North Carolina Voices

Stoneman's Raid

"On a never-to-be-forgotten Monday morning, Mamma, Mrs. Barringer, a house guest, and I were already seated at the table laid for breakfast. Suddenly the . . . day was rent by an uproar of war whoops . . . . 'The Yankees have come to town!' Mamma cried . . . . The roadway was jammed with a surging mass of mounted soldiers . . . . a squad of bluecoated Yankees pushing roughly through the open gates which shut off our private driveway from Innis Street . . . . Their emphatic demand for liquor sounded as if they had come for strong drink rather than for conquest . . . . How dreadful sounded in our ears the shouts of 'Fire!' . . . the sight of dense brown smoke billowing in rolls between the shingles of our barn roof . . . . Mrs. Barringer consented to go with Mamma to the headquarters of General Stoneman . . . . The Commander seemed to hesitate for a fraction of a second, then he stood up, and with grace touched the wide brim of his plumed hat. On their feet, the officers followed the General's example and offered the salute . . . . 'General,' [Mamma] began, 'Will you kindly assign a guard to protect my dwelling house' . . . . 'Madame,' the General replied, 'Your request for the protection of your dwelling is granted. A guard will be detailed immediately to attend to your home' . . . . Next morning, Tuesday, a spectacle of the high-piled rows of military supplies, greeted our astonished eyes . . . . Yankee ready-lighted torches touched ablaze the piled up loot . . . . 'Poor white trash' and a daring horde of Negroes were carrying and dragging way as much of the pillage as they could loot by hand; chanting weird allelujahs.'
  Harriet Ellis Bradshaw, on the arrival of Stoneman's Union cavalry in Salisbury, N.C., April 12, 1865.

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