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Dobson, North Carolina

Before Surry Elkin Rockford Siloam Dobson Mt. Airy After Surry

            When the Federal troops arrived at the county seat of Dobson, they continued to search for supplies, but they also sought information. Upon arriving in the town, the soldiers searched the post office for official Confederate correspondences, but they found only personal letters.[1] The union troops also hoped to get information from the county clerk, a Mr. Cooper, and when Cooper refused, the troops took and mockingly wore clothes belonging to his wife to “the horror of the locals.” Along with the effort to find information, the raids on the surrounding areas to find needed goods also proved unsuccessful. According to one soldier, the area was “very poor country for forage.”[2]

           Local tradition contains many stories about the raiders in Dobson. In one case, the federal troops dumped a wagonload of silver goods into the Fisher River because they needed the wagon itself. It was said that residents pulled tableware out of the river for a number of years following the incident.[3] Another incident occurred when Union troops approached the home of a Mr. Reeves, who told the soldiers his children had scarlet fever.[4] This successfully deterred the raiders and the Reeves property was spared. Another interesting case is said to have occurred at the home of Enoch Creed. Creed was a known moonshiner whose stores of brandy were found by Federal troops. According to a 1918 Mount Airy News article, the troops realized that the danger the liquor posed to their efforts and destroyed the barrels.[5]

[1] Joshua Beau Blackwell, The 1865 Stoneman's Raid Begins: leave nothing for the rebellion to stand on (Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2011), 77.

[2] Hartley, Stoneman's Raid 1865, 110-111. Ruth Minick, "Stories Abound Concerning Stoneman's Raid in County," in Hester Bartlett Jackson, Surry County Soldiers in the Civil War (Charlotte, NC: Delmar Printing, 1992), 424-425.

[3] Hartley, Stoneman's Raid 1865, 111.

[4] Minick, "Stories Abound.”

[5] "When Surry Was Invaded," Mount Airy News, March 21, 1918, in Journal of the Surry County Geneological Association (Dobson, NC: 2006).