Civil War Cavalry Raid

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Stoneman's Cavalry Raid: Route Map, Civil War Murders, Depredations, Lawlessness, and Battles

The Last Ninety Days of the War in North-Carolina:
Electronic Edition
© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Used by permission

THE
LAST NINETY DAYS OF THE WAR IN NORTH-CAROLINA.
BY
CORNELIA PHILLIPS SPENCER.
SECOND THOUSAND.
New-York:
WATCHMAN PUBLISHING COMPANY,
1866.

Civil War Cavalry Raid
General George Stoneman.jpg
General George Stoneman

ENTERED, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866, by
CHARLES F. DEEMS,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New-York.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TO THE
HON. D. L., SWAIN, LL.D.,
AT WHOSE SUGGESTION IT WAS UNDERTAKEN, AND BY WHOSE
INVALUABLE ADVICE, ENCOURAGEMENT, AND ASSISTANCE
IT HAS BEEN COMPLETED. THIS BOOK
IS MOST RESPECTFULLY
DEDICATED.
 
PREFACE.

        THE papers on the LAST NINETY DAYS OF THE WAR IN NORTH-CAROLINA, which originally appeared in the New-York WATCHMAN, and are now presented in book form, were commenced with no plan or intention of continuing them beyond two or three numbers. The unexpected favor with which they were received led to their extension, and finally resulted in their republication.
        To do justice to North-Carolina, and to place beyond cavil or reproach the attitude of her leaders at the close of the great Southern States Rights struggle--to present a faithful picture of the times, and a just judgment, whether writing of friend or foe, has been my sole object. Slight as these sketches are, they may claim at least the merit of truth, and this, I am persuaded, is no slight recommendation with the truth-loving people of North-Carolina.
 
CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XIII.  
Correspondence between Governor Swain and General Sherman--Governor Vance's Position and Conduct--Kilpatrick--The Conduct of the Servants--"Lee's Men"--President Lincoln, . . . . .
CHAPTER XIV.  
General Stoneman -- Outrages -- Cold-blooded Murders -- General Gillam--Progress through Lenoir, Wilkes, Surry, and Stokes--Stoneman's Detour into Virginia--The Defense of Salisbury--The Fight in the Streets of Salisbury--General Polk's Family--Temporary Occupancy of Salisbury--Continuous Raiding, . . . . .
CHAPTER XV.  
Iredell County -- General Palmer's Courtesy to Mrs. Vance -- Subsequent Treatment of this Lady by Federal Soldiers--Major Hambright's Cruelty in Lenoir--Case of Dr. Ballew and Others--General Gillam--His Outrages at Mrs. Hagler's--Dr. Boone Clark--Terrible Treatment of his Family--Lieutenants Rice and Mallobry--Mrs. General Vaughan--Morganton, . . . . .
CHAPTER XVI.  
Plundering of Colonel Carson--Of Rev. Mr. Paxton--General Martin repulses Kirby--Gillam plunders during the Armistice--Occupation of Asheville--Wholesale Plunder--Dispatch from General Palmer, . . . .

Stoneman's Cavalry Raid Map
Stoneman's Cavalry Raid Map.jpg
Cavalry Raid with Battles and Skirmishes

CHAPTER XIII.

        CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN GOVERNOR SWAIN AND GENERAL SHERMAN--GOVERNOR VANCE'S POSITION AND CONDUCT--KILPATRICK -- THE CONDUCT OF THE SERVANTS -- "LEE'S MEN"--PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

        I AM persuaded that it requires the exercise of an implicit faith, and a total rejection of the evidence of things seen, to believe that General Sherman as a man, deplored the policy which, as a general, he felt bound to pursue. I shall, however, give him the benefit of his own professions, which, whether sincere or not, are certainly in unison with the part he played in the treaty with General Johnston. The following correspondence will be read with interest:

CHAPEL HILL, April 19, 1865.

Major-General W. T. Sherman, commanding United States Forces:

        GENERAL: . . . On my return to this village on Saturday morning, fifteenth instant, I found that General Wheeler, with his division of cavalry, had been encamped here for two days. He resumed his march on Sunday morning, leaving the country denuded to a considerable extent of forage, and taking with him a number of horses and mules. General


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Atkins arrived with his brigade on Monday morning, and is in camp here now. I have had several interviews with General Atkins, and have pleasure in stating that he manifests a disposition to execute his orders with as much forbearance as he deems compatible with the proper discharge of his duty. Nevertheless, many worthy families have been stripped by his soldiers of the necessary means of subsistence. A Baptist clergyman--a most estimable, quiet, and charitable citizen, and the most extensive farmer within a circle of three miles--is almost entirely destitute of provision for man and beast; and with a family of more than fifty persons, (white and colored,) has not a single horse or mule. Other instances, not less striking, exist, of families in less affluent circumstances; but I refer particularly to Mr. Purefoy, because he has been my near neighbor for about thirty years, and I hold him in the highest estimation. He, like many others, is not merely without the present means of subsistence, but unless his horses and mules are restored or replaced, can make no provision for the future. The delay of a few days even may render it impossible to plant corn in proper time.

        I am satisfied from the impression made on me in our recent interview, that personally, you have no disposition to add to the unavoidable horrors of war, by availing yourself of the utmost license which writers on the subject deem admissible, but that, on the contrary, you would prefer to treat the peaceful tillers of the soil with no unnecessary harshness. I venture to hope, therefore, that the present state of negotiations


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between the contending armies will enable you to relax the severity of the orders under which General Atkins is acting, and I am satisfied that if you shall feel yourself justified by the course of events in doing so, an intimation of your purpose will be welcome intelligence to him.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

D. L. SWAIN.


HEADQUARTERS MILITARY DIVISION OF THE
MISSISSIPPI, IN THE FIELD,
RALEIGH, N. C., April 22, 1865.

Hon. D. L. Swain, Chapel Hill, N. C.:

        MY DEAR SIR: Yours of April nineteenth was laid before me yesterday, and I am pleased that you recognize in General Atkins a fair representative of our army.

        The moment war ceases, and I think that time is at hand, all seizures of horses and private property will cease on our part. And it may be that we will be able to spare some animals for the use of the farmers of your neighborhood. There now exists a species of truce, but we must stand prepared for action; but I believe that in a very few days a definitive and general peace will be arranged, when I will make orders that will be in accordance with the new state of affairs.

        I do believe that I fairly represent the feelings of my countrymen--that we prefer peace to war; but if war is forced upon us, we must meet it; but if peace be possible, we will accept it, and be the friends of the


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farmers and working classes of North-Carolina, as well as actual patrons of churches, colleges, asylums, and all institutions of learning and charity. Accept the assurances of my respect and high esteem.

I am, truly yours,

W. T. SHERMAN,
Major-General Commanding.


        Without ascribing to General Sherman any extraordinary degree of merit as a writer, I am inclined to give him credit for sincerity in these professions, simply because of the corroborating evidence afforded by his conduct in the treaty with Johnston. Their first agreement was not ratified at Washington, and General Sherman's position therein was severely censured; but no one who rightly estimated the condition of the South at the close of the war, and the state of public feeling among us, has ever doubted that, if that treaty had been ratified, the happiest results would have followed, and an immense amount of trouble, expense, and evil would have been avoided by the whole country. I repeat what I have said previously, that General Sherman alone, of all the prominent men and leaders among our antagonists, was at that time possessed of the requisite ability and statesmanship and magnanimity to comprehend the situation, and seize the opportunity and the means for an equitable adjustment of our difficulties. I greatly regret not being able to present my readers with a copy of his letter of invitation to Governor Vance to return to Raleigh. On the fourteenth of April General Johnston sent him his first letter, requesting a suspension of hostilities, with a


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view to entering into arrangements for putting a stop to the war. This application was replied to by General Sherman in a really noble and generous spirit, and their correspondence resulted in those interviews at Durham's Station, on the North-Carolina Central Railroad, which concluded the war and have become historical. No one can read that correspondence without seeing unmistakable evidence that General Sherman manifested an eager anxiety to save the South from further devastation. Perhaps a late remorse had touched him; but however that may be, in the civil policy he has always advocated toward the South, he has shown himself at once generous and politic. If he had pursued an equally far-sighted course as a soldier; if he had advocated a humane forbearance toward the defenseless people who were crushed beneath his march; if he had enforced a strict discipline in his army, and chosen to appear as a restorer rather than as a destroyer, there are few at the South who would not join to pronounce him the hero of the war on the Northern side, and his name would worthily go down to posterity by the side of the great captain of the age, who declared, when leading his victorious veterans into France, that rather than suffer them to pillage the country as they passed, he would resign his command.

* * * * * * * * * *

        While Generals Johnston and Sherman were engaged in their negotiations at Durham's, Governor Vance found that by having obeyed President Davis's summons to Greensboro before accepting General Sherman's invitation to Raleigh, he was effectually precluded


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from all further participation in the affairs of the State. I am not at liberty to say why or how this was; but it is probable the Governor himself does not very deeply regret it, since it is not likely he would have been permitted by the Federal authorities to retain his office, even if he had returned to Raleigh and resumed the reins. All General Sherman's views and official acts as peacemaker were speedily disavowed and overruled at Washington; and though Governor Vance was willing to have made the experiment, being urged thereto by his best friends, yet, as matters have since turned out, it is as well that he was prevented. He and his noble State were equally incapable of any attempt to make terms for themselves, even had it been likely that any terms would have been granted. Our fortunes were to be those of our sister States whom we had joined deliberately, fought for, and suffered with; and Governor Vance was never more truly our representative than in the treatment he received from the Federal Government after the surrender.

