U. S. CIVIL WAR
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March 19-21, 1865
Estimated Casualties:4,738 total
(US 1,646; CS 3,092)
While Slocum's advance was stalled at Averasborough by Hardee's troops, the right
wing of Sherman's
army under command
of Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard marched toward Goldsborough. On March 19, Slocum
encountered the entrenched Confederates of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston who had
concentrated to meet his advance at Bentonville.
Late afternoon, Johnston attacked, crushing the line of the XIV Corps. Only
strong counterattacks and desperate
fighting south of the Goldsborough Road blunted the Confederate offensive.
Elements of the XX Corps were thrown into the action as they arrived on the
field. Five Confederate attacks failed to dislodge the Federal defenders and
darkness ended the first day's fighting. During the night, Johnston contracted
his line into a “V” to protect his flanks with Mill Creek
to his rear.
On March 20, Slocum was heavily reinforced, but fighting was sporadic. Sherman
was inclined to let Johnston retreat.
On the 21st, however, Johnston remained in position while he removed his wounded.
Skirmishing heated up along the entire front. In the afternoon, Maj. Gen. Joseph
Mower led his Union division along a narrow trace that carried it
across Mill Creek into Johnston's rear. Confederate counterattacks stopped
Mower's advance, saving the army's only line of communication and retreat.
Mower withdrew, ending fighting for the day. During the night, Johnston
retreated across the bridge at Bentonville.
Union forces pursued at first light, driving back Wheeler's rearguard and saving
the bridge. Federal pursuit was halted at Hannah's Creek after a severe skirmish.
Sherman, after regrouping at Goldsborough, pursued Johnston toward Raleigh. On
April 18, Johnston signed an armistice with Sherman at the Bennett House, and on
April 26, formally surrendered his army.
(Text Source: U.S. Gov't, National Park Service)
Harper House and Bentonville Visitors Center
Confederate Cemetery Monument
(To read the monument text take this
Confederate Cemetery Sign
From the Monument:
Remembers the valor and devotion of her sons who served at Bentonville March
.   .   .
6th, 7th, 10th, and 15th Texas Infantry,
17th, 18th, 24th, and 25th Dismounted Cavalry,
8th and 11th Texas Cavalry.
North Carolina Monument - Front
North Carolina Monument - Back Text
Civil War Photos