In February 2009, I wrote an article on the Battle of Newport Barracks for the Newport Voice, the monthly local paper. The article was later linked on this blog. This week I picked up a copy of Newport: The Town of Old Fashioned Courtesy by Jack Dudley, published in June of 2010, and looked over the Civil War section of his book, pages 10-11. To my surprise I found a large portion of his section was lifted, at times almost word for word, from my 2009 article. There was no citation, or even a mention in Dudley’s book of my article. In addition to the lack of citation, there were a number of errors in his book. He even managed to take sections of my article and turn them into incorrect statements.
The opening paragraph by Mr. Dudley:
The community saw plenty of action during the Civil War. The Confederate troops built an earthen fort (called Fort Benjamin by the locals) just east of the Newport River, between present day Highway 70 and the railroad track. (There is no record of the fort being called Fort Benjamin in archival sources researched by William Pohoresky.) In March of 1862, Confederate troops evacuated Newport Barracks and burned the railroad bridge in order to impede movement of Union troops by train. The Union troops, the 9th Vermont under the command of Colonel Valentine Barney, subsequently occupied and revamped the fort and barracks.
I will address each incorrect statement in the opening paragraph:
1. The location of the Confederate barracks was located north of Shepardsville (now Newport) and was between the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, the County Road (roughly modern Business Highway 70) and what is today the Masontown Road. The camp, known as Camp Graham , consisted of log huts and was the winter camp from October 1861-March 1862 of the 7th North Carolina Infantry. No fort was located at the camp, but a line of earthworks was.
2. The camp of the 7th North Carolina was abandoned in March of 1862 as the regiment was sent to New Bern to reinforce the troops located there. Never was this camp known as Newport Barracks, it was Camp Graham. The military post known as Newport Barracks was south of the Newport River and built by Union troops with construction starting in April of 1862.
3. The Union troops that arrived in Newport on March 21, 1862 were not members of the 9th Vermont Infantry (the 9th Vermont was not even organized at this point in the war). The troops who captured the town were soldiers from the 5th Rhode Island Infantry. Two weeks later the 9th New Jersey relieved the Rhode Island troops and shortly after began construction of new barracks and earthworks south of the Newport River. This would become the post known as Newport Barracks. The 9th Vermont arrived in Newport in October of 1863.
4. Valentine Barney was not the colonel of the 9th Vermont; he was second in command, as lieutenant colonel, to Colonel Edward Ripley. Ripley commanded the entire post of Newport Barracks, with the command of the regiment falling to Barney. During the Battle of Newport Barracks on February 2, 1864, Ripley was in Newport News, Virginia and Barney was in temporary command of Newport Barracks. Captain Samuel Kelley assumed command of the 9th Vermont during this time.
Mr. Dudley proceeds to follow this paragraph with an entry from the Diary of Valentine Barney, but does not cite the source or where this document can be found. After the second paragraph comes the section which was lifted almost entirely from my 2009 article.
The following are excerpts from Mr. Dudley’s 2010 book, followed by the similar sections from my 2009 article.
On January 28, Confederate troops, numbering about 2,000, under the command of James G. Martin, were dispatched from Wilmington to attack Newport Barracks and divert Union troops from New Bern during Confederate General George Pickett’s ill-fated attempt to regain the city. General Martin’s troops easily overcame pickets at the blockhouses on Gales Creek and Bogue Sound (located near present-day Gethsemane Cemetery).
First point, the attacks on the Gales Creek and Bogue Sound Blockhouses occurred on February 2, 1864. Martin and his command left Wilmington on the 28th. Secondly, the aim of the Confederates was to cut the rail line to prevent reinforcements from Beaufort and Morehead City heading to New Bern, not to draw New Bern forces away.
General Martin and his combined force of over 2,000 troops would march from Wilmington on January 28, 1864.
Soon after, Martin and his troops attack the Bogue Sound Block House (near Gethsemane Cemetery on Highway 24) around 11am and soon a sharp fight followed.
Notice the use of the location of the Bogue Sound Blockhouse, not only that the use of the parenthesis.
On February 2, Martin launched an attack on the Union troops defending Newport Barracks. Barney’s plan was to engage the enemy west of the fort and retreat orderly to the fort, which had rifle pits and artillery. The 9th Vermont fought valiantly, and the plan seemed to be working until the troops reached the fort where they found the men of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery- without orders- had spiked the artillery and abandoned the fort.
