Expecting perhaps a handful of tents, they spotted something that was not supposed to be there at all—the entire Confederate Army of Tennessee. “There is nothing there but Dibrell’s cavalry. Raleigh fell to Sherman on April 13. The commander assured Slocum, “All of the right wing will move at moonrise toward Bentonville. Stephen D. Lee and Benjamin F. Cheatham. Major General Daniel Harvey Hill had gained national fame with the June 1861 Battle of Big Bethel, the South’s first land victory after Fort Sumter. Johnston’s plans were still in motion, although disrupted by Carlin’s attack and Bragg’s diversion of McLaws’ brigade. All the army is coming toward you as fast as possible.”. “Pale and bloody men lay under the blooming peach trees,” observed a newspaper reporter. BG Roswell S. Ripley, Hoke's Division I will be near him.”. Bate, Taliaferro, and McLaws formed their troops and charged five times, but each time were driven back by musket and cannon fire. Holding the Mill Creek Bridge near Bentonville could become a matter of life or death. Jump to navigation Jump to search.    The action reached a critical phase about 4 pm, when Maj. Gen. Joseph Mower took two of his brigades around the Confederate left. At last, outnumbered and yielding to pressure, Fearing withdrew and formed a new line about 300 yards back, anchored with its left on the Goldsboro Road.    His old adversary in the Georgia campaign, Joseph E. Johnston, had been given the task of organizing a last stand in North Carolina.      In the annals of military history magazines, this is one of those moments. Title Battle of Bentonville, March 19, 1865. Carlin was left for a considerable time to deal blindly with the growing threat. On both major fronts, Confederate resistance had suddenly and conclusively ended. The information was passed up the chain of command, but Sherman airily dismissed the notion. Morgan’s troops were surrounded and fought part of the time from both sides of their breastworks. By first light, elements of Hazen’s division, which had been part of Howard’s rear guard, were the first Union reinforcements to arrive. By the time McLaws got to Hoke, the attacks had stopped and he was not needed. He pleaded for his father’s permission to join in the fighting with the 8th Texas Cavalry, and the general consented. The Battle of Bentonville lasted from March 19-21, 1865, two and a half weeks before Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox and three and half weeks before Johnston surrendered at Bennett Place. It was simply too late for the Confederacy. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, William J. Hardee, Daniel H. Hill, Alexander P. Stewart and Robert F. Hoke ever led men into a major engagement. The persistent rains had soaked the bridge planks and timbers, making them nearly fireproof. The Battle of Bentonville (March 19–21, 1865) was the last large scale Civil War battle and it was also the last battle to occur between the armies of Maj. Gen. … The 22,000-man army that Johnston commanded looked much more impressive on paper. The Union foragers quickly splashed back across the swamp they had just ridden out of. After the battles of Bentonville and Wyse Fork, Sherman's forces met with the armies of Schofield, their troops taking over the city in March. Hardee would take charge of the Confederate right. Hoke’s command took heavy casualties while assaulting Morgan’s front, without shifting the Union division. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia would be effectively surrounded. Hoke wanted to exploit this opportunity and join Hardee, but he was overruled by Bragg, who instead ordered a costly frontal assault. Some of Hardee’s troops charged through the gap left by Fearing and moved behind Morgan’s entrenchments. Led by Hardee himself, the 8th Texas Cavalry attacked Mower’s left. Henry W. Slocum and Jefferson C. Davis. Gen. William P. Carlin was struck by the agitated and fearful attitude of the civilians. (From the Army of Northern Virginia) Before dawn on the chilly morning of March 19, 1865, a detachment of Union foragers under Captain Charles Belknap downed the last of their coffee and rode out of camp, “tired, sore, cross, and ugly, but every man in his place.” For weeks, mounted foraging details had set out each morning ahead of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman’s army as it tore through South Carolina and into North Carolina. The enemy skirmishers through whom he had just ridden lay scattered, dead or wounded. By 2:30 pm, Johnston was readying his attack. Hardee paused after his wave of success to regroup his units. General Information; March 19, 1865; March 20, 1865; ... Stanley, Steven. Sherman claimed a figure of more than 1,600 Confederate prisoners taken. Sherman claimed a figure of more than 1,600 Confederate prisoners taken. Only a last detail remained, with orders to burn the bridge. All claimed to be Union captives who became “Galvanized Yankees,” getting out of POW camps by joining the Confederates. Products include t-shirts, hats, patches, yard flags, neck ties, license plates and coffee mugs. Johnston would surrender to Sherman a little more than a month later. Ltc William A. Ryan, (Arrived on the battlefield March 21) Johnston agreed to the plan of attacking at Bentonville. It was also the last battle between Generals Sherman and Johnston. The Campaign of the Carolinas, aka Carolinas Campaign, was the final campaign in the Western Theater* of the Civil War. Leaving his mistress behind in his tent, Kilpatrick escaped in his underwear. "Battle of Bentonville, NC March 19-21, 1865". After departing Atlanta on November 15, 1864, Sherman’s army had hollowed out the interior of the Confederacy with relentless and mechanical efficiency. His gunners scrounged bullets from the infantry, wrapped handfuls of them in rags, and rammed them in after their canister rounds. XHTML: You can use these tags:
. Early in the fighting, Slocum sent Major E. W. Guiden with a message to Sherman. Continuing his push, Carlin ordered attacks by Brig. Turpentine distilleries, set on fire by the Federals, poured thick columns of dark smoke into the air. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston The Battle of Bentonville North Carolina's Last Stand The battle which took place at Bentonville, North Carolina, from the 19th through the 21st of March 1865, was the largest land battle ever fought in North Carolina. The last major Confederate offensive in which the Confederates chose the ground and made the initial attack. army took place at Bentonville Battlefield in North Carolina on March 19-21, 1865. Lt. Col. Charles W. Broadfoot, commanding a regiment of Junior Reserves, remembered, “It was painful to see how close their battle flags were together, regiments being scarcely larger than companies and a division not much larger than a regiment should be.”. Stevenson's Division But when they drew within range of Hoke’s men at Cole’s Plantation, a storm of Confederate musket and cannon fire drove them back. The battlefield is It was the largest single surrender of Southern forces and marked the end of the Civil War even more emphatically than Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Courthouse nearly three weeks earlier. Still struggling to kindle a blaze, the Confederates saw enemy troops. The fourth gun was saved by the quick thinking of Private Peter Anderson of the 31st Wisconsin. Plagued by doubt, Carlin scrutinized the men as best he could in fading light that made it hard to distinguish between a dark and dusty gray from a faded and dusty blue. McLaws’ men found themselves slogging through swamps and thickets, and their guides kept getting lost. One of the guns was visible, its horses hitched before the gunners had been driven away. On some days, progress was possible only after building four or five miles of corduroy roads—pine saplings and fence rails split in two and laid across the mud to make roadways. Belknap thought they had a good chance of surprising and overrunning one of Dibrell’s camps. The Union army lost 194 killed, 1,112 wounded, and 221 missing, for a total of 1,527 casualties. He was puzzled about what Johnston thought he could accomplish by holding on. The smoke served as directional markers to the followers in the Union column as well as Confederate cavalry in the region. His brigades tore through a thin line of pickets and found themselves on the threshold of taking the Mill Creek Bridge and trapping the entire Confederate army. Smithfield was 15 miles behind the Confederate lines. Johnston ordered him to use a road from Elevation that was suggested by the county sheriff, but the road was not on Hardee’s maps. MG Edward C. Walthall, BG Daniel H. Reynolds (w) In his first minutes on the battlefield, Willie fell mortally wounded. Carlin reinforced his skirmishers with half of Brig. The largest Civil War land engagement in North Carolina, the He concluded that Cox knew that a large Confederate army was gathering and that his farm was in danger of being a battleground. They plowed ahead, driving Hampton’s skirmishers from a line of lightly held works. It was fought over an area of about six thousand acres of pine woods and fields. There was one great danger for a Confederate stand at Bentonville. Slocum was still near Averasboro; Howard was about one day’s march ahead, on a parallel road a dozen miles away. Anderson almost didn’t make it to the battle; he had fallen sick and that morning had been ordered to ride in an ambulance. With the blockade-running port of Wilmington now in Union hands, the railroad would be used to transport supplies to Sherman’s army instead. With faulty intelligence that claimed Johnston had double the numbers he possessed, Sherman still hoped to avoid a pitched battle. The Confederates pulled up as many floor planks as they could, tossed them into the creek, and took off. On the night of March 17, Hampton camped near Bentonville, a small unincorporated hamlet 15 miles south of Smithfield. At the time, the attack on the Confederate left seemed a risky move to Sherman, who believed Johnston had enough troops to crush Mower. Sherman, a few miles away, knew nothing of the rapidly assembling Confederate force. But as he put it, “I preferred the ranks.” In the fighting, Anderson’s regiment was swept back by the Confederates, leaving Webb’s battery stranded. Only 500 yards from camp, the foragers of his division were blocked by a heavy Confederate skirmish line. Carlin’s division was selected to take the lead for the march on Sunday, the 19th. As the day faded, heavy rain began to fall again and pelted the battlefield all night. The largest battle … Amid the commotion of the attacks by Carlin’s brigades, three soldiers among the Confederates let themselves be captured.      On March 23, Johnston had 18,513 men, of whom 13,353 were deemed effective. The official estimate would put the losses at roughly one-eighth of Johnston’s force. As Hampton and Hardee rushed in with their reserves, Hampton ran across Cummings’ brigade of Georgians and sent them to the scene. The last major battle of the Carolinas Campaign involved approximately 80,000 men (60,000 Union troops and 20,000 Confederate troops). Hoke held a sketchy line of shallow defenses, and part of his position was held by three regiments of North Carolina Junior Reserves, who except for the officers were untried soldiers all 16 or 17 years of age. The Battle of Bentonville was a veritable who’s-who of discarded Confederate leaders: Joe Johnston, Braxton Bragg, Lafayette McLaws, Alfred Colquitt, Evander Law, and William B. Taliaferro were just some of the hapless commanders on the field. 3. The Battle of Bentonville was important because it was: 1. Battle of Nashville (December 15–16, 1864), American Civil War engagement in which Confederate Lieutenant General John B. As the momentous year 1864 drew to a close, the armies of the Union stood poised to … Multiple commander names indicate command succession of command during the battle or the campaign. The North Carolina Railroad’s tracks were four miles farther away; the railroad went around rather than through Smithfield. The Battle of Bentonville was fought from 19-21 March 1865 and was one of the last battle of the Civil War. Georgia howled, and the tide of war shifted permanently in favor of the North.    Fighting faded away as rain fell again at sunset. Sherman, who had been with the left wing, conferred with Slocum and Davis about 6 am, before heading out to join Howard and the right wing. Buell and Miles were also thrown back from their run at the Confederate lines. Civil War Units including Brigades, Regiments, Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry. The Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina March 20-21, 1865. As the Army of Tennessee started digging in, Belknap’s foraging party suddenly appeared in its front. All the next day, Howard’s men heard the worrying rumble of cannon fire to their west. Also notable historic Civil War personalities. Despite Sherman’s nonchalant attitude, Carlin had a sense of foreboding. “Oh, no,” he scoffed. At a country crossroads, he conferred with Maj. Gens. Slocum was worried about the growing battle noise, but only that it might delay Sherman and Howard from their march. Belknap dispatched a courier to Carlin with a warning of what was awaiting them. North of the Goldsboro Road, the plantation of Willis Cole offered stretches of open fields. The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, was the last full-scale action of the Civil War in which a Confederate army was able to mount a tactical offensive. The two captured Confederates and their escort got lost for so long that by the time they found Carlin, Johnston’s surprise arrival was old news. The Confederate attack commenced on March 19, as Slocum's men marched on the Goldsboro Road, one mile (1.6 km) south of Bentonville. With Sherman to their south, any Confederate withdrawal to the north and west would be impeded by Mill Creek, and escape to the east was blocked by the Neuse River. General Johnston's attack, which took place just three weeks before General Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, was the only major attempt to stop Sherman's army after Atlanta and the last Confederate offensive. The last major Confederate offensive in which the Confederates chose the ground and made the initial attack. The battle served the twin Confederate goals of delaying Slocum and forcing some distance between the two wings of Sherman’s army. (From the Army of Northern Virginia) Confederate casualties at Bentonville were officially reckoned as 239 dead, 1,694 wounded, and 673 missing, for a total of 2,606. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, hoped to catch and destroy Hampton’s cavalry. Brig. With his reinforced army, Sherman could move on to the state capital of Raleigh, then march north to join Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s massed Union forces in Virginia. About half of the casualties were lost in the Army of Tennessee. Johnston resolved to seize the chance to fall upon Slocum’s isolated detachment. Marching to join Sherman’s 60,000 men at Goldsboro were another 40,000 men under Maj. Gens. Bullets plunked into the log walls of Morris’ house, and shells landed among the Union wagon park nearby. Periodically, the Union troops halted when confronted by small ambushes or occasional cannon fire. The Battle of Bentonville: A Clash Too Late. Adding to their feeling of isolation, the soldiers had also been cut off from any mail since they left Savannah on February 1. Alfred Terry and John Schofield, who were advancing from New Bern and Wilmington. Sherman quickly moved in to destroy one of the South’s most important arsenals before resuming his march toward Goldsboro, where he hoped to replenish supplies. Morgan quickly got his men to work building log defensive works. Gen. James D. Morgan brought his XIV Corps division to the front, and it settled in to Carlin’s right, south of the Goldsboro Road. Battle. Earlier, Bloomfield’s regiment had gingerly probed the Confederate line, finding that the enemy had gone. The terrible truth dawned on the general that he had ridden through a Confederate picket line. "Battle of Bentonville, NC March 19-21, 1865". Heavily outnumbered, and with General Johnston’s rear threatened by the XV and XVII Corps, the remains of the Army of Tennessee retreated, ending the Battle of Bentonville. Confederate Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler’s cavalry had harassed and delayed Sherman on his march across Georgia, and Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee’s infantry and some cavalry dispatched from Virginia under Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton stood ready to offer more resistance in South Carolina. Davis expressed his growing concern; it seemed to be much more intense than the usual light harassment sometimes directed at the foragers at the start of their morning routine. As far as I could see to the right and the left the dirt from thousands of shovels was flying in the air.” General Joseph E. Johnston had managed to arrange quite a surprise for Sherman near the village of Bentonville. But a persistent and worrisome sputter of musketry in the distance made Davis fret that his advance elements were likely to encounter more than the usual cavalry opposition. With the Texans was General Hardee’s only son, 17-year-old Willie Hardee. That morning, Carlin was awakened early by what sounded like irregular skirmishing. Also driven out of its lines, Miles’s brigade joined Morgan’s division, entrenched south of the Goldsboro Road. After entering south-central North Carolina, Sherman’s cavalry commander, Brig. At the edges of the state’s coastal plain, Johnston County was more rolling than the flat Tidewater country, but not as hilly as the Piedmont. Also assigned to Johnston were any miscellaneous contingents that could be spared. American Civil War products including Union Generals, Confederate Generals, and Civil War Battlefields.    When Anderson paused to load his musket, another bullet tore off the tip of his right forefinger. The ever cautious Bragg worried that Hoke was in danger of being driven out of his entrenchments. Sherman disagreed. The Battle of Bentonville was the last time that famed Confederate generals Joseph E. Johnston, P.G.T. A series of Confederate attacks on the XX Corps began about 5 pm. Abbreviations used Military rank. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston. Early in 1864 it joined the Army of Tennessee, still serving under General Cantey, and was active in the Atlanta Campaign, Hood's expedition into Tennessee, and the Battle of Bentonville. As the XX Corps waited for the inevitable attacks, Williams ordered his guns loaded with double shots of canister. BG William B. Taliaferro, Butler's Division 2. Image from Harper's Weekly. The official estimate would put the losses at roughly one-eighth of Johnston’s force. Bragg’s troops, under the active command of Hoke, blocked the Goldsboro Road. However, he did not have adequate reserves to follow up on his early success. Confederate casualties at Bentonville were officially reckoned as 239 dead, 1,694 wounded, and 673 missing, for a total of 2,606. To the west of Morgan’s position began the lines of Maj. Gen. Alpheus Williams’ XX Corps. Unable to get volunteers to join him, Anderson ran toward the gun alone. “No, Jeff,” he said. Mower’s move left him dangerously isolated, nearly a mile from any support.      It would take time to march the infantry in from Smithfield and Elevation, so it was imperative that Hampton and Wheeler delay the enemy as much as possible to keep them from reaching Cole’s Plantation before defenses were ready. Carlin offered to post some guards to protect their house, but Cox replied, “Oh, that won’t save us!” Carlin pondered Cox’s anxiety. Sherman, who was farther away and was still under the impression that Slocum was only fighting stubborn skirmishing parties, cancelled the order. Broadfoot recalled his junior reserves digging in on that day, building log breastworks and filling them with dirt churned up by bayonets, tin pans, and a few spades and shovels. Bloomfield’s men rushed to Mill Creek to prevent the burning of the bridge. Half a mile away was the only bridge crossing Mill Creek, a deep stream that wound north and west of the village. The battle which took place at Bentonville, North Carolina, from the 19th through the 21st of March 1865, was the largest land battle ever fought in North Carolina. Several hundred yards behind Carlin was the Riddick Morris farm, where Slocum had his headquarters and surgeon Waldo Daniels had set up the XIV Corps hospital. Three weeks later, Anderson was awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to captain. Johnston did not intend to be brushed away so lightly. Johnston commended him in a report, stating that he was “gallantly charging in the foremost rank.” Young Hardee was taken away for treatment but died three days later. Battle of Bentonville Map Civil War Bentonville Battlefield Map The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, was the last full-scale action of the Civil War in which a Confederate army was able to mount a tactical offensive. Hoke, as well as Maj. Gen. Lafayette McLaws, had served with the Army of Northern Virginia. The general’s son had wanted to take an active role in the ranks for some time. As the Army of Tennessee surged forward, the brigades of Buell, Robinson, and Hobart broke. Gen. Benjamin Fearing, they charged and managed to stall Hardee’s advance for a time. There, the east-west-running North Carolina Railroad intersected with the north-south-running Wilmington & Weldon Railroad, a vital Confederate transportation route during most of the war. Gen. James D. Morgan. 