        Our Governor left Hillsboro on Saturday, arrived in Greensboro on Sunday morning, April sixteenth, and found that President Davis had left for Charlotte the day before. The whole Confederate Government left Danville the preceding Monday, April tenth, arrived at Greensboro on the same day, and had ever since been living in the cars around the railroad station at that place. Mr. Trenholm being very ill, had been taken to Governor Morehead's. But the Confederate President, and all the Government officials lived for


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five rainy days in the miserable leaky cars that had brought them thither, having abundant government stores of provision in their train. On the slope of a hill near by, which tradition points out as that on which General Greene had held a council of war previous to the battle of Guilford, in 1781, President Davis and his Cabinet, and Generals Beauregard and Johnston held their last conference a day or two before Governor Vance's arrival. It had resulted in the first terms which General Johnston was authorized to make with General Sherman, and he was already on his way back to Hillsboro, to hold his first interview with the Federal commander. Failing to see the President, Governor Vance would now have returned to Raleigh. All that can be said at this point is, that he was not permitted by our military authorities to pass through their lines while the negotiations were pending. He then followed President Davis to Charlotte, and had a final interview with him, giving him notice of his intention, as General Johnston was then on the point of surrendering the army, to surrender himself to Sherman, and use what means were in his power to save the State and State property from further ruin, treating the Confederacy as at an end. Returning to Greensboro, he found the first terms agreed upon had been rejected at Washington, and the two commanding generals were engaged in a fresh negotiation. Failing still to receive permission to proceed to Raleigh, he wrote a letter to General Sherman, and sent it by Treasurer Worth, who found on his arrival in Raleigh that General Sherman was gone, and General


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Schofield was in command, who refused to allow Governor Vance to return at all.

        The Governor then remained quietly in Greensboro until Schofield's arrival there, when he had an interview with him, giving him necessary information as to State property, records, etc., etc., and bespeaking his protection for them and for our people, especially in those localities where they were at feud with each other. He then tendered his own surrender, which General Schofield refused to accept, saying he had no orders to arrest him, and he might go where he pleased. Governor Vance then told him he would join his family at Statesville, and would be found there if requisition should be made for him. He arrived in Statesville, rejoining his family on the fourth of May--by a curious coïncidence, the very day on which, four years before, he had left them, a volunteer for the war! And four such years!--sketched for us thirty years ago in that sublime and solemn picture upon the canvas of Webster, where lay a land rent with civil feuds, and drenched in fraternal blood. He remained until the thirteenth, when he was arrested by order of the Federal Government, by Major Porter, commanding a detachment of three hundred cavalry, Ninth Pennsylvania, conveyed a prisoner to Raleigh, and thence to the Old Capitol Prison at Washington City.

        On the thirteenth of April, General Sherman entered Raleigh. The day before, General Stoneman had occupied Salisbury. He entered the State from Knoxville, Tenn., taking most of the towns in his way. and committing an immense amount of damage, and


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finally arriving in Salisbury just in time to destroy utterly all the valuable State and Confederate property which had been so sedulously conveyed from Raleigh, to escape General Sherman! The particulars of this important and successful move I have as yet been unable to procure. I hope, however, to present them at some time in a detailed and authentic narrative. The coöperation with Sherman was timely, and would have been a perfect success if Stoneman had ventured to hold Salisbury. He might easily have done so, though, to be sure, he did not know that; but if he had, he might have given checkmate to the Confederacy at once. President Davis would never have reached Charlotte. As it was, the raiders from Stoneman's command, who cut the Danville road above Greensboro, were within half an hour of capturing the whole Confederate Government in its flight.

        During the occupation of Chapel Hill by Kilpatrick's cavalry, the citizens of the place possessed their souls in as much patience as they could muster up, endeavoring to arrive at a stoical not to say philosophical frame of mind, in view of the sudden dislocation of all things--among other things, maintaining a decent degree of composure upon the establishment of Liberia in our midst, and accommodating ourselves to this new phase of things with a good deal of grim humor. The negroes, however, behaved much better, on the whole, than Northern letter-writers represent them to have done. Indeed, I do not know a race more studiously misrepresented than they have been and are at this present time. They behaved well


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during the war: if they had not, it could not have lasted eighteen months. They showed a fidelity and a steadiness which speaks not only well for themselves but well for their training and the system under which they lived. And when their liberators arrived, there was no indecent excitement on receiving the gift of liberty, nor displays of impertinence to their masters. In one or two instances they gave "Missus" to understand that they desired present payment for their services in gold and silver, but, in general, the tide of domestic life flowed on externally as smoothly as ever. In fact, though of course few at the North will believe me, I am sure that they felt for their masters, and secretly sympathized with their ruin. They knew that they were absolutely penniless and conquered; and though they were glad to be free, yet they did not turn round, as New-England letter-writers have represented, to exult over their owners, nor exhibit the least trace of New-England malignity. So the bread was baked in those latter days, the clothes were washed and ironed, and the baby was nursed as zealously as ever, though both parties understood at once that the service was voluntary. The Federal soldiers sat a good deal in the kitchens; but the division being chiefly composed of North-western men, who had little love for the negro, (indeed I heard some d--n him as the cause of the the war, and say that they would much rather put a bullet through an abolitionist than through a Confederate soldier,) there was probably very little incendiary talk and instructions going on. In all which, in comparison with other localities, we were much favored.


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        So we endeavored to play out the play with dignity and self-possession, watching the long train of foragers coming in every day by every high-road and byway leading from the country, laden with the substance of our friends and neighbors for many miles, (though in many cases, let me say, the Government made payment for food and forage taken after peace was declared,) watching them with such feelings as made us half ashamed of our own immunity, wondering where it would all end, and that we should have lived to see such a day; reviewing the height from which we had fallen, and struggling, I say, to wear a look of proud composure, when all our assumed stoicism and resignation was put to flight by the appearance, on a certain day, of a squad of unarmed men in gray, dusty and haggard, walking slowly along the road. A moment's look, a hasty inquiry, and "Lee's men!" burst from our lips, and tears from our eyes. There they were, the heroes of the army of Virginia, walking home, each with his pass in his pocket, and nothing else. To run after them, to call them in, to feel honored at shaking those rough hands, to spread the table for them, to cry over them, and say again and again, "God bless you all; we are just as proud of you, and thank you just as much as if it had turned out differently;" this was a work which stirred our inmost souls, and has left a tender memory which will outlast life. Day after day we saw them, sometimes in twos and threes, sometimes in little companies, making the best of their way toward their distant homes, penniless and dependent on wayside charity


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for their food, plodding along, while the blue jackets pranced gayly past on the best blood of Southern stables. But I am glad to record that wherever a Federal soldier met any of them, he was prompt to offer help and food, and express a kindly and soldierly cordiality. Grant's men, they all said, had been especially generous. There was something worth studying in the air and expression of these men, a something which had a beneficial and soothing effect on the observers. They were not unduly cast down, nor had any appearance of the humiliation that was burning into our souls. They were serious, calm, and self-possessed. They said they were satisfied that all had been done that could be done, and they seemed to be sustained by the sense of duty done and well done, and the event left to God, and with His award they had no intention of quarreling. It was a fair fight, they said, but the South had been starved out; one dark-eyed young South-Carolinian said, for his part he was going home to settle down, and if any body ever said "secesh" to him again, he meant to knock 'em over. Many looked thin and feeble; and a gallant major from Fayetteville told me himself that when ordered to the last charge, he and his men, who had been living for some days on parched corn, were so weak that they reeled in their saddles. "But we would have gone again," he added, "if Lee had said so."

        The news of the death of President Lincoln, received at first with utter incredulity, deepened the gloom and horrible uncertainty in which we lived.


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That he was dead simply may not have excited any regret among people who for four years had been learning to regard him as the prime agent in all our troubles. But when the time, place, and manner of his death came to be told, an unaffected and deep horror and dismay filled our minds. The time has not yet come for Southern people to estimate President Lincoln fairly. We never could admire him as he appeared as a candidate for the Presidency, nor look upon him as a great man, in any sense of the word. But even if we had recognized him as a lofty and commanding genius, fit to guide the destiny of a great nation through a crisis of imminent peril, the smoke of the battle-fields would have obscured to us all his good qualities, and we should have regarded him only as the malignant star, whose ascendency boded nothing but evil to us. He was always presented to us in caricature. The Southern press never mentioned him but with some added sobriquet of contempt and hatred. His simplicity of character and kindliness of heart we knew nothing of; nor would many now at the South, much as they may deplore his death, concede to him the possession of any such virtues. They judged him by the party which took possession of him after his inauguration, and by his advisers. But a sense of remorse fills my mind now as I write of him, realizing how much that was really good and guileless, and well-intentioned and generous, may have come to an untimely end in the atrocious tragedy at Ford's Theatre. The extravagance of eulogy by which the Northern people have sought to express their sense of


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his worth and of his loss, has had much to do with our unwillingness to judge him fairly. To place the Illinois lawyer by the side of Washington would have been an offense against taste and common-sense; but to compare him to the SON OF GOD, to ascribe to him also the work of "dying the just for the unjust," is an impious indecency which may suit the latitude of Mr. Bancroft, and the overstrained tone of the Northern mind generally, but whose only effect at the South is to widen the distance between us and the day when we shall frankly endeavor to understand and do justice to President Lincoln.


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CHAPTER XIV.

        GENERAL STONEMAN--OUTRAGES--COLD-BLOODED MURDERS--GENERAL GILLAM -- PROGRESS THROUGH LENOIR, WILKES, SURRY, AND STOKES--STONEMAN'S DETOUR INTO VIRGINIA--THE DEFENSE OF SALISBURY--THE FIGHT IN THE STREETS OF SALISBURY -- GENERAL POLK'S FAMILY -- TEMPORARY OCCUPANCY OF SALISBURY--CONTINUOUS RAIDING.

        ON the same day that General Sherman entered Raleigh, General Stoneman occupied Salisbury, April 12-13th, thus completing the chain of events which was closing in upon the Confederacy. Among the prisoners kept at Salisbury were some of the better class, who were at large on parole. This they broke in the winter of 1864-'5, and, making their escape over the mountains into Tennessee, carried such accounts of the accumulation of stores, etc., at Salisbury, as made its capture an object of importance.

        General Stoneman entered the State during the last week of March, by the turnpike leading from Taylorsville, Tennessee, through Watauga county to Deep Gap, on the Blue Ridge. His force was probably six or seven thousand strong, though rumor increased it to fifteen, twenty, thirty, and in one instance to sixty thousand.

