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Stoneman's 1865 raid

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Stoneman's raid in 1865 was a military campaign in the American Civil War by Federal cavalry troops led by General George Stoneman which began on March 23, 1865, in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Union soldiers were tasked with orders to "dismantle the country" -- to "destroy but not to fight battles." They headed east into North Carolina destroying towns and plundering along the way, then headed north into Virginia on April 2 where they destroyed 150 miles of railroad track belonging to the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad. They re-entered North Carolina on April 9 and traveled south to the twin towns of Winston and Salem, and then onward to High Point.

Stoneman's 1865 raid
Part of the American Civil War
Stoneman's Raid (1865) historical marker.jpg
Historical marker in Blowing Rock, North Carolina marking location where Gen. Alvan Cullem Gillem led the cavalry during Stoneman's raid
DateMarch 23, 1865 (1865-03-23) – April 26, 1865 (1865-04-27)
Result Federal victory
United States United States (Union) Confederate States of America CSA (Confederacy)
Commanders and leaders
Major General George Stoneman
4,000 ?
Casualties and losses
? ?

On April 12 they entered Salisbury, a major railroad hub, military depot, and home to Salisbury Prison, the only Confederate prison for captured Union troops in North Carolina. The prison which was originally meant to hold up to 2,000 prisoners but eventually held 10,000, was evacuated prior to their arrival, but the Union troops set fire to the prison which resulted in a conflagration seen for miles.[1]

They then traveled west plundering Statesville, Lincolnton, Taylorsville, and Asheville, North Carolina before re-entering Tennessee on April 26, the same day Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to General Sherman at Bennett Place, in Durham, North Carolina, the site of the largest surrender of Confederate soldiers, which ended the war. Stoneman's 1865 raid covered over 600 miles in total length through three states.[2]


  1. ^ W. Buck Yearns, John Gilchrist Barrett: North Carolina Civil War Documentary pgs 118-126: The University of North Carolina Press (2001) ISBN 0-8078-5358-5
  2. ^ Shannon Hurst Lane: Insiders' Guide to Civil War Sites in the South, 4th p.298, Insiders' Guide; Fourth edition (2010) ISBN 978-0-7627-5522-6