The Civil War in Coastal North Carolina

The Civil War in Coastal North Carolina

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Wednesday, November 15 (7pm) – Saturday November 18, 2017  (5:00pm)

Led By: Horace Mewborn and Wade Sokolosky

HQ: New Bern, NC

Tour Registration Fee: $475 

One of the most overlooked campaigns of the Civil War may be General Ambrose E. Burnside’s successful amphibious expedition to capture New Bern, North Carolina in March 1862 and the subsequent capture of Fort Macon in May. New Bern also became the staging area for Brig. Gen. John G. Foster’s strategic raid on Goldsborough nine months later. Another understudied battle is the March 1865 action at Wise’s Forks, the second largest battle fought in North Carolina during the war. This tour will remedy both of these shortcomings for Civil War enthusiasts who want to visit outstanding sites on newly preserved land along with some on private property.

On our first day we will visit the recently preserved battlefield at New Bern and several associated sites around the city. The battle of New Bern was extremely important to the Union war effort because this victory allowed Federal forces to establish a foot hold in the Tar Heel state for the rest of the war. A portion of the battlefield is owned by the New Bern Historical Society which has constructed walking trails to various Confederates fortifications and batteries and has installed excellent interpretative signs and maps. The remainder of the battlefield, on private property, will also be visited.

 After lunch we will drive through New Bern which has many surviving ante-bellum homes, including the birthplace of Brig. Gen. Lewis Armistead. Then we’ll travel to Fort Macon on the Carolina shoreline. The fort was a masonry, tier-three fort built between 1826 and 1834 to protect the North Carolina coast from foreign adversaries.  Once North Carolina seceded, Confederate forces quickly seized the fort and held it until early May 1862 when it was captured by Federal forces under Brig. Gen. John Parke after a short siege. Union troops occupied Fort Macon for the rest of the war, using it as a military prison, coaling station for the U.S. Navy and a deterrent to blockade runners.

On our second day we will follow the route of Foster’s raid to destroy the Wilmington-Weldon R.R. trestle over the Neuse River at Goldsborough (present day Goldsboro) in December 1862. Foster’s goal was to interdict the transportation of supplies from Wilmington to Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. We will visit the site of the initial contact between Foster’s troops and outnumbered Confederates under Brig. Gen. Nathan “Shanks” Evans which is on private property with original trench lines. Then will go to the preserved battlefield at Harriet’s Chapel where Southerners fought a delaying action until overcome by Union soldiers who captured Kinston on December 14.

In Kinston we will visit a full-size reproduction of the C.S.S. Neuse, a Confederate ironclad built at White Hall (present day Seven Springs) on the Neuse River about forty miles above Kinston.  The Confederates wanted to use this ironclad to help capture New Bern and clear the coastal area of Federal troops. The reproduction is a private site which allows visitors to experience the size and interior of a replica ironclad. We will also visit the C.S.S. Neuse Interpretive Center which houses the actual hull of the ship. The museum’s other displays deal with the construction of the vessel and the Civil War’s effect on the surrounding area. Before leaving Kinston we will stop at the site where 22 North Carolinians, captured during Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett’s attempt to retake New Bern in February 1864 were executed by Pickett. The men were accused of deserting from the Confederate army and joining the Union army.

After lunch we will visit White Hall where Foster’s men battled Confederates defending the construction site of the C.S.S. Neuse before it was launched. We’ll then go to the battlefield where Foster attacked and burned the Wilmington-Weldon R.R. Bridge.

On the last day of our tour we will visit several sites on private property in northwest New Bern associated with Pickett’s attempt to retake the city in 1864. Then we will drive to the Wise’s Forks battlefield where author and battlefield expert, Wade Sokolosky will guide the tour over the engagement’s sites. Wise’s Forks occurred March 8-10, 1865, as Confederate troops under General Braxton Bragg tried to stop Maj. Gen. Jacob Cox from joining Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army at Goldsborough. These sites are either on private property or held under a conservation easement by Lenoir County. Shortly after the action at Wise’s Forks, Sherman defeated Bragg at Bentonville.

FYI: The New Bern airport is served by four airlines and airport pick up by America’s History can be arranged for those participants flying into New Bern.

What’s included: motor coach transportation, three lunches, beverage and snack breaks, a map and materials package, all admissions and gratuities, and the services of two experienced tour leaders. Our hotel will provide a complimentary hot and cold breakfast buffet each day. Tour participants are responsible for transportation to the headquarters hotel, and securing a room reservation, if necessary. Dinner is on your own. Tour goes out rain or shine. Please see our policy page for information about cancellations.

Hotel: We have arranged with the headquarters hotel for a group rate of $99.00 per night plus tax (double or single occupancy.) Please call the Springhill Suites by Marriott, 300 Hotel Drive, New Bern, NC 28582 at 252-637-0017 and ask for the America’s History group rate. This rate will be guaranteed until October 15, so please make your reservations soon.

Our Tour Leaders: Horace Mewborn, a native North Carolinian is an experienced tour leader who lives in New Bern, NC. He was instrumental in saving and interpreting the 1862 New Bern battlefield. He co-authored the 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry Mosby’s Command, edited From Mosby’s Command: Newspaper Letters & Articles by and about John S. Mosby and his Rangers, and has written four feature issues for Blue & Gray magazine. He is a veteran of the U.S. Special Forces and spent 20 years with the FBI. 
Colonel (ret.) Wade Sokolosky is a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Army and co-author of the highly acclaimed “To Prepare for Sherman’s Coming”: The Battle of Wise’s Forks, March 1865 and “No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar”: Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign from Fayetteville to Averasboro and the author of Final Roll Call: Confederate Losses during the Carolinas Campaign.

Register Online

Tour Registration – $475.00

Register by phone, e-mail or postal mail:

  • Phone: 1-703-785-4373
  • Email us at:
  • Postal mail: America’s History LLC, P. O. Box 1076, Goochland, VA 23063

Visa, Master Card and Discover accepted. We take checks too!

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