Monuments are not ours to take

Who are we then to take away the honor they earned through blood. We didn’t bestowe it on them and we have no right to remove it. What we have been given is the sacred duty to protect and preserve this honor for future generations.”



When I pass the beautiful monuments on the Capitol grounds, I recognize that citizens of North Carolina deliberately placed these here to recognize the sacrifices and contributions of individuals or groups who made significant contributions to our state. The relative importance of these contributions to our contemporary lifestyle is not what matters. WE have surely moved beyond these foundational events to achieve even greater success for our citizens. What is important to me is that these monuments allow us to honor and respect those that came before us to help us be where we are today. We should collectively be able to see these monuments in a place of honor, in the public square, as a way to drive us forward to make our own contributions to society. Our citizens should be looking forward to find ways to improve our community. Looking backward and trying to edit the past to make it less painful does not in any way make our future more promising. If these statutes cause some of us pain, than that should be used as a catalyst for ideas to change the future, not whitewash the past.

When I look at the monuments on the Capitol grounds I see young men with purpose and honor in their lives, whether I’m looking at the Vietnam memorial, the WWI monuments or the Confederate monuments. I honestly don’t see white supremacists rallying modern day citizens to return to an antebellum culture of slavery. What I see are ordinary, scared, young farm boys who answered the call of their state to pick up arms in her defense.

Don’t forget, the Confederate Monument is dedicated to North Carolina Soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. North Carolinians that answered the request of their state leaders to serve honorably. How can our state leaders now ignore this honorable service by its citizens?

After suffering through four years of unimaginable hardship, danger and brutal war, these boys became the proud, honorable men that did their best and were honored for their achievements by their fellow citizens. Many went on to achieve great things for our state as leaders in the highest positions in both the private and public sectors.

20160407 FEW Confed Mem Day-16.JPG

If you take the time to walk through the solemn white Confederate headstones in Oakwood, ask yourself, how many of these soldiers, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice, actually owned a slave? The answer, for most, is that they didn’t!

Who are we then to take away the honor they earned through blood. We didn’t bestowe it on them and we have no right to remove it. What we have been given is the sacred duty to protect and preserve this honor for future generations.

As a taxpayer, I certainly think my money can be better spent than wasting it to appease a vocal minority. Please leave the Monuments alone. The law protects them, but more importantly it is our generation’s duty to protect them for the future.

submitted to the NC Historical Commision Monuments committee on 4/10/2018

Have you let the NC Historical Commision Monuments committee know how you feel about the proposal to remove monuments from the Capitol grounds? You have until Midnight on April 12th, 2018 to leave them your comments at the following link:


Meet Sergeant John Moore, Company B, 16th North Carolina.

By Frederick Walton, 6th NCST Historian

Meet Sergeant John Moore, Company B, 16th North Carolina. At least I think it’s John Moore, here’s why…

Sgt Willie Meadows- Co B

unidentified Early War Photo, mislabeled as Willie Meadows, Co. B., 6th NCST


When I first saw this photo last week it was identified as Sergeant Willie Meadows of Company B, 6th North Carolina State Troops.

(see Sergeant Willie Meadows ?? Company B- “Flat River Guards”)

This didn’t seem right to me for several reasons. First the uniform was unlike any I had seen in previous photos of 6th NCST soldiers. Secondly, although he has a “B” on his cap, the letters “MR” below it didn’t make sense to me. Company B was known as the “Flat River Guards”. The letters on his cap should be FRG rather than the “MR”.

Corp Joseph C. Allison Co B 6ncst copy

Flat River Guards- “FRG” Hat Brass (Corporal Joseph C. Allison, Co B, 6th NCST)

Most viewers were in agreement that the picture seemed to be an early war photo, but looking up Willie Meadows service record revealed that he didn’t make Sergeant until 1864, much too late to be considered an “early war” photo.

When expert Bob Williams identified the “MR” as the 6th North Carolina’s Madison Rangers, I was further confused because I didn’t think there was any company called the Madison Rangers in the 6TH N. C.

I was wrong!

A little more research revealed that the Madison Rangers was indeed the nickname of the 6th North Carolina’s company B… the 6th North Carolina VOLUNTEERS, that is. They became the 16th North Carolina Troops on November 14, 1861.

