On April 11, 1865, as part of Stoneman’s Raid, troops under the command of Colonel William J. Palmer split from the main force and engaged in a skirmish with Confederate forces at Shallow Ford. The ford is a landmark on the Yadkin River and is rich in history. In the mid-1700s immigrants used Shallow Ford as a crossing point on the river for the Great Wagon Road. That route, along an ancient Indian trading path, extended from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Essentially a rock-bottomed section of the river, the ford was also where Lord Charles Cornwallis led his troops across the Yadkin River in 1781.
During the closing months of the Civil War, General George Stoneman led about 5,000 troops through western North Carolina in one of the longest cavalry raids in history. He sent detachments throughout the region, securing the destruction of factories, bridges and railroad lines.
After a brief foray into southwestern Virginia, Union troops turned southward to North Carolina. Stoneman divided his forces, sending a detachment to destroy textile factories and rail lines farther south while his other men marched to Shallow Ford.
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