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Diary of James Rumley, March 25, 1863


Diary of James Rumley, March 25, 1863


This is an excerpt from Rumley’s diary entry of March 25th, 1863. On this day Rumley noted that it was the anniversary of the occupation of Beaufort. This is an very important entry throughout the diary as Rumley hits on several subjects pertaining to African Americans, Union soldiers, and the violation of state laws (another perspective on the Rumley's entry HERE). As seen in the text below, Rumley used the term “Niggerism” first in his entry of the 25th. In a nutshell, the reign of Niggerism was Rumley’s reference to primarily as the Union’s ability to gain the loyalty, faith, and respect of the African American. It was also a reference to the Union’s occupation of his hometown and the large population of African Americans now residing in Beaufort. Everything associated with the two themes of Union occupation and African Americans were rolled up into the “reign of Niggerism”. Rumley also wrote about the fear associated with armed Blacks as they might be turned against the town. Rumley was very unsure of the future and felt uneasy with the Union’s practice and adaptation of Blacks in various roles/situations.


Rumley, James


Rumley, James, and Judkin Browning. The Southern Mind under Union Rule: The Diary of James Rumley, Beaufort, North Carolina, 1862-1865. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, 2009. Print.




Ballentine, Jay




Beaufort, North Carolina
Carteret County, North Carolina


...This is the reign of “niggerism.” The scoundrels in authority here know very well that the African race is the only one whose loyalty they can trust, as their negro-stealing government has forfeited all claim to the loyalty of any decent white man. The negroes they can trust. They tell them they have come here to fight for the and, like Moses to deliver them from their Egyptian bondage. The deluded wretches, lured by the sweet sound of liberty, hail these desecrators of our soil as their deliverers. Nothing can shake their faith in the Yankee. On the other hand nothing can shake the Yankee’s faith in the negro. They seem to have strong affinities for each other and are very natural allies. All the Yankee lacks to make him a negro is a black skin with a woolly head. With these marks of African upon him, his identity with the sooty race would be quite sufficient to consign him to a southern cotton field, where, if he had his deserts, he would certainly be. His intellect is less stolid than the negro’s, but is generally exercised in contrivances for cheating, and in meddling with other people’s business, while in vandalism and thieving propensities, he certainly excels the negro. He excels also in hatred of the slave owner. The negro would have but little of this feeling if let alone, but is easily tutored in it when the Yankee plies his art to corrupt him, which he has not failed to do...

...Verily, this is the reign of “Niggerism.” But bad as it is, it may become worse. O, the horizon on the future rises a portentous could blacker far than any that has yet darkened the vision and charged with an element of war more horrible than any that has been let loose upon us. Armies of black negroes may yet be turned upon us, to complete the ruin and desolation that Yankee vandalism has begun Visions of armed and infuriated bands of these black traitors, like imps of darkness, rise before us and darken the Future. We are passing through the shadow of a dark eclipse – a frightful political and civil obscuration...


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Rumley, James, Diary of James Rumley, March 25, 1863, Civil War Era NC, accessed June 16, 2024,