The special committee, charged by a resolution of the House to ascertain and report the facts connected with the recent outrages alleged to have been perpetrated in the northeastern part of North Carolina by the armed forces of the United States, and to recommend such action as the dignity of the Confederate States should demand, submit the following report:
The committee have taken several depositions, and collected such further evidence as was accessible, for the purpose of obtaining a correct knowledge of the matters referred to them. This evidence is now presented to the House, with a brief outline of the facts proved.
In the month of December last, a large force of negro soldiers, in the service of the United States, and under command of Brig. Gen. Edward A. Wild, invaded the county of Pasquotank. While there they arrested a citizen of the county (Daniel Bright) at his own residence and hung him on the side of the public road, a few miles north of Elizabeth City. Upon his back, where he was suspended, was placed a placard with the following words:
This guerrilla hanged by order of Brigadier-General Wild. Daniel Bright, of Pasquotank County.
Daniel Bright was a member of the Sixty-second Georgia Regiment, under command of Col. J. R. Griffin, and had received authority from the Governor of North Carolina to raise a company in that county for local defense. Failing in the effort, he had retired to his farm, and was there seized, carried off, and, executed.
Two most respectable married ladies were also made prisoners-Mrs. Phoebe Munden, wife of Lieut. W. J. Munden, and Mrs. Elizabeth Weeks, wife of Private Pender Weeks, of Capt. John T. Elliotts company. The first was arrested at her own house in the presence only of her three children, of whom the oldest was ten years of age, on Saturday, the 12th day of December, conveyed a few miles to Elizabeth City, confined in a room without fire, bed, or bedding, with several male prisoners, and tied by the feet and hands. A negro guard was placed in charge of the prisoners. The succeeding day the other lady, Mrs. Weeks, was placed in the same room. They were constantly guarded, and neither was allowed to leave the room for the most necessary duty but in company with a negro armed soldier. For a more minute recital of the indignities offered the sensibilities of the sex, the committee forbear to do more than refer to the testimony of a fellow-prisoner, and another, a resident of the town and an eye-witness of what he describes. Mrs. Munden was in delicate health, was forced from a home immediately laid in ashes, with all it contained, without other apparel than she wore upon her person, and passed several nights in the cheerless and cold apartment, to which she was confined at that inclement season, before the humanity of her captors was so far softened as to permit blankets to be furnished for her use. They were kept until Thursday and then removed to Norfolk. It has been represented to her husband that when Mrs. Munden was carried off her wrists were bleeding from the stricture of the cords with which she was bound.
The purpose of these arrests of unarmed and helpless women will appear from the letter of General Wild to Captain Elliott, dated December 17, which accompanies this report. In it he says:
I still hold in custody Mrs. Munden and Mrs. Weeks as hostages for the colored soldier taken by you. As he is treated, so shall they be; even to hanging. By this time you know that I am in earnest. Guerrillas are to be treated as pirates. You will never have rest until you renounce your present course, or join the regular Confederate Army.
These ladies are still held in custody, as will be seen from the letter of General B. F. Butler, * in answer to a communication addressed to him by Lieutenant Munden and Mr. Weeks, dated January 26; and while he states that he has countermanded the order for their execution, threatened in the event of the hanging of his colored soldier by General Wild, he does not disavow in any other respect the acts of the latter.
Besides these acts of violence it is in proof that several private dwellings in Pasquotank and Camden Counties were set on fire and consumed, among which may be designated those of W. T. White, Capt. Willis Sanderlin, and Major Gregory the latter, an aged citizen of more than sixty years, was seized and conveyed away. For what purpose General Wilds own letter to Captain Sanderlin, written after his retreat to Virginia, and bearing date December 22, will disclose. He says:
I shall hold Major Gregory as a hostage for the colored soldier captured near Shiloh. I shall treat him exactly as your people treat that soldier. If they hang him I shall hang Major Gregory. And you know by this time that I keep my word.
Major Gregory was released afterward and returned, not to his home, for that was destroyed, but to his friends, only to die from a paralysis with which he was stricken while a prisoner in the enemy's hands.
The committee invite attention to the minute account of the acts of this marauding expedition, contained in a letter written at Norfolk, December 28, to the New York Daily News, manifestly prepared by one familiar with its acts. They insert a brief extract only:
Negroes were permitted to curse and abuse defenseless ladies, to strip them of their jewelry and clothing, and offer them indignities which would offend delicacy to repeat. A small Confederate force captured two of his negroes, in a skirmish, and for this he outraged all the laws of civilized war. He arrested two ladies of high character, permitted a brutal negro soldiery to tie them hand and foot (as I believe and am credibly informed), and kept them in this condition for two days and nights; brought them to Norfolk, and now keeps them confined in a close room. There he holds them as hostages for the return of his negroes.
