CSS Neuse & Gov. Caswell Memorial

Colonial Period – Civil War

Glimpses into two of our nation's most pivotal wars can be found in one historic site within the city of Kinston. Here you will 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

Neuse Teaching Material

Richard Caswell


If you have some free time and are interested in history and/or connecting with the community, we have a great variety of projects and enriching experiences to offer. If your interested but not sure what you have to offer, come by or give us a call and we can discuss it.

What's New

  • The CSS Neuse has moved!
    On June 23rd, 2012, the ironclad's remains were moved to the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center at 100 N. Queen Street in downtown Kinston. The new, fully enclosed and climate-controlled facility is open to the public for tours while permanent exhibits are in development. Currently, visitors can view the remains of the CSS Neuse, along with temporary exhibits and an orientation video. The Governor Caswell Memorial (2612 W. Vernon Ave.) also remains open to the public during this time.

Upcoming Events

  • December 7 and 8:
    A Walk Through Christmas Past

    Friday and Saturday, 6 to 8 pm
    Join the volunteers and staff at the CSS Neuse as we present a unique evening museum theater program entitled, "A Walk Through Christmas Past."
    Visitors will be escorted through the museum and witness four different skits or vignettes that show what families, soldiers, and sailors would have been doing at Christmas in 1861, 1862, 1864, and 1865.
    In 1861, most people thought the war would be over by Christmas. Ladies at home tried to support the men at war by stitching socks, making shirts, and mending clothes. By 1862, War had come to the doorsteps of Kinston. Soldiers in the trenches outside of town would have had a very cold and meager Christmas to celebrate. In 1864, the crew of the CSS Neuse would have celebrated their only Christmas on board ship. It's doubtful that any decorations were hung, but the officers and men would certainly have had a chance to observe the holiday in the city. Finally, in 1865, with the war over, the real price of the war could be calculated by counting the empty chairs around the supper table.
    Cost for the program is $10 for adults, $5 for children 4-12, children under 3 are free.
    Pre-registration is required. Each tour will last approximately 25-30 minutes. There will be activities, cookies, and cider available while visitors are waiting to go on tour. Please arrive ten minutes prior to your tour departure time. Purchase tickets at:
    If you have any questions, please contact Rachel at 252-526-960 ext. 222 or rachel.kennedy@ncdcr.gov.

  • December 8:
    Victorian Open House

    Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm
    Join us for a day of cookies, cider, and crafts for the whole family. You can help us decorate our tree and tour the museum at no charge. This event is free, and open to the public.

  • December 31:
    New Year's Eve Gunboat Gala

    Monday, 8 pm to Tuesday, 12:30 am
    Join the CSS Neuse Gunboat Association at the Inaugural New Year's Eve Gunboat Gala at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center in downtown Kinston. Dine, drink, and dance to great music in the shadow of the only remaining commissioned Confederate ironclad from the Civil War. Dress is modern day formal or 1860's formal for the event. The funds raised from the event will go towards the completion of the exhibits at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center. Tickets are limited, so don't miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to ring in the New Year!

  • Stay tuned for more upcoming events . . .

View NC DNCR Upcoming Events Calendar

CSS Neuse & Gov. Caswell Memorial Information

Contact Us

CSS Neuse
100 N. Queen St.
Kinston, NC 28501
Phone: (252) 522-2107
Email: cssneuse@ncdcr.gov

Gov. Caswell Memorial
2612 W. Vernon Ave. (U.S. 70 Bus.)
Kinston, NC 28504
Phone: (252) 522-2091
Fax: (252) 527-7036
Email: cssneuse@ncdcr.gov

Hours of Operation

For Neuse:

Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm
(Last guided tour begins at 4 pm.)
Closed Sunday and Monday

For Caswell:

Tuesday-Friday 10 am – 2 pm
Saturday 10 am – 4 pm

Visitors should call ahead, as hours sometimes change unexpectedly. Large groups should call ahead for tour arrangements.


Adults - $5
Seniors (65+) - $4
Active Military (w/ I.D.) - $4
Children (Ages 3 - 12) - $3
Children (Ages 0 - 2) - Free

Special rates for groups of 10 or more. Ask for prices when you schedule group. CSS Neuse Gunboat Association memberships available. Members in good standing receive free admission.

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