Return to Battle of Monroe's Crossroads
Monroe’s Crossroads battlefield and General Kilpatrick’s campsite on the
night of March 10, 1865 are located within the boundaries of Fort Bragg,
NC. These sites are strictly protected. Individuals or groups interested
in a tour of the sites must coordinate access with Fort Bragg Cultural
Resources at 910-432-6772. Trespassers or illegal relic hunters on
military installations are subject to harsh federal criminal prosecution.
Visit: http://www.bragg.army.mil and click on Cultural Resources.
General Kilpatrick’s poorly formulated plan was doomed to failure from the
onset. He should not have divided his forces to give the Confederates
numerical superiority. Instead of pitching camp, Kilpatrick should have
set up a battle formation since he suspected the Confederates were nearby.
Failure to post adequate guards, even after his near capture, provided no
protection or advance warning of approaching Confederates. Kilpatrick’s
apathy regarding Confederate forces in the area cost numerous lives under
The Confederates outnumbered the Federals by at least three-to-two with
the element of surprise. Failure to conduct a terrain analysis during the
reconnaissance caused attacking elements to become combat ineffective
during the assault.
The Confederates successfully took control of the camp, but failed to
remove the rolling stock (wagons and artillery) or pursue the Federals
into the swamp. Instead of securing the camp, the wagons were looted,
giving the Federals an opportunity to formulate a counterattack.
Captain Bostick failed to follow orders and secure the house which gave
General Kilpatrick another opportunity to avoid capture. General
Kilpatrick’s only saving grace was the fact that he was not in uniform,
therefore he was not immediately recognized.
The lack of command control caused the disintegration of disciplined
attack formations as directed by General Hampton. The chaos resulted in
fratricide during the liberation of the prisoners.
General Hampton led the reserves into battle, denying his commanders their
support when they were needed.
A SPECIAL THANKS goes out to the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg
Cultural Resources Office for their extensive help in researching this
article. They have provided numerous photographs, paintings, printed
material and interviews without which this piece would not be possible. A
very insightful tour of the battlefield led to a comprehensive insight to
the scope of the battle.
Fiery Dawn, the Civil War Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads, North Carolina
On-Line book by Sharyn Kane & Richard Keeton
Cavalry Clash in the Sandhills:
The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads North Carolina 10 March 1865
© 1997 Prepared for U.S. Army XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg
Department of Interior National Park Service
Midwest Archeological Center Lincoln, Nebraska and
Southeast Archeological Center Tallahassee, Florida
The Battle of Monroe’s Crossroads and the Civil War’s Final Campaign
Eric J. Wittenberg
© 2006 Savas Beatie