Visit to Bentonville - Largest NC battle, last-ditch Confederate offensive

J. Horace

Corporal
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Location
North Carolina
Old newspaper article about an experience in Battle of Bentonville.

Bentonville news article.jpg
 

dgfred

Corporal
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
It is really near/before the road fork where the right fork goes to Goldsboro... past 'Bentonville'. When I have gone the most interesting things to me are where the main Arty was for the Confederates, the Union Eng trenches and the geography of the area. Not much there actually... except my imagination/fascination. Haha
 

BillyD

Cadet
Joined
May 30, 2021
I think that the Battle of Bentonville is important because the confederates were trying to salvage rations meant for the Army of Northern Virginia. These were being transported up from the coast, towards Raleigh Durham where they could still be shipped by rail to Petersburg. The loss of these supplies severely crippled Lee and his men during the last weeks of the war. Note the date of this battle is just two weeks before Lee's surrender. Lee surrendered primarily because of lack of food for his men.

My theory is that Bentonville was the last strangling of the South by Sherman. The overall strategy worked. Cutoff supply of the enemy.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I think that the Battle of Bentonville is important because the confederates were trying to salvage rations meant for the Army of Northern Virginia. These were being transported up from the coast, towards Raleigh Durham where they could still be shipped by rail to Petersburg. The loss of these supplies severely crippled Lee and his men during the last weeks of the war. Note the date of this battle is just two weeks before Lee's surrender. Lee surrendered primarily because of lack of food for his men.

My theory is that Bentonville was the last strangling of the South by Sherman. The overall strategy worked. Cutoff supply of the enemy.
Essentially, you have the right idea, but the details are a bit out of whack. It was the loss of Savannah that sealed the A of NV off from supplies from the Deep South. Sherman planned his advance across GA using a revolutionary map. On a few copies were made. Sherman’s personal copy is available online from the Library of Congress. Every county in GA has the data gathered during the 1860 Census printed on it. As a result, even if rail communications with Lee had been reestablished, there would have been nothing to ship.

Bentonville was nothing but a show of pride. A lot of the loyal remnant of the Army of Tennessee were killed because a gaggle of defeated generals wanted to go through the motions one more time. That is my opinion, of course. It is however, one that is shared by many others who study the A of TN.
 
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BillyD

Cadet
Joined
May 30, 2021
You are right. Supplies from the deep south had been cutoff. Lee was still receiving supplies and expecting supplies by rail to Petersburg. At this time.
Have you ever been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina? Many inlets, bays, and waterways. Supplies were still getting through, however the last large shipment was captured by Grant's men.
The A of TN was still strategically important, with goal of guarding the last supply line. And potentially uniting with Lee.
 

BillyD

Cadet
Joined
May 30, 2021
You are right. Supplies from the deep south had been cutoff. Lee was still receiving supplies and expecting supplies by rail to Petersburg. At this time.
Have you ever been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina? Many inlets, bays, and waterways. Supplies were still getting through, however the last large shipment was captured by Grant's men.
The A of TN was still strategically important, with goal of guarding the last supply line. And potentially uniting with Lee.
Also, the last chance to shoot at Yankees.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Also, the last chance to shoot at Yankees.
Sadly for them, in this case they chose Yankees who could shoot back. The Tennessee families that lost loved ones in that pointless bloodletting is symbolized by a pair of headstones a couple of blocks from my house. The family lost one son at Shiloh & their youngest at Bentonville, they are on the fence line of a cemetery. Seeing that as I do on my routine trips to the grocery store keeps me grounded in what that war really meant.
 
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Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
Regarding those maps, Roy: they are the work of master cartographer Mark Anderson Moore. Mark is the "official" cartographer of the Carolinas Campaign, which is why I had him do the maps for my books on the surrender at Bennett Place and the Battle of Aiken, SC. The maps were compiled into an atlas years ago and were published by the original Savas-Woodbury Publishing Co. Copies can be hard to find and will likely be expensive, but this is the book, which is absolutely indispensable to the study of the Carolinas Campaign (which I have been studying seriously for twenty years now): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N8XOOWA/?tag=civilwartalkc-20.

I've spent quite a bit of time at Bentonville over the years. My first tour was by Mark Bradley himself, and I've been along for several other tours with him over the years. It has long been one of my favorite battlefields for lots of reasons, but one of those reasons is that you can still find trenches in the woods where the iron pine head logs remain intact, 156 years after the fact. Ed Bearss once told me that he knows of no other site anywhere where one can see such a sight.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
Thank you for this beautifully photographed tour. Have been wanting to read this soft cover I picked up last year by Nathaniel Cheairs Hughes, no doubt a descendant of the Cheairs brothers of Spring Hill, Tenn.

