Striking out from Knoxville, Tennessee, in late March 1865, Major General George Stoneman unleashed his cavalry division upon southern Appalachia, intent on “leaving nothing for the Rebellion to stand upon.” The raiders wreaked havoc on government stores, civilian property and indispensable infrastructure, dashing all hope for the dying Confederacy’s stand on the rugged peaks of the Blue Ridge. They eventually trampled through five Southern states, reduced to ashes one of the last major prisons in the South and helped pursue the renegade president. But much more than wanton destruction, their story is one of hardship, redemption and retribution. Taking into account the local folklore of the raid, this volume traces the column’s course as it departed Tennessee, penetrated southwestern Virginia and stormed the North Carolina Piedmont.
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