Blue Ridge and went to Wilkesborough, on the Yadkin, where supplies were obtained in abundance, after which he changed his course toward Southwestern Virginia. A detachment was sent to Wytheville and another to Salem to destroy the enemy's depots at those places and the railroad, whilst the main body marched on Christiansburg and captured the place. The railroad to the eastward and westward of the town was destroyed for a considerable distance. The party sent to Wytheville captured that place after some fighting and burned the railroad bridges over New River and several creek, as well as the depots of supplies. The detachment sent to Salem did the same, and proceeded to within four miles of Lynchburg, destroying as they advanced. A railroad was never more thoroughly dismantled than was the East Tennessee and Virginia Railroad from Wytheville to near Lynchburg. Concentrating his command General Stoneman returned to North Carolina, via Jacksonville and Taylorsville, and went to Germantown, where Palmer's brigade was sent to Salem, N. C, to destroy the large cotton factories located there and burn the bridges on the railroad between Greensborough and Danville and between Greensborough and the Yadkin River, which was most thoroughly accomplished, after some fighting, by which we captured about 400 prisoners. At Salem 7,000 bales of cotton were burned by our forces. From Germantown the main body moved south to Salisbury, where they found about 3,000 of the enemy defending the place, and drawn up in line of battle behind Grant's Creek to await Stoneman's attack. Without hesitation a general charge was made by our men, resulting in the capture of all the enemy's artillery-14 pieces-and 1,364 prisoners. The remainder scattered and were pursued. During the two days following the troops engaged destroying the immense depots of supplies of all kinds in Salisbury, and burning all the bridges for several miles on all the railroads leading out of the town.
On the afternoon of April 13 the command moved westward to Statesville and Lenoir, at which latter point General Stoneman left the troops to be disposed of by General Gillem, and proceeded with the prisoners and captured artillery to East Tennessee, reporting his arrival, on the 19th, at Greeneville, and detailing the disposition of his troops, which was as follows: Palmer's brigade, with headquarters at Lincolnton, N. C., to scout down the Catawba River, toward Charlotte; Brown's brigade, with headquarters at Morganton, to connect with Palmer down the Catawba, and Miller's brigade, with General Gillem, was to take post at Asheville, with directions to open up communication through to Greeneville, East Tenn; the object in leaving the cavalry on the other side of the mountains being to obstruct, intercept, or disperse any troops of the enemy going south, and to capture trains. General Gillem followed the directions given him, and marched on Asheville, with Miller's brigade, but was opposed at Swannanoa Gap by a considerable force of the enemy. Leaving sufficient of his force to amuse them, with the balance he moved by way of Howard's Gap, gained the enemy's rear, and surprised and captured his artillery; after which he made his appearance in front of Asheville, where he was met by a flag of truce on the 23rd, with the intelligence of the truce existing between Generals Sherman and Johnston, and bearing an order from General Sherman to General Stoneman for the latter to go to the railroad station at Durham's, or Hillsborough, nearly 200 miles distant, whereas the distance to Greeneville, East Tenn., was but sixty. Coming to the conclusion that the order was issued by General Sherman under the impression that the Cavalry Division was still at