Hickory Nut Gorge

Hickory Nut Gorge (HM8BL)

Location: Mooresboro, NC 28114 Rutherford County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 26.251', W 82° 14.47'

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From Raiders to Pursuers

— Stoneman's Raid —

(Preface): On March 24, 1865, Union Gen. George Stoneman led 6,000 cavalrymen from Tennessee into southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina to disrupt the Confederate supply line by destroying sections of the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, the North Carolina Railroad, and the Piedmont Railroad. He struck at Boone on March 28, headed into Virginia on April 2, and returned to North Carolina a week later. Stoneman's Raid ended at Asheville on April 26, the day that Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham.

Union Gen. Alvan C. Gillem led two brigades of Gen. George Stoneman's raiders into Rutherford County after finding his planned route to Asheville blocked at Swannanoa Gap on April 20, 1865.Gillem rode on to Hendersonville and ordered Col. William J. Palmer to set up headquarters in Rutherfordton, then follow Gillem's force. On April 26, the day Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered near Durham, Palmer's brigade marched about ten miles west of Rutherfordton and bivouacked, then rode another sixteen miles to Hickory Nut Gorge and the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The next day, St6oneman, having learned that Confederate President Jefferson Davis had fled south from Richmond, ordered Palmer to discontinue his march to Asheville and join in the pursuit of Davis: "Follow him to the ends of the earth, if necessary, and never give him up."

Palmer, made a temporary general, turned around his disappointed men who had thought they were going home, marched down the mountain through the gorge, passed through Rutherfordton and then across Island Ford to the head of the Savannah River via Spartanburg. He continued the pursuit until May 15 when he learned that Davis had been captured in Georgia.

During this period, passage for wheeled vehicles through the gorge was difficult, and only rough roads and natural gaps provided access to the mountains, which sheltered both Union and Confederate deserters who hid by day and foraged by night. Others who used gaps such as Hickory Nut included escaped Union soldiers from Confederate prisons at Columbia and Salisbury en route to friendly lines in Tennessee.

"Our March today was through the grandest scenery ... through Hickory Nut Gap. ... It was so imposing that the usual chat of the riders was hushed." - Capt. Harry K. Weand, 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry.
HM NumberHM8BL
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 7th, 2014 at 2:47am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 387344 N 3922271
Decimal Degrees35.43751667, -82.24116667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 26.251', W 82° 14.47'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 26' 15.06" N, 82° 14' 28.20" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)828, 704
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 195 Main St, Mooresboro NC 28114, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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