Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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RANSOM, Matt Whitaker, senator, born in Warren county, North Carolina, 8 October, 1826. He was graduated at the University of North Carolina in 1847, and admitted to the bar the same year, and was presidential elector on the Whig ticket in 1852. For the subsequent three years he was state attorney-general, and then, joining the Democratic party, was a member of the legislature in 1858, and in 1861 one of the three North Carolina commissioners to the Confederate congress in Montgomery, Alabama He did his utmost to avert the war, but, on the secession of his state, volunteered as a private in the Confederate service, and was at once appointed lieutenant-colonel of the 1st North Carolina infantry, with which he marched to the seat of war in Virginia. He was chosen colonel of the 35th North Carolina infantry in 1862, participated with his regiment in all the important battles of the Army of Northern Virginia, was severely wounded in the seven days' fight around Richmond, and was promoted brigadier-general in 1863 and major-general in 1865, but the fall of the Confederacy prevented the receipt of the latter commission. He resumed his profession in 1866, exerted a pacific influence in the politics of his state, was elected to the United States senate as a Democrat in 1872, and has served since by re-election. His present term will end in 1889.
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