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, raised in Washington, D.C., assisted in reducing lawlessness. In the countryside, however, guerilla activity remained intense, and Union foraging parties were constantly harassed. The black 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
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 21st Century
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
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 Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 715 N Poindexter St, Elizabeth City NC 27909, United States of America.
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); First School (approx. 0.3 miles away); Elizabeth City Confederate Monument (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named A Town Divided (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named A Town Divided (approx. 0.3 miles away); Historic Events in Pasquotank (approx. 0.4 miles away); Pasquotank County Courthouse 1882 (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named A Town Divided (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Elizabeth City.
More about this marker. On the left is a photo of a "Seated black soldier with pistol and jacket" – Courtesy Library of Congress
On the top right is a photo of the "1st U.S. Colored Troops in formation" – Courtesy Library of Congress
On the lower right is an image with the caption, "Lady Liberty and wounded U.S.C.T., Harper’s Weekly, 1865"
Categories. • African Americans • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 25, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 479 times since then and 43 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on June 25, 2012, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.