Teaching through our historic sites

Bentonville Battlefield

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site recounts the story of the last major Confederate offensive action of the Civil War. It is also the scene of the largest battle fought on North Carolina soil. For three days in March 1865, Union General William T. Sherman and Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston waged war, sustaining more than four thousand reported casualties. Many of the wounded Union soldiers were taken to a field hospital set up in the farm house of John and Amy Harper. Here, along with a smaller number of Confederate soldiers, their wounds were treated as the Harper family waited for the horror engulfing their home to end. The following information and curriculum activities will explore in greater detail this harrowing part of the North Carolina Civil War Experience.

This education program, designed for 8th grade students, is one in a series that provides comprehensive, site-based learning experiences concerning the state's Civil War history. The program is a stand-alone unit, but its value is multiplied when combined with one or more additional units. Each program contains at least one supplemental lesson plan. These plans work best in support of the on-site activities, but can also be used if a site visit is not possible.

Program Goals

The story of Bentonville Battlefield is a component for meeting the following NCSCS Goals for 8th Grade Social Studies:

  • 4.02 Describe the political and military developments of the Civil War and analyze their effect on the outcome of the war.
  • 4.03 Assess North Carolina's role in the Civil War and analyze the social and economic impact of the war on the state.
  • 4.04 Evaluate the importance of the roles played by individuals at the state and national levels during the Civil War and Reconstruction Period.


The story of Bentonville Battlefield is a component for meeting the following National Standard for the Social Sciences:

  • Standard 2: The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.
    • 2A - The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.
    • 2B - The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

Program Objectives

  1. Students should be able to describe the significance of the Battle of Bentonville as it relates to the state and to the outcome of the Civil War as a whole.

  2. Students should have be able to discuss the impact of the battle on the Harper family and other civilians in the Bentonville area.

  3. Students should understand and be able to discuss several important medical practices during the Civil War and how these are reflected in medical practices of today.

  4. Students should be able to identify the significant generals that fought at the Battle of Bentonville and describe their strategy for the engagement.

  5. Students should understand and be able to explain the differences between plantation slavery and slavery as practiced by the middle class.

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