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Lenoir County-Kinston Civil War Battlefields
Survey and National Register Project


Prepared for the
Historical Preservation Group

Prepared by
Mudpuppy & Waterdog, Inc.
Versailles, Kentucky

This project was initiated by the Historical Preservation group and funded through a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP).
 

The project has several components:

  • Locate the extant Civil War resources in Kinston and Lenoir County
       Battle of Kinston
       Battle of Wyse Fork
      Cultural and Natural Resources
  • Prepare a National Register nomination for the 1862 Kinston Battlefield
  • Provide HPG Guidelines for a future preservation and management plan
  • Archaeology
       Investigations
  • Create a Brochure 

 

 

Lenoir County-Kinston

Survey and National Register Project

(Grant Number GA-2255-03-007)

Prepared for

Historical Preservation Group
1603 West Road
Kinston, North Carolina

by
Joe Brent
Mudpuppy & Waterdog, Inc.
129 Walnut Street
Versailles, Kentucky 40383

October 12, 2005

with

W. Stephen McBride, Ph. D.
McBride Preservation Service, LLC
1632 Courtney Avenue
Lexington, Kentucky 40505
and
Matt Jorenson

Funded by

The American Battlefield Protection Program

October 12, 2005

This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Anyopinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do notnecessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.  Images on the cover clockwise Battle of Wyse Fork, White Rock Church, Cobb-King-Humphrey House.

 

Lenoir County-Kinston Survey and National Register Project

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The efforts of three people went into the actual writing of this document, but it was the work of the HPG and the funding by the ABPP that made it possible.  Mudpuppy & Waterdog, Inc. would like to thank the following individuals for their help in the completion of this project:
 

American Battlefield Protection Program
Dr. Lawrence Babits
Dr. Lonnie Blizzard
Cindy Brochure
Dr. Charles Ewen
Dolores A. Hall
Dr. Lyle Holland
Matt Jorgenson
Tony Kelly
Jimmy Miller
John Mintz
Dr. Lee Novick
Jane Phillips
Donnie Taylor
Bob Tollar
John Wood

 

Lenoir County-Kinston
Survey and National Register Project

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Acknowledgements ...............................................................................................................i

Introduction...........................................................................................................................1

I. Battle of Kinston................................................................................................................3

II. Battle of Wyse Fork ........................................................................................................16

III. Cultural and Natural Resources ....................................................................................26

IV. Archaeological Investigations ........................................................................................51

V. Preservation Plan Guidelines ...........................................................................................57

VI. Recommendations............................................................................................................69

VII. Bibliography ...................................................................................................................74

VIII. Annotated Bibliography ................................................................................................80

IX. Appendix I: Prehistoric Artifacts from the Tower Hill Site and Stringer Sites..............85

X. Appendix II: Funding Sources and Other Help ................................................................98

 

