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2017 Civil War Battle Scenario Background

 

A Walk in Their Boots is honored to portray one of three raids conducted by Union Army General George Stoneman whose advance crossed near to where the reenactment is being held today.  Stoneman's 1864 raid also known as Stoneman's raid into Southwest Virginia was an American Civil War expedition into southwest Virginia by Cavalry and Infantry regiments under Union Maj. Gen. George Stoneman.  The raids were designed to disrupt infrastructure beneficial to the Confederate war effort. This expedition resulted in the Battle of Marion and the Second Battle of Saltville against a Confederate force under the command of John C. Breckinridge and accomplished the destruction of the saltworks at Saltville, Virginia.

In prior action, General Stoneman's Raid in April 1863, Union Army Major General Joseph Hooker put his army in motion to force Robert E. Lee out of his Fredericksburg positions sending Major General George Stoneman's 10,000-strong cavalry to move between Lee and the Confederate capital of Richmond.  Hooker expected Stoneman to sever Lee's line of supply by destroying the strategically vital Orange and Alexandria Railroad at the town of Gordonsville. Hooker had expected Lee to withdraw from Fredericksburg cutting him off from supplies and transportation. Yet these hopes would be short lived as Confederate Calvary under the command of Rooney Lee, Robert E. Lee's son, aided by horrible weather conditions, prevailed.

Stoneman's Raid in 1865 began on March 23, 1865, in Knoxville, Tennessee.  The Union soldiers were tasked with orders to "dismantle the country" -- to "destroy but not to fight battles." They headed east into North Carolina destroying towns and plundering along the way, then headed north into Virginia on April 2 where they destroyed 150 miles of railroad track belonging to the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad.  They re-entered North Carolina on April 9 and traveled south to the twin towns of Winston and Salem, and then onward to High Point.

On April 12 they entered Salisbury, a major railroad hub, military depot, and home to Salisbury Prison, the only Confederate prison for captured Union troops in North Carolina. The prison which was originally meant to hold up to 2,000 prisoners but eventually held 10,000.  The prison was evacuated prior to their arrival but Union troops destroyed the prison setting it afire.

They then traveled west plundering Statesville, Lincolnton, Taylorsville, and Asheville, North Carolina before re-entering Tennessee on April 26, the same day Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to General Sherman at Bennett Place, in Durham, North Carolina, the site of the largest surrender of Confederate soldiers, which ended the war. Stoneman's 1865 raid covered over 600 miles in total length through three states.

If you are a reenactor that would like to participate in this scenario and Civil War period encampments we urge you to contact Phillip Bishop who is the lead on the American Civil War program. 

Civil War Scenario Plan at the 2017 Event

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