AREA MILITARY HISTORY
You only have to look at the names to learn that Fayetteville/Cumberland County has a rich military heritage. The city itself is named for a famous general of the War Of Independence: The Marquis de Lafayette. Cumberland County also bears the name of a famous British military man. The Duke of Cumberland was the first to dispatch British soldiers to North America to defend the colonies against French and Indians.
The Revolutionary War
In the War of Independence, the village of Cross Creek, renamed for Lafayette after the war, served as a supply point and rendezvous for soldiers on both sides. In late 1775, Loyalists rallied in the village to march to the Battle of Moore’s Creek Bridge, where Patriots won an early victory of the war. From then on, Patriots were usually in firm control. In the summer of 1775, a gathering of villagers signed a defiant document known as "the Association" or the "Liberty Point Resolves," a precursor of the Declaration of Independence.
The Early 19th Century
After the war, Fayetteville was home to a colorful population of war veterans, several of whom were convivial innkeepers. As late as the 1820s, Fourth of July parades included a contingent of "Heroes of the Revolution," and one of them, Isham Blake, greeted his old comrade Lafayette when the French hero of the war visited his namesake town in 1825. The town has the distinction of being home of the second oldest existing volunteer militia company in the country. The Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry first mustered in 1793. The company’s history includes every war since then. FILI men served in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil war, Spanish-American War, and World War I. The company has its own museum and its own memorial park. Today’s authentic-uniformed ceremonial company participates in public events as a color guard and marching unit.
The Civil War
In 1838, Congress chose Fayetteville as a site of a U.S. arsenal. The handsome brick and stone buildings on Haymount were an ornament to the antebellum village. During the Civil War, the arsenal was taken cover by the Confederacy. It turned out rifles, gun carriages and ammunition for Confederate armies. In that war, hundreds of Fayetteville men were soldiers for Confederate armies. In later years of the war, the town maintained convalescent hospitals for wounded soldiers. In the 20th century, Fayetteville was site of a home for widows of Confederate veterans. On March 11, 1865, the arsenal was recaptured by the Union army commanded by General William Tecumseh Sherman. The column of troops - 60,000 strong - marched into Fayetteville as the climax to a great sweep across the heartland of the Confederacy. The arsenal was razed as Sherman’s triumphant column headed north out of the town. The arsenal grounds and footings are a state historical site. Remnants of three other Civil War military earthworks still exist in and around the city. The Civil War story in Fayetteville can be walked through a series of informative plaques known as "The Civil War Trail."
Fayetteville’s rich array of volunteer military units lists several pioneering African-American outfits. Earliest mention of such a militia company is in 1876, when a unit known as "The Fayetteville Rifle Guards (Colored)" led the march line in the Fourth of July parade. In later decades of the 19th century, the local African-American company was the "Howard Light Infantry." African-American soldiers served in the Spanish-American War, and hundreds became Doughboys in World War I. Walter Richardson, a Fayetteville African-American soldier, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery in the trenches of France in 1918.
Veteran’s Medical Center
Fayetteville is a center of military medicine and care of veterans. In 1938, the U.S. government built what is today’s Veterans Medical Center, which has served veterans of conflicts back to World War I. A state veterans home and an official military cemetery are located in the area.
world War I
Fayetteville’s modern military heritage centers in Fort Bragg. "Camp Bragg" was established in 1918 when the Army expanded its field artillery training facilities for World War I. Named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg, a former U.S. Army artillery officer from North Carolina, the camp became a permanent post and was renamed Fort Bragg in 1922. Fort Bragg’s rich airborne history and tradition was informally launched in 1934 when artillery spotters jumped from a balloon platform.
world War II
In 1940, Fort Bragg exploded from a sleepy peacetime post of a few thousand soldiers to a sprawling training cantonment of more than 60,000 servicemen. When World War II came on December 7, 1941, thousands of Fort Bragg troops deployed for battlefronts in every corner of the world. In 1942, the burgeoning airborne element of the Army relocated to Fort Bragg from Fort Benning, Georgia. The post has been "Home of the Airborne" ever since.
Fort BRagg Today
Today, Fort Bragg is the world’s largest airborne facility with more than 45,000 military personnel. It is permanent home to the 82nd Airborne Division and the 18th Airborne Corps, as well as dozens of supporting units. It is also home to the ’tip of the spear’ forces known as Special Operations, the fabled "Green Berets," as well as Psychological Operations Command, the super-secret Delta Force, and the colorful "Golden Knights" of the U.S. Army Parachute Team. Fort Bragg and neighboring Pope Air Force Base form one of the largest military complexes in the world.
Pope Air force Base
Pope Air Force Base -the 43rd Airlift Wing and two tenant units: the 23rd Fighter Group and the 18th Air Support Operations Group. Pope Air Force Base has played a leading role in the development of tactics and air-power throughout history. Missions at Pope range from airlift and close air support for American armed forces, to humanitarian missions flown all over the world. The War Department officially established "Pope Field" in 1919, and it ranks among the oldest installations in the Air Force. It is named after First Lieutenant Harley Halbert Pope, who was killed on January 7,1919 when the JN-4 Jenny he was flying crashed into the Cape Fear River. Original operations included photographing terrain for mapping, carrying the mail, and spotting for artillery and forest fires. Today it supports airborne missions around the world. Like the men and women of Fort Bragg, Pope personnel have been in the lineup for every overseas mission of the armed services since the end of World War II. Pope AFB, with its unique mission, equipment and dedicated personnel, is a valuable component of the Air Force’s "Global Engagement: A Vision for the Twenty-First Century Air Force."