In Search of Civil War History
in North Carolina
In early June 2021, I traveled to North Carolina to photograph Civil War sites.
Bennett Place State Historic Site, Durham, N.C.
My first stop was at Bennett Place in Durham, North Carolina. Bennett Place State Historic Site is the site of the largest surrender during the Civil War. The surrender took place from April 17th through April 26th, 1865, between Generals Johnston and Sherman.
In the middle of surrender negotiations, the Generals learned of John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of President Lincoln on April 26th. As a result, this historic event complicated the terms of the surrender. Ultimately, politicians criticized Sherman in Washington, D.C., for being too generous with the terms of surrender to the Confederate troops.
Generals Sherman and Johnston became close friends after the war. General Johnston was present at General Sherman’s funeral but refused to wear a hat despite the winter weather. Consequently, Johnston caught pneumonia and died not long after. General Johnston is buried in Greenmount Cemetery in Baltimore, MD.
For more information visit: (http://www.bennettplacehistoricsite.com)
Bentonville Battlefield, in Four Oaks, N.C.
My second destination in North Carolina was Bentonville Battlefield, in Four Oaks, N.C. The Battle of Bentonville occurred from March 19th to 21st, 1865. It was the largest battle fought in North Carolina.
A monument marking a mass grave of unknown Confederate soldiers is at this site. Additionally at this site is Harper House, which served as a hospital for both Union and Confederate troops. For more information, visit https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/bentonville-battlefield.
Somerset Place, in Creswell, N.C.
My third stop was to Somerset Place, in Creswell, N.C. Somerset was an active plantation from 1785 to 1865. It was one of the largest plantations in the area. Now owned by North Carolina, visitors may tour the main house, enslaved buildings, and the grounds. Additionally, the visitors center provides a historical timeline profiling the members of the landowners and several of the enslaved persons.
For more information, visit: https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/somerset-place