Federal Line of March

Federal Line of March (HM9JW)

Location: Four Oaks, NC 27524 Johnston County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 28.115', W 78° 23.084'

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"Poor North Carolina ?"

— 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.
* * *
Hoping to deflect Union Gen. William T. Sherman's army from Goldsboro, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston attacked Sherman's Left Wing here on March 19, 1865, after finding it separated from the Right Wing, located several miles southeast. As the fighting intensified, Sherman led the Right Wing here in support. Johnston's forces, vastly outnumbered, withdrew to Smithfield on March 21, and Sherman's army marched to Goldsboro.

"The marks of bullet, shot and shell were thick on shrub and tree. At a certain height from the surface, there was scarcely a twig or bough that did not present a transverse groove, or its abrupt termination." - Surgeon James Mowris, 117th New York Infantry, describing the landscape around Bentonville after the battle.

This is the road on which elements of Union Gen. Alfred H. Terry's X Corps marched from Goldsboro to Smithfield. Gen. William T. Sherman's army left Goldsboro on April 10, 1865, in high spirits, having rested and been issued new uniforms and rations. Divided into Left and Right Wings, the army completed the march to Smithfield in two days, and Terry's corps passed through Bentonville and bivouacked a few miles beyond the village on April 11. The soldiers observed that the village was destitute and many houses still sheltered wounded Confederates. Terry's men rebuilt Mill Creek Bridge, which had been destroyed on March 22, by mid-afternoon on April 11.

At this time, Sherman commanded 88,948 officers and men, outnumbering Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army almost four to one. As the Union army approached Smithfield, light skirmishing broke out near Moccasin Creek, and the advancing Federals destroyed several homes and businesses along the line of march.

"Poor North Carolina will have a hard time, for we sweep the country like a swarm of locusts." Gen. William T. Sherman, regarding the advance to Smithfield.
HM NumberHM9JW
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 Saturday, October 25th, 2014 at 6:45am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 737306 N 3928153
Decimal Degrees35.46858333, -78.38473333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 28.115', W 78° 23.084'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 28' 6.90" N, 78° 23' 5.04" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)919, 910
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3714-3738 S Brightleaf Blvd, Four Oaks NC 27524, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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