The committee find that both the companies which the Federal officer designates as "guerrillas," commanded, the one by Captain Elliott, the other by Captain Sanderlin, were raised in those counties, under authority of the Governor of North Carolina, for local defense and to repel invasions; were duly organized, and their officers commissioned by him; and for a year or more had been in the regular service of that State. At the time referred to they had been attached to, and formed part of, the Sixty-sixth North Carolina Regiment, under command of Col. James W. Hinton.
The committee content themselves with reporting the evidence to the House with a short explanatory statement. The original letters and placard referred to are before them, and are submitted with this report. They forbear comment. It would add no force to the simple narrative of facts.
W. N. H. SMITH, Chairman.
VIRGINIA CITY OF RICHMOND:
This 10th day of February, 1864, personally appears William J. Munden, a citizen of Pasquotank County, N. C., who deposes and says as follows:
Affiant is first lieutenant in Company E, Sixty-sixth North Carolina Troops, under command of Col. James W. Hinton, and in the service of said State of North Carolina. Capt. J. T. Elliott commands Company E. This company has been in service about a year, more recently has been made part of Sixty-sixth Regiment. A portion of Company E made prisoner of a negro, a private in a regiment called Fifth U. S. Colored, in service of the United States. This regiment was part of a force of the enemy invading the county of Pasquotank, and this capture was made on or about December 11, 1863.
Affiants family was at his home in that county about five miles distant from the town of Elizabeth City. On the afternoon of same day affiants wife, Phoebe Munden, was arrested at her home and brought to Elizabeth City. She was then confined in a room over a store with some fifteen or twenty others, of whom all but herself and another lady, Mrs. Elizabeth Weeks, wife of Pender Weeks, were men. Both ladies were tied by their hands and feet and detained three days, and were liberated only temporarily and to satisfy the calls of nature. When permitted to leave for this purpose they were accompanied by a negro guard, who stood over them with muskets, and they were compelled to this in a public street. They were then carried off, their bonds untied, with the enemys forces. The wrists of afliants wife were bleeding from the stricture of the rope with which she was tied when she left. Mrs. Munden was taken from her three children, of which the oldest is about ten and the youngest four years of age, and no white person left with them. A young woman who lived in the family made her escape. A friend went there to take care of them at night. When carried off she was allowed to carry no change of clothes nor any night clothes. When confined in the room at Elizabeth City the ladies were compelled to sleep on the naked floor without bed or bedclothes or other covering, and without fire. About the third night Dr. W. G. Pool prevailed on the officer of the enemy to permit blankets to be carried in, and after some delay consent was obtained. Neither of these ladies have returned, but, so far as affiant knows or can hear, are kept still in confinement. While at Elizabeth City, when Mrs. Munden would complain of her treatment, she has been cursed and told she would be hung.
Mrs. Munden is about thirty-five years of age, and, as also affiant, are natives of Pasquotank County. Her health is not vigorous. Affiant and Mr. Weeks addressed a letter to General B. F. Butler in relation to the arrest and detention of their wives, and received answer, the papers herewith filed, marked A.*
The facts stated are detailed by witnesses who know them of highest respectability, and are implicitly credited by affiant. During this invasion the enemy under Brigadier-General Wild hung Daniel Bright, burnt affiants house and all it contained, stables, crop, and nearly everything on the premises. They also burnt the house of William T. White, a commissary to Company E, before it was attached to the regiment and afterward. They also burnt a barn of corn, wheat, and other things belonging to Ed. Jennings, a citizen not connected with any military organization. They also, as affiant hears, burnt some six or seven houses in Camden County. Among others arrested was Major Gregory, about seventy years old, who, while gone, became paralyzed and died soon after his release and return home. All his property was also destroyed by fire. The above facts are all true so far as within affiants knowledge, which he verily believes to be true.
W. J. MUNDEN.
Sworn to and subscribed before me.
W. N. H. SMITH, Chairman.
NORTHWEST LANDING, VA., Tuesday, December 22, 1863.
WILLIS SANDERLIN, Captain of Guerrillas:
SIR: I hold Major Gregory as a hostage for the colored soldier captured near Shiloh. I shall treat him exactly as your people treat that soldier. If they hang him I shall hang Major Gregory. And you know by this time that I keep my word. Let the soldier be sent to Deep Creek village, at the end of Dismal Swamp Canal, and Major Gregory shall be at once restored.
EDW. A. WILD,
* Without date, but probably submitted between the 10th and 17th of February, 1864.
* For Butlers letter.
* Letter of Munden and Weeks not found.
SOURCE: Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series 2, Volume 6, pages 1127-1130
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