Unity Monument and Bennett Place State Historic Site
Bennett Place is operated by the state of North Carolina and offers a number of exhibits from its collection of artifacts related to the final weeks of the Civil War in North Carolina. This reconstructed farmhouse and state historic park is the location of the largest negotiated Confederate surrender at the end of the war in 1865. Between April 18th and 26th, Union General William T. Sherman and Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston met near this location and negotiated terms for the surrender of nearly 90,000 Confederate soldiers. The historic park includes a small museum, guided tours, and a number of programs throughout the year. The park is also home to the Unity Monument which was dedicated in 1923 and constructed with the support of the North Carolina General Assembly.
Backstory and Context
Despite these losses, the Bennetts would soon find themselves in the middle of what became the largest troop surrender of the Civil war when General Joseph E. Johnston of the Confederacy, and General William T. Sherman of the Union knocked on the door of "Bennett Place" to negotiate terms. The Bennett family agreed to allow the two generals and their men to use their farm and retreated to the kitchen house to allow the generals to use the Bennett Home in private.
In 1923 and with the support of the state legislature, the Unity monument was dedicated to celebrate the reunification of the North and South. One of several monuments dedicated in the early 1900s in this spirit, the monument appears to have aroused the ire of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, a women's organization dedicated to vindicating the antebellum South and the Confederacy. While the UDC's publication Confederate Veteran noted the dedication of even the most modest Confederate monument, it made no mention of this monument celebrating national reconciliation.
Caroline E. Janney, "War over a Shrine of Peace: The Appomattox Peace Monument and Retreat from Reconciliation," The Journal of Southern History. Vol. 77, No. 1, 2011, p98"A Brief History of the Bennett Family," Bennett Place State Historical Sites, accessed March 12, 2017, http://www.bennettplacehistoricsite.com/history/bennett-family/
"Johnston Surrenders at Bennett Place," Civil War Trust, accessed March 12, 2017, http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/end-of-war/johnston-surrenders.html
"Bennett Place State Historic Site - Durham, NC," Explore Southern History, accessed March 12, 2017, http://www.exploresouthernhistory.com/bennettplace.html
"Confederate Surrender in North Carolina," Civil Warm Women, accessed June 11, 2017, http://www.civilwarwomenblog.com/bennett-place/
"The Bennetts of Durham Station," The North Carolina Civil War Experience, accessed June 11, 2017, http://civilwarexperience.ncdcr.gov/bennett/bennetts.htm