United Confederate Veterans of Burke
The Confederate Veterans of Burke County began holding annual picnics, or reunions, within a few years after the end of occupation by federal forces. By the mid 1880s there were several 'bivouacs' in the county. Each was composed of men who had served together in one company or regiment. Some were from old cavalry units, others from mounted infantry, and then there were the infantry.
Then in the mid 1890s under the leadership of Capt. L.A. Bristol (who was the younget officer from Burke at age 16) there was organized the United Confederate Veterans camp #1552, the "Avery-McDowell Camp", with L.A. Bristol as commander and Capt. Bristol urged the sons of those veterans to organize a camp of the 'Sons' (then known as the United Sons of Confederate Veterans).
Annual picnic reunions were held at various places in the county such as Gilboa Church (the oldest church in the County) and at Camp Vance.
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Finally in 1929 the 'Sons' organized the Burke County Camp #836 by the leadership of Robert Lambert Bristol, son of Cap. L.A. Bristol.
but within a few years they stopped meeting. Sporadically through the years a group would form and then fall apart. The problem was there were so many 'hero' veterans of Burke squabbles would erupt over favor for one or the other.
By 1987 all of that was behind and Mr. Garry McCurry formed a solid camp with the purpose of restoring the Confederate Monument in Morganton. This was accomplished with the aid of the people and local governments of Burke County and with great aid from the Burke County Historical Society, The Genealogy Society and other groups
Robert Bristol continued as a member of the camp as the camp's "Real Son" of a veteran. Compatriot Robert Bristol had been a member for 67 years upon his death in 1996.
Ralph Morrison, of Glen Alpine led the camp during the 1990s and was a good leader of the group. No meetings were held in 1997 or 1998.
In January of 1999 five members met and agreed to let Jim Pierce
re-start the camp. Within three years the camp went from 5 to 90 members.
The camp was so large that a split was needed. In 2008 the Valdese camp was formed by members of the Morganton camp to better serve the county. Today the Morganton Camp and Valdese camps are active in Burke County and both have room to grow.
Your participation in the Morganton Camp #836 will be welcomed
as we work to preserve the honor of Confederate soldiers and to serve our communities.
The newspaper clippings below show that the cornerstone for the Confederate monument in Morganton was laid on August 24, 1911.
Why we are the Sam Tate Camp
Samuel McDowell Tate's Official War Record:
Residence Burke County NC; 30 years old.
Enlisted on 5/16/1861 at Burke County, NC as a Captain.
On 5/16/1861 he was commissioned into "D" Co. NC 6th Infantry
He was listed as:
* Wounded 9/17/1862 Sharpsburg, MD (Severely wounded)
* Wounded 10/19/1864 Cedar Creek, VA
* Wounded 3/25/1865 Fort Stedman, VA (Severely wounded)
* Paroled 5/16/1865 Morganton, NC
[ Note: He had been sent home to recover from serious wounds when Gen. Lee surrendered at Appomattox]
* Major 6/11/1862
* Lt Col 7/3/1863
Intra Regimental Company Transfers:
* 6/11/1862 from company D to Field & Staff
born 9/6/1830 in Morganton, NC
Sources used by Historical Data Systems, Inc.:
- North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster
- Confederate Military History
(c) Historical Data Systems, Inc.
Other Information regarding Sam Tate:
Colonel Charles F. Fisher, Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery and Colonel
Samuel McDowell Tate were three brave North Carolina officers who
successively commanded the gallant Sixth regiment. It is fitting
that their names be associated in history, as their lives were
during those days of carnage and suffering.
Col. Charles F. Fisher, the first commander of the Sixth regiment, North Carolina troops, was, during the formation of the first regiments in the State, president of the North Carolina
railroad. When the military institute at Charlotte was abandoned
by most of the cadets, who volunteered in various commands, he
brought a number of men from along his own road and the Western,
quartered them in the barracks and secured their drilling by the
cadets who still remained.
