Near Dunn in Harnett County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
was used as Confederate
hospital during the
Battle of Averasboro,
March 15-16, 1865.
Erected 1961 by Division of Archive and History. (Marker Number H 97.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil.
Location. 35° 16.23′ N, 78° 40.286′ W. Marker is near Dunn, North Carolina, in Harnett County. Marker is on State Highway 82, on the right. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Dunn NC 28335, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Averasboro Battlefield Museum (approx. 0.3 miles away); Battle of Averasboro (approx. 0.3 miles away); North Carolina (approx. 0.3 miles away); Union Headquarters (approx. 0.4 miles away); Chicora Cemetery (approx. half a mile away); Men of South Carolina (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Battle of Averasboro (approx. half a mile away); Confederate Soldiers of McLaws Division (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dunn.
At 3:00 P.M. the Union forces struck a heavy Confederate skirmish line. General Smith Atkins’ 9th Michigan cavalry drove the skirmishers back into the first of three lines of breastworks erected across the road. The Union cavalry then constructed heavy barricades in front of the Confederate works. Nearly three hours after the initial Union attack began, Confederate General W. B. Taliaferro, whose division was holding position, ordered an attack along his line. The Union forces, though hard-pressed, were able to hold their position due to the arrival of reinforcements from the 14th Corps. Nightfall found the two armies in nearly the same positions they had held throughout the afternoon. General W. T. Sherman Union commander, arrived on the field during the night.
At 6:00 A.M. on March 16th, the Union forces attacked Taliaferro’s line, driving the Confederates before them. Then the Southerners launched a desperate counter-attack. A disaster for the Union forces was averted when portions of the 20th Corps arrived upon the field. Three batteries of artillery
Within five hours two newly-arrived Union brigades engaged the Confederates in front, while the brigade of Colonel Henry Case assaulted the Confederate right flank. The attack forced the Confederates to withdraw into their second line of works.
Union General H. J. Kilpatrick’s cavalry found a back road and circled to the rear of the Confederate position. The Union cavalry attempted to use the road to flank the Confederates, but was stopped by Colonel G. P. Harrison’s brigade of McLaws’ division after moving only a short distance.
General Taliaferro decided to abandon the Confederate second position after finding his men in danger of being flanked. At 1:00 P.M. he withdrew to the third and final line of earthworks, where he was assisted by McLaws' division on his left and Wheeler’s dismounted cavalry on his right. Rhett’s disorganized brigade was held in general reserve behind the junction of this road and the Smithfield road.
The Union forces soon advanced and established a strong line immediately in front of the Confederate third line. From the new position they pressed the Confederates all afternoon and part of the evening, but were unable to break the line. At 8:00 P.M. General W. J. Hardee, commanding
General Hardee wished to accomplish two things by contesting the Union advance at Averasboro. The first objective was to determine for General Joseph E. Johnston, commander of all Confederate forces in the Carolinas, whether Sherman’s army was advancing on Raleigh or Goldsboro. The Confederates learned it was moving on Goldsboro. The second objective was to stretch out the distance between Sherman’s left and right wings (which were moving on parallel roads) in order to give General Johnston a chance to concentrate his smaller army and destroy the Union left wing before the right wing could come to its assistance. Both of these objectives were fully accomplished. The stage was now set for the greater Battle of Bentonville fought 25 miles east on March 19-21, 1865.
1. Mark L. Bradley, Last Stand in the Carolinas: The
2. Mark A. Moore, Moore’s Historical Guide to the Battle of Bentonville (1997)
3. John G. Barrett, Sherman’s March Through the Carolinas (1956)
4. Wilson Angley, Jerry L. Cross, and Michael Hill, Sherman’s March through North Carolina: A Chronology (1995)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 14, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 27, 2008, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,382 times since then. Last updated on December 13, 2020, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 27, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 3, 4. submitted on April 26, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. 5, 6. submitted on December 27, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. 7. submitted on April 26, 2011, by Lee Hattabaugh of Capshaw, Alabama. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.