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American Battlefields
South Mills   

Other Names: Camden

Location: Camden County

Campaign: Burnside’s North Carolina Expedition (January-July 1862)

Date(s): April 19, 1862

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Jesse Lee Reno [US]; Col. Ambrose Wright [CS]

Forces Engaged: 21st Massachusetts and 51st Pennsylvania [US]; 3rd Georgia [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 150 total

Description: Learning that the Confederates were building ironclads at Norfolk, Burnside planned an expedition to destroy the Dismal Swamp Canal locks to prevent transfer of the ships to Albemarle Sound. He entrusted the operation to Brig. Gen. Jesse Lee Reno’s command, which embarked on transports from Roanoke Island on April 18. By midnight, the convoy reached Elizabeth City and began disembarking troops. On the morning of April 19, Reno marched north on the road to South Mills. At the crossroads a few miles below South Mills, elements of Col. Ambrose Wright’s command delayed the Federals until dark. Reno abandoned the expedition and withdrew during the night to the transports at Elizabeth City. The transports carried Reno’s troops to New Berne where they arrived on April 22.

Result(s): Inconclusive (Federals withdrew.)

CWSAC Reference #: NC005

Preservation Priority: III.4 (Class D)

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