This year marks the 150th anniversary of when the Civil War came home to North Carolina in 1862. Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside captured Roanoke Island in February, New Bern in March and Fort Macon in April. Takeover of North Carolina's coast was meant to stop supplies to the Confederate Army through the state's ports.
On the 150th anniversary, those events and many others will be reviewed in a series of programs at historic sites and museums statewide.
"The Lights of the Great Armada: The 147th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Fisher," Jan. 21 to 22, will focus on the Navy and Marines and the maritime war. Small arm and artillery demonstrations, presentations by U.S. Coast Guard Chief Historian Dr. Robert Browning, U.S. Marine Corps Historical Company representatives Larry Bopp and Steve Bockmiller, and N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Deputy State Archaeologist Mark Wilde-Ramsing, are among activities scheduled.
Two programs in Durham focusing on the enslaved are scheduled for February. At Historic Stagville on Feb. 12, "To Free A Family" will include a free lecture and book signing by Dr. Sydney Nathans, Duke University history professor emeritus. At Bennett Place on Feb. 16, Reginald Hildebrand, UNC-Chapel Hill historian, will lecture on "The First Year of Freedom in North Carolina: Pursuing Freedom with the Hoe and the Sword, the Book and the Lord." Admission will be charged.
A symposium, "Thunder in the East: The Civil War in Eastern North Carolina," will be presented by Tryon Palace and the New Bern Historical Society on March 10, featuring Civil War historians Ed Bearrs and Mark Bradley, and Hari Jones, curator of the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum in Washington, D.C. It is one of the events in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration (Civil War 150).
A Civil War medical program, "War So Terrible," at Bentonville Battlefield in Four Oaks on March 17 and 18, will compare and contrast medical practices of the Civil War to 21st century treatment in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. Army and Marine Corps triage units will participate dependent on availability. Candlelight tours of the Harper House, which served as a field hospital in 1865, will allow visitors to see the medical setting and experience the search for a loved one at that time.
The exhibit, "Watched by Sound and Sea: Occupied Beaufort, 1862" continues at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort through September. It features artifacts from the period and will present a speaker each month.
The April 26 through 28 "Flags Over Hatteras" Symposium will feature historians James McPherson, Ed Bearss, Craig Symonds and others speaking at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. A Civil War Trails marker will be unveiled during the weekend, and the "Flags Over Hatteras" exhibit will continue through July at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
Other lectures and programs will occur during the year and through April 2015. A traveling photography exhibit "Freedom, Sacrifice, Memory: The Civil War Sesquicentennial Photography Exhibit" is visiting libraries and museums in the state through May 2013.
The N.C. Office of Archives and History oversees the state's sesquicentennial observance, which includes production of posters, symposia, a vehicle license plate, an atlas and other books, and other commemorative activities through 2015. The Office of Archives and History is part of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.