Civil War’s 150th Anniversary Remembered In Raleigh At Capitol

On May 20, 1861, North Carolina seceded from the Union to join the Confederate States of America.  History came alive as the State Capitol in Raleigh commemorated the anniversary of the secession vote. Photos by The Raleigh Telegram.

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Civil War’s 150th Anniversary Remembered In Raleigh At Capitol

 

By The Raleigh Telegram

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

 

RALEIGH - On May 20, 1861, North Carolina seceded from the Union to join the Confederate States of America.  Over the weekend of the 21st, history came alive as the NC Museum of History and the State Capitol in Raleigh commemorated the 150th anniversary of North Carolina’s secession vote.

 

The Museum of History has a new small exhibit titled “North Carolina and the Civil War: The Breaking Storm, 1861-1862,” which is located within the museum’s military history gallery.

 

Civil War artifacts include the Confederate first national flag of the 33rd Regiment N.C. Volunteers, 1861-1862; and an M1833 dragoon saber and scabbard used by Zebulon B. Vance, colonel of the 26th Regiment N.C. Troops and later the state’s wartime governor. A bugle, snare drum, banjo and flugelhorn are among the musical instruments on exhibit.   

 

The series’ second exhibit, debuting in 2013, will focus on the year 1863. The final installation, opening in 2014, highlights the last engagements of 1864-1865 and postwar consequences.

 

NC Capitol Grounds

 

According to the contemporary accounts of May 20, 1861, recount that after the unanimous vote to secede from the union, someone dropped a handkerchief from the Capitol’s west portico to signal to the crowd below that North Carolina had seceded and joined the Confederacy.

 

Major Stephen Dodson Ramseur’s artillery unit, which was posted on the grounds for the occasion, announced the historic moment by firing its cannons.

 

During the living history event last week, approximately 100 re-enactors from the 26th Regiment N.C. Troops portrayed Maj. Ramseur’s battery and re-enacted an infantry drill and rifle-fire during the war.   In addition, a re-enactor played the part of a legislator dropping the handkerchief from the balcony.

 

Lectures were given on the Capitol grounds about the state’s military organization, war flags, and the early uniforms and equipment of both North Carolina and Union soldiers. Also, some facsimile cannons that were similar to North Carolina’s Ordinance of Secession were on display outside the Capitol.

 

Re-enactors in period clothing talked to visitors about life during the war.  Sleeping in tents, cooking food over fires, and entrusting their medical care to field doctors with only the most basic of tools meant that life for foot soldiers on both sides of the Civil War was a grueling marathon.

 

North Carolina sent more troops than any other state in the Confederacy to fight in the Civil War.

 

 

:: END

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