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Lenoir in Caldwell County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Raiders in Lenoir

St. James Episcopal Church and Prison

 

—Stoneman's Raid —

 
Raiders in Lenoir Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
1. Raiders in Lenoir Marker
Inscription. (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. Johnson surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham.

(main text)
The church that stood here in 1865 became a prison for three days when Union Gen. George Stoneman, with two brigades of raiders under Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, occupied Lenoir over Easter weekend, April 15-17, 1865. The prisoners were 900 old men, boys and Confederate soldiers captured as they recuperated at their homes from wounds or illness. They filled the grounds and sanctuary of Saint James Episcopal Church, which served as a hospital as well as a prison. Some looting occurred in Lenoir, but most residents merely suffered a scare. Local resident Joseph C. Norwood wrote, “We are just through with a scene of alarm and very great danger,” but added that the cavalrymen “were equipped in the very best manner,
Close up of the map on the Raiders in Lenoir Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
2. Close up of the map on the Raiders in Lenoir Marker
(Inscription on the map) Route of Stoneman's Raid in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, March-April 1865.
and under the severest discipline and were not allowed to plunder to any great extent or commit any acts of violence.” Ella Harper, of Lenoir, wrote in her diary on April 15, “At sunset the Yanks rushed in on us. We obtained a guard about our house after they came in, and fared better than some others. Did not undress or sleep all night.” The next day, Easter Sunday, was “unlike the Holy Sabbath,” she wrote, with “excitement, confusion and hurry all day. Our poor prisoners seemed almost starved.”

On the morning of April 17, part of Stoneman’s force rode west toward Morganton while Stoneman, the prisoners, and a guard headed northward toward Blowing Rock. Lenoir resident Louisa Norward wrote her uncle, Walter Lenoir, that Union cavalrymen called Lenoir “the damnedest little rebel town they ever saw.”

(captions)
(lower left) St. James Episcopal Church, ca. 1900 Courtesy Caldwell Heritage Museum; Ella Harper (Mrs. George W. Harper) Courtesy Caldwell Heritage Museum
(upper right) Gen. George Stoneman Library of Congress; Gen. Alvan C. Gillem Library of Congress
(lower right) Route of Stoneman's Raid in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina, March-April 1865.
 
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
 
Marker series.
Raiders in Lenoir Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, August 20, 2014
3. Raiders in Lenoir Marker
This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
 
Location. 35° 54.824′ N, 81° 32.357′ W. Marker is in Lenoir, North Carolina, in Caldwell County. Marker is at the intersection of Harper Avenue Northwest and Main Street Northwest, on the right when traveling east on Harper Avenue Northwest. Click for map. The marker is on the grounds of the St James Episcopal Church. Marker is in this post office area: Lenoir NC 28645, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Davenport College (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Stoneman's Raid (approx. 0.6 miles away); Fort Defiance (approx. 5.4 miles away); Patterson Mill (approx. 5.7 miles away); Collett Leventhorpe (approx. 6.5 miles away); Laura Foster (approx. 10.7 miles away); Rutherford College (approx. 11.3 miles away); a different marker also named Rutherford College (approx. 11.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lenoir.
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.War, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. This page has been viewed 274 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Md 21234. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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