‘I Fear Now It Will Be Impossible’ – Lee With Nowhere to Turn

March 26, 1865 (Sunday) With the utter failure of the assault upon Fort Stedmen the day previous, General Robert E. Lee had now to consider what was best for his army. But first, he had to explain to President Jefferson Davis why he took the risk of an assault, and why it failed. “I haveRead More

‘I Can Do No More Than Annoy Him’ – Johnston Must Give Up

March 23, 1865 (Thursday) Following the Battle of Bentonville, Joseph Johnston, commanding the Confederate forces, retreated across Mill Creek, into and through the town. Taking up positions a couple of miles beyond the crossing, Jo Wheeler’s cavalry held the bridge until the Federals came near to crossing. By that evening, Johnston’s army was near Smithfield.Read More

Sherman’s Mistake at Bentonville

March 21, 1865 (Tuesday) “The next day,” wrote General Sherman, “it began to rain again, and we remained quiet till about noon.” Sherman had placed Francis Blair’s Seventeenth Corps on the right, with Joseph Mower’s division holding the flank near Mill Creek. In his report, General Mower wrote: Learning that a road. leading from theRead More

‘Our Position Was Extremely Perilous’ – Johnston Hangs on at Bentonville

March 20, 1865 (Monday) “On the 21st the skirmishing was resumed with spirit by the enemy,” wrote Joe Johnston. Through the night, little hand changed on the Bentonville battlefield. Johnston’s three small corps still remained in their initial lines and his left was sharply engaged. His right, on the other hand, was quiet. General Sherman,Read More

‘With Unusual Stubbornness’ – The Battle of Bentonville Begins

March 19, 1865 (Sunday) General Sherman rose early. His orders for the day’s march had gone out last night, and he suspected a clear road ahead. In this, he was mistaken, and in his ignorance, he departed from the Left Wing of his army and rode casually for the Right, moving along parallel roads tenRead More

‘Old Hampton is Playing a Bluff Game’ – Saving Bentonville for Battle

March 18, 1865 (Saturday) For days, there was no certainly in Joe Johnston, commanding the patchwork of Southern forces in North Carolina. General Sherman’s forces, he believed, would march toward one of two places – the more southerly Goldsboro or the more northerly Raleigh. And so at Smithfield, located in between, he held much ofRead More

‘With a Deafening Yell’ – The Battle of Averasborough

March 16, 1865 (Thursday) Through the darkened rain marched the division of Col. William Hawley. It was five long miles to the advanced position held by Judson Kilpatrick’s cavaliers, themselves in the face of an untold number of entrenched Rebels, just this side of Averasborough, North Carolina. The Confederates under William Hardee had taken forRead More