        They entered Boone, the county-seat of Watauga,


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on the twenty-sixth of March. The village was completely taken by surprise. No one was aware of the approach of an enemy till the advance-guard dashed up the main street, making no demand for surrender, but firing right and left at every moving thing they saw. Mrs. James Council, hearing the noise, stepped into her piazza with her child in her arms, and immediately a volley of balls splintered the wood-work all around her. She, however, escaped unhurt. The people of this county had been warmly attached to the Confederate cause, and had bravely resisted East-Tennessee raiders and marauders. The county-seat was therefore, perhaps, especially obnoxious; and whatever may have been General Stoneman's policy, there were subordinate officers in his command who were only too happy in the opportunity to retort upon a defenseless and unresisting population. The jail was burned by order of General Gillam. For this it is said he was sternly rebuked by General Stoneman; but all the county records, books, and private papers were destroyed. Private houses were of course plundered, and the citizens were consoled by the assurance that "Kirk was to follow and clean them out." Several citizens were shot under circumstances of peculiar aggravation. A party of the raiders went into the field of Mr. Jacob Council, where he was plowing with a negro. He was over the conscript age, a prudent, quiet man, who had taken no part in the war. He was shot down in cold blood, notwithstanding his piteous appeals for mercy, because, upon the negro's statement, he was "an infernal rebel." Another, Warren


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Green, was killed while holding up his hands in token of surrender. Another, Calvin Green, was pursued and surrendered, but they continued firing upon him after his surrender. He then resolved to defend himself, and fought, loading and firing till he was shot down and left for dead. He shattered the arm of one of the Federal soldiers, so that it had to be amputated that night. But instead of dying himself, he recovered, and is now living. Steele Frazier, a lad of fifteen, was chased by a squad of half a dozen. He made a running fight of it. Getting over a fence, he coolly waited till they were within range, and then fired and shot one through. He then ran again, loading, and turned again and killed another of his pursuers; and notwithstanding the pursuit was kept up some distance, the balls whistling round him, he finally made good his escape, and will probably make none the worse citizen, when he is grown, for his adventurous boyhood.

        Through the whole of this raid General Stoneman is represented to have been apparently anxious to mitigate the distresses and horrors of war as far as was practicable, by courteous and humane treatment of the people. His record and that of General Palmer are in refreshing contrast to those of his subordinate, General Gillam, and of certain other higher names in the Federal army. There is one story, however, told of him in Boone, which, after all, may be due to his quartermaster or commissary-in-chief. Mrs. Council had been kind to some Federal prisoners confined in the jail; and the invaders hearing of it, requited her


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by affording her protection during their stay. Kirk's raiders, however, came down after Stoneman had passed on, and stripped the place of all that had been left -- the gallant Colonel Kirk himself making his headquarters with this lady--keeping her a close prisoner in her own room, while he and his men made free with the rest of the house and the premises. That they left little or nothing but the bare walls, may be inferred from General Stoneman's remark on his return to the place after the capture of Salisbury. Standing in the piazza and taking a survey of what had once been a happy and beautiful home -- the fencing all gone, the gardens, shrubbery, and yard trampled bare, covered with raw hides of cattle and sheep, decaying carcasses, and all manner of filth--he turned to the lady and said, "Well, Mrs. C., I suppose you hardly know whether you are at home or not." Gratefully remembering his former courtesy to her, she exerted herself to entertain him with such scanty stores as the raiders had left. A firkin of uncommonly fine butter had been overlooked by them, and she placed some of this on the table. The General commended this butter especially, and asked her if she had any more of it. She told him it was about the only thing to eat she had left, and congratulated herself on its safety under his protection. What was her mortification, a short time after, to see the firkin ordered out and placed in the General's own provision-wagon. So much that is favorable to General Stoneman's character has reached me, that I can not help hoping he was ignorant of this unspeakably small transaction.


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        On the twenty-seventh of March, the column was divided. General Stoneman, with one division, went direct to Wilkesboro. The other, under General Gillam, crossed the Blue Ridge at Blowing Rock, and went to Patterson, in Caldwell county, thence rejoining Stoneman at Wilkesboro. At Patterson General Gillam took the responsibility of ordering the extensive cotton factory there to be burned. General Stoneman is said to have regretted this destruction especially, as Mr. Patterson, the owner, had received a promise that it should be spared, and the people of East-Tennessee had been largely supplied from it. But General Gillam, when not immediately under General Stoneman's eye, could not restrain his propensities. He announced that "the Government had been too lenient, and rebels must look out for consequences," and ordered the torch to be applied.

        While the raiders were in the Yadkin river-bottom, they were detained three days by freshets. Small parties scoured the country, carrying off all the horses and mules, and burning the factories. There seemed to be no systematic plan of destruction; for while some mills and factories were burned, others in the same neighborhood and quite as easily accessible were spared. Much depended on the personal character and disposition of the commanding officer of these detachments. If he happened to be a gentleman, the people were spared as much as possible; if he were simply a brute dressed in a little brief authority, every needless injury was inflicted, accompanied with true underbred insolence and malice. The privates


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always followed the lead of their commander. The factories on Hunting Creek, in the upper part of Tredell, were burned with large quantities of cotton. Eagle Mills alone lost eight hundred bales. Among General Gillam's exploits in Wilkesboro, was the finding the horse of the late General James Gordon in the stable of a brother-in-law of the General. This, General G. immediately, with great intrepidity, "captured;" and further to impress the family with a sense of his heroic achievement, he had a man to mount the animal and parade him slowly up and down before the door of the house for an hour or two.

        Leaving Wilkesboro on the thirty-first of March, General Stoneman moved over into Surry county, in the direction of Mount Airy, and thence into Virginia, aiming for Christiansburg, on the Tennessee Railroad. A portion of the command being detached to Wytheville, was met near that place by General Duke's cavalry, and repulsed, but rallying, took the town and destroyed the depot of supplies there. Having effectually destroyed the road above Wythesville, between New River and Big Lick, General Stoneman turned back upon North-Carolina, reëntering it from Patrick county, Virginia, and marching rapidly through Stokes county, appeared suddenly in Salem and Winston on the tenth of April. Here he sent out various detachments to cut the North-Carolina Central Road and the Danville and Greensboro Road, destroy bridges, supplies, etc., etc. One of these parties, as I have said before, narrowly missed capturing the train conveying the whole Confederate government, in its


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flight to Greensboro. They burned the bridge at Jamestown, and were about to fire the depot, but upon a sudden false alarm, fled precipitately withou finishing their work. At High Point they burned the depot and large quantities of government stores, also seventeen hundred bales of cotton belonging to Francis Fries, of Salem. The public buildings and stores at Lexington and Thomasville were saved by the arrival of a body of Ferguson's cavalry, who chased the raiders back to Salem. The general plan of the whole raid seemed to contemplate the destruction of stores and the cutting off communications without risking a battle.

        At Salem and Winston private property was protected, no pillage being permitted. This was probably owing to the fact that the inhabitants having had notice of the approach of the raiders, sent a deputation to meet them and make a formal surrender of the town. I am not aware that a demand for surrender was made of any place during the entire raid, or that any place beside Salem and Winston, which may be regarded as one, offered a surrender. The first notice of the presence of any enemy, in most cases, was given by the unlooked-for arrival of the advance-guard galloping in and taking possession.

        At Mocksville, a number of the citizens, supposing it was only a small squad that was hurrying through the country and plundering, prepared to give them a warm reception, and a short distance from town fired upon the advancing column. Soon finding their mistake, they retreated. Threats of burning the village


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for this audacious thought of resistance were made, but as General Stoneman was pressing forward with all speed upon Salisbury, no time was allowed for any such exchange of compliments.

        General Stoneman's detour into Virginia had completely mystified the people of North-Carolina. They breathed freely as he passed over the border, and congratulated themselves that the dreaded raid, which for weeks had been anticipated, was so soon at an end. The troops which had been posted by General Beauregard at Salisbury, for its protection, were moved off to Greensboro and to the railroad bridge across the Yadkin, and the town was left with little or no defense. If Stoneman had marched thither from Wilkesboro, he would probably have been repulsed with disaster; for a large body of infantry, with artillery and cavalry, had been concentrated there; but when Salisbury was attacked, on the morning of the twelfth of April, the whole effective force did not much exceed five hundred men, including two batteries on their way to join Johnston at Raleigh. Of these five hundred two hundred were "galvanized" Irish, recruited from among the Federal prisoners--besides artisans in the government employ from the various shops, Junior reserves, and a number of citizens who volunteered in defense of their homes. In the absence of General Bradley T. Johnson, the commandant of the post, General Gardner took command, and disposed his handful of men at various points on the road toward Mocksville, so as to man and support the batteries, there being nowhere more than one hundred and fifty men at any point.


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        The attack began at daylight. By eight o'clock the batteries were flanked. The artillery-men fought bravely, but were of course soon overpowered and compelled to leave their guns in the hands of the enemy. A few of the "galvanized" Irish fought well, but the majority went over in a body to the Federals soon after the fight commenced, leaving the artillery without support, and of course betraying the weakness of the Confederates. A desultory fight was kept up till the suburbs of the town were reached, and then all order and subordination were lost, the Confederates scattering through the town and to the woods beyond. Several of them were wounded, and one or two were killed in the town. The loss of the Federals is unknown, but several were buried on the battlefield. A number of Confederates were taken prisoners, some citizens, negroes, etc. By nine o'clock the place was in quiet possession of the enemy, who galloped in with drawn swords and full of strange oaths. Many of the citizens, negroes, and children, were in the doors and on the side-walks gazing for the first time at the Federal uniform. In the desultory running fight that was kept up through the streets, one of the Irish recruits before mentioned, fighting bravely, was shot through the lungs; but he continued to load and fire as he retreated till he fell on the piazza of Mrs. M. E. Ramsay. Though the balls fell thick about him, and she was alone with her little children, she went out to him and managed to get him inside the house, where she nursed and stimulated him the greater part of the day, till she could get a physician


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to him and have him removed to the hospital. He said to her, "They have killed me, but I die a brave man; I fought them as long as I could stand." She supposed that of course his wound was wortal, but a fortnight after, to her astonishment, he returned to thank her for her kindness.

