Opening in 2027! Read our Latest News


WRITTEN BY: Jerome Tew

“There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but boys, it is all hell.”
– William T. Sherman

The Ohio State Journal reported General Sherman’s “War is Hell” speech on August 12, 1880. By that date he surely could have described war and it had touched the lives of nearly every American. There were thousands of southern families who were introduced to the hardships of war by Sherman’s army during his march to the sea and subsequent march through the Carolinas. (Lewis, Lloyd – Sherman, Fighting Prophet, p.637)
…The full force of Sherman, with his forty Union generals and 60,000 troops, passed through Sampson County in March of l865. There were five skirmishes in the county between the northern and southern forces. Most homes in the path of Sherman were sacked, but perhaps a few homes in south Sampson escaped that fate. There are hundreds of tragic events lost to history and the incidents recounted in these articles are only a fraction of the complete story.

To understand what happened in Sampson we must first look at Fayetteville and introduce you to the army Sherman commanded. There are two primary sources for this story. First, there are the official records of the war, which are published in about 130 volumes. They are poorly indexed but an excellent source of information. All of Sampson’s rivers and creeks are listed by name in these records: Newton Grove, McLamb, Draughon, and Beaman’s cross-roads are also included, as well as some which now bear other names. For instance, Spivey’s Corner was then Jackson’s Cross-roads. There are also several citizens of Sampson listed by name. Clinton and Owensville (Roseboro) are also listed, as well as four churches. Volume XLVII (47) of those records have mainly correspondence and field reports from the Carolina operations.

The next good primary sources are journals and diaries, which have since been published. …Some of these publications are now rare and are only available in a few libraries. Several diaries and journals list several local citizens, places, and events which happened on the soil of Sampson. The journal of Colonel Oscar Jackson, 63rd Ohio Infantry, offers many details about the people of Sampson. The fame of Sherman’s Army in Georgia and South Carolina preceded his arrival in North Carolina by some time. Their acts of destruction in South Carolina were justified by Sgt. David Floyd of the 75th Indiana: “The march through South Carolina had left a track of desolation more than forty miles wide. That state’s special guilt in taking the initiative in secession was assumed by officers and men as Justification of its devastation. The responsibility does not rest upon us.” (Floyd, David B. – 75th Indiana, p. 372)

…Confederate Generals William J. Hardee (infantry) and Wade Hampton (cavalry) were a little more than a thorn in the side of Sherman as he pushed into North Carolina on March 6, l865. At times about ten percent of Sherman’s army of several thousand were sent out as foragers to sack every farm, home, or store in their forty-mile path. If allowed, the foragers would move out far in front of the main columns as they were eager to get the first pickings.

Soon after crossing the North Carolina border James C. Bennett of Anson County met “Sherman’s Bummers” (foragers). They took his money, watch, and other valuables. Later in the day, another group came by and shot Bennett because he had nothing left to steal. (51:33)

…On the 8th of March, the vanguard of Hardee’s men arrived in Fayetteville. First to come were the “galvanized” Yankees, armed with axes, picks, and spades to repair the roads. Those were northern prisoners of war who preferred that work to life in a prison camp. Finally, the artillery and infantry arrived. (31:264)

…Little children gathered early daffodils and flung them to the troops in gray and many of the Fayetteville ladies prepared bread and meals for the ragged soldiers as they passed through. A cheer went up from the crowd as they watched with watery eyes as the soldiers in gray passed their way. (51:38)

Early on the morning of March the 10th, Confederate General Wade Hampton caught Union cavalry General Hugh Kilpatrick off guard and each side lost about 200 men. The Union troops dubbed it “Kilpatrick’s shirt-tail skedaddle,” and the event was of considerable embarrassment to Kilpatrick as he was nearly captured. The captured horses and prisoners were paraded through Fayetteville later that day. (43:232)

…Sherman could hardly wait to take Fayetteville for two reasons: First, the arsenal there had been taken early in the war from the union forces; second, he disliked the Fayetteville Observer because of the editor’s strong support for the south. (3:142) (18:220)

II – The Fall of Fayetteville – March 11, 1865

“The City of Fayetteville was offensively rebellious”

– George W. Nichols – Major, Union Army

Early on March 11, 1865, Sherman’s Right-Wing Commander, General O. O. Howard, sent seventy-eight horsemen ahead of the Infantry as scouts. They were led by Captain William Duncan, who encountered no pickers and, instead of returning to their units, continued on into Fayetteville from the south. (28:201)

Confederate General Hampton, however, was still in town and was calmly eating breakfast at the hotel, and warned of approaching enemy troops, quickly organized a ‘welcoming committee’ and rushed to meet Duncan. The surprised Federals were unprepared for this sudden show of resistance and, in their confusion, they were not able to put up much of a fight. About a dozen were killed and Duncan and a few others were captured. Hampton lost about six of his men. (28:201)

…During the skirmish, a Yankee captain, in the advance of his men, crept in a citizen’s coat near a fence in order to get a better look at the retreating rebels. Suddenly he was confronted by a ragged and barefoot fellow, whom he instantly recognized as one of Sherman’s bummers. The recognition, however, was not reciprocal, for the bummer, excited in the thought that he had caught a rebel, shouted: “Hallo! Just stop right thar,” surveying his extremities, “I say come up out of them boots.”

“I couldn’t think of it. They are a fine pair of boots, and they are mine,” was the reply.

“You needn’t say another d___d word, come out o’ them boots. P’haps you got a watch about your breeches pocket, just pull her out. No nonsense now. I’m in a hurry to get after them Rebs,” the bummer said.

“Perhaps you would like a horse?” teased the Yankee captain.

“A hoss? (the bummer’s eyes sparkled). “A hoss? Well you come on out of them boots and we’ll discuss the hoss question. Where is the hoss?”

“Oh, he is right nearby, with my orderly.”

“Thunder! Are you an officer of our army? I thought you were a Reb.” And then the bummer went to the rear, under arrest and disgusted beyond measure. (36:243-244)

Meanwhile Hampton took his prisoners and moved across the river and set fire to the Clarendon Bridge in the process. Some Confederate troopers did not make it in time and had to travel north and crossed the river north of Fayetteville. Howard’s scouts soon returned with re-enforcements and some of the XIV Army Corps charged through town to save the bridge, but they were too late. Mayor Archibald McLean met Lt. Colonel William Strong of Howard’s staff and formally surrendered the town. (28:202)
One of the first “soldiers of blue” who entered the town accosted a most distinguished and venerable clergyman, Rev. William Hooper, then more than seventy years old. His grandfather had signed the Declaration of Independence. The captain called him a “dammed rebel” and putting a pistol to his head, demanded and carried off his watch and purse. (51:56)
Alice Campbell, a local citizen, tells her own story: “Sherman, with his hordes of depraved and lawless men, came upon us like a swarm of bees, bringing sorrow and desolation in their pathway. For days we had been expecting them and our loved boys in grey had been passing in squads, looking ragged and hungry. We gave them food and clothing, especially shoes and socks, for many were barefoot. The enemy seemed to be pouring in by every road that led to our doomed little town. Our cavalry [was]

