Confederate Recruiting Center
Currituck has been the county government seat since 1723. The core of the present courthouse to the right and jail in front of you were here when the Civil War began. On March 31, 1862, the "Currituck Light Cavalry" began enlisting on the grounds under Capt. Demosthenes Bell. The company was assigned as Co. G to Col. Dennis D. Ferebee's 4th North Carolina Cavalry, 59th Regiment North Carolina State Troops.
Because of the importance of water for military transportation and the county's closeness to Norfolk, VA., Federal troops occupied Currituck County early in the war and sometimes camped on the courthouse grounds. Union troops under Gen Ambrose E. Burnside marched into the county in 1862. In December 1863, three columns of U.S. Colored Troops led by Gen. Edward A. Wild converged here on a raid from Elizabeth City. They liberated slaves, destroyed Confederate camps, and occupied the courthouse grounds. Federal Soldiers carried off many early county court records; some were returned in 1976.
On July 23, 1903, Henry M. Shaw Camp No. 1304 , North Carolina Confederate Veterans, met at the courthouse and had dinner on the grounds. According to Adjutant General J.B. Lee, "By 12 o'clock the yard of the court house and those of the hotels were filled with a solid mass of humanity. Old Veterans; ... parents with their ... children; young men with their best girls; and old maids and batchelors [sic[
made the crowd one of the largest ever assembled in Currituck county."
The Confederate monument to your left has an unusual construction history. The original design (right) featured a Confederate soldier atop an obelisk, similar to many such monuments that adorn courthouse greens across the South. Confederate veterans erected the base in 1912, and the project then languished until November 1922, when Northern publishing magnate and philanthropist Joseph P. Knapp offered to complete the memorial. County commissioners accepted his proposal, but the idea of a Northerner completing the monument prompted an editorial in the local paper and local opposition. After a framed drawing of the revised design was placed in the courthouse, opposition subsided, the red granite globe weighing 2,397 pounds was added, and the monument was completed.[The picture of the original design was provided for use on the marker courtesy of William Romm.]