After the North Carolina coast fell into Union hands, Lenoir County became the Eastern
front for the Confederacy in North Carolina.
Two battles were fought on Lenoir County soil, the Battle of Kinston (Dec. 13-14, 1862)
and the Battle of Wyse Fork (March 7-10, 1865). There are driving tours whereby the
battlefields can be visited today to see where war was fought and live in the experience. Tom
Dooley (Dula) of the song ‘Hang down your Head Tom Dooley’, was in one of the Confederate
units that fought at Wyse Fork as was a future NC Supreme Court Chief Justice. Braxton
Bragg, Robert F. Hoke and D.H. Hill were Confederate Generals at Wyse Fork.
The Confederate ironclad, the CSS Neuse, was built in Seven Springs and outfitted and
moored at the docks on the Neuse River at Kinston. The remains of the boat can be seen in the
recently opened Civil War Interpretive Center downtown along with interpretation of the naval
history of the ironclad.
A raid down the Neuse River from Kinston to New Bern resulted in the sinking of the
USS Underwriter and one of its participants later went to Charleston and was on the H.L.
Hunley when it sank in Charleston harbor after a successful attack on a Union ship.
A full size replica, CSS Neuse II, is located one block away adjacent to where the
original was outfitted and docked. Go aboard her and see the quarters where men lived and
Espionage became a way of life for some slaves as they aided the Union Army at New
Bern with information on Confederate movements.
The hangings in Kinston of 22 alleged deserters, under the directive of General George
Pickett stirred controversy causing a congressional investigation after the war.
An 1860’s era church is located on the site of Harriet’s chapel which was in the center of
Confederate defensive line on Dec, 14 and interpretive signs lead one from the church to some
of the remaining earthworks from the battle and the position of Starr’s battery during the battle.
The Blue & Gray Visitor Center is located at the intersection of Hwy 7 and US 258.
Many artifacts found in local battlefields are on display and a video of the Battle of Kinston can
be viewed in the auditorium. Battlefield driving tour brochures and other information is
available. A series of NC Civil War trails interpretive signs are in various places where events