North Carolina Voices

Secession and War

Gov. John W. Ellis"You will please accept my thanks for your interesting letter of the 20th inst[ant]. The great Step taken by your State on that day was duly telegraphed to this place, and though not unexpected, produced a profound Sensation. We felt a personal interest in your proceedings, as the Cause of South Carolina is the Cause of the South. As such it will be maintained and defended, though it be at the cost of the blood and treasure of the South. God grant that our deliverance be effected peaceably and without bloodshed, but if our enemies determine otherwise, then the responsibility be upon them. A people Struggling for freedom and the maintenance of honor cannot count the cost of their actions."
  John W. Ellis, Governor of North Carolina, to Robert N. Gourdin, member of the South Carolina Secession Convention, December 25, 1860. (Buy the Book)

"War Department April (15th)
Call made on you by tonight's mail for two (2) Regiments of Military for immediate Service.

Simon Cameron
Secretary of War"

"Hon. Simon Cameron
Secretary of War

Your dispatch is recd. and if genuine which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt I have to say in reply that I regard the levy of troops made by the Administration for the purpose of subjugating the States of the South, as in violation of the Constitution and a gross usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. I will reply more in detail when your call is received by mail.

John W. Ellis
Gov. of N.C.

"Whereas: By Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, followed by a requisition of Simon Cameron, Secretary of War, I am informed that the said Abraham Lincoln has made a call for 75,000 men to be employed for the invasion of the peaceful homes of the South . . . . And, whereas, this high-handed act of tyrranical outrage is not only in violation of all constitutional law . . . [but] conceived in a spirit of aggression . . . . Now, therefore, I . . . do hereby issue this, my Proclamation, notifying and requesting the Senators and Members of the House of Commons of the General Assembly of North-Carolina, to meet in a Special Session at the Capitol, in the City of Raleigh, on Wednesday the first day of May next . . . . United action in defense of the sovereignty of North Carolina, and of the rights of the South, becomes now the duty of all."
  John W. Ellis, Governor of North Carolina, from a Proclamation, April 17, 1861. (Buy the Book)

We, the people of the State of North Carolina . . . declare and ordain . . . that the ordinance adopted . . . in the convention of 1789, whereby the Constitution of the United States was ratified, and adopted, and also, all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly, ratifying and adopting ammendments to the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, rescinded, and abrogated . . . . the Union now subsisting between the State of North-Carolina and the other States, under the Title of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved, and . . . the State of North-Carolina is in the full possession and exercise of all those rights of sovereignty which belong and appertain to a free and independent State."
  Ordinance, From North Carolina's Ordinance of Secession, Raleigh, N.C., May 20, 1861.


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