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Ridgecrest in Buncombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Swannanoa Gap Engagement

Blocking the Way

 
 
Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, May 19, 2012
1. Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker
Inscription.
Stoneman's Raid
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 into 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.

On April 20, 1865, Union Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, [picture included] leading two of Gen. George Stoneman's brigades, attempted to cross the Blue Ridge at Swannanoa Gap en route to Asheville. Confederate Gen. James G. Martin sent his entire command to the gap and stopped Gillem at Royal Gorge (in front of you to the left). Pvt. Charles White recalled, "Our Home Guard got busy on the mountain sides and cut big trees across the roads leading to Swannanoa and Lakey's Gaps. We succeeded in making a barricade that no cavalry force would soon cross or clear away, but those of us (25 or 30) working on the road to Swannanoa Gap were trapped in the gorge by too early appearance of a part of Stoneman's men and were quickly taken prisoners." Gillem,
Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker and Gap seen in background image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, May 19, 2012
2. Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker and Gap seen in background
who reported Swannanoa Gap " effectually blockaded and defended," left Col. John K. Miller's brigade to hold the Confederates in place with feigned attacks while he led the rest of his men to Rutherfordton, 40 miles south of here.
   Two days later, the raiders approached Asheville after "a forced march of sixty-nine miles" through Rutherford, Polk, and Henderson Counties. Then, wrote White, "The Yankees got word of General Lee's [April 9] surrender and soon all of their prisoners were given freedom to where they chose. The 17 year-old White returned to his home on the Broad River while Stoneman's raiders continued toward Asheville.
"I regarded the possession of one of the gaps of the Blue Ridge as being absolutely necessary to the safety of my command." — Gen. Alvan Gillem

(Side note) Mystery Grave
Near here is a mysterious grave. Its occupant is unknown, and Confederate veterans told two conflicting stories about it. In one version, a Union scout was stabbed in a scuffle with a Home Guardsman. The other scouts retreated, calling out to him, "Come on, Bill." The Home Guard buried the man with a crude gravestone inscribed "Bill". According to the other account, a Union deserter named Carter, en route from Asheville to Morgantown with other prisoners, overpowered and shot a guard named Bledsoe while resting at a Swannanoa Gap spring. Carver
Swannanoa Gap image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, May 19, 2012
3. Swannanoa Gap
"Confederate Home Guard turned back elements of Stoneman’s raiders at Royal Gorge visible from here. On April 20, 1865, local Southerners blocked the road in the gorge with felled trees and other obstructions, causing the Union raiders to end their advance on Asheville (at least through here). The raiders detoured from here, however, and found another — much longer — way into the city."
was shot and killed, too. One version says that both men were buried on the site, while another says that Carver was buried there and Bledsoe returned to Asheville. In 1914, the Winston-Salem Union Republican claimed that Carver was exhumed and buried in a Henderson County churchyard.
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 37.33′ N, 82° 16.323′ W. Marker is in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, in Buncombe County. Marker is on Yates Avenue near Old U.S. 70, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Black Mountain NC 28711, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Swannanoa Tunnel (within shouting distance of this marker); Swannanoa Gap (approx. 0.2 miles away); Stoneman's Raid (approx. 0.4 miles away); Mount Mitchell Railroad (approx. 1.6 miles away); Andrews Geyser (approx. 2.7 miles away); Montreat College (approx. 2.8 miles away); André Michaux (approx. 2.8 miles away); a different marker also named Andrews Geyser (approx. 3.1 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Ridgecrest.
 
Also see . . .
Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker Map included image. Click for full size.
By Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker, `
4. Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker Map included

1. CivilWarTraveler. Stoneman's Raid (Submitted on June 5, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

2. George Stoneman, Jr. At the start of the Civil War Stoneman was in command of Fort Brown, Texas, and refused the order of Maj. Gen. David E. Twiggs to surrender to the newly established Confederate authorities there, escaping to the north with most of his command .... (Submitted on June 5, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 

3. Alvan Cullem Gillem. .With the outbreak of the Civil War, Gillem became a captain on May 14, 1861, initially serving under George H. Thomas. ... (Submitted on June 5, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.) 
 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Union Gen. George Stoneman image. Click for full size.
By American Civil War Photos, between 1860 and 1870
5. Union Gen. George Stoneman
led 6,000 cavalrymen from Tennessee into southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina
Union Gen. Alvan C. Gillem image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress, `
6. Union Gen. Alvan C. Gillem
led two of Gen. George Stoneman's brigades, attempted to cross the Blue Ridge at Swannanoa Gap
Map included: Route of Stoneman's Raid image. Click for full size.
By Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker, `
7. Map included: Route of Stoneman's Raid
Mysterious grave, as mentioned image. Click for full size.
By Swannanoa Gap Engagement Marker, `
8. Mysterious grave, as mentioned
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 625 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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