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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Shaw, Henry Marchmore

by Ellen Taylor Cook, 1994; Revised by SLNC Government and Heritage Library, July 2023

20 Nov. 1819–1 Feb. 1864

Photograph of Henry Marchmore Shaw, 1859. Image from the Library of Congress.Henry Marchmore Shaw, physician, congressman, and Confederate army officer, was born in Newport, R.I. His parents were John Allen and Betty Marchmore Shaw, both of Scot-Irish descent. The Shaw family moved to North Carolina after suffering severe financial losses. Young Shaw was fortunate to have a benefactor, Dr. G. C. Marchant, who allowed Shaw to study in his office and later financed his medical education at the University of Pennsylvania, where Shaw received his M.D. and two certificates of surgery in 1838. After graduation Shaw began a practice in Indiantown, Currituck County.

He also became active in politics. In 1851 he was elected as a Democrat to the state senate; his opponent was John Bernard. In 1853 Shaw defeated Colonel David Outlaw for the seat from the First Congressional District Shaw's opponent in 1855 was Robert Treat Paine, who defeated Shaw. However, Shaw was reelected to the Thirty-fifth Congress in 1857 and served his final term.

Shaw represented Currituck County at the Secession Convention of 1861, where he strongly favored North Carolina's secession from the Union. He felt so intensely that he resigned from the convention and joined the Confederate army. On 16 May 1861 he was appointed colonel of the Eighth Regiment, North Carolina Troops.

Organized at Camp Macon in Warren County on 14 Sept. 1861, the Eighth Regiment was first ordered to Roanoke Island, where Shaw assumed command. On 8 Feb. 1862 the regiment was captured by a Federal expeditionary group commanded by General A. E. Burnside. The prisoners were taken to Elizabeth City and paroled on 21 February. But it was not until 10 Nov. 1862 that Shaw was exchanged at Aiken's Landing, James River, Va.

Near Raleigh, at Camp Mangum, the Eighth Regiment reorganized in September 1862. Shaw reassumed command after his exchange, and the regiment was attached to General Thomas L. Clingman's brigade. Shaw was present or accounted for until the skirmish at Batchelder Creek, near New Bern, where he was killed. The regiment had been ordered to New Bern from South Carolina to aid General Robert F. Hoke's brigade. After Shaw's death, Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Whitson assumed command of the regiment.

On 2 Apr. 1836 Shaw married Mary Riddick Trotman of Camden County. The couple had three children: William B., Henry M., and Mary T. Colonel Shaw was buried at Shawboro in Currituck County.

Henry Marchmore Shaw's Confederate uniform coat. Image from the North Carolina Museum of History.References:

Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1971).

D. H. Hill, Jr., Confederate Military History, vol. 4 (1899).

James Sprunt Historical Monographs, no. 1 (1900).

Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr., comp., North Carolina Troops, 1861–1865: A Roster, vol. 4 (1973).

Additional Resources:

"Shaw, Henry Marchmore, (1819 - 1864)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed March 28, 2013).

Shaw, Henry M. The Kansas question. Speech of Hon. Henry M. Shaw, of North Carolina, in the House of representatives, April 20, 1858. [Washington, Printed at the Congressional globe office. 1858. (accessed March 28, 2013).

United States Department of Interior. Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service. National Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination Form: Shaw House. By Jim Sumner, and Claudia Roberts.Raleigh, N.C. November 1979. (accessed March 28, 2013).

Image Credits:

Vannerson, Julian. [Henry M. Shaw, Representative from North Carolina, Thirty-fifth Congress, half-length portrait]. Photograph.  McClees' gallery of photographic portraits of the senators, representatives & delegates of the thirty-fifth Congress. Washington: McClees & Beck, [1859], page 142. Library of Congress.

"Uniform, Accession #: H.1914.236.9." 1861-1865. North Carolina Museum of History.

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