You are looking north of the Goldsboro Road at the site of the former Willis Cole plantation. Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton chose this ground (a mixture of dense vegetation and open fields) as an ideal location for Confederate forces to block the advance of the Union army (Sherman's Left Wing).
Deploying north of the Goldsboro Road on March 19, 1865, Union Brig. Gen. William P. Carlin's division (of the Union XIV Corps) sought shelter in a Y-shaped ravine from the incoming barrage by the Confederate batteries of Earle, Halsey, Atkins and Dickson. In an initial probing attack, Carlin realized that the entire Confederate army was entrenched in front of him. Part of Robinson's brigade of the Union XX Corps was brought forward to bridge the gap in Carlin's line but was unable to do so.
At 2:45 p.m. Confederate Lt. Gen. Alexander P. Stewart's Army of Tennessee began a fierce frontal attack. Heavy Union casualties resulted, as Carlin had neither properly fortified the ravine nor repositioned Buell's brigade. Carlin's men fled in disarray to the Morris farm and did not rejoin the growing battle. The rout of Carlin's division led men of the XX Corps to refer to the fight as the "Battle of Acorn Run," a mock tribute to the XIV Corp's insignia, the acorn.
"The eastern edge of an old plantation, lying principally on the north side of the [Goldsboro] road, and surrounded, east, south, and north by dense thickets of blackjack"
Lt. Gen. Wade Hampton, describing terrain used against advancing Federals.
"our Enemies?poured in one continuous fire of destruction?one man was Shot down right by my side?on the other side of me?another poor fellow was shot in the back of the Head?I did not know but Every moment would be my last?"
Pvt. Joseph Hoffhines, 33rd Ohio.
"We were in plain sight in the open field in musket range?we found the place a little unhealthy."Capt. Joseph Hinson, 33rd Ohio.
"As far as we could see on both our right and left they were coming in unbroken lines with that old yell we had learned to know so well?.We could plainly see their trap closing around us as they enveloped our flanks?.It was impossible to maintain our position."
Lt. Marcus Bates, 21st Michigan.
Four men received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their efforts at Betonville on March 19, 1865. The medal, authorized by Congress in 1863, was (and is) awarded "for particular deeds of most distinguished gallantry in action."
· Pvt. Peter Anderson, 31st Wisconsin, single-handedly salvaged the sole remaining cannon from Webb's battery, 19th Indiana, during the melee of the Confederate assault on Carlin's division. Private Anderson received a Medal of Honor, a captain's commission, and personal thanks from General Sherman.
· Lt. Allan H. Dougall, adjutant, 88th Indiana, (right) received his Medal of Honor for voluntarily returning to the fallen color bearer to save his regimental flag from capture. This action occurred during the rout of Carlin's division at Cole's plantation.
Two more soldiers received Medals of Honor for their actions near the "Bull Pen" south of the Goldsboro Road (behind you).