The barrier islands of North Carolina may not have seen the same level of action in the Civil War as places like Gettysburg, but the area was the site of several important "firsts" in the War. Can you name any of those events?
This summer will mark the sesquicentennial (150 year anniversary) of several key Civil War milestones which occurred on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. According to information from Cape Hatteras National Seashore, those "firsts" included:
• July 10, 1861: The first hostile shots fired by the U.S. Navy at Southern-held territory on the oceanfront—The side-wheel steamer-boat Harriet Lane shelled Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark at Hatteras Inlet;
• July 21, 1861: The first true naval engagement—The USS Albatross fought the North Carolina steamer Beaufort off Oregon Inlet;
• August 28, 1861: The first amphibious landing – Union troops came ashore to capture Fort Hatteras;
• October 1, 1861: The first capture of a United States vessel—Confederate forces captured the Union tug Fanny in the Pamlico Sound; and
• November 18, 1861: The first provisional Unionist government within a seceded state—Formed at Hatteras, it consisted of two men and did not last long.
Events in the Cape Hatteras area during the war will be the subject of two upcoming presentations by Civil War historian Drew Pullen. The events, part of the Know Your Park citizen science program series sponsored by the park, will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 28 at the Fessenden Center, 46830 Highway 12 in Buxton, North Carolina, and on Tuesday, March 1, at the Ocracoke Community Center, 999 Irvin Garrish Highway in Ocracoke, North Carolina. The programs are free and will last approximately 1 hour.
Mr. Pullen is the author of two books on the Civil War, Portrait of the Past: The Civil War On Hatteras Island, North Carolina and Portrait of the Past: The Civil War On Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
Mike Murray, superintendent of the NPS Outer Banks Group, says "the Know Your Park citizen science program series is designed to further connect the Outer Banks communities and residents with the rich natural world and cultural heritage of their neighboring National Park sites … These presentations offer park visitors as well as local residents an opportunity to learn more about, and better enjoy, the coastal environment and their National Parks."