Occupation of Smithfield

Occupation of Smithfield (HM9IQ)

Location: Smithfield, NC 27577 Johnston County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 30.699', W 78° 20.843'

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"cheering ? rolled along the lines"

— Carolinas Campaign —

(Preface):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 in March, Johnston saw the futility of further resistance and surrendered on April 26, essentially ending the Civil War.

This is the Johnston County Courthouse, the third to occupy this site. Here, on the steps of the second courthouse, on April 12, 1865, Union Gen. William T. Sherman announced Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, three days earlier. After some street fighting on April 11, the Confederates withdrew, burning the Neuse River bridge. Elements of the 75th Indiana Infantry were the first to occupy Springfield.

When Sherman arrived, he immediately established his headquarters in the courthouse. At about 5 a.m. the next morning, he received word of Lee's surrender, and throughout the day he stood at the top of the courthouse steps and gave the news to his men as they marched by. Major Henry Hitchcock, of Sherman's staff, watched as "brigade after brigade came along our HsQrs and were told the news ?. Imagine the billows of tumultuous cheering which rolled along the lines ? Meanwhile, band after band ? made the little old town echo with music as beautiful as it was patriotic." The Union army occupied Smithfield for two days before advancing on Raleigh.

"The streets are wide. The walks are nicely shaded by elms and hackberry ?. Most of the houses are now deserted. Many of them have long been ?. But the glory of Smithfield has departed, and that, too, before the war ?. At the court house I noticed the shelves, in the offices, are emptied of their contents on the floor. The archives of Johnson [sic] county lie in confusion amongst the dirt ?. The churches are open and the books scattered about the pews. At the graveyard I noticed the graves of a number of rebels, bearing ominous dates - about the time of the Bentonville fight." - Chaplain John J. Hight, 58th Indiana Infantry
HM NumberHM9IQ
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 5:00pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 740567 N 3933021
Decimal Degrees35.51165000, -78.34738333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 30.699', W 78° 20.843'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 30' 41.94" N, 78° 20' 50.58" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)919
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 200-240 E Market St, Smithfield NC 27577, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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