Bennett Place Commemorates Civil War-Ending Surrender Negotiations

Civil War cavalry

The meeting of opposing generals inside the humble parlor of James and Nancy Bennett was a small part of making peace and ending the Civil War. Why did the negotiations take days longer than those at Appomattox? How did the ending impact black and white civilians, the free and enslaved? What role did the cavalry play? These are among questions to be explored Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22, at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham.

To illuminate some of the many details of the war's end, reenactors with the 10th Illinois Cavalry and 1st North Carolina Cavalry will explain and demonstrate the role of soldiers on horseback during the Civil War. Members of the Palas Ladies Aid Society will describe how families left behind were impacted by the war.

Earl Ijames, curator at the N.C. Museum of History, will clarify how the end of the Civil War affected the free and enslaved African Americans, in lectures in the theater.

A special feature of the event will be the unveiling of a new display, a “witness tree.” This large oak tree was on the Bennett’s property in April 1865 during surrender negotiations. It fell in 2016, but volunteers saved a large portion of it. A preserved ringed section now shows important events over the life of the tree in an interesting and informational way. The display will become a permanent addition to Bennett Place and educate future generations.

The event takes place April 21-22. Saturday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday’s hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Bennett Place State Historic Site. Admission is $3 per adult and $2 per child ages five-16. Under 5, free admission.

For additional information, please call (919) 383-4345, email, or visit website and click on the events link.

The mission of Bennett Place State Historic Site is to interpret the site of the largest surrender of the American Civil War on the Bennett farm in April 1865. Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnson and Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman negotiated the surrender of the armies of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, totaling more than 89,000 exhausted troops, and effectively ending the Civil War.

Bennett Place is located at 4409 Bennett Memorial Rd., Durham. It is within the Division of State Historic Sites of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.