Lenoir County-Kinston  Survey and National Register Project

INTRODUCTION

This project was initiated by the Historical Preservation Group (HPG) and funded through a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP). The project has several components: locate the extant Civil War resources in Kinston and Lenoir County, prepare a National Register nomination for the December 1862 Kinston Battlefield, provide HPG with guidelines for a future preservation and management plan, archaeology, and create a brochure. After the fall of New Bern in the spring of 1862, Kinston became the first line of defense between the Union army on the North Carolina coast and the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, the main route between North Carolina and Virginia. Geography put Lenoir County and Kinston on the front lines, the frontier of the Civil War in North Carolina. The main transportation routes from New Bern to Goldsboro, including the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad, ran through the county. The area between Kinston and New Bern became a “no man’s land.” Both sides sent patrols and even large scale incursions up and down the roads trying to seize control, though neither side would alter the status quo until March 1865. As a result, Lenoir County has two major Civil War battlefields: the December 1862 Battle of Kinston and the March 1865 Battle of Wyse Fork. These two battlefields were part of the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission (CWSAC) survey in the early 1990s. This project was initiated as an outcome of that survey.  In addition to the two battlefields, which retain good integrity, there are numerous tangible remains of the  Civil War in Lenoir County. Thousands of feet of earthworks associated with the two battles and the Confederacy’s attempts to defend the city are extent. There are also several antebellum houses and churches that served as field hospitals or headquarters. The hull of the gunboat CSS Neuse is also in Kinston and is housed at the CSS Neuse and Caswell Memorial State Historic Site. The HPG has purchased 57 acres of the Wyse Fork Battlefield. They also control 126 acres of the December 1862 Battle of Kinston; a circumstance that indirectly arose from the impact Hurricane Floyd had in the area. In 1999 Hurricane Floyd hit eastern North Carolina, causing devastating flooding. Due to the extent of the damage, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) chose to buy out certain areas in order to prevent future floods from damaging human habitation. As a result, 126 acres of the December 1862 Battle of Kinston landscape is being reclaimed. Lenoir County government has leased this land to the HPG. The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources has determined that the land does not have sufficient integrity for National Register listing and that the disturbance to the area caused by the removal of homes from the area, which was a subdivision, will make battlefield archaeological investigations difficult at best. However, the land is well situated and it can be interpreted. Kinston and Lenoir County are in the process of creating a heritage tourism program. One focus of that program will be the Civil War. Lenoir County is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails program, which is an adjunct to the Virginia Civil War Trails program. This project could help with that program by providing more sites that can be preserved and interpreted for the public. This project will also provide the information necessary for the HPG to initiate their interpretive program. Lenoir County-Kinston

Survey and National Register Project
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INTRODUCTION

Methodology

Over the course of this project, four trips were made to North Carolina. In all, 45 person days were spent in the field, in archival repositories, and in local and state government offices securing the information necessary to complete this project. As per the scope of work, one day of noninvasive archaeology was undertaken in the project area. W. Stephen McBride, Ph.D. and Joseph E. Brent conducted a pedestrian survey and metal detecting at two sites associated with the December 1862 Battle of Kinston. The results of these archaeological investigations are detailed in Chapter V. In addition, Dr. McBride and Mr. Brent met with Dr. Charles Ewen of East Carolina University, whose students have conducted research in the area. All earthworks and other significant features that were located were mapped. GPS coordinates and map locations were checked with the historic records, when available. Research for this project was conducted at numerous repositories, among them the Southern History Collection at University of North Carolina, Duke University Library, J. Y. Joyner Library at East Carolina University, North Carolina State Archives, Heritage Place at Lenoir Community College, Kinston Public Library, University of Kentucky Library, and the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The Allen County Public Library has one the largest genealogical collections in the country. It holds numerous regimental histories, narratives, and other documentation pertaining to the Civil War. HPG members, some of whom have conducted extensive research concerning the battles, provided additional material. Copies of all of the research gathered, several hundred pages, will be turned over to the HPG at the conclusion of the project. The guidelines for a preservation plan are based on Mr. Brent’s experience in writing ABPP funded preservation plans in Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina and on the resources themselves. Having spent time in Lenoir County and having become familiar with the resources it became evident that the resources in Lenoir County are numerous and merit preservation. The brochure was created using PageMaker 6.5. The purpose in creating a brochure was to promote the wealth of Civil War resources in Kinston/Lenoir County and to inform citizens and local officials about those resources in order to solicit their aid in preserving those resources. Without preservation there can be no real interpretation and without interpretation there will be no growth in the heritage tourism that city and county officials want to develop.

 

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CHAPTER I
 

BATTLE OF KINSTON
Overview

In February 1862, Gen. Ambrose Burnside was sent by the Union command to take and hold easternNorth Carolina. Burnside’s operation was successful. He captured Roanoke Island and occupied Elizabeth City and Edenton. His forces burned the town of Winton, blocked the Dismal Swamp Canal, and captured New Bern. All that prevented Burnside from capturing Goldsboro was his recall to Virginia, along with 7,000 Union soldiers. Burnside’s departure left Gen. John G. Foster in command of the Union Department of North Carolina with a single brigade, not enough men to hold the fortifications at New Bern let alone go on the offensive.

