A point approximately 400 yards in front of you marks the center of a line of Union cannons positioned on the Morris Farm on March 19, 1865. These massed guns played a significant role in blunting the final Confederate attacks on the first day of fighting at Bentonville. Four batteries (of four guns each) were arrayed on both sides of a ravine, north of the Goldsboro Road. These sixteen guns held commanding angles of fire across the open fields to your right and behind you. An additional four-gun battery in position south of the road was joined by one gun of the 19th Indiana Battery. The 19th Indiana saw dramatic action earlier in the day at Cole's plantation, where three of its guns were captured during the main Confederate attack. In the most intense artillery barrage of the three-day engagement at Bentonville, Union batteries on the Morris farm punished Confederate troops with spherical case shot and canister rounds at close range.
"The Rebs?undertook to carry a new line I established, in the angle of which I left a marshy interval commanded at canister distance by twelve pieces of [XX Corps] artillery?.They were terribly punished?.They left lots of dead officers and men, especially when the canister swept them on the left front."
Bvt. Gen. Alpheus S. Williams, commanding XX Corps.
"The enemy's?artillery?concealed in the woods was very deadly?.About half of our regiments?.had come out into the open, in a field where these was nothing to conceal or protect them?.Our men fell rapidly?.under what seemed a tremendous concentrated firing upon us."
Pvt. Robert W. Sanders, 2nd South Carolina Artillery (fighting infantry, Elliot's Brigade)
"The five batteries were opened at a distance less than seven hundred yards, throwing canister and spherical case into the wavering mass of rebels, the discharges being as rapid for a time as the ticks of a lever watch. Smoke settled down over the guns as it grew dark?and the flashes seen through it seemed like a steady, burning fire, and powder and peach blossoms perfumed the air?.Captain Winegar?who ?drew a good bow' at Gettysburg and Chancellorsville, says ne never witnessed such artillery fire."
E.D. Westfall, New York Herald correspondent present with the Union XX Corps during the battle for the Morris farm.
"[The artillery was] so loud that we had to yell to make our nearest neighbors understand us?while the ground trembled under our feet."
William Grunert, Illinois soldier in Case's brigade.