Saturday, March 29, 2008

North Carolina Civil War Trail Markers - Caldwell County

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking at the dedication of two North Carolina Civil War Trail Marker dedications in Caldwell County. It was great to see some old friends and to meet some new friends.

The first dedication took place at 2:00 pm at St. James Episcopal Church in Lenoir. On April 14, through April 16, 600-900 North Carolinians were imprisoned in St. James and on the church’s grounds. These men had been rounded up during Stoneman’s Raid through western North Carolina. St. James Episcopal Church is one of just a few war-time structures in Lenoir.

Following the program, which due to the weather was held indoors, and the unveiling, with the three volleys by reenactors (members of the 22nd, 28th, and 38th regiments), we moved north on US 321 to the Patterson community. A portion of Stoneman’s command, two brigades under Brig. Gen. Gillem, came through this portion of Caldwell County about two weeks earlier, and destroyed a textile factory. The sad part of its destruction was that the factory supplied as much material, like blankets, to Unionists in east Tennessee as it did Confederate soldiers in North Carolina. Regardless, it, along with several other buildings, was burned to the ground.
Following this dedication service, we were fed dinner by the Ruritans.

Hats off to Becky Phillips of Fort Defiance, who emceed today’s programs, and John Hawkins, of the Caldwell Historical Museum, who headed up the program. If you get a chance, stop by and visit these two great places. One of the new markers is just a couple of blocks from the museum and the other, on the way to Fort Defiance.

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