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N. C. Adjutant General's Office
North Carolina: A Call to Arms!
Raleigh [N.C.]: Thompson & Co., 1861.


This poem, printed as a broadside or handbill, was probably written just after North Carolina's formal secession from the Union on May 20, 1861. It was intended to stir up passions throughout the state and increase the number of recruits joining the state militia. Handbills such as this one were a popular form of inexpensive publishing and advertising throughout the nineteenth century. They were often sold by local newspaper printers or, in some cases, distributed freely by those with a cause to promote. The themes of this poem would have resonated with North Carolinians of the 1860s who revered Revolutionary War patriots, citizen-soldiers who took up arms to defend their homes and liberty. The illustration at the top of the handbill represents heavenly justice. The author of this poem is unknown.

Kevin Cherry

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