"Prince of Politicians"
(27 July 1812 – 3 November 1897)
"Do us justice and we stand with you; attempt to trample on us and we separate." Thomas
Clingman to the United States Congress
Senate Years of Service: 1858-1861
|Thomas Lanier Clingman
|Library of Congress Picture
CLINGMAN, Thomas Lanier,
a Representative and a Senator from North Carolina; born in Huntsville, N.C., July 27, 1812; educated by private tutors
and in the public schools in Iredell County, N.C.; graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1832;
studied law; admitted to the bar in 1834 and began practice in Huntsville, N.C.; elected to the State house of commons in
1835; moved to Asheville, Buncombe County, N.C., in 1836; member, State senate 1840; elected as a Whig to the Twenty-eighth
Congress (March 4, 1843-March 3, 1845); unsuccessful candidate for reelection to the Twenty-ninth Congress; elected as a Whig
to the Thirtieth and to the five succeeding Congresses and served from March 4, 1847, to May 7, 1858, when he resigned to
become Senator; chairman, Committee on Public Expenditures (Thirtieth Congress), Committee on Foreign Affairs (Thirty-fifth
Congress); appointed as a Democrat to the United States Senate on May 6, 1858, to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation
of Asa Biggs; reelected in 1861 and served from May 7, 1858, to March 28, 1861, when he withdrew; expelled from the Senate
in 1861 for support of the rebellion; chairman, Committee on Revolutionary Claims (Thirty-fifth Congress);
during the Civil War was a brigadier general and commanded Clingman's Brigade in the Confederate Army; explored and measured mountain peaks; died in
Morganton, Burke County, N.C., on November 3, 1897; interment in Riverside Cemetery, Asheville, N.C.; Clingman's Dome was named in honor of Thomas Lanier Clingman.
Thomas Clingman's Confederate Service : Narrative
"I regret this assault more than any one I ever ordered." General U. S. Grant after the Confederates
routed the Union forces at Cold Harbor
Clingman was an ardent lawyer, Fire-Eater, and one
of the most outspoken politicians of his era. His proslavery and states' rights positions climaxed with his quote to
Congress, "Do us justice and we stand with you; attempt to trample on us and we separate!" He initially
commanded the 25th North Carolina Infantry Regiment and subsequently Clingman's Brigade. General Robert E. Lee's trust and esteem for Clingman were vividly reflected when Lee ordered Clingman
to defend Richmond, Virginia. Later, at Lee's request, General Clingman and his "Bonnie Blue Boys" greatly
assisted in routing the Union forces at the Battle of Cold Harbor, Virginia. General Ulysses S. Grant was a West Point graduate and veteran
of the Mexican-American War, and he wrote of Cold Harbor, "I regret this assault more than any one I ever ordered." General Grant was elected the Eighteenth
President of the United States. Clingman's principal services were witnessed
in: the defense of Goldsboro; defense of Sullivan's island and Battery Wagner during the attack on Charleston; the attack
on New Bern in February 1864; the defeat of Butler at Drewry's bluff, May 1864; the Battle of Cold Harbor, where he was wounded;
the repulse of the Federal attack on Petersburg, June 17th, and the battle on the Weldon railroad, August 19th. In the latter fight, he was severely wounded and was unable
to rejoin his command until a few days before the surrender at Greensboro. After the war, he was a delegate to the national
Democratic convention of 1864. Clingman was a contemporary and dear friend with the only white Cherokee Chief, William Holland Thomas. Thomas was a senator and during the Civil
War commanded Thomas'
Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders.
of American Biography; Jeffrey, Thomas. ‘Thunder From the Mountains: Thomas Lanier Clingman and the End of Whig
Supremacy in North Carolina.’ North Carolina Historical Review 56 (October 1979): 366-95; Kruman, Marc. ‘Thomas
L. Clingman and the Whig Party: A Reconsideration.’ North Carolina Historical Review 64 (January 1987): 1-18;
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies; National Archives and Records
Recommended Reading: Clingman's
Brigade in the Confederacy. Description: On November 11, 1862, Brigadier General Thomas Lanier
Clingman, despite a lack of formal military training, was named commander of four regiments sent to the eastern counties of
North Carolina to prevent Federal troops from making further inroads into the state. Clingman has been called one of North
Carolina’s most colorful and controversial statesmen, but his military career received little attention from his contemporaries
and has been practically ignored by later historians. Like Clingman, the brigade, composed of the 8th, 31st, 51st, and 61st
regiments of North Carolina Infantry, has been both praised and condemned for its performance in battle. Continued below...
Reading: Civil War High Commands (1040 pages: Hardcover). Description: Based on nearly five
decades of research, this magisterial work is a biographical register and analysis of the people who most directly influenced
the course of the Civil War, its high commanders. Numbering 3,396, they include the presidents and their cabinet members,
state governors, general officers of the Union and Confederate armies (regular, provisional,
volunteers, and militia), and admirals and commodores of the two navies. Civil War High Commands will
become a cornerstone reference work on these personalities and the meaning of their commands, and on the Civil War itself.
