Bentonville Battlefield Medical Program Features Rare Evening Tour of Field Hospital

A living history program at Bentonville Battlefield March 17-18 includes an unusual evening re-enactment event -- a tour of the farmhouse set up as field hospital, as it would have been during the Civil War battle there 147 years ago.
March 14, 2012 - PRLog -- FOUR OAKS, N.C. - On Saturday, March 17, visitors to the Bentonville Battlefield in Johnston County will have the rare opportunity to take an evening tour of the Civil War field hospital as it was set up on this farm 147 years ago this month.

As part of the two-day "War So Terrible" program, Saturday's schedule features an after-dark tour of the hospital with re-enactors for a $5 fee. Evening tour tickets are limited and will be available the day of the program. Parental discretion is advised for admitting children. It is the only weekend event requiring an admission charge.

During the evening living history program, the Harper House will be transformed to look as it did the first night of the Battle of Bentonville on March 19, 1865. Tour guides will lead civilians on a historical journey by candlelight on a search for loved ones injured in battle. Visitors will witness re-enactors showing how surgeons and medical personnel performed amputations and provided other medical care, and they will also see wounded soldiers awaiting treatment.

The March 17-18 programs at Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site compare Civil War medical care to 21st-century care. A surgical company from the U.S. Navy/Marine Corps and medical units from the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army will demonstrate current techniques used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The free daytime activities from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. include musket and artillery demonstrations. Concessions will be available from the Bentonville Fire Department.

On Saturday at 1:30 p.m., research historian Ansley Wegner will give a presentation on her book, "Phantom Pain," about the hardships endured by Civil War amputees and about North Carolina's artificial limb program for Confederate veterans, the first in the South.

The Battle of Bentonville was fought March 19-21, 1865, and was the last Confederate offensive against Union Gen. William T. Sherman. During the three-day siege, 80,000 combatants fought across 6,000 acres.  Approximately 4,200 casualties resulted.  

In addition to the battlefield, the home of John and Amy Harper was converted into a field hospital by the Union Army. The home stands today and is furnished as a Civil War field hospital. The site also includes a reconstructed kitchen and slave quarters.

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site ( interprets the battle and the hospital where many Confederates were left in the aftermath. It is located at 5466 Harper House Road, Four Oaks, three miles north of Newton Grove on S.R. 1008, about one hour from Raleigh and about 45 minutes from Fayetteville. For more information call (910) 594-0789 or e-mail

The Bentonville Battlefield is one of 27 state historic sites managed by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources ( along with seven history museums, two art museums, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives.  The department annually serves more than 19 million people and champions North Carolina's creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state's economy.

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The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future.
Source:North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
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Tags:Bentonville Battlefield, State Historic Site, Civil War, Field Hospital, Amputees
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Location:Raleigh - North Carolina - United States
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