In the summer of 1861, the people of Yadkin County, North Carolina, like people all over the South, talked, prayed and fretted about their young new nation. The U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's call for North Carolina to provide troops for his invasion of the seceded states of the South had propelled "The Old North State" into the Confederacy. Now, only days after the Union's initial invasion of the South at Manassas Junction, Virginia, had been repelled, it was clear that independence for the Confederacy would not be achieved without a fight. In order to defend their country, state, homes and families, Governor Ellis and the North Carolina state legislature called for all able bodied, patriotic men to volunteer to serve their country. Over 120,000 North Carolinians answered this call. Over 40,000 paid the ultimate price for their homeland, more than any other southern state.
On August 13, 1861, over one hundred of these men from Yadkin County, North Carolina, volunteered to form Company "I" of the 28th Regiment of North Carolina State Troops. Nicknamed the "Yadkin Stars", these men would serve nobly under Captain Asbury Speer. Their brigade would serve under such great men as Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, D. H. Hill, Lawrence O. Branch, and James H. Lane. They would fight to defend their country and secure its independence in places like New Bern, Hanover Courthouse, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg. Their honor and bravery is a proud heritage for every Yadkin County and North Carolina native. That their cause failed does not diminish their unexcelled record of service.
What would those hard-fighting and proud warriors of Yadkin County think, if they could see the scene transpiring on August 13, 2006, when a group of Yadkin men and women met together, exactly 145 years to the day, to form the reactivated Company "I" of the 28th North Carolina Infantry!
The impetus to start a new North Carolina War Between the States Infantry unit had started some time earlier, in the hearts and minds of Greg Cheek and John Baucom. Both were active reenactors in the 21st North Carolina Troops. But, as events transpired, the call in their hearts to build a unit to represent the veterans of Yadkin County became stronger and stronger. As the date in August came closer, events all came together to make no doubt in their minds that God had blessed this effort.
And God has indeed blessed! Since the inception of the 28th NCT, the unit has grown to include some of the finest soldiers in the hobby today, not only from all over North Carolina, but from Ohio to Florida!
In 2008 the Yadkin Stars became full members of the Fourth Regiment of the First Division of the Army of Northern Virginia. Also, at their annual meeting in 2008, the members of the unit voted to also represent Company "F", the "Yadkin Boys," the other company of the historic 28th NCT from Yadkin County. In 2011, the membership voted overwhelmingly to add Company "B," the "Gaston Invincibles" to it's roster. And in 2013, as we continued to grow, we were proud to add Company "C," The "South Fork Farmers," to our designations!
And they stay busy! The event schedule of the 28th NCT is full of not only battle reenactments, but also marker dedications for Confederate veterans, Confederate Memorial Day observances, Civil War Trail Marker dedications, living history programs for schools and communities, parades and town festivals. I believe it is safe to say that the 28th NCT is as busy as any unit in reenacting today! And, in an effort to stay faithful to rule number one in their bylaws, they have FUN!
Thank you for your interest in the reactivated 28th North Carolina Infantry. We hope to see you in camp or on the field of battle soon!
In time, even death itself might be abolished; who knows but it may be given to us after this life to meet again in the old quarters, to play chess and draughts, to get up soon to answer the morning role call, to fall in at the tap of the drum for drill and dress parade, and again to hastily don our war gear while the monotonous patter of the long roll summons to battle.
Who knows but again the old flags, ragged and torn, snapping in the wind, may face each other and flutter, pursuing and pursued, while the cries of victory fill a summer day? And after the battle, then the slain and wounded will arise, and all will meet together under the two flags, all sound and well, and there will be talking and laughter and cheers, and all will say, Did it not seem real? Was it not as in the old days?
Sergeant Berry Benson
A South Carolina veteran from McGowan's brigade, Wilcox's division, A. P. Hill's corps, Army of Northern Virginia, 1880.
Your dispatch is received, and if genuine, which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt, I have to say in reply, that I regard the levy of troops made by the Administration a usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. I will reply more in detail when your call is received by mail.
John W. Ellis
Governor of North Carolina
In reply to Simon Cameron''s (Secretary of War) request for two regiments of military for immeadiate service, April 15th, 1861.