Camp near Orange CH
March 29, 1864
My Dear Mother
I wrote you a short letter only a few days ago, but as some little excitement outside of our regular routine of duty has occurred within the past few days, I thought I would drop you a little history of it. Governor Vance arrived among us last Friday evening, and was the guest of General Daniel. He delivered a speech before that Brigade last Saturday evening. ALL the Generals of note in this army were present and on the state with him, embracing Generals Lee, Ewell, AP Hill, Stewart, Wilcox, Rodes and a good many others whose names I did not know; there was some twelve or fifteen in number. I did not hear but a part of the speech, as the crow was so large that I could not get in a hundred yards of him.
Yesterday there was a grand review of all North Carolina troops that is in this Corps, by Gov. Vance, including the cavalry. After the review the troops were all arranged around a state erected for the purpose in the camp of the Thirtieth Regiment, and he addressed them with a speech of three or four hours length. He said it did not sound right to him to address us as “Fellow Soldiers,” because he was not one of us – he used to be until he shirked out of the service for a little office down in North Carolina, so now he would address us as “Fellow Tar Heels,” as we always stick.
I was in a good place to hear every word that he said, and I don’t think I ever listened to a more able speech of the kind in my life. If was very able and deep, interspersed with anecdotes, illustration of his subject, which kept the men from feeling fatigued. The review took up some two hours, marching all the fields, and then we had to stand up all the while the speech was being delivered. Nearly the whole camp was there, in fact, there were thousands that could not hear him from their distance. There was some dozen or two ladies present. After Gov. Vance got through, the crowd called for General Early. He arose and spoke a short time, then General Rodes; after he was through Gov. Vance arose again and said he must talk a little more, too. He related two or three anecdotes relative to the Yankee characters and then retired amidst deafening “Rebel Yells.” This morning it’s cold and has just commenced raining. I think it will end in a snow. The last of the big snow has gone. Clarke’s mountain is covered yet. I forgot to tell you that I received your letter night before last. My love to all.
Believe me, as ever, yours, etc.
Source: Laura Elizabeth Lee, Forget-Me-Nots of the Civil War: A Romance Containing Reminiscences and Original Letters of Two Confederate Soldiers (St. Louis, Missouri: A.R. Fleming Printing Co, 1909). See also Joel Craig and Sharlene Baker, eds., As You May Never See Us Again: The Civil War Letters of George and Walter Battle, 4th North Carolina Infantry (Wake Forest, NC: The Scuppernong Press, 2010).