From Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 21, 1865, General Stoneman made the announcement. “I have the honor to report,” he told Gens. George Thomas and U.S. Grant, “that my whole command is on the road, and that the advance will be at Morristown, fifty miles from here, today. It is a long, rough, bad road where we are going, and every precaution and care has been and must continue to be taken in order that our horses may not be broken down in the first part, which is over a country destitute of subsistence. I will keep you advised as long as I am within range of the telegraph or courier communication.”
With that, Stoneman's 1865 Cavalry Raid had begun. Over the next 60 days, it would pierce deep into the heart of the Confederacy, and bring the Civil War home to dozens of communities in Tennessee, the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia that had not seen it up close before. It would also become one of the longest cavalry raids in U.S. military history. In their wake, the raiders left a legacy that resonates to this day, even in modern popular music such as The Band's ''The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.''
Read more in Stoneman's Raid, 1865.