        Captain Frank Y. McNeely was found in the Arsenal and shot. Lieutenant Stokes, of Maryland, was sitting on his horse in front of General Bradley Johnson's headquarters, when a squad of the enemy dashed into the street. An officer in front cried out, "There's a d--d rebel--charge him." The Lieutenant waited till the officer was in point-blank range, and then shot him through, and putting spurs to his horse fled--hotly pursued. One of the pursuers was gaining on him, considerably in advance of the rest, and probably intended to sabre him; but the Lieutenant suddenly reining his horse aside, let the raider pass, and as he passed fired and killed him, and then made good his escape. The officer shot proved to be one of General Stoneman's staff.

        A small squad of the Confederates retreated fighting through the yard and premises of Frank Shober, Esq. One of their number was killed in the piazza of the house.

        This hand-to-hand fighting in the streets--such incidents as these, and the fact that Salisbury was an especial object of hatred to the invaders as the prison depot of so many of their unfortunate comrades, whose graves were to be counted there by thousands--these things certainly gave General Stoneman every


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excuse for the plunder and destruction of the whole town had he chosen to interpret the laws of war as did General Sherman. But he did not so interpret them; he did not even fall back upon the reserve that he was unable to restrain his justly infuriated soldiers. He declined to avail himself of General Gillam's burning zeal for the honor of the Union. This latter officer was heard to say that, if he had his way, he would make the people of Salisbury think "all hell was let loose upon them." Another account states that he declared that "though born in Salisbury, he would be glad to lay it in ashes."

        * Is General Gillam a son of North-Carolina? I put the note and query for the future historian. If so, then we have only another proof that decency and good principles are not always hereditary.


        But General Stoneman's policy toward the inhabitants of Salisbury is a very striking illustration of the principles which, in a previous chapter, I have endeavored to show were the only true and generous and really politic guide for the commanders of an invading army. Private property was protected, guards were stationed, and General Stoneman repeatedly gave strict orders for the enforcement of quiet and protection of the citizens. He himself in person inspected the public stores, which were of course by the laws of war doomed to destruction, and refused to allow the Confederate Quartermaster's depot to be burned lest it should endanger the town. The officers, whether willingly or not, seconded their commander. Whatever plundering and insolence the people were subjected to--and there were a number of such cases


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--was very evidently the work of unauthorized bummers, who appeared in mortal dread of the guards, and did their work hurriedly and furtively. Corncribs and smoke-houses were entered, horses and mules and arms were seized; but, on the whole, the general policy was the sound one of protection to non-combatants.

        Early in the morning of the attack several large trains with government stores made their escape from Salisbury toward Charlotte and Greensboro, but a passenger train on the Western road was not so fortunate. Having proceeded a mile or two from town, the track was found obstructed; and as soon as the train stopped, a volley was poured into it without any demand for surrender. Several passengers were wounded, but happily none of the ladies, among whom were the widow and daughters of General Leonidas Polk. The cars being set on fire, much of the baggage belonging to the passengers was burned--all that was rescued was plundered--and among Mrs. Polk's valuables were found the sword, uniform, papers, and other cherished relics of her husband. These things were all seized with great triumph, and though much that was taken besides was afterward restored to Mrs. Polk, no inducements could prevail upon the gallant Colonel Slater of the Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry to return to the widowed lady these mementos of her husband. He claimed them as "taken on the battle-field," and kept them.

        As soon as the town was quiet, a strong force was detailed to attack the railroad bridge across the


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Yadkin, six miles distant. Here strong fortifications on the Davidson side of the river had been erected, under Beauregard's supervision, on a hill commanding the bridge and the Rowan shore. General York of Louisiana, with ten or twelve hundred men--home-guards and "galvanized" Irish--defended the bridge: its preservation was of the greatest importance to the Confederate cause, and strict orders had been issued by General Beauregard to defend it at all hazards. At two o'clock P.M., on the twelfth, the raiders arrived, and brisk skirmishing was kept up on the Rowan side. At three o'clock some of the cannon captured in the morning on the other side of Salisbury, were brought down, and opened on the Confederate batteries. Heavy cannonading between the two continued till dark, when the raiders, thinking the place too well fortified to risk an assault, returned to Salisbury, destroying the railroad as they went. A few Confederates were wounded, one or two were killed. The Federal loss, if any, is unknown.

        The assailants returned to assist in the destruction of the public stores at Salisbury, which I have before stated were immense. They had been accumulating there for weeks from Columbia, Charlotte, Richmond, Danville, and Raleigh. The clothing, provisions, medical stores, etc., were collected in the main street and fired. The length of four entire squares was occupied by the burning mass, valued at at least a million in specie. Much was given away to negroes and the lower class of the white population--much was quietly appropriated, and by some who should have known


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better. The distresses and privations of war make times of strong temptation, and the general demoralization that prevailed all over our country was no greater at Salisbury than elsewhere. To people who had been half starved for months, and many of them half clothed, it was hard to see such quantities of sugar, coffee, spice, flour, bacon, luxuries to which they had long been strangers, burning in their streets like so much rubbish. The stores were all emptied besides of private property--and many people were to be seen passing along the streets loaded with what they chose. Many soldiers had dozens of coats, shirts, etc., piled up before them on their horses.

        The value of the medical stores alone was estimated at {$}100,000 in gold. It is a little curious that, while such an amount was being thrown into the flames, one of the surgeons of the Federal army entered the office of one of the principal physicians in the place--Dr. J. J. Summerell--and was about to carry off all his scanty store of medicine; but upon remonstrance, he agreed to divide, saying, he could not bear to rob a brother practitioner.

        On the night of the 12-13th the ordnance stores, arsenal, foundry, with much valuable machinery, the Government steam distillery, the dépôts and other buildings belonging to both the Central and Western roads, and other public buildings were fired. The night being perfectly still, the sheets of flame rose steadily into the air, and the great conflagration was plainly visible at the distance of fifteen miles; and for several hours the incessant and distinct explosions of


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shells and fixed ammunition conveyed the impression to the anxious watchers, miles away, in the adjoining counties, that a fierce battle was raging. There was no hallooing by the soldiers--no shouts--only the crackling of the flames and the bursting of the shells. Now and then a mounted troop swept through the streets, the horsemen in profound silence, the lurid flames from the burning distillery making their rough faces look ghastly enough, while the buttons and other mountings of their equipments sparkled in the firelight. No one thought of sleep that night, not even the children.

        A large building, three stories high, originally built for a cotton factory, but for some time past occupied by Federal prisoners--all of whom a few weeks previously had been sent to Richmond and Wilmington for exchange -- together with the barracks and all other buildings connected with it, were burned; and it may be well imagined that the Federal soldiers felt a peculiar satisfaction in the destruction of a spot so memorable to them--the scene of so much wretchedness and want and despair. Many of the men with Stoneman had been among the prisoners there, and many had had brothers and other relatives there. I have heard that General Gillam himself had been one of the number before his promotion. No one who knows what the condition of these prisoners was, can wonder at any amount of rage expressed by the survivors and avengers. The way in which both sides, during the war, treated their prisoners, is an exceedingly curious commentary on the boasted Christian civilization of the whole country, from Maine to Texas.


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For the Northern side there is no excuse. For the Southern side there is one--and but one. Our prisoners were starved, as I have said before, because we were starving ourselves; our children were crying for bread, and our soldiers were fighting on half-rations of parched corn and peas. We could not tell our enemies this! We were not to confess to them this fatal weakness in our cause! But what we could do to induce their Government to take these poor wretches home and give us our own in exchange, we did do. Every inducement was offered to them again and again in vain. So far, then, our skirts are clear. But brutality of speech and behavior, cruel indifference to their situation, unnecessary harshness and violence to helpless unarmed men, diseased and dying--of this there may have been much among certain of our officials, and for this we will yet have to repent before Him who hears the sighing of the prisoner.

        It has been estimated that the loss in buildings alone, which were mostly of brick, would reach to half a million in specie, and the total loss of all property to several millions. Had the war continued, the capture of Salisbury would have been a stunning blow to General Johnston, and would have severely crippled his movements. As it was, it is a matter of great regret that such a vast amount of most valuable property should have been destroyed just at a time when its destruction was no longer necessary to the overthrow of a cause already dead. General Stoneman might safely have held Salisbury from the hour he entered it, and preserved every dollar's worth of its stores for


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the advantage of his own government. He might have prevented the further flight of the Confederate Government, and President Davis and all his cabinet might have been forced to surrender with General Johnston. And it would have been better if they had. But General Stoneman did not know what a brilliant part he was playing in the last act of the great tragedy, and he hurried to get through with it and leave Salisbury as rapidly as he had entered it. On the 13th a terrific explosion of the magazine finished the work, and that evening the Federals moved off toward Statesville, riding most of the night as if under apprehension of pursuit.

        General Stoneman must certainly be allowed to have accomplished his ends with a skill, celerity, and daring, which entitle him to high praise as a military leader. Add to this the higher praise of humanity, and the ability to control his troops, and he well deserves a higher niche than some who led grand armies on great marches. Salisbury, comparing her lot with that of Columbia and Fayetteville, may well afford to hold General Stoneman's name in grateful remembrance.

