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Old Bluff Church and Cemetery

  • Overview

    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.