Burning of Clarendon Bridge, Feb 3, 1909, Fayetteville NC
BH Photo #364945
Confederates Evacuate Fayetteville C A R O L I N A S C A M P A I G N On March 12, 1865, Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton’s cavalry under Gens. Joseph Wheeler and Matthew C. Butler formed the rear guard of Gen. William J. Hardee’s corps as it evacuated Fayetteville. Wheeler deployed artillery and dismounted cavalry on the eastern bank of the Cape Fear River to protect the Clarendon Bridge until the last Confederates crossed, then set it afire. Union Gen. Henry W. Slocum, commanding Gen. William T. Sherman’s Left Wing, had been ordered “to do all that is possible to secure the bridge” as he captured Fayetteville. When Confederate skirmishers delayed Slocum’s lead division as it approached from the west, however, part of Sherman’s Right Wing, with elements of the 15th Illinois Cavalry leading, entered the city first. Hampton and his men held them off in street fighting, then fired the bridge while withdrawing as Union Gen. Giles A. Smith’s infantry division arrived in support. Confederate small arms and artillery fire from the eastern bank held off the Federals until flames engulfed the bridge. Union soldiers “struggled manfully with washtubs of water” to extinguish the fire but without success. Hampton’s cavalrymen abandoned the east bank and marched toward Averasboro twenty-five miles north, while Butler covered routes to the east toward Clinton.-http://www.digital.ncdcr.gov/cdm/ref/collection/p15012coll8/...