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Wyse Fork in Lenoir County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Battle of Wyse Fork
March 8-10, 1865
 
Battle of Wyse Fork Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., October 20, 2009
1. Battle of Wyse Fork Marker
 
Inscription. In the late stages of the Civil War Union forces were intent on moving up the rail line from New Bern through Kinston to Goldsboro. Their objective was to unite with Sherman and open a supply route through eastern North Carolina. Confederate troops entrenched on Southwest Creek sought to impede their progress. For three days the opposing armies clashed in the fields and woods south and east of the creek. Union Maj. Gen. Jacob D. Cox commanded over 13,000 soldiers, most belonging to the divisions of Brig. Gen. Innis N. Palmer and Brig. Gen. Samuel P. Carter. Gen. Braxton Bragg led a Confederate force of 12,500 men, organized in divisions led by fellow North Carolinians Gen. Robert F. Hoke and Gen. D. H. Hill. The Junior Reserves, mostly seventeen-year-olds mustered in only months before, came under Hill’s command.

By March 6 Union troops were gathered in Gum Swamp three miles east of Wyse Fork. Travel, along the bed of the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad and through swampy terrain, was difficult, made more so by heavy rains and a lack of wagons. Meanwhile Gen. Bragg had moved his army up from the lower Cape Fear region. On the evening of March 7 advance Union guards skirmished with Confederates at Wyse Fork as Palmer’s division moved into position 800 yards east of the creek.

Friday, March 8, was the high point
 
Map of the Battle of Wyse Fork Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., October 20, 2009
2. Map of the Battle of Wyse Fork
 
for the Confederates. In mid-morning Hoke’s division moved down Upper Trent Road and around the head of the millpond. With whoops and yells, they “burst through like a torrent,” striking the Federal’s left flank. Concurrent with Hoke’s move, Hill’s division crossed the creek and struck the right flank. The 15th Connecticut, positioned south of Dover Road and 500 yards east of Jackson’s Mill, was besieged. Col. Charles L. Upham’s brigade shattered, with 890 men taken prisoner and horses and guns abandoned. By the end of the day Confederates, with the support of artillery fire, occupied a line along British Road. That evening a division led by Brig. Gen. Thomas H. Ruger arrived to offer additional Federal support.

On Gen. Cox’s orders, Union forces hastily threw up a continuous line of breastworks on both sides of Lower Trent Road. Short of supplies they used boards as shovels. Confederates on March 9 tested the Union’s right flank by conducting a reconnaissance survey down the Neuse Road. Artillery exchanges continued through the night of March 9. At 11:30 AM on March 10 a “vigorous assault” was made on the extreme left of the Union line. An hour later the Confederates left the field, soon thereafter returning to attack the center. Union positions were tested and driven in, but held. The 66th NC Regiment, organized in Kinston, came within 50 yards
 
Battle of Wyse Fork Dedication Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., October 20, 2009
3. Battle of Wyse Fork Dedication Marker
C.S.S. Ram Neuse
Camp No. 1427
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Kinston, North Carolina
Dedicated March 10, 1991
In memory of
Those who fought here
March 8, 9, 10, 1865.
 
of the Federal works, withstanding a “galling fire.” At 2:30 PM the Confederates made their final charge and Union skirmishers fell back to their main rifle pits. With nightfall Gen. Bragg’s troops withdrew from their trenches and retired to Kinston. With the exit of Bragg’s force, the crew of the ironclad Neuse burned and sank their ship.

The Battle of Wyse Fork (also known as the Battle of Kinston and the Battle of Southwest Creek) involved one of the largest concentrations of troops ever on North Carolina soil. The armies engaged were exceeded in size only by those at Bentonville. Over 225 Confederates were taken prisoner and an unknown number left dead or dying on the field. Total Union casualties for the three days were fewer, with 57 killed and 265 wounded. As a delaying maneuver the battle was a success for the Confederates. Gen. Bragg’s ultimate failure to defeat Gen. Cox and his subsequent withdrawal came about in the face of rapidly mounting Federal strength. IN the days thereafter forces on both sides pressed on the Goldsboro and to the last major conflict in the state, at Bentonville on March 19-21, 1865.
 
Erected 1991 by C.S.S. Ram Neuse Camp No. 1427, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Kinston, North Carolina.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the
 
Battle of Wyse Fork Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Kevin W., October 20, 2009
4. Battle of Wyse Fork Marker
 
Sons of Confederate Veterans/United Confederate Veterans marker series.
 
Location. 35° 13.442′ N, 77° 31.78′ W. Marker is in Wyse Fork, North Carolina, in Lenoir County. Marker is at the intersection of U.S. 70 and British Road (State Road 1821) on U.S. 70. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kinston NC 28501, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. General Robert Hoke Monument (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Battle of Wyse Fork (approx. 0.6 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Wyse Fork (approx. 1.1 miles away); Confederate Headquarters (approx. 1.5 miles away); Battle of Kinston (approx. 3.1 miles away); North Carolina (approx. 3.4 miles away); a different marker also named Battle of Kinston (approx. 3.4 miles away); Foster's Raid (approx. 3.4 miles away).
 
More about this marker. This is Wyse Fork Battle Tour Stop 5.
 
Also see . . .
1. Battle of Bentonville by Markers. The Battle of Bentonville followed the battles here and at nearby Kinston. (Submitted on October 24, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

2. Battle of Wyse Fork History and Driving Tour. (Submitted on October 29, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
 
Map of the Battle of Wyse Fork Photo, Click for full size
By Patrick G. Jordan, August 21, 2011
5. Map of the Battle of Wyse Fork
 
 
Battle of Wyse Fork Dedication Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Patrick G. Jordan, August 21, 2011
6. Battle of Wyse Fork Dedication Marker
C.S.S. Ram Neuse
Camp No. 1427
Sons of Confederate Veterans
Kinston, North Carolina
Dedicated March 10, 1991
In memory of
Those who fought here
March 8, 9, 10, 1865.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on October 23, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,988 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 23, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   5, 6. submitted on September 10, 2011, by Patrick G. Jordan of Burlington, North Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
 
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