1. U.S. Arsenal Historical Marker
Authorized by Congress, 1836. Taken over by Confederacy, 1861. Destroyed March 1865, by Sherman. Ruins stand 2 blocks S.W.
2. Confederate Breastworks Historical Marker
Thrown up early in 1865 to defend Fayetteville from Sherman’s army. Remains are here.
3. Sherman's Army Historical Marker
Invading North Carolina, Sherman’s army occupied Fayetteville, Mar. 11-14, 1865, destroying the Confederate Arsenal, which stood 1 mile W.
4. Oak Grove Historical Marker
Plantation home of John Smith, used as a Confederate hospital during the Battle of Averasboro, March 16, 1865.
5. Battle of Averasboro, Phase One, March 15-16, 1865 Historical Marker
You are standing near the center of the first phase of fighting in the Battle of Averasboro, March 15-16, 1865. On March 15th the left wing of General Sherman’s Union army, commanded by General H. W. Slocum, was advancing along this road from Fayetteville to Averasboro. General H. J. Kilpatrick’s cavalry division was in the lead, skirmishing with General Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate cavalry which contested the Union advance. At 3:00 p.m. the Union forces struck a heavy Confederate skirmish line. General Smith Atkins’ 9th Michigan cavalry drove the skirmishers back into the first of three lines of eastworks erected across the road. The Union cavalry then constructed heavy barricades in front of the Confederate works. At 6:00 p.m. Confederate General W. B. Taliaferro, whose division was holding position, ordered an attack along his line. The Union forces, though hard-pressed, were able to hold their position due to the arrival of reinforcements from the 14th Corps. Nightfall found the two armies in nearly the same positions they had held throughout the afternoon. General W. T. Sherman, Union commander, arrived on the field during the night. At 6:00 a.m. on March 16th, the Union forces attacked Taliaferro’s line, driving the Confederates before them. Then the Southerners launched a desperate counter-attack. A disaster for the Union forces was averted when portions of the 20th Corps arrived upon the field. Three batteries of artillery were placed in the position near the John Smith house. These began firing upon the Confederates, driving them back into their breastworks. At 11:00 A.M. two newly-arrived Union brigades engaged the Confederates in front, while the brigade of Colonel Henry Case assaulted the Confederate right flank. This attack forced the Confederates to withdraw into their second line of works. NOTE: For the remainder of the battle, drive two miles north on this road and read the map-marker on phase two of the battle.
6. Battle of Bentonville March 19- 21, 1865 Historical Marker
At Bentonville, General William T. Sherman’s Union army, advancing from Fayetteville toward Goldsboro, met and battled the Confederate army of General Joseph E. Johnston. General Robert E. Lee had directed the Confederates to make a stand in North Carolina to prevent Sherman from joining General U. S. Grant in front of Lee’s army at Petersburg, Virginia. Johnston had been able to raise nearly 30,000 men from South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and eastern North Carolina. His army included a galaxy of generals: two full generals; fourteen major generals; and many brigadier generals. Ahead of Sherman with his force, he looked for an opportunity to strike. Sherman’s army of 60,000 men was divided into two wings: 30,000 men in the Left Wing marching via Averasboro and Bentonville, and 30,000 men in the Right Wing marching on a parallel route to the southeast. Sherman’s North Carolina objective was Goldsboro, where 40,000 additional troops and fresh supplies would reinforce and nourish his weary army. The three-day battle ended in a stalemate. After an initial success on the first day, the Confederates were unable to destroy the united Federal Left and Right Wings (60,000 men) and on the night of March 21-22 they withdrew. The Union Army, anxious to reach Goldsboro, did not pursue. Troops involved: 85,000 to 90,000 Casualties: Killed Wounded Missing Confederate 239 1,694 673 Union 304 1,112 221 Total 543 2,806 894 Total killed, wounded, and missing: 4,243 The Battle of Bentonville was important because it was: 1) the only major Confederate attempt to stop Sherman after the Battle of Atlanta, August, 1864; 2) the last major Confederate offensive in which the Confederates chose the ground and made the initial attack; and 3) the largest battle ever fought on North Carolina soil. The Harper House, residence in which John and Amy Harper raised their eight children, has been restored on the battleground. This home was used during the battle as a Union hospital and after the battle as a Confederate hospital. In the Confederate Cemetery are buried 360 soldiers. The museum and 6,000-acre battleground are open for tours on a regular schedule.