        I have taken no pleasure in this recital of injuries, insults, inhumanity, and breach of faith. The truth of history demands that the facts shall be told on both sides calmly and with impartiality. The world, which has heard so much of one side, should hear the other too; and posterity, at whose bar we shall all stand for this four years' work, should have every opportunity afforded for a righteous verdict. And there are other


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ways in which the truth plainly told may do good. People will be enabled, looking at these details, to arrive at a just estimate of what war may become, even among Christian people, and shudder to invoke its horrors lightly, and may teach their children so. How many of us knew in the spring of 1861 what was about to break out among us--what wide-spread ruin, what raging passions, what furies of hell, which once evoked will not down at our bidding? Quiet men, who were familiar with the pages of European history and knew what Christian armies had done again and again in the fairest and most civilized portion of her empires, these came gravely from their studies with words of warning to the gay throngs of young people who were cheering each other on to the impending strife. But these were the old fogies of that day--cold-blooded--unpatriotic--who did not love the South. What a short and brilliant programme was laid down! The girls made their silken banners, and the boys marched proudly off to glorious victory; England and France would see fair play; and this dear and sunny South was to spring at once upward and onward in a career of glory. One of the most influential journals in the South--one of the soberest--dealing lightly and easily with the great issues of the war; settling at a word the boundary lines of the new Southern republic, and dotting what were to be our frontier States with a chain of forts; establishing the new war office, and the standing army, henceforth to be a necessary feature, grew enthusiastic over the splendid resource thus to be afforded to our "aristocratic young men of family


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and fortune." The army was to be especially for the gentlemen of the South. Alas! and alas! Now, torn and bleeding and broken-hearted, humiliated, stripped, crushed, disfranchised, and helpless, we may look back and learn a lesson.

        It may be well, too, if public attention can be directed by such narratives to an investigation of the laws of war, and some inquiry be suggested as to the necessity of their being revised and mitigated. And it can not but a have a beneficial effect that even victorious military heroes shall be made amenable to public opinion for the manner in which they have wielded the great powers intrusted to them, and find, in some cases, their fresh-plucked laurels withering in their grasp.

        The actual loss and injury inflicted by the enemy, in the progress of the war, on personal and public property, was very far from being the greatest evil which its continuance entailed upon us. I speak not now of losses by death. Inter arma leges silent is an old saying; and though framed in a dead language, its drift is well understood and acted upon by people who can not even read it. The longer the war lasted the more evident became the demoralization of our people, and their disregard for laws and principles of action by which they had been guided all their lives. At the break-up respectable citizens, who would once have shrunk from even the imputation of such conduct, helped themselves unblushingly to Government stores and public property, even when it had been intrusted to them for safe keeping. When their betters set such


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an example, the common people of course threw off all restraint; and we could then plainly see how petty, compared with the advantages gained, are the taxes which we pay for the support of law and government. There seemed to be a general feeling, during the last ninety days, that there was no government outside of the military pressure for conscripts, deserters, and tithes. I am reminded of a poor neighbor as I write, who, during the winter of '64-'65, like many others, provided his family with wood to which he had no right. Being remonstrated with, he said with energy, "There is no law in the land in these days," and continued his depredations openly. And I do believe the general feeling was, "What else can he do, with wood at forty dollars a cord?"

        Nor are such fruits of war confined to the Southern side of the Potomac. The fires that have lit up so many Northern cities; the tales of murder, robbery, and riot, which have crowded the columns of their journals for the past year; and the general lawlessness and contempt of authority which prevail there, point unmistakably to the dangers which accompany a triumphant and utterly undisciplined army, whether in the enemy's land or returning home flushed with victory and demoralized with licensed rapine and riot. Did Northern people soberly believe that it was zeal for the Union and hatred of secession that prompted such wholesale plunder in the South? Let their own experience since, and the records of their criminal courts within the last year, show, that when plunder is to be had, lawless and unrestrained men care little


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whether it belongs to friend or foe; and that lust, once aroused and let loose, can not distinguish, and is amenable to no laws. Herein, as in thousands of other instances, is that saying true, "The measure we mete is measured to us again."

        Human nature is indeed a wild beast that has need to be chained and continually surrounded with restraints, or we should prey upon each other as savages do, and so lapse into barbarism. Let the experience of the last five years teach the people of this great Republic henceforth to preserve indissolubly the bonds of PEACE, that so, as a nation, they may do their appointed part toward hastening on the coming of that PRINCE of whose kingdom there shall be no end.


                         "Te duce, qui maneant sceleris vestigia nostri
                         Irrita perpetuâ solvent formidine terras."

        * With Thee for our guide, whatever relics of our crimes remain shall be taken away, and free the world from perpetual fears.



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CHAPTER XV.

        IREDELL COUNTRY -- GENERAL PALMER'S COURTESY TO MRS. VANCE--SUBSEQUENT TREATMENT OF THIS LADY BY FEDERAL SOLDIERS--MAJOR HAMBRIGHT'S CRUELTY IN LENOIR--CASE OF DR. BALLEW AND OTHERS--GENERAL GILLAM--HIS OUTRAGES AT MRS. HAGLER'S -- DR. BOONE CLARK -- TERRIBLE TREATMENT OF HIS FAMILY -- LIEUTENANTS RICE AND MALLOBRY--MRS. GENERAL VAUGHN--MORGANTON.

        STATESVILLE was entered on the night of the 13th, and occupied for a few hours only. Long enough, however, to insure the destruction of the Government stores and railroad dépôt, and of the Iredell Express office, a paper which was obnoxious from the warmth with which it had advocated the cause of the Confederacy. No county in the State had suffered more severely than Iredell in the loss of her best and bravest sons in the army. The famous Fourth North-Carolina regiment was composed of Iredell boys, and the colors of no regiment in the service were borne more daringly or more nobly. I remember to have heard it said, after one of the great battles around Richmond, that half the families of Iredell were in mourning. When it became known that the Express office was to be burned, the ladies and citizens plead earnestly that it might be spared for the sake


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of the town, which was in great danger of being involved in the conflagration. The citizens offered to tear it down and remove the materials to a vacant square to be burned, but this was not allowed by the officer who had charge of the business. The office was fired where it stood, and in consequence a large private dwelling, belonging to Dr. Dean, standing near it, was also consumed, and a large family turned out houseless and utterly prostrated otherwise--Gen. Sherman's army having just previously destroyed certain other resources of theirs. The wind providentially blowing in the right direction, saved the town from general ruin. One of the citizens, Mr. Frank Bell, was cruelly beaten and tortured to make him disclose the hiding-place of gold which they suspected he possessed. He, however, had none.

        The raiders moved, on the 14th, to Taylorsville, Alexander county, and from thence to Lenoir, Caldwell county, which they reached on Saturday, 15th, and occupied till Monday, 17th. On the road from Statesville a part of the command was dispatched in the direction of Lincolnton, under General Palmer. Of this officer the same general account is given as of General Stoneman, that he exhibited a courtesy and forbearance which reflected honor on his uniform, and have given him a just claim to the respect and gratitude of our western people. The following pleasant story is a sample of his way of carrying on war with ladies: Mrs. Vance, the wife of the Governor, had taken refuge, from Raleigh, in Statesville with her children. On the approach of General Stoneman's army,


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she sent off to Lincolnton, for safety, a large trunk filled with valuable clothing, silver, etc., and among other things two thousand dollars in gold, which had been intrusted to her care by one of the banks. This trunk was captured on the road by Palmer's men, who of course rejoiced exceedingly over this finding of spoil, more especially as belonging to the rebel Governor Vance. Its contents were speedily appropriated and scattered. But the circumstance coming to General Palmer's knowledge, within an hour's time he had every article and every cent collected and replaced in the trunk, which he then immediately sent back under guard to Mrs. Vance with his compliments. General Palmer was aiming for Charlotte when he was met by couriers announcing news of the armistice.

        There was no plundering allowed in Statesville. Mrs. Vance was treated with respect and entirely unmolested. But several weeks afterward, when Governor Vance was a prisoner in Washington, a squad of Federal soldiers came to her residence and carried away every article of furniture in the house. Some of this belonged to the Mansion House in Raleigh, and had been removed to Statesville for safety at the same time when other Government property was sent off. The officer who was in command had the grace to appear ashamed of his business, and apologized to Mrs. Vance repeatedly, stating that he was acting under orders, and that it was done at the suggestion of North-Carolinians in Raleigh, who desired that the articles belonging to the executive mansion should be restored. Every thing in the house was taken away, private


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property and all, and not one article ever reached the executive mansion. Two queries occur: First, Who were the North-Carolinians who instigated this insult to Mrs. Vance? And second, Whatever did become of the furniture? Every thing in the way of furniture was carried off, and Mrs. Vance, who was then ill, and her children were left without even a bed. In less than twelve hours after this raid extraordinary became known to the people in the town and neighborhood, the house was entirely refurnished with more than it had contained previously. I can well imagine that there was no one who did not esteem it a privilege thus to testify their love and respect for the Governor and his family.

        General Stoneman pressed on toward Tennessee through Watauga county, with the prisoners, leaving General Gillam, with three hundred men, to proceed to Asheville via Morganton.

        Of the prisoners it was estimated there were about nine hundred. Many of them were old men past the conscript age, some were boys, others were discharged Confederate soldiers in feeble health or maimed, who had been captured at their homes. In regard to them no settled course or plan of action seems to have been adopted. In some instances they easily escaped, or were allowed to do so tacitly, and regained their homes in a short time. Most of them, however, were dragged on with every circumstance of barbarity and cruelty. A few instances may be given illustrative of their treatment.

