‘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

The Capture of Col. Rhett and His Fabulous Boots

March 15, 1865 (Wednesday) “On the 15th of March the whole army was across Cape Fear River, and at once began its march for Goldsboro’; the Seventeenth Corps still on the right, the Fifteenth next in order, then the Fourteenth and Twentieth on the extreme left ; the cavalry acting in close concert with theRead More

Lee Wants Johnston ‘To Avoid a General Engagement’

March 14, 1865 (Tuesday) A few days past, President Jefferson Davis ordered Joe Johnston, commanding the Confederate forces in the Carolinas, to remove supplies from Raleigh, North Carolina, as it appeared that Sherman’s forces were en route to that very place. General Lee added a message of his own to Johnston, demanding that the railroadRead More

‘The Whole Thing Was Done So Quickly’ – Sherman Captures Fayetteville

March 11, 1865 (Saturday) “The advance of the Fourteenth Army Corps last nigth reached Buckhead Creek,” wrote General Henry Slocum in his morning message to Sherman, “where they met the enemy in some force. [Absalom] Baird’s division is now moving from this point. The Twentieth Corps is several miles in rear. I shall soon learnRead More

The Battle of Kilpatrick’s Pants

March 10, 1865 (Friday) Now, these young men ought undoubtedly to have been engaged in saying their prayers and softly humming snatches of hymns recalled from early days, for the purpose of bracing up their nerves for the fight fixed for daylight, but the truth must be told, and the words overheard by the hungry,Read More

‘I Determined at Once to Intercept Him’ – Kilpatrick Pursues Wade Hampton

March 9, 1865 (Thursday) Union Cavalry General, Judson Kilpatrick, along with his division, was screening the left of Sherman’s columns as they entered into North Carolina. All the way, they had been driving Rebel cavalry under Matthew Butler of Wade Hampton’s command as they made their way toward Fayetteville. This was no easy slog. TheRead More

Johnston Tries to Think of Something

March 6, 1865 (Monday) Joseph Johnston, now in command of all the Confederate forces in the Carolinas, was concentrating at Fayetteville, North Carolina, in hopes of blocking the path of Sherman’s forces. Johnston’s original proposition was a risky one. He suggested to General Robert E. Lee that half of the Army of Northern Virginia beRead More