Call and Cost of Duty

The Brief Life of Henry Lawson Wyatt

August 21, 1858Abraham Lincoln “I have no prejudice against the Southern people. They are just what we would be in their situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not introduce it. If it did now exist amongst us, we should not instantly give it up. This I believe of the masses North and South. Doubtless there are individuals on both sides, who would not hold slaves under any circumstances; and others who would gladly introduce slavery anew, if it were out of existence.

“When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for the origin of slavery than we, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that the institution exists, and that it is very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely will not blame them for not doing what I should not know how to do myself. If all earthly power were given me, I should not know what to do, as to the existing institution. My first impulse would be to free all the slaves, and send them to Liberia,–to their own native land. But a moment’s reflection would convince me, that whatever of high hope, (as I think there is) there may be in this, in the long run, its sudden execution is impossible.” — Abraham Lincoln, First Lincoln / Douglas Debate at Ottawa, Illinois

April 6, 1859Abraham Lincoln “This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.” —  Letter to Henry Pierce

On April 15, 1861Secretary of War Simon Cameron to  North Carolina Governor John Ellis “Sir:—Under the act of Congress for calling out the militia to execute the laws of the Union to suppress insurrection, repel invasion, &c., approved February 28th, 1795, I have the honor to request your Excellency to cause to be immediately detached from the militia of your state, the quota designated in the table below to serve as infantry or riflemen for three months, or sooner, if discharged.”

April 15, 1861North Carolina Governor John Ellis to Secretary of War Simon Cameron “Your dispatch is received, and if genuine, which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt, I have to say in reply, that I regard the levy of troops made by the administration for the purpose of subjugating the states of the South, as a violation of the Constitution, and as a gross usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina.”

April 18, 1861 — In response to Governor Ellis’ call to repel the anticipated invasion of Federal troops, Henry Lawson Wyatt, age 19, enlists with the Edgecombe Guards for a period of six months.  — NC Department of State Archives

May 9, 1861 — “By General Orders No. 7, Adjutant General’s Office, six new companies, including the Edgecombe Guards, are to be assigned to 1st Regiment of North Carolina Volunteers.” — NC Department of State Archives

May 20, 1861 — After the fall of Fort Sumter, in South Carolina and the secession of North Carolina’s northern neighbor, Virginia, North Carolina seceded. On May 21, North Carolina was admitted to the Confederate States.

June 10, 1861Henry Lawson Wyatt of the Edgecombe Guards was killed in action at Bethel, Virginia. — NC Department of State Archives

August 1862Abraham Lincoln “If I could save the union without freeing any slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.” — Letter to Horace Greeley

September 24, 1862Abraham Lincoln “What I did, I did after very full deliberation, and under a heavy and solemn sense of responsibility. I can only trust in God that I have made no mistake. — Reply to Serenade in Honor of [Preliminary] Emancipation Proclamation

December 1, 1862Abraham Lincoln “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free — honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.” — Message to Congress

January 1, 1863Abraham Lincoln “And by virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. — Emancipation Proclamation

June 20, 2020 —  Crews remove Henry Lawson Wyatt monument from the North Carolina Capitol grounds.

June 20, 2020North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper pays final tribute to Henry Lawson Wyatt “Monuments to white supremacy don’t belong in places of allegiance, and it’s past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way.”

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