Original roads and bridges are hard to find in Sampson County. Ken Cox of Newton Grove shared these pictures of the original road/bridge over Seven Mile Swamp on present day Church Road. There were taken during the drought of 2010. This original road is indicative of those in the 1800s such as troops would cross as they moved from Sampson County into Johnston County.
The following are excerpts from actual accounts after the Battle at Bentonville. Thomas W. Connelley of the 70th Ohio wrote about the heart of Sampson as the XV Corps broke camp on the road south of Newton Grove, “The last two days have been sunny and the air deliciously pleasant, full of balmy influences of Spring. The peach and apple trees are full of their delicate pink and white blossoms. Their delightful fragrances float in the air, greeting us with natures’ tenderest offerings. We are passing through a well cultivated country, with rich farm lands skirting the roadside. The houses are well built, the granaries are full of oats and corn and our animals are getting their fill.
We have found more forage than we could bring away.” Henry Wright , 6th Iowa wrote, “We are moved to the vicinity of Newton Grove Cross-Roads and camped before night. Here while oak timber was seen for the first time in many days and was hailed by the troops with shouts of joy for it was something to get out of the pine woods.”
The XV Corps train moved north from the Seven-Mile Creek and Rob Lee’s store at 6:00 AM, following what is now SR 1647 to Newton Grove Post Office at the home of Dr. Monk. There they turned to the right on the Goldsboro new road and encamped at Canaan Baptist Church until 4 PM, while the rear of the XV Corps cleared the Newton Grove area. Obviously these troops were headed to Bentonville for the last major battle of the War.
Sampsonians in the battle were in Company A, 71st NC Regiment, part of the NC Junior Reserves. The 51st Regiment was another with a number of Sampsonians. A unit that lost heavily was the 36th North Carolina and Company A of that regiment were all Sampsonians.
There were at least one civilian Sampsonian who had part in the battle. Sounds of cannons from about 11 AM could be heard clearly for about 20 miles and those living as far away as Giddensville and Wesley Chapel areas could heard the cannons roar. One that did was James Fellows Jackson, a 59 year old farmer. He was not too pleased with the Yankees sacking his farm and taking his food. He grabbed his squirrel rifle and set out to do his part in the raging battle at Bentonville.