New Bern in Craven County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Battle of New Bern
Smoke and Flames
—Burnside Expedition —
On March 13, 1862, Union Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside prepared to capture New Bern after seizing Roanoke Island in February. Confederate Gen. Lawrence O’B. Branch defended the city in a line of fortifications located several miles down the Neuse River, but by late in the morning of March 14, Burnside’s overwhelming force had breached the line. The Confederates retreated to Kinston. Eleven thousand Federal troops were about to descend on New Bern with a large fleet of United States Navy gunboats sailing up the river in support.
On the nearby banks of both the Trent and Neuse Rivers, the retreating Confederates set fire to warehouses filled with cotton bales, military supplies, and thousands of barrels of pine tar and turpentine. The Confederates also fired the railroad bridge across the Trent River to delay the approaching Union army. The serene beauty of today’s Union Point Park stands in sharp contrast to the scene here in 1862. Huge clouds of billowing black smoke and flames poured out of the wooden warehouses. A flank speed, the Federal gunboats charged upriver with their coal-fired steam engines spewing black smoke and their heavy guns blazing as they bombarded New Bern.
During the next 24 hours, stray soldiers, sailors, and a few residents looted and vandalized New Bern until Burnside’s troops restored order.
(lower left) “The Battle of New Bern.” published by Currier & Ives - Courtesy of the Tryon Place Collection
(upper right) Gen. Lawrence Branch; Gen. Ambrose Burnside
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 6.261′ N, 77° 2.101′ W. Marker is in New Bern, North Carolina, in Craven County. Marker is on South Front Street east of East Front Street (Business U.S. 17), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Located in Union Point Park. Marker is in this post office area: New Bern NC 28560, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. U.S.C.G.C. Pamlico (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); USRC Diligence (about 400 feet away); Baron Christoph von Graffenried (approx. ¼ mile away); Samuel Cornell (approx. ¼ mile away); Graham A. Barden (approx. 0.3 miles away); Christ Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Post Road (approx. 0.3 miles away); William Gaston (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Bern.
Categories. • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 9, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 398 times since then and 34 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 9, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.