Confederate Line of March

Confederate Line of March (HM9K2)

Location: Four Oaks, NC 27524 Johnston County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 24.7', W 78° 21.682'

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" ? on this wretched road ? "

— 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.

"I am so weather beaten in the face, shabby in clothing and ? begrimed with smoke. On the march we often do not get a chance to wash our faces and for two days together, and the smoky atmosphere of the camp, when we halt at night, makes us look like the Yankee prisoners in the ?bullpen.'" - William Johnson, 1st South Carolina Artillery

This is the Bentonville-Smithfield Road, the main corridor that Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army followed as it deployed south to Bentonville to strike Union Gen. William T. Sherman's Left Wing on March 19, 1865. Confederate reinforcements from Cheatham's Corp in Smithfield also used the road to march to Bentonville on March 21, 1865. During the Confederate retreat to Smithfield on March 22, Gen. William J. Hardee reported to Johnston a tedious march "on this wretched road, which I have been working on and pulling wagons through all the morning ?. The road I am on is the road you traveled from Smithfield to Bentonville ?. The wagons on this road must go forward, as they can't be turned back." Johnston's army, exhausted form the three-day Battle of Bentonville, took a much-needed rest along the road on the evening of March 22 before it arrived in Smithfield.

"It was a real treat that we were permitted to-day to wash up and put on clean clothes." - Capt. Bromfield Ridley, Gen. A.P. Stewart's staff
HM NumberHM9K2
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 Friday, October 17th, 2014 at 6:40am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 739595 N 3921895
Decimal Degrees35.41166667, -78.36136667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 24.7', W 78° 21.682'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 24' 42.00" N, 78° 21' 40.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)919, 910
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2 State Rd 1179, Four Oaks NC 27524, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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