Rocky Mount is a city in Edgecombe and Nash counties in the coastal plain of the state of North Carolina. Although it was not formally incorporated until February 28, 1907, the North Carolina community that became the city of Rocky Mount dates from the beginning of the 19th century. The first post office in the area opened in 1816. The city's population is currently at 57,477.

Rocky Mount in The Guns of the South[]

Rocky Mount was a cotton mill town in Nash County, North Carolina. Being a stop on the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad, the town prospered with extensive warehousing for both cotton and tobacco.

When Nate Caudell was demobilized from the Army of Northern Virginia, he took the train south from Richmond to Rocky Mount on his way home to Nashville. Standing at the station, he noted that a number of mills and warehouses had been burned to the ground by Federal raiders the previous year.

Caudell entered the station and was informed by the stationmaster that he had just missed the stagecoach and the next one wasn't due for 2-3 days. Caudell decided to idle by the station for a spell. While doing so, a northbound train arrived carrying freed Federal POWs. One, healthier than most, disembarked to stretch his legs and began chatting with Caudell. Thus began the friendship between Caudell and Henry Pleasants.

Rather than stand in the hot sun, Caudell invited Pleasants to join him for a drink in the nearest tavern. Setting down two silver dimes, Caudell bought a quart of whiskey. One drink led to another and finally the two staggered out at sunset with Pleasants' train long gone. They took it for a omen that Pleasants should remain in the Confederacy and the next day he set out by train, with a loan from Caudell, for Wilmington to hire on to the railroad. Caudell, meanwhile, decided to walk to Nashville rather than wait for the next stage.

Rocky Mount in "The Last Reunion"[]

In 1932, 91-year-old John Houston Thorpe departed from his home town of Rocky Mount to attend a reunion of Confederate veterans in Richmond. When he'd first come to Richmond during the War Between the States, not a town in North Carolina had held as many as 5000 inhabitants, and Richmond, with 40,000 strong, seemed a metropolis swollen beyond belief. In 1932, Rocky Mount had nearly as many people as 1860s Richmond, but he failed to find it large, because Thorpe and Rocky Mount had grown together. Except that the town had grown up, while the man had grown old.[1]

Rocky Mount in Southern Victory[]

Rocky Mount was one of the few places in the Confederate States where a substantial number of Negroes managed to survive the Second Great War. In late 1944, United States Army General Harlan Parsons fielded a phone call from Rocky Mount inquiring as to the status of Negroes after the war, and whether interracial marriage was acceptable.

However, it was not fully reconciled with US occupation. Later that year General Irving Morrell learned that a dozen US command cars were sabotaged with sugar in their gas tanks. The local occupation commander solved the problem by commandeering civilian vehicles to replace those that were damaged prior to making his report to Morrell. The entire town was fined.


  1. Departures, p. 156-157.