William Capehart

(Bertie County)

Featured Character – A Soldier's Life

William Capehart

Dr. William R. Capehart

Courtesy of the North Carolina State Archives

The son of Bertie County planter George Washington Capehart, William Rhodes Capehart attended several preparatory schools in Edenton.  From 1854 to 1856, Capehart also studied physiology and anatomy at the University of Virginia.  After war broke out, he applied for a commission as an assistant surgeon in the Confederate Army.  Although from North Carolina, Capehart served with the 60th Virginia Infantry.  Promoted to surgeon on August 12, 1862, he received a transfer to the 1st Confederate Infantry, composed mostly of troops from Georgia.  Stationed in Cheraw, South Carolina from October 1863 to March 1864, Capehart wrote frequently to his parents, who took refuge from the war in western North Carolina.  Their letters mention frequent food shortages, animosity toward Northerners, and concerns about the family’s slaves.  Capehart surrendered with Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox in April 1865.  Following his grandfather’s death, Capehart inherited Avoca Plantation, the family plantation at Merry Hill, Bertie County.  Although he practiced as a doctor, Capehart also continued to operate the family’s herring fishery on Batchelor Bay.  William Rhodes Capehart died at Avoca on July 20, 1907.