Figure 1: John Gray Foster,  Union Commander

John Gray Foster was a native of New Hampshire. He graduated fourth in his class at West Point in
1846 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers. Foster was chief engineer of the fortifications of Charleston when hostilities began. He was part of the garrison at Fort Sumter, where he  survived the Confederate bombardment. In the fall of 1861 he was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. Foster was part of Burnside’s force during the spring 1862 North Carolina campaign.
2

After the Union army  captured New Bern, the Confederates fell back to Kinston where they fortified the city and the roads leading into  it from the south. Kinston became the first line of defense between the Federal troops in New Bern and the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad at Goldsboro. The Wilmington & Weldon was the main line of supply for the Confederate army in Virginia, the main Confederate army in the east. Protecting this railroad was of primary concern for the Confederacy.3

Confederate engineers built a series of fortifications around Kinston and  along the approaches to the city from the New Bern area, fortifying both land approaches and those from the Neuse River. The fortifications were designed to take advantage of the natural terrain. The Neuse River flows just  south of the city. Southwest Creek flows south of and parallel to the Neuse for much of its length before turning  sharply north and flowing into the Neuse. The road system between New Bern and Kinston ran almost due west  between the Trent River and Dover Swamp before turning north toward the city, crossing Southwest Creek at  several points before crossing the Neuse into the city proper. Confederate engineers constructed earthworks on either side of bridges crossing the creek, anchoring them on the swamps. No doubt, the engineers believed that no one could or would try to cross the swamps and would be forced to assault the works head on.

 North of Kinston, a ring of earthworks was constructed stretching from the river north and east to the Atlantic & North Carolina Railroad. Some of these earthworks may have been part of a fortified encampment that was constructed south of the city and then adapted to protect the southern approach. In addition

 

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Figure 2: Left - Official Records  Map of the Kinston/New Bern Area showing the route of Foster’s Raid, engagements and  the Confederate fortifications.


Figure 3: Below - Koerner’s 1863 Confederate map of the Kinston area showing Camp Pool and the Confederate fortifications west of the city and the Neuse River. No mapping was done south of the Neuse as that was not within Koerner’s department.

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to the fortifications defending the city, a large fortified encampment, Camp Pool, was established southeast of the city. These fortifications were armed with heavy artillery to protect the approach to the city via the Neuse River. In addition to the fortifications and heavy artillery, obstructions were placed in the river, forcing  boats to pass through a narrow channel (Figure 3).In late October 1862, thousands of nine-month volunteers, mostly from Massachusetts, arrived in New Bern. This influx of troops provided Gen. Foster with sufficient force, some 10,000 men, for an offensive operation. By November the new soldiers were settled into New Bern and Foster was planning an attack.4Gen. John G. Foster’s plan called for a large infantry force to march from New Bern, take Kinston, take Goldsboro and cut the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, and then to march to Wilmington and shut down the last open Confederate port in North Carolina. Union Navy gunboats would back up his land force. Foster was counting on Union operations in Virginia to tie up any possible Confederate reinforcements that might disrupt the raid, which was basically the same operation that Burnside had planned in the summer of 1862.5 Foster’s Raid On December 11, 1862 Foster left New Bern with 10,000 infantry, 40 pieces of artillery, 640 cavalry, 300 Pioneers [a detachment of contraband (escaped slave) laborers] under the command of Henry Wilson, a civilian, and 160 wagons. The navy sent a flotilla of nine gunboats and armed transports up the Neuse River toward Kinston in support of Foster’s movements.6Foster’s men left New Bern around 7 AM on December 11 and marched along the Trent Road, the main road to Kinston. After about 14 miles, the army encountered felled trees blocking the road. The soldiers camped there for the night while the Pioneers cleared away the trees. The Union army continued the march north reaching the outskirts of Kinston on December 13, 1862.