7. C. M. Stedman 1841-1930 Historical Marker
Last Confederate officer in Congress, 1911-1930; lawyer & lt.-governor. Grave is 2 blks. east.
8. Confederate First Line Historical Marker
Gen. W. B. Taliaferro’s division occupied trenches crossing the road at this point, March 15-16, 1865.
9. Confederate Women's Home Historical Marker
Built in 1915 for the widows and daughters of state’s Confederate veterans. Closed, 1981. Cemetery 300 yds. W.
10. Federal Artillery Historical Marker
From a point 50 yards west three batteries of artillery under Major J. A. Reynolds shelled the Confederate first line of earthworks.
11. Federal Hospital Historical Marker
The 1865 home of Wm. Smith, 100 yds. E., was used as a hospital for Union troops in the Battle of Averasboro, March 15-16, 1865.
12. Prelude to Averasboro Historical Marker
Late in 1864, two large Union armies, one in Virginia and the other in Georgia, were beginning to squeeze the Confederacy to defeat. Grant held Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia immobile at Petersburg, while Sherman, with 60,000 men, captured Atlanta and began the famous March to the Sea. Savannah fell by Christmas, 1864, and mid-January, 1865, Sherman’s invasion of the Carolinas was begun. Columbia was captured on February 17th and Fayetteville on March 11th. After leaving Fayetteville, Sherman sought to confuse General Joseph E. Johnston’s Confederate forces by making a pretended advance against Raleigh with the left wing of his army. This wing, commanded by General H. W. Slocum, began its march from Fayetteville along Old Stage Road (present U.S. 401) which connected with Raleigh. Some 25 miles above Fayetteville the road branched near the village of Averasboro: one branch continued north to Raleigh, the other ran to the east toward Smithfield and Goldsboro. While Sherman’s left wing moved in the direction of Averasboro, his right wing advanced toward Goldsboro on a parallel road about 20 miles to the east. The Confederates faced a difficult military situation in North Carolina by mid-March, 1865. General Johnston, ordered to stop Sherman, found his small army scattered over a wide area. It would take time to organize the various units into an effective fighting force. The only corps in position to hinder the Union advance was the 6,500 man force under General W. J. Hardee. This corps was ordered to resist Slocum’s advance, thus began the Battle of Averasboro.
13. Rhett's Brigade Historical Marker
The brigade of Colonel A. M. Rhett was repulsed 300 yds. W. on March 16, 1865, by Union troops under Col. Henry Case.
14. The Fayetteville Observer
The Fayetteville Observer, originally launched in 1817, is North Carolina’s oldest newspaper that is still currently published. Because of the newspaper’s strong pro-Southern tone, the destruction of the newspaper plant was among Union General William T. Sherman’s objectives when he occupied Fayetteville in March 1865. Edward J. Hale ran the paper until 1865 when he turned the paper over to his sons, who resumed publishing in 1883.
15. Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (FACVB)
The Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau positions Fayetteville and Cumberland County as a destination for conventions, tournaments, and individual travel. It operate a Visitors Center with a drive-through window. It is located just minutes from the heart of downtown. Signs from I-95 provide clear directions to the Visitor Center. Call for information and help planning your visit to the area or stop by when you arrive for maps, brochures and more. While you are here you will experience our History, Heroes, and Hometown Feeling!
16. Averasboro Battlefield
The Averasboro Battlefield Site Complex marks the spot of a Civil War battle that began on March 15, 1865. The battle was the result of a Confederate offensive maneuver to delay Union General Sherman’s progress through the South. Battle casualties were high for both armies. The Yankees reported 477 casualties, while the Confederates lost approximately 500. A little over 24 hours after the battle began, it ended with the Confederacy withdrawing its troops after achieving its mission. The battlefield is marked with interpretive signage pinpointing key physical locations within the battle. The site also contains two plantation homes: Oak Grove, which was built in 1793 and Lebanon, built in 1825. Tues-Sat 10 am - 4pm; Sun 1pm - 4 pm.
