Bennett Place examines Civil War art and journalism

Apr. 18, 2013 @ 06:22 PM

Artists and journalists used their skills to bring the Civil War to life in the 1860s, along with practitioners of the emerging medium of photography.

Bennett Place State Historic Site will present Civil War artist Jeff Trexler, wetplate photographer Chris Morgan, and author Jim Wise in a program that examines the craft and practice of these arts Saturday and Sunday.

The 148th anniversary commemorative program of the Civil War’s largest surrender at Bennett Place, “War and Surrender Through Photography, Art and Journalism” also will feature re-enactor Jeff Toalson portraying Capt. Richard Watkins of the Virginia Cavalry in a one-act performance based on Toalson’s letters.

Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The program is free but donations are appreciated to assist with the event costs.

Living historians portraying Union and Confederate soldiers and civilians will encamp at the site and perform demonstrations of farm life and military drill. They will share first-hand accounts of the lives of those involved in the war and the surrender at Bennett farm. The Sons and Daughters of Union and Confederate Veterans will share displays of original Civil War artifacts and post war memorabilia from the veterans. The annual memorial ceremony will take place at the Unity Monument Sunday afternoon.

Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman met on April 17, 1865, at the farm of James and Nancy Bennett to negotiate peace terms. The negotiations ended fighting in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, and surrendered 89,270 Confederate soldiers. Three major surrenders followed in Alabama, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Bennett Place is at 4409 Bennett Memorial Rd. in west Durham.

For further information call (919) 383-4345, email or visit online at