Thursday, September 25, 2014

Troutman Brothers: The North and South War Dilemma

To tell the story only of my great-grandfather Daniel A. Troutman during the Civil War without adding the story of his brothers, especially two who fought beside him, would be to omit key elements. Daniel had six brothers: Jacob (1821-1891), Henry Martin (1825-1904), Robert Leonard (1827-1918), John Burette (1833-1864), Adam Carmi (1841-1911), and Theophilus Falls (1849-1935).[1] As in many families in North Carolina, opinions about the war varied among the sons of Henry Troutman.

The oldest, Jacob, does not appear in Civil War service records for North Carolina. Jacob is reported to have had some sort of “spells” during which he mind was affected.  As a result, his neighbors called him “Crazy Jake.” These attacks probably kept him from being conscripted.

The next brother, Henry Martin, opposed secession, so when a regiment of Union soldiers marched through the area, he allowed them to encamp on his land and provided them with food. This action was credited to having saved the surrounding area from  being plundered and destroyed.[2]

For Robert Leonard and Theophilus Falls, there seems to be no record of military service.[3] Theo was very young at the start of the war, only 12, but R. L. was of age. He somehow managed to keep out of the fray.

As for John, Daniel, and Adam, the war had been in progress for a year before the latter two joined the 48th North Carolina regiment, and longer than that for John. Daniel and Adam volunteered on 1 March 1862, and were mustered in 17 April, the day following passage of the Confederate Conscription Act.[4] 

Perhaps more reluctant to join the military because he had a wife and two small sons, John stayed home as long as he could, but he was conscripted 1 August 1862 and joined his brothers in the 48th.[5] The Troutman brothers’ reluctance to sign up and march off to war at the outset, as so many young men did, suggests the differences of opinion that may have occurred in discussions in their family about the war.  

Unlike people living in the Deep South where secession was cheered, where emotions ran high, where the economy was heavily dependent on slaves to work cotton plantations, those living in the Upper South were less eager to secede and loyalties were divided. The latter were leery of both zealous secessionists and adamant abolitionists. They wanted to work within the Union to procure opportunities for economic growth and due regard for Southern rights.[6]

In the Piedmont area of North Carolina, the people generally were not cotton planters, but farmers who worked the land on their own or with the help from their sons. Their crops included barley, corn, oats, rice, rye, sweet potatoes, and tobacco. Generally, they did not own slaves and did not want to own them.[7] Many non-slave owners, nonetheless, did not approve of large scale freeing of slaves. They feared the chaos it might bring, and they didn’t want former slaves in competition for jobs on the same level with poor whites.[8] They viewed slavery as necessary for keeping social order, but not a particularly admirable institution.[9] In other words, they saw it as a necessary evil. Issues were very complicated, not defined clearly, not simplistic.[10]

Until Lincoln was elected, most North Carolinians were against secession. His election showed that they were more pro-North Carolina than pro-Union.[11] The catalyst for secession for North Carolina occurred when the North mobilized troops and sent them South.[12] North Carolina was the last state to secede, which they did on 21 May 1861 “only grudgingly” to prevent warring against its neighboring states.[13] Ironically, North Carolina is closely tied with Virginia in sacrificing more of its men to the war than any other state.[14]

[1] Thomas L. Troutman, ed., Descending Jacob’s Ladder (Unknown place: Unknown publisher, 1993), 51.
[2] Troutman, Descending Jacob’s Ladder, 62.
[3] A search of Civil War service records on Fold3 and produced negative results for Robert Leonard and Theophilus Falls. Also in Robert Leonard’s profile in Descending Jacob’s Ladder, page 62, there is no mention of military service, nor a reason that he may not have served.
[4] Adam C. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, database Fold3 ( : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472. Also, Daniel A. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, database Fold3 (
49858276/ : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.
[5] John B. Troutman, Muster Rolls of Co. C, 48th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865, database Fold3 ( : accessed 10 September 2014); NARA M270, roll 0472.  
[6] William R. Trotter, Silk Flags and Cold Steel: The Civil War in North Carolina: The Piedmont (Winston-Salem, North Carolina: John F. Blair, Publisher, 1988), 11.
[7] Trotter, Silk Flags, 12.
[8] Trotter, Silk Flags, 11.
[9] Trotter, Silk Flags, 13.
[10] Trotter, Silk Flags, 14.
[11] Trotter, Silk Flags, 13.
[12] Trotter, Silk Flags, 15, 20.
[13] Jennifer L. Larson, “Highlights: A Free and Independent State: North Carolina Secedes from the Union,” Documenting the American South (
secession.html : accessed 25 September 2014).
[14] Cameron McWherter, “Numbers War Between the States: New Research Questions Who in the Confederacy Had the Most War Dead,” The Wall Street Journal, 26 March 2011 ( : accessed 25 September 2014). Also, “Civil War Casualties: The Cost of War: Killed, Wounded, Captured, and Missing,” Civil War Trust (
civil-war-casualties.html : accessed 25 September 2014).

© 2014, Z. T. Noble


  1. Hi Zola, I wanted you to know that I have nominated you and your blog for the One Lovely Bog Award.

    1. Thank you, Charlie. I guess I'm out of the loop because I was not aware of this Lovely Blog Award. Now I am. What a fun thing!