Errors of fact and interpretation concerning the high commanders are legion in the Civil War literature, in reference works
as well as in narrative accounts. Continued below...
The present work brings together for the first time in
one volume the most reliable facts available, drawn from more than 1,000 sources and including the most recent research. The
biographical entries include complete names, birthplaces, important relatives, education, vocations, publications, military
grades, wartime assignments, wounds, captures, exchanges, paroles, honors, and place of death and interment. In addition to its main component, the biographies, the volume also
includes a number of essays, tables, and synopses designed to clarify previously obscure matters such as the definition of
grades and ranks; the difference between commissions in regular, provisional, volunteer, and militia services; the chronology
of military laws and executive decisions before, during, and after the war; and the geographical breakdown of command structures.
The book is illustrated with 84 new diagrams of all the insignias used throughout the war and with 129 portraits of the most
important high commanders.
Recommended Reading: Confederate Military History Of North
Carolina In The Civil War, 1861-1865. Description: The author, Prof. D. H. Hill, Jr., was the son of Lieutenant General Daniel Harvey Hill (North Carolina produced
only two lieutenant generals and it was the second highest rank in the army) and his mother was the sister to General “Stonewall”
Jackson’s wife. In Confederate Military History Of North Carolina,
Hill discusses North Carolina’s massive task of preparing and mobilizing for the conflict; the many regiments and battalions
recruited from the Old North State; as well as the state's numerous contributions during the war. Continued below...
Heel State study, the reader begins with
interesting and thought-provoking statistical data regarding the 125,000 "Old
North State" soldiers that fought
during the course of the war and the 40,000 that perished. Hill advances with the Tar Heels to the first battle at Bethel, through numerous bloody campaigns and battles--including North Carolina’s
contributions at the "High Watermark" at Gettysburg--and concludes with Lee's surrender at
Reading: The Life of Johnny
Reb: The Common Soldier of the Confederacy (444 pages) (Louisiana State University
Press) (Updated edition: November 2007) Description: The Life of Johnny Reb
does not merely describe the battles and skirmishes fought by the Confederate foot soldier. Rather, it provides an intimate
history of a soldier's daily life--the songs he sang, the foods he ate, the hopes and fears he experienced, the reasons he
fought. Wiley examined countless letters, diaries, newspaper accounts, and official records to construct this frequently poignant,
sometimes humorous account of the life of Johnny Reb. In a new foreword for this updated edition, Civil War expert James I.
Robertson, Jr., explores the exemplary career of Bell Irvin Wiley, who championed the common folk, whom he saw as ensnared
in the great conflict of the 1860s. Continued below...
"A Civil War
classic."--Florida Historical Quarterly
deserves to be on the shelf of every Civil War modeler and enthusiast."--Model Retailer
painted with skill a picture of the life of the Confederate private. . . . It is a picture that is not only by far the most
complete we have ever had but perhaps the best of its kind we ever shall have."--Saturday Review of Literature
Reading: The Fighting Men of the Civil War, by William
C. Davis (Author), Russ A. Pritchard (Author). Description: "A
must for any Civil War library!" The sweeping histories of the War Between the States often overlook the men in whose blood
that history was written. This account goes a long way toward redressing the balance in favor of the men in the ranks. The
reader follows the soldiers from enlistment and training to campaigning. Attention is also given to oft-forgotten groups such
as the sailors and black troops. Continued below...
No effort has
been spared to include rare war era photographs and color photos of rare artifacts. Engagingly written by William C. Davis,
the author of more than thirty books on the American Civil War. Award winning author and historian James M. McPherson states:
"The most readable, authoritative, and beautifully designed illustrated history
of the American Civil War."
Reading: Hardtack & Coffee or The Unwritten Story of Army Life. Description: Most histories of the Civil War focus on battles and top brass.
Hardtack and Coffee is one of the few to give a vivid, detailed picture of what ordinary soldiers endured every day—in
camp, on the march, at the edge of a booming, smoking hell. John D. Billings of Massachusetts
enlisted in the Army of the Potomac and survived the hellish conditions as a “common
foot soldier” of the American Civil War. "Billings describes an insightful account of the conflict – the experiences of every
day life as a common foot-soldier – and a view of the war that is sure to score with every buff."
The authenticity of his book is heightened by the many drawings that a comrade, Charles W. Reed, made while in the field.
This is the story of how the Civil War soldier was recruited, provisioned, and disciplined. Continued below...
are the types of men found in any outfit; their not very uniform uniforms; crowded tents and makeshift shelters; difficulties
in keeping clean, warm, and dry; their pleasure in a cup of coffee; food rations, dominated by salt pork and the versatile
cracker or hardtack; their brave pastimes in the face of death; punishments for various offenses; treatment in sick bay; firearms
and signals and modes of transportation. Comprehensive and anecdotal, Hardtack and Coffee is striking for the pulse of life
that runs through it.