North Carolina's Bill of Rights

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North Carolina Bill of Rights History

North Carolina can keep its Bill of Rights : NC and American Civil War
Appeals court reaffirms claim
 
Andrea Weigl, Staff Writer

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that North Carolina's original draft copy of the U.S. Bill of Rights, stolen during the Civil War, rightfully belongs to the Tar Heel State.

In a largely technical ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, Va., affirmed an earlier ruling by U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle that the document belongs to North Carolina. Other litigation continues in state court in North Carolina and a federal court in Connecticut over whether one former owner has any legal right to the document.

North Carolina's copy of the Bill of Rights was returned in August 2005 after two years of legal wrangling. Authorities think the document was stolen by a Union soldier from the state Capitol when Gen. William T. Sherman's Army occupied Raleigh. In 2000, Connecticut antiques dealer Wayne Pratt, with the help of Bob Matthews, a Connecticut developer, purchased the document from the soldiers' relatives for $200,000. But in 2003, a federal agent, posing as a potential buyer, seized the document as contraband.

Pratt and Matthews contended that they had been cheated out of a potential $30 million from the sale. Pratt has since given up any claim on the document, but Matthews continues with his litigation.

"This is good news for the people of North Carolina," said Attorney General Roy Cooper in a prepared statement Thursday. "We've fought hard to bring our copy of the Bill of Rights home where it belongs, and we'll continue to fight off challenges that would seek to take this important symbol and historic treasure away from us again."

Cooper, Gov. Mike Easley, and U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney worked together to return the document to North Carolina.

Source and Credit:

The News & Observer Publishing Company

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Recommended Reading: Sherman's March: The First Full-Length Narrative of General William T. Sherman's Devastating March through Georgia and the Carolinas. Description: Sherman's March is the vivid narrative of General William T. Sherman's devastating sweep through Georgia and the Carolinas in the closing days of the Civil War. Continued below...
Weaving together hundreds of eyewitness stories, Burke Davis graphically brings to life the dramatic experiences of the 65,000 Federal troops who plundered their way through the South and those of the anguished -- and often defiant -- Confederate women and men who sought to protect themselves and their family treasures, usually in vain. Dominating these events is the general himself -- "Uncle Billy" to his troops, the devil incarnate to the Southerners he encountered.

 

Recommended Reading: The Battle Of Bentonville: Last Stand In The Carolinas (Hardcover: 575 pages). Description: As Sherman completed the destruction of Georgia, only the outnumbered but wily Confederate commander Joseph E. Johnston stood between Sherman’s army and the conquest of North and South Carolina. Finally, the Battle of Bentonville and the Campaign of the Carolinas ‘gets its well deserved attention.’ Bradley takes the reader from the last organized skirmish against Sherman's army in South Carolina to the climatic Battle at Bentonville. In between, Bradley discusses in detail the Campaign of the Carolinas, which includes the following battles: Rivers’ Bridge, Wyse Fork (aka 2nd Kinston), Monroe’s Crossroads, Averasborough (aka Averasboro), and the grand finale at Bentonville. On these pages, you will literally feel like you are emotionally rising and falling with Johnny Reb and Billy Yank. You will feel that Rebel Yell screaming in your ears and imagine that crackle of musketry. Continued below…

But the finest aspect of the book is its gripping depiction of the Battle of Bentonville; it was literally the Confederate’s last stand to halt Major General William T. Sherman's march through the Carolinas. For nearly a day, a rag tag, mottled army of Confederates from every corner of the Confederacy had the previously unchallenged army of Sherman "on the ropes." However, as the book vividly describes, the determination of a few Federal divisions and reinforcements save the Union army. In between the vivid descriptions of the fighting, Bradley masterfully throws in personal recollections and eyewitness accounts that are unmatched by previous books on the Campaign. An outstanding ‘photo section’ reflects the battlefield from numerous viewpoints, as well as several good-sized photographs of the participants. Also, and most importantly, the book is devoid of prejudice and bias. You will be hard pressed to find a more objective study; even for a subject that pulls so much emotion as Sherman's march. If you read just one book on the rarely discussed Campaign of the Carolinas, with the Battle of Bentonville, and the Confederacy’s last stand... READ THIS ONE. You will not be disappointed.

 

Recommended Reading: The Civil War in the Carolinas (Hardcover). Description: Dan Morrill relates the experience of two quite different states bound together in the defense of the Confederacy, using letters, diaries, memoirs, and reports. He shows how the innovative operations of the Union army and navy along the coast and in the bays and rivers of the Carolinas affected the general course of the war as well as the daily lives of all Carolinians. In the latter part of the war, he describes how Sherman's operation cut out the heart of the last stronghold of the South. Continued below...

The author offers fascinating sketches of major and minor personalities, including the new president and state governors, Generals Lee, Beauregard, Pickett, Sherman, D.H. Hill, and Joseph E. Johnston. Rebels and abolitionists, pacifists and unionists, slaves and freed men and women, all influential, all placed in their context with clear-eyed precision. If he were wielding a needle instead of a pen, his tapestry would offer us a complete picture of a people at war.

 

Recommended Reading: Touring the Carolina's Civil War Sites (Touring the Backroads Series). Description: Touring the Carolina's Civil War Sites helps travelers find the Carolinas' famous Civil War battlefields, forts, and memorials, as well as the lesser skirmish sites, homes, and towns that also played a significant role in the war. The book's 19 tours, which cover the 'entire Carolinas,' combine riveting history with clear, concise directions and maps, creating a book that is as fascinating to the armchair reader as it is to the person interested in heritage travel. Below are some examples from this outstanding book:

1. Fort Fisher - the largest sea fort in the war that protected the vital town of Wilmington N.C., and the blockade runners so important for supplying Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.
2.
Charleston - where the whole shootin' match started.
3.
Bentonville - the last large scale battle of the war.
4.
Outer Banks - early Union victories here were vital to capturing many parts of Eastern North Carolina from which the Union could launch several offensives.
5.
Sherman's March - the destruction of certain towns in both Carolinas (particularly South Carolina) further weakened the South's will to continue the struggle.
I also enjoyed reading about the locations of various gravesites of Confederate generals and their Civil War service. Indeed, if not for this book, this native North Carolinian and long-time Civil War buff may never have learned of, and visited, the locations of some of the lesser-known sites other than those mentioned above.
Johnson's writing style is smooth--without being overly simplistic--and contains several anecdotes (some humorous ones too) of the interesting events which took place during the Civil War years. Highly recommended!

 
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hour Civil War didn't just captivate a nation, reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller, and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every student."

North Carolina Bill of Rights Civil War History: US Marshals Seize North Carolina’s Bill of Rights, and Sherman's March to the Sea during American Civil War, with Facts, Details, and the United States Bill of Rights. NC and General Sherman.

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