The First Day - December 13, 1862

The Naval Engagement at Camp Pool

The Navy left New Bern on December 12 and steamed upriver. The vessels anchored for the night down river of Kinston. On the afternoon of December 13, 1862, as the two armies were fighting near Southwest Creek, several miles to the west, four Union vessels came within two miles of Kinston. Here those vessels encountered fire from Confederate artillery. The armed Union transports Allison, Port Royal, Wilson, and Ocean Wave rounded a bend in the river. They were in narrow channel, about 100-feet wide, left them little room to maneuver, the boats could only continue forward or backup they could not turn around. As the Union boats attempted to navigate the narrow passage, a ten-gun battery opened fire. The firing began around sunset, about the time the fighting was drawing to a close on Southwest Creek (Figure 4). 7 The three vessels in the rear were ordered to back out, leaving the Allison to take the brunt of the fire. The Allison fired her main gun at one of the Confederate batteries and silenced it temporarily. The Confederate artillery fire damaged the Allison but she was able to withdraw. The Union boats retreated beyond the bend of the river where they were out of sight of the Confederate shore batteries. The action at Camp Pool ended the involvement of the navy in the battle. The Union sailors and marines aboard the vessels engaged with the Confederates suffered casualties, including several killed and wounded.8

 

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Figure 4: Map shows the engagement at Camp Pool. Of the nine vessel Union flotilla only four ships, got with
range of the shore batteries at Camp Pool. Of those only the Allison took hits. The position of the Union vessels is approximate. The blue outline of Camp Pool is based on the 1863 Koerner map. The red lines indicate extant earthworks. Map is based on the Kinston USGS quad map north is the top of the map. Scale is one inch = 24,000 feet.

 

Lenoir County-Kinston Survey and National Register Project

 CHAPTER 1

Page 7

Companies B, G, & H of the 1st North Carolina Artillery manned the guns at Camp Pool. These soldiers effectively fired at the approaching Union boats, forcing the flotilla to retreat. Although the Confederate batteries successfully drove off the Union attack, only part of the Federal squadron had reached Camp Pool. Those vessels that made it were light draft armed transports. The gunboats could get no closer than 15 miles from Kinston due to low water and did not participate in the combat. Although the navy put a good spin on the operation, it was a Union defeat. It would be days before the flotilla returned to New Bern. Of the nine vessels sent upriver, six were damaged or sunk. Two boats had their rudders knocked off, three ran aground, and a snag sank another. Union reports make it clear that most of the damage was the result of river conditions rather than Confederate artillery. Regardless, the fleet limped back to New Bern.9 As far as can be ascertained, the naval engagement took place in the late afternoon hours of the first day of the conflict, probably as the Confederates near Southwest Creek were retreating northward. After the fight with the Union navy the Confederates abandoned  Camp Pool, leaving most of the artillery. The fall of Kinston on December 14 left the 1st North Carolina Artillery little choice; they retreated with the rest of the Confederate army. Union soldiers later captured four field pieces and destroyed two other large guns, a 32- pounder and an 8-inch Columbiad. They also blew up the magazine. 10

The Engagement at Southwest Creek – December 13, 1862

The Confederate forces in and around Kinston, approximately 2,000 men, were under the command of Brig. Gen. Nathan G. “Shanks” Evans. Evans, a native South Carolinian, was a West Point graduateand had been in the regular army when the war broke out. He resigned his commission and joined the Confederate army. Evans commanded a brigade at First Manassas and his actions at that battle helped the Confederates turn the tide. Evans held various commands in the eastern theater before being placed in command of the troops around Kinston. In December 1862 Evans deployed his men throughout the region, placing soldiers in Kinston and Greenville and along the roads leading from New Bern.11 The movement of Foster’s force from New Bern caught the Confederates at Kinston completely off-guard. When news of the Federal advance reached Kinston on December 12, General Evans was on an inspection trip to Greenville. In Evans’ absence, Col. James D. Radcliffe of the 61st North Carolina was in command. Radcliffe, alerted to the Federal advance, moved six pieces of artillery, the 17th, 22nd, and 23rd South Carolina and the 61st North Carolina two miles south of Kinston to Hine’s Mill on Southwest Creek. Radcliffe destroyed the bridge over the creek and deployed in line of battle behind earthworks on the north side of the creek (Figure 6).12 The Battle of Kinston began on the morning of December 13, 1862. Foster sent his cavalry, the 3rd New York, ahead to probe the Confederate positions. The New Yorkers found Radcliffe’s position. The troopers  dismounted and began skirmishing with the Confederates. Radcliffe was north of Southwest Creek, whereearthworks had been constructed straddling the Wilmington Road (US 258). Foster’s infantry reached the

Figure 5: Brig. Gen. Henry W. Wessells

Lenoir County-Kinston Survey and National Register Project
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Figure 6: Map showing engagement at Southwest Creek, Battle of Kinston, December 13, 1862. Map is based on Deep Run and Rivermont USGS quads. Scale is one inch = 24,000 feet.

