Half Plate Ambrotype of Lt. Colonel Samuel McDowell Tate Co. D 6th NC Infantry

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Half Plate Ambrotype of Lt. Colonel Samuel McDowell Tate Co. D 6th NC Infantry – Samuel McDowell Tate of Burke County, North Carolina enlisted in May, 1861, at the rank of Captain, in Co. D 6th North Carolina Infantry. He would serve throughout the war, until he was captured, at Ft. Stedman, during the final days of the Petersburg Campaign. During his long and demanding service, Tate would be wounded, three times – at Antietam, Cedar Creek and at Ft. Stedman. Tate survived all wounds and was paroled in Morganton, North Carolina, in May, 1865. During the course of his service, Tate would rise to the ranks of Major and subsequently to Lt. Colonel. Prior to the war, Tate, well-educated as a young man, succeeded in several business ventures. At the onset of the war, Tate would enlist in the 6th NC. Surviving two significant wounds, prior to Gettysburg, Tate would lead the 6th NC in an assault on the Federal position on Cemetery Hill on July 2, 1863. The ensuing fight was extremely bloody, with much vicious, hand-to-hand combat, with significant losses on both sides; Tate described that day as follows:

75 North Carolinians of the Sixth Regiment and 12 Louisianians of Hays’s brigade scaled the walls and planted the colors of the Sixth North Carolina and Ninth Louisiana on the guns. It was now fully dark. The enemy stood with tenacity never before displayed by them, but with bayonet, clubbed musket, sword, pistol, and rocks from the wall, we cleared the heights and silenced the guns.

—  Major Samuel Tate, Official report

 This superb image of Major Tate was, in all likelihood, taken shortly after Gettysburg; his expression belies that of someone who has witnessed the soul wrenching vicissitudes of combat. The image depicts Tate in his mid-war, frock coat, wearing a forage cap, covered with an enameled, rain cover. The image remains in excellent condition and is housed in its original, full case. The case is a rare example of one from the studio of William Abbott Pratt. *

*At the onset of the Civil War, photography had become increasingly professionalized. Before the war, most major Southern cities maintained photographic studios, and itinerant photographers traveled throughout the countryside to offer their services. Richmond had become an especially prominent center for photography to include the noteworthy “Pratt’s Virginia Gallery”, founded by William Abbott Pratt. In the 1850s, Pratt, operated a daguerreotype and ambrotype, gallery located at 145 Main Street, in Richmond, Va. At this studio, Pratt fashioned many significant images, to include a now famous image of Edgar Allan Poe. Pratt also achieved local, Richmond notoriety for the unusual home designed by him, located on a prominence in Richmond, known as Gamble’s Hill; the home effected the appearance of a Gothic style castle and became known, in Richmond, as “Pratt’s Castle”. Unfortunately, the structure was demolished in 1956. This image is housed in a rare Pratt studio case.

Samuel McDowell Tate

Residence Burke County NC; 30 years old.

Enlisted on 5/16/1861 at Burke County, NC as a Captain.

On 5/16/1861 he was commissioned into “D” Co. NC 6th Infantry

(date and method of discharge not given)

He was listed as:

* Wounded 9/17/1862 Sharpsburg, MD (Severely wounded)

* Wounded 10/19/1864 Cedar Creek, VA

* Wounded 3/25/1865 Fort Stedman, VA

* Paroled 5/16/1865 Morganton, NC


* Major 6/11/1862

* Lt Col 7/3/1863

Intra Regimental Company Transfers:

* 6/11/1862 from company D to Field & Staff

Other Information:

born 9/6/1830 in Morganton, NC

died 6/25/1897

– North Carolina Troops 1861-65, A Roster

– Confederate Military History

– Research by Dick Pielin



Colonel Charles F. Fisher, Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery and Colonel

Samuel McDowell Tate were three brave North Carolina officers who

successively commanded the gallant Sixth regiment.  It is fitting

that their names be associated in history, as their lives were

during those days of carnage and suffering.

