Civil War hero remembered in Wilmington

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email
Posted by Lauren Thomson - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - This morning in Wilmington, a Confederate soldier was remembered for his heroism.

Major James Riley was a leader in the Civil War who eventually surrendered Fort Fisher to the Union in order to save the lives of his men.

Today, dozens of people gathered at Oakdale Cemetery to celebrate Major Riley's life.

They told his story and unveiled a new grave marker and an iron cross.

One Civil War interpreter also talked about how remembering our history can help clear up misconceptions about the many reasons the Civil War was fought.

"When they seceded from the Union, they formed the Confederacy, which is a totally independent and separate country and that's what a lot of people don't understand. They cannot get the concept that this was a country being invaded by another country and the war was not completely about slavery,"  explains Colonel Blackjack Travis.

After Fort Fisher's capture, Major Riley was imprisoned in Maryland. He was offered a higher position and higher pay to join the federals, but refused.