The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

Civil War: University professors bear the loss of brave sons

Buy Photos

Click on the timeline to see The Daily Tar Heel’s Civil War headlines. Click on a headline to be taken to the article.

Editor’s note: One hundred fifty years ago Sunday, reports of the attack on Fort Sumter appeared in area newspapers. These stories from the Civil War are presented as they might have appeared in a student newspaper. All photos and article data courtesy of Wilson Library.

APRIL 1865 — In the provenance of Chapel Hill whilst the Yankees occupy our fair town, peaceful times are sorely missed as our beloved professors mourn the deaths of their dear, brave sons.

Former University bookstore owner Charles P. Mallett sacrificed two sons to the noble cause against Northern aggression.

Mallet’s son Edward passed just a month ago on March 1865 during the Battle of Bentonville. Mallet also lost son Richardson due to wounds incurred at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Mallett continues to keep a written account for his son, Charles Beatty, of the Union occupation in which he laments the sorry state of the University due to drops in enrollment and the continual harassment of townspeople by the Yankee soldiers.

“What can be more ridiculous than the continued ding dong of the College bell for prayers and all the usual recitation hours, when there are now but one senior and one junior in College,” Mallett wrote in the aforementioned account dated April 23, 1865, the seventh day of occupation.

Other affiliates of the University also have suffered invaluable losses in the war.

The Honorable William H. Battle, a law professor and State Supreme Court Justice, has suffered the painful loss of two sons who succumbed on the field of former countrymen separated by the will of God.

Son Wesley Lewis Battle fell during Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, in Gettysburg and later succumbed to an untimely death and into the arms of our Savior on Aug. 22 of that same year.

Judge Battle wrote his wife, the lovely Lucy, on July 14 asserting he had hitherto heard nothing of Wesley Lewis’ condition.

“I am very much inclined to think that Lane’s Brigade was not in the fight in which there was such great slaughter,” Battle unknowingly wrote.

However, upon hearing of the demise of the valiant Wesley Lewis, Judge Battle wrote to his son Kemp Plummer Battle of Lucy’s deplorable state.

“She will bear it like a Christian,” Battle wrote in a letter dated Sept. 14. “But the bright smile which in your childhood you so often saw on her face will, I fear, never be seen there again.”

News came of the loss of Judge Battle’s son, Junius Cullen, from nurse Ellen Selsum at the battle of South Mountain in the Union state of Maryland. Junius Cullen had suffered an injury requiring amputation, Ms. Selsum said. She was present at Junius Cullen’s passing on Oct. 2, 1862.

“It was amputated below the knee from the effects of which he appeared for some time to be fast recovering, which I believe was the earnest desire of all who approached,” Ms. Selsum informed Judge Battle in a letter.

Judge Battle’s apparent grief at the unfortunate demise of his beloved son was augmented still further by the famine experienced by the townspeople of Chapel Hill in the barren fall of 1862.

“If our farmers have anything to sell, they will not part with it at present,” wrote Battle despairingly to Kemp Plummer Battle in a letter dated Nov. 7, 1862.

The war might be over now, but the deaths of our brave sons will resonate and haunt us whilst the Yankees continue their unwelcome stay and forever hence.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


The Daily Tar Heel's 2023 Black History Month Edition

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive