Fayetteville, North Carolina
boasts about 35 markers and sited related to The War Between the
States in the area. I would consider the ones below a “must see”
for Civil War buffs.
The Arsenal at Fayetteville was
built sometime between 1838 and 1853 but never fully operational
until the start of the Civil War. When North Carolina seceded
the Confederacy put it into operation. During the war, the
arsenal produced about 10,000 rifles and some pistol carbines.
The workforce was mostly women workers who produced vast amounts
of cartridges and ammunition. This made it a prime target for
|Ruins at the arsenal
After Sherman finished his March
to the Sea in Savannah, he concentrated on the Carolinas
Campaign and on March 11, 1865 reached Fayetteville, North
Carolina. Confederate General Wade Hampton made a futile last
stand near the Market House. Sherman’s huge numbers would not be
stopped. Hampton fled across the Cape Fear River.
can visit the Market House. It is one of the few buildings
neither Sherman or time destroyed and looks today much like it
must have on that fatal day in 1865. It is one of the few
buildings in the country that uses the old English plan of a
meat and produce market on the lower lever and town meeting hall
above. Today, it is open to the public and offers rotating
An interpreter explains the rifles made at the arsenal
Sherman made the arsenal his
headquarters during his stay in Fayetteville and on leaving,
ordered his chief engineer, Col. Orlando M. Poe, to "batter the
arsenal building into piles of rubble and then burn and blow up
the ruins." Sherman then had the ruins set ablaze. Little was
left standing on the site.
Today Arsenal Park, a part of
Museum of The Cape Fear Historical Complex, is a proud part of
North Carolina’s Civil War Trails. The exhibits in the main
building show a lot of the Civil War history of North Carolina.
In fact, the museum
showcases over 400 years of North Carolina’s history.
|One of the museum's Civil War
The ruins of the old foundry are
well worth a visit. You can access the grounds by a pedestrian
bridge behind the museum building.
The ruins sites are
clearly marked and when I visited there were costumed
interpreters. With just a bit of imagination, you can visualize
the stately tan brick buildings that once housed the arsenal.
|Displaying Civil War infantry
When Sherman left the smoldering
ruins of the Arsenal, he headed towards Goldsboro. Confederate
General Hardee, with about 8,000 men, met Sherman’s 30,000
troops at The Battle of Averasboro on March 15-16, 1865. The
confederated had no hope of winning against such odds.. This was
merely a delaying tactic to allow Confederate consolidation at
Bentonville. There are markers at these sites and Bentonville
conducts an annual reenactment.
The war ended just a few weeks
later.General Lee surrendered to General Grant in the
then-unheard-of village of Appomattox Court House at the McLean
House on the afternoon of April 9. On April 26, 1865, General Joseph E. Johnston,
commander of the Army of Tennessee, surrendered at Bennett’s Place, a modest farm
in Durham, North Carolina, now a North Carolina Historic Site.
The war was over at last. Let the
healing begin but never forget the events that brought us to the
place we are at today. Remember the admonition, “Those who
forget their history will be forced to relive it.”
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