We Want Our Shoemaker Back!

Note: James C. Rogers is listed in North Carolina Troops and in his NARA compiled service record as J. E. Rodgers.


James C. Rogers was a 46-year-old shoemaker living in Sampson County. He managed to avoid military service until October 16, 1864. On that date, he enlisted at the Conscript Camp in Raleigh. Upon enlistment, he was assigned to Company C, 51st Regiment North Carolina Troops. Shortly after he arrived at the Fifty-First’s camp near Richmond, he was detailed as a shoemaker for the Confederate Army.

The Petition

On December 17, 1864, attorney Edward Smith sent a petition to Secretary of War Seddon requesting Rogers be sent back to Sampson County. His plea was also signed by Samuel Spearman and David Alderman, wealthy farmers and neighbors of James Rogers.

North Carolina, Sampson County

To Hon Samuel A. Seddon, Sec of War C. S.

The petition of the undersigned citizens of Sampson County respectfully showeth that James C. Rogers has hitherto been exempted from Conscription by reason of being a shoemaker, and about the 16th day of October last was conscripted as one of the details and is now performing field duty in Company C 51 Regiment N. C. T. Clingman’s Brigade. Your petitioners further represent that the said James C. Rogers is an excellent shoemaker, and has been employed as such for a number of years and has always charged very moderate and reasonable prices for his work, that there is no other shoemaker in his whole neighborhood, and the families of soldiers, and indigent soon must go without the necessary article of shoes during this winter, if he cannot return to furnish them. Your petitioners further represent that the said James C. Rogers has dependent on his exertions alone for support, a wife and Five small children, and being in very feeble health and being in the forty sixth year of his age, are fully satisfied that his services would be infinitely more valuable in remaining at home following his trade, and administering to the wants and comforts of his helpless family. We most respectfully ask for his detail.

Very respectfully,

E. C. Smith, Sam’l Spearman, D. B. Alderman


Secretary Seddon apparently forwarded the petition to Lieutenant R. J. Pearsall, the enrolling officer for Sampson County. Pearsall endorsed the petition on January 30, 1865, stating, “the petitioners are men of good standing & their statements worthy of reliance.” He forwarded the petition to Lieutenant S. M. Parish, commander of the Detail Department.

On February 16th, Parish returned the petition to Lieutenant Pearsall, requesting a report giving details “for the opinion expressed. What is the capacity of this shop? Number of customers? Distance to others? Their capacity to supply the demand, etc., etc.” Pearsall responded, “has more work than he can do, has more than 50 customers, no other shop nearer than 7 miles, no other in that space but him.”

The Decision

The petition now landed on Major Peter Mallet’s desk in Raleigh. Mallet commanded North Caolina’s Conscription Office. On March 4, he respectfully disapproved the request and forwarded the petition to Lieutenant General Theophilus Holmes two days later. Holmes, commander of the North Carolina Reserves, followed Major Mallet’s recommendation and denied the request to detail James Rogers to Sampson County.

Holmes forwarded his disapproval to the Bureau of Conscription in Richmond, but by then it didn’t matter. The war would end in less than two months. Sampson County would have to do without a shoemaker until then.

Click Here to see images of the original petition.

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