Governor Vance Proclamation
|Gov. Zeb Vance
|Governor Zebulon Vance
The "Hideous Mark" to be fixed
on Cowards and Traitors to
THE FRIENDS OF THE UNION TO BE
Woe to the Men who Refuse
to Fight for the South.
THE FATHER OR THE BROTHER WHO
HARBORS OR ENCORAGES A
DESERTER TO BE SHOT.
Union Men not to be believed
on oath when the "South"
Union Men to be "Hustled"
from the Polls.
THE PEOPLE CALLED UPON TO ARREST
AND SHOOT DESERTERS.
BY THE GOVERNOR OF NORTH-CAROLINA,
WHEREAS, I HAVE LEARNED WITH great pain that there have been lately numerous
desertions from the ranks of our gallant army and that there are many persons in the country who incite and encourage these
desertions and harbor and conceal these misguided men at home, instead of encouraging them to return to duty :
Now therefore, I ZEBULON B. VANCE, Governor of the State of North-Carolina,
do issue this my proclamation, commanding all such evil disposed persons to desist from such base, cowardly and treasonable
conduct, and warning them that they will subject themselves to indictment and punishment in the civil courts of the Confederacy,
as well as to the everlasting contempt and detestation of all good an honorable men.
Certainly no crime could be greater, no cowardice more abject, no treason
more base, than for a citizen of the State, enjoying its privileges and protection without sharing its dangers, to persuade
those who have had the courage to go forth in defence of their country, vilely to desert the colors which they have sworn
to uphold, when a miserable death or a vile and ignominious existence must be the inevitable consequences. No plea can excuse
it. The father or the brother who does it should be shot instead of his deluded victim, for he deliberately destroys the soul
and manhood of his own flesh and blood.--And the same is done by him who habors any
conceals the deserter. For who can respect either the one or the other? What honest man will ever wish or permit his own brave
sons or patriotic daughters, who bore their parts with credit in this great struggle for independence, to associate even to
the third and fourth generations, with the vile wretch who skulked in the woods, or the still viler coward who aided him,
while his bleeding country was calling in vain for his help? Both are enemies--dangerous enemies to their country, before
whom our open foes will be infinitely preferred. Both are foes to their own kindred and noble countrymen who are electrifying
the world by their gallant deeds, and pouring out their blood upon the field of battle to protect those very men who are sapping
the vitals of our strength. And woe unto you, deserters, and your aiders and abettors, when peace being made and independence
secured, these brave comrades whom ye have deserted in the hour of their trial shall return honored and triumphant to their
homes! Ye that hide your guilty faces by day, and prowl like outlaws about by night, robbing the wives and mothers of your
noble defenders of their little means, while they are far away facing the enemy, do you think ye can escape a just and damning
vengeance when the day of reconning comes? And ye that shelter[,] conceal, and
feed these miserable depredators and stimulate them to their deeds, think you that ye will be spared? Nay! rest assured, observing
and never failing eyes have marked you, every one. And when the overjoyed wife welcomes once more her brave and honored husband
to his home, and tells him how in the long years of his absence, in the lonly hours of the night, ye
who had been his comrades rudely entered her house, robbed her and her children of their bread, and heaped insults and indignities
upon her defenceless head, the wrath of that heroic husband will make you regret in the bittereess
of your cowardly terror that you were ever born. Instead of a few scattered militia, the land will be full of veteran soldiers,
before whose honest faces you will not have courage to raise your eyes from the earth. If permitted to live in the State at
all you will be infamous. You will be hustled from the polls, insulted in the streets, a jury of your countrymen will
not believe you on oath, and honest men everywhere will shun you as a pestilence; for he who lacks courage and patriotism
can have no other good quality or redeeming virtue. Though many of you rejected the pardon heretofore offered you, and I am
now not authorized to promise it, yet I am assured that no man will be shot who shall voluntarily return to duty. This is
the only chance to redeem yourselves from the disgrace and ignominy which you are incurring.
