north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program
 

 
 
 

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Marker Text:

Essay:
     Fort Totten was built on the western edge of New Bern in 1862, after occupation of the city by Union forces and prior to the Battle of New Bern. The military installation was named for Joseph Gilbert Totten, a Union general born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1788. Totten played an active role in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and the Civil War. By March 1863 he had been promoted to brigadier general in the regular army. In order to honor Totten for his sixty-two years of service, he was awarded with a brevet promotion to major general by the War Department before he died in April 1864.

     The Union mounted the campaign to gain control of New Bern because it would help them gain control of North Carolina’s sounds, coast, and the Neuse River. The strategy gave the Union a strong base to launch further attacks into the state. The plan proved successful and the Union held control of the sounds and coast until the end of the War. Four artillery companies with a total of 251 enlisted men were stationed at Fort Totten. Five companies of infantry on provost-guard duty were stationed in the rear of Fort Totten with a total of 454 men.

     The armament included four thirty-two pound howitzers, two thirty-two pound rifles, nine thirty-two pound carronades, one eight inch columbiad, and two eight inch mortars. The fort had lines of entrenchments that were extended on either side leading to the Neuse and Trent Rivers.

     Today Fort Totten is a family park that on a five and one-half acre site. The park includes a lighted softball field, playground set, several picnic shelters, grills, picnic tables, restroom facilities and a small parking lot.


References:
David Heidler and Jeanne Heidler, eds., Encyclopedia of the American Civil War (2000)
Official Records of the War of the Rebellion (1880-1900)
William S. Powell, ed., Encyclopedia of North Carolina (2006)
City of New Bern website: http://www.ci.new-bern.nc.us/RP/parks.php
Location: County:

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