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First Battle of Kinston Battlefield Park

Harriet's Chapel Site
  This part of the battlefield is on highway 258 about quarter of a mile from the Kinston Visitors and Information Center.  . 

The story of Harriet’s Chapel and the battle is one of excitement, turmoil, defeat and coming together.  The church is often mentioned in various records of the First Battle of Kinston.  As the Christmas season was drawing near Union forces were marching toward Kinston in December of 1862 .  The Confederate troops stationed at Kinston were gathering on the south side of the Neuse River in preparation for battle.  One of the defensive positions taken was at Harriett’s Chapel. Soldiers took their place inside the church and watched from the windows for the advancing enemy while other soldiers positioned themselves behind the north side of the church. For many it was their first time in battle and they were about to taste the rage and horror of war.  Perhaps being in a church gave some a false sense of security.  The Union troops arrived at the swamp not far from the church and fought their way through the mire while Union cannons were firing over their heads into the Confederate forces.  The cries of the wounded filled the air while trees all around were catching afire from the firing of cannons and guns. Slowly at first the Union soldier emerged from the swamp and saw Harriet’s Chapel on a slight rise ahead of them.  They could see the enemy inside the church with guns pointed their way and at the same time could see the feet and legs of soldiers on the other side of the wooden church.  Gun fire was blazing from all directions. Some records later recorded the beating of hearts and fear were with every soldier as they perform gallantly. The Confederate soldiers were outnumbered 4 to 1 and their ammunition was running low, so they began to pull back to the bridge that crossed the Neuse River.  On reaching the church the Union soldiers found both wounded and dead rebels inside the building.  The battle was over in a matter of hours, givng many their first taste of Battle.  Kinston and the men that fought here would never be the same again.  The church building was soon turned into a field hospital where both Union and Confederates were tended. It was a strange war and it is a story that needs to be told in order for all generations to know why it was fought and what it meant.  The old wooden church located in the Kinston Battlefield Park will help tell that story.

  • History of Harriet's Chapel


  • Acquisition of Property


  • Donation of old church building   The First Battle of Kinston Battlefield Park has a new feature added that gives the site a new way of interpreting the First Battle of Kinston.  It is an old one room wooden church such as the one that once was on the battlefield.  This old church building will be used to interpret the role of Harriet’s Chapel during the First battle of Kinston



  • History of New Beaver Dam Primitive Baptist Church


  • Ribbon Cutting


  • Tourism