New Bern Civil War Battlefield Park

I’ve made my home in Coastal North Carolina for 23 years. Many times traveling on Highway 70 I had noticed the “Brown Sign” for the New Bern Civil War Battlefield Park. Now in my mind the term “battlefield” stirred up visions of a large open area. A field. I was wrong.

On a whim, when I was heading home from a visit to the Island Creek Walk in the Croatan National Forest, I made the turn off of the highway to check out the park. Much to my surprise and pleasure I found 33 acres, mostly wooded, with nice hiking trails.

The woods is primarily pine forest, like much of our coastal areas. There are some views of some swampy areas, the Bullen Brank of Brice’s Creek, with lovely Bald Cypress growing in them. Most of the trails are surfaced with decomposed stone. A few of the paths are natural ground. The trails are relatively easy, with a few moderate inclines.

From a photographic view there is opportunity for some nice woodlands landscape work. The site is also popular with local birdwatchers and offers some nice avian photography opportunities as well. Since I’ve yet to visit the park in the Spring I’m not certain about the park’s macro potential. There is definitely an abundance of ferns and I’d be surprised if there aren’t some wild flowers to be found some of the year.

For the history buff there is a nice brochure at the visitors center that describes the events that took place on that rainy day, in 1862. A variety of sign panels gives details of the battle at various locations along the trails. There are plans to have an audio tour via visitors cell phones in the near future.

The battle involved 11,000 Federal troops, 13 Union gunboats and 4,000 Confederate soldiers. Fighting started around 7:30 AM and ended a bit after noon. The conflict resulted in 1,085 Federal and Confederate men killed, wounded or captured. The Union troops occupied the city of New Bern for the remainder of the War between the States.

The park is managed by the New Bern Historical Society. The Society depends on donations by visitors and the generosity of its members. They receive no government funding to maintain the park. There is a depository located at the visitors center or you may make a donation online at

Below are some photos I’ve taken at the park. I invite you to follow me on Instagram at You’d also be welcomed as a follower of my Facebook page, If you’d like to purchase any of my prints or photo products check out

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