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Saturday 27 May 2017

Untaught History PDF Print E-mail

 

Fort Hamby: The End of Yankee Terror in NC

In March 1865, General [George] Stoneman, left East Tennessee, moving on from Taylorsville, Tenn., through Watauga County to Deep Gap in the Blue Ridge. On the 26th of March he entered Boone, N.C., and on the following day the column was divided, one division under General Stoneman, marching toward Wilkesboro, while the other, under General [Averill] Gilliam, crossed the Blue Ridge at Blowing Rock and went to Patterson in Caldwell County, whence he joined General Stoneman at Wilkesboro. On the 31st of March General Stoneman moved over into Surry County in the direction of Mount Airy. During Stoneman's march through this section of the State his men committed many depredations. After leaving Stoneman's army and, with other worthless characters led by two desperate men, Wade and Simmons, completely terrorized Wilkes and portions of other counties by their frequent raids. They organized two bands.

 

These bands would ride into a yard, dismount, place their guards, and enter the house, covering the cowering occupants with loaded pistols and warning them with oaths that "if you open your mouths, we will drop you in your tracks." Some of the band would seize all the horses and cows, while others would search the house, rifling trunks, and drawers and taking anything they wanted. It must be remembered that at that time every man fit for military service was in the army, and the country was almost completely at the mercy of the robbers. Even after Lee's surrender and the soldiers began to return home this state of affairs continued. These marauders then divided into two bands, one with headquarters in the Brushy Mountain, led by Simmons13 ; the other with headquarters in the Yadkin Valley, in Wilkes County, led by Wade, the writer had to deal with Wade's band and with it had a most lively experience, this article will be principally devoted to him and his fiendish work. Wade3 came from Michigan and claimed the rank of major in Stoneman's army. The house in which he was fortified (his headquarters) stood on the road leading from Wilkesboro to Lenoir and nearly a mile from Holman's Ford, where the Valley Road crosses the Yadkin River. The house was situated on a high hill commanding a fine view of the Yadkin Valley and of the Valley Road for a distance of a mile above and mile below the ford. The house fronted the river on the south. On the west Lewis's Fork, a stream smaller than the Yadkin, empited into it. On the north and east lay a wide belt of thick woods. In this section were many sympathizers, if not aiders and abettors, of the band. From this position the Yadkin Valley and the surrounding country for half a mile in every direction could be swept and controlled by Wade's guns. There is a legend that on this very hill Daniel Boone was fortified against the Indians. It would have been difficult to find a stronger location, both offensive and defensive, than this. The house was built of logs two stories high. The robbers had cut portholes for their rifles in the upper story. They had army guns of the best type and could command the approach to the house from all directions. Nothing could be more hazardous than to attempt to reach it. This house belonged to some disreputable woman by the name of Hamby, and after Wade had occupied and fortified it its name became "Fort Hamby."

 



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