SUBMITTED BY: Mrs. Hoyt Randall
The following is an excerpt from The Bladen Journal, written by Mrs. Carl Campbell and dated Thursday, December 7, 1961:
“Evander N. Robeson volunteered under Captain Tate on April 26th, 1861 in Elizabethtown, when the “Bladen Guards” organized. He started to Confederate Point on board the Steamer “Hurt” on May 13th, 1861. Many of the men who volunteered in this original Company were put in Company K, 18th North Carolina Regiment. Evander Robeson served…[for] four years [in] this company. His name appears on the list of the “Parole of Prisoners of War belonging to the Army of Northern Virginia, this day surrendered by General Robert E. Lee, C.S.A., commanding said Army to Lt. General U.S. Grant, commanding Armies of the United States. Done at Appomattox Court House, April 9, 1865.”
He is listed on a Roll of Honor of Company K, which shows that he was promoted to 1st Lieutenant of this Company on October 17th, 1862.
He was a neighbor and kinsman of Colonel Thomas Purdie and was close by when Col. Purdie was mortally wounded. He attended to having his body brought back to his home in Bladen County, along with his saddle and other personal possessions. Col. Purdie is buried in the family burying ground on the old Purdie Plantation near Tar Heel.
Much of the correspondence between Lt. Evander Robeson and his mother has been preserved and kept by his family. Very interesting is a letter written on December 17th, 1862 from a “Camp in the woods near Port Royal,” to his mother, in which he states: ‘I know you are more than anxious to hear from me. The fighting commenced at Fredericksburg last Thursday morning. Our Division was ordered up Friday morning. The enemy crossed the river the night before. We were put in position about 7 o’clock a.m. on the R.R. and waited all day for attack, expecting to see the enemy every moment, but nothing but skirmishing took place along our Brigade during the day. We had to sleep at our lines with very small fires. Next day we were moved forward to R.R. ditch and laid in it on ice and snow. The enemy commenced quite early to fire on our right, moved up until our Regiment was engaged. The enemy forced the lines of our – and our regiment was flanked so it had to fall back a few hundred yards and then in turn drove back the Yankees with considerable loss to both them and us. Our Company lost 4 killed and 7 wounded this evening (Saturday) C. Swindell, Douglas McDonald and two conscripts were killed. Melvin Monroe, W. McDuffee, W. King, John Cain, W. Sikes – wounded. I am sorry to say Melvin has lost one of his legs. John Cain is very slightly wounded one foot, skin not broken, the Doctor thinks Melvin will get well though his leg has been taken off above the knee (left leg I believe.) Next morning our company was sent out as skirmishers and as, they were returning, having been relieved. John Dunham was killed. …The Regiment came along on their way to Port Royal, distance about 12 miles. They say, the Yankees, have re-crossed the river and are moving down the river. It is thought they intend to cross at the Port Royal. It is believed they will make a desperate effort and I fear another battle is to come off soon. …Col. Purdie was slightly wounded, struck with a ball, not enough though to stop him at all.’
While on furlough at his home in Bladen county Evander Robeson married Miss Sarah Elmira Dunham on February 23, 1865. A few days later he returned to his Company. In a letter to [Sarah] dated March 14, 1865, he says, ‘I arrived in Camp safe on yesterday morning. I was detained in Goldsboro and Raleigh as you have already learned, I guess through Sandy I was a day behind time but Colonel Barry, Commander of the Brigade put me on duty without sending up my excuses to General Lee, so I will not get the rest I thought I would. I find that four of my Company have deserted while I was at home. Our Brigade is now in the rear, not immediately on the lines…Everybody anxious to hear what Sherman is doing. I heard that Fayetteville had been evacuated. …I don’t think Sherman intends holding our portion of the State and my letter may eventually reach you, if the way is not now open. The weather is quite fine now and I expect soon active operations here. The campaign I expect will be the hardest yet and I hope and believe the last one…I feel that independence is ours if we only fight hard enough for it, trusting in that Power who alone can give us such a blessing.’
An entry in his mother’s diary on April 23, 1865 states: ‘Sabbath and just as we were going in to breakfast, Evander and Lt. Lesesne came up. I was rejoiced to see them, but truly sorry to hear that General Lee had surrendered.’
A brother, Alexis H. Robeson, who was also in the Confederate service, died on August 26th, 1862, while on sick leave at his home in Bladen County.
Evander N. Robeson was born March 11th, 1838, the son of Samuel Cain Robeson and Elizabeth Ellis Robeson. He served two terms as Senator from Bladen County during the later part of 1890.
To Evander Robeson and his wife “Myra” were born eight children: Lizzie, Samuel, Mary, Alexis, James Ellis, Annie Louise, William Raiford and Robert Raymond. Three of the sons, James Ellis, William Raiford and Robert Raymond. Three of the sons, James Ellis, William Raiford and Robert Raymond still live at or near the old home in the vicinity of Tar Heel in Bladen County.
On July 17, 1921 at the age of 83 years, Evander Robeson died and was laid to rest in the cemetery at Purdie Methodist Church near his home.”