Thursday, April 11, 2013
Most of eastern North Carolina lay open to the Union troops from early 1862, and by degrees they stripped the entire region of everything of value that was moveable and whole shiploads of booty were sent north. New Bern-native Edward Stanly was appointed military governor by Lincoln in late May 1862 and sent to occupied Morehead City to govern his subjects, but even he lost hope of restoring the Tarheel State to the Union after watching shiploads of loot heading northward. He resigned his appointment a year later.
Stanly wrote: "Had the war in North Carolina been conducted by soldiers who were Christians and gentlemen, the State would have long ago rebelled against rebellion. But instead of that, what was done? Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of property were conveyed North. Libraries, pianos, carpets, mirrors, family portraits, everything in short, that could be removed, was stolen by men abusing flagitious slave holders and preaching liberty, justice and civilization.
I was informed that one regiment of abolitionists had conveyed North more than $40,000 worth of property. They literally robbed the cradle and the grave. Family burial vaults were broken open for robbery; and in one instance (the fact was published in a Boston newspaper and admitted to me by an officer of high position in the army) a vault was entered, a metallic coffin removed, and the remains cast out that those of a dead [northern] soldier might be put in the place.” (Hamilton, pp. 94-95)