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



Marker Text:

      With the fall of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865, the “seal of doom was put on the Confederacy,” according to John G. Barrett. Gen. Braxton Bragg, commanding the defense of the lower Cape Fear, soon after relinquished other positions, beginning with Fort Caswell and Fort Campbell on January 16. Gen. Robert F. Hoke was entrenched about three miles south of Wilmington with his left flank on Masonboro Sound and his right on the river. His line defending Wilmington was seen as impregnable and no effort was made to break it until the latter part of February. The earthworks were considerably strengthened during that month’s time.

      The march of Federal troops toward the port city began in earnest on February 20. Initially meeting little resistance, the troops under overall command of Gen. Jacob D. Cox found Hoke’s men in their trenches at Forks Road. Among the Union forces were the 5th U.S. Colored Troops, six of whom were wounded by a shell explosion. The Union field commander, A. H. Terry, ordered a frontal assault and one man was killed and forty-eight wounded. The Confederates held the works through the night of February 20. The next day, with the support of a flotilla of gunboats offshore, the Federals claimed victory. The Confederates abandoned the breastworks on the evening of February 21 and the next morning Union troops moved into Wilmington.

      Today the breastworks south of Wilmington have been largely lost to development. One well-defined section remains one-fourth mile south of the intersection of Shipyard Boulevard and Seventeenth Street. The conflict of February 20-21 is known locally as the “Battle of Jumping Run,” but there is no contemporary evidence that such a term was in use at the time of the fighting.

Chris Fonveille, The Wilmington Campaign: Last Rays of Departing Hope (1997)
Abraham J. Palmer, History of the Forty-Eighth Regiment New York State Volunteers in the War for the Union, 1861-1865 (1885)
John G. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina (1963)
The War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, ser. 1, XLVII, pt. 2, pp. 509-510, 1234-1235
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Original Date Cast:




north carolina highway historical marker program

Major General Robert F. Hoke

© 2008 North Carolina Office of Archives & History — Department of Cultural Resources