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Seven Springs in Wayne County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Engagement at Whitehall

A Sharp Action

 

—Foster's Raid —

 
Engagement at Whitehall Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 7, 2010
1. Engagement at Whitehall Marker
Inscription. (Preface): Late in 1862, Union Gen. John G. Foster's garrison was well entrenched in New Bern and made several incursions into the countryside. On December 11, Foster led a raid from New Bern to burn the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Bridge over the Neuse River at Goldsboro and to demonstrate in support of Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside's attack at Fredericksburg, Virginia. Foster's force consisted of 10,000 infantry, 650 cavalry, and 40 cannons.

Marching from New Bern on December 11, 1862, Foster captured Kinston on December 14 after a two-day fight. The next evening, he reached a point four miles from Whitehall (present-day Seven Springs), bivouacked for the night, and sent three companies of cavalry to reconnoiter toward the village. The Federals encountered Gen. Beverly H. Robertson's Confederates setting fire to the bridge over the Neuse River here and brought up artillery to drive them off.

The Federals returned to their bivouac, then resumed their advance the next morning, December 16. Finding Robertson's force well entrenched across the river and under cover of trees, brush, and timber cut to construct the Confederate ironclad Neuse, Foster stationed his artillery on a hill overlooking the Confederate line and opened fire. Roberson advanced infantrymen toward the river to simulate a crossing because the
Map of the Battle of Whitehall image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 7, 2010
2. Map of the Battle of Whitehall
Union gunners lacked cover, and a sharp action ensued. Foster soon withdrew his force and continued the march to Goldsboro. The artillery barrage damaged the village and resulted in numerous casualties among the combatants.

(Sidebar):
Target CSS Neuse
On the night of December 15, to illuminate the Confederate position at the bridge, Foster's men produced a spectacular bonfire by torching 2,000 barrels of turpentine. CSS Neuse was under construction on the opposite shore. Pvt. Henry Butler swam across the river with a flaming plank from the bridge but was driven back before he could burn the vessel. The ship's hull was damaged by artillery fire, but not beyond repair.
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 13.704′ N, 77° 50.841′ W. Marker is in Seven Springs, North Carolina, in Wayne County. Marker is at the intersection of West River Street and New Street, on the right when traveling west on West River Street. Click for map. Located in at Whitehall landing adjacent to the Whitefield Cemetery, next to the Neuse River. Marker is in this post office area: Seven Springs NC 28578, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Campaign Map image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 7, 2010
3. Campaign Map
At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Battle of Whitehall (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Battle of Whitehall (about 500 feet away); Dobbs County Court House (approx. 4.1 miles away); William Dunn Moseley (approx. 5.8 miles away); a different marker also named Dobbs County Court House (approx. 6.1 miles away); Dobbs County (approx. 6.2 miles away); James Y. Joyner (approx. 6.2 miles away); Seymour Johnson Air Force Base (approx. 11.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Seven Springs.
 
More about this marker. In the lower left is a photo of Whitehall Bridge, rebuilt after the Civil War. In the lower center is a map showing the Approximate route of Gen. John G. Foster's raid from New Bern to Goldsboro, December 1862. On the upper right is a map of the battle captioned, Engagement at Whitehall, December 16, 1862, 12:30 p.m. And in the sidebar is a drawing of CSS Neuse under construction.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Whitehall Landing image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 7, 2010
4. Whitehall Landing
Modern Bridge Seen from Whitehall Landing image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 7, 2010
5. Modern Bridge Seen from Whitehall Landing
The Confederates occupied positions on the north bank of the Neuse River.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,087 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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