Bentonville, North Carolina

1. Richard Edling, Philadelphia, PA
2. Brian Duckworth, NC
For any use of these photos contact
1. Tour Stop-10
2. NC Junior Reserves
3. Hardee's Counterattack

4. The Bull Pen
1. Battle Summary: Bentonville, NC
2. Site of the Civil War Battle of Bentonville
3. Bentonville: Orders of Battle
4. Battle of Bentonville
5. The Battle of Bentonville: Caring for Casualties of the Civil War
6. North Carolina Civil War Battle Bentonville
7. North Carolina Historic Sites - Bentonville

8. Battle of Bentonville - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
9. Brief Chronology: Battle of Bentonville
10. North Carolina Collection-North Carolina Civil War Image Portfolio introduction
11. Bentonville Battlefield: The Site Today
12. Bentonville Battlefield: Preservation
  Bentonville Tour
Brochure (pdf)
Campaign (pdf)
  Driving Tour
Page1 (pdf)
  Driving Tour
Page2 (pdf)
  Tour Stop
Maps (pdf)
  Bennett Place
Durham, NC
  Brian Duckworth
Battlefield Photos
140th Anniversary
Brian Duckworth
Battlefield Photos
July 2009
  Photos by
Steve Brantley
  Brian Duckworth
145th Anniversary

The battle which took place at Bentonville, North Carolina from the 19th through the 21st of March 1865 was the largest land battle ever fought in North Carolina. It was fought over an area of about six thousand acres of pine woods and fields. By the end of the fighting five hundred forty-three men were killed, over twenty-eight hundred were wounded and the missing numbered nearly nine hundred. Bentonville was the only significant attempt to stop Sherman on his march northward from Atlanta, and the last major Confederate offensive of the War Between the States.
In March of 1865 Union General William T. Sherman and 60,000 Federal troops under his command were in North Carolina. Sherman was marching his troops north from Fayetteville. His ultimate goal was to march to Virginia and join forces with General Ulysses S. Grant. The Union men were divided into two wings of 30,000 men each.
Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston had assumed command of all Confederate forces from Florida to North Carolina on 23 February. In March Johnston's forces numbered about twenty thousand men and he hoped to stop the Federals and prevent them from linking forces with General Grant.
Early on 18 March General Johnston received a message from Lieutenant General Wade Hampton, the Confederate cavalry commander who later served as the first Governor of South Carolina after Reconstruction. The message told of making contact with one wing of Sherman's army. It was now clear Sherman was heading for Goldsboro where there were an additional 40,000 Union soldiers. Johnston began to move his troops south towards Bentonville and most of the Confederate troops were in place in the early morning of 19 March.
Johnston's troops charged the Federals left wing but they failed to overrun the Union line. Nightfall stopped the attack and the rest of Sherman's army, the right wing, arrived on March 20. There was a great deal of heavy skirmishing that day and that night both armies were drenched by a heavy rain which lasted until the morning of 21 March. Later that afternoon Union General J. A. Mower came close to cutting off Johnston's only line of retreat across Mill Creek, but Mower was so anxious to get to Mill Creek and moved so quickly that his troops found themselves exposed about three-quarters of a mile ahead of the other Union troops which were supporting them. Mower was forced to retreat to his original position.
During the rainy night of 21/22 March Johnston learned that Union troops under the command of Major General John Schofield had reached Goldsboro. There was no chance of success now for the Confederates and Johnston began to withdraw his men towards Smithfield. By the morning of 22 March Johnston's men had left Bentonville. The Federals crossed Mill Creek and followed after Johnston for a few miles, but Sherman wanted to get to Goldsboro so there was no serious pursuit of the Confederates.
The Confederates had failed to halt the Union advance. The War in the Carolinas lasted for about another month, but on April 26 near Durham at the home of James and Nancy Bennitt, known today as Bennett Place, General Johnston agreed to surrender his army and the War was over in the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia.
Today the Bentonville Battleground is a North Carolina Historic Site administered by North Carolina's Division of Archives and History which is part of the State's Department of Cultural Resources. The Harper House, which was the home of John and Amy Harper and served as a field hospital during the battle, is still standing. The house has been set up as a field hospital of the period and is part of the Site. Most of the wounded cared for at Harper House were Federals, but some Confederate wounded were taken there after the battle as well. The Harper House is well preserved and furnished circa 1865. There is a also a Visitor Center, a Confederate cemetery and a section of Union trenches. Bentonville Battleground is open year-round and admission is free. Further information can be obtained at (910) 594 0789.

Photos/text this page courtesy of Richard Edling, Philadelphia, PA

(2007) Battle of Bentonville historical marker at intersection of US-701 and SH-1008

(2007) Another marker at the intersection (Plaque #1)



(2007) Harper House (Plaque #2)

(2007) Enlarge Harper House
Used as a hospital by the XIV Corps, March 19-21, 1865. About 500 Union wounded were treated here


(2007) Harper House (Plaque #3)


(2007) Enlarge Union Headquarters (Plaque #4)

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