The ferry from the 1700's ran from Chantilly over to Cobb's (Relf's) Point in Winslow Acres. Elizabeth City didn't exist at that time. The court house stood near the point.
The bridge referred to in the battle of South Mills accounts was a float bridge that was near where the railroad bridge is currently located. The causeway wasn't built until the 1900's, so traffic from Camden to Elizabeth City crossed the river and followed the high ground where the railroad track now run. Charles Flusser, commander of the USS Commodore Perry, rammed the bridge and took it out of commission the morning of the battle to keep the Confederates from crossing the river at Elizabeth City and coming up behind Reno's forces headed to South Mills. Two infantry companies, 1 cavalry company, and 1 artillery company were in Elizabeth City that morning, expecting the Union forces to land on the Pasquotank County side of the river.
Rev. Conway of the 9th NY remained behind when Reno retreated. He and the band members buried the dead the morning after the battle, then returned to the ships. Grandy Sawyer, age 9, helped bury the dead on his family's property near the historical marker sign. His house was the one burned prior to the battle by the Confederates. There were no Confederates there to oppose them, as they had retreated back to Ballahack Road to keep from getting outflanked from the Moyock direction.
Forget the newspaper estimates. The Union had about 3000 and the Confederates around 1000 available during the battle. Who won? The Union held the battlefield and the Confederates retreated to South Mills/Joyce Creek area. The Union didn't blow up the locks which was their main objective. Both retreated during the night. About 4000 Confederate cavalry were in Gates County from Suffolk, so the Union would have been cut off if they had remained. Ultimately the battle helped hasten the abandonment of Gosport as the rebels saw they were threatened by Burnside to the south. Strategically, the Confederates abandoned this area in May after the battle in mid-April and the North held it the rest of the war. Small picture: the South won the battle. Big picture: the North soon gained the entire area.
I am interested in Piney Woods because I am trying to determine whether or not our home was built on this site. I have done limited research on 'Piney People', and the slaves that were living inside the swamp as runaways. I know that pine trees do not like to have wet feet. Unlike Cypress and hardwoods, they will not normally thrive in soggy swamp conditions. Pine groves are typically higher ground. I am trying to determine how much is left of the original pine grove, and whether or not it was the one I lived on. When Reno docked at Chantilly, our property would have been directly inline with the troops movement as they headed for 343 and onto Sawyer Lane. I am trying to determine if they traversed the pine forest, or if the roads were already cut through, and they marched down Chantilly all the way to 343 and then turned south. I have found loads of information on the Shiloh section, the Baptist Church, and the Burgess family. All of this is important, because I am all but certain our property contained unmarked graves. When we installed a koi pond there, we unearthed bones that looked human to me, like the narrow long bones of the forearm and a couple fingers. To be perfectly honest, I am certain that something really violent happened on or very near our property. It is a long story. There was the Civil War, and then slaves and the plantation, and then there was the Tuscarora raids earlier, in the late 1700s to early 1800s. I must find more information. I know the land was sold to an attorney, by Lemuel Sawyer I believe, and it appeared on the plat to run from Country Club Rd to the west, to Seymour / Chantilly Lane to the south, 343 to the east and 158 to the north.
Feel free to post Civil War related photos in the photo album section. Were you in the Devil's Den when you took the photo of Little Round Top? Charles McDonald and I took over 2000 photos when we went there 2 years ago.
Mike Zatarga's new book The Battle of Roanoke Island (top) is out from The History Press..The Museum of the Albemarle has copies in stock.
Jim Gaddis has a new book out as well. Richard Gatlin and the Confederate Defense of Eastern North Carolina is available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com as well as at a couple of bookstores in the Elizabeth City area:
Page After Page, Eliz. City, NC
Museum of the Albemarle
Robert Smith's book The History of Fort Ocracoke in Pamlico Sound from The History Press is currently available as well. The Museum of the Albemarle has copies in stock.
It looks like there are a plenty of new reads for Civil War buffs in northeastern North Carolina!
From last summer
Lee Oxford's book is also for sale online, in area bookstores, and at local museums