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Thomas N. Crumpler
Speech of T. N. Crumpler, of Ashe, on Federal Relations, Delivered in the House of Commons, Jan. 10, 1861
Raleigh [N.C.]: Printed at the Office of the Raleigh Register, 1861.


Thomas N. Crumpler (ca. 1835-11 July 1862) entered the University of North Carolina in 1851 but did not graduate. He was a lawyer in Jefferson, North Carolina, and served as a Whig member of the North Carolina House of Commons in 1860. An eloquent speaker, Crumpler was a captain in Company A, 1st Cavalry (9th Regiment of the North Carolina State Troops) and was later promoted to major. He was wounded on June 29, 1862, while performing reconnaissance around McClellan's Army. Crumpler and many others fell during a cavalry charge up a long lane toward an artillery and infantry emplacement. He died on July 11, 1862, at the age of twenty-seven.

South Carolina had declared its intent to secede and the rest of the Southern states were in an uproar when freshman member of the North Carolina House of Commons Thomas N. Crumpler rose to address the body and plead for the preservation of the Union. He stated his belief that Northern abolitionists were primarily to blame for the present troubles but that members of the national Democratic Party were also guilty, having willfully split in the previous national election, thus enabling Republican Abraham Lincoln's election. Crumpler asked his fellow legislators how dissolution of the Union would address the complaints of the secessionists and called for a national convention to be held to address the South's concerns. He pledged, "While I am determined to do my duty to the whole country, I yield to no man in devotion to the rights and honor of my State. If the evil must come, if wise and moderate counsels are not to prevail, if the bosom of my country must be bared to the ploughshare of civil war, I pledge myself to gentlemen here and now, when the drum shall beat and the bugle shall sound, and when the roar of the cannon shall mark that Carnage has sat down to his feast, we [the present Unionists] will be found as far advanced against the broken ranks of North Carolina foes as the most fiery spirit among them [the secessionists]. In the meantime, we do not intend to see ourselves robbed of the heritage our fathers bequeathed to us without an effort to avert the calamity" (p. 6).

Works Consulted: Battle, Kemp Plummer, History of the University of North Carolina, vol. 1, Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1974; Directory of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina for the session commencing Nov. 19, 1860, [Raleigh, N.C.?]: John Nichols, 1860; Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series I., Vol. 11, Part 2, Chapter 23; Manarin, Louis H. ed., vol. II, North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1968: 10.

Kevin Cherry

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