Simeon Brown’s second brigade led off early the next morning, April 10. The next goal was Germanton, a small settlement in southern Stokes County. By noon, Brown’s troopers had captured Germanton with ease. “Charged the Town of Germanton. Rebs all gone,” declared Henry Birdsall of the 11th Michigan. Afterward the men camped and ate, and then prepared to continue the journey. By 5:00 p.m., the brigade had resumed the march along the Salisbury Road.
John Miller’s Tennessee brigade followed. A 13th Tennessee man lost a horse near Germanton for unknown reasons, but otherwise the visit was routine. At least the town was interesting; an observant Tennessean thought it must have been “a nice prosperous place before the war.” Like their comrades in Brown’s brigade, the Tennesseans paused to eat before moving on.
Gray skies hung low over the raiders the entire day. Near first light a Pennsylvanian, Smith Cozens, took about twelve men on picket duty. Presently it began to drizzle, so the troopers pulled on their rubber coats. Around 7:00 a.m., bugles sounded “Forward” and the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry and First Brigade took their place in the column. Rain fell all morning as Palmer’s men wound their way to Germanton. They arrived around midday and stopped to rest, but the weather did not change. “It was still quite cloudy and occasionally drizzled a little,” Cozens complained. To Cozens, Germanton itself was unremarkable. “It was without paint or whitewash and laziness was apparent all over it,” a cavalryman wrote.
To read what happened next, see Chris J. Hartley, Stoneman's Raid, 1865.
Excerpt from Stoneman's Raid, 1865, (c) Chris J. Hartley