Battle of Plymouth (1864)

The Battle of Plymouth was an engagement during the American Civil War that was fought from April 17 through April 20, 1864, in Washington County, North Carolina.

Battle of Plymouth
Part of the American Civil War
DateApril 17, 1864 – April 20, 1864
Result Confederate victory
United States United States (Union)  Confederate States
Commanders and leaders
Henry W. Wessells Surrendered
Charles W. Flusser 
Robert F. Hoke
Units involved
Plymouth Garrison Hoke's Division
2,500 4,500
Casualties and losses
2,000 800


Plymouth Battlefield North Carolina
Map of Plymouth Battlefield core and study areas by the American Battlefield Protection Program.

In a combined operation with the ironclad ram CSS Albemarle, Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. Robert F. Hoke, attacked the Federal garrison at Plymouth, North Carolina, on April 17. On April 19, the ram appeared in the river, sinking the USS Southfield, damaging the USS Miami, and driving off the other Union Navy ships supporting the Plymouth garrison. Confederate forces captured Fort Comfort, driving defenders into Fort Williams. On April 20, the garrison surrendered.

Lt. Charles W. Flussen
"Killed April 18, 1864 in a naval engagement off Plymouth NC on the USS Miami"

Plymouth citizens are believed to have taken refuge in the basement of the Latham House during the Battle of Plymouth.[1]

Order of battle

Union forces

Plymouth Garrison: Brig. Gen. Henry W. Wessells

Naval: Lt. Cdr. Charles W. Flusser (k)

Confederate forces

Hoke's Division: Brig. Gen. Robert F. Hoke

Dearing's Command: Col. James Dearing

  • 8th Confederate Cavalry
  • Virginia Horse Artillery Battery

Branch's Battalion

  • Pegram's Battery
  • Miller's Artillery
  • Bradford's Battery

Moseley's Battalion

  • Montgomery (Alabama) True Blues Artillery
  • Wilmington Light Artillery

Guion's Battalion

  • 1st North Carolina Artillery (Companies B, G and H)

Read's Battalion

  • 38th Virginia Light Artillery Battalion
    • Fauquier Artillery (Co. A)
    • Richmond Fayette Artillery (Co. B)
    • Bloundt's Lynchburg Artillery (Co. D)


External links


  1. ^ Janet K. Seapker and John B. Flowers, III (n.d.). "Latham House" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2015-06-01.

Coordinates: 35°51′59″N 76°45′07″W / 35.86648°N 76.7519°W

43rd North Carolina Infantry

The 43rd North Carolina Regiment, also known as the 43rd Regiment, North Carolina State Troops or 43rd N.C.S.T., was organized at Camp Mangum, about four miles west of Raleigh, North Carolina, on March 18, 1862.

Battle of Bentonville

The Battle of Bentonville (March 19 – 21, 1865) was fought in Johnston County, North Carolina, near the village of Bentonville, as part of the Western Theater of the American Civil War. It was the last battle between the armies of Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston.

As the right wing of Sherman's army under command of Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard marched toward Goldsboro, the left wing under command of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum encountered the entrenched men of Johnston's army. On the first day of the battle, the Confederates attacked the XIV Corps and routed two divisions, but the rest of Sherman's army defended its positions successfully. The next day, as Sherman sent reinforcements to the battlefield and expected Johnston to withdraw, only minor sporadic fighting occurred. On the third day, as skirmishing continued, the division of Maj. Gen. Joseph A. Mower followed a path into the Confederate rear and attacked. The Confederates were able to repulse the attack as Sherman ordered Mower back to connect with his own corps. Johnston elected to withdraw from the battlefield that night.

As a result of the overwhelming Union strength and the heavy casualties his army suffered in the battle, Johnston surrendered to Sherman little more than a month later at Bennett Place, near Durham Station. Coupled with Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender on April 9, Johnston's surrender represented the effective end of the war.

North Carolina in the American Civil War

North Carolina had joined the Confederacy with some reluctance, mainly because neighbouring Virginia had done so, and it remained a divided state throughout the war, with the western mountain people retaining much Union sentiment. Yet it contributed more troops to the Confederacy than any other state (though it also raised Union regiments), and channelled many vital supplies through the major port of Wilmington, in defiance of the Union blockade.

Fighting occurred sporadically in the state from September 1861, when Union Major General Ambrose Burnside set about capturing key ports and cities, notably Roanoke Island and New Bern. In 1864, the Confederates assumed the offensive, temporarily reconquering Plymouth, while the Union army launched several attempts to seize Fort Fisher. Troops from North Carolina played a major role in dozens of battles, including Gettysburg, where Tar Heels were prominent in Pickett's Charge. One of the last remaining major Confederate armies, under Joseph E. Johnston, surrendered near Bennett Place to Sherman. Troops also played a major role for the Union, with the 3rd North Carolina Cavalry taking part in the Battle of Bull's Gap, Battle of Red Banks and Stoneman's 1864 and 1865 raid in western North Carolina, southwest Virginia and eastern Tennessee. The Department of North Carolina, established in 1862, seized Wilmington in 1865, then the state's largest city. The North Carolina-based XVIII Corps was also among the largest in the Union Army.

Plymouth, North Carolina

Plymouth is the largest town in Washington County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 3,878 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Washington County. Plymouth is located on the Roanoke River about seven miles (11 km) upriver from its mouth into the Albemarle Sound in North Carolina's Inner Banks region.

USS Southfield (1857)

USS Southfield was a double-ended, sidewheel steam gunboat of the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was sunk in action against the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Albemarle during the Battle of Plymouth (1864).

Southfield was built in 1857 at Brooklyn, New York by John English, and served as a ferry between South Ferry, New York, and St. George, Staten Island, until she was purchased by the U.S. Navy at New York City on December 16, 1861 from the New York Ferry Company. She was commissioned late in December 1861, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Charles F. W. Behm in command.

Operations Against New Bern and Plymouth

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