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city, Nash and Edgecombe counties, east-central North Carolina, U.S., about 50 miles (80 km) east-northeast of Raleigh. The area was settled in the mid-1700s by Virginians after the war (1711-13) with the Tuscarora Indians. The name Rocky Mount, first used in 1816 to designate the location of the area's first post office, was probably derived from the rocky mounds and ridges along its site near the falls of the Tar River. After the arrival of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad in 1840, it developed as a rail centre and merged with the village of Rocky Mount Hills (established 1818) that had grown around cotton mills by the falls. Rocky Mount was destroyed by Union troops in 1863 during the American Civil War.