Nearly 150 years after the final shots were fired, the echoes of history can still be seen and heard at Bentonville Battlefield, the site of North Carolina’s largest Civil War battle.
Bentonville is recognized nationally for its labyrinth of pristine entrenchments from the March 1865 battle. But until now, most visitors have not been able to view the battle trenches because of their secluded location.
Civil War entrenchments were long, narrow holes dug to protect soldiers on a battlefield. Earth was typically piled in front of the trench, often on felled trees or fence railings, for added protection. Miles of trenches are still in existence at Bentonville Battlefield. Staff and volunteers began working on a walking trail extension in 2013 that will allow public access to more of these earthworks.
A trail cleared near Union trenches in 2013 impressed renowned battlefield guide Ed Bearss, who said he “never expected to see these trenches open to the public” in his lifetime and that they were “an invaluable asset to Civil War history.”
On Saturday, Jan. 25, staff, volunteers and members of the Friends of Bentonville Battlefield will take up tools and continue the work, clearing a path next to Confederate trenches and linking them with the walking trail expansion. On March 19, 1865, soldiers in the Confederate Army of Tennessee built these trenches as they were standing toe-to-toe with Gen. William T. Sherman’s Union Army.
Please bring small power tools such as weed trimmers and hand tools such as bush axes, rakes and clippers. Because of safety regulations, chainsaws are prohibited. The Friends of Bentonville Battlefield will provide refreshments and lunch.
For more information about the volunteer workday at Bentonville, call Amanda Brantley at 910-594-0789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Battle of Bentonville, fought March 19-21, 1865, involved 80,000 troops and was the last Confederate offensive against Union Gen. William T. Sherman. Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site interprets the battle and the hospital where many Confederates were left in the aftermath.
Bentonville Battlefield is located at 5466 Harper House Road, about three miles north of Newton Grove.