Robert F. Hoke, Victorious at Plymouth, Promoted

On April 23, 1864, Robert Frederick Hoke, then only 27-years-old, became the youngest major general in the Confederate States Army. He was promoted days after leading a successful campaign to recapture Plymouth in Washington County.

Image from the N.C. Museum of History

Early in April, Brigadier General Hoke and his division had been assigned the task of recapturing Plymouth, and thus reopening the Roanoke River to Confederate operations. Hoke was assigned his own division from the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, which was reinforced with additional troops and assisted by the newly commissioned ironclad, the CSS Albemarle.

Beginning on April 17, Hoke moved his ground troops against the federal garrison at Plymouth, while the Albemarle attacked Union gunboats stationed in the river. After the sinking of the USS Southfield, Hoke was able to besiege the river town and force the Union garrison to surrender on April 20.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis wired a telegram to Hoke to congratulate him for his victory and, within that message, was Hoke’s promotion to Major General. He and his division would finish the war fighting at other North Carolina engagements, including Fort Fisher, Wyse Fork and Bentonville before surrendering in Durham in April 1865, while serving under Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston.

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