Windows of Wayne


Goldsboro News-Argus - Windows of Wayne

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12 historiCal Goldsboro was an important railroad junction during the Civil War. Confederate troops were stationed here to guard the city and report for duty by rail. Hospitals were established and over 800 Confederate soldiers were buried in a mass grave at Willowdale Cemetery. Breastworks were built to protect the city. Remains are still visible along Claiborne Street. THE BATTLE OF GOLDSBOROUGH BRIDGE: FOSTER'S RAID In December 1862, Union General John Foster marched from New Bern with an army of 12,000 men. The intent was to interrupt the Confederate supply chain by destroying the railroad bridge which crossed the Neuse River, three miles south of Goldsborough. On December 17, Union troops attacked and pushed back a small force of 2,000 Confederates, then burned the bridge and destroyed miles of railroad tracks. That afternoon Confederate forces attacked the rear of Foster's army as it was leaving the field. The Confederates suffered over 150 casualties and Union losses were under 100. Re-enactments of the battle are held on the site every two years. THE UNION OCCUPATION OF GOLDSBOROUGH In 1865, Goldsborough was Union General Sherman's destination on his march through the Carolinas. Three Union armies converged on Goldsborough and captured the city in March. Union hospitals were established, and the city was occupied for three weeks by over 100,000 Union soldiers. CROSSROADS OF HISTORY Wayne County lies at a crossroads. From navigable rivers used by the Tuscarora tribes through the Revolutionary period, to being home of the world's longest railroad (at the time), and the stage line, Wayne County has been a commercial center for centuries. Come walk a mile and explore the past. CIVIL WAR HISTORY First activated in 1942, the installation was named in honor of U.S. Navy Lt. Seymour A. Johnson, a Goldsboro native, who was killed in March 1941. By 1944, the primary mission of the base was to train P-47 Thunderbolt pilots. Following World War II, the base was inactivated. In 1954, Goldsboro Mayor Scott B. Berkeley Sr. and a group of business leaders successfully lobbied to have the base reopened. Seymour Johnson was reactivated in 1956. Two years later, the storied 4th Fighter Group then known as the 4th Fighter Day Wing arrived. Today it is home of the 4th Fighter Wing, which flies the F-15E Strike Eagle, and the 916th Air Refueling Wing, which flies the KC-135R Stratotanker. In 2001, former Department of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld named SJAFB the winner of the 2001 Commander-In-Chief's Award for Installation Excellence, recognizing outstanding and innovative efforts. As one of five recipients of this award, SJAFB was selected for its exemplary support of the Department of Defense mission and received $1.1 million in base improvements. Base tours for the public are offered monthly through the Goldsboro Wayne County Travel & Tourism office. For more information, call (919) 734-7922. SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE 2017 Windows of Wayne.indd 12 12/13/16 7:32 PM

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