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 dirt on piles of logs. Head logs might be placed on top, with small openings between the bottoms of the logs and tops of the trenches. These allowed soldiers to discharge their weapons without
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.
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. Touch for map. Marker is located on the Bentonville Battlefield. It can be reached via the walking trail from near the visitor center or from the driving tour. Marker is in this post office area: Newton Grove NC 28366, United States of America.
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 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.”
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.
Also see . . . Bentonville Battlefield. North Carolina Historic Sites website. (Submitted on August 13, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 13, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 824 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 13, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.