north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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Marker Text:

Essay:
      William Paul Roberts, state auditor and Confederate general, was born in 1841 in Gates County, the son of John and Jane Gatling Boyt Roberts. Following his education in the county schools and a private academy in Harrellsville, Roberts was teaching in a local school when the Civil War began.

      On June 10, 1861, Roberts volunteered in Company C of the First North Carolina Cavalry as an orderly sergeant. He quickly rose through the ranks, being elected second lieutenant in September 1861. On May 1, 1863, Roberts was promoted to first lieutenant, followed by captain that August. Promotions to major and colonel followed in 1864, and on February 23, 1865, Roberts received a promotion to brigadier general and was personally presented a pair of gauntlets by General Robert E. Lee. At age 23, he was the youngest brigadier general in the Confederate army.

      Roberts and his men served through some of the war’s bloodiest battles, including Brandy Station, Gettysburg, the Wilderness Campaign, and Five Forks, before they surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse in April 1865. At war’s end, Roberts returned to Gates County, where he married Margaret Bond Roberts. He represented Gates County in the constitutional conventions of 1868 and 1875, and in 1876 won a seat in the state legislature. Four years later he was elected state auditor, a post he held until 1888. Afterwards, President Grover Cleveland appointed him consul to Victoria, British Columbia, a post he held for nearly a decade.

      Roberts returned to Gates County from Canada in the early 1900s. He died while on business in Norfolk, Virginia, on March 27, 1910. He is buried in Gatesville.


References:
William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, V, 229—sketch by Paul Branch
John L. Cheney, ed., North Carolina Government, 1585-1974 (1974)
Walter Clark, ed., Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina (1901)
Louis Manarin, ed., North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, II (1968)
Ezra Warner, Generals in Gray (1959)
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north carolina highway historical marker program


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