Failed to Burn
— Potter's Raid —
On July 18, 1863, Union Gen. Edward E. Potter led infantry and cavalry from New Bern to destroy the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad bridge at Rocky Mount. The infantry feinted toward Kinston and returned to New Bern. Potter raided Greenville, then sent part of his cavalry to Rocky Mount and occupied Tarboro. The raiders damaged or destroyed bridges, trains, munitions, and mills before returning to New Bern on July 23, but the Confederates restored rail service by Aug. 1.
On July 21, 1863 Gen. Edward Potter led his cavalrymen across Little Contentnea Creek on a bridge that stood near here. Returning to New Bern after their raid on Tarboro and Rocky Mount, the Federals eluded a trap set by Confederate cavalry near Falkland in Pitt County, then rode all night and halted briefly near Grimsley Church outside Snow Hill to rest and feed their horses. Throughout July 21, scattered Confederate units, including two companies of the 7th Confederate Cavalry and three companies of the 62nd Georgia, skirmished with the Federals in Greene County, including a site near Hookerton, where the raiders burned a bridge. Col. William C. Claiborne, commanding the 7th Confederate Cavalry and leading the pursuit of Potter, opted to concentrate most of his force at Edwards Bridge and send only a small number here to Scuffleton. Confederate Capt. Daniel W. Edwards, of Whitford North Carolina Battalion, failed to burn the Scuffleton Bridge. His men merely tore up some of the flooring planks.
About sunset, Edwards Scuffleton Bridge guard fired a volley at Potter advance troops, then scattered. The Federals captured twelve Confederates, repaired the bridge with fence rails, and marched across it into Pitt County. As the last of the Union cavalrymen crossed the bridge, Sgt. Josiah Dixon (a Greene County resident) and other Confederates fired into the rear of the column. Believing that they were under attack again, the Federal troopers fled, leaving behind horses and baggage that Dixon and the others captured.
(lower left) Potter's Raid from New Bern to Rocky Mount and Tarboro (Inset) Gen. Edward F. Potter Courtesy U.S. Army Military History Institute
(upper right) "Skirmish at Scuffleton Bridge," by Jackie M. McLawhorn, 2006 Courtesy Greene County Museum