American Battlefield Trust’s map of the Battle of Bentonville (Overview)
After his march to the sea, Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman headed north in early 1865 to unite with Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s army in Virginia. Only Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston’s army stood between Sherman and Grant. After briefly blocking Sherman’s advance at Averasboro, North Carolina on March 16, Johnston struck Maj. Gen. Henry Slocum's wing of Sherman’s army near Bentonville on March 19. The Confederates ran into stiff resistance, as Slocum established a defensive position. Johnston's assaults continued throughout the day but were unable to dislodge the Federals. Sherman arrived on March 20 with Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard's army wing to join Slocum. Johnston reformed his line with his flanks on Mill Creek as both sides skirmished with each other. On the afternoon of March 21, a Union reconnaissance in force on Johnston's left threatened to cut of Johnston's retreat. A series of desperate Confederate counterattacks pushed the Federals back and stabilized the line. That night, Johnston retreated across Mill Creek covered by his cavalry. Sherman elected not to pursue Johnston and moved to Goldsboro. The last battle of the war for Sherman's army, the Union victory at Bentonville forced Johnston's surrender at the Bennett farmstead on April 26.