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Several "Firsts" in the Civil War Occurred at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina


The shelling of Fort Hatteras. Image from National Park Service

The barrier islands of North Carolina may not have seen the same level of action in the Civil War as places like Gettysburg, but the area was the site of several important "firsts" in the War. Can you name any of those events?

This summer will mark the sesquicentennial (150 year anniversary) of several key Civil War milestones which occurred on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. According to information from Cape Hatteras National Seashore, those "firsts" included:

• July 10, 1861: The first hostile shots fired by the U.S. Navy at Southern-held territory on the oceanfront—The side-wheel steamer-boat Harriet Lane shelled Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark at Hatteras Inlet;

• July 21, 1861: The first true naval engagement—The USS Albatross fought the North Carolina steamer Beaufort off Oregon Inlet;

• August 28, 1861: The first amphibious landing – Union troops came ashore to capture Fort Hatteras;

• October 1, 1861: The first capture of a United States vessel—Confederate forces captured the Union tug Fanny in the Pamlico Sound; and

• November 18, 1861: The first provisional Unionist government within a seceded state—Formed at Hatteras, it consisted of two men and did not last long.

Events in the Cape Hatteras area during the war will be the subject of two upcoming presentations by Civil War historian Drew Pullen. The events, part of the Know Your Park citizen science program series sponsored by the park, will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, February 28 at the Fessenden Center, 46830 Highway 12 in Buxton, North Carolina, and on Tuesday, March 1, at the Ocracoke Community Center, 999 Irvin Garrish Highway in Ocracoke, North Carolina. The programs are free and will last approximately 1 hour.

Mr. Pullen is the author of two books on the Civil War, Portrait of the Past: The Civil War On Hatteras Island, North Carolina and Portrait of the Past: The Civil War On Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

Mike Murray, superintendent of the NPS Outer Banks Group, says "the Know Your Park citizen science program series is designed to further connect the Outer Banks communities and residents with the rich natural world and cultural heritage of their neighboring National Park sites … These presentations offer park visitors as well as local residents an opportunity to learn more about, and better enjoy, the coastal environment and their National Parks."


My ancestor, Lacy Edwards with Co K of the 17th North Carolina was detached to an assignment of Co A and K of the 17th North Carolina on Ocracoke Island, with the other Companies being at Fort Hatteras and Fort Lamb. I have included a Web Site Homepage link for the 3rd North Carolina Cavalry, the Unit that many of Co K of the 17th would find themselves reassigned, after the First Formation of the 17th North Carolina was Disbanded, most of the members going to New York as POW's. Co A and K made off of Ocracoke by Steam Boats, going to Hyde County across the Sound. Here's a Link to a Report on the Garrison at Ocracoke by a Von Eberstein from Washington, North Carolina - It's an Interesting Report of the Withdrawal from Ocracoke. You Have to Download the File from the Link Pasted. Check out the 3rd NC Cavalry Site, and if you know of some descendants, please make them aware of the site.

Much Appreciated,

Bobby Edwards

My great grandfather was named Lacy Edwards from the Beaufort, NC area.  Can you please tell me the name of your relative, Lacy Edward's wife or children's name. Greatly appreciated.

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