Now that I established that this was not Willie Meadows, I wondered if there was any way to find out who this young man was. I sought the answer by consulting the roster for Company B, 16th NCT and identifying the Sergeants listed. I reasoned that he had to be one of them. There were only 7 sergeants listed, and four of them were named John, so there is a better than 50 % chance that the guy in the photo is John somebody!

If we agree that this is an early war photo, we can eliminate three names that didn’t become Sergeant until Dec ‘62 or later.

  • John W. Randall, 20, Promoted Sgt- 1 May ’63 
  • John Callahan, 29, Promoted Sgt- 22 Mar ’64 
  • Zachariah Peek, 25, Promoted 1st Sgt- 12 Dec ’62 

The lad in the photo is clearly in his mid 20’s, so that eliminates Sergeant John Brown, age 51.

Our sergeant is missing the diamond of a 1st Sergeant, so that eliminates 1st Sergeant Ira J. Profit, age 27.

This leaves us with two remaining choices:

Moore, John A., 1st Lt.
Resided in Madison County and enlisted at age 25, April 29, 1861. Mustered in as Sergeant and was elected 1st Lt. on or about April 26, 1862. Present or accounted for until killed at Chancellorsville, Va. May 3, 1863.


Dalton, William A., Sergeant
Resided in Madison County where he enlisted on April 29, 1861. Mustered in as Sergeant but was reduced to rank of Corporal in September 1861-Feb 1863. Present or accounted for until captured in unspecified battle. Exchanged at Aiken’s Landing, James River, Va., Sept. 7, 1862. Reported AWOL from Nov. 11, 1862 through Aug 31, 1863. Reduced to Ranks prior to Sept 1, 1863. Company records do not indicate whether he ever returned to duty, however he DESERTED to the Yankees prior to March 5, 1865 when he took the Oath of allegiance at Louisville, Kentucky.

Hero or Traitor

Does the sincere face ln the photo look like a hero or a traitor? No disrespect meant to Sergeant Dalton, but, gee whiz, he seems to have a very spotty service record. Who knows what demons he faced during his service, but….AWOL? Desertion?

Whereas Sergeant Moore’s record is exemplary, including the fact that he made the ultimate sacrifice. So wouldn’t it be nice to remember him! That’s one reason I choose him.

Another reason is simple statistics. When 4 out of 7 sergeants are named John…well you can’t go wrong picking John, can you?

But the final data has nothing to do with something as arbitrary as personal feelings or as cold as statistics. What if we had a description? William Dalton has one in his compiled service record from his Oath of Allegiance:


Complexion: Fair
Hair: Light
Eyes: Blue
Height: 6’ 3”” (Wow! a giant!)

This doesn’t match our photo at all:

Sgt Willie Meadows- Co B

Sergeant John Moore, Co. B, Madison Rangers, 6th North Carolina Volunteers (16th NCT)

Complexion: dark (albeit with rosy cheeks)
Hair: Dark
Eyes: dark
Height: guessing about 5’11’’ (based on my height when I hold my sword that way)

This, then, has to be our guy…we have run out of choices!

Meet Sergeant…later 1st Lieutenant John Moore…unless you have a better idea?

Confederates could Whip Germans- The 6th NCST 100 years ago today-

(c) 2017 by Frederick Walton

I was perusing the newspaper this morning…the one for July 3, 1917 that is…100 years ago today. What better way to learn “first hand” the feeling of our country as we made our entry into World War one.

On Tuesday, July 3, 1917 I found the following article on the bottom of page 6, in the Raleigh News and Observer: 

LYON, WILLIAM HUDSON, Sergeant, Company I, 6th North Carolina State troops

William Hudson Lyon enlisted in Wake County at age 18, May 28, 1861, for the war. He mustered in as Private and was promoted to Sergeant on January 1, 1863. He was present or accounted for until captured at Rappahannock Station, Virginia, on November 7, 1863. He was confined at the infamous Federal prison,  Point Lookout, Maryland, until paroled and transferred to Boulware’s and Cox’s Wharf, James River, Virginia, where he was received February 20-21, 1865, for exchange. He was reported present with a detachment of paroled and exchanged prisoners at Camp Lee, near Richmond, Virginia, February 27, 1865.