Col. Charles F. Fisher, the first commander of the Sixth

regiment, North Carolina troops, was, during the formation of the

first regiments in the State, president of the North Carolina

railroad.  When the military institute at Charlotte was abandoned

by most of the cadets, who volunteered in various commands, he

brought a number of men from along his own road and the Western,

quartered them in the barracks and secured their drilling by the

cadets who still remained.

Soon afterward all were removed to company shops, and the work

rapidly progressed until the Sixth regiment was organized in

June, with Fisher as colonel, and mustered in for the war.  On

being mobilized the regiment acted as escort at the funeral of

Governor Ellis at Raleigh, was reviewed and addressed by

President Davis at Richmond, and proceeded to Winchester, where

it was assigned to General Bee’s brigade, of Gen. J. E.

Johnston’s army in the Shenandoah valley.

They reached Manassas Junction on the morning of the famous

battle and marched hurriedly to the front, where the rattle of

musketry and boom of cannon were already heard, going into their

first battle in front of the Henry house, and were immediately

under a destructive fire.  After the enemy had recovered the

ridge at this place and Rickett’s battery, the Sixth joined in

the superb Confederate charge which finally swept back the


In this movement General Bee and Colonels Bartow and Fisher were

killed.  Colonel Fisher led his gallant men in the charge and

fell 50 yards in advance of his line.  Col. W. D. Pender, not

long afterward, took command of the regiment, and upon his

promotion, following the battle of Seven Pines, Isaac E. Avery,

up to this time captain of Company E, was promoted lieutenant-


Colonel Isaac Erwin Avery was born December 20, 1828, at the

Avery home near Morganton.  He was the son of Isaac T. Avery and

grandson of Waightstill Avery, a descendant of a Massachusetts

family whose ancestors came over in 1631.  Cols. W. W. Avery, C.

M. Avery and Judge A. C. Avery were his brothers.  After

receiving his education at Chapel Hill, he had been engaged in

the management of a stock farm, and as an associate of Colonels

Fisher and Tate in railroad construction.

He entered the Sixth regiment at its organization as captain of

Company E; was the first to call out ” Let us charge, ” at First

Manassas, was wounded there, and in command of the regiment was

again wounded at Gaines’ Mill, in the campaign before Richmond.

Being for some time disabled, the command devolved upon Maj.

Robert F. Webb.  Promoted colonel he had command of Hoke’s

brigade, including his regiment, at the battle of Gettysburg, and

fell mortally wounded in the attack upon Cemetery hill on the

second day.

The Sixth entered the enemy’s works and held them for a brief

space, but the gallant leader of the brigade, while his men were

ascending the hill, was shot down in an attempt to save his old

regiment from an enfilading fire.  His wound was in the neck,

rendering him speechless.  In his hand was found a bloody scroll,

upon which he had written with evident effort: “Colonel Tate,

tell my father that I fell with my face to the enemy.”  General

Early reported that the place of the gallant Hoke was worthily

filled that day by Colonel Avery.  “In his death the Confederacy

lost a good and brave soldier.”

Colonel Samuel McDowell Tate, the last of this patriotic trio,

was born at Morganton, September 6, 1830, son of David Tate, a

member of the legislature; and a great-grandson of David Tate,

one of four brothers who came to North Carolina from Pennsylvania

about 1790.  He was a delegate to the national convention at

Charleston in 1860, and a prominent man before the events of the

war.  He went out with the Sixth as captain of Company D, and was

promoted major after the battle of Seven Pines.

He was severely wounded at Sharpsburg, as lieutenant-colonel

commanding, led the regiment up Cemetery hill, on July 2nd, at

Gettysburg, and after that was in command until the close of the

war.  He was subsequently wounded at Rappahannock bridge and

at Cedar creek, and yet more severely in the battle of Fort

Steadman, March 25, 1865, which compelled his return to his home.

