able to procure the articles of transfer, you must pardon me for troubling you with this matter.

Hoping that it will be convenient for you to answer this note.

I am Governor

With high regard. Yr. obt. servt.

Wm. R. Cox Col. 2nd N.C.T.

Ramseurs Brigade Rodes Division

Orange C.H. Va. W.R.C.

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