The 6th Regiment did serve under Stonewall Jackson for a while in 1863, which would have been a matter of pride for those who served under him. The belt, mentioned would have been part of an NCO’s accoutrments, that is, used to hold his bayonette and cap pouch. Since Lyon enlisted at the very earliest, he would most likely have been issued a coveted 6th NCST belt buckle. These were ordered  by the founding colonel, Charles Frederick Fisher, at their training camp at Company Shops, North Carolina. (present day Burlington, N. C.) Colonel Fisher, the former president of the North Carolina Railroad, had these specially cast in the railroad shops for his men. They are the only known Confederate buckles that designate a specific regiment. There were a limited number produced. A weak point in the design were the prongs that secure the buckle to the belt. They were prone to break off making the buckle useless or worse, allowing it to fall off and be lost. Several have been found by metal detectors at campsites or on battlefields, but they are a rare and valuable find. It is no doubt that Lyon coveted and protected his throughout his life. I wonder what became of it? It it in some ancestors attic or proudly on display somewhere in Raleigh?

The army didn’t see fit to recruit Jackson’s aging veterans, but their spirit certainly ran in the blood of that present generation of volunteers and draftees who did go to France and whipped the Germans in 1918.

Faces of the Sixth- Sgt. Bartlett Yancey Malone Co. H


Faces LogoThe following photographs and information are original members of the “Bloody Sixth”. I am honored to include their stories and images here. If you would like to share a story or photo about your 6th NCST ancestor, please leave a comment and I will be in touch.

Sgt. Bartlett Yancey Malone, Co. H

Sgt. Bartlett Yancey Malone, Co. H
source- “Whippt ’em Every Time”

B. Y. Malone was borned in the year of our Lord 1838 rased and graduated in the Corn field & Tobacco And inlisted in the war June the 18th 1861 And was a member of the Caswell Boys which was comanded by Capt Mitchel And 25 was attatched to the 6th N. C. Regt. which was comd by Coln Fisher who got kiled at the first Manassas fight which was fought July the 21st 1861.” From his diary

Best known as the author of the diary that was later published as “Whipt ‘Em Every Time“, Malone served in Co. H, “The Caswell Boys” commanded by Captain Alfred A.Mitchell.

Enlisted: June 6,1861 for the war

Where: Caswell County

Age at enlistment: 22

Pre-War Occupation: Farmer

Appointed Corporal: May/June 1861

Promoted to Sergeant: February 1, 1863

“The first day of February which was the Sabath was a pritty spring day.”

from his Diary (He doesn’t mention his promotion)

Wounded: Malvern Hill, Va. July 1, 1862

“And the next morning whitch was the first day of July just twelve months from the time I left home we crost over and about 10 oclock we overtaken the scamps again And they comenced throwing bumbs amung us And we amung them And thar was a very heavey canonading cept up all day And a little befour night the pickets comenced fyring And from that time untell about a hour in the night thar was very hard fiting don indeed And a great meney kild and wounded on boath sids in our company M. Miles L. Smith, B. Murphey, I. Calmond, G. Lyons And my self was all hurt”

from his diary

Wounded: Chancellorsville, Va., May 4, 1863

 “And the next day which was the 4 we was marching about first from one plais to a nother a watching the Yankees untell about a hour by sun and the fight was opend our Bregaid went in and charged about a half of a mile and just befour we got to the Yankee Battery I was slitley wounded above the eye with a peas of a Bumb”

from his diary

Captured: Rappahannock Station, Va. November 7, 1863

“And about dark the yanks charged on the Louisianna Bregaid which was clost to the Bridg and broke thir lines and got to the Bridge we was then cutoff and had to Surender”

from his diary

Confined: at Point Lookout Maryland

“The first day of July 1861 I left home, and the first day of July 1862 I was in the fight of Malvern Hill, and the first day of July 1863 I was in the fight at Gettysburg, and today which is the first day of July, I am at Point Lookout Md.”

from his diary

Paroled & Exchanged: Aikens Landing Va. Feb. 25-Mar. 3, 1865- Admitted to hospital in Richmond after being exchanged.

