Gilmer’s devotion to the Union was such that President-elect Abraham Lincoln offered him a cabinet post! After careful consideration, troubled over Lincoln’s ultimate intentions, Gilmer finally felt he must decline.
On April 15, 1861 Lincoln called up 75,000 troops to crush the seven-state Confederacy. John Adams Gilmer, a delegate to North Carolina’s Convention, now cast his ballot for secession. The vote, taken five months to the day after South Carolina’s, was unanimous. North Carolina spoke as one: There must be no coercion of fellow Americans!
Gilmer was elected to the Second Congress of the Confederate States. His only son and his younger brother joined the Southern army. North Carolina—a state solidly for the Union until the tyrant Lincoln declared war—put 120,000 troops in the field to battle for their liberty.