Martin’s Surrender at Waynesville

James Green Martin. Image from the N.C. Museum of History.On May 7, 1865, Confederate General James Green Martin surrendered the Army of Western North Carolina at Waynesville, nearly a month after Appomattox.

The surrender followed a skirmish at White Sulphur Springs between Confederate troops under William Holland Thomas (commonly known as Thomas’s Legion) and Union troops under Lieutenant Colonel William C. Bartlett.  Thomas’s Legion surprised the Union troops who retreated to Waynesville, with Martin advancing since he was likely unaware of Johnston’s surrender at Durham on April 26.

When a truce was called the next day, almost a month after Appomattox, Martin surrendered his forces in Waynesville. On inspecting his former brigade in late 1864 and complimenting it on its efficiency, Robert E. Lee said that “Gen. Martin is one to whom North Carolina owes a debt that she can never repay.”  After the war Martin moved to Asheville, where he practiced law until his death in 1878.

Though the last engagement of the Civil War was fought in Texas about a week later, popular belief maintained that the “last shot” of the Civil War was fired in Waynesville, and a monument was dedicated to that effect in 1923.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.