        In Lenoir they were confined in and about the


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Episcopal church, under a strong guard, with peremptory orders from General Gillam to shoot every man who attempted to escape. The gallant General added, that he "would rather have ten men shot than one escape." It must be remembered that a number of them were over sixty years of age; some were permanently diseased; some were men who had not walked continuously five miles for years, or perhaps hardly in their whole lives; and that, when they reached Lenoir, they had all of them marched twenty-five and thirty miles in eight or ten hours. They had been double-quicked a good part of the way from Taylorsville to Lenoir, and arrived there on Saturday afternoon nearly exhausted with fatigue and hunger. Notwithstanding their deplorable condition, they had nothing to eat after that march till Sunday at ten A.M., and then they were only partially supplied from the scanty stores of the plundered villagers; for Lenoir, having been pronounced a "rebellious little hole," was sentenced to receive its full share of punishment at the hands of General Gillam. It was not till the afternoon of Sunday that rations were issued. Whenever any of the towns-people carried any thing to the prison, the scene was said to have been most piteous, so many men begging for just one morsel of dry bread. There seemed to be an especial spirit of bitterness toward the prisoners among the Federal soldiers generally, and in some instances among the officers. S. Hambright, Major and Provost-Marshal, with headquarters at the same place with General Gillam, was especially insulting to citizens, and cruel to the prisoners. Dr. Ballew, a


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citizen of Lenoir, enfeebled and emaciated with consumption, was arrested and carried to headquarters. Feeling exhausted with the effort to walk there, he sat down on the steps of the piazza, to await the Major's pleasure. It was determined to send him to prison, and he was ordered to get up and march, but, from his feebleness, not being able to move quickly enough to suit the chivalrous soldier, the Major, to help him rise, stepped behind and gave him "a rousing kick." The citizens were heartily cursed for taking food to them. From Lenoir they were marched rapidly up to the top of the Blue Ridge; several gave out, several who started from Salisbury died. They were all urged forward with threats of death. A Lieutenant Shotwell attempted to escape, but being overtaken, surrendered. He was then shot down and left on the roadside unburied. A Mr. Wilfong, who had captured a straggler of Kirk's command, brought him into Lenoir, not knowing the Federals were there. The tables were of course turned, and he in his turn became a prisoner, and was given in charge to his former captive, who wreaked such cruel vengeance on him that he died before reaching Greenville, Tenn. All who reached Knoxville were sent to Camp Chase, Ohio.

        General Gillam deserves especial notice at the hands of the historian. All concurrent testimony represents him as most supercilious, insulting, and unfeeling. His headquarters in Lenoir, were at Mr. Albert Hagler's. The family were all crowded off into one room, while the gallant General and his staff appropriated


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all the rest of the premises, including kitchen and stables. To Miss Sarah Hagler, an accomplished young lady, he was especially impertinent, though she parried his attacks with the civility of a lady. On one occasion he said to her rudely, "I know you are a rebel from the way you move--an't you a rebel?" She replied, "General Gillam, did you ever hear the story of the tailor's wife and the scissors?" "Yes." "Then I am a rebel as high as I can reach." Coarseness, however, can not always be met playfully, and Mrs. Hagler incurred his anger to its fullest extent when, in reply to his violent denunciation of the Confederates for starving their prisoners, she ventured to suggest that the Federal authorities might have saved all this suffering had they agreed to exchange and take them North, where provisions were plenty. The General's reply to this was the giving his men tacit license to plunder and destroy the houses of Mrs. H.'s married daughter and niece, who lived very near her, and who, she had supposed, were to be protected, from his headquarters being at her house. No houses in the place suffered more severely than theirs. The house of her daughter, Mrs. Hartley, was pillaged from top to bottom. Barrels of sorghum were broken and poured over the wheat in the granary, and over the floors of the house. Furniture and crockery were smashed, and what was not broken up was defiled in a manner so disgusting as to be unfit for use. Mrs. Clark, the niece, was driven out of her house by the brutality of her plunderers. Her husband, Dr. Boone Clark, was a captain in the Confederate service, had been wounded


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in the battle of Leesburg, early in the war--an admirable and most graphic account of which engagement he wrote for the Raleigh Standard soon after. In several subsequent battles he had received severe wounds, and though partially disabled by one of them at this time, he was endeavoring to raise a company of cavalry for home defense, as marauders, under the notorious Keith and Blalock, were constantly threatening to pillage Lenoir. These facts were known to some of Gillam's men, and they evidently enjoyed the opportunity to plunder his house and insult his defenseless wife. He himself was at home, sitting at table, when the raiders dashed in town. Seizing his gun, he ran out and secreted himself behind some adjoining buildings, and though a colonel did him the honor to enter his house almost immediately, and with a squad made a thorough search for him, his retreat remained undiscovered, and at night he left for more secure quarters. The raiders swarmed through the house that evening and night, breaking open trunks, wardrobes, drawers; searching for arms and carrying off all the valuables, and destroying what they did not want. Finding a coat of the Captain's, they cut it to pieces. They destroyed all the provisions, all the furniture, crockery, and wearing apparel. They tore up fine silk dresses into ribbons for their hats, or cut large squares out and carefully wrapped up quids of tobacco in them and deposited them on the mantel-piece. The little daughter's hat and garments were placed on the floor, and loathsomely polluted. They even took the lady's thimble from her work-box, and carried off the


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likeness of her deceased mother, paying no regard to her entreaties. They constantly addressed her, as she sat weeping and motionless amid the wreck they were making, in the most profane and obscene and insulting language, repeatedly calling her a liar and other degrading names. They compelled her and her little daughter to remain and witness the destruction; and, finally, when there was nothing more to break and steal, one of them approached her and thrust his fist in her face. As she raised her head to avoid it, he struck her forehead, seized her by the throat, cursing her furiously. She begged him not to kill her; he let her throat loose then; seizing the neck of her dress, tore it open, snatched her gold watch, which hung by a ribbon, tore it off and left her. Half dead with fright, she rushed to the door with the child, and amid curses and cries of "Stop her!" "Don't let her go!" got out of the house, ran down to her aunt's, and fell fainting on the threshold. After she was recovered, the ladies begged General Gillam to interfere, but he refused, saying, "There were bad men in all crowds." In the case of Mrs. Hartley he turned his back to the ladies without a word. Mrs. Clark then appealed to Lieutenant Jerome B. Rice of the Signal Corps, and also to Lieutenant Theodore Mallobry in the same command. These were gentlemen, and manifested a determination to protect her. One of them returned to her house with her and viewed the utter destruction of her household property with every appearance of shame and indignation. As they entered the house a soldier--the last of the gang--ran out. The Lieutenant had him


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arrested and carried to headquarters. When Mrs. Clark was called on to identify him as one of the robbers, he denied having been near her house. "Why," said she, "that is a piece of a silk dress of mine round your hat now." "Is it?" said he, coolly taking it off and handing it to her; "well, then, you may have it back." This was in the presence of General Gillam, for whom, by the way, it was generally observed, the men seemed to have no respect. General Brown sent a strong guard to Mrs. Clark's house; but it was too late to save any thing, and she had no redress.

        I have been thus particular to give an account which is, after all, a condensed one, of the treatment of one Southern lady by certain soldiers of the army of the Union. There are thousands of such cases unreported. This I present as a sample. So much is said of the "unharmonized" attitude of Southern women at present that I think it is as well to let the world see upon what ground it is they feel as if some time must elapse before they can honestly profess to love their enemies.

        While plundering one house in the village, the marauders forced themselves into the chamber of a lady while she was in child-birth. With great difficulty the attending physician prevented them from plundering that room.

        Mrs. General Vaughn was residing in Lenoir at this time. It is said that Generals Gillam and Vaughn had been friends before the war, and had agreed together that if the family of one should fall into the hands of the other, they should be protected. General Gillam placed a guard at Mrs. Vaughn's house; but as soon as


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he left the town, two of his men went in and demanded her watch. On her refusal they attempted to search her. She drew a pistol, but they took it from her before she could fire. She resisted their search with all her might, and at last they left her without the watch, having nearly torn her dress off. Shortly after, the same two returned with five others, and with threats of violence compelled her to give the watch up. That night squads of half-intoxicated men came back and committed further depredations in the village and neighborhood. The house of Dr. Felix Dula, with all its furniture, was burned. This, however, it is conjectured, might have been done by deserters. They left Lenoir for Morganton on the 17th, and on the way burned the house of a Mr. Johnston, one of the home guards. On reaching. Rocky Ford, on the Catawba river, a mile or two from Morganton, they found a party of about fifty Confederates, strongly posted on the opposite side, well armed, and with one brass howitzer. This party was under the command of Captain George West, Lieutenant-Colonel S. M'Dowell Tate volunteering with them. They were well posted and sheltered on their side, while the enemy approached without cover to attempt a very difficult ford. A sharp engagement ensued, which resulted in General Gillam's withdrawal toward Fleming's Ford, a little higher up. He lost about twenty-five, killed and wounded. Few were wounded. An eye-witness says he counted eight dead bodies of Federal soldiers floating down the stream. The Confederates lost none, their position being so advantageous. At Fleming's


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Ford General Gillam easily forced his way, the fifty Confederates taking to the mountains on finding themselves overpowered here.

        The raiders remained at Morganton a day or two. There was very little plundering done in the houses here. They exercised their ingenuity in searching for hidden treasure out of doors. It seemed to have been understood that the Morganton people, warned of their approach, had cached most of their valuables. These caches were hunted up with unremitting vigor, and most of them were discovered and rifled. Many amusing stories are current now all through the South, of valuable deposits, scarcely hidden at all, which escaped, and some, not so amusing, of others hidden in inscrutable places which were pounced upon at once. Of a quantity of old family silver buried out of town, by a clump of rocks shaded with a persimmon-tree or two and a grape-vine, and on the departure of the enemy the owner going out and finding that a camp had been made just there, and the camp-fire built just over the cache, which was untouched. Of a valuable cache made by several families united, in a secluded spot in the woods, and found afterward undisturbed save by the hoof of a raider's horse having sunk in upon it, having evidently caused a stumble, but no suspicion of the cause. Of valuable papers and jewels so well hidden that it was months before the owners themselves could find where they had put them.


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CHAPTER XVI.

        PLUNDERING OF COLONEL CARSON--OF REV. MR. PAXTON--GENERAL MARTIN REPULSES KIRBY--GILLAM PLUNDERS DURING THE ARMISTICE--OCCUPATION OF ASHEVILLE--WHOLESALE PLUNDER--DISPATCH FROM GENERAL PALMER.

