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Carthage Jan the 1st 1864

His Excelency Governor Vance

Dear Sir

          I received yours of the 23rd December/63 as for Maj Dowd [1] having given orders to burn those still houses I know nothing about as I stated to you that the men that burned the houses stated that they were acting under orders from the Maj and Maj Dowd said that he give no such orders. I don’t know that Maj dowd knew anything at all about it. I was asked to state the facts to you which I did and as for the two men that was shot Davis and Brewer. As for their being shot trying to Escape from the guard that I do not think is so. they certainly were parted from the other two <pris> conscripts that were taken at the same time and carried a different road to the camp and before they got to the camp they Davis & Brewer were parted and found shot and were fast tied when found and no doubt were seperated on purpos to be shot. Davis I supose was found shot by a log as if he was setting on the log when shot and fell over by the side of the log with his brains shot out and as for being ring leaders of a band of Robers I no nothing about. I have no doubt from report that they were both bad men and were concerned in a great deal of the Stealing that has been Don in this county. There has been a man by the name of George Moore [2] Kiled since by Adams Brewer [3]. Moore was a poore man with a large family was conscripted under the last call and did not choose to go to the war and took the thicket. there was some bad reports on Moore but I think he was accused of more that he was gilty. he was just trying to keep out of the way because he did not want to go the war and Brewer and a man by the name of Peter Garner [4] sliped up to Moore & two others and without saying a word presented and fired killing Moore and wounding one <after> of the others. there was a man standing talking to them when they were shot who give the facts as they were Brewer shot Moore and had swore before on several occasions <tha> I supose that he would shoot him if he ever come up with him. Brewer is an old man dont belong to the army no the militia and Peter Garner is a conscript himself and has so managed to be detailed I believe to catch conscripts and Deserters. he shot the other and wounded him very badly. they had no arms nor anything to fight with I supose and could have been taken very easy without shooting. the people are geting tired of Peter Garners conduct any way and want him gone sent to the army where he should be and as for Brewer the majority of the people want him delt with as he a murder should be. Moore lived in Moore County but was shot just over the line in Randolph County. it is two bad for men to be murdered up in that style any other information that is wanting in the premacies can be had at any time

Most respectfully yours

Thos W Ritter [5] 


Ex. Dept of NC Jany 4th /64

Res. referred to Mr. Solicitor Buxton,[6] Fayetteville N.C. with the request that he will examine into the killing of these men & the burning of some distilleries alleged to have been done in Moore County by Confederate Soldiers & Home Guards & report results to me 

Z B Vance

File carefully – ZBV

[1] Clement Dowd (1832-1898), a lawyer from Carthage, N.C., had served as Captain in Company H, 26th North Carolina Regiment, under Zebulon Vance, the regiment’s first colonel. Dowd resigned because of ill health in June 1862, and later became a Major in the North Carolina Home Guard. Jordan, comp., North Carolina Troops, 7:561; 1860 U.S. Census; K.S. Melvin, “Clement Dowd,”

[2] George Moore (b. ca. 1823) was a married farmer and father of eight children from Gold Region in Moore County. 1860 U.S. Census.

[3] Adams Brewer ( 1809) was a slave-owning miller from Browers Mill in eastern Randolph County. 1860 U.S. Census

[4] Peter Garner (1831-1864) was a conscript who was detailed from Mallett's battalion to "hunt" deserters, and was nicknamed “The Hunter” by locals. He was killed by a group of deserters in 1864 in Randolph County. Charles Jeffrey Haitchcock, “Peter Garner: The Hunter”, found at, accessed on March 3, 2024.

[5] Thomas Wesley Ritter (1827-1891) was a farmer living on the farm of his slave-owning father, John R. Ritter. 1860 U.S. Census.

[6] Ralph Potts Buxton (1826-1900) was a slave-owning lawyer in Cumberland County and former mayor of Fayetteville. He was a solicitor, and would later be appointed judge of the Superior Court. David Parker, "Ralph Potts Buxton,"

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