July 2018 Meeting – Wade Sokolosky

Our July meeting will feature a talk from Wade Sokolosky on the battle of Wise’s Fork.

Meeting time: 7:30 p.m., July 10, 2018

Location: Thomas Balch Library, 208 West Market Street, Leesburg, Virginia

Topic: The Battle of Wise’s Fork

History has relegated the Battle of Wise’s (Wyse) Forks, March 7–11, 1865, to little more than an insignificant skirmish during the final days of the Civil War. Wade Sokolosky’s and Mark A. Smith’s “To Prepare for Sherman’s Coming”: The Battle of Wise’s Forks, March 1865 erases this misconception and elevates this battle and its related operations to the historical status it deserves.

By March 1865, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman was operating with nearly complete freedom in North Carolina on his way north to form a junction with Union forces in Virginia. The responsibility for ensuring a functioning railroad from New Bern to Goldsboro in support of Sherman’s movement rested with Maj. Gen. Jacob D. Cox. On March 2, 1865, Cox ordered his hastily assembled Provisional Corps to march toward Goldsboro. In response to Cox’s movement, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston executed a bold but risky plan to divert troops away from Sherman by turning back Cox’s advance. Under the command of the aggressive but controversial Gen. Braxton Bragg, the Confederates stood for four days and successfully halted Cox at Wise’s Forks. This delay provided Johnston with the precious time he needed to concentrate his forces and fight the large and important Battle of Bentonville.

Colonel Wade Sokolosky, U.S. Army (Retired), a native of Beaufort, North Carolina, is a graduate of East Carolina University and a 25-year veteran. He is one of North Carolina’s leading experts of the 1865 Carolinas Campaign.

He is the co-author (with Mark A. Smith) of “To Prepare for Sherman’s Coming”: The Battle of Wise’s Forks, March 1865 and “No Such Army Since the Days of Julius Caesar”: Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign from Fayetteville to Averasboro, and the author of “Final Roll Call” Confederate Losses during the Carolinas Campaign.

His next project, “Kiss Him for His Mother”: NC’s Confederate Hospitals During the Civil War’s Final Months is due out Fall 2018.  Long term, Wade and noted Civil War historian, Eric Wittenberg, are working on a book-length study of the Sherman’s military operations in South Carolina during the 1865 Carolinas Campaign.

He is the recipient of the Raleigh Civil War Round Table’s 2017 T. Harry Gatton Award for his important efforts to study, preserve and share the Civil War heritage of his native North Carolina. Wade serves as the vice president of the Friends of Bentonville Battlefield, and as a member of Brunswick County Civil War Round Table Advisory Council.

About Craig Swain

"Historical marker hunter" and Civil War enthusiast.
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