contending every step, firing and falling back, covering the retreat of our gallant little band, Hardee’s forces, with Wade Hampton, Butler, and other – the scene in our town baffled description, all was consternation and dismay. In less time than I can write this, Sherman’s army was in possession of our once peaceful, quiet homes. Every yard and house was teeming with bummers, who went into our homes – no place was sacred; they even went into our trunks and bureau drawers, stealing everything they could find; our entire premises were ransacked and plundered, so there was nothing left to eat, but perhaps a little meal and peas, chickens, and all poultry was shot and taken. We all knew that our silver, jewelry, and all valuables would fall into their hands, so many women hid them in such places as they thought would never be found, but alas, for their miscalculations; one of my friends had a hen setting, and she took her watch and other valued jewels and hid them in the nest, under the hen; they did not remain long concealed, for they soon found them and enjoyed the joke. They went into homes that were beautiful, rolled elegant pianos into the yard with valuable furniture, china, cut glass, and everything that was dear to the heart—even old family portraits—and chopped them up with axes. They rolled barrels of flour and molasses into parlors, and poured out their contents on beautiful velvet carpets, in many cases set fire to lovely homes and burned them to the ground and even took some of our old citizens and hanged them until life was nearly extinct, to force them to tell where their money was hidden when alas, they had none to hide.” (31:274)

R.K. Bryan, a lad of twelve, and his father loaded a wagon with bacon, corn, and other supplies and tried to make it across the Cape Fear but were turned back by Kilpatrick’s men and sent home under pass. Meanwhile their barn had been burned and home plundered. Mrs. Bryan, left at home, was miraculously unharmed. (3:145)

The main body of Sherman’s XVII and XIV Army Corps pass through in martial array. Flags flew, the field officers on horseback pranced at the head of the column and the soldiers proudly kept step to the music of the band. The very first band that went by played “Dixie,” which caused many of the ladies to sit down and have a good cry. (31:267)

Sherman’s army had two wings, and each wing had two corps and each corps was made up of three or four divisions, and each division was made up of two or three brigades, and each brigade was made up of four or five regiments, and regiments were made up of several companies, and they were made up of about thirty men, for a total of 60,000 men. Each division was given the opportunity to occupy a town in its path. The XIV Army Corps, Third Division, as luck would have it, was chosen for Fayetteville. Col. Jackson wrote of this event, “General Baird’s Division of the XIV Corps is doing duty in the city and they are rather more respectful of private property than either our Corps, the XVII, or the XV Corps would be.” (30:196)

Also, as luck would have it, the XVII Corps was later to take the Clinton road, and the XV Corps was to take the Clement road and at Elizabeth Chapel cross over to the Goldsboro road (now US 13) and move through Newton Grove. The Left Wing was to move up the Raleigh road (now RT 82) and crossed over the northern part of Sampson County and then up to Bentonville.

III – A Sunday in Purgatory

…Arriving with Sherman’s army were some 25,000 refugees. Most were African Americans from South Carolina where burnings were far more common than in North Carolina. Within two hours after the fall of Fayetteville, the Third Division of the XIV Corps was posted as guards in the town proper. As a result, there were no homes deliberately burned, and there were no civilian deaths. That was not the case outside the town limits. Sherman, his staff, his guards, and various others would mean a total of about 7,000 Yankees camped inside Fayetteville and over 75,000 (including refugees) camped outside. (40:551)

…Theodore Upson records in his diary about that Sunday, “A good many of us went to church. There are a number of churches in Fayetteville and we heard a pretty good sermon, all about loving ones enemies which I think the Southerners will have hard work to do. But they would have no enemies if they had not tried to bread-up the Union. If they will give up that crazy notion and stop fighting us, we will be their best friends. While we were at church we heard a boat whistle and here came a steamer up the river with papers from the North.” (56:156)

The tug Davidson had left Wilmington late Saturday afternoon and signaled that Wilmington had fallen to the Yankee General Terry.

… Sherman wrote of this day: “Sunday, March 12th, was a day of Sabbath stillness in Fayetteville. The people generally attended their churches, for they were a very pious people, descended in a large measure from the old Scotch covenanters, and our men too were resting from the toils and labors of six weeks of as hard marching as ever fell to the lot of soldiers. Shortly after noon was heard in the distance the shrill whistle of a steamboat, which came nearer and nearer, and soon a shout, long and continuous, was raised down by the river, which spread farther and farther, and we all felt that it meant a message from home. The effect was electric.” (48:295)

Most of the officers managed to find homes to stay in; however, all the churches and other public buildings were being used as barracks for the soldiers of the XIV Corps, so on that Sunday the churches were full. After only one night in town the churches were still churches to some degree but after the Union soldiers left, Sally Hawthorne described the churches, stating, “They were in a terrible state of dirt and vermin. The cushions had to be burned and the carpets, almost torn to ribbons, were also useless. Bibles and hymnals were so mutilated and defaced as to be unfit to use and they were filled with vulgar and ribald writing.” (31:284)

Sherman’s engineers were ordered to lay two pontoon bridges, one about four miles south of the burned Clarendon Bridge and the other next to the old bridge. Sally Hawthorne, a local citizen, writes of those days, “One of the favorite pastimes was to have the chickens, ducks, and turkeys turned out of their yards on the lawn back of our house and of course the poor things, delighted to get to the green grass, would be picking busily, when those young men would sit on the steps and shoot as many as they wanted for their supper and then send them to the cook to get ready. They were kind enough to offer us some, but the offer was never accepted.” (31:279)

…In Fayetteville, the officers of a regiment near the home of Mrs. Josephine B. Worth wished to have a dinner party and borrowed the dining room of the old lady who lived nearby. They politely invited her to sit down with them. “General,” she said, “ain’t you going to ask the blessing?” “Well, grandma,” said he, “I don’t know how. Won’t you do it for me?” So she asked a blessing and prayed a short prayer. She asked the Lord to turn their hearts away from their wickedness and make them go back to their homes and stop fighting the South, and everything that she was afraid to tell them she told the Lord and they couldn’t say a word. (58:55)

IV – A Day of Destruction

“I can compare this day to nothing but what I imagine Hades would be were its awful doors thrown open.”

– Anne K. Kyle – “War Days in Fayetteville”

Early Monday morning, March 13, l865, a large group of Sherman’s men were seen at the Fayetteville arsenal, seemingly armed with a new kind of weapon. It was soon discovered that each had a fragment of the ornamental woodwork that had surrounded an arsenal building. They laid these aside for later use as kindling. (31:267)

Sherman could not leave enough men to hold the beautiful brick arsenal, so he ordered his chief engineer, Col. Orlando M. Poe, to level it. To be destroyed were twenty buildings covering thirty acres. Soon the breaking down of walls began. Railroad rails were suspended by chains from timbers set up in the shape of an “X”. With these they would first peck a small hole which grew larger and larger as they swung the iron against them. There were several such rams at work simultaneously around the same building. When the wall was sufficiently weakened the roof would fall in with a loud crash. The bands would strike up and the men would cheer as if they really enjoyed the work of this destruction, which lasted all day. (31:268)

While this was going on, Sherman’s XVII and XX Army Corps were given orders to clean up as well as they could. That did not help much as many were barefoot and many had ragged and mixed clothes. One division reported that nineteen percent were barefooted. Some were wearing clothes taken off the back of Fayetteville citizens. In this condition they were ordered to parade through Fayetteville and pass by Sherman. The review started at noon and they marched through the principal street with its rather attractive homes, its whitewashed cabins, and its marketplace in the center of the widest street. General Sherman reviewed the troops beyond the marketplace (toward Clinton). They did not make a handsome show but their “Uncle Billy” (Sherman) seemed to be well pleased. (9:225)

