“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Plymouth in Washington County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Battle of Plymouth

Battle of Plymouth Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 28, 2012
1. Battle of Plymouth Marker
Inscription. At 4 P.M. on April 17, 1864, an advanced Union patrol on the Washington Road (A) was captured by Confederate cavalry (B). A company of the 12th N.Y. Cavalry attacked the Confederates, but was repulsed (C). Soon a large force of Confederate infantry (D) appeared on the Washington Road, and at the same time Fort Gray, two miles above Plymouth on the river bank, was attacked by advanced Confederate infantry (E). During the evening skirmishing continued from the Washington Road to the Acre Road (F). Union General Henry W. Wessells’ garrison of about 3,000, which had held Plymouth since December, 1862, was under attack by General Robert F. Hoke’s Division of over 5,000 men.

At 5:30 A.M. on April 18, a heavy Confederate artillery fire was directed against Fort Gray. Both Fort Gray and Battery Worth (G) in Plymouth returned the fire. Soon a Union gunboat, the Bombshell, was disabled by the Confederate barrage (H).

At 6:30 P.M. on the 18th the Confederates advanced their line and began an infantry assault (I) upon the Union position (J); but this attack was abandoned at 8 P.M. The 85th Redoubt was then attacked (K) and captured at 11 P.M.

At 3 A.M. on April 19, the Confederates again attacked Fort Gray (L). Soon the Confederate iron-clad ram Albemarle (M), aiding the army, passed undetected down
Battle of Plymouth Map image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 28, 2012
2. Battle of Plymouth Map
the river. The Albemarle engaged the Southfield (N1) and the Miami (N2) at 3:30 A.M., sinking the former and driving the latter away. The Albemarle then began to shell the Union defenses.

On April 19 the Confederates opened fire on the Union line from the 85th Redoubt. Fort Williams (O) and Battery Worth returned the fire. Heavy skirmishing continued all day. At 6:30 P.M. the Confederates crossed Coneby Creek in an unexpected advance (P1, P2). Their infantry were now in an important position (P3) east of Plymouth.

At 5 A.M. on April 20, the Confederates under General Matt W. Ransom assaulted the Union line east of Plymouth (P4), while General Hoke, with two brigades, demonstrated against the Union right (Q). After capturing the Union defenses east of Plymouth, the Confederates halted their advance and re-formed. Union infantry counter-attacked (R), but were repulsed by a renewed Confederate advance (P5). In spite of determined resistance by the garrison of Fort Williams, the town was surrendered by General Wessells at 10 A.M.

The capture of Plymouth by the Confederates was significant because it returned two rich eastern North Carolina counties to the Confederacy; it supplied “immense ordnance stores” to the Southern war effort; and the Roanoke River was reopened to Confederate commerce and military operations.
Plymouth Rest Area image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 28, 2012
3. Plymouth Rest Area

Erected 1962 by Archives and Highway Department. (Marker Number BB-6.)
Location. 35° 51.908′ N, 76° 43.532′ W. Marker is in Plymouth, North Carolina, in Washington County. Marker can be reached from U.S. 64 west of East Main Street, on the left when traveling west. Click for map. Located in the Plymouth rest area. Marker is in this post office area: Plymouth NC 27962, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ransom's Assault (approx. 0.6 miles away); Naval Action (approx. 0.8 miles away); Fort Compher Battlefield (approx. one mile away); Battle of Plymouth Memorial (approx. one mile away); Carthagenia Lodge (approx. 1.2 miles away); Plymouth State Normal School (approx. 1.2 miles away); New Chapel Baptist Church (approx. 1.2 miles away); Latham House (approx. 1.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Plymouth.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 445 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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