Lenoir County-Kinston Survey and National Register Project
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high ground above Southwest Creek around 11 AM. He found the bridge destroyed and the  Confederates in a strong defensive position with artillery. The creek was too deep to ford and Foster had no choice but to give battle at this location.13 Around 10 AM General Evans arrived and took command, putting Radcliffe in command of the left flank. In the meantime, three companies of the 61st North Carolina and four companies of the 17th South Carolina with several pieces of artillery were sent to man the earthworks across Southwest Creek at the Upper Trent Road (NC 58 at Patterson’s Chapel).14 The Confederate position on the Wilmington Road was strong; the earthworks covered the road and were anchored in the swamp. The Union attackers had to either wade the swamp or repair the bridge under fire if they were to attack the Confederates. Foster brought up Gen. Henry W. Wessells Brigade and began to probe the Confederate line. According to one account, a member of the 9th New Jersey found an unguarded milldam on the Union left. The New Jerseymen made quick use of the milldam. The Union soldiers crossed the dam and flanked the Confederates, starting a brisk firefight. On the other side of the road, companies B and D of the 85th Pennsylvania, under the command of Capt. George H. Hooker, worked their way down the hill and waded across the swamp. They were aided in their efforts by the pioneer corps, who cut trees that were used to make a temporary bridge. The 85th Pennsylvania and the 9th New Jersey attacked the Confederates on either flank.15 The flanking move by the Union soldiers eventually forced the Confederates to withdraw from their line on the Wilmington Road. The sheer force of the Union numbers forced General Evans to pull his men outof the line and fall back. Capt. Nathan A. Ramsey of the 61st North Carolina described the fighting: “The firing seemed to be rapid and terrific. Mini balls whistled through the air by front and cross firesfrom the enemy . . .. For some time we held our ground but were forced to fall back by the enemy advancing upon us in overwhelming numbers.” One Confederate cannon and several men were captured during the fight.16  The accounts indicate that the two armies fought for about ten hours onDecember 13. A portion of that fighting took place at the earthworks on Southwest Creek at the Wilmington Road, the remainder occurred as the Confederates withdrew northward. A post war history of the 9th New Jersey confirms that the fighting continued: “The Ninth, however, did not advance very far without molestation, as the Confederates, recovering from their fright, had taken a new position, a thousand yards away when they reopened with musketry and artillery.”17 Once the light began to fail, both sides disengaged and bivouacked for the night. The Confederates fell back to near the present-day intersection of US 258 and CR 1342. There they spent a cold night on the field, “sleeping on their arms.” The Union soldiers encamped on the high ground near Woodington. The following morning, the Confederates marched to the defenses just south of Kinston with the Federals in EVANS Fig 8

    Figure 7 Figure 8: Gen. Nathan “Shanks” Evans

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The Second Day - December 14, 1862

The Engagement at Upper Trent Road – December 14, 1862

A second, smaller force of Confederate soldiers was positioned at a fortified position near present-dayPatterson Chapel, at the point where Upper Trent Road (present-day NC 58) crossed Southwest Creek. General Evans placed a portion of the 61st North Carolina, 25th and 17th South Carolina and one piece of artillery at these earthworks. No doubt, he hoped to slow the Union advance upon his main line in front of the Neuse River and Kinston18 (Figure 9).