Immediately after the close of hostilities he was elected

president of the Western North Carolina railroad, with which he

was prominently identified for several years, though removed from

this office by Governor Holden.

He was elected to the legislature in 1874, 1880, 1882 and 1884;

in 1886 was appointed examiner of national banks in the South

Atlantic States, and afterward was elected treasurer of the

State.  He has been an earnest worker in the Democratic party and

a delegate to every national convention of his party, except that

of 1872, from and including 1860.

6th NC Infantry

Organized: on 5/16/61
Mustered Out: 4/9/65


From To Brigade Division Corps Army Comment
Jul ’61 Jul ’61 Bee’s Army of Shenandoah
Jul ’61 Oct ’61 Bee’s/Whiting’s 2nd Army of Potomac
Oct ’61 Feb ’62 Whiting’s Whiting’s 2nd Dept of Northern Virginia
Feb ’62 Apr ’62 Whiting’s Whiting’s Potomac Dist Dept of Northern Virginia
Apr ’62 Jun ’62 Whiting’s Whiting’s/G.W. Smith’s Army of Northern Virginia
Jun ’62 Jun ’62 Whiting’s Whiting’s Valley Dist Dept of Northern Virginia
Jun ’62 Jul ’62 Whiting’s Whiting’s 2nd Army of Northern Virginia
Jul ’62 Jul ’62 Whiting’s Whiting’s Army of Northern Virginia
Jul ’62 Jan ’63 Whiting’s/Law’s Whiting’s/Hood’s 1st Army of Northern Virginia
Jan ’63 Jan ’64 Trimble’s/Hoke’s Ewell’s/Early’s 2nd Army of Northern Virginia
Jan ’64 May ’64 Hoke’s Dept of North Carolina
May ’64 May ’64 Hoke’s Ransom’s Dept of North Carolina and South Virginia
May ’64 Jun ’64 Hoke’s/Lewis’ Early’s/Ramseur’s 2nd Army of Northern Virginia
Jun ’64 Dec ’64 Lewis’/Godwin’s Ramseur’s/Pegram’s Valley Dist Dept of Northern Virginia
Dec ’64 Apr ’65 Godwin’s/Lewis’ Pegram’s 2nd Army of Northern Virginia


Sixth North Carolina Infantry

Gettysburg after battle report:

Report of Maj. Samuel McD. Tate, Sixth North Carolina Infantry.

In Bivouac, near Hagerstown, Md.,

July 8, 1863.

My Dear Governor: Excuse the necessity of writing with pencil,

and the familiarity with which I address you; but moments are

precious, and while I am yet spared I must hasten to perform a

sacred duty to you as the honored head of North Carolina, and to

her brave citizen soldiers, especially those under my command.  The

great reason for this is the fact that it was North Carolinians only

who succeeded in entering the enemy’s works at Gettysburg; that

our brigade commander was slain, and we have no friends who will

tell of our success on the night of July 2, because all but the Sixth

Regt. failed.

Our brigadier-general (Hoke) being absent, wounded, since the

battle of Fredericksburg, May 4, Col. Avery was acting in his

stead.  Lieut.-Col. [R. F.] Webb being absent in Virginia,

sick, left me in command of the Sixth in this Pennsylvania campaign.

But this, with the fear of being suspected of a desire to claim more

on that account, shall not deter me from complying with a promise

I have made the regiment to acquaint you as their Governor with

the truth, that history may hereafter speak truly of them.  Let me

say at once that I desire nothing and wish no notoriety; but I do

want the glorious band of veterans in this regiment to be appreciated

and honored at home, They are rapidly passing away, but North

Carolina will have reason to point with pride to their valorous deeds.

On July 1, the Confederate Army made a general attack on the

enemy posted in front of Gettysburg.  Of Early’s division, the Louisiana

and Hoke’s brigades were advanced to charge the enemy,

behind fences.  It was rapidly done (and, as is our usual fortune,

immediately in our front was a stone fence), and the enemy driven

before us through the town to their fortified heights behind.


