Sherman Receives News of Lee's Surrender, Smithfield
A metal plaque hung between double poles commemorates the news of Lee’s surrender. The plaque
has a high serpentine shaped top in which the image of the Johnston County courthouse in place
in 1865 appears in relief. The courthouse image and inscription are in gold on a black
background while the Lee surrender inscription is white on a black background. The painted
black background has flaked off in several places exposing the metal beneath. The courthouse
image and inscriptions appear on both sides.
Images: View of memorials in front of the Johnston County Courthouse
1843 JOHNSTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE 1921
SHERMAN RECEIVES NEWS / OF LEE’S SURRENDER / IN SMITHFIELD
IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF APRIL 12 / 1865, TWO UNION OFFICERS ARRIVED HERE / AND DELIVERED A TELEGRAM FROM GENERAL / ULYSSES S. GRANT TO GENERAL WILLIAM T. / SHERMAN, WHO WAS QUARTERED IN THE OLD / JOHNSON COUNTY COURTHOUSE, WHICH / STOOD ON THIS SITE (DEPICTED ABOVE). /AFTER READING THE TELEGRAM, GENERAL / SHERMAN ISSUED THE FOLLOWING DISPATCH / TO HIS ARMY: / “THE GENERAL COMMANDING ANNOUNCES / TO THE ARMY THAT HE HAS OFFICIAL NO- / TICE FROM GENERAL GRANT THAT GENERAL / LEE SURRENDERED TO HIM HIS ENTIRE / ARMY ON THE 9 TH . INST. AT APPOMATTOX / COURT HOUSE, VIRGINIA.” / UPON RECEIVING THIS NEWS, “TUMULTUOUS / CHEERING” ERUPTED AND BANDS PLAYED / AS SHERMAN’S ARMY CELEBRATED THE NEWS / OF LEE’S SURRENDER IN SMITHFIELD BEFORE / RESUMING ITS MARCH ON RALEIGH IN THE / FINAL DAYS OF THE CIVIL WAR.
ERECTED IN THE 250 TH YEAR OF THE COUNTY OF JOHNSON / 1996
35.511600 , -78.347040 View in Geobrowse
Williams, Rebecca. “16 April 1865: ‘…we got the news of Lee’s capture you had aught to have seen the excitement…” The Civil War Day By Day, The Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (accessed May 27, 2016) Link
“Sherman Receives News Of Lee’s Surrender In Smithfield,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed May 27, 2016) Link
A letter from a Union soldier named Shoger written to his wife and describing General Sherman receiving the news of Lee’s surrender is held by the Southern Historical Collection in the Wilson Library, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
The plaque is located on the front lawn of the Johnston County courthouse in Smithfield, NC, at 207 E. Johnston Street. It stands near the sidewalk to the left of the courthouse entrance. The courthouse grounds also hold a World War One Doughboy statue, Veterans Memorial, a memorial listing Johnston County war dead since World War Two, a memorial flagpole to World War Two and Korean War dead, and World War One Memorial Drinking Fountain.
The memorial plaque stands on the lawn, behind bushes, with mature trees as a nice backdrop.