NC History Tour - 6-9-07

The third of five scheduled NC MRF History Tours was held in North Carolina on June 9th. The tour started in Garner and traveled to Kinston, NC to the site of the CSS Neuse memorial site.

We would like to thank the riders who came out for this tour. Eleven riders from the Wake County area started the tour and then met up with 44 riders from the Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Cavalry. A total of 55 riders attended this tour.

These riders understand the importance of protecting the things they love. Riding our motorcycles is important to all of us and these riders have shown their love for motorcycling by financially supporting the Motorcycle Riders Foundation on this History Tour. Even though MRF members ride for free on these tours, we were still able to make a $180 Freedom Fighter donation to the MRF. That donation will go directly towards our fight at the federal level for fair motorcycle related legislation.

If you are not already an MRF member, please consider joining. The MRF is completely focused on supporting street motorcycling. Join online HERE.

We would like to thank Mike Hodges and David Williams for their help in the operation of this tour. We'd also like to thank long-time MRF Individual Sustaining Member Bruce Harris for his dedication to the MRF, his time and effort in organizing and planning this History Tour, and his enthusiasm for creating fun, alternate riding opportunities for North Carolina riders.


CSS Neuse State Historic Site and Governor Caswell Memorial

Glimpses into two of our nation's most pivotal wars can be found in one historic site within the city of Kinston. Here you can explore the celebrated life of Richard Caswell, the first governor of the independent state of North Carolina. You will also see up close the remnants of the ironclad gunboat CSS Neuse, a product of the Confederate Navy's ill-fated attempt to regain control of the lower Neuse River and retake the city of New Bern during the Civil War.

CSS Neuse Memorial

The CSS Neuse was one of 22 ironclads commissioned by the Confederate navy. Having a wide, flat bottom, the vessel resembled a river barge. When completed, the twin-screw steamer was plated with iron armor and measured 158 feet long and 34 feet wide. Delays in construction, low water, and lack of ground support prevented the gunboat from entering combat below Kinston. When Union troops occupied Kinston in March 1865, the Neuse was burned by its crew, resulting in a large explosion in her port bow, which sank the vessel.

The muddy waters of the Neuse River preserved the gunboat for nearly 100 years. Private efforts to recover the ship began in 1961; but poor weather, lack of funds, and ownership controversies prevented the ship from being raised until 1963. A year later the hull was transported to the site where it now rests.

Amazingly, nearly 15,000 artifacts were recovered from the ship. The Neuse collection, one of the largest for a Confederate naval vessel, provides valuable insight into 19th-century shipbuilding and naval warfare. A portion of the collection is on display in the Visitor Center, along with a beautiful scale model of the ship. Constructed by Lt. Cmdr. John S. MacCormack, the model features a starboard cutaway section that reveals the gunboat's intricate interior features and armament.

Governor Caswell Memorial

Also at the site is the Governor Richard Caswell Memorial, which honors one of Kinston's most important early citizens. A native of Maryland, Caswell founded the town of Kinston, and served as North Carolina's first elected governor.

CSS Neuse State Historic Site (and Governor Caswell Memorial)
2612 W. Vernon Ave. (U.S. 70 Bus.) P.O. Box 3043 Kinston, N.C. 28502
Phone: (252) 522-2091 Fax: (252) 527-7036
Monday-Saturday, 9-5 (last guided tour at 4 p.m.) Closed Sunday