Unity Monument and Bennett Place State Historic Site
The Confederate armies of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida surrendered at this location. The historic park offers a visitor center and museum, as well as living history reenactments on special occasions.
Johnston and Sherman discuss terms at the Bennett farmhouse. Image from Harper’s Weekly, May 27, 1865.
Painting depicting the surrender of Joseph E. Johnston at Bennett Place, North Carolina, April 26th, 1865. Original held at the Library of Congress.
The meeting table in the Bennett House from which General Sherman and General Johnston negotiated and signed terms.
A view of the Bennett family compound. From left to right: Bennett House, smokehouse, kitchen house.
The Bennett Farm well with a view of the land.
The road to Bennett Farm.
A view from outside the Bennett Farm. From left to right: Smokehouse, Bennett House.
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