Eddie Inman –Shared on Southern Heritage Preservation Group…
Many of the men from Haywood County (current location of Confederate flag controversy) served in the 26th NC. This is what the regiment's leader, Col. John R. Lane, spoke of them at the 1903 Gettysburg reunion --
“Pardon my pride--I do not ask you to pardon my loving remembrance of them, and the tears that gather in my heart and rise to my eyes--but pardon my pride, when I say a finer body of men never gathered for battle.
May I mention some of the things that went to make them good soldiers? In the first place the soldiers came of good blood. I do not mean that their parents were aristocratic--far from it; many of them never owned a slave. They were the great middle class that owned small farms in central and western North Carolina; who earned their living with honest sweat and owed not any man.
They were good honest American stock, their blood untainted with crime, their eyes not dimmed by vice.. These boys had grown up on the farm and were of magnificent physique. Their life between the plow handles, and wielding the axe had made them strong. They had chased the fox and the deer over hill and valley and had gained great power of endurance that scorned winter's cold--or the parching heat of a July sun. Again these men, many of them without much schooling, were intelligent, and their life on the farm, and in the woods had taught them to be observant and self-reliant.
They were quick to see, quick to understand, quick to act. Again, every man to them had been trained from boyhood to shoot a rifle with precision. Gen.. Pettigrew, observing the deadly execution of the muskets on this field, remarked that the Twenty-sixth shot as if shooting squirrels. Again these men were patriots; they loved their country, they loved liberty. Their forefathers had fought the British at King's Mountain and Guilford Court House. They had grown up to love and cherish their noble deeds.
Now every man of them was convinced that the cause for which he was fighting was just; he believed that he owed allegiance first to his home and his State. He was standing to combat an unjust invader. Finally, these men had native courage--not the loud mouthed courage of the braggart--but the quiet, unfaltering courage that caused them to advance in the face of a murderous fire. The men of this regiment would never endure an officer who cowered in battle. They demanded in the officer the same courage they manifested themselves; they would endure no domineering, they would suffer no driving.”