Bentonville Cemetery Ceremony To Honor 20 Confederate Soldiers
(June 2011 Civil War News)
FOUR OAKS, N.C. – Grave markers honoring 20 Confederate soldiers who died after the March 19–21, 1865, Battle of Bentonville, which saw nearly 4,200 Union and Confederate casualties, will be dedicated at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site on June 11.
The ceremony is part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources’ 2nd Saturdays summer series combining arts and history. It is also the site’s annual June Summer Seasonal Living History Program, beginning at 10 a.m.
During the 2 p.m. dedication, research historian Michael Hill from the N.C. Office of Archives and History will speak about the care of a fallen Confederate soldier at one of the war’s first battles. Archaeologist John Mintz will talk about archaeological discoveries at Bentonville and the treatment of the dead in the last days of the war. A musket and artillery salute by Civil War reenactors will follow.
At the farm home of John and Amy Harper, which became the Union Army XIV Corps field hospital, nearly 600 Union soldiers and an unknown number of Confederates were treated.
After the battle the Union army marched on to Goldsboro, paroling at least 45 wounded Confederates left in the care of the Harpers. In spite of the their efforts, 23 of the soldiers died and 20 were buried on the farm.
The location of their graves was lost over the years. Thanks to 21st-century technology and discovery of a late 19th-century photograph, the cemetery was found. The picture shows 20 headstones and footstones just south of the Harper family cemetery.
Assistant State Archaeologist John Mintz and Wake Forest University Director of Public Archaeology Kenneth Robinson led a team of archaeologists who confirmed the graves’ location using ground-penetrating radar.
The Harper House Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a Bentonville Battlefield support group, is raising funds to purchase headstones for the graves.
For information about making donations and the dedication contact the site at (910) 594-0789 or go to