Barney advanced his force down the Old Country Road to meet the oncoming Confederates. The plan Barney devised was to form a skirmish line with his troops to slow down the advancing Confederates while orderly withdrawing back to the barracks. Once at the barracks the 9th was to make a stand behind the earthworks and rifle pits with the support of the artillery. Barney felt that between the strong fortifications and the artillery, his force had a good chance to hold off Martin and his attackers.
Notice the use of “orderly withdrawl” and the general context.
The 9th Vermont fought valiantly, and the plan seemed to be working until the troops reached the fort where they found the men of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery- without orders- had spiked the artillery and abandoned the fort. The Confederates easily overpowered the Yankees, who crossed over the railroad trestle and hastily retreated to Beaufort by way of Mill Creek. Barney ordered the bridge and railroad trestle burned after the troops had crossed. But over 40 Federals were captured along with the fort and most of the provisions.
The 9th Vermont fought quite well, only stubbornly giving up each inch of ground as it fought back to the main earthwork defenses at Newport Barracks. The Union plan seemed to be working in good order until the 9th reached the barracks. To the shock of the 9th Vermont, the men of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery without orders had spiked the artillery defending Newport Barracks and retreated back into the town. Without the artillery support Barney realized his force could no longer defend the barracks and so he orders his troops to retreat across the Old Country Road and the railroad trestle.
Once across Barney ordered both the trestle and the bridge over the Newport River burned, placing the river between his command and Martin’s troops. Now safely across the river, the Union defenders of Newport Barracks marched twenty-three miles through the night, down what is today Mill Creek Road and Highway 101, to Beaufort.
Notice the “spiking” of the guns and the use of “without orders” along with stylistic similarities. Also the mention of Mill Creek, I used the modern Mill Creek Road to give readers a general idea of the route of retreat. Mr. Dudley, altered my line to have the 9th Vermont passing through the community.
General Martin and his troops remained in Newport until February 4 before returning to Wilmington after the unsuccessful attempt by General Pickett to recapture New Bern. The following day the 9th Vermont occupied the town and barracks.
Martin and his Confederates captured the barracks and the town and would remain in Newport until February 4 before withdrawing back to Wilmington after the unsuccessful attempt by Pickett to recapture New Bern. The next day the 9th Vermont recaptured the town and barracks without a fight.
Mr. Dudley quotes my 2009 article almost word for word. It should be noted that the 9th Vermont “reoccupied” the town and barracks. The changing of a few words does not mask the fact that this was lifted almost word for word.
Today a historical marker on Chatham Street, east of the Newport River Bridge, commemorates the battle fought on February 2, 1864.
Today a Civil War Trails marker at the corner of Main Street and East Railroad Boulevard commemorates the battle and those who fought.
What is troubling beyond the outright taking of the quote from my article, is that Mr. Dudley in an attempt to change my words has the wrong sign. The North Carolina Historical Marker on Chatham Street that he mentions acctually states “Newport Barracks- Command post for Union defense system from New Bern to Morehead City, 1862-1865. Was 1/3 mi. E.” There is no mention of the battle of February 2, 1864. That marker can be found where I mentioned in the 2009 article. If you are going to lift someone’s work at least get the location and information correct.
Mr. Dudley ends his paragraph there, similar to how I used the same line in the final paragraph of my 2009 article. He closes his Civil War section with another entry from the Diary of Valentine Barney that is not cited.
On page 11 there is a photograph of the 9th Vermont at Newport Barracks. This image was the cover of the 2009 Newport Voice, with my caption of “The 9th Vermont ready to march at Newport Barracks. It’s believed this photo was taken shortly after the arrival of the 9th Vermont to Newport in the fall of 1863.” In his 2010 book, Mr. Dudley captions the photograph as follows: The 9th Vermont Infantry in military formation at Newport Barracks. The photograph was probably made in 1863, shortly after arrival of troops.
Once again almost word for word from my 2009 article.
I do not know Mr. Dudley and truly hope this was not an intentional attempt to use without attribution my work, but unfortunately the evidence seems to point that it was. I would have not had a problem at all if I had been properly credited for the research and writing that went into the article from 2009. If asked I would have gladly given permission and offered other information, but I never was and instead saw my work blatantly lifted and used under the guise of historical research by Mr. Dudley.