William Barber: 37th North Carolina Infantry Regiment

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Letter, William Barber to Lane Requesting
Recommendation for Promotion,
Nov. 1863

Camp of 37th N.C.T.
Nov 3rd '63 AD

General

From the intimate relations which have long existed between us, I thought I might approach you without indelicacy on a subject of interest to myself [primarily].  I think you will sustain me in the assertion that I have never once approached you, directly or indirectly on the subject of promotion, while many officers within your knowledge have been crazy on the subject who have not done 1/3 the service I have.  Gen Jordan & some officer friends of mine some time ago told me that they believe I could secure promotion if I would make the effort as they had heard Gen Hill speak of me in very high terms - in one conversation with another friend of mine Gen Hill expressed the opinion that "I was worthy of promotion and that he would like to see me promoted."  Learning this fact, Gen Jordan wrote
[Page 2]
a letter to Gen Hill in my behalf which I sent to Gen Hill a day or two since.  I have heard it stated that Gen Lee (I know not with what truth) has intimated that his divisions & Brigades were too large.  If this be true, it is probable that some more Brigadiers will be made.  I believe, Gen, a private letter from you to Gen Hill would go far to aid me as you know something of my character as a gentleman & officer.  I do not desire an official communication for reasons which you will [       ] appreciate.  Englehard, you are aware, is an arduous advocate of officers & were a communication to go thru that channel, his influence would be against me.  I know that Gen Hill is a friend to me & if he can do anything will gladly do it & a letter from my own Brigadier would be a good reason for him taking action.  This matter I communicate in writing & ask that you consider it personal so that if it fails it may not be a matter of comment
[Page 3]
among others.  If you think proper to write to Gen Hill, I will be obliged to you - But I do not desire you to do any thing against your judgment in this matter.  If you do not think me competent, I do not wish your personal friendship to lead you to recommend me against the dictates of your judgement.  You know that 2 officers here rank me & if you were promoted or killed the probabilities are very strong that one of them would be promoted.  Please consider this matter & act as your judgement dictates.
Your friend
William Barber

--Transcribed by Terri Stout-Stevens of Pffaftown, NC, August 2, 1999.  Edited and Posted by Marty Olliff, Assistant Archivist, Auburn University, who takes full responsibility for any errors

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Recommended Reading: The Thirty-seventh North Carolina Troops: Tar Heels in the Army of Northern Virginia, by Michael C. Hardy. Description: It vividly reflects the unit’s four years’ service, told largely in the soldiers’ own words. Drawn from letters, diaries, and postwar articles and interviews, this history of the 37th North Carolina follows the unit from its organization in November 1861 until its surrender at Appomattox. Continued below...
The book includes photographs of the key players in the 37th’s story as well as maps illustrating the unit’s position at several engagements. Appendices include a complete roster of the unit and a listing of individuals buried in large sites such as prison cemeteries. (Great for genealogy, too.) A bibliography and index are also included.

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