(Four Oaks, NC) -- After years of research, Wade Sokolosky and Mark A. Smith have written the definitive study on an often overlooked event of Major General William T. Sherman's Carolina's Campaign, the Battle of Wise's Forks.
Readers of Civil War history have been led to believe the Battle of Wise's Forks was an insignificant precursor to the seminal battle of Bentonville. With the publication of To Prepare for Sherman's Coming, Sokolosky and Smith clear up this misconception by drawing attention to the battle that was a significant military operation initiated by Lt. General Ulysses S. Grant. The authors provide a careful examination of the Union Army's extensive military buildup in eastern North Carolina and its movement toward Goldsboro to unite with Sherman's army. Sherman later described these operations as necessary "to prepare the way of my coming."
The responsibility for ensuring a functioning railroad from New Bern to Goldsboro rested on the shoulders of Maj. Gen. Jacob D. Cox. On March 2, Cox ordered his hastily assembled Provisional Corps in motion toward Goldsboro. In response to Cox's movement, Gen. Joseph E. Johnston executed a risky, but bold, decision to divert forces away from Sherman in the hope of turning back Cox's advance near Kinston. Led by the controversial General Braxton Bragg, the Confederates successfully halted Cox at Wise's Forks for four days, and in the process, the Southerners came close to victory. This delay provided Johnston time to concentrate his forces in preparation for what became the Battle of Bentonville.
Sokolosky and Smith, both career army officers, completed the book after years of detailed study of archival research based on official reports, diaries, letter collections, and other firsthand material. Excellent maps by Mark Moore and period photographs reinforce the authors' commitment in telling this story.
Both authors will be speaking at the 150th Bentonville Battlefield on March 21, 2015. The 150th Anniversary Event is sponsored by the Friends of Bentonville Battlefield, NC Historic Sites and Properties, the NC Department of Cultural Resources and the Johnston County Visitors Bureau. Bentonville's re-enactment is part of North Carolina's Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration. All proceeds from the event support Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site with a percentage to be used for improvements of the site's visitors center.
Address: 5466 Harper House Road, Four Oaks, NC 27524