20th Masonic District Averasboro Battlefield Degree
For the benefit of The Masonic Home for Children at Oxford
On the Wednesday afternoon of March 15, 1865 and Thursday March 16, 1865 the Battle of Averasboro took place. This battle has been historically underestimated and under-recognized; the Confederate military action on the Smith plantation four miles south of the village of Averasboro (also original site of Palmyra Lodge #147) was and is of considerable significance. On the Wednesday afternoon of March 15, 1865 Judson Kilpatrick’s cavalry came up against Lt. Gen. William Hardee’s corps—consisting of Taliaferro’s (Mason) and McLaw’s infantry divisions and Wheeler’s (Mason) dismounted cavalry—deployed across the Raleigh Road near Smithville. (Not to be confused with Smithfield) The battle resulted from a deliberate, well-planned, and well-executed Confederate tactical military maneuver in force—which had never been attempted since the beginning of Sherman's march north. This was the first serious check of Sherman’s Army since it left Atlanta. The action was designed to delay and to damage General Sherman's progress, and it did both under the able and experienced leadership of General William J. Hardee. General Joseph E. Johnston ordered Hardee to delay General Slocum at Averasboro, so that he could complete the concentration of his forces and be ready to strike the Fourteenth and Twentieth Corps on their arrival at Bentonville. Thus ended the Battle of Averasboro, a fight in which Union casualties totaled 682 and Confederate losses approximated five hundred. Although deemed a skirmish by some historians when compared to other battles during the War Between the States, the number of losses would point to a different conclusion. Some of The Confederate Dead are buried in the near-by Chicora Cemetery approximately ¼ mile from the Battle Field.(Site will be open during the event) By his gallant delaying action at Averasboro, Hardee enabled Johnston to concentrate his total available forces of 25,000 men and boys at Bentonville. Here, on March 19, 1865, Johnston surprised Sherman’s Fourteenth Corps. How many Masons were involved in the Battle of Averasboro… we will never know, but during the civil War approximately 410,000 soldiers were interned in prison camps and it has been estimated that 56, 000 of them were Masons. No doubt many Masons were involved in this battle, both Northern and Southern Masons, fighting for what they thought was right. As a remembrance of this event which took place 151 years ago, the 20th Masonic District will hold an Outdoor 3rd degree on the Averasboro Battle Field On October 15, 2016. All Degree cast members will be in Civil War military uniforms. One Candidate will have the honor of being Raised to the Degree of Master Mason, at what is de to be an annual event. Come join us for this event, walk the actual battlefield, were no doubt many Masons actually walked and died during the battle. Help us honor those departed Brothers who died so long ago. Feel the history of the Battlefield as we make new Masonic History. There will be an actual Confederate camp site from 8:00 a.m. until degree time, see what our Brothers endured during this dark time of American History. The Averasboro Museum will be open during the event also. This Museum has received high marks on numerous occasions and is filled with items of the time-period.
Saturday, October 15, 2016 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (EDT) -
Averasboro Battlefield & Museum - 3300 Hwy 82, Dunn, NC 28334
N.C. 20th Masonic District Masons
Organizer of 20th Masonic District Averasboro Battlefield Degree
The 20th Masonic District is Located in the heart of North Carolina. It encompasses Harnett, Lee and Chatham Counties.