3. Hampton withdrew to the Cape Fear River port of Fayetteville, linking up with Hardee’s infantry before abandoning the city on March 11.      Now fully aware of the danger, Slocum sent Major Joseph Foraker with a message explaining that he was confronted by Johnston’s entire army and asking Sherman to send reinforcements. Hardee was supposed to hold the gap between Hoke and Stewart, but he delayed even longer than Stewart. It changed the world more than any other single event in history.      Lieutenant Arthur Webster and several men retrieved their colors from the water. Sherman saw nothing to delay Slocum’s troops on the coming day’s march toward the Neuse River and Goldsboro. 2.      Besides Stewart, Hardee, and Bragg, senior commanders from the ill-fated Army of Tennessee also included Maj. Gens. The gap between the two forces was plugged with Hart’s and Earle’s batteries, two horse artillery units attached to Hampton’s command. This way, the Confederates were ready for attacks from their adversaries of the day before as well as Howard’s two corps, which they knew would be coming from the east. Used to easily driving off small enemy forces in their way, the Federal horsemen grumbled that the Confederates didn’t “drive worth a damn.” Belknap’s messenger was never seen again. Taking over command of the Department of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, as well as the remnants of the Army of Tennessee and the Department of North Carolina, Johnston had been directed—somewhat optimistically—to “thwart the designs of the enemy.” It was a little late for that. Much of the countryside was covered in thick woods and cut by streams and swamps that hampered Confederate movements. It changed the world more than any other single event in history. Beauregard, Braxton Bragg, William J. Hardee, Daniel H. Hill, Alexander P. Stewart and Robert F. Hoke ever led men into a major engagement. BG James Argyle Smith, (Arrived on the battlefield March 20) On March 8, a brief interval of pleasant weather turned into a harsh night of incessant and heavy rain. Hardee, Hoke, and the other commanders made up a veritable Who’s Who of the Confederate Army. Brig. For the most part, however, the enemy force had little effect on slowing Sherman’s advance. Cut loose from the Union Army’s vast supply system, Sherman’s men were showing signs of wear. Brush them out of the way.” Since Atlanta, little effective resistance had been put in Sherman’s path by the dying Confederate states. Camped at Monroe’s Crossroads on the night of March 9, the overconfident Union general awoke to a crescendo of shots and commotion as his camp was surprised and overrun by Hampton. Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina, American Civil War 19 March 1865. 2. Hampton prepared a surprise attack on Sherman’s left wing. As the Union infantry buckled, three guns from Captain Samuel D. Webb’s 19th Indiana Battery were left unsupported and were captured. A correspondent for the New York Herald reported that one Confederate cannon shot killed two foragers and four horses. MG M. C. Butler (w) MG Carter L. Stevenson, (Arrived on the battlefield March 20) I respectfully suggest that it is no longer a question whether you leave present position; you have only to decide where to meet Sherman. The Battle of Bentonville was the last time that famed Confederate generals Joseph E. Johnston, P.G.T. Unable to take on all of Sherman’s forces, Johnston’s only chance was to fall upon each wing separately. But Sherman had grown used to having things his own way against the Confederates. It was late in the evening when Sherman got a fresh report confirming that Slocum was engaged with Johnston’s entire army. As he had not been able to scan the ground himself, he trusted Hampton for the broad outlines of where to post his troops. Contents 1st position -- 2nd position -- 3rd position. Scattered as far away as Mississippi, it would take time to assemble all his forces, given the South’s overloaded and failing rail network. It quickly set to building breastworks, although the soldiers had nothing but hatchets to work with. Handfuls of men lingered and fired occasional shots to cover the withdrawal as rain deluged blue and gray alike. Johnston had achieved much with his ragtag army on the first day of the Battle of Bentonville. Hampton and Wheeler also threw in their cavalry to stop Mower. Despite their numerical disadvantage, Gen The official estimate would put the losses at roughly one-eighth of Johnston’s force. © By the time the last charge was over, after sundown, about 500 Confederates had been hit, twice the Union loss. BG Evander M. Law, Allen's Division Hampton headed Johnston’s cavalry, with the able assistance of “Fighting Joe” Wheeler. “I should not need assistance,” advised Slocum, who was confident he would reach the Neuse at the appointed time. 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