Tourism for Elizabeth City, NC
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Elizabeth City Civil War Trail Markers Tour

S Water St

Elizabeth City , NC


Part of the national Civil War Trails program, the “Elizabeth City Civil War Trails Tour” weaves together the history of Union occupation in Elizabeth City through real-life accounts of arson, ambush, guerrilla warfare-and the tragic tale of a family murdered on a trip to town. Pick up a copy of the Elizabeth City Civil War Trail Markers Tour brochure at the Visitors Bureau. Then view six markers (within walking distance of the downtown area) that depict events that took place in Elizabeth City from 1862-1863.

Civil War Trail Markers Tour-Elizabeth City

 Battle of Elizabeth City

February 10, 1861, Waterfront Park. Union Commander Stephen C. Rowan disposed of Confederate Commodore William F. Lynch’s “Mosquito Fleet,” which had been “annoying U.S. naval vessels.” Rowan’s troops occupied Elizabeth City. For the remainder of the war, North Carolina’s coastal rivers remained in Union hands.

 The Burning of Elizabeth City

Feb. 10, 1862, N. Elliot Street and E. Colonial Avenue. Local secessionists, who preferred to see Elizabeth City burn rather than under Federal control, asked Col. Charles Frederick Henningsen to set it afire as he evacuated his force. The fire destroyed the courthouse and about two-thirds of the town before Unionists put out the fires.

 Ambush of Sanders and McCabe

Jan. 5, 1863, N. Elliot Street and E. Colonial Avenue. Confederate guerillas shot and killed two men – Lt. Nathaniel H. Sanders, 1st N.C. Volunteers, and Unionist civilian Joseph T. McCabe, a former Confederate soldier – as they returned from an Emancipation party. The guerillas were captured and imprisoned.

 Place of Execution

Feb. 9, 1863, Waterfront Park. The guerilla war in Elizabeth City reached a new level when Lt. Thaddeus Cox, Co. D., 1st N.C. Volunteers rode 16 miles into the country to bring his family to town. On return, a gang of guerillas attacked Cox, killing him, his pregnant wife and four-year old daughter. Unionists asked company commander Capt. Enos C. Sanders to shoot all the jailed prisoners captured during the January attack. One prisoner, Addison White, was executed on the Waterfront.

 1st U.S.C.T Occupies the Town

August, 1863, N. Poindexter St. The first U.S. Colored Troops encamped between what is now E. Burgess St. and the Pasquotank River as a part of a garrison for Elizabeth City. The troops hoped to encourage the enlistment of area African Americans and to suppress guerilla activity.

 Petition “...universal panic and distress"

December 1863, E. Main Street. Almost everyone in and around Elizabeth City had had enough of the violence and bloodshed. Local citizens convened meetings petitioning Union Gen. Benjamin F. Butler and N.C. Gov. Zebulon B. Vance to withdraw Federal and Confederate forces from the area. Their attempt to “secede from the secession” failed, and the guerillas continued to operate despite similar resolutions passed in four neighboring counties.

Elizabeth City Civil War Trail Markers Tour

S Water St

Elizabeth City, NC 

Battle of Elizabeth City

S Water St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

The Burning of Elizabeth City

N Road St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

Ambush of Sanders and McCabe

N Pool St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

Place of Execution

S Water St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

1st U.S.C.T Occupies the Town

N Poindexter St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

Petition “...universal panic and distress"

E Main St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

Elizabeth City Civil War Trail Markers Tour

S Water St

Elizabeth City, NC 

Battle of Elizabeth City

S Water St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

The Burning of Elizabeth City

N Road St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

Ambush of Sanders and McCabe

N Pool St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

Place of Execution

S Water St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

1st U.S.C.T Occupies the Town

N Poindexter St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

Petition “...universal panic and distress"

E Main St, Elizabeth City, NC, United States

TEST