WONDERFUL INK SIGNED CDV OF 46TH NORTH CAROLINA COLONEL & STATESMAN

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Item Code: 766-1889

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Image is a waist up view of William L. Saunders as colonel of the 46th North Carolina. He is shown wearing a light-colored double-breasted frock coat with the three stars of a colonel visible on his collar.

Contrast and clarity are good. Mount and paper have light surface dirt. Bottom of the image has a nice period ink signature of “W. L. SAUNDERS COL 46 REG N C TROOPS A. N. VA.”

Reverse has a photographer’s imprint for C. M. VAN ORSDELL… WILMINGTON, N.C.

Image is from a Tennessee photo album.

William Lawrence Saunders was born in Raleigh, North Carolina on June 30, 1835. He studied law and began practicing in 1854. He relocated to Salisbury and was there when the Civil War began.

Saunders was commissioned 2nd lieutenant in Company D, 1st North Carolina Light Artillery on May 1, 1861 but resigned on January 11, 1862 with authorization from the Governor to raise a Company.

On February 15, 1862 Saunders became captain of Company B, 46th North Carolina Infantry. He was promoted to major on September 30, 1862 and received his first wound at Fredericksburg the following December. In January of 1863 he was appointed lieutenant colonel and the following January he was made colonel.

Saunders was wounded in the Wilderness on May 5, 1864 and returned to duty November 15, 1864. He was surrendered at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.

Saunder’s post-war life is covered by his findagrave.com entry which reads as follows:

“Statesman; Editor; Historian Colonel William Lawrence Saunders served as Secretary of the State of North Carolina during the Reconstruction era (1879-1891). During his tenure, he was arrested in his office in Raleigh and brought before the US Senate for questioning regarding his alleged connection to Ku Klux Klan activities in North Carolina. Saunders was the first person ever to invoke his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions that could incriminate him during a US Senate investigation. "I decline to answer" is carved on his tombstone as are the words "For 20 years he exerted more power in North Carolina than any other man" also "Distinguished for wisdom, purity and courage" which is generally understood to be a reference to his years of leadership with the Ku Klux Klan rather than his tenure as NC Secretary of State. Saunders was also on the UNC board of trustees and a co-founder of the Raleigh News and Observer newspaper. He graduated from The University of North Carolina in 1854; in 1922 the building that houses Religious Studies and the Geography department - Saunders Hall- was named after him. Although minority students have staged protests in recent years asking that the name be changed - the University of North Carolina is refusing on the grounds that history cannot be changed; only studied with an eye towards better understanding in the future.”

Colonel William L. Saunders died in Raleigh, North Carolina on April 2, 1891 and is buried in Calvary Church Cemetery in Tarboro, North Carolina.    [ad][ph:L]

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