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A Laurel Founder's Life
Laurel        Civil War     Japan

June-December 2004

Introduction

Early Years (1804-1834)

Laurel Years (1835-50)

A Life In Transition 1851-1859

Civil War (1860-65)

Department of Agriculture 1866-1871

Japan (1871-1875)

Final Years (1875-1885)

Credits & Acknowledgements

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Stoneman's Raid

Civil War Overview
Horace Capron Civil War Timeline
Stoneman's Raid
Horace Capron Jr. Medal of Honor

 

General William T. Sherman's Account of the Campaign
 

General Stoneman

General Stoneman

 

Exterior of General Capron's Narrative of toneman's Raid South of Atlant.  Published by Mollus. Collection of Ken Skrivseth/Karen Lubieniecki Interior coverr of General Capron's Narrative of toneman's Raid South of Atlant.  Published by Mollus. Collection of Ken Skrivseth/Karen Lubienieck
Cover and inside of General Capron's Narrative of Stoneman's Raid South of Atlanta  Collection of Ken Skrivseth/Karen Lubieniecki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In late July,  1864, to cut off supplies to Atlanta, Sherman directed General Stoneman to advance his  cavalry (including the 14th Ill) towards Macon, Georgia.  They cut rail lines and destroyed supplies.  As a result of Stonemanís miscalculations, (and possible disregard for orders) the effort ended in disaster. 

 The massive cavalry group was nearly surrounded.  Stoneman sacrificed his small central unit, surrendered July 31 at Sunshine Church, and was taken prisonerStoneman was the highest ranking Union officer captured during the war. Capronís regiment was able to withdrawóbut faced chaos and disarray as it tried to regroup. In the battle's aftermath, Albert Capron was taken prisoner while fighting at Kings Tanyard.

 Horace and his 18 year-old son Osmond had a harrowing escape, but were eventually able to get back to the Union lines. They rode horses  bareback, traveled down rapids, hid from pursuers in swamps, and were betrayed by their guide. 

"...I was suddenly aroused by most unearthly yells and screams, mingled with pistol shots, directly over and all around us....I sprang for my horse, and called upon my son to keep by my side.  An older son who was in advance was captured after a brave fight and taken to prison... General Capronís Narrative of Stonemanís Raid South of Atlanta. P. 22-23.

Liberating Andersonville was, Sherman's memoir would seem to indicate, one objective of the Stoneman effort. Fear of Andersonville, which was nearby, was a compelling reason for escaping.  Horace Capron in 1864 was well aware of its horrors.

"...I still proposed to take my chances of a sudden death from the enemy's bullets to a lingering one in their prisons, handicapped with the weight of sixty years, or for my boy of eighteen, in the stockade at Andersonville..." (General Capronís Narrative of Stonemanís Raid South of Atlanta. P. 24

 ďVoices of men, women and children could be heart at interviews, scouring the woods for union soldiers twice they passed so near us, as we lay upon our backs, that we saw their rifles and shot-guns, and even the hats and bonnets of these fiends....There appeared no other way to escape but to throw ourselves flat into the muddy ooze at the bottom and trust to chanceĒ General Capronís Narrative of Stonemanís Raid South of Atlanta. P. 32

 

Excerpt from General William Tecumseh Sherman's Memoir
 

"The month of August opened hot and sultry, but our position before Atlanta
was healthy, with ample supply of wood, water, and provisions. The troops
had become habituated to the slow and steady progress of the siege; the
skirmish-lines were held close up to the enemy, were covered by
rifle-trenches or logs, and kept up a continuous clatter of musketry. The
mainlines were held farther back, adapted to the shape of the ground, with
muskets loaded and stacked for instant use. The field-batteries were in
select positions, covered by handsome parapets, and occasional shots from
them gave life and animation to the scene. The men loitered about the
trenches carelessly, or busied themselves in constructing ingenious huts out
of the abundant timber, and seemed as snug, comfortable, and happy, as
though they were at home. General Schofield was still on the extreme left,
Thomas in the centre, and Howard on the right. Two divisions of the
Fourteenth Corps (Baird's and Jeff. C. Davis's) were detached to the right
rear, and held in reserve.


