Rutherfordton (HMMRJ)

Location: Rutherfordton, NC 28139 Rutherford County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 21.979', W 81° 57.445'

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" . . . did it no good"

— 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 entered Rutherford County with two brigades of Gen. George Stoneman's raiders after Confederate forces blocked his planned route to Asheville at Swannanoa Gap on April 20, 1865. Gillem arrived in Rutherfordton the next day and then, two days later, pressed on through the county toward Asheville with his brigade consisting of the 8th, 9th, and 13th Tennessee Cavalry. He ordered Col. William J. Palmer, who commanded a brigade composed of the 10th Michigan, 12th Ohio, and 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry, to establish a headquarters in Rutherfordton, then follow Gillem's force.

Gillem's command consisted of "Home Yankees," as they were called, who were natives of Tennessee and the adjoining mountain counties of North Carolina. This region was the scene of bloody conflicts between neighbors - sometimes within families - who were Unionists or secessionists. Some of Gillem's soldiers, then, had scores to settle, and they settled a few of them in Rutherford County. Palmer's soldiers, who entered Rutherfordton on the morning of April 25, were aghast at the depredations Gillem's men had inflicted on the civilians.

Palmer remained in Rutherfordton until April 26, the day Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered near Durham, then marched about ten miles west and bivouacked. The next day he joined in the pursuit of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, who had fled south from Virginia. Palmer rode through Rutherfordton and took up the chase into South Carolina.

"The two days' stay of the Tennesseeans did [Rutherfordton] no good. They . . . put pistols to the heads of the citizens, persuaded them to give up their pocketbooks, and even took the rings from ladies' fingers. The sympathy we used to feel for the loyal Tennesseeans is being rapidly transferred to their enemy."
- Capt. Harry K. Weand, 15th Pa. Cavalry
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByCivil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 12:35am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 413023 N 3914088
Decimal Degrees35.36631667, -81.95741667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 21.979', W 81° 57.445'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 21' 58.74" N, 81° 57' 26.70" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)828
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 111 S Main St, Rutherfordton NC 28139, US
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