Battle of Monroe's Crossroads: and the Civil War's Final Campaign
by Eric J. Wittenberg
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. Now in paperback, here is the only book-length account of this combat.
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.
On March 10, Southern troopers under Hampton and Maj. Gen. Joseph Wheeler launched a savage surprise attack on Kilpatrick's sleeping 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.