A crowd of 50,000 or more is expected to pack this weekend’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Bentonville near Four Oaks.
The Battle of Bentonville, which took place March 19-21, 1865, marked the largest battle ever fought in North Carolina and the last major tactical offensive by a Confederate army during the Civil War. More than 3,000 re-enactors, some the descendents of men who fought on that farmland 150 years ago, will try to give modern spectators a feel of what the deadly fighting was like.
During the battle, 80,000 Union and Confederate soldiers fought in an engagement that resulted in more than 4,100 casualties.
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“Visitors should allow ample time to get there because we don’t want them to miss anything,” said Keith Hardison, director of the Division of State Historic Sites and Properties. “We will adhere to our schedule and run rain and shine both days. It is just going to be a great opportunity.”
Here are some tips for people who want to attend:
▪ Anniversary events will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Paid admission is only required to view the battle re-enactments. All the other events are free, including the lectures, house tours, music and demonstrations. Go to http://bit.ly/1B8Lhle for more information on the events, including how to buy remaining tickets.
▪ Large crowds are expected, so double the planned time to drive to the battlefield at 5466 Harper House Road in Four Oaks.
▪ The battle re-enactments start at 3 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Seating will begin two hours ahead of time on a first-come, first-serve basis. People who plan to sit on the ground will be seated first. Then comes people who bring their own chairs. Standing-room viewing will be provided at the back of the spectator area.
Hui: 919-829-4534; Twitter: @nckhui