Search using this query type:

Advanced Search (Items only)

Richard E. Yates, "Zebulon B. Vance as War Governor of North Carolina, 1862-1865" (1937)


Richard E. Yates, "Zebulon B. Vance as War Governor of North Carolina, 1862-1865" (1937)


In his piece on the Zebulon Baird Vance, Yates highlights the political career of the North Carolinian governor.  First elected in 1862, re-elected in 1864, and forced to leave office with the defeat of the Confederacy in the Civil War, Zeb Vance was revered as the "war governor of the South."  Yates points out the difficulties that Vance faced during his gobernatorial reign in North Carolina, which stem from his responsibility of serving both the Confederate States of America and the people of North Carolina whom elected him.  Zebulon Vance challenged the CSA's military that would impede on the individual rights of North Carolina's citizens, dismissing the idea that these liberties should be suspended during times of war.  Richard Yates argues that Vance was seen as a hero by the people of North Carolina, but more of a headache for the Richmond government and others of the Confederacy.  While in office, Zebulon B Vance faced criticism from two different sides: those involved in the peace movement, and also those who believed he should be more cooperate with the government of the Confederacy.


Yates, Richard E.


Yates, Richard E. . "Zebulon B. Vance as War Governor of North Carolina, 1862-1865,". The Journal of Southern History , Vol. 3, No. 1 (Feb., 1937), pp. 43-75




Yates, Richard E.



Original Format

Journal Article


While Vance was willing to aid the Confederate government by enrolling conscripts and returning deserters, he was insistent, nevertheless, that the Richmond authorities should exert their war power with due regard for the rights of North Carolina and with especial consideration for her civil law. Tirelessly and with a fair measure of success, the young governor protested against the illegal activities of Confederate military forces. Hearing that "a parcel of armed soldiers from Georgia" had seized and carried off three citizens of Cherokee County, Vance issued orders to officers of that county 'to call out the militia and shoot the first man who attempts to perpetrate a similar outrage." At about the same time (in the spring of 1863) a Confederate officer, Colonel J.A. Keith, captured and killed thirteen men and boys who had been accused of robbing the stores and houses of a small mountain town. Angered by what he considered to be the murder of civilians, Vance demanded that Keith be punished. While an investigation was pending, however, the officer resigned and escaped punishment, despite the governor's later attempts to try him for murder.

Throughout most of the war, Vance was embarrasssed by the administration's policy of arresting North Carolina citizens who were suspected of disloyalty, transporting them to Salisbury or Richmond, imprisoning them without making specific charges, and finally releasing the accused persons without bringing them to trial.  The governor considered this conduct to be in defiance of North Carolina's civil law and a violation of the rights of her citizens; and in numberous bluntly-worded letters he demanded that the citizens of the state be given a prompt and fair trial when they were arrested by agents of the central government.


Copy the code below into your web page





Yates, Richard E., Richard E. Yates, "Zebulon B. Vance as War Governor of North Carolina, 1862-1865" (1937), Civil War Era NC, accessed May 21, 2024,