I believe that we now have all of William L. Byrd’s North Carolina Slaves and Free Persons of Color series.
Yesterday a patron was looking for a book in the local history room and said, “I saw it here twenty years ago!” Well it turned out that the reference copy had been absconded with before I got here but we still had one in the NCNF circulating collection.
The book is a collection of photographs of NC Confederate Civil War soldiers called, State Troops and Volunteers: A Photographic Record of North Carolina’s Civil War Soldiers, Vol. 1. I had never even heard of the the book and it is a remarkable, painstakingly researched work that required collecting images from 320 families from all over NC. And it is the first work of its kind that didn’t rely on photos found in archives. The author, Greg Mast, received so many photographs that he decided to end this volume in 1862 with the intention of publishing other volumes. But the fact that this was published twenty years ago gives me the sinking feeling that there will not be any more volumes, which is very unfortunate. However, there is still this one and there are some singular photographs in the book, including one collection of photographs from the Woodard family of Wilson County, a family that truly suffered more than most during this period. And much to my surprise there is a photograph of the brother of my great great grandfather. I had never seen this photo of Ephraim Kale, who is a too young, fifteen years old when it was taken. I have included the captions for both images in the post.
We had a great program last Thursday with Matthew J. Davenport, former JAG lawyer and now a criminal defense attorney in Greenville, NC who is the author of the book, First Over There: The Attack on Cantigny, America’s First Battle of World War I.
This battle has a certain significance to Wilson, NC because one of its sons, Lt. Robert B. Anderson, was killed in the fight leading his troops against entrenched German forces to the south of the city of Cantigny. Robert was the brother of Wade Hampton Anderson who married Lalla Harper of the Luby Harper family that I wrote on recently.
The battle was important because of the pressure on the Americans from the British and French to prove themselves in battle before they trusted them with holding any part of the front lines that were seriously under threat as the Germans poured in troops from the eastern front for their giant offensive.
The Americans proved their mettle as they took the town from the Germans with the help of 10 French Schneider tanks, a creeping barrage of hundreds of artillery guns (including gas shells), flame throwers and 4000 American and French troops.
The Battle of Cantigny on May 28-31, 1918 was the first act for the American troops that then led to the larger battles of Château-Thierry and Belleau Wood and the eventual, final defeat of the Central powers on November 11, 1918.
I have ordered a lot of materials this year but they just trickle through processing, mostly due to turnover. Here are a few that we have got on the shelf this week. The Cumberland County Genealogical Society also recently sent us two deed books that we didn’t have…for free. Yeah I can afford that. So stay tuned for some more updates.
In celebration of the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, Fold3 is opening its WWII records to the masses with free access from May 1st-15th.