The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads was part of the Civil War's Campaign of the Carolinas. The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads took place on the Morning of March 10,1865. The Battle placed Union Cavalry against Confederate Cavalry in one of the last all cavalry battles of the Civil War. The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads slowed the advance of Sherman's march and approach to the nearby city of Fayetteville, NC.
During early March of 1865 Major General William Tecumseh
Sherman was conducting his Campaign of the Carolinas. MG Sherman split his
forces upon entering North Carolina in an effort to make Confederate leaders
believe his forces were marching west toward Charlotte, NC. The bulk of MG
Sherman’s forces actually moved east toward Fayetteville, NC with a plan to
secure the bridges at the Cape Fear River and trap the Confederates west of the
river or slaughter them as the attempted to flee across the river. On March 8,
1865 General Kilpatrick, MG Sherman’s commander of the eastern group of
soldiers, took up a position at a crossroads in an attempted ambush of
approaching Confederate cavalry.
Around March 8, 1865 two Confederate generals, General
Matthew Butler and General Joseph Wheeler began to work together in the area. After
discovering the Union forces on March 9, 1865 the Confederate commander General
Wade Hampton decided to launch a dawn attack on the Union camp. The plan
involved the rescue of Confederate prisoners that the Union forces had captured
in the days prior, as well as the capture of General Kilpatrick. As part of the
Plan General Butler would take his forces and attack the camp from the north
and General Wheeler would attack from the south.
At 5:30am on March 10, 1865 the Confederate forces launched
their attack on the Union Camp. In the initial assault Confederate forces freed
130 prisoners and captured the Union Artillery. The plan to capture General
Kilpatrick failed and he escaped into a swamp where he eluded the Confederate
forces for several hours. Kilpatrick and the other Union soldiers who escaped
the initial assault regrouped and quickly organized a counterattack. Fearing
that Union reinforcements would soon arrive the Confederate commanders took
their prisoners and supplies they had taken from the Union Camp and moved to
The assault allowed Confederate forces to cross the Cape
Fear River and delayed the Union advance toward Fayetteville for several days.
Upon the arrival of Union forces, Fayetteville officially surrendered to MG
Sherman’s forces. Union forces were unable to cross the Cape Fear River in
pursuit of the Confederate forces for several days. The delay that the Battle
of Monroe’s crossroads created allowed Confederate forces to dig in and prepare