Lenoir in Caldwell County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Struck by Stoneman's Raiders
— 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.
Union Gen. George Stoneman’s raiders destroyed Samuel F. Patterson’s cotton mill or “factory,” which stood by the river half a mile to your left on March 30, 1865. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, Stoneman’s second in command, led two brigades of the Federal cavalrymen here into Caldwell County, and ordered the mill burned because it was a source of material for uniforms and other goods that aided the Confederate war effort. The Federal columns then rode on to Wilkesboro. Gillem later wrote in his report on the raid, “The order was
According to local tradition, Clem Osborne, and itinerant peddler whose wares local women purchased for the use of Confederate soldiers, was hiding in the mill building when the soldiers set it afire. When the smoke and flames drove him out, he gave the Masonic distress signal and fellow Masons among the Federals saw to it that he was protected from harm.
Stoneman reportedly was not pleased that the mill had been burned. Rufus L. Paterson, who had been managing the mill for his father, Samuel F. Patterson, had also supplied cloth to Union troops in eastern North Carolina.
Rufus Lenoir Patterson (1830-1879), the oldest son of Samuel Finley Patterson (1799-1874 and Phobe Caroline Jones (1806-1869), was a politician, banker, and railroad president. In the 1850s, Patterson established a cotton, flour, and paper mill in Salem, where he also served as mayor. Although pro-Union, he signed North Carolina’s ordinance of secession. He sold his Salem mills in 1862 and managed his father’s cotton factory (operating since 1848) in Caldwell County until Stoneman’s troops burned it. He returned to Salem, where by the time he died he was part owner of several cotton and paper mills and a general merchandising firm.
(upper right) The mill complex shown in this image, taken in the 1880s replaced the buildings that the Federals burned in 1865. Courtesy Caldwell Heritage Museum
(lower right) Route of Stoneman's Raid in Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina, March-April 1865
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 35° 59.659′ N, 81° 33.569′ W. Marker is in Lenoir, North Carolina, in Caldwell County. Marker is on Yadkin River Road (County Route 1560) 0.3 miles north of North Carolina Highway 268, on the right when traveling north. The marker is located on the grounds of the Happy Valley Ruritan Club Community Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1317 Yadkin River Road, Lenoir NC 28645, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Fort Defiance (approx. ¼ mile away); Collett Leventhorpe (approx. 2.1 miles away); Raiders in Lenoir (approx. 5.7 miles away); Davenport College (approx. 5.8 miles away); Stoneman's Raid (approx. 6.1 miles away); Laura Foster (approx. 7.3 miles away); The Blowing Rock (approx. 10.3 miles away); Watauga Hotel Cottage (approx. 11.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lenoir.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 29, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 586 times since then and 60 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 29, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.