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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Winton, Burning of

by Thomas C. Parramore, 2006

"Burning of Winton." Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina libraries. "Ruins of Winton." Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, October 24, 1863. Courtesy of North Carolina Collections at the University of North Carolina Libraries.

Winton, the seat of Hertford County, was burned by Federal troops on 20 Feb. 1862. It was the first North Carolina town burned by Union forces during the Civil War and the only one burned completely. On 19 February a flotilla of eight Union gunboats steamed up the Chowan River. As the vessels approached Winton's wharf, Confederate artillery and infantry opened up from the river bluff, but the boats sustained no serious damage.

When the flotilla returned the next morning, Winton was deserted, but several buildings had clearly been used for Confederate billeting and storage. These were torched, resulting in a blaze that left only one small house standing. The Hertford County Courthouse had been destroyed in 1830, and virtually all records from 1830 to 1862 were consumed in this fire, along with several dozen houses, stores, and other buildings. The cooperation of Union army and navy forces in the action constituted one of the first amphibious operations in the history of the American military.

Reference:

Thomas C. Parramore, "The Burning of Winton in 1862," NCHR 39 (Winter 1962).

Additional Resources:

NC Makers: https://www.ncdcr.gov/about/history/division-historical-resources/nc-highway-historical-marker-program/Markers.aspx?MarkerId=A-23 (accessed February 23, 2014).

Image Credits:

"Burning of Winton." Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection at the University of North Carolina libraries. Available from http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/pcoll/civilwar/index.html?list=Destruction_and_Pillage (accessed May 18, 2012).

"Ruins of Winton." Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, October 24, 1863. Courtesy of North Carolina Collections at the University of North Carolina Libraries. Available from http://www.lib.unc.edu/ncc/pcoll/civilwar/index.html?list=Destruction_and_Pillage (accessed May 18, 2012).

Origin - location: 

Comments

Comment: 

lots of broken links on the page

Comment: 

Hello, 

Thank you for letting us know. I have informed NCpedia staff. 

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

The article here has a peculiarity. It speaks of a fire burning the court house in 1830 which consumed files and records from 1830-1862. Now how is that? Perhaps a correction needed here. I suspect - and it's not clear - that the county seat was attacked in 1862 by a combined Union Infantry and Naval assault which burnt the town down and consumed the records. Time to clean up the article.

Comment: 

The courthouse fire was in 1830, but also the town was burned in 1862 by union troops, which is why there are missing records from 1830-1862. Hope that helps to clear up the confusion.

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

I'm looking for info on Hertford County School in Union, NC. This school was before Ahoskie High School and not to be confused with the current Hertford County High School, circa 1986.
This brick building was demolished around 1957. My guess is schooling had transitioned to Ahoskie, NC circa 1909. Thanks, John

Comment: 

Dear John,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and for sharing your question. I am connecting you with Reference Services at the NC Government & Heritage Library via the email you included with your post.  A reference librarian will contact you shortly to help suggest resources and collections you may want to consult, if you are still looking for this information.

Good luck with your research!

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Hayden, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

All my family records were burned in the war 1862, I am looking for more information about my family.

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