Last Stand At Wilmington

Last Stand At Wilmington (HMJ27)

Location: Wilmington, NC 28412 New Hanover County
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Country: United States of America
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N 34° 11.091', W 77° 54.892'

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The Forks Road Engagement

— Confederate Lifeline —

Here, in the earthworks in front of you, Confederate Gen. Robert F. Hoke's troops made a stand on February 20-21, 1865. They were attempting to halt the Union army's advance on Wilmington, the Confederacy's principal seaport. Blockade runners, together with the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, formed a supply lifeline essential to the survival of Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. That lifeline had been disrupted on January 15, when Fort Fisher, at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, fell to Union army and navy forces. Four weeks later, the Federals headed for Wilmington to take control of the river and the railroads to supply Gen. William T. Sherman's army, which was marching northward through the Carolinas to join Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's forces in Virginia.

Hoke fought delaying actions as he withdrew up the east side of the Cape Fear River, with Union Gen. Alfred H. Terry's troops in pursuit. On the afternoon of February 20, they engaged Hoke's rear guard—Gen. Thomas L. Clingman's brigade and the Wilmington Horse Artillery—here at Forks Road, then three miles south of Wilmington. The entrenched Confederates repulsed Col. Elias Wright's brigade of U.S. Colored Troops (including 5th U.S.C.T.), inflicting more than fifty casualties from rifle and cannon fire. Retreating a short distance south, the Federals dug in and returned fire for about thirty-four hours. Hoke's men retreated before dawn on February 22, and Union forces occupied Wilmington, so vital to the Confederate supply line. Six weeks later, Lee evacuated Richmond and Petersburg and the surrendered on April 9. Wilmington's fall thereby hastened the downfall of the Confederacy.

Sometimes during the Civil War, "brother against brother" was literally, as well as figuratively, true. Here at Forks Road, Confederate Corp. Hosea Lewis Horne, Wilmington Horse Artillery, fought against brother, Corp. Jacob Horne, 2nd North Carolina Infantry (U.S.). The brothers, who had stopped off separately top visit their parents at the family home nearby, survived the war and returned to New Hanover County to live.

In 2002, thanks to a generous donation from the Cameron family, this site became home to the Cameron Art Museum, with the stipulation that the Civil War fortifications be preserved. In keeping with its mission to educate the public, the Cameron Art Museum is committed to maintaining and preserving this historic site for future generations.
HM NumberHMJ27
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 9:00pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 231359 N 3786493
Decimal Degrees34.18485000, -77.91486667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 34° 11.091', W 77° 54.892'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds34° 11' 5.46" N, 77° 54' 53.52" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)910
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3055-3085 Independence Blvd, Wilmington NC 28412, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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