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
During the next 24 hours, stray soldiers, sailors, and a few residents looted and vandalized New Bern until Burnside’s troops restored order. Soon thereafter, New Bern was transformed into a fortified city and remained under Union control for the duration of the war.
(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.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical date for this entry is March 13, 1862.
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. Located in Union Point Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Bern NC 28560, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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 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.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 9, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 653 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 9, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 3, 4. submitted on September 14, 2020, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.