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Fort Hamby on the Yadkin

In March 1865, General Stoneman left East Tennessee, moving by the turnpike leading from Taylorsville, Tenn., through Wautauga county to Deep Gap on the Blue Ridge. On the 26th of March, he entered Boone, N. C., and on the 27th the column was divided, one division under General Stoneman marching towards Wilkesboro, while the other, under General Gillam, crossed the Blue Ridge at Blowing Rock and went to Patterson in Caldwell County, and then joined Stoneman at Wilkesboro. Leaving Wilkesboro on the 31st, General Stoneman moved over into Surry County, going toward Mt. Airy. During the march through this section of the State, Stoneman’s men committed many depredations, and after leaving Wilkesboro a number of the lawless element of his command deserted. Shortly after this a number of men, some deserters from Stoneman’s command and other worthless characters, led by two desperate men, Wade and Simmons, completely terrorized a large portion of Wilkes County by their frequent raids. In order to fully understand the situation, the condition of the country at that time must be taken into consideration. Almost every man fit for military service was in the army, and the country was almost completely at the mercy of the robbers. It was thought after Lee had surrendered and the soldiers were returning home, that these depredations would be discontinued but they were not. These marauders were divided into two bands. One, led by Simmons, had its headquarters in the Brushy Mountains, and the other, led by Wade, had its headquarters near the Yakin River in Wilkes County. The bands at times operated together, but it is principally with...

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