Friday, May 25, 2012

North Carolina Patriots of ’61 Major James Martin Stevenson of Craven County

North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial Commission"

James M. Stevenson, born in Craven County, entered the Confederate States army early in the war as a first lieutenant under Captain John J. Hedrick’s Cape Fear Light Artillery. Hedrick led the seizure of Forts Johnston and Caswell at the mouth of the Cape Fear River on 16 April, 1861, and Lt. Stevenson was ordered to Fort Caswell as ordnance officer. While there, three young Sampson men raised a company in their native county and offered Stevenson the captaincy, which he accepted. This company was attached to the 36th North Carolina Regiment and ordered to newly-constructed Fort Fisher, where Stevenson was promoted to the rank of major. Known as 2nd Company A, or “King’s Artillery,” after Stevenson’s promotion to major the company command fell to Lt. Robert Murphy of Sampson County, and thence known as “Murphy’s Battery.”

On November 22, 1864 he was ordered to take five batteries of the Thirty-sixth Regiment to Augusta, Georgia; they were subsequently engaged in December at Harrison’s Old Field fourteen miles from Savannah. In opposing Sherman’s advance to Savannah, Stevenson’s contingent of the Thirty-sixth North Carolina was commended for bravery and in covering General William Hardee’s retreat toward North Carolina.

Stevenson returned to Fort Fisher to command his regiment and arrived just after the first enemy attack in December 1864. On the 13th of January, 1865, the attack was renewed and in the battle Major Stevenson was hurled from the parapet by the explosion of an eleven-inch shell. Near-paralyzed and bleeding, he was captured and imprisoned at Fort Columbus, Governor’s Island, New York, where he died of his wounds on February 18.

James C. and Daniel S. were worthy sons of Major Stevenson, both entering the army when they were under the service age limit. James served on the North Carolina steamer Advance, and afterwards joining Company A. Thirty-sixth North Carolina. He survived the war and was for many years a prominent Wilmington merchant. Daniel entered the Confederate Signal Corps and was detailed to service on blockade runners. He was captured by the enemy in 1865 off Galveston and imprisoned until the end of hostilities. He died shortly after the war.


Chronicles of the Cape Fear, James Sprunt, Edwards & Broughton, 1916, pp. 280,362-363

North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865, A Roster, Vol. I, Artillery, Louis Manarin, NC Archives & History, 1988


  1. I love these kind of posts from you!

  2. Thank you sweetie. I stand in awe of our past heroes.