        ON the road from Morganton to Asheville General Gillam's men went through their usual programme, wherever a house was to be plundered and ladies were to be insulted and robbed! At Pleasant Garden one of them, feeling that some clean linen was necessary to his comfort, demanded a shirt of Colonel Carson. The Colonel assured him that the house had been thoroughly plundered, and the only shirt remaining to him was the one he then had on. Having satisfied himself of this fact, the soldier compelled the Colonel (an old gentleman) to strip, and carried off his sole remaining shirt. I believe no officers were present at the plundering of Colonel Carson's; but at the house of the Rev. Mr. Paxton, an aged and amiable man, a minister of the Presbyterian Church, officers were present, and countenanced, if they did not directly aid, the pillage. They carried off all that was portable, even to knives and forks, and destroyed the rest of the furniture. Having found some marmalade and


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molasses, they made a mixture and smeared it over the bedroom furniture, etc. Some of them locked Mrs. Paxton in her room, and attempted to torture her into the disclosure of hidden treasure, if she had such. Her cries brought others to the door, and they desisted. Mr. Paxton's horse, watch, and all his clothing were taken of course. Such were the rudeness and brutality which accompanied these robberies, that people were thankful to escape with their lives.

        About the time that General Stoneman's return was expected in the West, a brigade of infantry, under command of a Colonel Kirby, was moved by the Federals from Greenville, Tenn., on Asheville, N. C. It was supposed they would meet Stoneman there; but they arrived a little too soon, during the second week of April, and were met by the Confederates near Camp Woodfire, and so successfully repulsed that they turned about at once and returned to Greenville.

        The troops by whom Kirby was repulsed were a part of the command of General J. G. Martin, referred to in our first chapter as the originator of the plan to furnish our soldiers through the blockade-runners. He was, as Governor Vance writes of him, a most gallant and efficient officer, especially valuable for the prompt energy which he infused into every department of business under his control. When it was found that General Gillam intended to take Asheville, General Martin ordered his whole command, consisting of Palmer's brigade (composed of the Sixty-second, Sixty-fourth, and Sixty-ninth North-Carolina, and a South-Carolina battery) and Love's regiment of


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Thomas's Legion, to the vicinity of Swannanoa Gap, on the road from Morganton to Asheville. Love's regiment was ordered to the Gap. They reached it before Gillam did, and after cutting down some trees, and making a few other arrangements to receive the raiders, waited their approach, and on their advance repulsed them without difficulty. General Gillam spent two days at this Gap, vainly endeavoring to effect a passage, and finally moved off in the direction of Hickory-nut Gap. Palmer's brigade was ordered to meet them there; but General Martin, giving an account of this affair, adds, "I regret to say the men refused to go." Rumors of General Lee's surrender and of Johnston's armistice were floating through the country, and men who fought bravely as long as there was hope were only too willing to lay down their arms at the first news of peace.

        General Martin ordered the South-Carolina battery to Greenville, S. C., their horses being in too bad condition for active service. On its way it fell in with General Gillam, and was captured. On Saturday, twenty-second of April, General Martin received notice of General Johnston's armistice with Sherman, and immediately sent out two flags of truce, on different roads, to meet General Gillam. On Sunday afternoon he was met on the Hendersonville road, about six miles from Asheville. He agreed to abide by the truce, and requested an interview with General Martin, who accordingly, on Monday morning, twenty-fourth, went out to his camp. The interview resulted in an agreement that General Gillam should go through


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Asheville to Tennessee, and that he should be furnished with three days' rations for his men, and that they would observe the truce. General Gillam, it should be remarked, upon the testimony of his own officers, had had official information of the armistice while at Rutherfordton, on his way from Swannanoa. But, nevertheless, he had continued the same system of depredation all along his route from Rutherfordton, sweeping the country of horses, mules, carriages, and property of every description, and destroying what they could not take along. On the twenty-fifth, General Gillam arrived in Asheville. Perfect order was observed. The nine thousand rations required were duly issued to him. General Gillam and his staff dined with General Martin; and as he was about to mount his horse to join his command, in the evening, General Martin asked him if he would give him the forty-eight hours' notice provided for in the truce, before renewing hostilities. General Gillam replied, "Certainly--that the notice should be given."

        That night General Gillam left his command encamped not far from Asheville, and went on to Tennessee. During the day, while the Federals were coming in, a party of officers dashed into town from the French Broad road, in a state of very apparent excitement. This was the notorious Colonel Kirke and his staff, who had approached at the head of two regiments for the openly avowed purpose of plundering Asheville, having heard of the dispersion of the Confederates from Swannanoa, and feeling sure of their prize at last. But finding the town quietly


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occupied by General Gillam, under the terms of the armistice, they expressed deep disappointment, and swore roundly they would yet return and lay it in ashes. Now they were compelled to leave in advance of General Gillam.*

        * Perhaps it is not generally known in North-Carolina that Colonel Kirke had ardent aspirations for the provisional governorship of his beloved native State. I saw a letter from him just after the break-up, in which he avowed this noble ambition, evidently anticipating no very distant day when a grateful country should reward his patriotism and gallantry. By the way, it is said that Colonel Kirke also is a native of Salisbury. Both Kirke and Gillam! I am afraid there is a disposition to slander that fine old borough.


The Federal army led in its rear an immense train of plunder--animals of all sorts, and carriages and wagons piled with property--household goods and treasures. One load, however, was of questionable value, being no less than fifteen negro babies, the mothers marching in the crowd. The Asheville people had the mortification of seeing the guns of the South-Carolina battery, just captured, driven through by negroes. Not a citizen was visible in the streets; doors and windows were all closed; but I have the best authority--that of a lady--for saying that from behind curtains and blinds many a glance was shot from bright eyes, of contempt and hatred, on the blue jackets. Such lightning, however, is unfortunately innocuous, and not known to produce fatal effects outside of romances; and so the raiders lounged carelessly about, or sat down on the street-corners and played cards, while waiting for their rations, in perfect immunity from such electrical batteries.

        Tuesday night passed quietly, and Asheville was beginning to hope that hostilities suspended would


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prove to be hostilities ended. Our troops had almost ceased to exist in an organized form. The town was guarded by only one company--Captain Teague's scouts--besides General Martin and his staff, including in all about thirty officers. A small party of Federals passed through during the twenty-sixth, under flag of truce, carrying dispatches to General Palmer, who was then approaching from Lincolnton by the Hickorynut Gap. At sunset on the twenty-sixth, General Brown, in command of a portion of the same troops that had just passed through with Gillam, suddenly reëntered the place, capturing all the officers and soldiers, and giving up the town to plunder. The men were paroled to go home, the officers to report to General Stoneman at Knoxville.

        This, be it remembered, was within twenty-four hours after the above agreement with General Gillam, on official news of General Sherman's armistice.

        General Martin being arrested, was taken to General Brown, and after less than an hour's absence, was permitted to return home in charge of a United States officer. On arriving at his house, he found the ladies of his family, with lighted candles, going over the house at the bidding of the marauders, lighting them while they broke open doors, trunks, drawers, and boxes, and helped themselves to what they chose. And this was the experience of every house in the place that night. Many were entered by three or four different gangs at once. They swarmed in at every avenue of entrance, generally by the back-door, having taken counsel with the negroes first. Mrs. Martin recovered


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some of her stolen goods by the assistance of a guard who was detailed after the house had been plundered. Not even the town of Fayetteville suffered more severely from pillage. Mrs. James W. Patton and her sister were both sick in bed. Their house was entered from front and back at the same time. The ladies' rooms were entered, they were dragged from their beds, their persons and the rooms searched, and their valuables taken. This was supposed to have been done upon the information of a servant, who had told that there were four watches in the house. Of these four watches, three were afterward recovered, through the agency of a Captain Patterson, Assistant Adjutant-General to General Gillam, who had been quartered at Mrs. Patton's, and who proved to be one of the few gentlemen in that division of the United States army.

        Judge Bailey's family suffered as severely as any others, every thing portable of value being carried off, even to the boots from the Judge's feet. The wedding-rings of his wife and daughter were forced from their hands. Other ladies were stopped in the street and their jewelry forced from them. Those who applied to General Brown, who had the honor to command this extraordinary expedition, received no redress whatever. Dr. Chapman, a well-known and widely respected minister of the Presbyterian Church, was so entirely robbed of all his goods and valuables, that he had not a change of clothes left beside what he wore. The Tenth and Eleventh Michigan regiments certainly won for themselves in Asheville that


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night a reputation that should damn them to everlasting fame. No excuse was given for this violation of the armistice, except a lame story of their having been attacked by General Vaughn and returning to Asheville to revenge themselves. General Vaughn was at that time in Virginia. On Thursday, parties scoured the country in all directions, carrying on the work of plunder and destruction. On Friday, they left, having destroyed all the arms and ammunition they could find and burned the armory [Asheville Confederate Armory]. On Friday afternoon, they sent off the officers they had captured under a guard. The town being left thus without arms or protectors, the citizens, remembering Kirke's threats, begged General Brown to leave a small force as guard; but he refused, saying, "They might take care of themselves."

        On the twenty-eighth, the following dispatch from General Palmer--who was Brown's senior officer--to General Martin, released our officers and men from their parole, and set the disgraceful circumstance of their surprise and capture in its proper light, though not stigmatizing it as it deserved:

HEADQUARTERS OF EAST TENN. CAV. DIV.,
HICKORY-NUT GAP ROAD, April 28, 1865.

        GENERAL: I could not learn any of the particulars of your capture and that of Colonel Palmer and other officers and men, at Asheville, on the twenty-sixth, and as our toops at that point were obliged to leave immediately, there was no time for me to make the necessary investigation.


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        I therefore ordered your release on a parole of honor, to report to General Stoneman.

        On further reflection, I have come to the conclusion that our men should have given you, under all the circumstances, notice of the termination of the armistice, and that in honor we can not profit by any failure to give this notice. You will therefore please inform all the officers and soldiers paroled by General Brown under the circumstances referred to, that the parole they have given (which was by my order) is not binding, and that they may consider that it was never given.

        Regretting that your brother officers and yourself should have been placed in this delicate position, I am, General, respectfully your obedient servant,

WILLIAM J. PALMER,
Brevet Brigadier-General Commanding.

General J. G. MARTIN, Asheville.


        The citizens of Asheville also owed it to General Palmer's interference that two regiments of negroes, which had been sent over into Yancey county, and which were bearing down upon Asheville, (it was said, at the suggestion and with the concurrence of Kirke and Gillam,) for the purpose of plunder and arson, were countermanded and sent over into Tennessee.