After the review they passed over one of the pontoon bridges that spanned the Cape Fear River and the XVII Army Corps went into camp near the crossing at Cade’s plantation and the XX Army Corps went into camp four miles from town near the plank road that ran north to Raleigh. (21:261)

After the parade of ragged troops came the parade of refugees, cattle, sheep, and camp followers. It was almost an unbroken stream, such as one seldom witnesses. (31:268) Three boats came up the Cape Fear and about 18,000 of the 25,000 refugees were able to leave Fayetteville by that method and the others would follow the XVII Corps and travel overland to Wilmington, via Clinton. The boats also carried many items stolen from citizens and homes in and around Fayetteville. (21:261)

In the heart of Sampson, widow Isobella Fann Tew (the author’s relative) was concerned for the safety and welfare of her ten children. Daniel W., the oldest, was now in the Army Junior Reserves with Isobella’s brother (Doc Fann). Her husband and three brothers had left home and lost their lives, and another brother was a Yankee prisoner. John Oliver, then sixteen, was digging holes and hiding yams and meat. At the end of the day he asked, “What shall we do now, Maw?” “Pray for rain,” was the reply. (53)

The magnitude of the food problem cannot be completely understood or fully expressed at this time in history. First, the Confederates with 15,000 or so troops were marching in front of Sherman and moving so fast that they had to live completely off the land, most of which was gladly given. Then came Sherman and his 60,000 troops and 25,000 refugees who went for weeks without outside contact and living only by foraging at the point of a gun. It was a dual deadly game. The local citizens would try to hide food and valuables and Sherman’s men worked hard to find them. All of this on an economy operated by old men, women, and children.

Capt. Dexter Horton of Fentonville, Michigan was twenty-eight years old, and part of Sherman’s foraging system of feeding his army. He was somewhat sympathetic to the southern people and kept a detailed journal of events. He wrote of this day “Everyone out of grub.” (23:248)

Col. Albion Tourgee was in the 105th Ohio. He records in his journal, “We captured a large bundle of woven socks, ready to be sewed together, we learned the comparative worth of Confederate money and greenbacks. The woman employed would do the work for $1.00 per pair in Confederate money or fifty pairs for a $1.00 in greenbacks.” The socks were apparently taken from a local mill. (55:364)

Although no Fayetteville citizens lost their lives, many were mistreated: John P. McLean, W.T. Horne, Major Jessee Hawley, and Alexander McArther were all hung to try to extract from them where their valuables were hidden, but they were taken down with only minor injury. Also, Charles B. Mallett, John M. Rose, John P. McLean, W.T. Horne, Mrs. Banks, Charles T. Haigh, James G. Haigh, and Archibald Graham had homes burned. These homes, for the most part, were outside of the town limit where guards were not placed and were burned at night. (51:67-68)

The country home of the Mallets north of Fayetteville was burned with only Negroes left at the house. When the Yankees told them that they were going to burn down the house, they pleaded with them not to, especially not to burn “Old Masser’s picture.” The soldiers gave them the choice — the house or the picture. The house was burned. Their old master was dead, so the picture could not be replaced. (39:416)

V – A Day of Hunger and Anxiety

“Had heeps of fun all day and saw many, many sad sights. Weeping mothers with babes begging for food.”

– Capt. Dexter Horton – 14th Army Corps

Early Tuesday, March 14, l865 the XVII Corps of Sherman’s Right Wing were on the Clinton road and were still near the Cape Fear hoping to get more supplies up the river before heading for Sampson County. Alexander Downing of the 11th Iowa and a foraging party of the XVII Corps went out early in search of feed for the horses and mules. They came to a rich plantation (near Vander) about four miles from camp, and in a short time, they had the wagons loaded with corn. Some of them were loading wagons as others were getting chickens when someone called out “The rebels are coming!” That call was enough to frighten the teamsters, and they put the whip to the mules, starting them off on a dead run. They galloped the teams all the way back to camp. It was every fellow for himself, and Downing wrote in his diary, “I never ran faster in my life.” (21:261)

In any successful forging operation there is of course someone who gets the short end of the stick. In the case of Fayetteville there were six Yankees for every man, woman, and child. Fayetteville was sacked on Saturday and the small supply of food that some bummers would leave was now gone.

Fayetteville was cut off from the world and Sally Hawthorne tells of how the soldiers searched for hidden food” “The orchard, just back of the lawn, was swarming with men with their bayonets fixed, prodding the ground inch by inch. I never saw anything like the slow, methodical way they went at it, but evidently they found nothing, for they next took the vegetable garden, and prodded the first vegetables up, but with no more success than in the orchard.” (31:278)

Rev. Thomas Stevenson, a chaplain of the 78th Ohio recorded this of Fayetteville, “We have never before seen so many poor looking women in one place. They thronged the streets in crowds, begging something to eat from our soldiers; they have every appearance of want and starvation.” (50:334)

…Some of the boys in the XVII Corps visited the plantation of John Waddell located about four miles east of Fayetteville. He was fatally shot for resisting their plundering. (17) Meanwhile the troops assigned to Fayetteville were still busy. All the arsenal buildings’ ornamental woodwork was used for torches to set fire to the remains. The heat, flames, smoke, and general confusion were terrifying to the women and children who lived in nearby homes. At different points on the arsenal grounds were “bomb pits” which were large excavations where they stored loaded bombs. Combustibles were thrown into these pits, and, adding to the other terrors, was the continual bursting of bombs as if a battle were in progress. The home of William B. Wright caught fire and burned during the process. (39:412)

The Fayetteville Observer’s large three-story brick building was destroyed by order of Sherman because the publisher and founder, E.J. Hale, was a staunch rebel and his paper wielded great influence for the Confederacy. Mr. Hale was an especially obnoxious person in the eyes of Sherman. His building was in the heart of Fayetteville. It was from The Fayetteville Observer that Sherman learned that General Johnson was made commander of all Confederate forces in the Carolinas. (39:412) (27:204) (19:198)

…General Baird of the XIV Corps, whose men were doing duty in Fayetteville, had his headquarters in a house near some old warehouses. Some bold and rash soldiers, without authorization, set fire to the buildings and flames spread to immense proportions, consuming a whole block and also the house in which General Baird had his headquarters. (25:375)

…Sherman’s guards were camped in a grove behind the home of Mrs. Josephine Worth. She recalls, “The night they left they burned a large quantity of corn. They built a large fire in the street and poured on bag after bag of corn, looking in the firelight like a company of fiends. How glorious the boys in blue appeared, burning up the bread from destitute women and children.” (58:55)

So, Sherman and his staff pulled out, but left about 6,000 soldiers in Fayetteville for one more day. Major Nichols of Sherman’s staff took time to write in his journal, “We have left Fayetteville pretty much as we found it.” (36:251)

VI – A Day of Sacrifice

“The rebel soldier stood his ground but he was dropped by their shots into the swiftly running river and swept away to rise no more”.

