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Near Four Oaks in Johnston County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Sherman's Right Wing Arrives at Bentonville

 
 
Sherman's Right Wing Arrives at Bentonville image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, January 16, 2017
1. Sherman's Right Wing Arrives at Bentonville
Inscription. You are facing east towards Green Flower's farm, where lead elements of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's Right Wing clashed with Confederate cavalry late in the morning on March 20.

The previous evening, the Right Wing, comprised of Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard's Army of the Tennessee, had been ordered to the aid of Maj. Gen. Henry W. Slocum's Left Wing. Sherman, traveling with the Right Wing was initially assured by Slocum on March 19, that the Left Wing could handle the limited Confederate opposition in its front. But a series of evermore desperate couriers that evening, beginning with Lt. Joseph Foraker, informed Sherman that Slocum had underestimated the Confederate strength and was in danger of being overwhelmed.

Howard's two corps were on routes parallel with Slocum's. By the time they heard of Slocum's plight, both corps were mostly east of Bentonville and were thus ordered on a circuitous route to approach the battlefield behind Confederate lines. Only William B. Hazen's XV Corps division, marching in the back of the line, was ordered to backtrack to Slocum.

Howard was eager to get troops to the aid of the Left Wing as soon as possible. Two years earlier at Gettysburg, it had been his corps that needed help from Slocum. But Slocum was sluggish in his march to the battlefield, earning the nickhame "Slow
Detail of Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, January 16, 2017
2. Detail of Battle Map
Map by Mark Anderson Moore, from the North Carolina Civil War Atlas: The Old North State at War, Savas Beatie, 2015
Come." At Bentonville, Howard was determined to show Slocum how to respond quickly.

We very much feared that General Slocum was having a severe battle by the continuous sounds of the artillery firing.
—Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard

The enemy's infantry and artillery is advancing rapidly from the direction of Cox's Bridge...our cavalry is too weak to accomplish much.
—Brig. Gen. E.M. Law to Col. Archer Anderson (Johnston's aide), March 20, 9:50 a.m.

I have formed a dismounted line here very near Flower's house, and can hold the enemy in check till we are flanked out.
—Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler to Gen. Joseph Johnston, March 20, 11:05 a.m.

Brig. Gen. E.M. Law was detailed, on the morning of March 20, to slow Howard's arrival at the battlefield with only Butler's cavalry division at his disposal. Bentonville was the third battle in which Law was forced into division command for his incapacitated commander, this time replacing ill Maj. Gen. M.C. Butler on the morning of March 20. Law alerted General Johnston to the approach of the Right Wing early in the day, and first clashed with the Federals on the Goldsboro Road, a mile west of Cox's Crossroads, where Howard had turned west towards Bentonville.

A six-mile running fight ensued between dismounted Confederate troopers and Maj. Gen.
Confederate General Evander M. Law image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, January 16, 2017
3. Confederate General Evander M. Law
On March 20, his first day in command of Butler's Division, Gen. Evander M. Law was ordered to slow Sherman's right wing.
Charles Wood's division of the XV Corps. By midday Wood's lead brigade had reached Flower's Crossroads behind the main Confederate lines. One of Law's brigades, augmented by troopers from Wheeler's Corps and two infantry regiments from Hagood's Brigade, clashed with the Federals from behind barricades blocking the road. This desperate stand allowed Hoke's Division time to take up defensive lines along Sam Howell Branch to combat the rapid arrival of the Right Wing.

Not for ribbon or rose, or glove, Not for guerdon of lady's love, Rides the knight through swamps and pines, He rides for help for Slocum's lines.
—Excerpt from a poem by H.S. Fullerton about Capt. Joseph Foraker's ride at Bentonville
 
Location. 35° 19.053′ N, 78° 17.209′ W. Marker is near Four Oaks, North Carolina, in Johnston County. Marker is on Harper House Road (County Route 1008) 0.6 miles east of Bass Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located at Auto Tour Stop 5, "The Merging of the Union Armies.". 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. March 20th— Johnston Remains on the Battlefield (a few steps from this marker); Federal Junction (approx. 0.2 miles away);
Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard, Col. Gilbert J. Wright, & Joseph Foraker image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, January 16, 2017
4. Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard, Col. Gilbert J. Wright, & Joseph Foraker
Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard commanded the Federal Right Wing. (Library of Congress) - Col. Gilbert J. Wright commanded Young's Brigade from Butler's Division as it clashed with lead elements from the Right Wing. (Georgia Historical Society) - 18-year-old Joseph Foraker brought news of the Left Wing's plight to Sherman. Foraker would become Governor and Senator for his native Ohio.
Main Union Line (approx. half a mile away); N. C. Junior Reserves (approx. 0.6 miles away); Merging of the Armies (approx. 0.6 miles away); Main Confederate Line (approx. 0.6 miles away); Confederate North Carolina Junior Reserve Line (approx. 0.6 miles away); Bentonville (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Four Oaks.
 
Also see . . .  North Carolina Historic Sites - Bentonville Battlefield. North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Office of Archives & History (Submitted on February 3, 2017.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Sherman's Right Wing Arrives at Bentonville image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, January 16, 2017
5. Sherman's Right Wing Arrives at Bentonville
This view looks toward the west-northwest from Auto Tour Stop 5, "The Merging of the Union Armies." The Harper House Road disappears into the woods near the top of the photo.
Sherman's Right Wing Arrives at Bentonville image. Click for full size.
By Karl Stelly, January 16, 2017
6. Sherman's Right Wing Arrives at Bentonville
The marker can be seen just right of center in this view of "The Merging of the Union Armies" Tour Stop 5.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on April 4, 2017. This page originally submitted on February 1, 2017, by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 116 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on February 1, 2017, by Karl Stelly of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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