After seeing a nation torn asunder
by great Civil War, President Lincoln witnessed General Sherman sucessfully March to the Sea and through the Carolinas. Soon
Lee would surrender to Grant at Appomattox. Within one week of Lee's surrender, Lincoln was assassinated.
|Battle of Bentonville
|(L) Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman; (R) Gen. Joseph E. Johnston
While near Bentonville, North Carolina, the Union forces were met
by Johnston's army near the town of Four Oaks.
On the first day of the battle, the
Confederate Army attacked one Union Army flank and was able to rout two divisions, however, it did not manage to rout
the rest of the army off the field. The next day, the second Federal flank arrived and for the next two days, the armies skirmished
with each other before Johnston's army. As a result of the overwhelming enemy strength and the heavy casualties his army suffered
in the battle, Johnston surrendered to Sherman little more than a month later at Bennett Place, near Durham Station. Coupled
with Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender earlier in April, Johnston's surrender represented the effective end of the war.
The defeat of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's army at the Battle of Bentonville in March, and its surrender in April, represented the loss of the final major
army of the Confederacy.
*The campaign originated in the Western Theater and concluded in the Eastern
Respect and Honor
Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman (February 8, 1820-February 14, 1891)
and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston (February 3, 1807-March 21, 1891) were opposing commanding generals during the Carolinas
|Battle of Bentonville Map
|Carolinas campaign, aka Campaign of the Carolinas, Map
After the Civil War, Johnston never forgot the magnanimity of the man to
whom he surrendered, and would not allow an unkind word to be said about Sherman in his presence. Sherman and Johnston corresponded
frequently and they met for friendly dinners in Washington whenever Johnston traveled there. Although many Confederate generals
were critical of Johnston, the memoirs of both Sherman and Grant put him in a favorable light. Sherman described Johnston
as a "dangerous and wily opponent."
When Sherman died, Johnston served as an honorary pallbearer at his funeral
and during the procession in New York City on February 19, 1891, he removed his hat as a sign of respect in the cold, rainy
weather. Someone with concern for the old general's health asked him to put on his hat, to which Johnston replied, "If I were
in [Sherman's] place and he were standing here in mine, he would not put on his hat." Johnston caught a cold that day, which
developed into pneumonia, and he died several weeks later in Washington, D.C.
In a message to the Senate and the House of Representatives, President Benjamin
Harrison wrote that "Sherman was an ideal soldier, and shared to the fullest the esprit de corps of the army, but he cherished
the civil institutions organized under the Constitution, and was only a soldier that these might be perpetuated in undiminished
usefulness and honor."
Sources: Library of Congress; Official Records of the Union and Confederate
Armies; National Park Service; National Archives; Map courtesy Hal Jespersen.
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