Julian A. Latham, Louis C. Latham and Nehemiah H. Whitehurst

(Washington County)

Featured Character – 1864 Confederate Decline

Julian A. Latham with Louis C. Latham and Nehemiah J. Whitehurst

Second Lieutenant Julian A. Latham, Captain Louis C. Latham, First Lieutenant Nehemiah H. Whitehurst

Courtesy of the Washington County Historical Society

Born in 1843, Julian Augustus Latham was the son of Washington County politician Charles Latham.  A student at the University of North Carolina, Latham left college to enlist in his brother’s “Washington Volunteers,” which entered Confederate service as Company G of the First North Carolina Infantry. He was wounded at Chancellorsville, Virginia, on May 3, 1863, but when he returned to active duty, he was subsequently promoted to 1st lieutenant in December of that year. However, on May 10, 1864, Latham was captured at Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia and taken to the prison at Fort Delaware. Three months later, Latham was transferred to Hilton Head, South Carolina and again to Fort Pulaski, Georgia in October, back to Hilton Head, and finally back to Fort Delaware in March 1865. He took the Oath of Allegiance and was released on June 16, 1865.  Instead of returning to college, Latham became a fisherman.  He died in 1880.  In 1911, the University of North Carolina gave Latham a posthumous Bachelor of Arts degree.

Born on September 11, 1840, Louis Charles Latham was the son of Washington County politician Charles Latham.  He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1859, and then attended Harvard Law School.  Although his father firmly believed in the Union, Louis C. Latham raised the “Washington Volunteers,” which became Company G, 1st North Carolina Infantry.  Wounded at the Battle of Antietam, Maryland, Latham became the regiment’s major on December 14, 1863.  Shot in the left side at the Wilderness, Virginia, in 1864, he spent several months convalescing.  In the fall of 1864, Washington County voters elected Latham as their state representative.  Taking leave from the army, he worked the halls of the state capitol for two months.  However, he returned to the army in time to surrender at Appomattox with Robert E. Lee.  Returning home, Latham finished his law studies and opened a practice in Plymouth.  In 1870, he served one term in the state senate as a Democrat.  In 1880, Latham ran for Congress.  Elected as a Democrat, he failed to win his party’s nomination in 1882.  In 1886 he won another term, but lost his reelection bid to Republican Walter Freshwater Pool of Elizabeth City.  After his defeat, Latham moved his law practice to Greenville, North Carolina.  He died there on October 16, 1895.

Born in Virginia in 1825, Nehemiah J. Whitehurst worked as a carpenter in Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia.  In August 1860, he won the contract to build Grace Episcopal Church in Plymouth, North Carolina.  Whitehurst and his crew erected the building’s shell before war broke out, but a lack of materials hampered final construction.  After the state’s secession, Whitehurst joined Louis C. Latham’s “Washington Volunteers,” later Company G, 1st North Carolina Infantry.  Appointed first lieutenant, he served with the unit in Virginia.  After Latham became the regimental major in December 1863, Confederate officials promoted Whitehurst to captain.  At the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, Virginia, Union forces captured him.  Sent to Fort Delaware, Whitehurst spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war.  After taking the Oath of Allegiance on June 16, 1865, Federal authorities released him.  Whitehurst returned to Plymouth, married a local woman, and continued to work as a carpenter.