Bennett Place - State Historic Site
Once upon a time the home of James and Nancy Bennitt (or Bennett), this 189 acre Piedmont North Carolina farm became the location of the largest surrender of Confederate soldiers in the American Civil War. Over the course of several days of negotiations, General William Tecumseh Sherman and General Joseph Eggleston Johnston pondered the terms of surrender, in an effort to help reunite the country. In the final resolution, on April 26, 1865, the surrender was finalized. Shortly after other small bands of Confederate soldiers were witnessed returning home, turned over their weapons and furled their flags. The American Civil War was over. The war took a toll on the Benefit family, who eventually left the Benefit farm. The Bennett Farm has been restored after being destroyed in 1921, so that others can appreciate such a historical site.
Backstory and Context
Bennett Place, Durham, North Carolina, was the site of the last surrender of a major Confederate army in the American Civil War, when Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to WIlliam T. Sherman. The first meeting (17 April 1865) saw Sherman agreeing to certain political demands by the Confederates, which were promptly rejected by the Union cabinet in Washington. Another meeting had to be held (26 April) to agree on military terms only, in line with Robert E. Lee’s recent surrender to Ulysses S. Grant. This effectively ended the war.
Bennett Place is a historic site located in Durham North Carolina. Bennett Place is best known for being the location of the last and largest surrender of a major Confederate army during the American Civil War. This location is so important to american history because it is the site in which the surrender of the Confederate army took place. After several meetings between General Joseph E. Johnston and General William T. Sherman the surrender was on April 26th , 1865 which ultimately ended the war.
What it known as Bennett Place today, was once home to James and Nancy Bennett. The family settled on a 325-acre farm in Orange County, and grew corn, wheat, oats, potatoes, and raised hogs. Research shows that the Bennett family, like many others, suffered devastating losses during the four year war. During that time the Bennett family lost both their son, as well as their son-in-law. Their son, Lorenzo, served in the 27th North Carolina, and was laid to rest in Winchester, Virginia. Their daughter, Eliza’s husband, Robert Duke died in a Confederate Army hospital. Robert was buried in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Bennett’s lost a third child, Alfonzo, during the Civil War in 1864, however, records indicate that it was not stemming from him being in the war. It is thought that James and Nancy Bennett never quite recovered from such great losses during the war. In 1878, James Bennett died and the family moved to the new community of Durham, North Carolina to begin a new life.
The Bennett Farm was abandoned by the family, and destroyed by fire in 1921. In 1923 the Unit monument was dedicated on the site. “The present buildings seen at the site were carefully reconstructed in the 1960s, using Civil War sketches and early photographs as a guide. The simple reproduction farm dwelling and log kitchen show what life was like during a tragic period in our nation's history. A modern visitor center with exhibits and an audiovisual program help tell the Bennett Place story.”
. Accessed October 26th 2019. https://www.battlefields.org/visit/heritage-sites/bennett-place-state-historic-site.
. Accessed October 26th 2019. https://historicsites.nc.gov/all-sites/bennett-place/history.
. Accessed October 26th 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennett_Place.