DURHAM – In conjunction with the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, Bennett Place State Historic Site will present “1862, Life on the Homefront in Piedmont North Carolina During the Civil War,” an outdoor educational living history depicting life of the Southern civilians in the second year of the war. Visitors will get to perform some of the chores of daily life to include milking a cow, producing hand dipped candles, making cornhusk dolls, shelling corn, churning butter, writing letters to soldiers, playing 19th century games, and visiting with craftsmen. Wagon rides will be provided on Sunday only. Living history activities will be Saturday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 23, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
In September 1862 the reality of war was settling in on the Southern homefront. The horrific battles of Shiloh, Tennessee and Antietam, Md., brought home the painful truth of war. Wives, mothers and children did much of the work on the farm while husbands, fathers and sons were fighting on the battlefields. On the Bennett farm, James was too old to serve in the military so he assisted his wife Nancy on their 189 acre farm. Lorenzo, their oldest son, had enlisted in the 27th North Carolina Infantry and was part of Lee’s invasion force to Maryland.
On April 26, 1865, the farm became the location of the peace negotiations for the largest surrender of the American Civil War. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston met in the parlor of the Bennett home and reached an agreement which surrendered more than 89,270 Confederate soldiers. Four Southern states were surrendered to include Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.
Bennett Place is part of the Division of State Historic Sites in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. It is located in west Durham at 4409 Bennett Memorial Road in Durham. Please contact Bennett Place by email or call (919) 383-4345 for more information. You can also visit them online.