Saving History Saturday: Harper House at Bentonville Vandalized in Attempted Robbery

The damaged original door at the Harper House. Courtesy of the Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site.

Just this week, Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site in Johnson County, North Carolina announced that it had been a victim of an attempted robbery only days before.

Per the site’s official Facebook page, “Friends, we need your assistance. Last Wednesday, July 10, the Harper House was vandalized during an attempted robbery. The Johnston County Sheriff’s Office responded to the alarm and found one of the ORIGINAL doors had been kicked in – this historic property belongs to you, the public! Luckily, nothing was stolen as the alarm scared them away. But we do have surveillance photographs of the perpetrators. Please, look at the pictures, and if you recognize anyone contact Detective Chuck Alford, 919-989-5020. Hopefully with your help we can bring these vandals to justice.” For images of the perpetrators, please click here.

The Harper House today as a museum. Courtesy of the Wade Hampton Camp.

Unfortunately, this incident occurred at the historic Harper House, a structure present during the battle in 1865. According to North Carolina Historic Sites, “The farm home of John and Amy Harper, built in the late 1850s, played a key role in the Battle of Bentonville, March 19-21, 1865. Occupied by Union troops on the first day of fighting, the house served as a field hospital for Sherman’s XIV Army Corps. Over 500 wounded soldiers, including 45 Confederates, were treated at this facility. John, Amy, and seven of their children remained at the home throughout the battle, helping to care for the wounded men. On March 22, 1865, Sherman’s army left the Bentonville area, transporting all Federal wounded to nearby Goldsboro. Wounded Confederate soldiers were left behind at Harper’s, many of whom convalesced here for weeks.” Today, the Harper House interprets the story of its role as a field hospital.

For More Information:

Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site

The Friends of Bentonville Battlefield Donation Page

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