Long forgotten by history, the Battle of Forks Road was the last domino to fall before Wilmington was captured by Union forces in the final year of the Civil War.
But even more than its military significance, it was a key theater of war for the United States Colored Troops. Across 175 regiments, the USCT was made up primarily of African Americans looking to do their part to ensure President Abraham Lincoln's forces – and his recent Emancipation Proclamation – won the war.
The story of the Battle of Forks Road is an important snapshot of the role African Americans played in a war that would ultimately decide their future, and showed how they were on the frontlines even if that wasn't how history always remembered it.
Joining the episode to tell the story of the USCT and the Battle of Forks Road is Chris E. Fonvielle Jr., a local historian and author who named the battle following his research on the grounds which are now home to the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington.
Cape Fear Unearthed is written, edited and hosted by Hunter Ingram. Additional editing by Adam Fish.
The show is sponsored by Northchase Family Dentistry, Tidewater Heating & Air Conditioning, and Cape Fear Pharmacy.