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Bentonville in Johnston County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Battle of Bentonville

“In suffering condition”

 

—Carolinas Campaign —

 
Battle of Bentonville - "In suffering condition" image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 18, 2006
1. Battle of Bentonville - "In suffering condition"
This marker is part of the Carolinas Campaign of the North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Inscription.
(Preface):The Carolinas 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 Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia to crush Gen. 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 on April 26, essentially ending the Civil War.
* * *

Hoping to deflect Union Gen. William T. Sherman's army from Goldsboro, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston attacked Sherman's Left Wing here on March 19, 1865, after finding it separated from the Right Wing, located several miles southeast. As the fighting intensified, Sherman led the Right Wing here in support. Johnston's forces, vastly outnumbered, withdrew to Smithfield on March 21, and Sherman's army marched to Goldsboro.

This is the John Harper farmhouse, which the Union XIV Corps commandeered for a field hospital on March 19, 1865, during the Battle of Bentonville. Elements of Union Gen. H. Judson
Battle of Bentonville marker and Harper House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 18, 2006
2. Battle of Bentonville marker and Harper House
Kilpatrick’s cavalry, Gen. Alpheus S. William’s headquarters, and XX Corps soldiers occupied other parts of the farm. More than 500 Union wounded and 45 Confederate wounded were treated here during the three days of the battle, while approximately ten family members remained in the house upstairs. After the battle, the Union army transported its wounded to Goldsboro, while the 45 Confederates were left in the care of the Harper family. The Harpers buried those who died in the family cemetery nearby. After the war, because of the destruction across the 825-acre property, John Harper and his sons were compelled to work as sharecroppers on a neighboring farm.

“There are forty-five of the wounded of our army at the house of Mr. Harper….They are in suffering condition for the want of proper supplies and there is no surgeon to attend them. Mr. Harper and family are doing all their means will allow for the sufferers. Their wounds have been dressed and six or eight amputations performed skillfully by the surgeons of the enemy.”
- Lt. Col. Jacob W. Griffith, 1st Kentucky Cavalry, March 27, 1865

(Sidebar, lower center): John Harper III settled on 200 acres here in southern Johnston County between 1803 and 1808. The family had relocated from Harpers Ferry, Virginia, where his father, John Harper,
Harper House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 18, 2006
3. Harper House
The house of John Harper was used as a Union hospital and Headquarters during the Battle of Bentonville.
Sr., had served in the Revolutionary War. After John Harper III died in 1834, his wife, Anna, managed his estate until her death in 1841, when John Harper IV inherited the farm. John IV married Amy Woodard in 1838 and they raised nine children here. About 1855, Harper constructed this two-story farmhouse to replace the house that his father built early in the 1800s.
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 18.125′ N, 78° 19.357′ W. Marker is in Bentonville, North Carolina, in Johnston County. Marker is at the intersection of Harper House Road (County Route 1008) and Mill Creek Church Road (County Route 1188), on the left when traveling north on Harper House Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5466 Harper House Road, Four Oaks NC 27524, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Bentonville Battlefield (a few steps from this marker); Bentonville Battlefield Driving Tour (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Hospital (about 300 feet away, measured in
Inside the Harper House image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 6, 2003
4. Inside the Harper House
The interior of the Harper House is set up to show its use as a hospital after the battle.
a direct line); Union Hospital (about 300 feet away); Union Headquarters (about 300 feet away); North Carolinians at the Battle of Bentonville (about 400 feet away); North Carolina Monument (about 600 feet away); Texas (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bentonville.
 
More about this marker. Pictures in the lower left are of John Harper IV (1803 - 1897) and Amy Woodward Harper (1820 - 1900), courtesy of North Carolina Historic Sites. On the upper right is a photo of surgery in a Union field hospital.
 
Also see . . .
1. Bentonville Battlefield. North Carolina Historic Sites website. (Submitted on November 29, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

2. Battle of Bentonville ... the largest land battle ever fought in North Carolina. A detailed synopsis of the Battle of Bentonville. (Submitted on November 29, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

3. Civil War Traveler. North Carolina Civil War Trails. (Submitted on March 28, 2008, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Harper Family Cemetery image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, August 18, 2006
5. Harper Family Cemetery
Nineteen Confederate soldiers died in the Harper House. They were buried in this cemetery, located just to the east.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 27, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,117 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 27, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   4. submitted on July 27, 2009, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.   5. submitted on November 27, 2007, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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