“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Tarboro in Edgecombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Occupation of Tarboro

"All were burned ..."


— Potter's Raid —

Occupation of Tarboro Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 2, 2010
1. Occupation of Tarboro Marker
Inscription.  (Preface): On July 18, 1863 Union Gen. Edward E. Potter led infantry and cavalry from New Bern to destroy the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad bridge at Rocky Mount. The infantry feinted toward Kinston and retreated to New Bern. Potter raided Greenville, then sent part of his cavalry to Rocky Mount and occupied Tarboro. The raiders damaged or destroyed bridges, trains, munitions, and mills before returning to New Bern on July 23, but the Confederates restored rail service by Aug. 1.

On July 20, 1863, after bivouacking in the village of Sparta south of here, Gen. Edward E. Potter occupied Tarboro with a battalion of New York cavalrymen. A wealthy Tar River town and trading center surrounded by productive plantations, Tarboro played a pivotal role in providing foodstuffs, medicine, and military supplies to Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Potter later reported that he "found an iron-clad on the stocks and two steamboats on the river. The iron-clad [similar to the ram Albemarle] was of the Merrimac model, and her frame was very heavy and solid. All were burned, together with some railroad cars, 100 bales
Map of Potter's Raid image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 2, 2010
2. Map of Potter's Raid
of cotton, [and] quartermaster's subsistence, and ordinance stores." Soldiers plundered private homes, the Masonic Lodge, the Bank of Tarboro, and other businesses for valuables. The Federals marched south in the evening back through Sparta toward New Bern after the engagement at Daniel's Schoolhouse a few miles east of here. They set the Tar River bridge afire behind them, but townspeople extinguished it before it sustained extensive damage.

The historic town common was laid out when Tarboro was incorporated in 1760. During the Civil War, two Confederate hospitals stood here in the old Male and Female Academies, as well as a Confederate prison stockade for Union soldiers captured at the Battle of Plymouth in April 1864. The Wyatt Fountain here was erected after the war in honor of Pvt. Henry Lawson Wyatt, a Tarboro resident. Killed at the Battle of Big Bethel on June 10, 1861, he became the first North Carolinian known to have died in battle during the war.
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 35° 54.002′ N, 77° 32.147′ W. Marker
Occupation of Tarboro Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 2, 2010
3. Occupation of Tarboro Marker
is in Tarboro, North Carolina, in Edgecombe County. Marker is on East Wilson Street, on the left when traveling east. Located in the town commons. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tarboro NC 27886, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Edgecombe County Confederate Memorial (within shouting distance of this marker); Town Common (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington's Southern Tour (within shouting distance of this marker); U.S.S. Maine Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); John C. Dancy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Henry T. Clark (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Spencer Bassett (approx. 0.2 miles away); W.D. Pender (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tarboro.
More about this marker. On the lower left is a photo of the Civil War-era Edgecombe Courthouse, demolished 1963. In the lower center is a map of Potter's Raid from New Bern to Rocky Mount and Tarboro. Above the map is a portrait of Gen. Potter. In the sidebar is a portrait of Henry Lawson Wyatt.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Memorial at the site where Private Wyatt was killed.
Also see . . .
1. Historic Tarboro. Website featuring the city's historic sites. (Submitted on May 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

2. Henry Lawson Wyatt. Grave entry for Wyatt, who is cited as the first North Carolinian to die in battle during the Civil War. (Submitted on May 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 

3. Would the First Real KIA Please Stand Up?. Blog entry from historian Michael Hardy noting other claims regarding the honor of being the first killed in the Civil War. (Submitted on May 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
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4. Potter's Raid. Civil War Trails driving tour retracing the raid. (Submitted on May 25, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on May 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,157 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 23, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.
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Nov. 30, 2020