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"Stoneman’s Raid in Official Records," 1897


"Stoneman’s Raid in Official Records," 1897


This is the official record of Union troop movements during the 1865 raid of General George Stoneman. This excerpt from the section on the raid deals specifically with the movement of troops in Surry County, and what they encountered. The excerpt details the troops' stops in Elkin and Mount Airy, and it relates several other accounts of their interactions with locals. One such account is the use of cotton mills in Elkin (called Elfin in the record) by Palmer to grind food meal. Another account is the pursuit of a wagon train carrying Confederate supplies out of Mount Airy. This record provides a wealth of knowledge despite it not being as comprehensive as other sources.


Government Printing Office


The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series I, Volume XLIX, Part I (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1897), 326-332.




Jacob Simpson




Surry County, North Carolina
Jonesville, North Carolina
Elkin, North Carolina
Dobson, North Carolina
Mount Airy, North Carolina

Original Format

Government Document


29th, marched thirty miles, and encamped near Wilkesboro, NC., at 7 p. 30th, moved at 5 a. m, and joined First Brigade, which had taken a different route across the mountains from Boone; the First Brigade forded the Yadkin River, which was rising too fast for the balance of the command to follow. Went into camp at 12 m, having marched eleven miles. 31st, marched at 7 a.m. I opened communication by signal with Colonel Palmer, commanding First Brigade, transmitting the following messages:


[Received, No. 1.]

March 31, 1865 - 3.30 p. m.

Major Bascom, Assistant Adjutant General:

My command will go on from this position to Heckersons plantation, nine miles from here and six miles this side of Elfins Factory, unless I meet courier at Roaring River, three miles from here, or am stopped by a message through this signal station, at which I have left an orderly. My advanced command went out this morning has gone on to take the factory. No enemy to be seen this side of the river. The party who fired on my pickets last evening were bushwhackers.


Colonel, Commanding Brigade


[Sent, No. 2.]

March 31, 1865 - 5.45 p. m.

Col. W. J. PALMER, Commanding Brigade:

We are in camp. Our advance is at the signal station. Both brigades move to Jonesville to-morrow. You will more to and opposite that place tomorrow and encamp as near there as you can get forage.

By command of Major-General Stoneman:


Major and Assistant Adjutant-General.


[Received, No. 3.]

March 31, 1865 - 9 p. m.

If you wish it I can get horses and go with General Palmer in the morning, or I will come over and go with you. Palmer is just above here. Could not cross Roaring River.



[Sent, No. 4.]

If possible go with Colonel Palmer.



[Sent, No. 5.]

The boat is gone; can you get horses?



[Received, No. 6.]

Colonel Palmer cannot tell about horses until morning.



[Received, No. - .]

Have procured homes and am going with Colonel Palmer



April 1, closed station at 7.30 a. m. Command. marched to Jonesville and went into camp at 12 m.; distance, fourteen miles. At 1 p. m. opened signal communication with Colonel Palmer at Elfin’s Mills, N.C.; transmitted the following messages:


[Received, No. 3.]

Elfin’s Mills April 1, 1865 - 1 p. m.

Captain Patterson, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

My brigade is now here and going into camp. I have three mills at work grinding meal. There are about 500 bales of cotton here.


Colonel, Commanding Brigade


[Sent, No. 4.]

Hdqrs. Cavalry Division of East Tennessee

Near Jonesville, April 1, [1865]

Col. W. J. Palmer, Commanding First Brigade, Cavalry Division.

Move with you command on the Rockford to-morrow, the 2d instant, at 7.30 a. m.

By command of Brigadier-General Gillem:


Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


[Received, No. 5.]

April 1, [1865] - 2 p. m.

Captain Patterson, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General:

Will you move down on the other side of the river!


Colonel, Commanding Brigade


[Sent, No. 6.]

Headquarters Cavalry Division, District of East Tennessee

Near Jonesville, April 1, [1865] - 2.25 p. m.

Col. W. J. Palmer, Commanding Brigade.

You will move on the Rockford to-morrow. We will march on the south bank of the Yadkin.

By command of Brigadier-General Gillem:


Captain and Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.


[Sent, No. 7.]

Headquarters Cavalry Division, District of East Tennessee

Near Jonesville, April 1, [1865] - 9 p. m.

Col. W. J. Palmer, Commanding Brigade.

General Stoneman directs that you have the ferry-boat rope stretched across the river to-night so as to be ready for use by to-morrow at dawn.



Major and Aide-de-Camp


April 2, closed station at 9 a. m.; command forded the river and joined First Brigade marched to Mount Airy, N. C., and encamped at 8 p. m.; distance, thirty-three miles. 3d, moved at 5 a. m.; crossed Blue Ridge Mountains through Fancy Gap;

April 1, marched to Jonesville. April 2, crossed the Yadkin at Jonesville and marched to Mount Airy by way of Dobson; arrived at Mount Airy about. 10 p. m.; learned that a train of wagons had left that place at 3 p. m. going in the direction of Hillsville, Va. Colonel Palmer was directed to send a detachment in pursuit, with orders to follow until he captured the train. An officer of the Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry had charge of the pursuing party, and after reaching the top of the Blue Ridge halted until the remainder of the command came up next morning. The command marched from Mount Airy at daylight on the morning of April 3, and arrived at Hillsville, Vat, at 1 p. m., where the failure of the party sent in pursuit of the rebel wagons was learned. Another party was sent with orders to capture the train at all hazards. In a few hours the in charge of the party reported that he had possession of seventeen wagons and one forge. The Wagons were loaded with forage, which was fed to Brawn’s brigade, the animals turned over to the quartermaster's department, and the wagons burned.


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Government Printing Office, "Stoneman’s Raid in Official Records," 1897, Civil War Era NC, accessed July 17, 2024,