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D H Hill, J W Ellis and Big Bethel

Discussion in 'The Eastern Theater' started by Harald Henrysson, Jul 14, 2017.

  1. Harald Henrysson

    Harald Henrysson Cadet

    Feb 3, 2017
    Charleston SC
    I recently went through the documents of Charles J. Hammarskold in a Swedish archive. He became lieutenant colonel in the Confederate army, but before that he was aid-de-camp of Governor John W. Ellis of North Carolina, appointed Jan. 9, 1861. I noted that he then was also given the rank of colonel - was that the usual rank for a governor's aid-de-camp?

    Among Hammarskold's documents was a letter to Colonel D H Hill, written on the stationery of "State of North Carolina, Executive Department" and signed by Governor Ellis, though I believe this is a copy in Hammarskold's handwriting. The letter is dated June 14, 1861, and is evidently an answer to Hill's dispatch of June 11 to the governor about the Battle of Big Bethel, published on p. 835 in "Papers of John Willis Ellis", issued by N J Tolbert (Hill's detailed report to the Governor is also printed, dated June 21).

    No answer to the June 11 dispatch is printed in the book, and I wonder if this two-page letter from Willis to Hill was actually sent and is preserved somewhere else, perhaps among Hill's papers together with the document that appointed him general? In his letter, Ellis thanks for the news about Big Bethel, which "fills the hearts of your countrymen with pleasure and pride". "The gallant bearing of your regiment in this engagement will go far to convince our impudent enemy that we can never be subdued... You have gloriously maintained and born aloft the honor of North Carolina and made for her a page in history which her sons and daughters will read with exultant pleasure for generations to come. ... Herewith I enclose & transmit your commission as a Brigadier General, giving you rank from the day on which the battle of Bethel Church was fought."

    Maybe somebody with better knowledge about Civil War archives than I has thoughts about this document?

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