Battle of Monroe's Crossroads

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Battle of Monroe's Crossroads
Campaign of the Carolinas History

Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads

Other Names: Fayetteville Road, Blue’s Farm

Location: Hoke County

Campaign: Campaign of the Carolinas (February-April 1865)

Date(s): March 10, 1865

Principal Commanders: Brig. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick [US]; Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler and Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton [CS]

Forces Engaged: Kilpatrick’s Cavalry Division (1,850) [US]; Wheeler’s and Hampton’s Cavalry Division (3,000) [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 269 total (US 183; CS 86)

Result(s): Inconclusive

Location of Monroe's Crossroads
Battle of Monroe's Crossroads Map.jpg
Hoke County, NC

Description: As Sherman’s army advanced into North Carolina, Kilpatrick’s Cavalry Division screened its left flank. On the evening of March 9, two of Kilpatrick’s brigades encamped near the Charles Monroe House in Cumberland (now Hoke) County. Early on the 10th, Confederate cavalry under the command of Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton surprised the Federals in their camps, driving them back in confusion and capturing wagons and artillery. The Federals regrouped and counterattacked, regaining their artillery and camps after a desperate fight. With Union reinforcements on the way, the Confederates withdrew. (See Battle of Monroe's Crossroads: A History.)

Battle of Monroe's Crossroads Map
Battle of Monroe's Crossroads Battlefield.jpg
Monroe's Crossroads Battlefield Map

Monroe's Crossroads Battlefield Map
Battle of Monroe's Crossroads Battlefield .jpg
Battle of Monroe's Crossroads

Source: National Park Service

Recommended Reading: Battle of Monroe's Crossroads and the Civil War's Final Campaign (Hardcover). Description: The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads, fought March 10, 1865, was one of most important but least known engagements of William T. Sherman's Carolinas Campaign. Confederate cavalry, led by Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler, launched a savage surprise attack on the sleeping camp of Maj. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick, Sherman's cavalry chief. After three hours of some of the toughest cavalry fighting of the entire Civil War, Hampton broke off and withdrew. His attack, however, had stopped Kilpatrick's advance and bought another precious day for Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee to evacuate his command from Fayetteville. This, in turn, permitted Hardee to join the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and set the stage for the climactic Battle of Bentonville nine days later. Continued below…

Noted Civil War author Eric Wittenberg has written the first detailed tactical narrative of this important but long-forgotten battle, and places it in its proper context within the entire campaign. His study features 28 original maps and 50 illustrations. Finally, an author of renown has brought to vivid life this overlooked portion of the Carolinas Campaign. About the Author: Ohio Attorney Eric J. Wittenberg is a noted Civil War cavalry historian and the author of some dozen books and two dozens articles on the Civil War. His first book, "Gettysburg's Forgotten Cavalry Actions," won the 1998 Bachelder-Coddington Literary Award.

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Recommended Reading: On Sherman's Trail: The Civil War's North Carolina Climax. Description: Join journalist and historian Jim Wise as he follows Sherman's last march through the Tar Heel State from Wilson's Store to the surrender at Bennett Place. Retrace the steps of the soldiers at Averasboro and Bentonville. Learn about what the civilians faced as the Northern army approached and view the modern landscape through their eyes. Whether you are on the road or in a comfortable armchair, you will enjoy this memorable, well-researched account of General Sherman's North Carolina campaign and the brave men and women who stood in his path.

 

Recommended Reading: Sherman's March Through the Carolinas. Description: In retrospect, General William Tecumseh Sherman considered his march through the Carolinas the greatest of his military feats, greater even than the Georgia campaign. When he set out northward from Savannah with 60,000 veteran soldiers in January 1865, he was more convinced than ever that the bold application of his ideas of total war could speedily end the conflict. Continued below…

John Barrett's story of what happened in the three months that followed is based on printed memoirs and documentary records of those who fought and of the civilians who lived in the path of Sherman's onslaught. The burning of Columbia, the battle of Bentonville, and Joseph E. Johnston's surrender nine days after Appomattox are at the center of the story, but Barrett also focuses on other aspects of the campaign, such as the undisciplined pillaging of the 'bummers,' and on its effects on local populations. About the Author: John G. Barrett is professor emeritus of history at the Virginia Military Institute. He is author of several books, including The Civil War in North Carolina, and coeditor of North Carolina Civil War Documentary.

 

Recommended Reading: Sherman's March: The First Full-Length Narrative of General William T. Sherman's Devastating March through Georgia and the Carolinas. Description: Sherman's March is the vivid narrative of General William T. Sherman's devastating sweep through Georgia and the Carolinas in the closing days of the Civil War. Weaving together hundreds of eyewitness stories, Burke Davis graphically brings to life the dramatic experiences of the 65,000 Federal troops who plundered their way through the South and those of the anguished -- and often defiant -- Confederate women and men who sought to protect themselves and their family treasures, usually in vain. Dominating these events is the general himself -- "Uncle Billy" to his troops, the devil incarnate to the Southerners he encountered.

 

Recommended Reading: Southern Storm: Sherman's March to the Sea, by Noah Andre Trudeau (Hardcover). From Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. Trudeau, a prize-winning Civil War historian (Gettysburg), addresses William T. Sherman's march to the sea in the autumn of 1864. Sherman's inclusion of civilian and commercial property on the list of military objectives was not a harbinger of total war, says Trudeau. Rather, its purpose was to demonstrate to the Confederacy that there was no place in the South safe from Union troops. Continued below…

The actual levels of destruction and pillage were limited even by Civil War standards, Trudeau says; they only seemed shocking to Georgians previously spared a home invasion on a grand scale. Confederate resistance was limited as well. Trudeau praises Sherman's generalship, always better at operational than tactical levels. He presents the inner dynamics of one of the finest armies the U.S. has ever fielded: veteran troops from Massachusetts to Minnesota, under proven officers, consistently able to make the difficult seem routine. And Trudeau acknowledges the often-overlooked contributions of the slaves who provided their liberators invaluable information and labor. The march to the sea was in many ways the day of jubilo, and in Trudeau it has found its Xenophon. 16 pages of b&w photos, 36 maps.

 

Recommended Viewing: The History Channel Presents Sherman's March (2007). Description: “The story of General William Tecumseh Sherman who helped devastate the South's army at the end of the Civil War is told here via vivid reconstructions of his actions.” This is a great reenactment, presentation. It's not dull like some documentaries that just continually talk with the same guy for an hour. This includes several individuals that are extremely knowledgeable in their respective fields--be it civilian or military historian. Also, it includes many re-enactors that portray “Sherman as well as his entire command.” It literally takes the viewer back to 1864 to experience it firsthand.

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