Saving History Saturday: Wyse Fork Battlefield Threatened

Proposed US Highway 70 bypass at Wyse Fork. Courtesy, Wade Sokolosky.

The Wyse Fork Battlefield, near Kingston in Lenoir County North Carolina is threatened by a proposed bypass for U.S. Highway 70 in the area. The bypass, if built, would destroy the core battlefield area as defined in the National Register.

The Battle of Wyse Fork, the third largest battle in North Carolina during the war, took place March 7 through 10, 1865 as a part of the Carolina Campaign in the waning days of the Civil War. Forces totaling 20,500 (12,000 Union and 8,500 Confederate) took part in the battle, with joint casualties estimated at 2,800 (1,257 Union and 1,500 Confederate) and resulted in a Union victory.

A local organization, the Historic Preservation Group, has been leading the effort to prevent the new bypass from being built. If built, the Highway 70 bypass would run through the battlefield, with the interchange being around the most significant fighting of the battle.

The Historic Preservation Group owns 56 acres of the battlefield, and the American Battlefields Trust has preserved over 115 acres there. For more information on the efforts to prevent the construction of the bypass, and the preservation of the Wyse Fork Battlefield, see the Save the Wyse Fork Battlefield page on Facebook.

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