– Col. Oscar Jackson – Union Army, Fayetteville – XIV Corps

Fayetteville was the proud home of five cotton factories and one at Rockfish. Two of the mills were owned by John Hawthorne and his brother. Another was owned by Charles B. Mallett, who also had a country home burned. Mr. Mallett’s mill stood on Branson Street and he had been in the cotton manufacturing business for over 15 years. (39:414)

On March 12, 1865, mill workers and owners were notified that Sherman was going to blow up the mills, and if they wished to remove anything it must be done prior to the appointed hour on Wednesday. (31:280) The next day, the town got together and requested an audience with General Sherman, which was granted. Sherman let each man say what he wanted, keeping silent ’til they had all finished, and when the last had pleaded his case, he said these words: “Gentlemen, niggers and cotton caused this war, and I wish them both in Hell. On Wednesday those mills will be blown up. Good morning.” (31:280)

One minor consolation is that each mill worker was allowed to take anything they wanted from the mill. The appointed hour for the Hawthorne mills came at 3 P.M. The roar of the explosion could be heard all over town and dense smoke hung over Fayetteville into the night. (31:281)

Sally Hawthorne wrote of that day in Fayetteville: “There were warehouses of cotton and rosin. The cotton was brought out, the barrels of rosin piled on them and all set fire in the street. If houses caught, they burned; many did. Soon a pall of black smoke hung over everything and people were in a sad state of excitement and nervous exhaustion. The servants, with very few exceptions, proved true to their trust.” (31:281)

…One of the Army’s final acts in Fayetteville was to destroy some unwanted worthless horses and mules so that they would not be used by the South. The areas near the two pontoon bridges were chosen as a place to make a thorough inspection of the army transportation. As each brigade would prepare to cross the Cape Fear, all jaded horses and mules were culled from the units. A number of soldiers were detailed for that purpose. A thousand of these animals were herded into a field beside the Cape Fear River, where soldiers shot them. Bodies were left where they fell; many floated down the river. (18:222) (60:427)

The upper pontoon bridge was near town and Alice Campbell stated, “They took all the horses in town that they could not take with them and put them in an enclosure on Cool Spring Street and shot them, leaving hundreds of dead horses lying there. They were burned and you may try to imagine the odor, if you can.” (30:275)

One more important point in this area: Right Wing Commander O. O. Howard reported the capture of 6,815 horses and mules between Savannah, Georgia to Goldsboro. The number of other cattle, horses, and mules killed in skirmishes is not known but must have been enormous. (40:209)

Mrs. Josephine Worth describes the Sherman’s troops’ last night in town, “The evening they left this place a field officer rode by, by the name of Burgoss I think – followed by some men with horses loaded with bacon. My uncle approached him, saying, ‘Sir, you have taken all my provisions and my family must suffer without anything; will you not leave some of that meat?’ Without deigning to reply, he turned to one of his men and said, ‘Throw him down a piece.’ The soldier obeyed with the air of throwing a bone to a dog and they rode off.” (58:53)

Also, all the grist mills, except one, were destroyed when the Yankees left. (3:146) (40:779)

Late in the night of March 15, 1865, the Third Division of the XIV Corps completed its tour of duty in Fayetteville and crossed the Cape Fear after midnight and took up the pontoon bridges. They camped on the east bank of the river until after light, thus ended the 4 1/2 day occupation of Fayetteville. (23:249)

Clinton Road – XVII Corps

General Butler’s Cavalry troops had taken position at the Warwick Bridge on the Fayetteville-Clinton road as a Confederate welcoming committee for the Union invaders. Some of Butler’s troopers were still in Cumberland County and would remain there to the last minute.

Sherman’s bummers raided the Bennet Home residence and others near the South River early and took all the food and livestock that they could find. Yams, hams, chickens, corn meal, bread, corn, and fodder were favorite finds. Sometimes Sherman’s bummers, being loaded down with booty, made themselves easy targets for Butler’s troops, and several found themselves being carried off into Sampson County as prisoners of war. (19:198) (8:475)

…By mid-morning the foragers of the XV Army Corps were nearing Bethany Chapel and had reached the home of Rebecca Ann Hudson, and she was ready to match wits with the Union invaders. Her small two-room home was just off the road, about a mile from Bethany Church. She had taken sides of meat and placed them in a baby crib and neatly covered them with a quilt. Then she had her son Seth, then seven, lay on the quilt. (33)

Some of Sherman’s bummers arrived with chickens tied together and hanging across their horses and began searching the place and soon noticed that that was a big boy to be lying at this hour in a baby crib. One soldier stopped, looked at Rebecca Ann, and inquired, “What is wrong with the child?”

“Well,” said she, “Soldiers robbed everybody around and he’s just weak and hungry, I reckon.” Whereupon the soldier went to his horse and got a chicken and told her to cook it and “give that kid some damn chicken.” They then left; the hidden meat was saved. (33)

The Fourth Division was in the lead of the march and reached Bethany Church by 2:00 P.M. and got word from bummers that Confederate General Butler’s cavalry had burned the Maxwell Bridge and was holding the Sampson side behind breastworks. After establishing contact with the XVII Corps and learning of the loss of some men at the Warwick Bridge, they went into camp at Bethany Church. About 3:00 P.M. a minor exchange of cannonading occurred. Union General Logan did not desire to lose any men at his crossing, and due to rising water and rain he decided it best not to charge the Confederates. He decided he would rather capture them. (40:352) At that time, it was raining, and a bolt of lightning struck a tree where the 78th Ohio was camped. Thirty-year-old Pvt. Thomas H. Thompson was killed. Lt. Colonel J.C. Parrott and the 7th Iowa was ordered three-quarters of a mile above the bridge site and at the same time part of the 66th Indiana was to be sent half a mile down the river and deploy skirmishes in front for the purpose of making a demonstration and pretend to cross the river.

At sundown the 7th Iowa with pontoons moved out without road or landmark, making their way as quietly as possible through dense forest and swamp water. The flooded river was 500 to 600 yards across, and the water was from two to five feet deep. The pontoons were to be used to cross it safely. (40:352) The first few Yankees crossed the main body of the South River in about thirty minutes; however, it would take about an hour for all to cross over. During the process, a gun was accidentally discharged, and Pvt. John C. Palmer was shot and wounded. The sound of the musket firing was like a cannon in the deep of the swamp and woods. The Union soldiers had announced their coming, but not in glory.

…After gaining dry land and allowing his men a breathing spell, Colonel Parrott moved parallel with the river and struck the main road, but by now the Confederate troops were gone from their breastworks. The 7th Iowa bivouacked on the Sampson side that night without blankets, shelter, or rations, cursing the night, rain, and rebels. (40:352)

Raleigh Road – XX and XIV Corps

On March 15, Kilpatrick’s cavalry preceded the Left Wing on the Raleigh Road and were slowly pushing back Confederate General Wheeler’s troopers, which were acting as a rear guard for General Hardee’s Corps. (3:150) General Wheeler and his staff were in Wade and had been invited to a sumptuous meal by one of the local ladies. An elegant dinner of roast turkey, sweet potatoes, and hot biscuits was prepared. Unfortunately for the hostess, when the meat was ready Wheeler was gone, and in his place came three Union soldiers from the 70th Indiana. They were greeted by the reluctant hostess with, “Get out of here or I’ll scald you.” They responded by threatening her with the bayonet, removing the danger of hot water, but that did not stop the torrent of vituperation. While a deluge of words hit the three bummers, they scooped up the turkey, potatoes, and biscuits into a huge dishpan, wrapped the tablecloth around the goodies to keep them warm and disappeared. (34:257)

…About the same time, some of the Yankees were foraging and asked a young black man where his people had hidden their meat. “Up in the woods,” he replied. He led the soldiers to the spot and they “resurrected” sixty-four hams. (34:258)

VII – A Day of Death

“Moved a short distance and camped at a church, cut up the benches for wood, fighting In front.”

