Confederate Attacks - Day 1

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

The Battle of Bentonville was the last great battle of the American Civil War. It took place barely two weeks before Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The battle here was a result of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston's strategy of attacking Union General William T. Sherman while his forces were divided as they crossed North Carolina.

Sherman, who had recently laid waste to South Carolina, was moving his army north to an eventual link-up with Grant in Virginia. His next objective was Greensboro where he could be resupplied. The terrain in this part of the state is quite wet and Sherman was forced to split his forces to make use of the narrow roads. Johnston saw this as the perfect opportunity for his much smaller force to damage Sherman and he placed his troops to meet the Federals outside the small town of Bentonville. The battle was very nearly a Confederate victory, with the Union troops nearly giving way on the first day. However, as soon as word of the engagement reached Sherman reinforcements quickly started moving towards Bentonville. By the second day the Confederates were outnumbered although the battle stretched into a third day before they inevitably retreated. Less than a month later General Johnston would surrender his remaining force to General Sherman, effectively ending the Civil War.

Battle Statistics

United States of America

Armies Engaged: Army of the Tennessee, Army of Georgia

Commanding Officer: Major General William T. Sherman

Strength: 60,000

Casualties: 1,527 or 2.6% (194 killed, 1,112 wounded, 221 captured/missing)

Confederate States

Armies Engaged: Army of the South

Commanding Officer: General Joseph E. Johnston

Strength: 21,900

Casualties: 2,606 or 11.9% (239 killed, 1,694 wounded, 673 captured/missing)


  • Dave W.

    on January 5, 2012

    There are many 'likes' on this album -- not for the battles fought, but the beauty of the photos, and the thoughts instilled-- reminders of all the sacrifice of so many-- thanks for sharing!