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Photo courtesy of Wade Sokolosky


The Confederacy’s Strategic Coast: The War in Eastern North Carolina 1861-1865

March 7-11, 2018

A BGES Civil War Field University Program

History has a funny way of making locations significant or irrelevant. With the secession of Virginia and North Carolina and the relocation of the new nation’s capital to Richmond, Virginia, the Tarheel state presented intriguing opportunities for Federal planners and confounding challenges for Confederate military minds. It was, in a word, “vital.” Insulated by the killing fields of Virginia, early campaigns, battles, raids and naval engagements that swirled throughout the region generally faded in comparison to the great struggles north and west.

This is our first full examination of this region. A cursory survey of the maps tells us that the inlets and sounds dominate the landscape. Indeed, early Federal operations sought to control the eastern part of the state and convinced Robert E. Lee and other planners that the operations were a prelude to a full-scale assault on North Carolina. Lee is delayed in reuniting his army in the spring of 1863 because he is convinced that an attack at Charleston is a prelude to an attack on Wilmington.

This program will bring you a wealth of stories and a unique understanding of the impact of strategic locations on national planning. You know many of the names–now the events that etched themselves in history will be on display. A great theme, in a great location, at a great time of the year. Join us.


Stephen Wise is the Director of the Marine Corps Parris Island Museum and a professor of history at the University of South Carolina-Beaufort. A noted historian of the state and the Marine Corps, his books Gate of Hell about the 1863 Charleston Campaign and Lifeline of the Confederacy document the significance of blockade running to the Confederate economy. Steve was recently recognized by the SC Humanities Council for his contributions to preservation and historic interpretation. He is well spoken and interesting; you will enjoy yourself.

Wade Sokolosky is a retired ordnance officer from the US Army. Colonel Sokolosky has devoted his graduate studies to Sherman’s 1865 Campaign in NC and he has ancestors who served in the Southern armies. He has co-authored two books: The Battle of Wise’s Forks March 1865 and No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar, Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign. He is now specializing in anything Civil War in North Carolina. This will be his first program with BGES.