Bentonville in Johnston County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Village of Bentonville
Wounded and Abandoned
—Carolinas Campaign —
(Preface):The Carolinas Campaign began on February 1, 1865, when Union Gen. William T. Sherman led his army north from Savannah, Georgia, after the “March to the Sea.” Sherman's objective was to join Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia to crush Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Scattered Confederate forces consolidated in North Carolina, the Confederacy's logistical lifeline, where Sherman defeated Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's last-ditch attack at Bentonville. After Sherman was reinforced at Goldsboro late in March, Johnston saw the futility of further resistance and surrendered on April 26, essentially ending the Civil War.
Hoping to deflect Union Gen. William T. Sherman's army from Goldsboro, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston attacked Sherman's Left Wing here on March 19, 1865, after finding it separated from the Right Wing, located several miles southeast. As the fighting intensified, Sherman led the Right Wing here in support. Johnston's forces, vastly outnumbered, withdrew to Smithfield on March 21, and Sherman's army marched to Goldsboro.
You are standing in the center of the wartime location of the village of Bentonville. Named for John Benton, this tiny hamlet gave its name to the largest Civil War battle ever fought in North Carolina. On March 21, 1865, Union
Johnston’s army and most of his wounded retreated toward Smithfield during the night of March 21. At sunrise, Confederate Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s men attempted to destroy the Mill Creek bridge by igniting barrels of rosin. When the bridge failed to burn, they threw the flooring into the creek. After the Federals occupied Bentonville, they discovered in several Confederate field hospitals more than 60 seriously wounded men of Johnston’s army as well as about 45 of their own. Union Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s Right Wing spent most of the day removing the Federal wounded and burying the dead while Gen. Henry W. Slocum’s Left Wing continued toward Goldsboro. Before the Right Wing left Bentonville, an unidentified high-ranking officer seeking to aid the abandoned Confederate wounded “ordered his quartermaster to supply them with both rations and medicine.”
On the evening of March 22, the 100th Indiana Infantry built “fires on the battlefield along our picket lines so that we could move about without stumbling over the graves and dead bodies.” – Capt. Eli Sherlock, 100th
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 20.903′ N, 78° 17.835′ W. Marker is in Bentonville, North Carolina, in Johnston County. Marker is on Devil's Racetrack Road (State Highway 1009), on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Four Oaks NC 27524, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bentonville (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Village of Bentonville (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mower’s Charge Reaches Johnston’s Headquarters (approx. 0.2 miles away); Hardee’s Counterattack (approx. ¼ mile away); Johnston’s Headquarters (approx. ¼ mile away); Johnston Establishes His Headquarters (approx. ¼ mile away); Confederate Works (approx. 0.3 miles away); Mill Creek (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Bentonville.
More about this marker. The bottom of the marker contains photographs of Gen. Joseph A. Mower and Gen. William J. Hardee, both courtesy of the Library of Congress. The bottom right of the marker features a “Wartime Sketch
Also see . . .
1. Scene of the Last Major Confederate Offensive of the Civil War. (Submitted on December 24, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Civil War Traveler. North Carolina Civil War Trails. (Submitted on December 24, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 886 times since then and 40 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 2, 3. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 4, 5. submitted on , by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.