“The 21st all Prisnor capturd at Rappahanoc Station was cauld we all went out and Signed the Parole and was put in the Parole Camp and staid there most all the 24th then we was put on the Steamer George Leary we got to Fortress Monroe about dark And then run as far as Hampton Roads and there we staid all night Started next morning at light which was the 25 got to Acorns Landing about 10 Oclock which was about 12 miles from Richmond on the James River we then marched from there to Camp Lea we got to Camp Lea about dark We then Staid at Camp Lea untell the 27 when we wen over to Camp Winder.”

from his diary

Married: Mary Frances Compton (1842 – 1892) on 15 Nov 1866

Post War Occupation: Farmer

Death Date:  4 May 1890

Cemetery: Lynches Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery, Corbett, Caswell County, North Carolina, USA

Source Notes:

1) Jordon, “North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865

2) Malone, Bartlett Yancey, and William Whatley Pierson. Whipt ’em everytime: the diary of Bartlett Yancey Malone. Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot, 1987.

3) North Carolina, Index to Marriage Bonds, 1741-1868

4) North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011

5 )Find A Grave:

Additional information or photos would be welcomed to complete the record of this honorable soldier.

Faces of the Sixth- Private William Thaddeus Redmond- Co. C

Faces Logo

The following photographs and information are original members of the “Bloody Sixth”. I am honored to include their stories and images here. If you would like to share a story or photo about your 6th NCST ancestor, please leave a comment and I will be in touch.

Private William Thaddeus Redmond
Company C



William Thaddeus (Thad) Redmond fought with Company “C” of the 6th North Carolina Troops. According to family lore, he was wounded in the right arm while carrying the colors. This photo was taken on his 83rd birthday in 1926. Thanks to Donnie Brogden of Durham, NC for supplying this picture of his cousin.

Enlisted: May 1, 1861 for the war

Where: Orange county (his residence)

Age at enlistment: 18

Wounded: Right Arm in Gettysburg, Pa. July 1, 1863

Promoted Corporal: Oct. 1, 1862

Promoted Sergeant: August 1 1863


Source Notes:


1) Jordon, “North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865


Additional information or photos would be welcomed to complete
the record of this honorable soldier. 

Sketch of the Sixth North Carolina Regiment.

from the Durham, N. C. “Tobacco Plant” newspaper, Oct 12, 1888, Page 2
Transcribed by Historian Frederick E. Walton 7/11/2016
The Sixth North Carolina Regiment was organ
ized at Burlington, (Company Shops) in June, 1861, as the Sixth Regi
ment of State Troops, under the ten Regiment Act, with the following field and staff officers:


Charles F. Fisher, killed at Manassas, July 21. 1861

Colonel, Charles F. Fisher;
Lieutenant-Colonel, W. T. Dortch ;
Major, Charles E. Lightfoot;
Captain N. E. Scales, A. Q. M. ;
Captain W. H. Alexander, A. C. S. ;
Lieutenant H. B. Lowrie, Adjutant ;
Surgeon, A. M. Nesbitt ;
Assistant Surgeons, J., A. Caldwell, C. A. Henderson;
Chaplain, Rev. P. H. Dalton, D. D.

The ten companies and original Captains:

A, from Western North Carolina Railroad,Captain, R. M. McKinney;
B, from Durham county, Captain, R. F. Webb;
C, from Durham, Captain, W. J. Freeland ;
D, from Burke, Captain, I. E. Avery;
F, from Alamance, Captain, J. W. Wilson;
G, from Rowan, Captain, James A. Craige;
H, from Caswell, Captain, A. A. Mitchell;
I, from Durham county, Captain, R. W. York;
K, from Alamance, Captain, J. A. Lea.

The Regiment had four Colonels:
Charles F. Fisher, killed at Manassas, July 21. 1861;
W. D. Pender, killed (Major General)- at Gettysburg;
I.E.Avery, killed July 2, at Gettysburg, commanding Brigade;
Robert F. Webb, wounded at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862.

Five Lieutenant Colonels :
W. T. Dortch, resigned on account of Governor Ellis’ death ;
Charles E. Light-foot, wounded at Seven Pines, Mav 31, 1862;
I. E. Avery,
R. F. Webb,
S. McD. Tate, wounded at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862.

Four Majors:
Charles E. Lightfoot,
Robert F. Webb,
S. McD. Tate,
R. W. York, wounded at Mt. Jackson, September 21, 1864.

Four Surgeons :
A.M. Nesbitt,
J. A. Caldwell,
Pleasant A. Holt,
J. G. Hardy.

