Hardee at the Regulators' Field - Alamance, North Carolina
|Hardee at the Regulators' Field
The southern column of the Confederate Army of
Tennessee was camped here at Regulators' Field
when confirmation came of Robert E. Lee's surrender.
Hardee at Alamance, N.C.
A Civil War Trails panel notes
that Gen. William J. Hardee
learned of Lee's surrender at
Hardee at Regulators' Field - Alamance, North Carolina
Old Reliable & War's End
|Copyright 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: April 24, 2014
Battlefields in North Carolina
Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee
Nicknamed "Old Reliable" for
his performance in battle,
Hardee among the South's
most respected generals.
Battle of Alamance
The Regulator's Field was
were Royal Governor William
Tryon defeated a force of
Regulators in 1771, shortly
before the Revolutionary War.
The southern column of the Confederate
Army of Tennessee was at the Regulators'
Field in Alamance, North Carolina, when it
learned of the surrender of Gen. Robert E.
Commanded by Lt. Gen. William J. Hardee,
the Confederates were marching west away
from the overwhelming Union army of Gen.
William Tecumseh Sherman when they
reached Alamance County on April 15, 1865.
The day was spent marching through mud
and crossing rain-swollen creeks and rivers.
That night, the lead elements of Hardee's
column halted on a muddy open ground
known in North Carolina for more than 100
years as the Regulators' Field.
It was here on May 16, 1771, that Royal
Governor William Tryon had stamped out the
"Revolution before the Revolution." A large
force of "Regulators" had risen in the North
Carolina Piedmont to oppose excessive
taxes and their lack of legal recourse in the
On the Regulators' Field at what is now
Alamance Battleground State Historic Site,
Tryon's forces destroyed the poorly equipped
Regulator army. Six of the rebel leaders were
later hanged for their defiance of the Royal
For generations after the Battle of Alamance,
the site of the engagement was known as
the Regulators' Field.
Gen. Hardee's weary and demoralized men
reached the field 94 years later and set up
camp in the mud. It was there they learned
that their own Cause was coming to an end
One of the South's most respected and
capable generals, William J. Hardee was
nicknamed "Old Reliable" for his solid
performance in battle. An 1838 graduate of
the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he
had served with distinction in the Mexican-
American War. He was the author of Rifle
and Light Infantry Tactics, one of the most
important textbooks used by both of the
armies during the War Between the States
(or Civil War).
Hardee had fought his last major battle at
Bentonville, North Carolina, on March 19-21,
1865. There, serving under Gen. Joseph E.
Johnston, he had joined with Gen. Braxton
Bragg and Gen. A.P. Stewart in one final
desperate attempt to destroy the advancing
Union army of Gen. William Tecumseh
Sherman. The attempt failed.
Following the Battle of Bentonville, Hardee
led the southern column of the Confederate
army west across the farmlands of North
Carolina until he could swing around and
reunite again with Johnston and his main
force west of Raleigh.
It was a miserable march. Heavy spring rains
turned the roads into muddy quagmires and
brought rivers and streams to flood stage.
Hundreds of Confederate soldiers drowned
to death as the army pushed forward through
flood waters some men were too tired or
weak to swim.
On April 15, 1865, Hardee's force marched
into Alamance County, North Carolina, and
that night the lead elements of his column
came to a halt at the Regulators' Field. There,
as they camped in mud, the general and his
men received dreadful news.
Tonight, Colonel Olmstead, of the First
Georgia Regiment, tells me positively that
General Lee has surrendered. Great God!
Can it be true? I have never for a moment
doubted the ultimate success of our cause. I
cannot believe it. - Capt. William E. Stoney, Hagood's South
Carolina Brigade, April 15, 1865.
The Col. Olmstead mentioned in a brigade
diary by Capt. William E. Stoney was Col.
Charles H. Olmstead. Earlier in the war he
had commanded the defense of Fort Pulaski
The information was true. Gen. Lee had
surrendered to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on
April 12, 1865. Paroled soldiers from his
army were already making their way home.
On the day after the news of Lee's surrender
reached the camps at the Regulators' Field,
Gen. Hardee was ordered to halt the march
of his command until he received further
instructions. By the 17th he was at New
Salem where he reported to Gen. P.G.T.
Beauregard that he had received orders to
...We are all agog respecting the object, and
surmises are made that negotiations are
afoot between Johnston and Sherman. - Lt. Gen.
William J. Hardee to Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, April 17, 1865.
Hardee's total force present when he passed
across the Alamance Battleground was
8,579 of a command that should have totaled
more than 33,000. The war was coming to
A Civil War Trails interpretive exhibit stands in
a corner of the Regulators' Field at Alamance
Battleground State Historic Site. It is across
the road from the museum.
Alamance Battleground is located 5803 N.C.
62 S. near Burlington, North Carolina. It is
just outside the community of Alamance,
North Carolina. The park is open Monday -
Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on
Sundays). Be sure not to mistake it for the
Alamance County Historical Museum which
is nearby on the same road and is also of
Please click here to learn more.
The Regulators' Field
The site of the 1771 battle
and 1865 Confederate camp
is now preserved by North
Carolina as the Alamance
Battleground State Historic