On the morning of December 14, a detachment of the 46
th Massachusetts, a company of the 3rd New York cavalry, and a battery of the 24th New York artillery moved up the Upper Trent Road (NC 58) toward Kinston. At Southwest Creek the Union soldiers encountered the Confederates behind earthworks straddling the road that, like those across the Wilmington Road, were anchored on a swamp. The Confederates had burned the bridge and were determined to hold the position.19

According to one account, there were 1,000 Confederates with artillery behind the earthworks. This seems unlikely as Evans only had about 2,000 troops. Regardless of the number of Confederates, the 3rd New York dismounted, deployed as skirmishers and, along with the Massachusetts infantry, attacked. The account of the 24th New York Artillery states: “The cavalry dismounted, deployed, and, with their carbines, acted as a support to the battery. Our boys then opened on them with shell.” The Union artillery fired into the Confederate position. After about an hour of fighting the Union soldiers drove the Confederates from the position. 20

The Confederates retreated to the main line of works at Kinston. The Union soldiers rebuilt the bridge and followed. The Federals did not arrive in Kinston until about 4 PM, after the main Confederate army had been driven from the field.
21

The Engagement at Kinston – December 14, 1862

The last engagement of the battle occurred just south of Kinston. The Confederate main force was behind a series of earthworks that had been constructed south of the Neuse River and the main bridge into Kinston. Union forces assaulted the Confederate works south of Kinston on the morning of December 14. The main Union force marched up the Wilmington Road (US 258) and deployed into line of battle just south of SR 1900 (Figure 10).

General Evans had deployed his infantry and artillery at the earthworks. On the right of the main road, Evans placed four pieces of artillery, Col. Peter Mallett’s Battalion, the 61
st North Carolina, and the Holcombe Legion. Starr’s North Carolina battery held the center. The 17th, 22nd, and 23rd South Carolina were left of the road. With all of the troops he could gather, Evans had just over 2,000 men; Foster had about 10,000.22

The 9th New Jersey moved on the Confederate skirmishers on the right of the road early in the morning,beginning the fighting. The New Jersey regiment forced the Confederates to retreat to their main line. Gen. Henry W. Wessells’ Brigade soon joined the lone Union regiment. Wessells was in command of six regiments of infantry, the 9th New Jersey, 85th, 92nd, and 96th New York, and the 85th, 101st, and 103rd Pennsylvania. He deployed the rest of his infantry on either side of the road, placed a battery of artillery in the road,

Lenoir County-Kinston Survey and National Register Project
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Figure 9: Map of Engagment at Upper Trent Road and Southwest Creek, Battle of Kintson, December 14, 1862. Map based on Rivermont USGS quad. Scale one inch = 24,000 feet.

Lenoir County-Kinston  Survey and National Register Project

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The 85th New York, 101st Pennsylvania, and the 96th New York joined the New Jerseymen and formed in line of battle on the right of the road. As Wessells was deploying, Col. Thomas J. C. Amory and Col.Thomas G. Stevenson brought up their brigades, an additional nine regiments. These brigades were divided, with regiments placed on either side of the road. With Amory’s and Stevenson’s infantry and artillery now engaged, the Union army began a slow deliberate push on the Confederates.24

The Confederates, behind a formidable line and with a swamp in their front, braced for the Union assault.General Evans’ plan was to hold out as long as possible, then fire the bridge and retreat across the river into Kinston.

For a while the Confederate strategy worked. Rebel guns found their mark and pinned down the 45
th Massachusetts, 10th Connecticut, and the 103rd Pennsylvania. “The rebel guns (cannon) opened upon their flank, raking their position. The fire of these guns was so concentrated and powerful that it cut a perfect path, two rods wide, for some distance through the forest.” The plight of the three regiments was short lived as the 92nd and 96th New York flanked the Confederate battery forcing them to retreat.25

Union and Confederate artillery fired at the opposing infantry. The outnumbered and outgunned Confederates held for several hours. Sometime after noon, probably around 3:00, General Evans ordered his troops to cross the bridge into Kinston and to burn the bridge behind them. Evans also ordered the artillery on the north side of the river to fire on the Union positions on the Confederate right. Hundreds of Confederate soldiers were still on the right, having never received the order to retreat across the bridge. Unaware that their comrades had retreated, they continued to fight. Finally, under fire from both sides, the men retreated to the bridge only to find it engulfed in flames. As a result, their retreat turned into a panic.26