-Ira S. Owens – 74th Ohio

Clinton Road – XVII Corps

Warwick Bridge was completed by noon Thursday, March l6, 1865. It was made by building cribs and stretching heavy sills from one to another and then houses nearby from the Cumberland side were taken to plank it. Small poles were also used for part of the planking. The entire bridge was something near one thousand feet long. (30:197-198)

Meanwhile the Fourth Division moved at about 8 A.M. to the Big Swamp where they found that the bridge, about 180 feet in length, had been destroyed. It was rebuilt using the weather boarding from the Pleasant Union Baptist Church, located on the east side of Big Swamp, and also with trees from the area. The division then moved on into Owensville (Roseboro) and camped for the night. (10:136) (40:383)

…About two miles away from the Pleasant Union Baptist Church, bummers sacked the home of Sheridan Lucas. A twenty-four-year-old woman named Elizabeth lived there. The war had taken away many young men whom she knew, and a twenty-four-year-old Yankee named John Smith of the 25th Indiana visited her home. While the others were capturing their meat and corn, Elizabeth was capturing the young Yankee’s heart. He never returned to Indiana. In the 1880 census they had a baby daughter named Laura. (10:137)

The Third Division crossed the South River and moved to the Culbreth plantation which was about four miles into Sampson. That was apparently the place of Daniel M. and Jennette Maxwell Culbreth. Daniel and his three sons fought in the war. Daniel was forty-two years of when he enlisted on September 13, 1863. He served in the Batty B Company of the 2nd Light Artillery (North Carolina). Daniel and his second son, William, were captured at Ft. Fisher on January 15, 1865. William, like his father, served in the Batty B Company, 2nd Light Artillery (North Carolina). They were sent to the Elmira Prison Camp in N.Y. where Daniel “died of disease” on February 21, l865 and was buried by a former slave at the Woodlawn National Cemetery, plot No. 2265. William was released after taking the Oath of Allegiance on July 26, 1865. William was born in Sampson County, but he was a farmer in Cumberland County when he enlisted in the Confederate army on April 10, 1863 as a private. Twenty-four percent of the prisoners assigned to Elmira died there. (40:98) (63)

Clement Road – XV Corps

The Maxwell Bridge was restored during Wednesday night and the XV Army Corps was on the move again after having to wade through part of the overflowing South River. One Yankee wrote, “We crossed the Black River, which is well named, for it looks quite black and desolate.” (45:416)

Union General Hamilton of the cavalry describes in detail his travel with Sherman’s Army on this day: “In our march through North Carolina we were in the home of the long leaf pine which has given turpentine to the country and the name of ‘Tar Heel State’ to the fine old commonwealth of North Carolina. Here are extensive forests of trees from twenty inches to three feet in diameter and at least seventy feet without a limb but spreading at the top with a dense mass of interlocking limbs, clothed in evergreen leaves so dense as to exclude the sun. The ground is covered with four to six inches deep of pine needles, routing at the bottom but soft and clean on the surface. The turpentine is obtained by tapping these trees as we boys used to get molasses from our sugar trees long ago. But they cut notches deep enough to hold about a quart of sap, which is gathered into barrels and becomes the turpentines of commerce. The war had stopped all that and the notches are found full of congulated sap, which from different sources has oozed out and whitened the bark on the trunks of the trees higher up. Our foragers had set fire to the turpentine in the notches and the blaze extended to the resin on the bark, causing a smoke which could hardly escape through the green canopy above.” (29:195)

By the time the 6th Iowa passed by the trees which had been set fire by Sherman’s bummer’s, one tree had burned a bit too much at the stump and the huge pine fell across the road and seriously hurt Musicians Madison Swift and George Guthces. It also badly wrecked a regimental wagon and killed Major Ennis’ old mare, which at that time, was hitched to the rear of the wagon. (60:428)

Goldsboro Road (Hwy 13)

…At daybreak on March l6, 1865, the Michigan Engineers began the reconstruction of the Graham Bridge. The bridge was sixty yards long, with four spans built on cribs; two center cribs and spans had been burned along with all the planks. The river was sixty yards wide and at that time eighteen feet deep and rising. The approach at each side had to be corduroyed. The repair was complete by 11 A.M. However, the road forward was so bad that nearly the entire next five miles had to be corduroyed, which brought them to the cross-roads at the farm of Henry T. Jackson. Here, Right Wing Commander O. O. Howard met with other Union generals in the area. Here also, General Howard sent orders to the XVII Corps to move to Beaman’s Cross-roads, and thus the XVII Corps main column would miss traversing through Clinton. Henry T. Jackson, however, was likely not home as the forty-one-year-old farmer fought for the Confederacy. Henry T. Jackson was born in Sampson County and enlisted in the State Service (North Carolina) on September 1, 1863. He was transferred from State Service in June 1864, then served in the 6th Cavalry, North Carolina. Sherman’s troops, however, captured the Jackson family’s goods by mid-afternoon of that eventful Thursday. (40:692,865) (37)

VIII – A Day in the Heart of Sampson

Clinton Road – XVII Corps

…The rear of the corps pulled away from the South River early on March 17, 1865 and reached Owensvllle (Roseboro) by noon. Colonel Jackson of the 63rd Ohio wrote of that village, “I saw today a very eccentric old lady who had had her burial clothes stolen. For safety she had hid them out of doors and the soldiers finding them, some scoundrel had carried them off. She told me it had cost her great labor and savings to get the silk dress and did not think that she would ever be able to get another. She seemed very grieved. I observed here today quite a number of old people from eighty to ninety years of age.” (30:198)

The Fourth Division of Sherman’s XVII Corps was in the advance and pulled away from Owensvllle early and had gotten within about six miles of Clinton by noon. There they sent the 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry on to Clinton to wait for the refugee train. The Illinois troopers arrived there along with the bummers about 4 P.M. The refugees arrived after dark and went into camp. After the refugees were safely on the way to Wilmington, the 9th Illinois was to proceed to Faison’s Depot and open communications with General Terry’s forces coming to Goldsboro from Wilmington along the route of the railroad. (40:383)

At 1 P.M. the main column of 13,000 men turned north toward Beaman’s Cross- roads, reaching the destination at 5 P.M., then setting up camp. The lead regiments were mainly from Iowa and Illinois. The Third Division went into camp about two miles to the rear near what is now Reynolds Cross-roads. They were made up of Ohio, Illinois, and Wisconsin troops. The 20th Illinois reported that corn and forage were abundant. (27:205)

The foragers of the XVII Corps worked the area between the Little and Big Coharie in advance of the main column. Some of the citizens used these flooded rivers to try to save some of their livestock. They would drive the horses and cattle into the swamp and hope the Union soldiers would not find them. Sherman’s bummers would go “swamp ranging” as they would call it, looking for these animals.