In this charge we lost a number of gallant officers and men (more

than the balance of the brigade), and captured a battery near the

fence.  This battery will be credited to Early’s division–see if it

don’t.  The Virginia and Georgia brigades were held in reserve.


Next day (2d), we were ordered (Louisiana and North Carolina

brigades) to charge the heights.  Now, it is proper to state that there

are a series of heights there, upon which the enemy had been driven

from all around.  Longstreet charged on the south face, and was repulsed;

A. P. Hill charged on the west face, and was repulsed; and

our two brigades were, late in the evening, ordered to charge the

north front, and, after a struggle such as this war has furnished no

parallel to, 75 North Carolinians of the Sixth Regt. and 12 Louisianians

of Hays’ brigade scaled the walls, and planted the colors

of the Sixth North Carolina and Ninth Louisiana on the guns.  It

was now fully dark.  The enemy stood with a tenacity never before

displayed by them, but with bayonet, clubbed musket, sword, and

pistol, and rocks from the wall, we cleared the heights and silenced

the guns.

In vain did I send to the rear for support.  It was manifest that I

could not hold the place without aid, for the enemy was massed in all

the ravines and adjoining heights, and we were then fully half a

mile from our lines.

Finding the enemy were moving up a line, I ordered the small band

of heroes to fall back from the crest to a stone wall on the side of the

hill, where we awaited their coming.  Soon they came over the hill

in pursuit, when we again opened fire on them, and cleared the hill a

second time.  Very soon I found they were very numerous in the flats

in my rear, and now became the question of surrender or an effort to

retreat.  There was a calm and determined resolve never to surrender

(one of our North Carolina regiments had done so the day before),

and, under cover of the darkness, I ordered the men to break

and to risk the fire.  We did so, and lost not a man in getting out.

On arriving at our lines, I demanded to know why we had not

been supported, and was coolly told that it was not known that we

were in the works.  I have no doubt that the major-general will report

the attack of the works by Hoke’s and Hays’ brigades, which

could not be taken.  Such monstrous injustice and depreciation of

our efforts is calculated to be of serious injury; and then always to

divide the honors due us among all our division is a liberality which

is only shown in certain cases.  Of course the reports are not written

out; but I know the disposition so well that I look for no special

mention of our regiment, while it is the only one in the Army of

Northern Virginia which did go in and silence the guns on the

heights; and, what is more, if a support of a brigade had been sent

up to us, the slaughter of A. P. Hill’s corps would have been saved

on the day following.

Col. Avery, a gallant officer, fell in front on the heights, mortally

wounded.  He died thirty hours afterward.

This hasty scraw I write to you as an act of justice, and in compliance

with a promise to the men, before I pass off, if fall I must.

We will have an engagement here or nearer the river in a day, or

less, perhaps.  This regiment has had a reputation, you know, and

I fear no harm which can come to it while any are left; but it is due

to the noble dead, as well as the living, that these men be noticed in

some way.  I assure you it is no sensation or fancy picture.  Such a

fight as they made in front and in the fortifications has never been

equaled.  Inside the works the enemy were left lying in great heaps,

and most all with bayonet wounds and many with skulls broken with

the breeches of our guns.  We left not a living man on the hill of

our enemy.  I write this now for fear I will not live to write at

leisure hereafter.

With your sense of propriety, I need not say more than that this

cannot be exactly an official document, for it has no form, no beginning,

no ending, but is a simple story, badly told.  All we ask

is, don’t let old North Carolina be derided while her sons do all the


Your obedient servant,


Maj., Comdg. Sixth North Carolina.


Governor [Zebulon B.] Vance.


[P. S.]–All my company officers are good ones, but there are also

many vacancies; how are they to be filled–by election or appointment?