To make matters worse, when the Confederate soldiers reached the bridge some of them were ordered to recross it. According Col. S. D. Goodlett, 22nd South Carolina, some of his men had crossed the bridge when one of Evans’ aides, whom Goodlett described as drunk, ordered them to recross the bridge and charge the Yankees. David Jackson Logan of 17th South Carolina wrote in his diary: “We are ordered to cross the bridge. We get across safely, are ordered to go back again, find everything babel [sic] . . . confusion on the bridge. Orders given & countermanded every minute cussing and swearing.”27

As the panicked Confederates tried to cross the burning bridge, the 17th Massachusetts and 9th New Jersey, who had turned the Confederate left flank, charged the soldiers at the bridge. Those Confederates  that did not get across the bridge were either killed or captured. In all, about 400 men were captured during the melee at the bridge. The burning bridge did not slow the Federals from immediate pursuit. The Confederates pulled back and regrouped, ending the battle. During the night, the Confederates retreated to White Hall. The next day, the Union army proceeded to White Hall and, from there, to Goldsboro.28


A civilian in Kinston, Mrs. Martha Ellen Miller, wrote relatives in Massachusetts a description of the fighting.Confederate soldiers had urged the family to leave the house, as they felt it would be destroyed, but Dr. Miller, at first, refused to leave. “The house was shaken to the foundation by the artillery, and the musketry rattled like corn in a “popper.” The Yankees stood in the low ground between the bridge and Mrs. Hill’s; the rebels occupied the ridge and opposite side of the bridge, where they had a battery. About 3 ˝ [3:30 PM] the shout went up that our forces were retreating; and soon they came

 

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Figure 10: Final engagement Battle of Kinston December 14, 1862. Scale is one inch = 24,000 feet. Map is based on Rivermont USGS quad.

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pouring through the town. They set fire to the bridge after crossing and expected to make another stand . . . but the Federals put out the fire in a few moments, and were too close upon their heels to permit them any more fight . . ..”29

Lieut. Andrew McConnell of the 17th South Carolina agreed to some degree with Mrs. Miller’s report of the battle. In his diary McConnell wrote: “Today [December 14, 1862] about 10 o’clock A.M. our forces commenced to firing on the enemy. About 2 o’clock P.M. a pretty general engagement took place on the opposite side of the river from Kinston. The enemy outnumbered us by great odds. We had the bridge ready to set on fire provided we were overpowered and had to retire to the Kinston side of the river. This we had to do, as we were greatly outnumbered. The Holcombe Legion was the last in crossing the bridge. It was fired sometime before they reached it. Some of the men got smartly burnt in crossing and several wounded as the enemy had line of battle formed some 200 yards below the bridge and fired into them as they were crossing. After crossing to this side we formed in line of battle on this side and returned fire. We fired for some time but finally had to retire . . .30



Figure 11: Col. Thomas I. Amory

The Battle of Kinston was a Confederate defeat and Kinston was lost briefly to the Union army of General Foster. However, Foster did little damage to the town and even in defeat Evans managed to delay the Union advance long enough for some reinforcements to arrive. Foster defeated the Confederates at White Hall and inflicted minor damage the unfinished CSS Neuse. They fought again at Goldsboro, where Union soldiers burned the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad bridge. However, Foster did not press his advantage. The Confederate victory at Fredericksburg, Virginia on December 13 allowed reinforcements to be sent down the railroad to Goldsboro. In the end, Foster was forced to retreat to New Bern.31

Ultimately, the raid did nothing to alter the status quo in the New Bern-Kinston area. The Confederates repaired the railroad bridge within two weeks. Foster’s ninety-days soldiers soon returned home and the two sides continued to skirmish in the “no man’s land” between Kinston and New Bern. It would be 1865 before the balance of power in the region shifted in the Union’s favor.

END NOTES

1 DeWitt Boyd Stone, editor, Wandering to Glory: Confederate Veterans Remember Evans’ Brigade, University of SouthCarolina Press, Columbia, SC, 2002, p. 81 and Richard A. Sauers, “A Succession of Honorable Victories” TheBurnside Expedition in North Carolina, Morningside House, Dayton, OH, 1996, pp. 442-447 and 479.

2 Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Blue: Lives of the Union Commanders, Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, LA,1992, p. 157.

3 John G. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1963, p. 133.

4 John G. Gammons, The Third Massachusetts Regiment Volunteer Militia In the War of the Rebellion, Snow & Farnham,Providence, MA, 1906, pp. 22-25.

