Laurinburg in Scotland County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Old Laurel Hill Church
“O when will this cruel war end”
—Carolina Campaign —
The Carolina 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 with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia to crush 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 near Durham on April 26, essentially ending the Civil War.
On March 8, 1865, part of Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s army, having crossed into the state from South Carolina, camped near Old Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church. Here Sherman authorized a change in foraging policy as his troops entered North Carolina. His men, blaming South Carolina for starting the war, had looted ruthlessly as they marched through the state. Hoping that North Carolinians would embrace the Federal army and quickly rejoin the Union, Sherman issued orders to “deal as moderately and fairly by the North Carolinians as possible, and fan the flame of discord already subsisting between them and their proud cousins of South Carolina.
“On the 8th of March the headquarters staff was bivouacked in the woods near Laurel Hill. The army was absolutely cut off from everywhere. It had no base; it was weeks since Sherman had heard from the North or since the North had heard from him.” –Samuel H.M. Byers, of Sherman’s staff
This church was one of several buildings in the thriving town of Laurel Hill at the time of the war. Organized in 1797, the congregation constructed the current sanctuary in 1856. Laurel Hill was a prominent stop on Old Wire Road, a main thoroughfare through the region. After the Civil War, the increased dependence on the railroad meant that Laurinburg, a stop on the Wilmington, Charlotte and Rutherford Railroad to the south, outgrew Laurel Hill.
(right) Several Union soldiers wrote their names in the plaster of the church steeple. The piece to
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails. (Marker Number 310.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 34° 49.914′ N, 79° 27.936′ W. Marker is in Laurinburg, North Carolina, in Scotland County. Marker is at the intersection of McFarland Road and Laurel Hill Church Road, on the right when traveling west on McFarland Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15301 McFarland Road, Laurinburg NC 28352, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sherman's March (approx. 0.7 miles away); Laurinburg Institute (approx. 3.4 miles away); Original Richmond Cotton Mill (approx. 3.7 miles away); Murdoch Morrison Gun Factory (approx. 3.7 miles away); Murdoch Morrison (approx. 3.7 miles away); Our Confederate Heroes (approx. 3.9 miles away); Quackenbush (approx. 3.9 miles away); Scotland County Veterans Memorial (approx. 3.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Laurinburg.
Regarding Old Laurel Hill Church. Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church
The following text is taken from the Presbyterian Historical Society website:
Organized in 1797, Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church is the oldest Presbyterian congregation in Scotland County. The congregation has been the "mother church" of at least eight other congregations in the region. The present building, the third structure on land donated by Hon. Duncan McFarland, was erected in 1856 by local craftsmen. The dome that once graced the cupola has been replaced by the present octagonal spire, pews removed by Federal troops were restored, and the slave gallery was demolished. The church is now the oldest church building still in use in Scotland County and remains an important example of American vernacular Greek Revival church architecture. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Categories. • Churches & Religion • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 7, 2018. This page originally submitted on November 21, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 394 times since then and 60 times this year. Last updated on August 18, 2018, by Douglass Halvorsen of Klamath Falls, Oregon. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 21, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.