Samuel M. Tate
17th Treasurer of North Carolina
In office
Personal details
Born September 8, 1830
Morganton, North Carolina, US
Died June 25, 1897 (aged 66)
Morganton, North Carolina, US
Political party Democratic
Military service
Allegiance  Confederate States
Branch  Confederate States Army
Rank  Lieutenant colonel

·              Battle of First Manassas

·              Battle of Seven Pines

·              Battle of Gaines’ Mill

·              Battle of Second Manassas

·              Battle of Sharpsburg

·              Battle of Chancellorsville

·              Battle of Gettysburg

·              Assault on Cemetery Hill

·              Second Battle of Rappahannock Station (WIA)

·              Battle of Mine Run

·              Battle of Cedar Creek (WIA)

·              Battle of Fort Stedman (WIA)

Samuel McDowell Tate (1830–1897) was an American businessman from Virginia, and a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Early life

Finley‘s North Carolina, 1827

Samuel McDowell Tate, eldest son and child of David and Susan M. Tate, was born at Morganton, in Burke County, North Carolina, on September 8, 1830.[1] His ancestry in both lines was a graft of French Protestants upon Scotch-Irish stock.[1] He was denied a classical education, not for want of means, but in consequence of the early death of his father.[2]

He was nonetheless well educated in the grammar schools of his native state and of Pennsylvania.[3] He later became known as a writer of graceful and exact English, a cogent and sensible talker at all times, and sometimes a persuasive speaker.[3] He read but few books, but of newspapers and reviews he was a voracious gleaner.[3]

Travel and adventure

Before the age of the commercial traveler he saw the need of that class in business, and he lived some years in Philadelphia, fitting himself for the life of a merchant.[3] He returned to North Carolina in the early 1850s and soon took the leading trade of the rich slaveholders of Burke and her tributary country.[3]

Attacked by the Western fever which came at some time of life to many of the adventurous men of the Atlantic slope, he sought a taste of Texas experience and journeyed on pony express through the greater part of that state in the years 1855–1856, investing in real estate, much of which his heirs inherited.[3]

When (later Confederate Colonel) Charles F. Fisher contracted to build the first section of the Western North Carolina Railroad from Salisbury to Morganton, Tate took service under him and as agent managed his financial interests.[3]

Civil War

Politics of secession

A Democrat and strongly partisan, he attended the Convention at Charleston, and later attended all the Conventions of his party save only that one which in 1872 nominated Horace Greeley for the Presidency.[3] His sympathies were ardently Southern, and during the momentous year of 1860 he was greatly interested in all the political movements.[3] Although much engrossed in railroad work, when President Lincoln called on North Carolina to furnish her quota of troops to coerce the seceded States, and Union Whigs and Secession Democrats vied with each other in rushing to the defence of their state, he abandoned his employment and answered the Confederate call to arms.[4]

Early engagements, 1861–62

While in April and the early days of May 1861, without waiting for the State to leave the Union, Vance was raising his “Rough and Ready Guards” across the mountains, and Thomas Settle with fife and drum was getting together his company in Rockingham, and William P. Bynum, already appointed lieutenant-colonel, was organizing his 2nd Regiment of State troops at Raleigh, Tate was hastily winding up his business and calling on his neighbors and friends to form a company to serve under the command of his enterprising chief, Colonel Charles F. Fisher.[5]

Retreat of the Federal Army upon Centreville, July 21, 1861 (c. 1862 wood engraving)

As Captain of Company D of the 6th Regiment he served in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, and on the morning of July 21 the regiment reached Manassas Junction just in time to render most important service.[5] Disembarking and hearing the boom of distant cannon, they marched directly to the battlefield and were led to the front of the Henry House, near which Rickett’s Battery was hurling its deadly missiles into the Confederate line.[5] Within a few moments the guns of that battery were silenced and captured; but in that fatal charge Colonel Fisher was killed and hundreds of others had fallen.[5] It was however the turning-point of the contest.[5] Here it was that Bee, like Fisher, fell, calling on his men to stand firm against the heavy columns of the advancing enemy, pointing down the line to General Jackson and saying: “Look at Jackson, he stands like a stone wall!”[5] But Kirby Smith then reached the field with other reinforcements, and the day was saved for the Confederates and that stampede began which made the battle of Manassas the first major battle of the war.[5]

