Plaque #1 Sherman
Gen. Wm. T. Sherman camped in this area with his Left Wing on the night of March 18th, 1865. The following morning the Left Wing continued along this road meeting Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederates in the Battle of Bentonville, 2 miles east. Meanwhile, Sherman joined his Right Wing, marching toward Goldsboro on another road, and thus missed the first day of battle.
Plaque #2 Union Hospital
The Harper House was used as a Hospital by the XIV Corps, March 19-21, 1865. About 500 Union wounded were treated here.
The Battle of Bentonville, was the last full-scale action of the Civil War in which a Confederate army was able to mount a tactical offensive. This major battle, the largest ever fought in North Carolina, was the only significant attempt to defeat the large Union army of Gen. William T. Sherman during its march through the Carolinas in the spring of 1865.
The Harper House (c.1850’s) still stands; the home of John and Amy Harper functioned as a Union Field Hospital during the battle, as the Harper family lived in the rooms on the second floor. Visitor to the site will discover the downstairs are furnished to interpret a functioning Civil War field hospital, while the upstairs have period domestic furnishings.
Visitors may drive throughout the rural area and stop at several Civil War Trail driving pull-offs, and walk the confederate cemetary and union earthworks trails. The museum and visitor center offers displays and interprets many artifacts from the three-day battle. Several events are held throughout the year from March to December, check the calendar of events listings often for the next special event. Free admission. Gift shop on site featuring t-shirts, extensive book collection and various items.
5466 Harper House Rd.
Four Oaks, NC 27524
Directions: From I-95, take Exit 90 to Hwy 701S. Travel approximately 12 miles to Harper House Road. Turn left. Bentonville will be on the left. Only the Harper House is not wheel chair accessible.
North Carolina offers a series of scenic by-ways throughout the state for visitors seeking the "path not taken". For those interested in Civil War history, the Blue Gray Scenic By-way begins in eastern Johnston County and travels east to Trenton, NC.
I-95, Exit 90
Devil's Race Track Road
Four Oaks, NC 27524
After making his famous "March to the Sea" to Savannah, Ga., in late 1864, Union Gen. William T. Sherman cast his eyes northward toward the Carolinas and a possible link-up with Gen. U.S. Grant, who then was tightening his noose around Gen. Robert E. Lee at Petersburg, Va.
Sherman's army of 60,000 entered South Carolina in February 1865 and moved quickly north, burning the capital at Columbia and destroying and looting countless civilian farms and plantations.
Entering North Carolina the first week in March, Sherman marched toward Goldsboro, an important railroad junction sitting on what had been "Lee's Lifeline." Union forces quickly captured Fayetteville and burned the arsenal there. Confederate resistance at Averasboro was swept aside.
Confederate commander Gen. Joseph Johnston managed to assemble a force large enough to put up a fight at Bentonville March 19–21, but the weight of Sherman's advance eventually overwhelmed him.
Johnston withdrew, his army ending up west of Raleigh. After more than a week of negotiation near Durham, Johnston surrendered his troops April 26, 1865.
Follow the Trail as it starts in Fayetteville and through Johnston County to Clayton: