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First Battle of Kinston, 1862

An illustration of the First Battle of Kinston that appeared in an 1863 issue of Harper’s Weekly. Image from the State ArchivesOn December 14, 1862, Union forces under the command of Gen. John G. Foster launched their second attack on Confederate Gen. Nathan G. “Shanks” Evans at the First Battle of Kinston.

Foster’s men had approached Kinston the day before and came upon the Confederate defensive forces. After a heated exchange, Evans withdrew to earthworks along Southwest Creek near the Neuse River and prepared for Foster’s second attack. Evans positioned about 2,000 North Carolina and South Carolina troops in a semicircle. Supported by heavy artillery fire, the Union troops broke through the Confederate left flank. Evans ordered a retreat to Kinston, which was eventually abandoned by the Confederate troops as they retreated towards Goldsboro.

The target of Foster’s Raid, as it came to be known, was the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad bridge at Goldsboro, a prime strategic in eastern North Carolina. Along the way Foster’s men also attacked the construction site of the ironclad CSS Neuse at what is now Seven Springs. Foster’s actions had minimal impact and the Confederate forces in the area returned to business as usual upon the Union troops’ return to New Bern.

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