This piece was submitted to the Fayetteville Observer at an unknown date and resubmitted by Marsha F. Haithcock to the North Carolina Civil War & Reconstruction History Center on January 25, 2016:
Note received from Curtis Older on 12/31/18: “Dear Sir or Madam, Regarding an article appearing on your website submitted by a Marsha Haithcock about the life of Capt. Shubal Gardner Worth, which is attributed to the Fayetteville Observer. I wanted to pass along the following information which I believe to be correct. This article was written by Colonel Clement Dowd and was published in the Charlotte Observer at one time. Dowd resided in Charlotte after the war and was Mayor of Charlotte at one time and was in a law practice with former NC Governor Zebulon Vance. Thanks”
Among the hundreds of North Carolina’s gallant sons who have immolated their lives upon the altar of our beloved South, few deserve a more conspicuous page in our country’s annals than Shubal Gardner Worth of Asheboro. He left his home in June 1861, in command of a company which afterwards formed a part of the Regiment commanded by the lamented Pettigrew. He was continuously in service in the Virginia campaigns, [until] after the memorable battles around Richmond; was in the battle of “Seven Pines,” in which engagement he lost several of his company in killed and wounded. The fatigue and exposure incident to these battles, and the march soon afterwards to Yorktown and back to Richmond, so impaired his health that his physicians advised him to resign his commission and quit the service, as the only means of preventing his falling an early victim to disease. He returned home and set to work with assiduous care to repair his health that he might be enabled soon again to return to the army. After recuperating for a few months in the pleasant village of his home, and among the mountain regions of his beloved North Carolina, he felt sufficiently recruited to enter the camp and field again and tendered his service as volunteer aid-de-camp to Gen. Pettigrew, whom he so much admired, with whom he was always a favorite, and between who and himself the warmest attachment had grown up. Gen. Pettigrew promptly accepted his services, and he immediately reported for duty at the Brigade Headquarters new Petersburg. In a few months, however, his health again gave way, and he quit the service again, with very great reluctance. He was given up with deep regret by Gen. Pettigrew and the other officers of the staff, to al whom Capt. Worth had endeared himself by his gallant bearing, his amiable disposition and gentlemanly deportment.
His health again improving, he was about leaving home to fill a position offered on the staff of Gen. Cooke, when he was commissioned Lt. Col. to the Randolph Battalion of Home Guards. He immediately went to work with great energy and resolution to destroy a band of robbers and deserters [who] were committing depredations and spreading terror and alarm over a portion of his country. Soon the home guard organization was virtually destroyed by the legislation of our General Assembly and the Confederate Congress, and unwilling to hold a nominal office, which was nevertheless an exemption from service, he accepted the position of Adjutant to the 2nd NC Cavalry, tendered by Col. Andrews, and immediately reported for duty at the Headquarters of the Reg’t in Northern Virginia. This position he filled with great efficiency and popularity [until] death. On the 11th of May last, riding in front of his regiment in a desperate charge upon the Yankee raiders fourteen miles from Richmond, he was struck by a Minnie ball in the breast, fell from his horse and instantly expired. Thus, ended in the morning of his life the career of a most noble and chivalric young officer who was ardently devoted to his country’s cause and who yielded up his life a willing sacrifice in defense of her honor and independence. [The North Carolina Civil War Obituaries, Regiments 1 through 46, edited by E. B. Munson, includes an excerpt from the Fayetteville Observer, June 22, 1864, that lists Shubal G. Worth having died May 11, 1864. This is confirmed by his grave marker that includes his enlistment in and commission as an officer in Company 1, NC 22nd Infantry regiment on June 5, 1861; Mustered out on March 24, 1862. He was born May 10, 1836 and lived to age 28; he is buried in Asheboro City Cemetery.]
While enthusiastic love of country, ardent patriotism and unsurpassed gallantry were conspicuous traits in his character, his most endearing, ennobling qualities, were those which marked his social intercourse. A more kindly, affectionate, generous heart has not yet poured out its warm life-blood upon the crimson soil of Virginia. He had no enemies – he could have none. All the qualities of his mind and heart were such as uniformly challenged the admiration and enlisted the affections of all who knew him. The following extracts from letters written by his Colonel [Clement Dowd] will show that I am not speaking of him in terms of unmeasured, indiscriminate praise: “I feel sure it will be gratifying to you to know that if there was an officer or private in the Reg’t who disliked him in the least…I never knew it. In his death there was the deepest feeling of sorrow manifested by all. … He was so good. He was so consistent—so punctual and attentive to all his duties, I am completely lost without him. He was so kind, so thoughtful, so generous, so brave. … His amiable disposition had endeared him to all who knew him, and when it was noised abroad that ‘Adj’t Worth is killed,’ the sadness on every officer’s face and in the countenances of the men showed too well how he was loved and esteemed. For his generous feelings, his goodness of heart, and his gentlemanly, bearing, he was constantly complimented. Oh, he was a most noble man, and the greatest favorite I ever saw. … His [B]ible was daily read by him and never was there a more consistent man than he. … His [B]ible was in his breast when he was shot, and the ball did not miss it one inch.”
The last act of [Capt. Shubal Worth’s] life was to collect a small portion of rations from each of his men for a poor widow whom the Yankees, an hour before, had stripped of the last morsel. Before he had fully accomplished this benevolent object, to which the tears of the poor woman had moved him, his reg’t was ordered to the charge in which he fell, and a few hours afterwards his body was temporarily interred upon the very spot which had just been the scene of his last act of charity and mercy. Alas! that such a man should fall at the hands of such a foe. It was my fortune to know him intimately from boyhood. We were class-mates, room-mates—constant companions. Neither during our sojourn at the University, nor before, nor since, do I remember to have ever heard him speak an unkind word to [anyone], nor to have heard [anyone] speak an unkind word to him or of him. He was always, everywhere, universally beloved. Fitted with an exalted sense of honor, he was steadfast in friendship, frank, candid, and sincere; gentlemanly in his deportment, ardent in his affections, generous and noble in his impulses, he was a stranger to envy and malice. I have often thought, that if the server motives of his bosom were laid to bare to the world, they would but raise him higher in the public esteem.
Possessing a graceful and handsome person, good gifts of mind, a [reasonable] and pleasant manners, even temperament, a kind and benevolent disposition, much humor and pleasantry in conversation, he was the charm of the social circle. But he is gone. His merry laugh jocund voice are hushed in death. His gallant spirit left the mortal tenement upon the bloodstained battlefield din Virginia and winged its flight to the [celestial] abodes. With Branch and Pettigrew, Anderson and Gordon, Andrews, Huske, Burgwin, the Battles, Adams, and other of other gallant sons of our University, he sleeps in a hero’s grave…The mention of the name [Shubal G. Worth] for long years to come will enkindle the liveliest emotions in many a sad heart. His memory is embalmed in the affections of a large circle of friends and relatives, to live on…[until] they too shall have gone down to the grave. He leaves a wife and three dear little babes who were the objects of his tender love and devotion. May heaven smile upon these stricken ones—their loss irreparable. His body was carried home and buried in the Asheboro Cemetery with Masonic ceremonies. Near his village home, he rests in peace. May he ever live in the hearts of his countrymen, while the rose, the myrtle, and the vine planted by the hand of affection grow in freshness and fragrance o’er his tomb, fit emblems of his charming life and lasting virtues. Blessed be his memory.