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You can always tell an old battlefield where many men have lost their lives. The next spring the grass comes up greener and more luxuriant than on the surrounding countryside; the poppies are redder, the corn-flowers more blue. They grow over the field and down the sides of the shell holes and lean, almost touching , across the abandoned trenches in a mass of color that ripples all day in the direction that the wind blows. They take the pits and scars out of the torn land and make it a sweet, sloping surface again. Take a wood, now, or a ravine: In a year’s time you could never guess the things which had taken place there.

The battle of Monroe’s Crossroads : and the Civil War’s final campaign  Eric J. Wittenberg  New York : Savas Beatie, c 2006  Hardcover. xxiv, 336 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.  Includes bibliographical references (p. [301]-322) and index.  Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads, March 10, 1865, was one of most important but least known engagements of William T. Sherman‘s Carolinas Campaign. Here, for the first time, is the only book-length account of this combat.

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As Sherman’s infantry crossed into North Carolina, Maj. Gen. Judson Kilpatrick‘s veteran Federal cavalry division fanned out in front, screening the advance. When Kilpatrick learned that Confederate cavalry under Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton was hot on his trail, he decided to set a trap for the Southern horsemen near a place called Monroe’s Crossroads. Hampton, however, learned of the plan and decided to do something Kilpatrick was not expecting: attack.

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On March 10, Southern troopers under Hampton and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler launched an attack on Kilpatrick’s camp. After three hours of some of the toughest cavalry fighting of the entire Civil War, Hampton broke off and withdrew. His attack, however, stopped Kilpatrick’s advance and bought another precious day for Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee to evacuate his command from Fayetteville. This, in turn, permitted Hardee to join the command of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and set the stage for the climactic Battle of Bentonville nine days later.

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