Fairview in Buncombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Gen. William J. Palmer
— 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 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.
Col. William J. Palmer, commanding one of Gen. George Stoneman’s brigades (about 1,300 cavalrymen of the 15th Pennsylvania, 12th Ohio, and 10th Michigan Regiments), made his headquarters here at Sherrill’s Inn on April 27, 1865. The Sherrill family fed officers, and one of the daughters is said to have shaken her stocking over the eggs as they cooked and declared, “Those Yankees can eat the dust off my feet and think it’s pepper.”
Palmer was brevetted (temporarily promoted) to brigadier general, probably while at Sherrill’s
According to tradition, an “underground railroad” operated here and ran through Hickory Nut Gap. Local residents helped Union sympathizers, slaves, and Federal soldiers escaping from prisons in Columbia, South Carolina, and Salisbury, North Carolina, to travel to Union-controlled Tennessee.
Our march today was through the grandest scenery we have looked on during our term of service. We went up through the Hickory Nut Gap in the mountains, along the Broad River, up to its source. Towering above us, almost to the clouds, were the precipitous crags of the Hickory Mountains, and at High Falls the water drops 300 feet from the summit. It was so imposing that the usual chat of the riders was hushed, as they gazed with awe on the sight. As we rode along we plucked the fragrant Magnolia from the forest trees, and the wish of all was to stay longer with it, but that could not be done, and we went on up to the top, where plenty of forage was found.
(lower left) Gen. William J. Palmer Courtesy Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum
(upper right) Mural by Elizabeth Cramer McClure shows Stoneman's raiders in Hickory Nut Gap. Photography by Ken Abbot
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Abolition & Underground RR • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients, the North Carolina Civil War Trails, and the Quakerism ⛪ series lists.
Location. 35° 29.677′ N, 82° 21.91′ W. Marker is in Fairview, North Carolina, in Buncombe County. Marker is on Charlotte Highway (Alternate U.S. 74) south of Clarke Lane, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fairview NC 28730, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Sherrill's Inn (within shouting distance of this marker); Chimney Rock (approx. 6.7 miles away); Barbara T. Meliski Park (approx. 7.7 miles away); Warren Wilson College (approx. 7.9 miles away); Hickory Nut Gorge (approx. 8 miles Black Mountain College (approx. 8.3 miles away); Geodesic Domes (approx. 8½ miles away); Zebulon Baird Vance (approx. 8.6 miles away).
Regarding Gen. William J. Palmer. Medal of Honor Citation: Palmer, William J.
• Rank and organization: Colonel, 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry
• Place and date: At Red Hill, Ala., 14 January 1865
• Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa.
• Date of issue: 24 February 1894
Citation: With less than 200 men, attacked and defeated a superior force of the enemy, capturing their fieldpiece and about 100 prisoners without losing a man.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on July 21, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 474 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 21, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.