The Civil War Comes to Rocky Mount Mills

In the predawn hours of July 20, 1863, Union troops under the command of Major Ferris Jacobs of the Third New York Cavalry rode into Rocky Mount, North Carolina, intending to destroy the vital railroad bridge across the Tar River. They successfully burned the bridge, before turning their guns and torches to the rest of Rocky Mount. By the time Jacobs’s forces left town, they’d burned a railroad train and the city depot, the local telegraph office, a smaller county-operated bridge across the river, a four-story tall flour mill, Confederate supplies waiting for shipment, cotton bales, and around thirty wagons. In Jacobs’s own words “the destruction of property was large and complete.”  Among the most important of their targets was Rocky Mount Mills. Union  burned the building to the ground, stalling operations for years and changing the course of the mill’s history. Military raids were common throughout the Civil War, but the situation in eastern North Carolina during 1863 meant that...
Read More

Welcome!

In the summer of 2016, we're starting a history project about Rocky Mount Mills, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. We're conducting oral histories in Rocky Mount (you can sign up to talk to us here.) And we're looking through newspapers, letters, employee records, photographs and many other sources in places like the Southern Historical Collection and North Carolina Collection at UNC. Eventually, we'll have lots of information to share here. In the meantime, members of our team will be making frequent posts here. We'll write about our research process and share interesting discoveries with you. And we'll start to tell you a bit more about the people who worked at Rocky Mount Mills during almost two centuries of operation.  Please follow along, and get in touch if you've got comments or questions....
Read More