Four Assistant Surgeons :
J. A. Caldwell,
C. A. Henderson,
W. A. Collett,
W. A. Bickers;

Two Chaplains :
Rev, A. AY. Mangum, D. D.; Episcopal Methodist;
Rev. .K. J. Stewart, D. D., Episcopal.

A. Q. M.: Captains N. E. Scales, M. W. Page, T. HI. Biame.

A. C. S.: Captain W. H. Alexander.

Adjutants: Lieutenants H. B. Lowrie, B. R. Smith, C. Mebane.

The Regiment was in all the great battles of the army of Northern Virginia, under Generals Johnston and R. E. Lee, with two exceptions: The Regiment was under Picket in his fiasco against New Berne, being engaged at Bachelors Creek; and under Hoke at Plymouth ; and was in the storming Column that took Fort Wessels at Plymouth, and was a part of the army of the Valley under Early that went to Washington, and participated in all the engagements of that army, till the fall of 1864, when it rejoined Lee at Petersburg, and stacked its muskets at Appomattox Court House.

The Regiment, in the Army of the Shenandoah, brigaded in the ‘”Old Third” with 4th Alabama, 2d and 11th Mississippi. In 1863, in Hoke’s North Carolina brigade, 6th, 21st, 54th, 57th regiments and 1st battalion from Salem.

Army commanders: J. E. Johnston, R. E. Lee.
Corps commanders: Stonewall Jackson, James Longstreet, R. S. Ewell, J. B. Gordon, J. A. Early.
Division commanders: AV. It. C. Whiting, J. B. Hood, J. A. Earlv, S. D. Ramseur, J. G. Walker.
Brigade commanders: Barnard E. Bee, W. H. C. Whiting, E. M. Law, R. F. Hoke, A. C. Goodwin, W. G. Lewis.

Masonic Lodges:

Bee Military Lodge No. 200, under Grand Lodge of Virginia, while in the “Old Third” Brigade. Officers:
R. W. York, W. M.;
S. McD. Tate, S. W.;
Charles E. Lightfoot, J. W.;
W. J. Freeland, S. D.;
Robt. F. Webb, J. P.;
W. B. Allen, Sec;
W. A. Jenkins, Treas.;
J. F. Williams, Tyler. ;

I. E. Avery Military Lodge No. .1, G. L. of N. C:
R. W. York, W. M.;
S. McD. Tate, S. W.;
A. A. Thompson, J W.;
Rev. K. J. Stewart, D. D., chaplain to both lodges.

Went from the regiment :
Captain Robert Martin McKinney, to be Colonel 15th Regiment;
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles E. Lightfoot, to be Colonel of Artillery commanding defenses of Richmond;
Captain James A. Craig, to be Lieutenant-Colonel 57th Regiment;
Colonel W. D. Pender, to be Brigadier and Major General;
Captain A. G. Avery, to be Major Inspector General of D. H. Hill’s staff;
Lieutenant J. A. Rose,to be Aid-de-Camp General Pender’s staff;
Private Jacob Shepard, to be Aid-de-Camp General Pender’s staff;
Surgeon P. A. Holt to be Chief Surgeon Pender’s Division;
Sergeant George F. Bason, to be Lieutenant of Ordinance Scales’ Brigade;
Private Banks Holt, to be Lieutenant in 7th N. C.;
Private David Silver, to be Lieutenant 58th Regiment;
Lieutenant John Carson and Private Charles Stewart, to be Commissioned Officers of Avery’s Battalion.

The North Carolina Grays- Will their flag ever fly again?

Copyright (c) 2015, 2016 By Frederick Walton, 6th NCST Historian

North Carolina Company Flag , (State Seal Canton) artifact 19xx-330-174c, North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, N. C.

North Carolina Company Flag , (State Seal Canton) artifact 19xx-330-174c,
North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, N. C.

Deep in the bowels of the North Carolina Museum of history, in a dark storage drawer, lies the once proud flag of the North Carolina Grays. Lovingly hand stitched out of fine silk by the young ladies of the Cedar Fork community in Wake County, North Carolina, the State Seal hand painted by accomplished artist, Sophia Partridge, the flag was presented with pride to the brothers, fathers, uncles and husbands about to go to war. Today the flag is not only forgotten, it is falling to pieces.

