From the massive amphibious attack on Fort Fisher to the 6,000-acre battlefield at Bentonville, riders on a bus tour will learn details about North Carolina Civil War sites Oct. 24-26.
Civil War historian Mark Bradley will be the on-bus guide. To reserve your spot, go to ncdcr.gov/civilwartour.
Pivotal events in North Carolina hastened the fall of the Confederacy and the end of the war in1865. The movie “Lincoln” illustrated the urgent need President Abraham Lincoln felt to capture Fort Fisher and disrupt supply lines to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Fort Fisher fell Jan. 15, 1865.
At the Battle of Bentonville in March, the Confederates launched their last major offensive. On April 26, with the surrender of the armies of the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida, the Civil War effectively ended at Bennett Place near Durham.
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The bus-tour weekend begins Friday evening in Raleigh with a tour of the antebellum N.C. State Capitol. During a dinner in the Rotunda, staff members will review the history of this landmark structure – from the May 20, 1861, vote for secession to the occupation by Union troops in the closing days of the war.
Saturday starts at Fort Fisher, near Wilmington, where site historian Ray Flowers will provide a bird’s-eye view of the massive fortification and the battles fought there. Also, participants also will be treated to the firing of a seacoast gun that had a range of several miles.
After a barbecue lunch in Kinston, participants will learn about the strategic importance of ironclads at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center. Costumed interpreters will lead a tour of the Confederate ironclad that was moved to the center in July 2013. The tour will also make a brief stop at Wyse Fork, where an 1865 battle ensured the fall of the town and the destruction of the ironclad.
Saturday concludes at Bentonville Battlefield with a circa 1865 period meal on the grounds and a trip back in time to see the Harper family home turned into an Army field hospital. Interpreters will demonstrate the harshness of a Civil War hospital and the chaos witnessed by the Harper family.
The tour ends Sunday at Bennett Place, where the Civil War effectively ended nearly 150 years ago. Participants will learn about the negotiations between Confederate Gen. Joseph S. Johnston and Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and how the assassination of President Lincoln affected the negotiations and the tenuous peace. The Unity Monument at Bennett Place stands as a testament to the reconciliation of North and South at the end of the Civil War.
The cost by Sept. 15 is $375 per person based on double occupancy and $455 per person for single occupancy. The cost after Sept. 15 is $395 per person double occupancy and $475 per person single occupancy.
For more information, call 919-807-7389.