Timeline . . .



January 9 — Seizure of Fort Johnston (eventually renamed Pender) at Smithville (present-day Southport), by citizens of Wilmington. Later released and seized again.

January 10 — Seizure of Fort Caswell on Oak Island, by citizens of Wilmington. Later released and seized again.


April 15 — Gov. John W. Ellis informs President Abraham Lincoln he "can get no troops from North Carolina" (following Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers to supress the brewing insurrection after the fall of Fort Sumter and the secession of Southern states).

April 15 — Seizure of Fort Macon (Federal), by order of Gov. John W. Ellis

April 22 — Seizure of Fayetteville Arsenal (Federal), by order of Gov. John W. Ellis


May 20 — North Carolina secedes from the Union

May — Beaufort County: Benjamin M. Selby, Benjamin F. Havens, Redding L. Myers, James R. Grist, W. S. Burbank Jr. appointed to receive and distribute the funds raised by resolution to raise money ($25,000) for the "existing emergency occasioned by the action of the president of the Federal Government in Washington City." [Example of counties passing resolutions authorizing raising monies for military companies formed in the county].



July 7 — Gov. John W. Ellis dies of tuberculosis in Virginia, and speaker Henry T. Clark is elevated to the governorship (both Ellis and Clark were members of the Democratic Party).

July 10 — Passage of USS Roanoke from Hampton Roads, Va. and engagement with Confederate batteries at Hatteras Inlet

July 12 — USS Roanoke anchors at Cape Fear and observes Fort Caswell

July 13 — Mary scuttled and burned near Lockwood’s Folly Inlet

July 21 — Engagement between USS Albatross and N.C. steamer Beaufort near Bodie Island

July 22 — Albatross recaptures Enchantress off Hatteras Inlet


August 28-29 — Capture of Forts Hatteras and Clark, Hatteras Inlet — Casualties: roughly 773 on both sides.

August 30 — Federal occupation of the Outer Banks begins. Colonel Rush Hawkins and the 9th New York Zouaves are the occupying force.

August 31 — Residents on the Outer Banks begin taking an Oath of Allegiance and swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States.


September 14 — Governor Henry Toole Clark demands that the national Confederate government send a regiment of Confederate soldiers to Hyde County to counteract "evil influences" (unionism) extending to the mainland from the Outer Banks. Major E. D. Hall and the 7th Regiment of State troops are sent to Hyde County.

September 17 — Destruction of Confederate fortifications on Beacon Island, Ocracoke Inlet


October 1 — Capture of U.S. transport Fanny

October 4 — Affair at Chicamacomico, Loggerhead Inlet

October 5 — Engagement between USS Monticello and Confederates at Kinnakeet


November 18 — Engagement between USS Monticello and masked Confederate battery near New Inlet (Outer Banks)


December 30-31 — Expedition to destroy former light-ship of Wilmington

Continue to 1862

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The War Years

The War Years