Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, March 19-21, 1865

Battle of Bentonville
The Battle of Bentonville (March 19–21, 1865) was fought in Bentonville, North Carolina, near the town of Four Oaks, as part of the Carolinas Campaign of the American Civil War.
Carolinas Campaign
It was the last battle between the armies of Union General William T. Sherman and Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston.


The battle started as the right wing of Sherman's army under command of General Oliver O. Howard marched toward Goldsbourough and encountered the entrenched men of Johnston's army. 

On the first day of the battle, the Confederates attacked the XIV Corps and routed two divisions, but the rest of Sherman's army defended their positions successfully. The next day, as Sherman received reinforcements and expected Johnston to withdraw, only minor sporadic fighting occurred. On the third day, as skirmishing continued, the division of  General Joseph A. Mower followed a path into the Confederate rear and attacked. The Confederates were able to repulse the attack, but elected to withdraw from the battlefield that night.

Union Artillery on Morris Farm
Among the Confederate casualties was General William Hardee's only son, Willie. Hardee had reluctantly allowed his teen-aged son to attach himself to the 8th Texas Cavalry just hours before Mower's attack.
Grave of Willie Hardeen

General Hardee

Harper House, used as Union field hospital during the Battle of Bentonville
The farm home of John and Amy Harper, built in the late 1850s, played a key role in the Battle of Bentonville. Occupied by Union troops on the first day of fighting, the house served as a field hospital for Sherman's XIV Army Corps.

Over 500 wounded soldiers, including 45 Confederates, were treated at this facility. John, Amy, and seven of their children remained at the home throughout the battle, helping to care for the wounded men. On March 22, 1865, Sherman's army left the Bentonville area, transporting all Federal wounded to nearby Goldsboro. Wounded Confederate soldiers were left behind at Harper's, many of whom convalesced here for week

As a result of the overwhelming enemy strength and the heavy casualties his army suffered in the battle, Johnston surrendered to Sherman little more than a month later at Bennett Place, near Durham Station. Coupled with Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender earlier in April, Johnston's surrender represented the effective end of the war.

Bentonville Battleground was declared a National Historick Landmark in 1996.
Grave of Unknown Confederate Soldier, 
Bentonville Battleground

1 comment:

  1. Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

    Your article is very well done, a good read.