The shots fired by Confederate soldiers on U.S. troops stationed at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, started the Civil War. One week later, North Carolina governor John Ellis sent troops to Charlotte, where they took over the Charlotte branch of the U.S. Mint. Officials began striking the words “of the U.S.” from all of the documents.
The mint ceased production of coins for the United States, becoming part of the new Confederate States of America. For the rest of the Civil War, the Charlotte Mint was used as an army hospital. It never reopened to mint coins after the war. Today, the building is home to the Mint Museum of Art
North Carolina seceded from the United States on May 20 to join the Confederacy. The date marks the 76th anniversary of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, signed during the Revolutionary War to declare independence from Britain.
During the war, shells, gunpowder, and ammunition were manufactured in the Confederate Navy Yard in Charlotte. The Navy Yard was originally located in Norfolk, Virginia, but moved to Charlotte in 1862 to be near the ironworks and farther from Union troops. More than 1,500 men and boys from Charlotte went to work at the Navy Yard. Local women were involved in the war effort, too, spinning, weaving, and sewing to make uniforms for soldiers. Fire destroyed the Navy Yard in 1864. The cause was never discovered.
On April 18, 1865, just as the Civil War was ending, Confederate president Jefferson Davis stopped in Charlotte. During his two-week stay, Davis received a telegram with the news that Abraham Lincoln was dead. There is a plaque on the corner of Tryon and 4th Streets in Uptown that reads “Jefferson Davis was standing here when informed of Lincoln’s death on April 18, 1865.”
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition