Bennett Place is the location of the largest troop surrender of the Civil War. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston and Union General William T. Sherman met on three occasions at the farmhouse of William Bennett, halfway between Sherman's headquarters in Raleigh and Johnston's in Hillsborough and ultimately worked out terms to surrender over 89,000 Confederate troops in the filed in the Carolinas, Georgia and Florida.
Following the war, Bennett continued farming for a time, but very soon the home fell into disrepair. Locals began to cart off pieces of the farmhouse as souveniers.
The farm site became the property of the Morgan family, who then donated it to the State of North Carolina in the early 20th Century, along with funds to erect a monument on the site. A frame barn was built around the farmhouse in an attempt to save it, but both structures burned in 1921. The fire may have started from a spark from a passing locomotive. All that remained was the stone chimney.
The State Legislature formed the Bennett Place Memorial Commision with the intent of building a monument to national unity at the site. Many in the state feared that this monument would actually commemorate the Confederate defeat in the war. These fears were overcome and the monument was erected and dedicated in 1923.
The monument features two pillars representing the Confederacy and the Union. They are joined by a bridge on top which reads "UNITY".
The Bennett farmhouse was rebuilt in the late 1950's and early 1960's using the stone chimney and materials from a farmhouse of the same age in the area, The site is now a North Carolina State Historic Site with a Visitor Center and frequent tours of the farmhouse and outbuildings.
To record your own visit to this waymark, take and upload your own photo of the monument, along with some brief comments about your visit. Logs must contain the required photo as proof of your visit. Thanks.
The Unity Monument with the Bennett Farmhouse in the background:
The plaque text is a bit flowery as befits the era and there is some awkward sentence structure. It reads in full:
ONE HUNDRED FEET EAST OF THIS SPOT IN THE BENNETT HOUSE GENERAL JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON AND MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM T. SHERMAN MET AT NOON, APRIL 17, 1865, TO DISCUSS TERMS OF A PROPOSED SURRENDER. THEY MET IN THE HOUSE AGAIN ON APRIL 18 AND WROTE AND SIGNED A "BASIS OF AGREEMENT," UNDER THE TERMS OF WHICH GENERAL JOHNSTON AGREED TO SURRENDER ALL THE CONFEDERATE ARMIES THEN IN THE FIELD. PRESIDENT ANDREW JOHNSON REJECTED THE TERMS AGREED UPON, SENT ORDERS TO GENERAL SHERMAN ON APRIL 24 "TO GIVE FORTY-EIGHT HOURS' NOTICE AND RESUME HOSTILITIES AT THE END OF THAT TIME," AND ORDERED GENERAL GRANT TO "DIRECT MILITARY MOVEMENTS". GENERAL GRANT ARRIVED IN RALEIGH ON APRIL 24, BUT OUT OF CONSIDERATION FOR GENERAL SHERMAN HE DID NOT ASSUME COMMAND.
ON THE EVENING OF APRIL 25, GENERAL JOHNSTON "ASKED ANOTHER INTERVIEW" WITH GENERAL SHERMAN "TO RENEW NEGOTIATIONS," AND ON THE TWENTY-SIXTH AT 2 P.M. THE GENERALS MET A THIRD TIME IN THE BENNETT HOUSE AND SIGNED THE TERMS OF "A MILITARY CONVENTION." UNDER WHICH 36,817 CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS IN NORTH CAROLINA AND 52,453 IN GEORGIA AND FLORIDA LAID DOWN THEIR ARMS.
THIS MONUMENT THUS MARKS THE SPOT WHERE THE MILITARY FORCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FINALLY TRIUMPHED AND ESTABLISHED AS INVIOLATE THE PRINCIPLE OF AN INDISSOLUBLE UNION. IT MARKS ALSO THE SPOT OF THE LAST STAND OF THE CONFEDERACY IN MAINTAINING ITS IDEAL OF INDESTRUCTIBLE STATES - AN IDEAL WHICH PRESERVED TO THE AMERICAN UNION BY VIRTUE OF THE HEROIC FIGHT GROWS IN STRENGTH FROM YEAR TO YEAR.
The rear plaque reads:
IN FULFILLMENT OF THE WISHES OF SAMUEL TATE MORGAN AND IN HIS MEMORY, THIS MONUMENT AND GROUNDS ARE GIVEN TO THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BY HIS FAMILY.
SARAH THOMPSON MORGAN
BLANCHE MORGAN REYNOLDS
MAUDE MORGAN CABELL
SAMUEL TATE MORGAN, JR.
THE GIFT WAS ACCEPTED ON BEHALF OF THE STATE BY BENNEHAN CAMERON, JULIAN S. CARR, R.D.W. CONNOR, FRANK C. BROWN, W.T. BOST, R.O. EVERETT, D.H. HILL
MEMBERS OF THE BENNETT PLACE MEMORIAL COMMISSION CREATED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA 1923, AND THE FORMAL ACT OF PRESENTATION AND ACCEPTANCE TOOK PLACE OCTOBER 12, 1923