Johnston County is home to 10 Civil War Trails historical markers, most centralized in the area of Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site in Four Oaks, NC. These signs display stories, pictures, and maps that offer insights on military maneuvers and local histories; they are just a portion of a larger system of signs that make up Civil War Trails, Inc. Crossing 6 states and including more than 1,600 signs, Civil War Trails (CWT) is the world’s largest open-air museum. CWT just launched a brand new way to find signs like the ones in Johnston County, and travel along the trail – an interactive map on their website which can be accessed on www.civilwartrails.org/map.
Drew Gruber, the Executive Director of Civil War Trails, stated that visiting trails signs puts visitors in the footsteps of soldiers, tenacious women, undaunted immigrants, and freedom fighters, “these places and stories cannot be downloaded, they must be experienced, much like the destinations they are located in; following these historic routes, visitors will pass local wineries, breweries, restaurants, and shops. The new webpage allows our visitors to plan their trip ahead of time or navigate to the next site along the way if they come across a sign while out exploring.”
The idea of trails – rather history, food, or art related – has never been more popular with visitors and when those trails bring interested travelers across town, county, and even state lines it creates economic vitality for the destinations and the region. In Johnston County, the Civil War Trails’ signs are part of a larger driving trail that encompasses the Battle of Bentonville and related local Civil War history. The Bentonville Battlefield Driving Trail has 18 stops and an interactive map.
For more information on Civil War Trails visit www.civilwartrails.org.