Battle flag of the 6th North Carolina Infantry

Colonel W. D. Pender was then appointed to succeed Fisher in the command of the 6th Regiment; and under him the regiment led the advance in the battle of Seven Pines, behaving with such gallantry that when the battle was over President Davis, who being on the field had witnessed its movements, saluting Colonel Pender said to him: “General Pender, your commission as brigadier bears date of to-day; I wish I could give it to you upon this field.”[6] The 6th North Carolina engaged the enemy at the first onset, and was the last upon the field.[7] Captain Tate served with great distinction not only in these battles, but at Gaines’ Mill and in other battles in the front of Richmond and at Second Manassas, ending that battle near the Henry House on the very ground where the regiment had fought on July 21, 1861; and there Captain Tate won his promotion and became major of his regiment.[7]

At Sharpsburg his regiment did fine service; and after the battle of Fredericksburg it was assigned to a North Carolina brigade commanded by General R. F. Hoke.[7]

Gettysburg campaign

Hand-to-hand for Ricketts’s guns on the evening of the second day of the battle of Gettysburg, July 2, 1863

The closing days of June 1863 found Major Tate and the 6th Regiment at York, Pennsylvania, and then hurrying back to Gettysburg they pressed the enemy so closely that the 6th Regiment crossed bayonets with them.[7] The next day, June 2, was a significant occasion in the career of Colonel Tate.[7] Late in the afternoon the 6th North Carolina, being then under his command, drove the enemy from East Cemetery Hill and possessed themselves of it.[7] Eye-witnesses concurred in stating that the 6th North Carolina Regiment, gallantly led by him, engaged in a hand-to-hand encounter with the enemy intrenched behind the wall on the heights, where men were killed not only by bayonets and pistol shots, but by being clubbed by muskets and the ramrods of the artillerists.[7] Tate wrote afterward:

75 North Carolinians of the Sixth Regiment and 12 Louisianians of Hays’s brigade scaled the walls and planted the colors of the Sixth North Carolina and Ninth Louisiana on the guns. It was now fully dark. The enemy stood with tenacity never before displayed by them, but with bayonet, clubbed musket, sword, pistol, and rocks from the wall, we cleared the heights and silenced the guns.

— Major Samuel Tate, Official report

Tate wearing the uniform of a lieutenant colonel, 1863–65

It was on that field that Colonel Avery fell.[7] Unable to speak from his mortal wound and with his right hand useless from the paralysis, Avery with his left hand scribbled a simple note and gave it to Tate. It said: “Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy. I. E. Avery.”[8] Major Tate then became lieutenant-colonel of the regiment.[7]

Later engagements, 1863–65

On November 7, 1863, at Rappahannock Bridge, Colonel Tate was wounded and ordered to the rear, and at the end of the famous Valley Campaign he was very severely wounded on the October 19, 1864, at the battle of Cedar Creek.[7] The 6th Regiment shortly afterward reached the trenches in front of Petersburg, where Colonel Tate experienced the siege.[9]

In the night attack on Fort Steadman, before daybreak on the morning of March 25, 1865, Colonel Tate was in command of his regiment, which along with the 57th attacked Fort Steadman, and he rendered gallant and valiant service in that assault.[10] On that occasion he was again severely wounded and was sent home, where he suffered greatly.[10] When Stoneman’s raiders in April, after Lee‘s surrender, burst through the mountains and approached the Catawba, Colonel Tate, still suffering, joined with others in checking their advance.[10]

