North Carolina Historic Sites: The Final Battles of the Civil War

The Battle of Averasboro

Averasboro Battlefield and Museum

Dunn, NC

On March 15, 1865, Confederate General William Hardee was ordered to delay General William Sherman’s march across the Carolinas by engaging the Union Army in the Civil War town of Averasboro, known today as Dunn, NC.

As rain fell at daybreak on March 16, Union soldiers charged the Confederate line backed up by artillery fire. Additional reinforcements were brought in throughout the day on both sides as the battle waged.

Confederates were vastly outnumbered by Union forces. After retreating several times during the day, Hardee removed his men overnight to begin a march toward Bentonville where the next major assault was planned.

Hardee had achieved the objective of slowing down Union forces but the cost was high on both sides. The battle resulted in 650 Union troops killed or wounded. The Confederates suffered 800 losses.

Today, the cannons in Dunn are silent, but the battle is well remembered. You’ll see a Civil War cabin and artillery on the battlefield. The museum preserves and displays artifacts from the Battle of Averasboro.

The Battle of Bentonville

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

Four Oaks, NC

The largest land battle ever fought on North Carolina soil began just a few days after the Battle of Averasboro, 20 miles away in Bentonville.

The three-day battle proved to be the Confederacy’s final major attempt to stop Sherman’s march from Georgia to Richmond. The showdown occurred in today’s Four Oaks, where more than 20,000 Confederate troops gathered to face 60,000 Union forces.

The three-day conflict would result in more than 1,500 Union troops killed along with more than 2,500 Confederates. At the end of the battle, Sherman marched on and the Confederates soon surrendered to end the Civil War.

Today you will see the battlefield with many tangible reminders of the Civil War battle. The Harper House on the field was turned into a Union hospital. Today, it is outfitted the way it would have appeared during the War. The upstairs is furnished like the Harper’s home would have been. Nearby are a reconstructed kitchen and slave quarters.

The Bentonville Visitor Center showcases artifacts from the battle along with maps of troop movements.

A walking tour takes in Union troop trenches, the Harper family cemetery and a Confederate mass grave. You will also see monuments honoring North Carolina and Texas as well as the Goldsboro Rifles.

Visit these Historic North Carolina Battlefields

Plan your day or weekend trip to Dunn and Bentonville, NC, by booking a guided tour for your family here. These sites also have school group tours and volunteer opportunities.

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