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Morganton in Burke County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Morganton

Burke County Courthouse

 

—Stoneman's Raid —

 
Morganton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, November 13, 2016
1. Morganton Marker
Inscription. 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 stuck at Boone on March 28, headed into Virginia on April 2, and returned to North Carolina a week later. Raid ended at Asheville on April 26, the day that Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Union Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham, N.C.

During the Civil War, Confederate recruits mustered here on the grounds of the old Burke County Courthouse. The first unit—the Burke Rifles (Co. G, 1st North Carolina Infantry)—was enrolled for active duty on April 18, 1861, and mustered into state service in Raleigh on May 13.

While many of the young Burke County men went off to war early, the conflict did not come to the county until April 1865, when Stoneman's raiders passed through. 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, Gillem encountered the Home Guard under Gen. John P. McCown at Rocky Ford on the Catawba River nearby.
Morganton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, November 13, 2016
2. Morganton Marker
Gen. Alvan C. Gillem
Courtesy Library of Congress
After a brisk engagement, the Confederates withdrew, and Gillem entered Morganton, where "large supplies of corn and bacon were found," he reported.

Some of Gillem's troopers destroyed courthouse records, while others plundered private property. Slaves assisted the cavalrymen, numbers of whom were "home Yankees" (native Unionists) who exacted revenge against Confederate sympathizers. Almost as quickly as they appeared, however, Gillem and his men vanished, riding west on April' 19, ultimately to Asheville.

(inset)
In 1837, builder James Binnie completed this stone courthouse to replace the first Burke County Courthouse, a wooden structure. From 1847 to 1862, this was the only courthouse outside Raleigh in which the North Carolina Supreme Court convened, to escape the summer heat. The exterior was stuccoed in 1885, and in 1903 architect Frank Milburn raised the porticoes and replaced the simple cupola depicted here with one in the Baroque style. In 1976, the county completed a new courthouse and moved from this building. The Old Burke County Courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
 
Erected by Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 35° 44.734′ N, 81° 41.266′ W. Marker is in Morganton, North Carolina, in
Morganton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, November 13, 2016
3. Morganton Marker
Burke County Courthouse, ca.1885
Courtesy Picture Burke, NC Room, Burke County Library
Burke County. Marker is at the intersection of Sterling Street and Union Street on Sterling Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Morganton NC 28655, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 9 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Our Confederate Soldiers (here, next to this marker); Burke Courthouse (here, next to this marker); Sam J. Ervin, Jr. (within shouting distance of this marker); Tod R. Caldwell (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); N.C. School for the Deaf (approx. 1.1 miles away); Boughton Hospital (was approx. 1.3 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Waightstill Avery (approx. 1.7 miles away); Fort San Juan (approx. 1.7 miles away); Andre Michaux (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Morganton.
 
Additional comments.
1. ...the conflict did not come to the county until April 1865...
This statement seems to conflict with a statement in the nearby Camp Vance marker (99612), which says, "The camp was raided by federal troops in 1864."
    — Submitted November 14, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

 
Categories. War, US Civil
 
Morganton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, November 13, 2016
4. Morganton Marker
Morganton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, November 13, 2016
5. Morganton Marker
Morganton Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael C. Wilcox, November 13, 2016
6. Morganton Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 19, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 13, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This page has been viewed 311 times since then and 133 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on November 13, 2016, by Michael C. Wilcox of Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
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