‘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

Meade and Grant’s Cash-for-Guns Program a Hit with Deserting Confederates!

March 22, 1865 (Wednesday) For some time now, a curious policy had been in place – paying the Rebel deserters for their arms. Meade had noticed in February that most who defected the Southern army did not throw down their muskets, but brought them over. “Can they be compensated for them,” asked Meade of GrantRead 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

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

‘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