Civil War battle will be remembered in Wilmington this weekend - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Civil War battle will be remembered in Wilmington this weekend

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This weekend, a battle that took place late in the war will be remembered on the actual battlefield where the troops met, located in the heart of the city. This weekend, a battle that took place late in the war will be remembered on the actual battlefield where the troops met, located in the heart of the city.
The Battle of Forks Road took place on land behind Wilmington's Cameron Art Museum, on South 16th Street. The Battle of Forks Road took place on land behind Wilmington's Cameron Art Museum, on South 16th Street.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Historians say the movie Lincoln has renewed an interest in the War Between the States.  This weekend, a battle that took place late in the war will be remembered on the actual battlefield where the troops met, located in the heart of the city.

With the fall of Fort Fisher in January, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee knew the end of the Civil War was near.  Union troops began their march towards Wilmington, the last life line to his troops.

But during their march to the city, the men in blue encountered gun and artillery fire from loyal confederates, led by Captain Robert Hoke, in an area about three miles from the port.  It is known as the Battle of Forks Road.  Civil War historian Chris Fonvielle says it was a brief but a significant skirmish.

"What is important about this battle is, in large part, the participation of the United States Colored Guard, they were an entire brigade that fought here with another brigade in reserve," said Fonvielle. "And so, African Americans played a key role in the Union victory and in the capture of Wilmington."

The day after the initial contact, the Confederates withdrew, allowing the Union troops to take the port as part of their march to Richmond. But not before two brothers met each other on the battlefield, one fighting for the North, the other a soldier for the South.

"These boys were actually living here and left, with one joining the Confederacy and after he left, the second left, and became a scout for the Union army," said Larry Crooms, a Civil War re-enactor.  "So in this situation, they actually lived in the same house, and left home to go off to war."

Re-enactors have already set up camp on the battleground, ready to demonstrate what life was like for the soldiers. The War Between the States remains of great interest for many people, and not just the re en-enactors.

"People have always been, I won't say attracted to this war, but there is a certain appeal about the Civil War because it was our war," said Fonvielle.

"Every guy, and some women, take it very seriously and devote a lot of their time to preserve this history," said Crooms.

The Battle of Forks Road took place on land behind Wilmington's Cameron Art Museum, on South 16th Street.  A "Living History" weekend is placed at the Museum, Thursday thru Sunday.

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