The Largest Surrender of the Civil War

A painting that depicts Sherman and Johnston meeting at the Bennett farm

A painting that depicts Sherman and Johnston meeting at the Bennett farm

On April 26, 1865, the largest troop surrender of the Civil War took place on farm of James and Nancy Bennett in what was then, Orange County.

Ten days earlier two worn adversaries, Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, along with their escorts, rode out to meet and negotiate the terms for the surrender. By chance, the Bennett farm was located half-way between the Union forces positioned in Raleigh and the Confederate forces encamped in and around Greensboro.

The unveiling of the Bennett House Memorial in 1923. Image from the State Archives

The unveiling of the Bennett House Memorial in 1923. Image from the State Archives

The two generals asked permission to use the farmhouse to conduct their meeting.  The Bennett family, already touched by the war with the loss of both of their sons and a son-in-law, retreated to the separate kitchen building to allow the generals to use  the house. After several days of negotiations, which were complicated by the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, Johnston surrendered his army. Johnston’s forces included all Confederate troops in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, totaling nearly 90,000 soldiers.  The mustering out of the Confederate army took place in Greensboro in early May, where paroles were issued to the soldiers.

Bennett Place became a State Historic Site in 1961.

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