John E. Parker’s house was located near Reynolds Cross-roads, where the Third Division camped, and the bummers arrived there by mid-afternoon. The food had already been hidden with care; however, little Gus Parker was upset with his parents over receiving an earlier punishment. Out of spite, Gus said that he would tell the Yankees where the food had been hidden, and he did. His being about three years old proved a blessing to his family because the Yankees didn’t believe him, and the food was saved. One can guess that after the Union soldiers left, Gus was in trouble again. (54) Some of the troops camped near the Parker place and pulled boards off the locked corn crib to get corn to feed their horses. (54)

George Washington Naylor, a fifty-one-year-old farmer lived on what is now SR 1458, near the 242 and 421 junction. Sherman’s foragers raided his place near dark. One of the Naylor’s sons had already died in service to the Confederacy: Ransom, was twenty-one-years-old on September 1, 1861 when he enlisted into Company A of the 30th Infantry (North Carolina).

Ransom was killed at Chancellorsville Va. on May 3, 1863. Frank P. Naylor, a lad of thirteen, was present the day Sherman’s men arrived and observed the bummers at work. The Naylors had a well with a Cyprus trunk top, and part of the well was caved in by the Yankees when they were chasing chickens around it. By the time the soldiers got to the corn it was dark, and they set the crib on fire to see how to load the wagon. Fortunately, everything was wet, and the Naylors were able to put out the fire after the Yankees left. (35)(37)

Goldsboro Road (US 13) – XV Corps

…On the afternoon of March 17, 1865, foragers found and brought in a paroled prisoner for questioning. The Confederate soldier’s name was W.T. Mainor. He was from Cumberland County and served as a private in the 51st Infantry (North Carolina). He stated the following to J. R. Scupham, Assistant Topographical Engineer, Second Division, 15th Army Corps: “We passed through Richmond, Va. March 11, and Goldsboro March 15. Lieut. Gen. R.E. Lee had left Richmond and was suppose[d] to be at Raleigh. Pickett’s Division had marched for that place [Raleigh] on the 10th.

Machinery and refugees were being sent to Greensboro. Clingman’s Brigade had been in Goldsboro and marched for Raleigh on the 13th. On the 15th only one company of artillery was still in Goldsboro, left to burn the cotton. Roads were good to Goldsboro.” Scupham reported to his commanding officer that Mainor was “intelligent and communicative.” (40:873, 875)

General Hampton and Kilpatrick’s prime duties were to provide “intelligence” to their leaders and to check out stories and movements of forces. The sizes of the Confederate forces were consistently overestimated by Kilpatrick. General Hardee wrote Johnson early on March 17, 1865, that Hampton believed Sherman was headed directly to Goldsboro. Meanwhile, Johnson was pulling in all the Confederate forces toward the area of Smithfield as fast as he could. (3:152, 157)

To add to all the confusing signals the Right Wing learned on that Friday from some escaped prisoners, that they had been captured by men in Yankee uniforms. Apparently, foragers were the prime targets of these disguised rebel scouts. Most foot soldiers of blue and gray were wearing mixed clothes because that was all they had. This was a problem in skirmishes and battles that generally worked to the advantage of the South. (40:873)

Raleigh Road XX and XIV Corps

…During the night of March l6, 1865 the Confederate troops pulled out from contact of the Union forces. The battle of Averasboro was listed as a “lively” skirmish. Hardee’s engagement stopped the advance of the XX Corps, giving Johnson more time to collect his forces. General Johnson isolated and crushed one of the Federal columns before Sherman could get his forces back in a compact form. Hardee moved his forces to Elevation on Smithfield road. (3:158)

The XIV Corps, with its 15,000 men, pulled out in front of the XX Corps. The mud from the rain and fighting was so bad that some units moved only about a quarter of a mile per hour. In such cases a hundred men were required to push and pull a wagon out of the knee-deep mud. (9:228)
After the battle is Averasboro, the Confederate wounded were left in the care of Union prisoners. (34:258) According to his journal, Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Merrill and ten other captured men from the 70th Indiana were detailed to forage for the Confederate sick and wounded. They looked into an old shuckpen, searching for food, and found $78.00 in fifty-cent pieces. Not wanting the money to fall into Confederate hands, they divided the silver among themselves. (34:258)

At the home of “Mr. Stewart,” located near Averasboro, there was an old Negro named Bill who the Yankees hung three times to make him reveal where his master’s valuables were hid. “The old fellow was faithful to the end, and when at length they released him, he said to the Yankees, ‘You say you have come here to free us black people, do you? Well, my old Massa raised me and he never put a rope around my neck and I raised my present Massa and he never put a rope around my neck and yet the first thing you do is put a rope around my neck and hang me most to death ’cause I won’t betray my Massa who was always good to me.’ To one of the Yankees who asked if he didn’t want to go with them, he said, ‘I don’t want nuthin ‘pon God’s earth but to be free from sins and you Yankees.’” (The Daily Confederate, April 6, 1865)

…All across Sampson County, Union and Confederate troops were separated by no-man’s land. Wheeler was on the Smithfield road, Hampton was near Bentonville, and Butler was near Blackman Lee’s Store. Butler had spent the night of the l6th at Beaman’s Crossroads. US 421 is about where the dividing line ran on the night of March 17, l865. (40:1421)

IX – A Day to Get Ready

“The general commanding directs that you immediately put your command en route to Bentonville”.

– Confederate Message – March 18, 1865 – 6:55 A.M.

Confederate Operations

The plan was to attack and crush the head of Sherman’s Left Wing at Bentonville, and time was running out. Hampton and Butler were now at Bentonville; Wheeler was on the Smithfield road; Hardee was at Elevation; Hoke, with the North Carolina Junior Reserves, was at Smithfield. Bragg and Stewart were also at Smithfield; the total forces being about 25,000 men which was less than Sherman’s Left Wing of near 30,000 men and Terry’s forces coming from Wilmington and Schofield coming from Kinston. A total force of 90,000 Yankees would soon be with Sherman. The Yankees thought that Johnson had 40,000 troops and was getting ready to defend Raleigh. (3:159)

…Bentonville Road – XIV Army Corps

The XX Corps was having a hard time with the roads and bridges. Two divisions managed to move out twelve miles but were still eight miles behind the XIV Corps. The First Division camped at the Lee plantation which was near the present NC 55-242 crossing. The Third Division camped at the Thornton plantation, near Draughon’s Crossroads. (3:161)

Some of the forages from 70th Indiana were in the area of the upper border of the Sampson-Harnett County line and recorded these events, “We came to a farm where the owner was too rich to be in the army. There was side meat in great abundance and yams by the wagon load. It struck me that every hog had as many hams as sides so after searching we found an opening into the garret, where was concealed the kind of meat a sick or wounded man would relish. We selected and threw down twenty-four of the best hams, adding them to our wagon load of yams and bid the former owner good day. The meanest trick I saw in my foraging experience was done this morning. The man of the house had on a new pair of gean pantaloons, woven from red and white yarn that had been twisted together. A boy from the 102nd Illinois made him haul off his good trousers and swap for the dirty ragged ones he wore.” (34:358-359)

