2022: Year in Review

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site had an incredible year in 2022! Check out some photographs and a few memories from the year below as we get ready for an equally as exciting 2023! Happy New Year!

‘Peace to the Gallant Dead:’ 157th Anniversary Commemoration

The first major event of 2022 was the 157th anniversary commemoration. With two events on one day and over 4,000 visitors, it was an incredible event. During the day, visitors enjoyed living history and historic weapons demonstrations, educational talks, family activities, music from the Huckleberry Brothers, a massive community group area, and more! The day was filled with fun and education for everyone.

Weapons demonstration brought huge crowds

At night, ‘Peace to the Gallant Dead,’ commemorated each of the 4,133 individuals whose lives were affected by the bloody, three-day battle 157 years ago. Luminaria representing each of the 4,133 casualties of the battle of Bentonville spread across an open field, providing a somber reminder of the blood shed here in 1865.

Candles in the Harper House represented each of the 554 soldiers treated there

During the spring, our annual Bentonville in Bloom program brought visitors back into our incredible trail system and had some exciting family activities as part of the North Carolina Science Festival. Throughout the month of April and May, our first ever StoryWalk graced the trail and allowed a chance for families to get out and read a story about nature while exploring. Park Day 2022 was also an excellent opportunity to get outside and, with volunteers from across the state, complete some much needed cleaning on cemeteries, monuments, and trails at Bentonville! Guided bird walks scattered throughout the year brought new visitors to Bentonville to explore more of the natural side and see dozens of species on the battlefield! Throughout the year, the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail also helped us out with much needed improvements to orientation on our trails including a brand new kiosk at the Harper Farm Trailhead near the Visitor Center!

A guided bird walk looks at birds in a tree on the Cole Plantation Walking Trail

Throughout the year, we welcomed many groups of excited visitors of all ages! From public and private school field trips to homeschool groups to military staff rides, senior citizen groups, and more, we were able to show people what Bentonville has to offer! And of course, every day Harper House tours went out as our staff and volunteers discussed the legacy and history of medical care during the Civil War and explored the incredible resource that is the Harper House.

A homeschool group does a leaf rubbing activity

With all of this excitement, the staff and volunteers stayed busy but still found time for ourselves. We were able to participate in several professional development opportunities that brought us across the state and country to explore other Civil War sites and history and meet other history professionals! One staff development trip brought us to Petersburg National Battlefield and the American Civil War Museum in Richmond, VA. Another trip brought staff members Chad and Colby and volunteer Fred to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s annual conference in Frederick, MD. Staff members completed online and virtual workshops and conferences as well! And in September, we all gathered with our friends across the NC Division of Historic Sites and Properties in Raleigh!

Staff members at Petersburg National Battlefield

The most exciting and memorable part of 2022, though, were the several successful programs! In addition to the 157th Anniversary program in March and Bentonville in Bloom in April (already mentioned), we held many more exciting events including Heavy Thunder Infantry and Artillery Program in August, Fall Festival in November, and ‘In Heavenly Peace:’ Christmas Open House in December.

Living History Demonstration at A Civil War Christmas
Vintage Baseball at Fall Festival
The Harper dining room decorated for Christmas during ‘In Heavenly Peace:’ Christmas Open House

Happy New Year 2023! We have a lot of exciting things in store for the new year! Stay up to date with all things Bentonville Battlefield by subscribing to our blog below and be sure to follow us across social media @BentonvilleSHS

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