“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Mebane in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)

Johnston Moves West

Hardee's Column


—Carolinas Campaign —

Johnston Moves West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
1. Johnston Moves West Marker
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 at Bennett Place near Durham on April 26, ending the Civil War in the East.

Here, on the rainy morning of April 15, 1865, the southern column of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee approached the crossroads on your right along the road to your left as it marched west away from Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s army. The column, under Gen. William J. Hardee, had bivouacked in Chapel Hill on the campus of the University of North Carolina. Supposed to move out at 4:30 A.M. toward Greensboro, it did not depart until after 6:00. Its destination
Johnston Moves West Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
2. Johnston Moves West Marker
also was changed to Swepsonville and the Haw River ford there, along present-day N.C. Route 119.

Hardee’s column included the 3rd North Carolina Junior Reserves (72nd North Carolina State Troops) under Col. John W. Hinsdale. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-old Alamance and Forsyth County boys comprised Co. C. Hinsdale later wrote that “our line of march was on the Salisbury and Hillsboro road, over which 200 years before the Catawba Indians passed in their visits to the Tuscaroras in the East. Governor [William] Tryon and later Lord Cornwallis had led their troops over this historic way in the vain endeavor to subdue the men whose sons now trod footsore and weary over the same red hills, engaged in a like struggle for local self government.” The column departed from that path here and headed to Ruffin Mills.

The winter of 1864-65 had been very wet, and early in April a flood destroyed all of the bridges across the Haw River except the railroad bridge at Granite Mills. The choice of crossing had potentially fatal consequences because of high water.
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 36° 2.524′ N, 79° 19.898′ 
You Are Here image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
3. You Are Here
W. Marker is in Mebane, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker is at the intersection of State Highway 119 and Jim Minor Road, on the right when traveling south on State Highway 119. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3176 NC 119, Mebane NC 27302, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. W. Kerr Scott (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Alexander Wilson (approx. 1.2 miles away); Hawfields Church (approx. 1.8 miles away); John Butler (approx. 2.2 miles away); a different marker also named Johnston Moves West (approx. 2˝ miles away); Nathaniel Polk DeShong (approx. 3.8 miles away); Thomas M. Holt (approx. 3.8 miles away); Graham College (approx. 4.2 miles away).
Categories. War, US Civil
Army marching in the rain – <i>Courtesy Library of Congress</i> image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
4. Army marching in the rain – Courtesy Library of Congress
More. Search the internet for Johnston Moves West.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2011, by Dave Simpson of Durham, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 563 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 12, 2011, by Dave Simpson of Durham, North Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.
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