View attachment 377394
A great book, no doubt, but there are issues with his interpretation of the battle. Specifically, he doesn't give the proper justice to Wade Hampton for developing the battle plan implemented by Johnston. Mark Bradley's book is superb, and it also features Mark Moore's excellent maps: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1882810023/?tag=civilwartalkc-20
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Regarding those maps, Roy: they are the work of master cartographer Mark Anderson Moore. Mark is the "official" cartographer of the Carolinas Campaign, which is why I had him do the maps for my books on the surrender at Bennett Place and the Battle of Aiken, SC. The maps were compiled into an atlas years ago and were published by the original Savas-Woodbury Publishing Co. Copies can be hard to find and will likely be expensive, but this is the book, which is absolutely indispensable to the study of the Carolinas Campaign (which I have been studying seriously for twenty years now): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N8XOOWA/?tag=civilwartalkc-20.

I've spent quite a bit of time at Bentonville over the years. My first tour was by Mark Bradley himself, and I've been along for several other tours with him over the years. It has long been one of my favorite battlefields for lots of reasons, but one of those reasons is that you can still find trenches in the woods where the iron pine headless remain intact, 156 years after the fact. Ed Bearss once told me that he knows of no other site anywhere where one can see such a sight.
I agree, it is a potent landscape to traverse. For me, it is nothing but a testament to a senseless tragedy.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
No visit to that area of North Carolina is complete without visiting Averasboro and then Fayetteville. The battlefield at Averasboro is almost 100% preserved and is owned and operated by a private foundation. That private foundation has done a fine job of interpreting the battlefield, including erecting monuments on each of Hardee's three lines of battle. There's also the Chicora Confederate Cemetery there, and a small museum/visitor's center with an interesting collection of artifacts.

After leaving Averasboro, both armies went to Fayetteville, with Hardee arriving first. There was a skirmish in the streets of the town between Hampton's cavalry, acting as a rear guard, and mounted scouts under Sherman's command. The original market house, which played a prominent role in the fighting still stands. There's a museum, and you can still visit the site of the former Fayetteville Arsenal, which has markers to show where the buildings stood.

Market_House_in_Fayetteville,_NC.jpg


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Unknown.jpeg
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
You are right. Supplies from the deep south had been cutoff. Lee was still receiving supplies and expecting supplies by rail to Petersburg. At this time.
Have you ever been to the Outer Banks of North Carolina? Many inlets, bays, and waterways. Supplies were still getting through, however the last large shipment was captured by Grant's men.
The A of TN was still strategically important, with goal of guarding the last supply line. And potentially uniting with Lee.
I am very familiar with the Outer Banks, Daufuskie Island is a particular favorite. You will want to consult a CW rail map. Even had there been an attempt to ship supplies through the Union blockade via the coast, where would the hundreds of thousands of pounds of bacon, for example, have come from?
 

NDR5thNY

Corporal
Joined
Nov 17, 2019
Location
Lumberton, NC
Essentially, you have the right idea, but the details are a bit out of whack. It was the loss of Savannah that sealed the A of NV off from supplies from the Deep South. Sherman planned his advance across GA using a revolutionary map. On a few copies were made. Sherman’s personal copy is available online from the Library of Congress. Every county in GA has the data gathered during the 1860 Census printed on it. As a result, even if rail communications with Lee had been reestablished, there would have been nothing to ship.

Bentonville was nothing but a show of pride. A lot of the loyal remnant of the Army of Tennessee were killed because a gaggle of defeated generals wanted to go through the motions one more time. That is my opinion, of course. It is however, one that is shared by many others who study the A of TN.
Also , an unknown number of the 4,000 Jr Reserves were killed and wounded. These were 15, 16 and 17 year olds who had been at Ft Fisher, other coastal forts and prison camps. The records for these soldiers are virtually nonexistent. It is difficult to comprehend that anyone could have believed that the Confederacy had any hope to survive after the siege at Petersburg was initiated.
 

Eric Wittenberg

1st Lieutenant
Keeper of the Scales
Joined
Jun 2, 2013
Location
Columbus, OH
I am very familiar with the Outer Banks, Daufuskie Island is a particular favorite. You will want to consult a CW rail map. Even had there been an attempt to ship supplies through the Union blockade via the coast, where would the hundreds of thousands of pounds of bacon, for example, have come from?
Daufuskie Island is in South Carolina, on the border with Georgia, Rhea. It's not part of the Outer Banks. But it is a lovely place.
 
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