FOUR OAKS — Guided tours of Bentonville Battlefield will be offered every Saturday in July. The battle, which was described as “the hottest place we were ever in,” by a soldier in the 34th Illinois, occurred March 19-21, 1865. Tours will begin at the Visitor Center, leaving at 11 a.m. A fee is charged for the tour. Tours last approximately two-hours and require standing and walking on rough terrain. Tours are not recommended for small children.
Visitors will get the opportunity to explore areas where heavy fighting occurred, including the scene of the XIV Corps’ probing attack, a perilous advance which proved to be the last full measure for many Union soldiers. Amongst those killed was 13th Michigan commander, Maj. Willard G. Eaton. His body was found and buried on the battlefield by his devoted regiment, who erected a headboard marking his grave. In 1866 Eaton’s body and the headboard were taken back to his hometown of Otsego, Michigan where Eaton was reinterred and the headboard preserved. A replica of this headboard which was fashioned from an ammunition crate lid is now on display in the Visitors Center.
The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, involved 80,000 troops and was the last Confederate offensive against Union Gen. William T. Sherman. Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site interprets the battle and the hospital, where many Confederates were left in the aftermath.
The site is located at 5466 Harper House Road, Four Oaks, three miles north of Newton Grove on S.R. 1008, about one hour from Raleigh and about 45 minutes from Fayetteville.
For more information, visit www.nchistoricsites.org/bentonvi/bentonvi.htm or call (910) 594-0789.
Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Information provided by Bentonville Battleground.