Again our troops have met the enemy and a great and glorious victory has
been won. But several thousand of our soldiers fell in achieving it for us. Every man is needed to replace the gallant dead,
and preserve an unbroken front to our still powerful enemy. Unless desertion is prevented our strength must depart from our
armies, and desertion can never be stopped while either through a falese and mistaken sympathy or downright
disloyalty, they receive any countenance or protection at home. I therefore appeal to all good citizens and true patriots
in the State to assist my officers in arresting deserters, and to frown down all those who aid and assist them. Place the
brand upon them and make them feel the scorn and contempt of an outraged people. Unless the good and patriotic all over the
land arise as one man to arrest this dangerous evil, it may grow until our army is well nigh ruined. The danger of starvation
having happily passed away--the approaching and apparently bounteous harvest giving evidence of ample supplies for the coming
year--our great army in Virginia again jubilant over a mighty victory--I am well assured that our danger now lies in the disorganization
produced by desertion. You can arrest it, my countrymen, if you will but make a vigerous effort, if
you will but bring to bear the weight of a great, a patriotic and united community in aid of our authorities.
[L. S.] In witness whereof, ZEBULON B. VANCE, Governor, Captain General
and Commander-in-Chief, hath signed these presents and caused the great seal of the State to be affixed.
Done at the City of Raleigh, this 11th day of May, A. D., 1863.
Z. B. VANCE.
By the Governor:
R. H. BATTLE, Jr,
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely
by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.
Recommended Reading: Zeb
Vance: North Carolina's Civil War Governor and Gilded Age Political Leader (Hardcover) (528 pages) (The
University of North Carolina Press). Description: In
this comprehensive biography of the man who led North Carolina
through the Civil War and, as a U.S. senator from 1878 to 1894, served as the state's
leading spokesman, Gordon McKinney presents Zebulon Baird Vance (1830-94) as a far more complex figure than has been previously
recognized. Vance campaigned to keep North Carolina in the
Union, but after Southern troops fired on Fort Sumter,
he joined the army and rose to the rank of colonel. He was viewed as a champion of individual rights and enjoyed great popularity
among voters. Continued below.
But McKinney demonstrates that Vance was not as progressive as earlier biographers suggest. Vance was a tireless advocate for white
North Carolinians in the Reconstruction
Period, and his policies and positions often favored the rich and powerful. McKinney provides significant new information about Vance's third governorship, his senatorial career, and his role in the
origins of the modern Democratic Party in North
Carolina. This new biography offers the fullest, most complete
understanding yet of a legendary North
Reading: They Went into the Fight Cheering:
Confederate Conscription in North Carolina. Description: They Went Into The Fight Cheering focuses on the inner
workings of conscription and its related enforcement in North Carolina. It is meticulously researched and presents the often
overlooked aspect of troop procurement by the Confederacy in North Carolina as initial enlistment periods expired. The discussion
of conscription (and desertion) in this book does not besmirch the honor of southern soldiers. Continued below…
book, They Went into the Fight Cheering, is a fascinating read on the North Carolinian and conscription during the War Between
the States. Much has been written on the New York City draft riots and on the bounty jumpers of the north, but here is a factual
and well documented history of how North Carolina, a late secession state, grappled with the effects of compulsory military
service. Hilderman draws from a vast resource – the soldiers’ actual letters – to enable the reader to experience
the war from the soldier's perspective. Be they volunteers or conscripts, after reading this book, there should be no question
as to the bravery of the Tar Heel
State’s soldiers. Hailed by many and criticized
by others, it is, however a well written and balanced work. It is also a refreshing study that brings balance to the immense
volumes that have previously presented history as either black or white. They Went into the Fight Cheering is a welcome addition
to personal, school and community library Civil War and North Carolina history collections.
Reading: War Governor of the South: North Carolina's
Zeb Vance in the Confederacy (New Perspectives
on the History of the South) (Hardcover: 288 pages) (University Press of Florida). Description: Zebulon B. Vance, governor of North
Carolina during the devastating years of the Civil War, has long sparked controversy
and spirited political comment among scholars. He has been portrayed as a loyal Confederate, viciously characterized as one
of the principal causes of the Confederate defeat, and called “the Lincoln of the South.” Joe A. Mobley clarifies
the nature of Vance’s leadership, focusing on the young governor’s commitment to Southern independence, military
and administrative decisions, and personality clashes with President Jefferson Davis. Continued below…
As a confirmed
Unionist before the outbreak of the war, Vance endorsed secession reluctantly. Elected governor in 1862, Vance managed to
hold together the state, which was divided over support for the war and for a central government in Richmond.
