The Last Encampment

The Last Encampment (HM92L)

Location: Hillsborough, NC 27278 Orange County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 3.307', W 79° 4.85'

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The Dickson House

— Carolina Campaign —

(Preface, upper left): The Carolinas Campaign began on February 1, 1865, when Union Gen. William T. Sherman led his army north from Savannah, Georgia, after the "March to the Sea." Sherman's objective was to join Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia to crush Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Scattered Confederate forces consolidated in North Carolina, the Confederacy's logistical lifeline, where Sherman defeated Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's last-ditch attack at Bentonville. After Sherman was reinforced at Goldsboro late March, Johnston saw the futility of further resistance and surrendered on April 26, essentially ending the Civil War.

In April 1865, during the closing weeks of the war, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's Army of Tennessee camped southeast of here on the Alexander Dickson farm while Johnston conferred with Confederate civil authorities in the Dickson House (moved to Hillsborough's historic district in 1982). Johnston had begun negotiating surrender terms with Union Gen. William T. Sherman at the Bennett farm, now the Bennett Place Historic Site, near Durham. Here in the Dickson house - Gen. Wade Hampton's headquarters - he met on April 17 with Hampton, Postmaster General John H. Reagan, Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge, and North Carolina Governor Zebulon B. Vance. During the conference, Johnston announced the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. He and Sherman both feared that the news would so anger Union soldiers that they would retaliate against Confederates. In fact, that night a mob of Federals threatened to burn Raleigh and dispersed only after Union Gen. John A. Logan blocked the road with a cannon and threatened to open fire. This incident, and others similar to it, encouraged Sherman and Johnston to come to terms and disperse the Southern soldiers to their homes.

On April 26, Johnston surrendered not only the approximately 32,000 men camped nearby, but also most of the Confederate forces elsewhere in North Carolina, as well as in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida - about 89,000 men. It was the largest surrender of the war. For many soldiers on the Dickson farm, their last memory of the area was the chiming of the Hillsborough town clock as they withdrew to Greensboro to lay down their arms.

Sidebar, lower right: In 1982, the Dickenson house and farm office were moved one mile NW to 150 East King Street in downtown Hillsborough. The house has been restored for use as the Orange County Visitors Center and is a good place from which to begin a tour of historic Hillsborough.
HM NumberHM92L
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 at 6:38pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 672859 N 3991766
Decimal Degrees36.05511667, -79.08083333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 3.307', W 79° 4.85'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 3' 18.42" N, 79° 4' 51.00" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)919
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 625 Hampton Point, Hillsborough NC 27278, US
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