This is the letter of surrender written
by Governor Jonathan Worth to Governor W.W. Holden, after being
informed of the Military's intent to execute General Order 120.
The letter includes an excerpt of General Order 120 and Governor
Worth's protest to the actions intended.
Text of the letter:
State of North
Raleigh July 1st, 1868
Gov. W. W. Holden
Yesterday morning I was verbally notified by Chief Justice Pearson
that in obedience to a telegram from Genl Canby, he would today
at 10 A.M. administer to you the oaths required preliminary to your
entering upon the discharge of the duties of Civil Governor
of the State; and that there upon you would demand possession of
I intimated to the Judge my opinion that such proceeding was premature
even under the Reconstruction legislation of Congress and that I
should probably decline to surrender the Office to you.
At sundown yesterday evening I received from Col. Williams, Commandant
of this Military Post an extract from the General Orders No. 120.
- of Genl Canby as follows
Head Quarters 2nd Military Dist.
Charleston, S. C. 3Oit 68
No. 120 (Extract)
To facilitate the organization of the new State Government, the
following appointments are made. To be Governor of North Carolina,
W. W. Holden, Governor elect, vice Jonathan Worth, removed To
be Lieut Governor elect of North Carolina, Tod R. Caldwell, Lieut
Governor elect to fill our original vacancy. To take effect July
1st 1868. on the meeting of the General Assembly of
I do not recognize the validity of the late election, under which
you and those cooperating with you claim to be invested with the
Civil Government of the State. You have no evidence of your election,
save the certificate of a Major General of the United States Army.
I regard all of you as, in effect, appointees of the Military power
of the United States, and not as deriving your powers from the consent
of those you claim to govern. Knowing, however, that you are backed
by Military force here, which I could not resist if I would, I do
not deem it necessary to offer a futile opposition but vacate the
office without the ceremony of actual eviction, offering no further
opposition than this, my protest. I would submit to actual expulsion
in order to bring before the Supreme Court of the United States
the question as to the Constitutionality of the legislation under
which you claim to be the rightful Governor of the State, if the
past action of that tribunal furnished any hope of a speedy trial.
I surrender the office to you under what I deem Military duress,
without stopping as the occasion would well justify. To comment
upon the singular coincidence that the present State Government
is surrendered, as without legality, to him whose own official
sanction, but three years ago, declared it valid.
I am, very Respectfully,
Governor of N.C.