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Edward Stanly to Zebulon Baird Vance, October 21, 1862


Edward Stanly to Zebulon Baird Vance, October 21, 1862


In this letter between the two active Governors of North Carolina: Confederate Governor Zebulon B. Vance and Union Governor Edward Stanly, Stanly acted upon his orders from President Lincoln to request peace talks with the North Carolina Confederate Governor. At that time, even though Stanly was a native North Carolinian, he had been living in California since 1853, which disconnected him from the sentiments of North Carolinians during the years in which the country was barreling towards war.
It becomes clear very fast in this letter that Stanly was completely naïve to believe that after a year of war, North Carolina was just in a simple misunderstanding with the Union. It is precisely this naïvate that causes Vance to rebuke Stanly so harshly in his response. It is important to note, however, that Stanly's desire was for an immediate end to the war without regard to etiquette while Vance, like many other Confederate nationalists, was too obsessed with honor to allow the war to stop before the Confederacy gains its independence.


Edward Stanly


Edward Stanly to Zebulon Baird Vance, October 21, 1862, The Papers of Zebulon Baird Vance, edited by Frontis W. Johnston, Vol. 1, 1843-1862, Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1963.




William Crouse




New Bern, North Carolina
Craven County, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Wake County, North Carolina

Original Format



From Ed. Stanly
New Bern No. Ca.
October 21, 1862

     The strong affection which I have inherited & cherish for the people of my native State, has induced me to come here, by request of the President of the United States.
     Nations like individuals, sometimes quarel because they misunderstand each other. This, I think, is now the case, between the Government of the United States and the State of North Carolina.
     I confidently believe, I am in a situation to confer blessings upon the people of North Carolina, if the honorable gentlemen in high station, who now control her affairs will give me their assistance.
     If it is not incompatible with your views of duty, I earnestly solicit the favor of an interview with you, at such time or place hereafter to be designated as may be agreeable to you.
     If the interview with yourself personally, for any reason be declined, then I ask that one or more good citizens, natives of, or residing in North Carolina, be authorized by you to confer with me.
     My chief purpose is to see whether some measures cannot be adopted which may lead to an honorable peace.
     If unfortunately this consumation so devoutly wished cannot be obtained, we may at all events do much to alleviate the inevitable sufferings that attend a War.
     Authority has been given me, to negotiate for an Exchange of political prisoners.
     I desire to do nothing in secret; will not stand upon any questions of etiquette, wishing only to be instrumental in doing good to my counry, and to that brave & noble-hearted people who hitherto have conferred honor upon both of us; whose glory & welfare, I am as solicitous to protect, as any other son of North Carolina can be.
     I hope to have an answer as soon as your convenience will allow.
     I beg leave to tender you the assurance of my best wishes, for happiness and prosperity individually, and to express the hope, that millions of your countrymen will hereafter bless the day on which the people of North Carolina, elevated you to your president position.
[Vance Letter Book, 1862-1863,
 State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh.]



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Edward Stanly, Edward Stanly to Zebulon Baird Vance, October 21, 1862, Civil War Era NC, accessed May 26, 2024,