Civil War In Eastern North Carolina Symposium Scheduled For Sept. 22

Sep. 17, 2012

NEW BERN, N.C. - Join us as we learn more from three interesting perspectives about the Civil War in Eastern North Carolina and its effects on the people who lived at the time and also future generations.

The Civil War In Eastern North Carolina Symposium will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. It is being presented in conjunction with the Craven County 300th Anniversary Celebration Event. All of the activities for the entire day are free, open to the public, and everyone is welcome!

10 a.m.: Welcome

10:15 a.m.: "The Eyes of the Whole State Were Upon Them: William J. Clarke and the Black New Bern Militiamen in the Kirk-Holden War, 1870" A presentation by Samuel B. McGuire, doctoral history candidate, University of Georgia at Athens. "The Kirk-Holden War of 1870 was a three-month long police action in which state troops enforced Reconstruction legislation and preserved order against Ku Klux Klan terrorism. Historians have long recognized the significance the Kirk-Holden War had upon post-Civil War policies in North Carolina; however, few have paid scant attention to the militiamen themselves. McGuire's essay examines the backgrounds of the black New Bern militiamen serving under William J. Clarke, and sheds new light on their contributions during the bloodless conflict. The militiamen's active participation in putting down the Klan demonstrates how ordinary African Americans engaged in and shapedReconstruction-era politics in the state." Colonel William J. Clarke (1819-1886) lived in New Bern, and both he and his wife, Mary Bayard Devereux Clarke (1830-1886), are buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern.

11 a.m.: "Baptism by Fire: The Battle for New Berne" and "For Liberty and Union" Two Short Films by Tony Bryant, Filmmaker, a Craven Community College graduate, Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society member, and a current East Carolina University student. "Baptism by Fire: The Battle for New Berne" tells the story of this pivotal March 1862 event in New Bern's history. "For Liberty and Union" explores the Union Army occupation of New Bern, the effect on the people of the area, and the creation of the James City community. These films bring to life, give a perspective, and depth to these events that shaped the lives of the people in the region.

Noon: Lunch break. The Convention Center concession stand will be open and food may be brought into the presentation room.

12:30 p.m.: "Shifting Loyalties: The Union Occupation of Eastern North Carolina" A presentation by Judkin Browning, Associate Professor of History, Appalachian State University, about his book of the same title, published by UNC Press, gives fascinating details about Craven and Carteret Counties during the Civil War. "In the spring of 1862, Union forces marched into neighboring Carteret and Craven Counties in southeastern North Carolina, marking the beginning of an occupation that would continue for the rest of the war. Focusing on a wartime community with divided allegiances, Judkin Browning offers new insights into the effects of war on southerners and the nature of civil-military relations under long-term occupation, especially coastal residents' negotiations with their occupiers and each other as they forged new social, cultural, and political identities.

Unlike citizens in the core areas of the Confederacy, many white residents in eastern North Carolina had a strong streak of prewar Unionism and appeared to welcome the Union soldiers when they first arrived. By 1865, however, many of these residents would alter their allegiance, developing a strong sense of southern nationalism. African Americans in the region, on the other hand, utilized the presence of Union soldiers to empower themselves, as they gained their freedom in the face of white hostility. Browning's study ultimately tells the story of Americans trying to define their roles, with varying degrees of success and failure, in a reconfigured country."
Browning is also the author of "The Southern Mind under Union Rule: The Diary of James Rumley, Beaufort, North Carolina, 1862-1865" (Florida, 2009) and "The Seven Days' Battles: The War Begins Anew" (Praeger, 2012). Please see our website ( for more information.

The symposium presentations are sponsored by The Family History Society of Eastern North Carolina, The Craven Community College Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and The Craven County 300th Anniversary Main and District Committees.

10 a.m. - 5 p.m.: History Displays, Family Photo Boards, Area History/Community Organizations, and Kids' Activities

View History Displays from all seven Craven County Commissioner districts, family and community photo boards, and visit with area history/community organizations. The public is welcome to bring their family photo boards to display (bring copies of photos, do not bring originals), please drop them off by Friday, Sept. 21 before 5 p.m. at the Convention Center office or bring them early on Saturday morning. Kids' activities will also be available throughout the day.

2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.: Craven County 300th Anniversary Ceremony and The Heritage Chorale of Eastern North Carolina. A short ceremony commemorating the 300th Anniversary will include a cake and punch reception followed by a musical performance by The Heritage Chorale of Eastern North Carolina singing songs celebrating the many groups who have lived here from the early times to the present. Special guests from the past will include a Lord Proprietor of Carolina, William, the First Earl of Craven (1608-1697) and a British Major-General, Sir Henry Havelock (1795-1857).

3:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.: Additional entertainment. musical and other entertainment will take the stage inside the convention center and then will move outside to the riverfront at 6 pm for a free evening celebrating Craven County's 300th Anniversary. More information about the event and the speakers is available at and at

Contact for the Civil War in ENC Symposium: David French (, director, The Family History Society of Eastern North Carolina, 252-349-0405

Contacts for the Craven County 300th Event: Mary Harris (, 300th Anniversary Committee member and director of the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center, and Melissa Riggle (, 252-637-1551 (telephone for both)



The Family History Society of Eastern North Carolina