|Date(s):||March 13, 1862 to March 14, 1862|
|Location(s):||CARTERET, North Carolina|
|Course:||“Rise And Fall of the Slave South,” University of Virginia|
After the Federal capture of Roanoke Island, General Burnside and his Union battalions, now totaling some 11,000 troops, moved on to the important established community of Newbern, North Carolina. The attack began on March 13, 1862, and worked its way right up the west bank of the Neuse River though much rain and muddy road. Driving back the Confederate forces of L. O'B. Branch, Burnside was able to capture the town by morning of the 14th with just 90 fatal casualties. The Confederates had only 64 deaths, but nearly 600 injured and missing soldiers, sheer numbers illustrating the continual overpowering of Union forces by their incredible size and force. All barns and towns were burnt down in the town, with valuable cotton crops and all other agricultural products being decimated by the Federal troops.
While seemingly unimportant, the battle provided another serviceable base for Federal inland expeditions and a new vantage point gained for cultivating the considerable pro-Union elements of North Carolina. The seizure of Newbern threw Beaufort and Morehead City into the Union's possession as well, with Confederate supplies from Fort Macon being a possible loss too. The victory enabled the North to not only gain all these vantage points, but also eliminate an established, strong trading community for the South. Newbern was a very old town, rich in agricultural value and trade income. By seizing this town from the Confederacy, Federal forces were able to inflict double the damage of a normal wartime victory; not only taking away something from the enemy, but gaining something equally as valuable in return.