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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 the Union.

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.  You 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 exhibits.

Market House                              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 exhibits

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 fighting

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.”

For more info:

http://museumofthecapefear.ncdcr.gov/

 

 

 


 

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