17. Cross Creek Cemetery
Founded in 1785, the oldest public cemetery in Fayetteville is the burial ground for veterans from the Revolutionary War through the Spanish American War. The retaining wall along the southern boundary is believed to be the oldest piece of construction still standing in Fayetteville today.
18. Fair Oaks House
Fair Oaks was built in 1858 and included an octagonal summerhouse, the old kitchen, servants' quarters, smokehouse, and school house. The house incorporates a Georgian plan with Greek Revival and Italianate elements. Surrounding the house is the original cast iron fence with a beautifully designed gate. During General Sherman's occupation of Fayetteville in 1865, some of the Union troops camped on the grounds of Fair Oaks. A silver tray from the house that was used for target practice by Sherman's troops still remains with the original owner's family today.
19. Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum
From Native American trails to steamboats and trains, explore the importance of the early trade communities of Cross Creek and Campbellton. This museum outlines the development of the plank road system that connected Fayetteville to other towns throughout North Carolina. African American slave labor was used to build the plank roads. Formerly, the building was home to the Cape Fear and Yadkin Valley Railroad Company, which opened in Fayetteville in 1879 as a reorganization of the former Western railroad.
20. Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry (F.I.L.I.) Armory and Museum
On August 23, 1793, the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry (F.I.L.I.) was organized after President George Washington enacted the Militia Act. During the Civil War, the F.I.L.I. took over the Fayetteville Arsenal for the Confederate forces. The armory contains historical artifacts, weapons, uniforms, and memorabilia, including the carriage that rode the Marquis de Lafayette during his visit to Fayetteville. The F.I.L.I. is still an active ceremonial unit ans is North Carolina's official historic military command.
21. Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Parade Grounds
On August 23rd 1793 the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Company (FILI) was organized on a field alongside Cross Creek on North Cool Spring Street. The birthplace of the F.I.L.I. would serve for many generations as a place for the F.I.L.I. to muster and drill. Isaac Hammond, a free black man and a veteran of the American Revolutionary War served as a paid musician (fifer) for the unit. It was Isaac Hammond’s dying request in 1822 that he be buried on the F.I.L.I. Parade Grounds in uniform with fife in hand that he might be near the F.I.L.I. in spirit. In accordance with his request he was buried with full military honors. The monument on the parade grounds was erected in 1993 to commemorate the bi-centennial anniversary of the F.I.L.I. Company. The monument was constructed from material used to construct the Cumberland County Courthouse in 1893-1894.
22. Hale House
The Hale House was constructed in 1847 and first owned by one of the journalistic forefathers of Fayetteville, Edward J. Hale. Hale, who came to Fayetteville as a young man, bought the Carolina Observer in 1825 and changed its name to the Fayetteville Observer. He served as publisher of the Observer until 1865 when the press was destroyed by Union General William T. Sherman. The destruction of the press was one of Sherman’s objectives when he came to Fayetteville, citing it as a “rebel newspaper” of great importance.
23. Heritage Square
Our tour guides would love to tell you about Heritage Square! Whether you're looking for a great way to spend an afternoon or a place to bring a bus load of school children, look no further than Heritage Square. Tours must be prearranged, and there is a nominal fee. Remember, Heritage Square is included in the book "Tarheel Ghosts" for a reason...shhh!
