The Battle of Bentonville
The Battle of Bentonville was the last major confederate offensive of the Civil War. It was fought during the three days of March 19-21, 1865. This battle was the largest ever fought in North Carolina and was the only significant attempt to defeat Gen. William T. Sherman after he left Georgia. Gen. Joseph E. Johnston was ordered to unite scattered Confederate forces in the Carolinas in an attempt to prevent Sherman from combining his army with that of General U.S. Grant in Virginia.
After two days of heavy fighting, Johnston’s weary troops abandoned their positions and withdrew towards Smithfield. The Union advance was not stopped and Johnston eventually surrendered to Sherman at Bennett Place near Durham. Over 4,000 men were killed during the battle.
The State of North Carolina today operates the Bentonville Battlefield as a State Historic Site. It is open year round and is located 15 miles south of Smithfield, just off US 701 on Harper House Road. The phone number is (910) 594-0027.