Soon afterward all were removed to company shops, and the work
rapidly progressed until the Sixth regiment was organized in
June, with Fisher as colonel, and mustered in for the war. On
being mobilized the regiment acted as escort at the funeral of
Governor Ellis at Raleigh, was reviewed and addressed by
President Davis at Richmond, and proceeded to Winchester,
where it was assigned to General Bee's brigade, of Gen. J. E.
Johnston's army in the Shenandoah valley.
They reached Manassas Junction on the morning of the famous
battle and marched hurriedly to the front, where the rattle of
musketry and boom of cannon were already heard, going into their
first battle in front of the Henry house, and were immediately
under a destructive fire. After the enemy had recovered the
ridge at this place and Rickett's battery, the Sixth joined in
the superb Confederate charge which finally swept back the
In this movement General Bee and Colonels Bartow and Fisher were
killed. Colonel Fisher led his gallant men in the charge and fell
50 yards in advance of his line. Col. W. D. Pender, not long
afterward, took command of the regiment, and upon his promotion, following the battle of Seven Pines, Isaac E. Avery, up to this time captain of Company E, was promoted lieutenant-colonel.
Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery was born December 20, 1828, at the
Avery home near Morganton. He was the son of Isaac T. Avery and
grandson of Waightstill Avery, a descendant of a Massachusetts
family whose ancestors came over in 1631. Cols. W. W. Avery, C.
M. Avery and Judge A. C. Avery were his brothers. After
receiving his education at Chapel Hill, he had been engaged in
the management of a stock farm, and as an associate of Colonels
Fisher and Tate in railroad construction.
He entered the Sixth regiment at its organization as captain of
Company E; was the first to call out " Let us charge, " at First
Manassas, was wounded there, and in command of the regiment was again wounded at Gaines' Mill, in the campaign before Richmond. Being for some time disabled, the command devolved upon Maj. Robert F. Webb. Promoted colonel he had command of Hoke's brigade, including his regiment, at the battle of Gettysburg, and fell mortally wounded in the attack upon Cemetery hill on
the second day.
The Sixth entered the enemy's works and held them for a brief
space, but the gallant leader of the brigade, while his men were
ascending the hill, was shot down in an attempt to save his old
regiment from an enfilading fire. His wound was in the neck,
rendering him speechless. In his hand was found a bloody scroll,
upon which he had written with evident effort: "Major (Tate),
tell my father that I fell with my face to the enemy." General
Early reported that the place of the gallant Hoke was worthily
filled that day by Colonel Avery. "In his death the Confederacy
lost a good and brave soldier."
Colonel Samuel McDowell Tate, the last of this patriotic trio,
was born at Morganton, September 6, 1830, son of David Tate, a
member of the legislature; and a great-grandson of David Tate,
one of four brothers who came to North Carolina from Pennsylvania
about 1790. He was a delegate to the national convention at
Charleston in 1860, and a prominent man before the events of the
war. He went out with the Sixth as captain of Company D, and was
promoted major after the battle of Seven Pines.
He was severely wounded at Sharpsburg, as lieutenant-colonel
commanding, led the regiment to the top Cemetery hill, on July 2nd, at Gettysburg (after Isaac Avery fell mortally wounded), and after that was in command until the close of the war. He was subsequently wounded at Rappahannock bridge and at Cedar creek, and yet more severely in the battle of Fort Steadman, March 25, 1865, which compelled his return to his home.
Immediately after the close of hostilities he was elected president of the Western North Carolina railroad, with which he was
prominently identified for several years, though removed from
this office by Governor Holden ( who was impeached and fled for his life from NC ).
Sam Tate was appointed U.S. Postmaster Morganton NC 1856-1860
and was elected to the legislature in 1874, 1880, 1882 and 1884; in 1886 was appointed examiner of national banks in the South Atlantic States, and afterward was elected treasurer of the State. He was an earnest worker in the Democratic party and a delegate to every national convention of his party, except that of 1872, from and including 1860.
Source: Confederate Military History Vol. V p. 485
In conclusion: Sam Tate is our namesake because of his endurance and leadership during the war and his service to NC and the nation after the war. He remains as a role model of citizen, soldier, businessman and government servant. Sam Tate Died, June 25th, 1897.