Last Mass Capture of Union Troops
— Carolinas Campaign —
The yellow sidebar in the upper left of the marker provides a brief synopsis of the Carolinas Campaign. It states:
The Carolinas Campaign began on February 1, 1865, when Union Gen. William T. Sherman led his army north from Savannah, Georgia, after the "March to the Sea." Sherman's objective was to join Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia to crush Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Scattered Confederate forces consolidated in North Carolina, the Confederacy's logistical lifeline, where Sherman defeated Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's last-ditch attack at Bentonville. After Sherman was reinforced at Goldsboro late in March, Johnston saw the futility of further resistance and surrendered on April 26, essentially ending the Civil War.
Early in March 1865, Union Gen. John M. Schofield began moving from New Bern to Goldsboro, a vital rail junction. His mission was to open railroad communications between the two cities and accumulate supplies for Gen. William T. Sherman, who was marching north to Goldsboro. Schofield ordered Gen. Jacob D. Cox to lead the way. Along Southwest Creek near Kinston, Confederate Gen. Robert F. Hoke's division blocked Cox's route.
The Federals entrenched here after dark on March 7, facing west toward the position on the western bank of Southwest Creek occupied by the Confederates. Dover Road crossed Southwest Creek here at Jackson's Mill Pond, and the Confederates had constructed a series of trenches on the west bank to protect the approaches to Kinston.
On the morning of March 8, Hoke assaulted the Union left flank, and later in the day Gen. D. H. Hill attached the Federal right in support. Hoke's attack fell on Col. Charles L. Upham's brigade, which included the 15th Connecticut and 27th Massachusetts Infantry regiments, and most of the brigade was killed, wounded, or captured. Between them, Hoke and Hill seized about a thousand prisoners, the last large capture of Union troops in the war. The remnants of Upham's command fell back east to a position in front of Wyse Fork and entrenched.
Fighting continued for the next two days. The Confederates retreated to Kinston, fell back to Goldsboro, and then took part in the Battle of Bentonville. After repairing bridges, Schofield occupied Kinston on March 19 and reached Goldsboro two days later.
The yellow sidebar in the lower right of the marker reads:
The Cobb House, to your front and right, served during the battle as the headquarters of Lt. Col. Samuel Tolles, commander of the first battalion of the 15th Connecticut Infantry. The house stood in the midst of Hoke's attack on March 8, 1865. After the battle, the house served as a Confederate hospital, but treated the wounded of both sides. The names of at least six Union soldiers remain written on the attic walls.