Kinston and Goldborough Bridge

Battle of Kinston

The Battle of Kinston was fought in Lenoir County, North Carolina near the town of Kinston on December 14, 1862. It was part of the Goldsborough Expedition of the Civil War and is sometimes referred to as Foster's Raid, since this particular battle was led by Brigadier General John Foster of the Union. General Foster led an expedition from New Bern to Goldsborough in order to suspend operations of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroads at that location.

The Confederate Brigadier General Nathan Evans met General Foster's troops near the Kinston Bridge on December 14 and made a stubborn effort to disrupt the Union Force's advance. Unfortunately, General Evans' confederate troops were greatly outnumbered and were forced to withdraw from the Kinston Bridge area and retreated north of the Neuse River towards Goldsborough. General Foster continued his trek towards Goldsborough, taking the River Road area along the way.

Battle at Goldsborough Bridge

The Battle at Goldsborough Bridge was another battle that was fought as part of General Foster's expedition known as "Foster's Raid." This battle was fought at the Wilmington & Weldon Railroad Bridge, about three miles south of Goldsborough, North Carolina. This particular battle location was of great importance in that the intersecting railroads made Goldsborough one of the most important railroad centers in the Confederate south. Because it was a major supplier for Confederate arms, ammunition and other military supplies, the Union believed that destroying this bridge would severely impact the Confederate Army's opportunities to engage in war and would thus leave the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia open to an easy attack.

General Foster marched his troops north towards Goldsborough from New Bern on December 11, 1862. He had almost 11,000 soldiers and cavalry ready to meet and subdue any Confederate troops they would meet at Goldsborough. They arrived at the railroad bridge early on December 17th and Foster quickly sent his troops to fight their way towards control of the bridge. The bridge was under the defense of Confederate General Thomas Clingman, who was greatly outnumbered having just fewer than 2,000 soldiers and very few guns at his disposal. After several hours, General Clingman and his troops were pushed back and an assault party of several Union soldiers managed to set fire to the bridge. The bridge was soon destroyed and General Foster's troops ensured additional Confederate woes by destroying the railroad tracks for several miles in either direction from the bridge.

With the bridge being destroyed, Foster ordered the majority of his troops back to New Bern with several left behind to provide cover for their withdrawal. Confederate General Evans and some of his troops met up with General Clingman and decided to launch a counterattack since their numbers were now larger than the lone lingering Union brigade. Though the combined troops of Evans and Clingman were able to succeed in startling the Union brigade, the sounds of the attack captured the attention of other Union troops that were withdrawing and they rushed back into battle to aid their compatriots, putting the odds back in their favor.

Realizing that they were once again outnumbered and outgunned, the Confederate troops were turned back with additional losses of life. December 17 came to an end with yet another win for the Union army and another success for Foster's Raid. The combined casualties for the campaign from New Bern to Goldsborough and back were 577 for the Union Army with 90 killed, 478 wounded and 9 missing or captured. For the Confederates, their casualties stood at 738 with 71 killed, 268 wounded and 400 missing or captured. Foster's Raid was considered a tactical success for the Union by causing heavy damage to important supply routes for the Confederate Army, thus creating increasing troubles and strain for their side in the Civil War.

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Terms: North Carolina Civil War Trail: Kinston and Goldborough Bridge

North Carolina Civil War Trail: Kinston and Goldborough Bridge

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