Coming to our county next week: The first
re-enactment of the Battle of Wyse Fork conducted on a site near where the
actual battle took place.
The Battle of Wyse Fork, North Carolina’s second
largest battle during the Civil War, was fought right here in Lenoir
County - and for the first time, Union and Confederate reenactors will
give people some of idea of the sights, sounds and smells of 1865 battle.
Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, are
designated for the reenactment. The place: one-quarter mile south of the
intersection of U.S. 70 and U.S. 258 on fields bordered by Measley Road
and the Old Asphalt Road.
The fields open to the public at 9 a.m. Saturday
and Sunday and will close at 5 p.m. each day. At 2:30 p.m. Saturday,
Confederate and Union forces will recreate “The Capture of the 15th
Connecticut.” At 1 p.m. Sunday, reenactors will recreate “Hoke’s Flank
Cannon will boom, cavalry will charge, and the
sound of musketry will flood the field with the noise and smoke of battle.
But even before these recreations begin, you will
be able to visit “living history” areas to see first hand how soldiers
camped and how the civilian populations lived during this period of
One special treat awaiting those who take the
time to visit the area is a full-size replica of the CSS Hunley, the first
submarine ever to sink an enemy ship in time of war.
One of the people most responsible for organizing
this reenactment is Bob Tolar, commanding General of the Army of Northern
Virginia. Tolar, who has nearly 4,000 reenactors under his command, was
the chief reenactor wrangler for the movie “Gods and Generals.”
Lynn Bull, a Wayne County teacher, will be
commanding Union forces next weekend. Bull appeared as Col. Preston Smith
in the movie “God and Generals.” Chris Cook, who portrayed Major Moxley
Sorrel in the same film, will be on hand for next weekend.
Lenoir County native son Donnie Taylor will be
commanding Confederate reenactors. Taylor, director of the Bentonville
Historic Site and a reenactor for more than 20 years, grew up on the Wyse
Fork Battlefield. He is considered a leading authority on the 1865 battle.
Admission is $5.00 per person, but children 12
and under will be admitted free. The funds raised through admission fees
will go the historic preservation in Lenoir County.
Just last year the Historic Preservation Group
obtained funding to purchase 56 acres of the original Wyse Fork
Battlefield, ensuring that this historically significant ground will not
be lost to development. I am proud to see our county moving in this
direction. But to keep the momentum going, this effort needs local
support. How disappointing would it be to see multiplied hundreds travel
miles and miles to visit next weekend’s reenactment if only a handful of
Lenoir County residents make the short trip to watch something sure to be
Watch history come alive.
Mike Parker is a columnist for The Free Press. He
can be reached at or in care of this newspaper.
By NANCY S. SAUNDERS
As “Old Glory” has unfurled her red, white and
blue symbolism — tattered and singed in the worst of times, and tailored
and bold in the best — over this country’s history, so will reenactors
unfold this history to make the Civil War alive this weekend in Kinston.
From exhibits and vendors to battle reenactments
and demonstrations, more than 500 people will be at the reenactment site
Saturday and Sunday to memorialize and preserve this history and to
educate the generations following the Civil War period.
Sponsored by the Historical Preservation Group,
the Lenoir County Battlefields Commission and the Kinston Convention and
Visitors Bureau, the two-day event will include Battle of Wyse Fork
reenactments at 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday, featuring The Capture
of the 15th Connecticut and Hoke’s Flank Attack. The scenarios will
include artillery, infantry and cavalry.
The Confederate commander is Donnny Taylor and
the Federal commander is Lynn Bull. A living history civilian camp and
various sutlers (period vendors) will be on site both days.
A full-scale reproduction of the C.S.S. Hunley
will be on display. The CSS Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate
States Navy that demonstrated both the advantages and dangers of undersea
She made her first live attack Feb. 17, 1864,
against the USS Housatonic, an 1,800-ton steam powered sloop-of-war with
12 large cannons. The 7 1/2-ton Hunley successfully embedded a barbed spar
torpedo into the Housatonic, positioned at the entrance to the Charleston,
S.C., harbor, sending her to the bottom of the harbor in five minutes.
The Hunley also sank, but not before it had
earned a place in history as the first submarine to sink a warship.
Sutlers, or period vendors, will be on hand to
sell original and reproduction items. A sample of vendors attending
includes Heirloom Emporium; North State Haberdashery; Tart, Brantley and
Benjamin; Village Tinsmithing Works; Old North State Sutlery; Old South
Blacksmith; Heritage Leather; and Eagles Nest.
The sponsoring reenacting units are Northampton
Artillery, 7th North Carolina State Troops, Co. F; 18th North Carolina
Troops, Co. K; 53rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Co. I.
Camps open at 9 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. each
Admission is $5 per person, and children 12 and
younger are admitted free. All proceeds from the event will go into the
preservation of the two Lenoir County battlefields.
The reenactment site is on U.S. 258 S.,
one-fourth mile south of U.S. 70.
For more information, visit and or call Bob Tolar
at (252) 523-8958 or Lyle Holland at (252) 527-7494 or (252)