Elizabeth City in Pasquotank County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
A Town Divided
1st U.S.C.T. Occupies the Town
During the Civil War, neither the North nor the South was totally united over the key issues. Just as some Northerners supported slavery and secession, some Southerners were abolitionist and Unionists. These issues could split families, divide communities, and generate violence. As the “official” war progressed, quasi-military organization were formed to wage another war against soldiers and civilians alike. Ambushes and retaliation comprised the “war within the war” between 1861 and 1865.
In August 1863, between here and the river, 1st U.S. Colored Troops encamped as part of a garrison for Elizabeth City. This was the abandoned shipyard of Burgess and Martin (formerly Jim Black’s shipyard). The troops hoped to encourage the enlistment of area African Americans to suppress guerilla activity.
Guerilla attacks here had been so frequent that in April 1863 a garrison of local white and black Union men abandoned the town. The town’s commissioners, unable to quell the violence, likewise abandoned the attempt. Later that month, Union forces returned and the 1st U.S. Colored Troops,
“Last Monday night there were 500 Negro troops sent to E. City to garrison the place. All the officers are whites. On one of the Negro banners was a full length Negro very black & a white girl standing in front of him with both of her hands resting on his shoulders with a ladies hat on and on the band was written in large golden letters ‘LIBERTY.’ This is the kind of spirit we have got to encounter all winter as they are going to have their winter quarters there. Is it not all terrible?” — Mary Johnson to Sarah Cain, Aug. 22, 1863
Seated black soldier with pistol and jacket – Courtesy Library of Congress
1st U.S. Colored Troops in formation – Courtesy Library of Congress
Lady Liberty and wounded U.S.C.T., Harper’s Weekly, 1865
Major funding for this project was provided by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, through the Transportation Enhancement Program of the Federal Transportation Efficiency Act for the
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1863.
Location. 36° 18.215′ N, 76° 13.059′ W. Marker is in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in Pasquotank County. Marker is at the intersection of North Poindexter Street and East Cypress Street, on the right when traveling north on North Poindexter Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 715 N Poindexter St, Elizabeth City NC 27909, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Wright Brothers in the Albemarle (here, next to this marker); May Freedom Fly (approx. 0.2 miles away); Medal of Honor Awarded to: Franklin Douglas "Doug" Miller (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Wright Brothers in the Albemarle (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Wright Brothers in the Albemarle (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Wright Brothers in the Albemarle (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Wright Brothers in the Albemarle (approx. 0.3 miles away); First School (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elizabeth City.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 25, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia. This page has been viewed 738 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 25, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Richmond, Virginia.