…As the Union soldiers crossed the county, they fired the turpentine stills and trees, which sent up a dense black smoke-column that could be seen for miles by the Confederates. Rice Bull, 123rd New York writes of the night of the 18th, “It was eleven at night before we reached the brigade camp. It was in a ‘tapped’ pine forest, lighted by setting fire to the gum on the trees that would burn and smoke for hours. We were able to stand around the fires and dry out. We were a sight to behold as the black pitch smoke had added one more coat of coal-black to our faces and hands; we were like Negroes; we slept with our shoes on; we did not dare take them off for fear they would shrink so much we could not get them on in the morning. They were good and tight when we awoke.” (9:229) (3:101)

…Some Sampsonians were captured in Sampson County that day. John Curtis Jackson, a young man of twenty-five who had been a POW three years earlier, was captured. He had been assigned to the 20th NC Regiment. Also, in the same unit were first cousins Robert and Newbern Tew, and they, too, were captured. This was an infantry unit, and I believe that only cavalry and a few artillery troops of the Confederate Army encountered Sherman’s men in Sampson. The 20th NC Regiment surrendered at Appomattox, and these men might have been on furlough or on special assignment. (30:199) (33)

Goldsboro Road – XV Corps

Thomas W. Connelley of the 70th Ohio wrote about the heart of Sampson as the XV Corps broke camp on the road south of Newton Grove: “The last two days have been sunny and the air deliciously pleasant, full of the balmy influences of spring. The peach and apple trees are full of their delicate pink and white blossoms. Their delightful fragrances float in the air, greeting us with nature’s tenderest offerings. We are passing through a well cultivated county, with rich farmlands skirting the roadside. The houses are well built, the granaries are full of oats and corn and our animals are getting their fill. We have found more forage than we could bring away.” (15:152) (36:260)

Daniel Ambrose of the 7th Illinois wrote, “At 9 A.M. we move. The roads still desperate — corduroying almost every step. A great many refugees are now following the army, seeking to be freed from Davis’ tyranny; they are enduring much suffering. We got into camp tonight about sundown. We are about twenty-six miles from Goldsboro.” The refugees Ambrose mentioned would have been new—joining them since Fayetteville—as all refugees were sent to Wilmington from Fayetteville. …In the mid-1940s, Oscar Bizzell witnessed the ‘resurrection’ of some of the logs used by the Yankees to corduroy the roads. It occurred during the construction of US 13, south of Newton Grove.

…Lovett Warren, a fifty-six-year-old farmer, was at his farm on that Saturday morning in 1865. His youngest son William had served in the 20th Infantry (North Carolina) and died nearly three years earlier at a battle near Richmond. His older son Burrell was in the 46th NC Regiment. It was mid-morning when Sherman’s bummers got to his place, and he was there to greet them. Among other things, they wanted Lovett’s corn, so he stood between them and the corn, but not for long because they shot him in the buttocks. Afterward, Lovett never could sit properly. His house still stands about three miles south of Newton Grove near the junction of US 13 and SR 1647.

The XX Corps’ wagon train was on the same road but behind the XV Corps’ main column. On March 17th, they had remained in camp near the farm of Henry T. Jackson and many had gone foraging in the Mingo area. These 4,500 troops were mainly from New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. (40:693)
Henry Wright, 6th Iowa wrote, “We moved to the vicinity of Newton Grove Cross-Roads and camped before night. Here white oak timber was seen for the first time in many days and was hailed by the troops with shouts of joy for it was something to get out of the pine woods.” (60:428)

By mid-afternoon, the main column of Sherman’s XV Corps was nearing Newton Grove and the main column of the XIV Corps was heading east from Averasboro (Erwin). About the time that the XV Corps got to Newton Grove, the XIV Corps was three miles west, then moving northeast toward Bentonville. Shortly before that hour, some of Wade Hampton’s troopers were keeping check on the forward foragers of the XV Corps. The rebel scouts were on the left of the column and too busy worrying about the activities of the XV Corps to even think of those heading toward north Sampson from the west. Somewhere near Blackman’s Mill, the Yankees from both wings caught some of Hampton’s scouts in a wedge and a shoot-out occurred. (19:199) …

Clement Road – XV Corps Train

The entire Corps train consisted of nearly 1,000 wagons and had camped in the area of Jones Swamp on the east side of South River. They pulled out early on March 18, 1865 and were heading for Beaman’s Cross-roads. General W.B. Woods and his First Brigade of the First Division had train guard and movement duty. (28:296)

Some of the road had been corduroyed by the main column of the XV Corps; however, they had left the Maxwell, or High House Road, on what is now SR 1452 and the roads forward as General Woods reported “were awful.” He had learned at 8 A.M. that the crossing of the Little Coharie would be ready by the time it was needed. The rebels had earlier removed planking from the High House Bridge to make it unusable by the Yankees. The roads around Dismal Bay and Bryant Swamp were about as bad as the approach to the Little Coharie. (40:888) The forward wagons however reached the Little Coharie soon after noon and the crossing was completed by 8:15 P.M. Apparently one of Sherman’s generals spent the night at the home of Charlie Hall, the father of Kirby Hall. It was a normal event for the generals to invite themselves into homes along the march. General Woods was the only general in the area that Saturday, however, he was at Beaman’s Cross-roads at 6 A.M. on the 19th. It could have been Woods or one of his regiment commanders with the rear of the train guard. (44)(40) The advance of the wagon train arrived at Beaman’s Cross-roads and went into camp at about 8 P.M. and it would take until 4 A.M. the next morning for the rear of the train to get into camp. (40:898-899)

Clinton Road – XVII Corps

The Third Division of Sherman’s XVII Corps broke camp at 8 A.M. and pulled out from Beaman’s Cross-roads. The 20th Illinois was sent forward to reconnoiter and ascertain the best roads. They crossed the Big Coharie and, due to heavy rains, it was four miles wide, and the soldiers marched in water up to their knees. They hit water at the Old Mill Swamp and then at Merkle Swamp, and at the main stream the water had Daughtry Bridge covered. They pulled out of the water at Troublefield’s Store which was on the eastern side of the river. The progress was slow because nearly all the distance had to be corduroyed. A great many of the men were barefoot, their clothes were mixed and in strings. The men on forage duty would take anything to eat or wear regardless of cut or color. Some wore white vest and straw hats and occasionally one could be seen in tails. Some shoes sent over from General Terry were issued on that Saturday. (21:262)

…On the east bank lived a man named Alan Barbrey with a large family. He had considerable property and food before the Yankees came. He was stripped of everything eatable that Saturday. Colonel Jackson of the 63rd Ohio shared his own bread and meat with the family. Mr. Barbrey’s oldest son, William, was a Sergeant in the North Carolina Junior Reserves. Colonel Jackson’s unit and several other Ohio regiments camped at Goshen Church. (30:198)

Sherman’s bummers had got to Goshen Church about six hours in advance of the Ohio regiments and they visited the home of thirty-one-year-old Sarah, the wife of Soloman R. Daughtry, about a mile beyond the church. They had managed to hide their food in the loft and one board was left loose in order to get in and out. When the troops came, one as usual was assigned to use a pole and poke for loose boards. As the soldier began to poke around, Sarah began to cry and said that “she and the children would probably starve.” Her crying distracted the Yankee, and he missed the loose board. As the troops were leaving her home, one pulled out some money and quietly put it in her hand.