Sofia Partridge (1817-1881)

Sofia Partridge (1817-1881)


When the threat of war swept through North Carolina, a young school master named Richard York suspended classes at the Cedar Fork Academy in western Wake County and drilled his pupils, forming one of the earliest militia companies in North Carolina. Both the young boys and girls enthusiastically practiced drilling, but ultimately it was the young men that would march off to fight. The young ladies, wanting to contribute, formed the Cedar Fork Soldiers Relief Society to help their young men survive the ordeal with some of the comforts of home. “We wish to do something in the defense of our country, that our desire is to render the burdens of those whose duty it is to take a more active part in the defense of the same, as light as possible.”

North Carolina Grays Canton North- Carolina Grays Company Flag , artifact 19xx-330-174, North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, N. C.

North Carolina Grays Canton North- Carolina Grays Company Flag , artifact 19xx-330-174,
North Carolina Museum of History, Raleigh, N. C.

Presenting the boy soldiers with “a handsome flag” to remind them that the folks at home were thinking of them was a primary stated objective of the society. On one side of the Blue silk banner is a single gold star in the white canton framed with their company name “THE NORTH CAROLINA GRAYS” and the reminder “PRESENTED BY THE LADIES OF CEDAR FORK”. On the front of the flag, beneath the Canton’s hand painted State seal, was emblazoned the motto “THE OLD NORTH STATE FOREVER” to remind the boys to do their duty, even when far away from home.

It was presented to the young soldiers during a day long celebration on June 1, 1861 in Morrisville, N. C. attended by throngs of citizens wishing to show their support. The day started with Captain York smartly drilling his men “to the satisfaction of the expectant crowd”. Fifteen year old Miss Fanny Lyon, sister of one of the recruits, stepped forward to give a passionate speech charging them to “aid in the defense of our rights” and presenting to “the brave sons of this vicinity, this beautiful ensign.” Newly appointed Lieutenant, Malcus Williamson Page accepted the flag and in an equally passionate speech remarked that the sight of the flag would give them cheer and refresh their spirits. He pledged to keep the flag safe through the trials ahead. A number of other prominent local gentlemen took this opportunity to address the crowd before being dismissed to a spurious repast prepared by the ladies of the neighborhood, that was enjoyed by all attending. The closing event was a sermon and presentation of bibles before the soldiers marched off to war under the silken banner floating in the breeze above their heads.

Governor John W. Ellis

Governor John B. Ellis

The North Carolina Grays, now Company I of the Sixth North Carolina State Troops, joined their new comrades at Camp Alamance, in Company Shops, N. C. (present day Burlington) for training. Stopping in Raleigh, on their way to the seat of war in Virginia, they were called on to escort the body of recently deceased N. C. Governor John B. Ellis where the Company flag was used, possibly the only time it flew in an official capacity. Once they joined the Sixth Regiment, a regimental flag would have been flown, rather than their company flag. Captain York recalled that many of the men took trunks, to carry some of the comforts of home to the battlefield. Finding them cumbersome and unwieldy during campaigning, the trunks where put into storage sometime in the fall of 1861. The flag and York’s dress uniform had been packed in his wife’s borrowed Saratoga trunk. This was the last the men ever saw of the flag. At a later date, A Federal cavalry detachment chasing some Confederate “bushwhackers” came upon a cabin containing the trunks, where they has been stored by the North Carolinians when leaving their winter quarter in the spring of 1862. Upon searching the trunks, The Federal’s found and confiscated the contents including spare Confederate uniforms, underwear, linens and the barely used company flag of the “North Carolina Grays”.
During the following war years, Company I and their comrades earned their nickname, “The Bloody Sixth” by becoming experienced combat veterans of nearly every campaign fought by the Army of Northern Virginia. Their precious flag was the last thing on their minds.

a Soldier's Saratoga Trunk

a Soldier’s Saratoga Trunk

After the war, the men heard their trunks had fallen into the hands of the Yankees, some blaming it on the treachery of the man left in charge of their belongings. As the soldiers got on with their lives and the battles became distant memories, the men defended their honor by reminding any who questioned them that their flag was stolen, not captured in battle. It had become such a foggy memory that some of the post war descriptions of the flags details were now being “mis-remembered”. York described the flag in 1892 as “On one side the arms of North Carolina and on the other a pine tree in a coiled rattlesnake”. He was only half right. The pine tree motif was more commonly seen on the regiments buttons.

