Elizabeth Weeks & Phoebe Munden

(Pasquotank County)

Featured Characters – Divided Allegiances

Union General Edward Wild's Men as they Marched to Norfolk

Courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives

Born in 1823 as Phoebe Jennings, she became the wife of William J. Munden, a successful Pasquotank County farmer.  The 1860 Census lists Munden’s net assets at $4,260, including one twenty-two year old female slave.  In 1863, William joined John T. Elliot’s company of Confederate partisan rangers as a first lieutenant.  During Union General Edward Wild’s Raid, the guerrillas captured a colored soldier, Samuel Jordan.  Following the Union introduction of black troops, the Confederacy vowed to treat any colored soldiers as escaped slaves and return them to bondage.  Worried about that possibility with Private Jordan, General Wild decided to retaliate against the Confederate captors.  Wild seized Phoebe Munden and Elizabeth Weeks, wife of another partisan, as hostages until Elliot guaranteed the safe return of Samuel Jordan.  After receiving no reply from the Confederate captain, Wild took the women back to Union-occupied Norfolk.  An investigative committee of the Confederate Congress later claimed that Munden and Weeks spent three days behind bars, with their hands and feet tied.  In January 1864, Elliot avenged Daniel Bright’s execution by hanging Samuel Jordan in Elizabeth City. Following, Union commander Benjamin Butler ordered the women’s release.  After the removal of all Confederate guerrillas by North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance, Munden’s band of rangers became Company A, 68th North Carolina Infantry.  The Mundens returned to Pasquotank County after the war.