Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Civil War in Coastal North Carolina

Hatteras was the site of many significant Civil War events.

The "Civil War on the Outer Banks Committee" of the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum has planned an extravaganza of exhibits and events in August to commemorate these historic battles. If you plan to be on the Outer Banks in August be sure to take advantage of these offerings:

• Major exhibits – Aug. 22-28 – Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
• Blue-Gray Descendants Reunion – Aug. 22-24 – Hatteras Village Civic Center
• Flags over Hatteras Conference – Aug. 25-27 – Hatteras Village Civic Center
• Exhibits and demonstrations – Aug. 27-28 – Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Space is limited, and registration is required for some of the events. For more information about the events, registration, and costs, please go to

Following are highlights of the battles at Hatteras which began in August 1861 when two Federal expeditions were sent to Hatteras Inlet. The Union attack signified many firsts in the war: the first combined Army and Navy operation, the first amphibious assault, and the first African American gun crew to fire on Confederates.

“This first victory was extremely important for the Union,” National Park Service Chief Historian, Ed Bearss, said. “It stopped privateering and blockade runners from gaining access to the sea. It gave the Union direct access to the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, allowing the Union to penetrate deep into North Carolina.”

“The capture of Confederate forts Hatteras and Clark opened a back door to the Confederacy for Federal troops,” said Flags Over Hatteras Committee Chairman Drew Pullen. “Since it was the first Union victory of the war it was a tremendous morale booster in the North. Until these captures every engagement between Union and Confederate forces produced a victory for the South.”

During the event, Aug. 22 – 28, the Flags Over Hatteras committee plans to unveil a large black granite monument in honor of the first safe haven for runaway slaves in the state, and also in honor of some of the first African Americans to fire against Confederate forces.

“News that Hatteras was controlled by Federal forces prompted many slaves to escape from the mainland and seek safe haven on Hatteras Island," said Committee Chairman Drew Pullen. "Federal forces arranged for construction of 'Hotel De Afrique' to shelter the runaway slaves.”

Mark your calendars for this once-in-a-lifetime event!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is the autobiography of Frank Treat Fulcher. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous11:38 AM

    Why was the refuge called Hotel De Afrique? was this due to the fact the enslaved people spoke French? Were the people seeking refuge charged for their room and board?

  2. Anonymous12:00 PM

    The civil war has always fascinated me-now even more since discovering my ancestral connections. Since I cannot take advantage of these events, I would really appreciate any tidbits you can share.

  3. Anonymous10:59 AM

    Just read the facebook comment about golf carts? Is there a golf course on OI. The comment spoke to less traffic. How ever, if each car is replaced by a golf cart...anyway. Does one need a drivers license to operate this power industrial vehicle? it is a vehicle of the golf industry and that is a big industry-- gloves, shoes shirts hats, clubs, shoes,balls, tees, pencils, hats, ... in far to many communities this embracing of the golf cart on pubic roads ---with out the monies generated by license fees, tag fees, insurance coverage etc-- were this to occur it would create jobs but some would see it as over regulation. too much government intervention-- not a mechanism for job creation.

  4. Anonymous3:10 PM

    I believe one has to be either 16 or older or min. 18 to drive the golf carts at Ocracoke. Maybe Philip or someone else can confirm.

  5. I am not sure why the safe haven for slaves was called Hotel De Afrique. And I don't know if there were any fees charged. I'll look into that.

    To answer other questions:

    -- There are no golf courses on Ocracoke.
    -- Golf carts seem to have reduced congestion on our narrow streets because golf carts are much smaller than SUVs.
    -- Minimum age to operate a golf cart on Ocracoke is 16, but a license is not required if the cart is not "street legal." Un-tagged carts may not be operated past Howard's Pub, or on the beach.

  6. Anonymous10:11 PM

    no golf carts have seat belts, some have no headlights and are on the streets and highway 12 after dark. Many operators are undereducated on their usage. Other communities have had serious injuries and deaths due to golf cart misuse, generally innocent actions like quick left turns and backing up over passengers or jumping out of unrestricted seats. There will be major problems that autos with required safety features prevent.

  7. Anonymous4:38 PM

    We have a local golf cart rental company on Ocracoke. We are family owned and managed. We love our business and strive to provide a fun experience for vacationers. We rent carts only to licensed drivers 25 and older. We are careful to educate everyone on safe use and laws. Our carts are equipped with seat belts, headlights, tail lights and more. Safety is a priority. We will revoke carts that are used in an inappropriate manner. Carts can be driven anywhere in the Village of Ocracoke, but not past Howard's Pub on Highway 12. Golf carts have reduced the congestion on roads, and have seemed to create a safer road environment for biking and walking. Our carts are all electric and seat 4 passengers. Happy traveling!
    Ocracoke Island Golf Carts

  8. Dawn F. Taylor7:25 PM

    My Father, My Cousin Edith, and myself, will be attending the descendants reunion. Really excited about this event.