Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Battle of White Hall, NC

The June 12th Mount Olive Tribune reported on the 8th annual reenactment of the 1862 Battle of White Hall which was hampered by temperatures in the 100s. That made it especially hard for the reenactors in their wool uniforms.

Perhaps, they would have been better off having it the actual date of the engagement, a few days before Christmas.


THE ACTUAL BATTLE

By John Cate, staff writer

The actual battle was little more than a skirmish when compared to the bigger battles. But,it was part of a Union effort to disrupt Lee's major supply line, the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad which had a major impact on operations of the eastern theatre of the war.

The city of Goldsborough,(as it was spelled back then, now Goldsboro), NC, was a major supply depot along the railroad and it was to this place that Union forces turned their attention.

On December 12, 1862, a Union force of 4,500 under command of Brigadier General John H. Foster left Union-held New Bern heading for Goldsborough.

On December 14th, they easily defeated a smaller Confederate force under Brigadier General Nathan Evans near Kinston causing them to fall back to the Neuse River.


BATTLE OF WHITE HALL

Two days later, the forces encountered again at White Hall where Foster used part of his force to tie down Evans and marched with the rest to attack the railroad bridge at Goldsborough.

By Confederate accounts, the Battle of White Hall was a victory with 125 Union dead as opposed to Confederate losses of ten dead and 42 wounded out of 1,500 engaged.


BATTLE AT GOLDSBOROUGH BRIDGE

Meanwhile, on the 17th, Foster attacked the bridge and defeatred the Confederates under brigadier General Thomas Clingman and captured it. They destroyed it as well as track, but Foster did not believe he was strong enough to capture Goldsborough so fell back to New Bern.

The railroad tracks and bridge were soon repaired and supplies again reaching Lee's army. Several other attempts were made at Goldsborough, but it remained in Confederate hands until March 23, 1865, when it surrenderedto Sherman's army on its march from South Carolina.

Mighty Hot in Them Wool Uniforms. --Old B-R'er