24. Long Street Presbyterian Church and Cemetery
Long Street Presbyterian Church is one of the first established in this area, along with Bluff and Barbeque churches, during the mid-1700s. The first congregation, composed of Highland Scots who settled in the area, met in 1756 in McKay’s meeting house, until 1765 when the first Long Street Church was built out of logs. Likely built with slave labor, the standing two-story wooden church was completed in 1847 and represents the third church of this Argyle Community. Built on land owned by Duncan McLaughlin, the building and 6 acres were sold to the congregation in 1850. Nearby a cemetery was established to serve the community. Still visible today, the cemetery is protected by a dry-laid stone wall and contains the earliest marker of 1773, and one marker with a Gaelic inscription. Dry-laid walls of this type were common among Highland crofters, and represent a skill transplanted to America. The graves of many early Scottish setters and their descendants, and possibly their slaves, are buried in this graveyard, along with one mass burial of Confederate soldiers killed at the nearby Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads. The U.S. Army bought the church, cemetery and land from the congregation in 1923 to establish Camp Bragg. Descendants still hold annual services once a year here. Open for escorted tours on the first Monday of each month or by special appointment. Visit Fort Bragg Cultural Resources Office for more details on individual and group tours, or call.
25. Market House
The Market House built in 1832 on the site of the 1788 State House, which was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1831. At the State House, North Carolina ratified the US Constitution, chartered UNC, and ceded her western lands to form the State of Tennessee. Architecturally unique, the Market House is the only National Landmark in Cumberland County. Historically meat and produce and other goods were sold beneath, while the second floor was utilized as the town hall. Occasionally slaves were sold at Market Square and the vast majority of these sales were as a result of indebtedness or estate liquidation. During the Civil War, a skirmish took place around the Market House involving Confederate Hampton's and Union General Sherman's troops. After the Civil War, the Market House remained an important part of the civic and economic life of Fayetteville, functioning as an open market into the 20th century. Today, the Market House is one of the 40 National Landmarks in North Carolina. The upstairs room still serves as meeting space. Located at the intersection of Hay, Gillespie, Person and Green Streets. 910-483-2073.
26. Monroe's Crossroads Battlefield Site
The Battle of Monroe's Crossroads began at dawn on March 10, 1865 as Confederate cavalry stormed a Union encampment. The Union soldiers awoke to attack and scrambled for their weapons. A notable occurrence was when a Confederate Captain asked a Union soldier dressed only in his undergarments, "Where's General Kilpatrick?" The Union soldier, Kilpatrick himself, replied, "There he goes on that horse." This exchange is now known as "Kilpatrick's Skeedaddle." The Confederates promptly raced after the man on the horse. The battle lasted half a day and closed when Confederate forces were unable to continue offensives against the Union troops. Open for escorted tours by special appointment on the first Monday of each month. Visit Fort Bragg Cultural Resources Office for more details on individual and group tours, or call (910) 396-6680.
27. Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex
Enjoy the rich history of the Tar Heel state, including learning about Native Americans, European settlements, slavery, plank roads, steam boating, the Civil War and more. In addition to permanent exhibitions and a changing gallery, exhibits on naval stores, early 19th Century domestic life, transportation, and folk potters are featured. Other attractions include Arsenal Park, the remnants of the Fayetteville Arsenal, and the restored Victorian residence of E.A. Poe.
28. Old Bluff Church and Cemetery
Organized in 1758, Old Bluff Presbyterian Church is one of oldest Presbyterian churches in Cumberland County. This church along with Long Street Presbyterian and Barbeque Presbyterian Churches provided the Scottish population of the Upper Cape Fear Valley with longtime formal congregations. The present Greek Revival structure was built in 1858. The present day Bluff Presbyterian Church congregation, located in nearby Wade, maintains the old church. As you face north entering the Old Bluff churchyard and cemetery, you are pointed in the direction in which the lead element of Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s Left Wing advanced on March 14, 1865. Over two days, the wing’s 30,000 officers and men, with their supplies and equipment, passed by in the face of sporadic and increasing Confederate resistance. That resistance culminated in the Battle of Averasboro on March 15–16 and the Battle of Bentonville on March 19–21. Early on March 15, half a mile north along the Fayetteville-Raleigh Stage Road, Confederate cavalrymen skirmished with the Union vanguard at Silver Run Creek and Mill Pond. Later, Sherman established temporary headquarters there. The rainy weather that week made the roadway nearly impassable and the soldiers miserable. Despite the terrible weather, at nightfall on March 15, Union Col. William Hawley’s brigade prepared for a hot meal and a night’s rest here at Bluff Church after working all day corduroying the road. At 7:30 p.m., however, the brigade was called forward to assist the Union cavalry, which was halted and engaged, as the Battle of Averasboro began. One of the soldiers described the seven-mile trek to the battle site by saying, "Men had their shoes sucked off by the mud, while others stumbled, lost their guns, and were thankful that they were not trampled under by the moving column and buried alive." The adjacent cemetery is one of the oldest in the county. Many early Scottish settler and merchant families are buried there: including Colonel Alexander McAllister (a leading county patriot in the American Revolution), Farquhard Campbell and David Marshall (Carbine) Williams (helped develop the semi-automatic M1 Carbine rifle used in World War II). This site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Internal tour by appointment.
