February 28, 1864
---Gen. Kilpatrick’s cavalry raid begins as his column rides toward the southwest. His column splits as Col. Ulric Dahlgren splits from the column and takes a wide arc to the right. There is skirmishing with guerillas along the way, although Wade Hampton’s cavalry waiting in the wings to counterattack.
---In Kinston, North Carolina, a sermon is preached to the Confederate soldiers of Hoke’s Brigade (part of Pickett’s expeditionary force there) regarding the execution of 22 Tarheels captured in Federal uniform as deserters, for the crime of treason. The sermon is delivered by Rev. John Paris, the chaplain of the 54th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. Following are some of the main points of his sermon:
I do so, not to eulogize or benefit the dead. But I do so, solely, for the benefit of the living: and in doing so, I shall preach in my own way, and according to my own manner, or rule. What I shall say will either be true or false. I therefore request that you will watch me closely; weigh my arguments in the balance of truth. . . .
Of all deserters and traitors, Judas Iscariot, who figures in our text, is undoubtedly the most infamous, whose names have found a place in history, either sacred or profane. No name has ever been more execrated by mankind: and all this has been justly done.
Turning to the history of our own country, I find written high on the scroll of infamy the name of Benedict Arnold, who at one time stood high in the confidence of the great and good Washington. What was his crime? Desertion and treason. He too hoped to better his condition by selling his principles for money, to the enemies of his country, betraying his Washington into the hands of his foes, and committing the heaven-insulting crime of perjury before God and man. . . .
Thus, gentlemen, I have brought before you two grand prototypes of desertion, whose names tower high over all on the scroll of infamy. And I now lay down the Proposition, that every man who has taken up arms in defence of his country, and basely deserts or abandons that service, belongs in principle and practice to the family of Judas and Arnold. . . .
Many tell us the war cloud looks dark and impenetrable to mortal vision. This is all true. But are we not men? Have we not buckled on the armor, putting our trust in the Lord of hosts, as the arbiter of our destiny as a nation? Shall we then lay down our arms before we are overthrown? God forbid! Sons of Carolina, let your battle-cry be, Onward! Onward! until victory shall crown the beautiful banner that floats over us to-day. . . .