Mobley reveals him as a man conflicted by his prewar Unionist beliefs and the necessity to lead the North Carolina war effort
while contending with widespread fears created by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and such issues as the role of
women in the war, lawlessness and desertion among the troops, the importance of the state’s blockade-runners, and the
arrival of Sherman’s troops. While the governor’s temperament and sensitivity to any perceived slight to him -
or his state - made negotiations between Raleigh and Richmond
difficult; Mobley shows that in the end, Vance fully supported the attempt to achieve southern independence.
Reading: Desertion during the
Civil War (251 pages) (University
of Nebraska Press). Description:
Desertion during the Civil War, originally published in 1928, remains the only book-length treatment of its
subject. Ella Lonn examines the causes and consequences of desertion from both the Northern and Southern armies. Drawing on
official war records, she notes that one in seven enlisted Union soldiers and one in nine Confederate soldiers deserted. Lonn
discusses many reasons for desertion common to both armies, among them lack of such necessities as food, clothing, and equipment;
weariness and discouragement; noncommitment and resentment of coercion; and worry about loved ones at home. Some Confederate
deserters turned outlaw, joining ruffian bands in the South. Peculiar to the North was the evil of bounty-jumping. Continued
generally were not shot or hanged because manpower was so precious. Moving beyond means of dealing with absconders, Lonn considers
the effects of their action. Absenteeism from the ranks cost the North victories and prolonged the war even as the South was
increasingly hurt by defections. This book makes vivid a human phenomenon produced by a tragic time. About the Author: Ella Lonn (1879–1962) was a professor at Goucher College and the author of six histories of the South and the Civil War. Introducing
this first-ever paperback edition is William Blair, an assistant professor of history at the University
of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Recommended Reading: More Damning than Slaughter:
Desertion in the Confederate Army (Hardcover). Description:
More Damning than Slaughter is the first broad study of desertion in the Confederate army. Incorporating extensive archival
research with a synthesis of other secondary material, Mark A. Weitz confronts a question never fully addressed until now:
did desertion hurt the Confederacy? Continued below...
problems such as speculation, food and clothing shortages, conscription, taxation, and a pervasive focus on the protection
of local interests, desertion started as a military problem and spilled over into the civilian world. Fostered by a military
culture that treated ‘absenteeism leniently’ early in the war, desertion steadily increased and by 1863 reached
epidemic proportions. A Union policy that permitted Confederate deserters to swear allegiance to the Union and then return home encouraged
desertion. Equally important in persuading men to desert was the direct appeal from loved ones on the home front--letters
from wives begging soldiers to come home for harvests, births, and hardships. By 1864, deserter bands infested some portion
of every Confederate state. Preying on the civilian population, many of these bands--commonly referred to as irregular or
guerrilla units--frustrated virtually every effort to subdue them. Ultimately, desertion not only depleted the Confederate
army but also undermined civilian morale. By examining desertion, Weitz assesses how deteriorating southern civilian
morale and growing unwillingness to contribute goods and services to the war led to defeat.
Reading: North Carolinians in the Era
of the Civil War and Reconstruction (The University
of North Carolina Press). Description: Although North Carolina was a "home
front" state rather than a battlefield state for most of the Civil War, it was heavily involved in the Confederate war effort
and experienced many conflicts as a result. North Carolinians were divided over the issue
of secession, and changes in race and gender relations brought new controversy. Blacks fought for freedom, women sought greater
independence, and their aspirations for change stimulated fierce resistance from more privileged groups. Republicans and Democrats
fought over power during Reconstruction and for decades thereafter disagreed over the meaning of the war and Reconstruction.
by well-known historians as well as talented younger scholars, this volume offers new insights into all the key issues of
the Civil War era that played out in pronounced ways in the Tar Heel State.
In nine fascinating essays composed specifically for this volume, contributors address themes such as ambivalent whites, freed
blacks, the political establishment, racial hopes and fears, postwar ideology, and North Carolina women. These issues of the
Civil War and Reconstruction eras were so powerful that they continue to agitate North Carolinians today.