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Home North Carolina Watauga County City of Blowing Rock Historical Markers Stoneman's Raid

Stoneman's Raid

Lenoir Turnpike, Blowing Rock, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 36° 7' 10.902", -81° 39' 44.442"
  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 Blowing Rock, March 28, 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 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 the successful skirmish in Boone, Stoneman planned to obtain fresh horses and supplies in Wilkesboro. He divided his army and sent a contingent southward through Blowing Rock under the command of Brigadier General Alvan C. Gillem while Stoneman’s men marched northward through Deep Gap. While marching through Blowing Rock, Gillem’s men encountered little resistance and likely constructed a stockade to hold Confederate prisoners recently taken at Boone. The troops also destroyed a cotton mill near Lenoir before meeting Stoneman on March 29 near Wilkesboro, just one day after they had arrived in the state.

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, Blowing Rock, North Carolina