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WNCT-TV http:/http://www.wnct.com/nct/news/local/article/donation

Civil War battlefield land donated to Kinston

Staff Writer
In both the North and South, Civil War battlefields are vanishing at an alarming rate due to development on or near the historical sites. Kinston moved to reverse that trend this week, making sure its Civil War history is preserved for future generations.
On Dec. 14, 1862, nearly 40 Confederate soldiers manned a four-gun artillery battery near what is today the N.C. 258 South and U.S. 70 intersection. Union forces clashed with the artillery battery during the First Battle of Kinston, which eventually forced the Confederates to retreat back across the Neuse River into the city.
Today, the original earthworks that helped protect the Confederate artillery battery are still found at the site and - thanks to one local businessman - they will be forever preserved. The landowner, Marshall King of Kinston, donated the Civil War battlefield land Monday to The Historic Preservation Group of Lenoir County. The 3.4 acres of land was appraised at nearly $600,000.Dr. Lyle Holland of the preservation group said the land's preservation will help Kinston to continue to highlight its Civil War history. Holland said the land was acquired for $60,000 through a Special Events Tourism and Culturally Related Activities grant, funds from the preservation group and King's in-kind donation. Soon, the site will feature interpretive signage along walking trails, landscaping and period fencing. The 3.4-acre site is home to the last remaining original defensive earthworks from the Dec. 14 battle.

To date, the preservation group has saved nearly 135 acres of land where the First Battle of Kinston occurred. Sixty acres of Civil War battlefield land at Wyse Fork have also been preserved though the community's efforts.  "The preservation and development of the Civil War battlefields is important because it honors the memory of the men that fought and died for what they believed was right," Historical Preservation Group President Jane Phillips said. "More than 70 percent of American Civil War battlefields have already been lost forever and fewer than 15 percent have been protected."

The land donation were announced Monday at the Kinston and Lenoir County Chamber of Commerce. A spokesman for King, Russell Rhodes, thanked the preservation group for their efforts. "This parcel is included in the National Register of Historic Places and Mr. King wanted to ensure the historic features of the land would be preserved," Rhodes said. "He hopes this historic site will be enjoyed by many future generations."

Today, trees and brush undergrowth cover the site that once was used to try and repel advancing Union forces. Holland explained that during the battle Confederate forces had cleared the site of any visual obstruction so they could have clear firing lanes for their artillery guns. There are no plans to remove the trees or undergrowth at the site because they help keep the earthworks from eroding. Several people, including Gary Hines of Lenoir County, toured the site Monday to examine the battlefield earthworks used during the December 1862 Civil War battle. "(This site) is part of who we are," he said. "It's part of our history."


Brewer Property near Intersection of Hwy 70 S and Hwy 258 S

Harper Property at Woodington