Robert F. Hoke

Featured Character – 1864 Confederate Decline

Headquarters Flag of General Robert F. Hoke

Courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of History

Robert Frederick Hoke was born in Lincolnton, North Carolina on May 27, 1837. Though he graduated from the Kentucky Military Institute in 1854, he gained no military experience prior to entering into Confederate service in 1861. He enlisted in the 1st North Carolina Infantry and was appointed second lieutenant. Within five months, after the Battle of Big Bethel, he was promoted to major of the 33rd North Carolina troops. Over the next year and a half, Hoke fought at the Peninsula Campaign, the Seven Days at Chancellorsville, the Second Battle of Manassas, and Antietam, and was promoted twice during this time gaining the rank of colonel. On January 17, 1863, Hoke was promoted to brigadier general and led a brigade at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, where he was severely wounded. Upon recovery, he led a brigade to North Carolina, where he became the hero of the Battle of Plymouth by successfully capturing a garrison of 3,000 Union troops. On April 20, 1864, he was made, at the age of 26, the youngest major general in the Confederate Army. His first act as major general was to lead at the Battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia, where his actions were significant to the Confederate victory. He then marched his men back to North Carolina to defend Fort Fisher and to take part in the Battle of Bentonville.  After Johnston’s surrender to William T. Sherman at Bennett’s Farm, Hoke told his men that “the proudest day in all your proud careers was that on which you enlisted as southern soldiers.”  After the war, and played a prominent role in several Confederate veterans’ organizations.  Robert Frederick Hoke died in Raleigh on July 3, 1912.