Bennett Place State Historic Site
On the morning of April 17, 1865, General Joseph Eggleston Johnston and Major General William Tecumseh Sherman met in the small farmhouse of James and Nancy Bennett located along the Hillsboro and Raleigh Road, which at the time was situated between the Union armies of more than 90,000 soldiers in Raleigh and the Confederate armies of some 30,000 encamped in Greensboro. Following the meeting of the first day, the generals agreed to return to the farm the next day to negotiate the surrender terms of four Southern states. However, just prior to the time of the negotiations, President Abraham Lincoln had been assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on the evening of April 14th. This caused much strain on the negotiations and resulted in the rejection of the terms of the first settlement. President Andrew Johnson and Secretary Stanton authorized Grant and Sherman to only permit the surrender of the Confederate armies and no political matters were to be accepted as had been discussed in the first meeting. Failure to meet these terms by the Confederate officials, Grant and Sherman were ordered to initiate the hostilities within 48 hours.
So, on April 26, 1865, Sherman and Johnston met for a third and final time signing the papers, which surrendered 89,270 Confederate soldiers still active in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. It was the largest surrender of the American Civil War.
Today, visitors can walk the original Hillsboro and Raleigh Road which brought two of the most prominent generals of the Civil War to the Bennett Farm in order to put an end to the four years of terrible war, that cost this nation more than 700,000 American lives. The Bennett home, kitchen house, and smokehouse all reconstructed on their original foundations and are decorated as they would have been during the time Major General Sherman and General Johnston and some 200 Union and Confederate troop escorts visited the farm.
Bennett Place State Historic Site is open Tuesday-Saturday (currently 9am-5pm) for guided or self-guided tours. The Visitor Center contains the museum gallery, gift shop, Everett-Thissen Research Library, and theater, which shows the short orientation film, “Dawn of Peace”. Please visit: http://www.bennettplacehistoricsite.com.