Morrisville History Center
This museum offers a variety of exhibits that preserve and share the history of Morrisville. Among the museum's highlights, visitors can see a special exhibit that details the history of a Civil War skirmish known as the "Morrisville Engagement." The Morrisville History Center also offers a digital gallery that provides information about local events and places them in historical context by incorporating them into the national narrative. The digital gallery also offers a variety of videos related to a variety of topics, including the Civil War "engagement" that occurred in Morrisville. Demonstrating the importance of this event, the town holds a reenactment of the Morrisville Engagement on the anniversary of the Civil War skirmish each year.
Backstory and Context
The Morrisville History Center provides insight
to its viewers to a skirmish that occurred in 1865 at the end of the
Civil War in Morrisville, North Carolina. Many are unaware of the Battle at Morrisville Station, or as some call it, the Morrisville
Engagement. On April 13, 1865, the city of Raleigh, North Carolina was captured
by the Union Army. At this time, the Union Army had received word that General
Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox Court House. General William T.
Sherman of the Union Army was aware of the inevitable demise of the Confederate
Army and sought to prevent them from retreating West.1
Unaware that the Union Army was moving quickly towards their post, the Confederate Army set up camp in the outskirts of Raleigh. The Union Army unleashed an attack on the Confederate troops, who were faced with fighting in short engagements to delay Union advancement and organize their escape on the railroads. After moving through the outskirts of Raleigh, the Union Army pushed the Rebels back to Morrisville Station. General Kirkpatrick of the Union Army sent his cavalry to charge the train, which contained wounded Confederate soldiers in hopes to escape. The Confederate troops made a successful attack at Morrisville Station, which held off the Union Army just long enough to escape successfully. During the engagement, citizens of Morrisville hid in shelter, and houses around the area even have bullet markings from the skirmish.2
Shortly after the Morrisville Engagement, General Johnston would make one of the most famous surrenders in the Civil War to General Sherman at the Bennett House in Durham, North Carolina. The Morrisville History Center provides maps, videos, and pictures which all provide detail to the backstory of the Battle at Morrisville Station, and a broader context of the role of Morrisville in the Civil War.
"Morrisville History Center at Town Hall," Morrisville North Carolina Official Website, accessed March 12, 2017, http://www.townofmorrisville.org/index.aspx?NID=607
"History Milestones," Morrisville North Carolina Official Website, accessed March 12, 2017, http://www.ci.morrisville.nc.us/index.aspx?nid=276