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North Carolina Civil War

Foster's Raid Tour

~ Driving Tour ~

In December 1862, Union Gen. George Foster led 10,000 infantry and cavalry from the Federal garrison at New Bern on a raid to the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad near Goldsboro. The action was designed to disrupt the supply line to the north and support Gen. Ambrose Burnside's attack at Fredericksburg (ultimately ill-fated). A Civil War Trails tour follows the action, including several stops at the site of the Battle of Kinston and the action at Goldsboro.

Battle of Kinston

Blue-Gray Visitor Center
101 E New Bern Road, Kinston NC 28504
 Road map 
Stop here to learn more about the battles at Kinston and pick up free driving tour brochures. Download the brochures from

Foster's Position on Southwest Creek (Union attack)
Sign at the intersection of Route 258 and Stroud Corner Road, 5 miles south of Kinston
    Foster's approach to Kinston ran into entrenched Confederates north of the creek here Dec. 13, 1862. After a tough fight along the creek, the outnumbered Confederates withdrew to a new position nearer town.

First Battle of Kinston / Harriet’s Chapel
Trails sign one block south of the Route 70 bypass off Route 258
    Harriet’s Chapel stood here and became the focal point of Foster’s attack against the center of  Evans’s line the morning of Dec. 14.

Federals Turn the Confederate Flank
Sign near the intersection of Routes 258 and 70 at 1400 Meadowbrook Drive, Kinston
    Confederates under Gen. Nathan Evans withdrew to this area after being forced back after fighting six miles southwest of here at the creek. Foster attacked this position Dec. 14, 1862; managed to flank the Southerners; and forced their withdrawal across the Neuse River.

Confederates Retreat Across Jones Bridge
Sign in the Howard Johnson parking lot at intersection of Routes 70/58 and 248 Business in Kinston
    Confederates retreated across the Jones Bridge near here after the fight Dec. 14 fight south of here. Most of Evans's men — but not all — had crossed before the bridge was set on fire. Union troops, however, were able to cross and force the remaining Confederates out of town. Foster's men spent the night in Kinston before heading to Goldsboro.

Engagement at Whitehall
Trails sign at the corner of West River and New streets in Seven Springs
 Road map 
    After capturing Kinston, Foster headed toward Goldsboro. He ran into opposition from Gen. Beverly Robertson, his men positioned across the river. After a sharp fight and artillery bombardment, Foster continued on the south side of the Neuse.

Mount Olive
Trails sign at the corner of West College and North Center streets in Mount Olive
 Road map 
    After capturing Kinston Dec. 14, Foster dispatched Maj. Jeptha Garrard to the Mount Olive Station to destroy the building and tear up track. The Federal soldiers, arriving in Mount Olive, ranged up the track, ambushing a mail train and tearing up the railroad.

Battle of Goldsboro Bridge
Trails sign and park located on Old Mount Olive Road, 1 block east of Route 117, 2 miles south of Goldsboro
 Road map 
    Union troops reached this spot near the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Bridge on Dec. 17, 1862. A small Confederate force defended the structure, a critical link to Southern forces in Virginia who were then engaged at Fredericksburg. Foster's troops succeed in burning the bridge and tearing up track. A Confederate counterattack here bothered Foster on his way back to New Bern. The bridge was repaired and back in use in a few weeks.
   A nice 32-acre battlefield park, open daylight hours, offers and interpreted walking trail that includes stops at original earthworks, the railroad bridge site and the river.