Civil War Skirmish at Potecasi Creek

"Gen. Foster's infantry disembarking at Winton." 1863. Image from UNC-Chapel Hill Library.

Gen. Foster’s infantry disembarking at Winton.
Image from UNC-Chapel Hill Library

On July 26, 1863, a skirmish took place between local Confederate forces and a Union expedition led by Major General John G. Foster at Potecasi Creek in Hertford County. Foster’s troops, nearly 1,200 men, were ordered to destroy the Confederate rail junction at Weldon.

In the weeks prior to the battle, Union raiders had destroyed railroad bridges at Rocky Mount, Tarboro and Greenville. In response, local Confederate officials established a series of minor entrenchments alongside the Hill’s Bridge over the Potecasi Creek, approximately three miles between Winton and Murfreesboro. As Foster’s advance guard approached the bridge, they were caught in an ambush led by Maj. Samuel J. Wheeler.

Wheeler’s force of about 150 or 200 men opened fire from wooded areas along the main road before retreating to the entrenchments on the northern side of the creek. Severely outnumbered, Wheeler’s men retreated from their positions. Along the way, 17 men were captured and at least one man was killed in action. Union losses were never reported. The remains of the Confederate entrenchments are located in a wooded area just south of  U.S. Highway 158 on the Murfreesboro side of the Potecasi Creek Bridge.

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