Chronology of Civil War in Eastern North Carolina

Civil War Chronology
in Eastern North Carolina

Pre-1861 Political Atmosphere in Eastern North Carolinan:

North Carolina remained in the Union in late 1860. Governer John Ellis leaned towards secession and pressed the legislature to call a convention to consider leaving the Union.

Feb 28, 1861 - North Carolina cast their ballots against the proposed convention.

For additional statistical analysis see Jeff Weaver's page

  1. Statistical Abstract from the 1860 North Carolina Census
  2. Results of the 1856 and 1860 North Carolina Gubernatorial Election - By County
  3. Results of the 1860 Presidential Election in North Carolina - By County
  4. Results of the 1862 and 1864 North Carolina Gubernatorial Election - By County
  5. The 1861 Secession Convention Vote - By County
  6. Delegates to the 1861 North Carolina Secession Convention - By County
  7. North Carolina Civil War Military Conscription Pool - By County

April 15, 1861 - President Lincoln's proclamation to stop the "rebellion".

May 1, 1861 - The legislature held a special convention that took North Carolina from the Union.

August 26, 1861 - Union forces take Hatteras Island

February 10, 1862 - Union troops capture Roanoke Island and occuping Elizabeth City

March 19, 1862 - Capture of New Bern by Federal troops.

April 25, 1862 - Capture of Fort Macon by Burnside's troops.

May, 1862 - 1st NC Volunteer Infantry authorized by Gen. Burnside. Organized June 27, 1862.

January 1, 1863 - President Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves free. As in other Confederate States, this was only true if the slave was able to reach Union lines. But it allowed the Union to actively encourage blacks to enlist and fight. Men who didn't want to join the Confederates often hid in the swamps and crossed over to the Union side whenever possible.

Charles Smallwood's Diary: Charles Smallwood kept a diary which gives a picture of what the life of the citizen in Bertie County and their thinking on the war. His comments portray some of their anxieties, hardships and even the military maneuvers that were occurring in Bertie County's backdoor on the Albemarle and Roanoke Rivers.

June 30, 1863 - 1st NC Colored Infantry organized at New Bern, NC & Portsmouth, VA.

October, 1863 - 2nd Regiment Mounted Infantry Organized at Knoxville, Tenn. August.

Oct. 28, 1863 - 2nd NC Colored Infantry organized at Portsmouth, VA.

November, 1863 - 2nd NC Volunteer Infantry Organized at New Berne, N. C.

Jan. 30, 1864 - 3rd NC Colored Infantry organized at Norfolk, VA.

Feb. 8, 1864 - Designation of NC Colored Regiments changed to US Colored Troops.

Mar. 17, 1864 - 14th US Colored Heavy Artillery organized at New Bern & Morehead City, NC.

April 20, 1864 - Battle of Plymouth won by Confederate forces.

See Also: "Massacre at Plymouth:April 20, 1864" by Weymouth T. Jordan, Jr and Gerald W. Thomas. The North Carolina Historical Review, April 1995 #2. pg 125-197.

Plymouth was important because of its nearness to the Wilmington-Weldon Railroad which was the life line for Gen Robert E. Lee. Although outnumbered by Union forces, the Confederates were able to win because of the ram C.S.S. Albemarle, which came down the Roanoke River to Plymouth. Gen Henry Wessle, commander of Union troops, surrendered to Gen. Robert F. Hoke. It was the last victory for the South.

June, 1864 - 3rd Regiment Mounted Infantry Organized at Knoxville, Tenn.

C.S.S. Albemarle - Click here to learn more history of the building of the C.S.S. Albemarle as well as the capture of Plymouth and its eventual demise on Oct 27, 1864.

Visit the Port-O-Plymouth Museum   919-793-1377   to learn details of this battle and additional resources. It is one of the top ten Civil War centers in the two Carolinas.
They have research data on 4000 union troops and 15,000 Confederate troops from the Battle of Plymouth on April 17-20, 1864 - the second largest battle ever fought in NC, and the last major Confederate victory in the South. Both a land and naval battle, They still have twelve ships from the war on the bottom of the Roanoke River. Come on to Plymouth and see us. Just turn right on NC 45 at Midway - between Hope Plantation and Edenton on the way to Elizabeth City. Hours: Tues.-Sat. 8:00AM to 5:00 Curator: Harry Thompson (who also participates in the Bertie Co Mailing List)

Photos of the C.S.S. Albemarle as well as civil war events.

Battle of Albemarle Sound

February 27, 1865 - 2nd Regiment Infantry consolidated with 1st North Carolina Infantry.

April 9, 1865 - Palm Sunday Gen Robert E. Lee surrendered at the Appomattox Court House.

June 27, 1865 - 1st Regiment Infantry Mustered out.

August 8, 1865 - 3rd Regiment Mounted Infantry Mustered out.

August 16, 1865 - 2nd Regiment Mounted Infantry Mustered out.

Dec. 11, 1865 - 14th US Colored Heavy Artillery Mustered Out at New Bern, NC.

June 1, 1866 - 35th US Colored Infantry Mustered Out at Charleston, SC.

Oct. 28, 1866. - 36th US Colored Infantry Mustered Out at Brazos Santiago, TX.

Feb. 11, 1867 - 37th US Colored Infantry Mustered Out at Raleigh, NC.

