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Rockford, North Carolina

Before Surry Elkin Rockford Siloam Dobson Mt. Airy After Surry

Excerpt from <em>The Story of Rockford</em>, ca. March 1865

            On April 2, the rest of Stoneman’s raiding force was able to cross the river near Rockford. According to the Official Records, Stoneman ordered Palmer to “have a ferry-boat rope stretched across the river to-night (April 1) so as to be ready for use by to-morrow at dawn.” As Stoneman’s troops reunited, Palmer sent a small force into the town of Rockford. Soldiers’ personal diaries record the events around the town. According to Hartley, one soldier noted in his diary that on the march from Elkin to Rockford “the men kept their eyes open for anything that could help their cause, including replacement horses.” These actions were in line with the patterns the raiders had set in their course: to find what they needed and move on unless they met resistance.[1]

            In addition to the official record, the oral tradition of the area also records two instances of interaction between the Union soldiers and the locals. In one such case, local historian Lucy Houck relays an account of a Dr. Folger who was asked to treat an ill Union officer. According to Houck, when the doctor went to leave after treating the man, “he returned home on a poor horse much inferior to his own which had been confiscated. Another story goes that when Mrs. Mark York refused to answer Union soldiers’ questions about her families’ stock, which had been hidden in anticipation of the troops, they threatened to take her son, “who was not quite normal.” In response to this threat, York is said to have replied “and you’ll play the devil” and then returned to her work. These instances show the types of interactions that took place between the soldiers and the civilians they were trying to get supplies from. [2]

[1] Hartley, Stoneman's Raid 1865, 109.

[2] Lucy Hamlin Houck, The Story of Rockford (Dobson, NC: 2000), 30.