Interpretive Plan for Kinston Battlefield Park
Historical Preservation Group, Inc., a
not-for-profit organization based in Kinston, has received a grant from
the National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program to
create an interpretive plan for the First Battle of Kinston. The Historical Research and Consulting firm of
Mudpuppy and Waterdog have written a comprehensive interpretive
plan for the First Battle of Kinston Battlefield Park They were here
and held a community meeting to get input from the people of
Kinston and Lenoir County in what they would like to see in an
interpretive plan for the Kinston Battlefield. Out of that meeting a
desire was expressed to have an interpretation that would appeal to
young people and families as well as the history buff.
Interpretation tells the
story of a place—the human stories that help people today understand and
make a connection with people, places and events that took place long
ago. It can take many forms including exhibits, trails with waysides,
costumed interpreters, tours and living history. The interpretive plan
will identify the stories that convey the spirit and significance of the
First Battle of Kinston and will outline ways to present those stories.
One of the many exciting parts of the Kinston Interpretive plan is the
“Battlefield Trail” that will wind through a section of the
battlefield. There is not another such trail in the state.
The Civil War battle was
fought on December 14, 1862, when Union forces commanded by General John
G. Foster, sent to disrupt the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad at
Goldsboro, met in battle General Nathan Evans’s Confederate Brigade near
Kinston Bridge. Portions of the Kinston Battlefield are listed in the
National Register of Historic Places
The development of First
Battle of Kinston Battlefield Park is a work in progress. At present the
battlefield is interpreted at five different sites
Site 1 Information and Visitors Center
the tour begins at the Information and Visitors Center at the Highway 70
and Hwy 258 intersection Highway 70 where you may view a video that
relates the times of
the First Battle of Kinston that took place
in December 1862
For many of the soldiers it was the first time in
battle. The young men of aristocratic New England families and the
middle class families of the Mid-Atlantic States were fighting to
preserve the Union. They were horrified at the battle that took place on
a cold Sabbath morning against the southern boys who were defending
their land against what they believed was northern aggression. At the
visitors center you will also find displays of Civil War relics that
have been found on the battlefields in the area.
was at this location where Confederate troops were racing for the other
side of the Neuse River Bridge with Union soldier in hot pursuit. 600
Confederate soldiers did not make it and were captured by Union forces.
Site 2 Woodington Site
on Hwy 258 to the Woodington Community. Go about 4 miles and you will
cross Southwest Creek. About a quarter of a mile on the left you will
see a Civil War Trails Bugle marker. At this
location is a parking area and an interpretive sign relating the events
of the first day of battle which took place in the Woodington area at
Approximately 4 acres of land on Albritton Rd. was donated by Harper
Sisters to HPG for preservation. This site contains pristine
earthworks with battery sites. Hope one day to have it open to the
Site 3 Harriet’s Chapel/Starr's Battery Site
north on Hwy 258 about 4 miles you will see on your right a Civil Wars
Trails Bugle sign. Pull into parking area near the Civil War Trails
marker. The front of the property is lined with a quaint rail
fence that sets the scene for this battlefield site. This area is the location site of Starr's Battery and the little
church known as Harriet's Chapel.
Enjoy the walking trail on this
three acre site where once fighting took place around a small
church called Harriet’s Chapel. This site is the middle of the
battlefield and the location of where the fiercest fighting took
place. Here you will find a Civil War Trails marker that will
interpret the site.
church was riddled with shelling from musket and canon fire. It was
almost destroyed by the battle.
located on the site is not the original Harriet's Chapel but a 1860s
church there serves as a tool to interpret the role of Harriet's Chapel
during the battle. A short walk away is a trail that leads to
Starr's Battery, a Confederate artillery position. Here you will
find a boardwalk that goes along side the authentic breastworks with interpretive
signs along the way. On reaching
the battery the boardwalk rises to an elevate height to better provide an
overlook of the artillery position.
Site 4 Memorial Site
Go north on
Hwy 258 for less than a quarter of a mile to 258 and 70 intersections.
Turn right on Hwy 70. Go about quarter of a mile to next stop light.
Turn right and the Memorial Site will be just ahead on the left
This area is where the Union forces first broke through the Confederate
The first site to be developed on the Kinston battlefield
is the Memorial Site.
It is a beautifully
landscaped 27 acre area that had been the Confederate’s left flank.
It was at this location where the Federals first broke through the
There is a brick wall with the name of the
battle and date of battle inscribed on the front. Behind the wall is a
fifty foot circular brick plaza. At one end of the plaza is a granite
monument memorializing the work done by Wil King for battlefield
preservation. At the other end of the plaza are
three flag poles. The center pole flies the American flag. The other
flag poles fly the period flags for the Union and the Confederacy. A
spotlight brightens the plaza and flag poles. The flags fly 24 hours a
day. There are two markers, each placed at the walkways entering the
plaza. One is a Civil War Trails marker interpreting what took place
on the site during the battle. The other marker is a copy of a
resolution written by the Lenoir County Battlefields Commission
expressing their gratitude for Wil’s work. Beyond the plaza is a berm
that circles around the site.
Enjoy the walking path on a berm that is lined with markers representing each
state that fought in the battle. Here you will learn of the various states and regiments that
fought in the battle from both the Union and Confederacy.A state flag representing the given state
is affix to the marker. The state flags fly only on special occasions.
Dwarf Magnolia trees line along the edge of the site near Meadowbrook
Drive and Harriet Drive. A parking area is in front of the brick
the road. Rail fencing down both sides of Harriet Drive.
Site 5 The Surrender
East and Hwy 258 south on the Northwest corner. This site is still
in the planning stage.
it was the site of the capture of 400 Confederate soldiers before they
could safely make it across the Neuse River Bridge
6 Neuse River Site
Go back to
Hwy 70 and turn left. While on Hwy 70 bear to your right just before
the intersection. As you round the curve you will see a Civil War Bugle
sign. Turn right into parking area.
Here you will find a Civil War Trails marker and have
a view of the Neuse River which had served as a natural line of defense
for the Confederacy. The marker will relate the story of the charging
of the bridge and its burning as the battle reached a climax ending with
the Confederate forces withdrawing back to the other side of Kinston.
The Rivermount Site
is located on Highway 258 South (Richlands Highway) about a quarter of a
mile south of the Hwy 70 S and 258 Intersection
Rivermont Site of the Kinston Battlefield is about 100 acres. This site
will be for living histories and educational exhibits that display
earthworks, trenches and abatises There are plans for a re-eneactment
area, camp area, military drill field, civilian history area,
educational area, and trails with interpretation.
interpretive plan calls for an outdoor museum, a unique concept to tell
the story of the Battle of Kinston and how it affected the soldiers and
Other Names for
Battle: Wilcox’s Bridge, Wise’s Fork, Second Kinston, Second
Southwest Creek, Kelly's Mill Pond