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Home North Carolina Henderson County City of Hendersonville Historical Markers Stoneman's Raid

Stoneman's Raid

US 64 at I-26, Hendersonville, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 17' 10.1508", -82° 37' 30.1944"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"On a raid through western North Carolina Gen. Stoneman's U.S. Cavalry passed through Hendersonville, Apr. 23, 1865."
     In late March 1865, Union cavalry under Major General George Stoneman, commander of the Union army “District of East Tennessee,” marched throughout western North Carolina during one of the longest cavalry raids in history. About 5,000 men under Stoneman’s command entered North Carolina with a mission “to destroy and not to fight battles” in order to expedite the close of the Civil War. Stoneman’s raid coincided with the raids of General William T. Sherman in the eastern sections of the state, stretching local home guard and militia units thinly across the state and forcing Confederate commanders to make hard choices on where their men were needed most.

     Stoneman divided his men and sent detachments throughout the region, securing the destruction of the region’s factories, bridges and railroad lines. The army relied heavily on local citizens for food and supplies, often emptying storehouses. Stoneman’s raids in North Carolina lasted from late March until May when they assisted in the search for Confederate President Jefferson Davis as he fled the collapsed Confederacy. The men had marched more than 1,000 miles during the raid and historians credit their march with assuring the death of the Confederacy as they captured artillery pieces and took thousands of prisoners while destroying Confederate army supplies and blocking a line of possible retreat for both Lee and Johnston’s armies.

     After hearing rumors of the end of the war, Stoneman’s men remaining in North Carolina under the command of General Gillem marched toward Asheville. The Union forces reached Swannanoa Gap on April 20 and were met by a Confederate blockade. Gillem flanked the Confederate position, placing his men 40 miles south of the Swannanoa Gap and in the heart of the Confederate backcountry. Gillem and his men continued moving further toward Asheville, meeting slight resistance because word of Johnston’s surrender had reached Confederate forces in the region and many refused to fight any longer. The raid reached Hendersonville by daylight on April 23, just after a Confederate detachment fled the city for Asheville. Gillem sent a portion of him in pursuit of the Confederates with orders to capture them “at all hazards.” The troops were successful in their mission, seizing 70 men and their artillery pieces by noon. The Union forces left Hendersonville by the afternoon as they resumed their march to Asheville.

Mark A. Snell, ed., North Carolina: The Final Battles (1998)
John G. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina (1963)
Cornelia Phillips Spencer, The Last Ninety Days of the War in North Carolina (1866)
Ina Van Noppen, Stoneman’s Last Raid (1961)
Vernon H. Crow, Storm in the Mountains (1982)
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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Stoneman's Raid Historical Marker Location Map, Hendersonville, North Carolina