"I thus awaited the effect of the cavalry movement against the railroad
about Jonesboro, and had heard from General Garrard that Stoneman had gone on to Mason; during that day (August 1st) Colonel Brownlow, of a Tennessee cavalry regiment, came in to Marietta from General McCook, and reported that McCook's whole division had been overwhelmed, defeated, and captured at Newnan. Of course, I was disturbed by this wild report, though I discredited it, but made all possible preparations to strengthen our guards along the railroad to the rear, on the theory that the force of cavalry which had defeated McCook would at once be on the railroad about Marietta. At the same time Garrard was ordered to occupy the trenches on our left, while
Schofield's whole army moved to the extreme right, and extended the linetoward East Point. Thomas was also ordered still further to thin out his lines, so as to set free the other division (Johnson's) of the Fourteenth Corps (Palmer's), which was moved to the extreme right rear, and held in reserve ready to make a bold push from that flank to secure a footing on the Mason Railroad at or below East Point.

"These changes were effected during the 2d and 3d days of August, when General McCook came in and reported the actual results of his cavalry expedition. He had crossed the Chattahoochee River below Campbellton, by his pontoon-bridge; had then marched rapidly across to the Mason Railroad at Lovejoy's Station, where he had reason to expect General Stoneman; but, not hearing of him, he set to work, tore up two miles of track, burned two trains of cars, and cut away five miles of telegraph-wire. He also found the wagon-train belonging to the rebel army in Atlanta, burned five hundred wagons, killed eight hundred mules; and captured seventy-two officers and three hundred and fifty men. Finding his progress eastward, toward McDonough, barred by a superior force, he turned back to Newnan, where he found himself completely surrounded by infantry and cavalry. He had to drop
his prisoners and fight his way out, losing about six hundred men in killed and captured, and then returned with the remainder to his position at Turner's Ferry. This was bad enough, but not so bad as had been reported by Colonel Brownlow. Meantime, rumors came that General Stoneman was down about Mason, on the east bank of the Ocmulgee. On the 4th of August Colonel Adams got to Marietta with his small brigade of nine hundred men belonging to Stoneman's cavalry, reporting, as usual, all the rest lost, and this was partially confirmed by a report which came to me all the way round by General Grant's headquarters before Richmond. A few days afterward Colonel Capron also got in, with another small brigade perfectly demoralized, and confirmed the report that General Stoneman had covered the escape of these two small brigades, himself standing with a reserve of seven hundred men, with which he surrendered to a Colonel Iverson. Thus another of my cavalry divisions was badly damaged, and out of the fragments we hastily reorganized three small divisions under Brigadier-Generals Garrard, McCook, and Kilpatrick.

"Stoneman had not obeyed his orders to attack the railroad first before going to Macon and Andersonville, but had crossed the Ocmulgee River high up near Covington, and had gone down that river on the east bank. He reached Clinton, and sent out detachments which struck the railroad leading from Macon to Savannah at Griswold Station, where they found and destroyed seventeen locomotives and over a hundred cars; then went on and burned the bridge across the Oconee, and reunited the division before Macon. Stoneman shelled the town across the river, but could not cross over by the bridge, and returned to Clinton, where he found his retreat obstructed, as he supposed, by a superior force. There he became bewildered, and sacrificed himself for the safety of his command. He occupied the attention of his enemy by a small force of seven hundred men, giving Colonels Adams and Capron leave, with their brigades, to cut their way back to me at Atlanta. The former reached us entire, but the latter was struck and scattered at some place farther north, and came in by detachments. Stoneman surrendered, and remained a prisoner until he was exchanged some time after, late in September, at Rough and Ready.

"I now became satisfied that cavalry could not, or would not, make a
sufficient lodgment on the railroad below Atlanta, and that nothing would suffice but for us to reach it with the main army. Therefore the most urgent efforts to that end were made, and to Schofield, on the right, was committed the charge of this special object...."