Friday, June 27, 2014

Durham’s Fascinating Civil War Stories

April 2015 marks 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. In light of such a historic time, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) has relaunched to highlight the intriguing events that took place in Durham during that era, many of which were of great importance for both the region and the country.

There are three State Historic Sites in Durham, and each of them has a unique tie to the Civil War. Stagville was one of the largest plantations in the South, reaching its peak just before the war started. Such a large plantation was a rarity in this part of North Carolina, and the trials the enslaved population faced are an important indicator of what happened to African-American families after slavery ended.

Bennett Place was just a small farmhouse at the time, but through historical accident it was also the site where two of the war’s most famed generals, Confederate Joseph Johnston and Unionist William T. Sherman, sat down after years of fighting one another to negotiate a peace. The machinations of their attempts show the political struggles the country faced, and the surrender they agreed upon was the largest of the war, marking the effective end of hostilities.

Finally, Duke Homestead was the home Washington Duke returned to after his time as a solider and prisoner of war. It is where he began his tobacco company that would later become one of the largest in the world, ushering Durham into the industrial age.

Combined, these tales make clear Durham’s national importance in the Civil War. More information about these stories, their legacy, and visiting the three historic sites today can all be found at online.

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