Later life


Shortly after the close of the war, the stockholders of the Western North Carolina Railroad selected Tate for president of their disorganized, bankrupt, and war-wasted corporation.[11] He repaired the roadbed and rebuilt bridges, revamped old rolling stock and put it to work; solicited business and inspired the people by his own energy; he haggled over prices and saved with judicious care, so that he righted his employers’ affairs and enhanced their property.[12]

This done, Provisional Governor Holden very promptly turned him out of office, and when Holden in turn went out, with Worth came back Tate, who, identified with the great work from its infancy, continued with it in one capacity or another almost uninterruptedly to the time when it passed forever from the control of North Carolina to that of Northern capitalists.[12]

Throughout the early history of that corporation, whose railway became an important a link in interstate commerce, Colonel Tate labored and strove for its completion.[12]

He early in the Reconstruction legislation advised his stockholders to consent to a division of the road and the creation of a new corporation, the Western Division of the Western North Carolina Railroad, which was turned over to the late George W. Swepson and his associates, with the hope and expectation that the work on the Eastern Division could be pressed forward the more effectively under that arrangement.[12]

With the Eastern Division, from Salisbury to the French Broad River, Tate continued through that era as the financial agent of the stockholders and trustee for the payment of debts already contracted, having surrendered his presidency to the appointee of the Holden Board of 1868.[12]

The loss of the State’s credit in the Northern markets caused a comparatively trifling loan to assume the proportions of a threatening mortgage.[12] For this he was berated by a portion of the State press, and he was aspersed by some commentators; but through it all Colonel Tate passed unscathed, and confidence in his integrity was not shaken among the people of his State.[12]


Never in any strict sense of the term a politician, he was sent to the Legislature of 1874 from his native county by a majority of 400 in excess of any vote theretofore polled by his party.[13] He drafted and had passed laws by which the Western Road was saved to the State and its construction reattempted; he put in familiar and popular use the lease and working of the State’s convict force upon her works of internal improvements, this same Western Road being the chiefest of the beneficiaries.[13] He labored untiringly and with great success as chairman of the Finance Committee to provide ways and means for the enlargement of leading charities and the establishment of new ones; he carried to completion the legislation which founded and sustained through trying years the Hospital for the Insane at his own home in Morganton.[13] In 1880, 1882 and 1884 he again sat for Burke in the Lower House of the Legislature.[14]

Closely associated with Colonel William L. Saunders, a mentor of the Democratic Party, allied with Colonel Hamilton C. Jones and other Confederate veterans of the Civil War, and supported by the State press, Colonel Tate was an important factor in public matters of import during the period of his career.[14]

In 1886, there being a Democratic President, Controller of the Currency Trenholm tendered Colonel Tate, without solicitation on his part, the position of examiner of National Banks in the district stretching from West Virginia to and inclusive of Florida.[14] Save the position of census-taker for his native county in 1850 and of postmaster at Morganton during the Buchanan administration, this was the only Federal position ever held by him.[14]

On the death of treasurer Donald Bain in 1893, Governor Holt, who was his life-long friend, appointed Colonel Tate State treasurer. He was nominated in 1894 to succeed himself, but he was defeated in the Populist upheaval of that year, along with all the leaders of his party.[15]


He never afterwards held office, but devoted his declining years to the welfare of his family and friends and in rendering such public service as was interesting to his community.[15] He derived much satisfaction from his success in securing the location of the Deaf and Dumb School at Morganton.[15]

He died suddenly at his home on June 25, 1897, just as he was about to entertain Judge Robinson, then holding court in Morganton, and some members of the bar who were invited to take tea with him.[15] His funeral the Sunday following was by far the largest ever known in the county, all the countryside attending with many from a great distance.[16] He rests in the town cemetery, which was purchased through his agency.[17]

Personal life

Colonel Tate married in October, 1866, Miss Jennie Pearson, daughter of Robert C. Pearson of Morganton, by whom he became the father of a large family of children, and who survived him but a few years.[15] Both were members of the Presbyterian Communion.[15]