FOUR OAKS - On Saturday, March 17, visitors to the Bentonville Battlefield "War So Terrible" Civil War medical program will have a rare after dark tour of the hospital with re-enactors for a $5 fee. Tickets are limited and will be available the day of the program. Parental discretion is advised.
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 as surgeons and medical personnel performing amputations and providing other medical care, and also see wounded soldiers awaiting treatment.
The evening tours are part of Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site's Civil War March 17-18 medical program that compares 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 day time activities on March 17-18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., include musket and artillery demonstrations, and are free. Concessions will be available from the Bentonville Fire Department.
On March 17 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 North Carolina's artificial limb program for 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 seize, 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.