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North Carolina Civil War

Potter's Raid Tour

~ Driving Tour ~


Union cavalry under Gen. Edward E. Potter left their base in New Bern July 18, 1863, on their way to burn the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad bridge at Rocky Mount and disrupt Confederate supply activities in the area. Potter ran into some resistance near Tarboro and on the way back at Contentnea Creek. The raiders returned to New Bern July 23 after destroying supplies and partially burning bridges over creeks and rivers, but the Confederates soon repaired the damage and restored rail service in Rocky Mount by Aug. 1.

Black Jack
2972 Black Jack Simpson Road, Greenville NC 27858
 Road map 
    Shortly after leaving New Bern, Potter's cavalry overran a small Confederate picket post here. Black Jack's location on the busy New Bern Road and at the edge of "no-man's land" continued to attract attention during the war.

Trails sign in the Town Common Park off First Street, at the Boat Ramp Access entrance
 Road map 
    Potter's men entered this fortified but undefended town the afternoon of July 19. Local residents said that during his short stay he looted homes and destroyed Confederate supplies. Union troops also freed 25 imprisoned slaves who were caught trying to reach Union lines. Many area ex-slaves later became Union soldiers.

Occupation of Tarboro (Daniel's Schoolhouse Engagement)
Sign located at 130 Bridgers St, Tarboro NC 27886
 Road map 
    Confederates from Fort Branch, responding to Potter's Raid, clashed sharply with Federal cavalry four miles from Tarboro July 20.

Occupation of Tarboro ("All Were Burned...")
Trails sign located in the Town Common at the intersection of Main and Wilson streets, Tarboro NC 27886
 Road map 
    Potter's troopers burned steamboats, an "iron-clad on the stocks," and Confederate supplies stockpiled here during the July 20 occupation. They also looted local homes and businesses.

Falkland (Otter Creek Bridge Skirmish)
Trails sign at the intersection of Routes 43 and 222, Falkland NC 27834
 Road map 
    About 150 Confederates with artillery confronted Potter's troops here July 19 after the Union riders had raided Tarboro. After enduring some heavy fire near the creek, Potter found a ford upstream and evaded the potential roadblock.

Chasing Gen. Porter
Trail sign at 3802 S Main St, Farmville NC 27828
 Road map 
    After crossing Otter Creek on July 20, Potter and his men faced gunfire from local militia. After scattering the militia, Potter attempted to burn a nearby house and, guided by local blacks, took back roads toward Snow Hill, pursued all the way by Confederate cavalry.

Grimsley Church
Trails sign located at the intersection of Routes 903 and 13, Snow Hill NC 28580
 Road map 
    Potter's troops rested here on their way back to New Bern July 21. Their march that day was harassed by scattered Confederate cavalry units.

Trails sign located in the center of town on Main Street, Route 123, Hookerton NC 28538
 Road map 
    Bridges here and nearby over Contentnea Creek and Little Contentnea Creek were important to the movement of troops and supplies in this area. Potter set fire to the Hookertown Bridge after crossing it on his way back to New Bern July 21. This small town was also headquarters for Confederate Gen. James Pettigrew after his attempt to recapture New Bern failed in April 1863.

Scuffleton Bridge
Trails sign located in the church parking lot on Route 903 at the border of Greene and Pitt counties, Grifton NC 28530
 Road map 
    Potter's tired men encountered a partially destroyed bridge and some Confederate resistance here on their way back to New Bern July 21.

St. John's Episcopal Church (Burney Place)
Trails sign 5 miles east of Route 11 at the end of Hanarahan Road
 Road map 
    Confederate pursuit picked up near here July 22 as Confederate infantry attacked Potter's columns marching back to New Bern. Among those with Potter were hundreds of "contrabands," or newly freed slaves. Confederates reportedly "recaptured" about half of that group during the retreat.