Another event recorded by the Daughtry family was that they had tried to take a load of sweet potatoes back into the woods to hide them, but, during the process, one of the cart’s wheels got caught in a washout and the wheel broke. They decided to unload the yams there and return home. When the Yankees came, they suspected foul play and didn’t want anything to do with ‘poisoned’ yams. It was believed that no one would leave good food out by the road for the Yankees to take, and so the sweet potatoes were safe.

X – A Day of Glory

Sherman had left the Left Wing before light, supposing that all danger was over, and crossed over to Newton Grove, moving east to catch General Howard and the forward part of the Right Wing. He did catch them about 1 P.M. at Falling Creek Church (Grantham). (48:303) Sunday morning, March 19, dawned clear and beautiful. For the unsuspecting Federal soldiers everything seemed to forecast a Sunday of peace and quiet. Major Nichols reports that he was aroused from sleep by a brigade band playing “Old Hundred,” which never sounded more “sweetly solemn.” (3:163) (36:261)

The First Division, XIV Corps, with General Carlin in command, was ready to move out at 7:00 A.M. General Carlin wore his newest uniform so there would be no doubt of his rank in the case of his capture or death. (3:163) Meanwhile, the XVII Corps now in two groups, pulled out early from Goshen Church and the Giddensville area and moved east via Doctor Faison’s plantation, to Smith’s Chapel, about seven miles from Mount Olive. They reported “plenty of forage, crops good last year. Heard heavy cannonading off on the left.” Colonel Jackson wrote, “our men are almost worn down with loss of sleep.” (21:262) (36:199) …

…When the Yankees got to about three miles of Bentonville and the Willis Cole plantation, they met the Confederate infantry and trouble. By noon Slocum was forced to send an urgent message to Sherman. William Calkins of the 104th Illinois, one of Carlin’s men who was positioned up front, wrote in his journal, “Some time after noon, I think about two o’clock, a tremendous firing and cheering broke out over where the other wing of the brigade had made its charge in the forenoon. It required but little experience to know that one side or another was making an assault. But which side, and with what result? In a few moments I noticed the firing and yelling was moving southward, indicating that the rebels were on the charge and has smashed Carlin’s line. I went to the officer commanding the regiment next on the right, which was still in line, told him the situation we were in, and proposed that we about face both regiments, fix bayonets and charge the rebels then in our rear, striking them on the flank and with a yell and a volley at close range we would give the Johnnies such a shove westward as would enable us to get out to the south. The officer declined to take part in the charge, and at once moved his regiment off by its right flank and was soon out of sight.” (11:304)

The battle of Bentonville was the closing major battle of the Civil War. Hundreds were killed and wounded on the first day, and the badly wounded Yankees were gathered into the Harper House nearby, which soon resembled a slaughterhouse. In one room, a dozen surgeons and attendants in their shirt sleeves stood around benches cutting off arms and legs and throwing them out of the windows where they laid scattered on the grass. The legs of the infantry could be distinguished from those of the cavalry by the size of the calves, as the march of several hundred miles had increased the size of the one and diminished the size of the other. (29:194) In another room, the severely wounded, whose moans and cries were heart rending, were stretched out. Some were cussing those who had brought on the war and others were trying to send messages to loved ones back home before they died. Others were praying earnestly, and some were calling for their mothers and Jesus in turn.

…From about 11 AM, cannonading could be heard clearly for about twenty miles, as it was a rare nice day for March. Those living as far away as Giddensville, Piney Green, and Wesley Chapel heard the cannons roar. There was at least one civilian Sampsonian who had part in the battle: James Fellows Jackson, a 59-year-old farmer, was not too pleased with the Yankees for sacking his farm and taking his food. After listening to the cannons for a while, he grabbed his squirrel rifle and set out to do his part in the raging battle at Bentonville.

[Note: References in this file are located at the end of paragraphs. The first number references the resource’s title (all are listed below), and the second number is the page number within each source]
1. Anders, Leslie – 18th Missouri;
2. Amborse, Daniel – 7th Illinois;
3. Barrett, John G. – Sherman’s March Through the Carolinas;
4. Barrett, John G. – The Civil War In North Carolina
5. Battles and Leaders of The Civil War;
6. Boynton, H.V. – Sherman’s Historical Raid;
7. Boies, Andrew J. – 33rd Mass.;
8. Brooks, V.R. – Butler and His Cavalry 1861-1865;
9. Bull, Rice C. – Soldiering 123rd New York;
10. Bullard, E.M. – Sampson Yearbook 1956-1957;
11. Calkins, William W. – 104th Illinois;
12. Chamberlin, W.H. – 81st Ohio;
13. Cluett, William W. – 57th Illinois
14. Connelley, John A. – Three Years in The Army of The Cumberland 123rd Illinois
15. Connelly, Thomas W. – 79th Ohio
16. Cox, Jacob D., LLD – The March to The Sea
17. Daily Confederate
18. Davis, Burke – Sherman’s March
19. Diaries of Members 103rd Illinois
20. Drake, George – 85th Illinois
21. Downing’s Civil War Diary 11th Iowa
22. Duke, John K. – 53rd Ohio
23. Eaton, Clement – Diary of An Officer
24. Fleharty, Stephen F. – 102nd Illinois
25. Floyd, David B. – 75th Indiana
26. Gage, Moses D. – 12th Indiana
27. Geer, Allen M. – 20th Illinois
28. Gibson, John M. – Those 163 Days
29. Hamilton, William D. – Recollections of A Cavalryman
30. Jackson, Oscar L. – The Colonel’s Diary 63rd Ohio
31. Jones, Katharine M. – When Sherman Came
32. Lewis, Lloyd – Sherman, Fighting Prophet
33. McLaurin, W.B.
34. Merrill, Samuel – 70th Indiana
35. Naylor, Authur
36. Nichols, George – The Story of The Great March
37. North Carolina Troops A Roster
38. North Carolina Troops Regimental Histories
39. Oakes, John A. – The Story of Fayetteville
40. Official Records Ser. 1 Vol. 47
41. Owens, Ira S. – 74th Ohio
42. Puntenney, George – 37th Indiana
43. Rowell, John W. – Yankee Cavalrymen
44. Sampson Independent
45. Saunier, Joseph A. – 47th Ohio
46. Seventh Illinois Adjutant General’s Report
47. Sherlock, Eli J. – 100th Indiana
48. Sherman, William T. – Memoirs of Gen. W.T. Sherman
49. Smith, Charles H. – Fuller’s Ohio Brigade
50. Stevenson, Thomas M. – 78th Ohio
51. Spencer, Cornelia P. – The Last Ninety Days of The War In North Carolina
52. Strong, Robert H. – 105th Illinois
53. Tew Family Records
54. Tew, John E., Jr.
55. Tourgee, Albion W. – The Story of a Thousand 105th Ohio
56. Upson, Theodore – 100th Indiana
57. Walcutt, C.C. – 94th Ohio
58. War Days in Fayetteville
59. Wheeler, Joseph – Campaigns of Wheeler and His Cavalry
60. Wright, Henry H. – 6th Iowa
61. Hinman, Wilbur F. – The Story of The Sherman Brigade 64th & 65th Ohio
62. 1850 US Census

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This