“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Morganton in Burke County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)


Rocky Ford Engagement


—Stoneman's Raid —

Morganton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Stanley and Terrie Howard, June 27, 2009
1. Morganton 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. Johnston surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham.

Union Gen. Alvan C. Gillem led two cavalry brigades to Asheville through Burke County and Morganton while Gen. George Stoneman escorted most of his command to Tennessee from Lenoir, North Carolina, on April 17, 1865. Two and a half miles east of here, at the Catawba River bridge, the Federals encountered Confederate Gen. John P. McCown on leave, Col. Samuel McDowell Tate recuperating from a wound, and Col. Thomas Walton and 80 members of the Home Guard. According to Gillem, "about 300 men and one piece of artillery" had torn up the bridge and held Rocky Ford. Gillem sent one
General John P. McCown image. Click for full size.
By Stanley and Terrie Howard, June 27, 2009
2. General John P. McCown
battalion of the 8th Tennessee Cavalry upriver to flank the Confederates, but soon the other battalion dismounted and charged across the bridge after Federal artillery had knocked out the Confederate piece, killing or capturing more than 50 guardsmen as well as the cannon.

The Confederate account differs. Walton's men occupied small earthworks or rifle pits until word arrived that the Federal detachment had crossed the river at Fleming's Ford. Walton signaled a retreat by firing the cannon four times. The Home Guard reported no casualties but saw dead Union cavalrymen in the river and the woods.

"At Morganton large supplies of corn and bacon were found," Gillem reported blandly, but local residents charged that the Federals plundered private property in retaliation for the Home Guard's resistance. Selina L. Norwood wrote, "They tore everything to pieces at Uncle Avery's, held pistols to the ladies' heads, drove them out of the house and took what they liked." Many of the Federals were said to be Tennessee Unionists taking revenge for depredations on their homes by Confederate supporters.
Erected by North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 35° 46.271′ 
General Alvan C. Gillem image. Click for full size.
By Stanley and Terrie Howard, June 27, 2009
3. General Alvan C. Gillem
N, 81° 41.519′ W. Marker is in Morganton, North Carolina, in Burke County. Marker is on Lenior Road (State Highway 64). Touch for map. Marker is near Rt. 64, north of Morganton. Marker is in this post office area: Morganton NC 28655, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Stoneman's Raid (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tod R. Caldwell (approx. 1.7 miles away); Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (approx. 1.8 miles away); Our Confederate Soldiers (approx. 1.8 miles away); Burke Courthouse (approx. 1.8 miles away); a different marker also named Morganton (approx. 1.8 miles away); Fort San Juan (approx. 1.8 miles away); Waightstill Avery (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morganton.
Categories. War, US Civil
Battle Map image. Click for full size.
By Stanley and Terrie Howard, June 27, 2009
4. Battle Map
More. Search the internet for Morganton.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 28, 2009, by Stanley and Terrie Howard of Greer, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,560 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 28, 2009, by Stanley and Terrie Howard of Greer, South Carolina. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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