6th NCST UNiform Button H.1914.236.8

By the 1890’s the old soldiers were beginning to reconcile their differences. On the morning of January 30, 1892, veterans of the North Carolina Grays must have been surprised to read a letter from a Yankee, in their local newspaper, addressed to them. “I am writing you this letter” wrote Major Thomas W Higgins, of the 73rd regiment of Ohio Infantry, “I now propose to return the flag to the survivors of the “North Carolina Greys (sic)”. Higgins explained how he was in charge of the expedition that captured the flag and has had it in his possession, adding that it is “in a tolerably good state of preservation”. He had previously offered it to former N. C. governor Holden at the end of the war, on the condition that “a company be raised to sustain the Union” but in the spirit of reconciliation was now offering it without any conditions.

Newspaper Headline from the State Chronicle

Newspaper Headline from the State Chronicle

He received a volley of letters from veterans each directing him how to return the flag, but it was’t until the Chatham Record newspaper suggested in an editorial that the flag return be part of a veterans reunion that Richard York, now known as Major York, organized a committee to plan a gala reunion and accept the flag. The Governor was invited, and on October 7, 1892 over 3,000 showed up in Morrisville, N. C. to see the North Carolina Gray’s get their flag back, at the same place it was originally presented to them. Among the attendees was Mrs. Fannie Lyon Lowe, who presented the flag 31 years earlier. Over 200 local veterans were in attendance. Of the 152 men serving in the company throughout the war, only 67 were left. When reading Company I’s roll, 31 members were present to answer “here”.

Miss Fanny Lowe Lyons

Miss Fanny Lyon Lowe

The primary event was Major Higgin’s presentation of the Flag to Major York, who in turn presented it to the Governors representative who proudly accepted it, remarking that it would be “tenderly placed in the State Library at Raleigh, to remain an everlasting reminder of the bravery and devotion”.
Ironically, through this much publicized event the flag became better known and viewed than when it was originally presented in 1861. The tattered relic became a symbol of the lost cause. Besides being on display at the North Carolina State Library, it was present at the dedication of the N. C. Confederate Veterans memorial on May 20, 1895 and flew over more veterans parades than it ever flew over Virginia battlefields. And yet it is a reminder of North Carolina’s heritage. Lovingly made by the daughters of the old North State to demonstrate their devotion, it was presented to the brave young men of their community who answered the call of their state government, many, never to return. This silken banner is a tangible reminder of the devotion of North Carolinians who lived and died a century and a half ago, but whose blood still runs in the veins of their descendants.
Sadly, this flag, like many artifacts from this time period are now in danger. All artifacts can decay over time when not properly conserved due to the adverse effects of light, temperature, humidity and pollutants in the air. Professional conservation can preserve this flag for future generations, but it will be costly. This fragile flag, in the collection of the North Carolina museum of History (19xx-330-174), will cost an estimated $15,000 to conserve before it can be put on display. We are concerned that this particular artifact may perish without our help. Many institutions have limited funding to conserve their collections, which is why The Cedar Fork Rifles Preservation Society, Inc. has begun a fund raising campaign in partnership with the museum. North Carolina has been a diligent stewart of this flag for over a century, but now is the time for us to act. The veterans who gave this flag to the state wanted it to be preserved and seen as a reminder of the sacrifices of her citizens. So do we.
Want to help? You may send your Tax Deductible Contribution directly to the  North Carolina Museum of History Associates  (Please Indicate that your donation is for the “North Carolina Grays Company Flag” project) at the following address:

Budget Officer- “North Carolina Grays Company Flag” project
N.C. Museum of History Associates
5 East Edenton St.
Raleigh, NC 27601-1011

or give your donation directly to members of the The Cedar Fork Rifles Preservation Society, Inc.

Or, if mail is too slow…a GOFUNDME site is available for your contibutions here:

One hundred and fifty years ago the Cedar Fork community recognized how important is was for each individual to contribute to the cause in there own way. Now its our turn.


1861 Civil War silk flag, 6th Regiment, NC State Troops, CSA Scanned from 35mm conservation slide 4/19/2007


The 6th North Carolina State Troops Battle Flag Preservation committee wishes to Thank all the individuals, descendants and other donors helping us preserve this important reminder of the sacrifices made by the North Carolinians of the 6th NCST one hundred and fifty years ago.