Theophilus Hunter Holmes

A North Carolina General in the Civil War

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About the Book

The son of a North Carolina governor, Theophilus Hunter Holmes graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1829 and served on the frontier during the Trail of Tears. He fought in the Second Seminole War and in the U.S.–Mexican War. In 1859, he became the U.S. Army’s chief recruiting officer and was assigned to Governors Island at New York City. Only days before resigning from the U.S. Army, he helped organize the naval expedition sent to relieve Fort Sumter from the Confederacy’s blockade.
But then casting his lot with his native state, Holmes led a Confederate brigade at First Manassas and a division during the Peninsular Campaign, commanded armies in the Trans-Mississippi, and organized North Carolina’s young boys and old men into the Confederate Reserves. Holmes served with some of America’s most notable historic figures: Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. In modern times, however, he is virtually unknown. The man and the soldier possessed traits of both triumph and tragedy, as demonstrated in this biography.

About the Author(s)

The late Walter C. Hilderman III was a retired Charlotte, North Carolina, police captain. He was an American Civil War reenactor and historian for fifty years and lived in Eutawville, South Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Walter C. Hilderman III
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, 6 maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7310-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0283-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1. A First Family of North Carolina 5

2. The Indian Removal 12

3. Two Wars 24

4. The Frontier, Governors Island and Fort Sumter 51

5. Manassas, North Carolina’s Coast and Virginia’s Peninsula 64

6. A Disorganized Department 89

7. A Grave of Ambition, Energy and System 104

8. The Battle of Helena 123

9. The Forlorn Hope 149

10. Living Only in the Past 183

11. Beyond the Reach of Censure or Praise 186

Appendices

A. Confederate Artillery at Helena 189

B. 68th North Carolina Troops: Weapons and Equipment 189

C. Confederate Reserves: A Comparison of Several States 189

Chapter Notes 191

Bibliography 207

Index 213

Book Reviews & Awards

“In this first ever biography, Hilderman does a good job of laying out the general’s life, pointing out his strengths and weaknesses, and more or less rescuing him form the obscurity into which post-war memoirists and historians shoved him”—The NYMAS Review; “in this first ever biography, Hilderman does a good job of laying out the general’s life, pointing out his strengths and weaknesses and more or less rescuing him from the obscurity into which post-war memoirists and historians shoved him, while throwing fresh light on the complexities of campaigning in the Trans-Mississippi”—Strategy Page; “Holmes is an important figure in Arkansas Civil War history, and he deserves a biography. Hilderman has admirably accomplished that task…well-written”—Arkansas Historical Quarterly.