cultural heritage trail
Civil War Trail
The Fayetteville area answered another call to duty during the Civil War. Nearly one third of all the county’s white men served as Confederates. Slaves from the area were drafted by the Confederacy to do support work while their owners were compensated. Union troops pillaged houses of local residents. Women volunteers assisted physicians in caring for the sick and wounded in local hospitals as well as provided support services at the Arsenal. The entire state of North Carolina began to prepare for the Civil War when President Lincoln called on this area to provide troops to suppress the other southern states. In response to this request, North Carolina formally seceded from the Union on May 20, 1861. Prior to the Civil War, the Fayetteville area already had in place several volunteer militias, including the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry. As one of the first Confederate military moves in North Carolina, the Fayetteville Arsenal was taken without a shot fired by North Carolina troops on April 22, 1861. At the time of take over, the Arsenal contained a number of munitions used by the Confederacy.
On March 10, 1865, Confederate cavalry attacked a large Union encampment later known as the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads. This was part of the infamous Union General Sherman’s Army March to the Sea. At the Battle of Monroe's Crossroads, Confederate cavalry initially claimed victory until the Union Army retaliated and recaptured the camp. Many of the dead from both sides still remain on the battlefield, buried in mass graves or are buried in Long Street Church Cemetery located on Fort Bragg. Sherman arrived in Fayetteville on March 11, 1865. The same day a shooting took place around the Market House between Confederate General Wade Hampton, members of his staff, and a Union cavalry patrol. After the brief skirmish, Hampton fled crossing the Clarendon Bridge over the Cape Fear River, which was later burned. That night, the main body of Sherman’s troops marched in to Fayetteville, and the mayor formally surrendered the town. Sherman’s troops were everywhere. While in Fayetteville Union forces burned several important structures including textile mills and The Fayetteville Observer. Confederate forces had already burned stockpiles of cotton and naval stores to deny the Union enemy the spoils of war. Headquartered in Fayetteville for three days, Sherman gave orders for the Arsenal to be razed when he left on March 14, 1865; he wanted to destroy the last source of military arms for the Confederacy.
The area was physically and economically devastated by these actions. The Battle of Averasboro took place on March 15-16, 1865, between the 30,000 men of General Sherman’s Left Wing and Confederate General Hardee’s 8,000 men. The outnumbered and outgunned Confederates delayed Sherman’s advance from Fayetteville toward Averasboro and Goldsboro, allowing a Confederate consolidation at Bentonville for a major offensive against the Union Army. After holding the Union forces for two days at Averasboro, the Confederates withdrew to Bentonville.
After the war, stones from the ruins of the Fayetteville Arsenal were used in rebuilding a number of new Post-Civil War structures. The foundation of the Arsenal remains and can be seen at the Museum of the Cape Fear.
Trail Mileage: 130 miles
Trail Time to Complete: 4.5 hours (full day trail)
Sites of interest on this trail may be classified in one of three ways: Open to the Public - The site is open to the public for a visit during their operating hours. By Appointment Only - The site is available to visitors anytime by viewing it from the exterior or by calling ahead and making an appointment with its administrators for the site to be opened during your visit. Exterior View Only - The site may only be viewed from the exterior for a visit. Visitors may receive written or audible information about trail sites at the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau through our Customize IT! system.