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Looking back to when Civil War soldiers clashed and dashed along local beaches

getactive startingpoint Memories of the Outer Banks’ first tourist invasion. Photo: McCarthy

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Some communities will celebrate historic victories. Others will mourn tragic defeats. Leave it to the Outer Banks to claim a rare mix of “almost won” and “nearly lost” for both sides — a five-day skirmish of mishaps known as the “Chicamacomico Races.”


With the U.S. Navy seizing forts at Hatteras Inlet on August 30,1861, the Union placed 600 Indiana soldiers at Chicamacomico. On October 1, Confederates learned of “Camp Live Oak” after seizing a supply ship. Within three days, they mobilized their “Mosquito Fleet” from Roanoke Island. The strategy? To land the 34th Georgia Regiment north — and the 8th North Carolina Regiment to


the south — ultimately catching the hapless Hoosiers in between. But North Carolina’s vessel ran aground on an uncharted sandbar two miles from their objective. The Union soldiers fell back on Fort Hatteras — forcing the village’s terrified inhabitants across burning sand. The Georgians followed, firing upon their fleeing prey with volleys of musketry. Around midnight, the exhausted Indiana soldiers made it 20 miles to the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, awaiting an attack that never came. (They woke in their makeshift fortress “feeling like sandcrabs, and ready, like them, to go into our holes, could we find them.”) Equally winded, the Georgians had stopped south of Kinnakeet. When they learned no


support troops had landed, they started back for Chicamacomico, having killed eight and captured 40. However, the races were not over. The 9th New York had been marching north from Hatteras since daybreak and caught sight of the Georgians. Now it was the rebels’ turn to run for Roanoke — 16 miles away — with the gunboat Monticello raining shells from off the coast and the Confederate fleet unable to find water close enough to return fire. Eventually, the Rebels made it back to Roanoke; the Federals withdrew to Hatteras. By February 1862, the Union held both. Today, Civil War history dots the Outer Banks from tiny roadside posts on NC12 to the “Freedmen’s Colony” monument to former slaves at Fort Raleigh. But the most obvious souvenir is one rarely associated with musket balls or gray uniforms. While shelling over the dunes, the Monticello’s gunboat captain fired a blast near a cluster of buildings — then made the customary mark on his nautical charts. Future mapmakers accidentally repeated the military note as the name of a hamlet: Salvo. — Mickey McCarthy Thanks to the following sources: Ironclads and Columbiads: The Civil War in North Carolina, The Coast by William R. Trotter; “Hatteras Lost - The Hatteras Expedition” and A Day at the Races: A History of North Carolina in the Civil War by Daniel Hill. Find more local Civil War history at or

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we start really knocking each other around,” says Lewis. “But it’s also the perfect time for beginners to get involved.” So far, as many as 15 women meet three times a week, timing laps and learning techniques. Ages range between 21 and 43 — addresses roam from Rodanthe to Currituck — but they all share the same goals: to train 14 combat-ready players; and expand the team and its fan base while working to meet the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association’s strict competition standards. In fact, they’ve already talked to some VB and Carolina teams about doing a demonstration here in October. It’s hard work, but Lewis believes the team-building process is what makes derby so fun for competitors — and so rewarding for communities.


‘There’s no prize money, so everything is volunteer-driven,” says Lewis, whose former teammates went from playing airplane hangers to packing Seattle’s Key Arena. “As the league grows, it becomes like a big family. The town’s already been super supportive by letting us use the rink, so it’s really up to the girls to decide how far they want to go.”

For more info and updates on practices, find KDH Derby Brigade’s page on Facebook. milepost


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Stuck here on purpose


Stuck here on purpose

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