        The Asheville pillage concludes such accounts of General Stoneman's remarkable raid through Western Carolina as I have been able to collect. A rich harvest of incident yet remains for the future historian. I have done little more than indicate his route. Much


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of the above is taken verbatim from a MS. narrative furnished me, at my request, by Dr. R. L. Beall, of Lenoir, so admirably and accurately prepared that I hope it will be given to the public entire at no distant day. It gives me pleasure to acknowledge here my indebtedness to this gentleman, and my thanks for the generous public spirit he has displayed in his invaluable contribution to these pages. See also Civil War Cavalry Weapons, Battles, Uniforms, Role, Tactics, and Organization.

Text transcribed by Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Risa Mulligan
Text encoded by Apex Data Services, Inc., Amanda Page, and Elizabeth S. Wright
First edition, 2005
ca. 475K
University Library, UNC-Chapel Hill
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
2005.

© This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Recommended Reading: The Last Ninety Days Of The War In North Carolina (1866). Description: The author, Cornelia Phillips Spencer, was the widowed daughter of a University of North Carolina faculty member and she experienced the Civil War from what was then the village of Chapel Hill. She was well-acquainted with North Carolina's leading citizens, including Gov. Zebulon B. Vance and the president of the state university, former Gov. David Swain. Using this personal access, and corresponding with other witnesses to the closing weeks of the war, she pieced together an engaging, if somewhat episodic, account of those final days of conflict. Continued below…

After the war and publication of this book, Spencer took an active role in "reconstructing" the University of North Carolina. She is widely celebrated for her efforts that helped reopen the university in 1875. "The Last Ninety Days of the Civil War in North Carolina" is a work of history as well as a first-hand account; indeed, the book was originally a series of articles published late in 1865 in a New York City periodical. Spencer deals with three major themes in the book: (1) the rapacious behavior of Union soldiers as they invaded her home state; (2) the efforts of state officials to end the fighting and destruction in April 1865; and (3) the strong support received by the Confederacy from a state that was, according to Spencer, strongly Unionist in its sentiment up until April 1861. Most observers, including Spencer, hold that President Lincoln's appeal to North Carolina for troops to put down the rebellion in neighboring southern states turned most Tar Heels against the Union. North Carolina was the last of the Confederate states to secede, on May 20, 1861, five weeks after the attack on Fort Sumter.

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Recommended Reading: Stoneman's Raid, 1865. Description: In the spring of 1865, Federal major general George Stoneman launched a cavalry raid deep into the heart of the Confederacy. Over the next two months, Stoneman's cavalry rode across six Southern states, fighting fierce skirmishes and destroying supplies and facilities. When the raid finally ended, Stoneman's troopers had brought the Civil War home to dozens of communities that had not seen it up close before. In the process, the cavalrymen pulled off one of the longest cavalry raids in U.S. military history. Continued below...
Despite its geographic scope, Stoneman's 1865 raid failed in its primary goal of helping to end the war. Instead, the destruction the raiders left behind slowed postwar recovery in the areas it touched. In their wake, the raiders left a legacy that resonates to this day, even in modern popular music such as The Band's ''The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.''  Based on exhaustive research in 34 repositories in 12 states and from more than 200 books and newspapers, Hartley's book tells the complete story of Stoneman's 1865 raid for the first time. About the Author: Chris J. Hartley has worked in marketing and communications for several large companies. On the side, he chases the history that has fascinated him since childhood. He has published several articles and is a frequent speaker about the Civil War. He lives in Pfafftown, N.C.


Recommended Reading: George Stoneman: A Biography of the Union General (Hardcover). Description: During an 1865 raid through North Carolina, Major General George Stoneman missed capturing the fleeing Jefferson Davis only by a matter of hours, timing somewhat typical of Stoneman's life and career. This biography provides an in-depth look at the life and military career of Major General George Stoneman, beginning with his participation in the 2,000-mile march of the Mormon Battalion and other western expeditions. Continued below…

The main body of the work focuses on his Civil War service, during which he directed the progress of the Union cavalry and led several pivotal raids on Confederate forces. In spite of Stoneman's postwar career as military governor of Virginia and governor of California, his life was marked by his inability to reach ultimate success in war or politics, necessitating a discussion of his weaknesses as a commander and a politician. Period photographs are included. About the Author: Ben Fuller Fordney teaches American history at Blue Ridge Community College in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He serves as director of the Shenandoah Civil War Associates.

 

Recommended Reading: The Campaigns Of General Nathan Bedford Forrest And Of Forrest's Cavalry. Description: In June 1861, practically unschooled, without military training or experience, Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821–1877) enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private. Yet by the Civil War's end he was a lieutenant general whose dazzling exploits and bloody victories caused him to be regarded by his Northern opponents as a "devil," by Southerners as a living legend, and by historians as the greatest cavalry commander and one of the few authentic military geniuses produced by the war. Continued below…

His spectacular, unparalleled career has intrigued generations of Civil War scholars and enthusiasts. Subsequent biographies or studies of him have never totally superseded The Campaigns of General Nathan Bedford Forrest (1868) by General Thomas Jordan (West Pointer and chief of staff to Generals Beauregard, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Braxton Bragg) and the professional journalist J. P. Pryor. Forrest himself gave them complete access to his military papers, spent many hours in interviews with them, and closely supervised their writing. Hence, this work is not just a flat campaign study of Forrest—in effect, it is his military memoir and as such remains the most valuable source on Forrest and his cavalry. About the Author: General Thomas Jordan, West Pointer, was the chief of staff to Generals Beauregard, Albert Sidney Johnston, and Braxton Bragg. J. P. Pryor was a professional journalist.

 

Recommended Reading: The Civil War in North Carolina. Description: Numerous battles and skirmishes were fought in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the campaigns and battles themselves were crucial in the grand strategy of the conflict and involved some of the most famous generals of the war. Continued below...

John Barrett presents the complete story of military engagements and battles across the state, including the classical pitched battle of Bentonville--involving Generals Joe Johnston and William Sherman--the siege of Fort Fisher, the amphibious campaigns on the coast, and cavalry sweeps such as General George Stoneman's Raid. "Includes cavalry battles, Union Navy operations, Confederate Navy expeditions, Naval bombardments, the land battles... [A]n indispensable edition." Also available in hardcover: The Civil War in North Carolina.
 

Recommended Reading: Cavalry Raids of the Civil War (Stackpole Military History Series). Description: In war, the raid is the epitome of daring. Usually outnumbered, raiders launch surprise attacks behind enemy lines, taking prisoners, destroying communications, and seizing supplies. In the Civil War, these men marauded on horseback, stunning opponents with their speed and mobility. This book covers the adventurous and often dangerous exploits of the Union and Confederate cavalry officers who had a flair for plunging into the enemy's lair. Continued below…

Covers raids from J. E. B. Stuart's 1862 ride around McClellan's army to James Wilson's crushing raids in Alabama and Georgia in 1865. About the Author: Robert W. Black, a retired U.S. Army colonel who served as a Ranger in Korea and Vietnam, is author of several books.

 

Recommended Reading: Bushwhackers, The Civil War in North Carolina: The Mountains (338 pages). Description: Trotter's book (which could have been titled "Murder, Mayhem, and Mountain Madness") is an epic backdrop for the most horrific murdering, plundering and pillaging of the mountain communities of western North Carolina during the state’s darkest hour—the American Civil War. Commonly referred to as Southern Appalachia, the North Carolina and East Tennessee mountains witnessed divided loyalties in its bushwhackers and guerrilla units. These so-called “bushwhackers” even used the conflict to settle old feuds and scores, which, in some cases, continued well after the war ended. Continued below...

Some bushwhackers were highly organized ‘fighting guerrilla units’ while others were a motley group of deserters and outliers, and, since most of them were residents of the region, they were familiar with the terrain and made for a “very formidable foe.” In this work, Trotter does a great job on covering the many facets of the bushwhackers, including their: battles, skirmishes, raids, activities, motives, the outcome, and even the aftermath. This book is also a great source for tracing ancestors during the Civil War; a must have for the family researcher of Southern Appalachia. "[T]he historical events that transpired in the region are brought to life in this study."

 

Recommended Reading: The Last Confederate General: John C. Vaughn and His East Tennessee Cavalry (Hardcover). Description: John Crawford Vaughn was one of the most famous men in Tennessee in the mid-nineteenth century. He was the first man to raise an infantry regiment in the state--and one of the very last Confederate generals to surrender.  History has not been kind to Vaughn, who finally emerges from the shadows in this absorbing assessment of his life and military career.  Making use of recent research and new information, Larry Gordon’s biography follows Vaughn to Manassas, Vicksburg and other crucial battles; it shows him as a close friend of Jefferson Davis, and Davis’s escort during the final month of the war. Continued below…

And it considers his importance as one of the few Confederate generals to return to Tennessee after Reconstruction, where he became President of the State Senate.  Gordon examines Vaughn’s (hitherto unknown) location on the field of crucial battles; his multiple wounds; the fact that his wife and family, captured by Union soldiers, were the only family members of a Confederate general incarcerated as hostages during the Civil War; and the effect of this knowledge on his performance as a military commander.  Finally, the book is as valuable for its view of this little understood figure as it is for the light it casts on the culture of his day. Our History Project: “The Last Confederate General is a fine read for anyone: Action, adventure, love, drama, war and perseverance. What more can you ask for in a book. Five stars for Larry Gordon for a job well done…Larry Gordon seemed to have nailed both recreational reading and historically accurate statistics in one read….a fascinating story of courage, determination and self worth.”

 

Recommended Viewing: American Experience - Reconstruction: The Second Civil War (DVD). Description: Spanning the years from 1863 to 1877, this dramatic mini-series recounts the tumultuous post-Civil War years. America was grappling with rebuilding itself, with bringing the South back into the Union, and with how best to offer citizenship to former slaves. Stories of key political players in Washington are interwoven with those of ordinary people caught up in the turbulent social and political struggles of Reconstruction.

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