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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

March 19th, 1865 - The Battle of Bentonville

Conflict: Civil War

Combatants: Confederates vs. Federals

Location: North Carolina (USA)

Outcome: Federal victory

A month and a half after completing his "March to the Sea" and occupying Savannah, Georgia, Union General William T. Sherman turned north for the Carolinas. Meanwhile, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston assembled an army of 17,000 - 20,000 soldiers to slow the Federal advance. Johnson's troops struck the Union left wing near Bentonville, North Carolina, on March 19th of 1865. Union and Confederate troops battled inconclusively for two days before Sherman brough the bulk of his army forward. Confronted with overwhelming odds, Johnston withdrew his troops. The Confederates had lost 2,600 soldiers while Federal losses were 1,646.

Battle of Bentonville (State Archives of North Carolina)

Points of Interest:

  • Sherman's army marched on after Bentonville and encamped at Goldsboro while anticipating a link-up with the army of General Grant in Virginia. However, after hearing of Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox about three weeks later, General Johnston did the same.

  • Johnston served as a congressman and railroad commissioner after the war. Sherman, who despised politics, retired from the army in 1884, refused to run for President, and died in 1891.

Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, C.S.A. by Mathew Benjamin Brady
General William Tecumseh Sherman by an unknown photographer



Bowman, John S. (Ed.) (1983). The Civil War Almanac. New York: World Almanac.

Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Long, E.B & Long, Barbara (1971). The Civil War Day by Day: An Almanac 1861-1865. New York: De Capo Press, Inc.

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