Confederate Crossing and Headquarters
— 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.
In July 1863, Union Gen. Edward E. Potter, returning to New Bern after his raid, had his troops set fire to the Hookerton Bridge as they made their way across Greene County. The bridges at Hookerton and nearby Haw Landing were essential crossing points over Contentnea Creek for Confederate troops in eastern North Carolina.
Confederate Gen. James J. Pettigrew established his brigade headquarter here in April 1863, after unsuccessful attempts to remove the Union forces from New Bern and Washington, North Carolina. Pettigrew brigade included the 11th, 26th, 44th, 47th, and 52nd North Carolina Infantry Regiments. Henry King Burgwyn, at 22 the youngest colonel in the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded the 26th Regiment and died at Gettysburg. After Pettigrew brigade marched to Virginia to join Gen. Robert E. Lee incursion into Pennsylvania, a handful of men from a partisan ranger battalion joined the local home guard to protect the bridges here.
Capt. Henry A. Hubbard, 12th New York Cavalry, who was wounded and captured during Potter Raid, was released from a Confederate prisoner of war camp in September 1864, and rejoined this unit. On April 8, 1865, Confederate troops near here shot Hubbard and his orderly in an ambush. Hubbard escaped to his camp but died about eight hours later, just a day before Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox Court House.
The locally prominent Hooker family founded Hookerton, known as Caswell Landing before the Revolutionary War, here on family land. Hookerton was incorporated in 1817.
(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
(bottom center) Gen. James Johnston Pettigrew.
(upper right) Col. Henry K. Burgwyn - Courtesy Virginia Military Institute Archives