Emmitsburg Man Helps to Defend the North Carolina Coast

Published Catoctin Banner News, 2007

Alonzo L. Barry was born in October of 1835 in Frederick County. Sometime after the 1850 census, Alonzo was living in Emmitsburg, Maryland and was an apprentice as a tailor with Mr. Webb. During the outbreak of the Civil War, many Emmitsburg men enlisted into army. Some went south into Virginia while others remained loyal to the Union.

Alonzo mustered into the Confederate Army as a Corporal on July 5, 1862 for the duration of the war in the Clark Artillery under the command of Captain Robert G. Rankin which became Company A of 1st Battalion North Carolina Heavy Artillery, formed on March 25, 1863. The 1st Heavy North Carolina Artillery Battalion was organized at Wilmington, North Carolina during the late spring of 1863 with three companies. Company A was known as Clarke Artillery, Company B was known as River Guards and Company C was known as Captain Alexander McRea’s Company. Throughout the war it served along the North Carolina Coast near Wilmington and saw action at Fort Fisher and Fort Anderson. It surrendered with the Army of Tennessee.

Alonzo served in the garrison of Fort Fisher. When Alonzo arrived at Fort Fisher, it was nothing more than several sand batteries mounting fewer than two dozen guns. By January of 1865, Fort Fisher covered one mile of the sea defense and one-third of a mile of land defense.

On August 8, 1863 Alonzo was promoted to Sergeant in Company A of the 1st N.C. Heavy Artillery. On January 13, 1864, Alonzo transferred to the newly formed Company D of Captain James L. McCormic of the 1st N.C. Heavy Artillery. Company D served as part of the defense at Fort Fisher that guarded the entrance to Wilmington. During July and August of 1864, Alonzo was reduced to private and soon afterwards, he transferred to Company B, of the 3rd Battalion of Light Artillery in September of 1864.

Alonzo was appointed as the Bugler of this company and spent December of 1864 serving inside the fortifications of Fort Anderson which also guarded Wilmington. During the winter of 1864-1865, living conditions were harsh due to the elements cause by the weather, disease and lack of provisions. Alonzo’s Captain, William Badham Jr., did not fair to well using pine limbs and planks to make a shelter that was basically a lean-to.

In February of 1865, the Union Army engaged the garrison at Fort Anderson as part of their campaign of taking Wilmington. On February 17th the Federal Army began it’s attack. Battery B of the 3rd North Carolina Light Artillery Battalion supported the defenders of Fort Anderson. It was noted that the 3rd N.C. Artillery Battalion kept the fire hot for several hours. On February 19th, Fort Anderson was abandoned and Wilmington became the last Confederate port to fall into Federal hands on February 22nd, 1865.

After the fall of Wilmington the Confederates withdrew, it is unclear if Alonzo’s company fought at the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina in March of 1865. His unit’s history seems to disappear until May 1st, 1865 when Alonzo was paroled at Greensboro, North Carolina.

Around 1871 Alonzo married Elizabeth. They had their first and only child, Marie around 1872. Alonzo and his family resided in Port Deposit, Cecil County, Maryland from 1880 to 1910. He cannot be found in the 1920 census. Marie never married and worked most of her life as a music teacher in Cecil County.

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