Near Newton Grove in Johnston County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Michigan Engineers Original Field Works
On March 19, 1865, while on detached service with the 20th Corps, Maj. Gen. Alpheus Williams ordered the 1st Michigan Engineers to be placed here to help extend his defensive line. This was an extraordinary assignment for the Michiganders, who were unaccustomed to being deployed in such a manner. It was during that time that they dug these trenches.
Field works provided exposed infantry with excellent protection from small arms and artillery fire. Troops constructed them quickly, with little supervision from an engineer officer. Using picks, shovels, tin plates, cups, bayonets, and even their hands, soldiers dug on each side of and threw
Unfortunately, natural and man made erosion has destroyed most of the original field works at Bentonville. In order to protect these priceless remnants of the battle, we request that you stay off of them.
The instant our line halted, knapsacks were flung off and the rear rank, supplied with axes and spades, used them with marvelous energy and effect. Small trees were quickly felled, cut into logs and carried to the line, where a ditch was begun and dirt thrown over the logs to form a parapet. In forty minutes from the halt, a line of earthworks had been built from which it would have been a costly effort to dispossess their defenders.
- 22nd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantryman William McIntosh, whose unit was next to the 1st Michigan Engineers.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. A significant historical date for this entry is March 19, 1865.
Location. 35° 18.355′ N, 78° 19.351′ W. Marker is near Newton Grove, North Carolina, in Johnston County. Marker is on Mill Creek Church Road, on the right when traveling north. Marker is located on the Bentonville Battlefield. It Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Newton Grove NC 28366, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Naval Stores (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Federal Earthworks (approx. 0.2 miles away); North Carolinians at the Battle of Bentonville (approx. ¼ mile away); Bentonville Battlefield Driving Tour (approx. ¼ mile away); Battle of Bentonville (approx. ¼ mile away); Bentonville Battlefield (approx. ¼ mile away); North Carolina Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Texas (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Newton Grove.
More about this marker. A number of photographs and portraits appear on the marker. The left side features a “Circa 1957 image of the trenches, which shows their deterioration 92 years after the battle - North Carolina State Archives, and “Members of Company B, 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics posing on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee, 1863 - State Archives of Michigan. The upper right of the marker a photo of “Field works from the Battle of the Wilderness in Virginia. When first constructed, the works in front of you might have looked very similar to these. - Library of Congress.” Below this are portraits of “Col. John B. Yates, commander of the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics during the Battle of Bentonville - Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan”, and “Pvt. Elliot F. Moore, 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics. Moore was only 18 when he enlisted in 1863 and was not yet 20 by the Battle of Bentonville - State Archive of Michigan.”
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Take a tour of the Roadside Exhibits erected on the Battle of Bentonville.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 13, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 912 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 13, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of Woodland Park, New Jersey.