05/23/04 — Ole Timey Days planned

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Ole Timey Days planned

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on May 23, 2004 2:06 AM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Vendors are welcome to sign up for the Ole Timey Days festival next month, which will feature two narrated performances of a Civil War battle.

Union and Confederate soldiers fought the Battle of Whitehall in 1862, and re-enactors will do it again twice on June 12 in downtown Seven Springs.

The festival in Seven Springs, which used to be called Whitehall, will begin at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony. The first battle will follow at 10:30 a.m. on both sides of the Neuse River. The re-enactors will present another battle at 1:30 p.m.

Randy Sauls of Goldsboro will narrate the performances from the bridge, which had been destroyed before the actual battle. The battle is being organized by Danny Davis, commander of the Andrews Battery of Goldsboro.

The street will be closed for craft and food vendors from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., and a period fashion show and other activities are planned for the air-conditioned banquet room of the Seven Springs Restaurant.

Re-enactors are to start arriving Friday afternoon and set up camp behind the River House, where on Saturday they will provide a "living history" campground, a Confederated Navy unit, a field hospital and infantry and artillery demonstrations.

To reserve a vendor booth or for more information about the festival, call Karen and Bobby Mozingo at the River House at 569-1581.

"We hope it will be a success," said Mrs. Mozingo. "This is the first battle we know of in eastern North Carolina that will be re-enacted on a real battlefield. The whole town was a battlefield."

The Confederates will be on the north side of the river, and the Union soldiers will be on the south side where the town is.

The battle was part of Foster's Raid.

"They had occupied the town for less than 72 hours while on their way to Goldsboro Bridge," said Mozingo. "There was a skirmish. We tried to block them on their way."

A Union reconnaissance unit of 600 cavalry was passing through Whitehall and spotted where the ironclad C.S.S. Neuse was being built. They started firing at the gunboat. Confederate Commander Beverly Roberts ordered the bridge destroyed so they couldn't cross it.

"They fired at each other all night long on Dec. 15," said Mozingo. "The Union lit 100 barrels of turpentine and stood around it. The Confederates shot them. It was a blunder for them. They had wanted to light up the area, but they lit up themselves."

They left the next day for Goldsboro Bridge, which they blew up, and returned to New Bern.

"As they came back, we're told they were very quiet and solemn passing by Seven Springs," said Mozingo. "Nobody knows how many were killed or where they're buried."