25th North Carolina Infantry
Later commanded Confederate Cavalry
He was endeavoring to raise negro troops for the Confederacy in 1865!
Colonel Dearing personally wrote to President Andrew Johnson in 1865 seeking executive clemency!
Born in Georgia in 1833, St. Clair Dearing was commissioned lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Infantry on June 7, 1855. He was transferred to the 2nd U.S. Artillery on March 17, 1858, and resigned his commission on February 7, 1861, shortly after his native state of Georgia seceded from the Union. He was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the 25th North Carolina Infantry, on August 15, 1861. Being a professional soldier, Dearing was given the task of training and drilling the raw North Carolina recruits of the 25th regiment, and he skillfully taught them how to function as a cohesive fighting unit. He declined re-election in April 1862, with what he later called "petulance," but he was known as a hard drinker and he decided to resign his commission on April 29, 1862. However, Dearing's Civil War military career was far from over. He served as a Confederate staff officer during the 1863 Charleston, S.C. campaign, and is mentioned several times in battle reports. He later commanded Confederate cavalry and was endeavoring to raise colored troops in Georgia in 1865. He signed an oath of allegiance to the United States in Clark County, Georgia, on August 22, 1865. He also wrote a personal letter to President Andrew Johnson seeking executive clemency. In his letter he mentions that he served for seven years in the U.S. Army and although he had formed friendships and ties that were difficult to sever, he resigned his commission at the invitation of his native state of Georgia. "I served the greater portion of four years in the Confederate Armies, and I trust did my duty in accordance with the principles I had adopted and what I deemed duty to the State in which I was born." He goes on to say that he recognizes the existing state of affairs and desires "once again to be admitted to the rights and privileges of an American citizen. I have an aged Mother ruined by the events of the war, now dependent on my exertions for support, and for her sake, rather than my own, I trust you may not think it inconsistent with the public good to admit this my petition for Executive Clemency and by restoring the ability to engage in some honest pursuit to enable me to become a useful citizen rather than remain a drone in the great [?] of the Commonwealth."
Wet plate, albumen carte de visite photograph, mounted to 2 1/2 x 4 1/8 card. Spectacular full standing view of the 5 foot, 11 inch Colonel St. Clair Dearing, wearing a shell jacket with gold tinted collar rank and buttons, belt with two piece buckle and holster attached, gauntlets, and knee high leather boots. He poses next to a studio column and painted background holding his kepi with quatrefoil, but one of the most remarkable details of this photograph is that Colonel Dearing is holding a Scottish basket hilt rapier sword. No imprint. Corners of the card are very slightly trimmed. Magnificent Confederate image! Very rare!!
An original 1850's daguerreotype of Lieutenant St. Clair Dearing in his U.S. Army dress uniform is in the collection of Duke University. They also have an original, handmade deck of playing cards made by Colonel Dearing in 1864.