Documenting the American South Logo
Title: Letter from Edward H. Armstrong to Thomas G. Armstrong, April 20, 1861: Electronic Edition.
Author: Armstrong, Edward Hall, 1841-1864
Editor: Erika Lindemann
Funding from the State Library of North Carolina supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Erika Lindemann
Images scanned by Mara E. Dabrishus
Text encoded by Amanda Page
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 18K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-05-19, Amanda Page finished TEI/XML encoding.
Part of a series:
This transcribed document is part of a digital collection, titled True and Candid Compositions: The Lives and Writings of Antebellum Students in North Carolina
written by Lindemann, Erika
Title of collection: Julien Dwight Martin, Collector, Papers (#3639-z), Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Letter from Edward H. Armstrong to Thomas G. Armstrong, April 20, 1861
Author: Armstrong, Edward Hall, 1841-1864
Description: 4 pages, 4 page images
Note: Call number 3639-z (Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
Topics covered:
Politics and Government/Government and Governing Bodies
Examples of Student Writing/Letters
War/Civil War
Editorial practices
The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 5 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
Transcript of the personal correspondence. Originals are in the Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved.
DocSouth staff created a 600 dpi uncompressed TIFF file for each image. The TIFF images were then saved as JPEG images at 100 dpi for web access.
Page images can be viewed and compared in parallel with the text.
Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
Letters, words and passages marked as deleted or added in originals have been encoded accordingly.
All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as ".
All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as '.
All em dashes are encoded as —.
Indentation in lines has not been preserved.

For more information about transcription and other editorial decisions, see Dr. Erika Lindemann's explanation under the section Editorial Practices.

Document Summary

Armstrong describes for his father watching the Orange Guards leave Hillsborough, NC, with a new nine-star flag recognizing Virginia and North Carolina's secession; he requests permission to enlist in the Confederate army.
Letter from Edward H. Armstrong to Thomas G. Armstrong, April 20, 18611
Armstrong, Edward Hall, 1841-1864

Page 1
Chapel Hill
Saturday Apr 20th 1861

Dear Pa

To day again I went to the office, but no letter was there to cheer my spirits, by telling me to come home and hasten to the war. I was anxiously expecting one, and the disapointment went quite hard. The Orange Guards left Hillsboro this morning, and I am told that there were few dry eyes in the crowd congregated to see them depart. There was parting with wives and children fathers and brothers, and with some no doubt a parting for the last time. There was a flag raising here to day. The ladies of the place made and put up the Flag. The citizens raised the pole in which

Page 2
I had the pleasure of assisting. Two young ladies made speaches and were followe by the following noted gentlemen, S. F. [Samuel Field] Phillipps , Capt Ashe , Gov Swain and Sidney Smith , together with quite a number of Students. Gov Swain in alluding to the war said that the south was invincible by any force that our enemies can send against us. He thought that further blood shed2 could be avoided, by every man in the South shouldering his musket. Lincoln would then see our strength and would know that it would be useless to attempt to coerce us. Such being the case I beg you to let me be one to proceed to Federal Point,3 and frighten Lincoln out of his witts, if possible and if the Gov's prediction should

Page 3
prove untrue and war should actually be necessary, I should be happy to bear a part, humble though it be, in defense of my country. The flag raised to day contained nine stars, the last two in honor of Virginia and N. C.4 This is probably the first flag raised, on which N Carolina has been numbered with the seceeding states. God grant that she may soon take her place among her southern sisters in reality. News from Maryland states that, the citizens of Baltimore yesterday attacked the Seventh regiment of N. Y. which was proceeding to Washington in answer to Lincoln's call. reports says that about 14 were killed.
Thank the lord that Maryland has yet some patriots left within her borders, who will oppose aggression

Page 4
to the death, although she is presided ofer by the traiterous Hicks.5 I learn even while6 writing that Lincoln has taken Genl Scott prisoner because he was going to side with the south, and had thrown up his commission, and has him now in Prison. This is fine treatment to give that old veteran who has fought and bled in defence of his country. There was also a skirmish yesterday at Harpers Ferry. Major Lilly of Virginia 7 who lives near there is here now on his way to take charge of his company. Two Thousand South Carolineans are now on their way to Norfolk to aid the virginians in taking fort Monroe. Can I stay here and pretend to study, when I am continually hearing news from the war and when my country needs8
Apr 21st since writing this letter I have heard that fortress monroe is taken, that Gov Ellis has caled out thirty thousand troops.9 There is a company formin[g] here to go to Washington City, composed of students. As my state needs my services I shall not volunteer. Please write to Capt Cowan immediately and see if he will except me. I am copelled to go somewhere.
Another of my classmates Lyon of Edgecombe leaves tomorrow morning. Several will leave during the week.


1. Julien Dwight Martin Papers, SHC. The letter is unsigned and breaks off after the word "needs," which appears at the end of the folio. A typed transcript of the letter contains the following address: "Thos G. Armstrong Esq/ Rocky Point/ New Hanover Co/ N. C."

2. A line break divides blood and shed, but no hyphen separates the two words.

3. A geographical projection at the southern tip of New Hanover County, NC, between the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean.

4. Virginia formally seceded from the Union on April 17, 1861; North Carolina, on May 20, 1861.

5. Gov. Thomas Holliday Hicks (1798-1865) refused to call a special session of the Maryland legislature because he feared it would vote for secession.

6. Armstrong wrote while on top of several unrecovered characters.

7. Probably Robert Doak Lilley (1836-86).

8. The letter, written in ink, breaks off at this point. The subsequent two paragraphs were written in pencil at the top and in the left margin respectively of the first page.

9. On April 17, 1861, Gov. John W. Ellis called for a special session of the legislature to consider North Carolina's secession from the Union. In anticipation of the legislature's formal vote, he ordered "the taking of forts, arsenals, and other property of the Federal government located in North Carolina in the name of the state" and promised the Confederate secretary of war a regiment of volunteers (Powell, North Carolina through Four Centuries 346). Fort Monroe in southeast Virginia commanded the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads; it was held by Union troops throughout the Civil War.