Chronology based on Divided Allegiance by Gerald Thomas:

Divided Allegiance: Bertie County during the Civil War

Gerald Thomas' book is a "must read" for learning about Bertie County in the Civil War. By tracing the events as they unfold, he helps you understand what it was like to live in Bertie County during those dreadful times. He thoroughly explores the division of loyalties among Bertie Co. families. Mr. Thomas uses his expansive research to provide specific incidents and stories about individuals both in the active military and those at home so that you can feel the anxiety build. (1996) $12

Bertie in Blue Experiences of Bertie County's (NC) Union Servicemen during the Civil War, by Gerald Thomas. $12. Both books are available at the NC Archives-Raleigh, Hope Plantation, and

Useful Links:

Civil War Forum

Biographies of Civil War Soldiers

North Carolina and the Civil War

Jeff Weaver's NC and the Civil War

Union Regiments from North Carolina

The History Place - U.S. Civil War 1861-1865

U.S. Colored Troops formed in North Carolina Visit these pages for a growing list of rosters and information. A database is set-up to link "veteran ancestors".

US Colored Troops Query Page

1st NC Colored Infantry / 35th US Colored Infantry

2nd NC Colored Infantry / 36th US Colored Infantry

3rd NC Colored Infantry / 37th US Colored Infantry

1st NC Colored Heavy Artillery / 14th US Colored Heavy Artillery

Fort Macon as a Shelter for Buffaloes - 2nd NC Union Volunteers died in Andersonville Prison.

Andersonville Prison Site


The Main Entrance to our main site is at

Service Record of the 1st & 2nd NC Infantry Regiment of Union Volunteers

Roster of the 2nd NC Union Volunteers at Battle of Plymouth: Though the Regimental Headquarters for the 2nd NC was located at Beaufort, NC, all of the following members enlisted at Plymouth, NC, and most were present at the Battle of Plymouth, which took place 17-20th April, 1864. The 1st NC, to which the 2nd NC was consolidated with on 27 Feb 1865, mustered out on 27 Aug 1865.

Ken Jones Excellent Civil War Navy Site

Published Resources

Clark's Regimental History by Chief Justice Clark
Best old source written right after war, but missing a lot of names. This is a collection of regimental histories written by men in the different regiments- a great source if you know the regiment.

NC TROOPS by Weymouth Jordan
13 plus volumes with all the updates. Now working on 60th-69th Regiments.

North Carolina Troops 1861-1865: A Roster compiled by Louis H. Manarin- it lists the regiment, gives a capsule history and lists each man who had a muster roll and gives a summary of his career in the War from the muster rolls. ( 62nd N.C. Regt missing)

John Moore's Roster of North Carolina Troops Lists men by their regiment but is not indexed. Contains some listing not included in Manarin.

Divided Allegiances: Bertie Co. during the Civil War. Thomas, Gerald W.(1996)
The Book Divided Allegiances gives a good account of the Albemarle, Capt. Calvin Hoggard,The Buffaloe Soldiers, Fort Branch in Hamilton as well as the Battle of Plymouth. It also contains the Burning of Windsor and Winton. Includes history on the 2nd NC Union Volunteer Infantry

Bertie in Blue: Experiences of Bertie County's Union Servicemen during the Civil War. Thomas, Gerald W. (1998)
$12 at the Museum Shop of Hope Plantation ([email protected]) or at Port o' Plymouth Museum in Plymouth. ([email protected])

Charlie Mosher's Civil War Diary (85th NY), by Wayne Mahood. $30.

General Robert F. Hoke, Lee's Modest Warrior (Biography of Gen. Hoke, including a battle account of Plymouth), Daniel W. Barefoot. $24.95.

Ironclad of the Roanoke (The story of the Albemarle), by Robert Elliott. $29.95

The Plymouth Pilgrims (History of the 85th NY), by Wayne Mahood. $30.00

"The Civil War in North Carolina," John G. Barrett, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1963.

The Coastal War: Chesapeake Bay to Rio Grande, Peter M. Chaitin, Time-Life Books, Alexandria, VA, 1984.

Compendium of the Confederate Armies: North Carolina, Stewart Sifakis, Facts on File, New York and Oxford, 1992.

Confederate Goliath: The Battle of Fort FisherRod Gragg, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, 1991.

Fort Caswell in War and PeaceEthel Herring and Carolee Williams, Broadfoot's Bookmark, Wendell, NC, 1983.

Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War 1861-'65, 5 volumes, edited by Walter Clark, Nash Brothers, Goldsboro, N. C., 1901.

Ironclads and Columbiads: The Civil War in North Carolina, The CoastWilliam R. Trotter, John F. Blair, Publisher, Winston-Salem, NC, 1989.

Last Ninety Days of the War Cornelia Phillips Spencer, Watchman Publishing Company, New York 1866 (reprint by Broadfoot Publishing Company, Wilmington, NC, 1993).

North Carolina Civil War Documentaryedited by W. Buck Yearns and John G. Barrett, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1980.

North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A RosterVolume 1 Artillery, edited by Weymouth T. Jordan, State Division of Archives and History, Raleigh, 1989.

Sherman's March Through the CarolinasJohn G. Barrett, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1956.


Please send any comments or suggestions to:

John B. McGowan

Thanks to Virginia Crilley, host of the Bertie Co., NCGenWeb.

Copyright 1999-2004 by the NCUV Project

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