5 David A. Norris, “Foster’s March to the Sea [Almost],” Civil War Times Illustrated, August 2002, pp. 38-39.

Figure 11: Col. Thomas I. Amory

6 Norris, “Foster’s March,” p. 39.

7 David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War, reprint edition, Castle Books, Secaucus, NY, 1984, pp. 414-415.

8 Porter, Naval History, p. 415.

9 Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series I Vol. 8, pp. 288-290 (hereaftercited as ORN) and Louis H. Manarin, North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster Vol. 1, State Department of Archives and History, Raleigh, NC, 1966, p. 51.

10 Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion, Series I Vol. 18, p. 56 (hereafter citedas OR) and Manarin, North Carolina Troops, p. 51.

11 John H. Silverman, et. al., Shanks: The Life and Times of General Nathan George Evans, C.S.A., Da Capo Press,Cambridge, MA, 2002, p. 121 and Ezra J. Warner, Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders, LouisianaState University Press, Baton Rouge, LA, 1987, p. 84.

12 Silverman, Shanks, p. 121.

13 OR, Series I Vol. 18, p. 55.

14 Weymouth T. Jordan, North Carolina Troops 1861-1865: A Roster Vol. XIV, Division of Archives and History, Raleigh,NC, 1998, p. 595.

15 J. Madison Drake, The History of the Ninth New Jersey Veteran Vols., Journal Printing, Elizabeth, NJ, 1889, p. 99; LutherS. Dickey, History of the Eighty-Fifth Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, J.C. & W. E. Powers, NY, 1915, pp. 211-214 and Richard Sauers, Editor, The Bloody 85th: The Letters of Milton McJunkin, a Western Pennsylvania Soldier in the Civil War, Schroeder Publications, 2000, p. 136.

16 Jordan, North Carolina Troops Vol. XIV, p. 595.

17 Drake, The History of the Ninth New Jersey, p. 99.

18 Jordan, North Carolina Troops Vol. XIV, p. 595; Mark Collins, Map 2 “Engagement at Kinston, N. C. December 14,1862” and David Jackson Logan Diary, December 14, 1862, typescript on file at Heritage Place, Lenoir Community College, Kinston, NC.

19 J. W. Merrill, Records of the 24th Independent Battery New York Light Artillery, Ladies Cemetery Associates, Perry, NY,1870, p. 189.

20 Ibid.

21 OR, Series I Vol. 18, p. 69.

22 Samuel N. Thomas, Jr. and Jason H. Silverman, editors, “A Rising Star of Promise” The Civil War Odyssey of DavidJackson Logan, Savas Publishing Company, Campbell, CA, 1998, p. 63 and Jordan, North Carolina Troops, pp. 597-599.

23 OR, Series I Vol. 18, pp. 91-92 and 95-96.

24 OR, Series I Vol. 18, p. 75 and Thomas Kirwan, Seventeenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, The SalemPress Co., Salem, MA, 1911, p. 150.

25 Albert W. Mann, History of the Forty-Fifth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Wallace Spooner, Boston,Massachusetts, 1908, p. 106.

26 Jordan, North Carolina Troops, Vol. XIV, p. 597 and Stone, Wandering to Glory, pp. 91-93.

27 Col. S. D. Goodlett to Robert B. Hughes, January 7, 1863, Hughes Family Papers, Southern Historical Collection,University of North Carolina and Logan Letters, diary of David Jackson Logan, Heritage Place, Lenoir Community College.

28 Kirwan, Seventeenth Massachusetts, pp. 149-150 and Jordan, North Carolina Troops Vol. XIV, p. 597.

29 Martha Ellen Miller, “Historical Notes,” North Carolina Historical Review, Vol. V, No. 3, July, 1923, p. 454.

30Andrew McConnell, “Diary,” Recollections and Reminiscences 1861-1865 through World War I, Vol. 4., SouthCarolina Daughters of the Confederacy, 1993, p. 505.

31 David A. Norris, “Foster’s March to the Sea [Almost],” Civil War Times Illustrated, August, 2002, p. 52.