Fayetteville marks 150 years since Sherman's seige
Posted March 6, 2015
March 11 marks the 150th anniversary of when Union troops, led by Gen. William Sherman, took Fayetteville from the Confederacy.
It was the site of Sherman's first serious military opposition during his campaign in the South.
The Fayetteville Observer, used to printing history, became part of the story that week. Experts say Sherman hated the newspaper and made a point of burning its offices to the ground.
With the big anniversary in sight, The Observer is planning a three-part series, starting with this Sunday's paper, to highlight Sherman's occupation of Fayetteville and his march to the battle at Bentonville.
Sherman targeted Fayetteville for a number of reasons.
The Fayetteville arsenal was a big prize. There, rifles were produced and supplied to Confederate soldiers across the South. A ghost tower of one of the four columns of the complex still stands at the end of Arsenal Avenue.
"It was very important in terms of production and support of the war effort," said Fayetteville historian Bruce Daws.
Fayetteville was also home to a large military hospital.
Throughout the occupation, Daws said, Union soldiers found value in Fayetteville.
"There continued to be a lot of pillaging," he said. "Certainly, silver was something that was easy to carry away and had a monetary value."