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Near Graham in Alamance County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Johnston Moves West

Ruffin Mills

 

—Carolinas Campaign —

 
Johnston Moves West - Ruffin Mills Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
1. Johnston Moves West - Ruffin Mills Marker
Inscription. (Preface) The Carolinas Campaign began on February 1, 1865, when Union Gen. William T. Sherman led his army north from Savannah, Georgia, after the March to the Sea. Sherman’s objective was to join Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Virginia to crush Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Scattered Confederate forces consolidated in North Carolina, the Confederacy’s logistical lifeline, where Sherman defeated Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s last-ditch attack at Bentonville. After Sherman was reinforced at Goldsboro late in March, Johnston saw the futility of further resistance and surrendered at Bennett Place near Durham on April 26, ending the Civil War in the East.

The southern column of Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston’s Army of Tennessee approached the Haw River here at Ruffin Mills as it marched west away from Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s army on the rainy morning of April 15, 1865. Col. John W. Hinsdale, 3rd North Carolina Junior Reserves (72nd North Carolina State Troops) later wrote, “We found the stream rising rapidly. In crossing the river, several of our boys were drowned by leaving the ford to reach some fish traps a short distance below and being caught in the swift current and swept down into the deep water below.”

Lt. Robert M. Furman, 2nd North Carolina Junior Reserves (71st North Carolina
Western Bank of Haw River image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
2. Western Bank of Haw River
State Troops), wrote, “One of the smaller boys disappearing under the water, a taller and stouter comrade grabbed him and pulled him up, he dived down a second and third time and on being pulled up by his comrades, suspecting an attempt at suicide, asked what he meant. ‘Why,’ said the little fellow, shivering and dripping, ‘My gun’s down thar and I’m trying to git hit.’”

“The men tried to form the Monkey’s chain by holding each others hands, but the current was too strong and broke their hold,” wrote musician William J. Worsham, 19th Tennessee Infantry. “We … debated in our minds whether to go on or return as the water then was under our arms and deeper further on. Just then Gen. [Benjamin F.] Cheatham came riding in and as he passed us we caught hold of his horse’s tail and landed safely on the other side.”
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 36° 1.087′ N, 79° 21.938′ W. Marker is near Graham, North Carolina, in Alamance County. Marker can be reached from Boywood Road. Click for map. Located on the west bank of the Haw River. Path to marker is accessible from the canoe ramp
Haw River image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
3. Haw River
parking lot at the Burlington - Swepsonville River Park and Trails. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2698 Boywood Road, Graham NC 27253, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. John Butler (approx. half a mile away); Alexander Wilson (approx. 1.3 miles away); W. Kerr Scott (approx. 2.5 miles away); a different marker also named Johnston Moves West (approx. 2.5 miles away); Mt. Hermon Meeting House (approx. 3.6 miles away); Graham College (approx. 3.8 miles away); Kirk-Holden War (approx. 3.8 miles away); Captain James W. White House (approx. 3.9 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Graham.
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Path to Marker image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
4. Path to Marker
Entrance to Parking Lot image. Click for full size.
By Dave Twamley, July 4, 2011
5. Entrance to Parking Lot
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dave Twamley of Durham, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 515 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Dave Twamley of Durham, North Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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