Loot Was The Name of the Game
It is commonly understood that North Carolina was spared the hardships of war, though the northeastern section of the State was under northern rule since Burnside’s Expedition. Edward Stanly was a former North Carolinian who was appointed governor by Lincoln and sent to occupied Morehead City to hold court, but even he lost hope of restoring the Tarheel State to the Union after watching shiploads of loot heading northward. 
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
Loot Was The Name of the Game:
""Most of eastern North Carolina lay open to the Union troops," wrote J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton, "and by degrees they stripped the entire region of everything of value that was moveable. Whole shiploads of booty were sent north. Edward Stanly said, "Had the war in North Carolina been conducted by soldiers who were Christians and gentlemen, the State would have long ago rebelled against rebellion."
But instead of that, what was done? Thousands and thousands of dollars worth of property were conveyed North. Libraries, pianos, carpets, mirrors, family portraits, everything in short, that could be removed, was stolen by men abusing flagitious slave holders and preaching liberty, justice and civilisation. I was informed that one regiment of abolitionists had conveyed North more than $40,000 worth of property. They literally robbed the cradle and the grave. Family burial vaults were broken open for robbery; and in one instance (the fact was published in a Boston newspaper and admitted to me by an officer of high position in the army) a vault was entered, a metallic coffin removed, and the remains cast out that those of a dead (northern) soldier might be put in the place.
All the blood of the American Revolution of 1776 was shed to establish the right of self government. The Revolution had no other end, meaning that if it did not establish that right, then it was a sanguinary farce; and yet because we (in the South) chose to exercise that right, we were declared "rebels" and numerous herds of mercenaries, collected from all quarters of the globe, were hurled against us. Four years of terrible barbarous warfare, of cruelty of the most savage, and wickedness of the most wanton followed."
(Excerpt from The Richmond Whig, January 20, 1865)