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Lenoir County
 Battlefields Commission

The Lenoir County Battlefields Commission is under the auspice of the  Historical Preservation Group
A  501 (c) (3) Non-Profit Organization


  • Why Save Lenoir County's Civil War Battlefields


The past is the glue that binds us together. Who we are, what we think, what we believe are products of our cultural heritage. Americans have a vast shared heritage that makes us who we are and that ground us. The Civil War changed our nation in immeasurable ways. Before the Civil War people spoke of these United States, after the Civil War we became The United States. The Civil War ended the institution of slavery. Battlefields, hospitals, headquarters houses, earthworks, graveyards, monuments are all tangible remains of the Civil War. Things we can see touch and experience. James McPherson, one of the nation’s most renowned Civil War scholars tells a story about one of his graduate students breaking down in tears upon visiting the Little Round Top at Gettysburg. His student could not have felt that emotion had Little Round Top become a subdivision. Historic sites are a tangible and real link to our past. Unlike documents a site can evoke a sense of time and place, it can help us understand how an event occurred and why. When we lose an historic site we lose more than just a house, a forest, or a field we lose part of our culture, a part of us that cannot be replaced.

  • -It enables current and future generations to better understand the connection between military conflicts and the importance of social and political changes in American History.

  • -It ensures that both tragedies of war and our nation’s hard-won advances are never forgotten.

  • -It honors those who fought and died for their ideals, their homes, and their families.


  First Battle of Kinston Battlefield    

Summary of First Battle of Kinston Battle of Kinston

  • The First Battle of Kinston was part of the Goldsborough Expedition or sometimes referred to as Foster’s Raid.  The battle took place on December 13 and 14, 1862. 

  • Principal Commanders were Brig. Gen. John G. Foster [US] and Brig. Gen. Nathan Evans [CS]
  • Forces engaged were Department of North Carolina, 1st Division [USA]; and Evans’s Brigade [CSA]
  • Estimated Casualties were 685 total.

Description: A Union expedition led by Brig. Gen. John G. Foster left New Berne in December to disrupt the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad at Goldsborough. The advance was stubbornly contested by Evans’s Brigade near Southwest Creek at Woodington and the following day at the Kinston Bridge.  The Confederates were outnumbered and withdrew north of the Neuse River in the direction of Goldsborough. Foster continued his movement the next day, taking the River Road, south of the Neuse River heading for Goldsborough. 
SOURCE: US Congressional Advisory Report


Kinston Battlefield Park

National Register & Cultural Resource Project


Battlefield Acquisitions

Remaining Historic Resources


Future Outdoor
Kinston Battlefield Museum

Harriet's Chapel

Starr's Battery

Memorial Site

Visitors Museum

Capture Site

Proposed Boat Landing

Jones Bridge


Civil War Trails

Lenoir County Trails

Kinston Battlefield Driving Tour


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
At present 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. 

It 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
Head south 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 markerAt 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 Southwest Creek.

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 public.

Site 3 Harriet’s Chapel/Starr's Battery Site
Head back 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.
    The church was riddled with shelling from musket and canon fire. It was almost destroyed by the battle.

The church 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 lines.

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 Confederate line. 


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 wall across the road.  Rail fencing down both sides of Harriet Drive.

Site 5 The Surrender Site
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

Site 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.

Rivermount Planning
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

The 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. 

The 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 civilians.



Other Names for Battle:
Wilcox’s Bridge, Wise’s Fork, Second Kinston, Second Southwest Creek, Kelly's Mill Pond

Summary of Battle of Wyse Fork:

  • The Battle of Wyse Fork was a part of the Campaign of the Carolinas (February-April).

  • The dates of the battle was  March 7-10, 1865

  • Principal Commanders: Maj. Gen. John Schofield [US]; Gen. Braxton Bragg [CS]

  • Forces Engaged: Divisions: 20,500 total (US 12,000; CS 8,500)

  • Estimated Casualties: 2,601 total (US 1,101; CS 1,500)

Description: Schofield planned to advance inland from Wilmington in February, at the same time assigning Maj. Gen. Jacob Cox to direct Union forces from New Bern toward Goldsboro. On March 7, Cox’s advance was stopped by Hoke’s and Hagood’s divisions under Gen. Braxton Bragg’s command at Southwest Creek below Kinston. On the 8th, the Confederates attempted to seize the initiative by attacking the Union flanks. After initial success, the Confederate attacks stalled because of faulty communications. On March 9, the Union forces were reinforced and beat back Bragg’s renewed attacks on the 10th after heavy fighting. Bragg withdrew across the Neuse River and was unable to prevent the fall of Kinston on March 14.
Result(s): Union victory
US Congressional Advisory Report


Acquisition of Battlefield Property

Vause Dedication

Accomplishments at Camp Southwest

Battlefield Trail with interpretive markers


Civil War Trails

Lenoir County Trails

Wyse Fork Driving Tour




Civil War Trails


Living History and Other Events

Preservation March

Kinston Battlefield Memorial Site Dedication

911 Memorial Service at Memorial Site

Wyse Fork Battle Reenactment

Wil King Antebellum Balls


Battlefield Store

Kinston Battlefield Map Sets

Wyse Fork Battlefield Map Sets

Prints of the Wyse Fork Battle


Interesting Sites on Why and How To Save Battlefields


Battlefield Benefits Guide
How Saving Civil war Battlefields Makes Dollars and Sense

Stocks or Securities

Blue, Gray, and Green:
Why Saving Civil War Battlefields

 Makes Money And Sense

Historic Preservation Easements is a Historic Preservation  Tool  with Federal Tax Benefit
 (See below under Preservation)

Economic Arguments
for Preservation



Civil War Sites
dvisory Commission Report
on the Nation's

 Civil War Battlefields

History Under Siege
America's Most Endangered
Civil War Battlefields



Flexible Tools For  Battlefield Preservation 

Altogether Fitting and Proper: Saving America's Battlefields

Why Protect Battlefields?



America's Hidden Battlefields
Protecting the Archeological Story

What is a  Historic Preservation  Easement?
Conservation Easements

Give a minute or two to download

Produced by: The Military Heritage Project Palmetto Conservation Foundation


Battle of Wyse Fork
New York Herald
March 17. 1865

Click Here

Visit the Wil King Memorial Site located on the First Battle of Kinston Battlefield Park
Click here

Battle of Kinston
December 1962
Dr. Lonnie H. Blizzard

click on picture


Historical Marker Database

Lenoir County Markers


Brigadier Gen. Richard Caswell Gatlin, CSA
Grandson of Gov. Richard Caswell, the first governor of the State of North Carolina

By Jim Gaddis



Comments, Suggestions or Questions
Please email
Lenoir County Battlefields Commission Chairperso
Dr. Lyle Holland
1805 Sunset Ave.
Kinston, NC 28504

wahotyger@embarqmail.com  or 252-527-7494