Thomas J. Latham

(Washington County)

Featured Character – A Soldier's Life

"Fort Warren"

Courtesy of Harper's Weekly, December 7, 1861

Son of a farmer from Washington County, Thomas Joseph Latham worked as a clerk for a mercantile firm in Washington, North Carolina.  Upon the outbreak of war, Latham returned home and joined the “Morris Guards,” which became Company H, 17th North Carolina Infantry.  However, he requested a transfer to the “Washington Volunteers” of Company G, 1st North Carolina Infantry.  Promoted to sergeant, Latham left his regiment without permission in October 1862.  While absent without leave, he joined the “Clark Skirmishers,” Company K, 3rd North Carolina Cavalry.  During a raid on the Union garrison at Plymouth on May 27, 1863, Latham fell into the hands of Union forces.  Imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, Union officials exchanged Latham on July 17, 1863.  After his release, Latham returned to the 1st North Carolina Infantry.  Although his name appears on muster rolls through December 1864, records mention a Thomas Joseph Latham that deserted from the Confederate Army and took the oath of allegiance on February 24, 1865.  Latham returned to North Carolina, moved to Martin County, and married.  He later worked for the Seaboard Railroad.