Michael F. Easley, Governor Lisbeth C. Evans, Secretary

North Carolina

Department of Cultural Resources

Release: Immediately Date: January 4, 2005

Contact: Si Harrington

N.C. ARCHIVES SEARCHING FOR NAMES OF NORTH CAROLINA

CONFEDERATE SAILORS AND MARINES

(RALEIGH) – The North Carolina Archives wants the names of North Carolina sailors and marines who served in the Civil War. The names of the servicemen and any information about them will be used to create a roster of Civil War Naval personnel from the Tar Heel state.

"There are volumes of Civil War rosters with the names of North Carolina’s Confederate Civil War soldiers and there are lists of North Carolinians who served with Federal forces. But there is no consolidated list of those engaged with the state’s Naval services, which includes the Marines," said Si Harrington, military collections archivist for the Office of Archives and History.

Harrington wants to compile a roster of servicemen, their units, location of service and engagements. In addition, he hopes to receive letters and photographs of men in uniform and other related documents. If requested, original materials will be copied and returned to the owners. The archives staff believes such a roster would be invaluable to genealogists, historians and other researchers.

When war came the southern states seceded from the union and formed the Confederate States of America. The South was compelled to create military forces for combat against U.S. (Union) forces. The fledging Confederate Army, Navy and Marines were at a disadvantage regarding training and supplies to do battle against U.S. military forces. North Carolina established a navy of miscellaneous vessels in the northeastern part of the state, which was defeated in early skirmishes with the U.S. Navy. North Carolina’s Navy soon was absorbed by the Confederate States’ Navy, which saw combat against the better-armed and equipped U.S. Navy and attacked Union commercial vessels.

 

The state’s marines served alongside Confederate sailors on Naval ships as gun crew members or as security personnel to prevent mutiny from ships or desertion from bases.

It is not clear how many North Carolinians served in the Confederate Navy or Marine Corps. Harrington has the names of approximately 500 servicemen already, and believes that more than 1,000 served. One of the names is that of North Carolinian James Wicks, whose remains were found aboard the CSS Hunley submarine when it was discovered near the South Carolina coast in 1995. Another is Benjamin Gray of Bertie County, a slave who served as a powder boy on the ironclad CSS Albemarle.

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Harrington is interested in learning about all who served the Confederate Navy or Marines, slave or free. He can be contacted at sion.harrington@ncmail.net. The Military Collection Project is a program of the Office of Archives and History in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

 

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