When: October 9th
Where: Otterbein University. Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.
Speaker: Chris Hartley:
Lovingly referred to as a “history nerd” by his wife, Laurie, Chris J. Hartley was
raised at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Wilkesboro, N.C. As a child, he was captivated by stories of regular people who achieved greatness and became curious about
the historic events that happened in his own backyard.
Chris graduated from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill with a degree
in journalism and a secondary concentration in history and has worked in the marketing
departments of such companies as Tyson Foods and Inmar. He is now the Vice President
of Marketing at Blue Rhino.
His first book, Stuart’s Tarheels: James B. Gordon and His North Carolina Cavalry, covered the
history of a general from Chris’s hometown. More
recently, Stoneman’s Raid, 1865 tells the complete
story of one of the longest cavalry raids in U.S. military history. In addition to his books, Chris contributes his writing to popular history periodicals such
as Blue & Gray and America’s Civil War, and is a frequent speaker for history groups.
Chris lives inPfafftown,N.C.withhiswife and
two daughters, Caroline Ruth and Taylor Ann, both
named for real people from history—Caroline for
the sister of Confederate Brigadier General James B.
Gordon and Taylor for General Maxwell B. Taylor, a
World War II paratrooper general.
George Stoneman’s 1865 Union cavalry raid did much for his tattered reputation, perhaps even helping the major general to the governorship of California in 1883.
But many take a darker view of Stoneman’s Raid. When the first North Carolinahistorical markers commemorating the raid were installed over seventy years afterward, citizens tore them down and threw them in a river.
Stoneman’s Raid has always been like that. Some see it as a model action in which a mostly well-behaved force rode over a thousand miles and achieved important military objectives. Others say it was a brutal, unnecessary pillaging of a broad swath of six Confederate states after the Civil War was already decided.
Regardless, no other such action has inspired both a classic song – The Band’s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” – and a Disney TV movie.
After leading a failed raid in the Chancellorsville campaign and later earning the dubious honor of being the highest-ranking Union prisoner of war, Stoneman was described as “one of the most worthless officers in the service” by Edwin Stanton. The 1865 raid was his last chance at redemption.
Beginning in Knoxville in March 1865, Stoneman led about four thousand cavalrymen over the mountains and into North Carolina and Virginia. The raiders tore up tracks, burned bridges, destroyed Confederate stores, captured towns like Christiansburg and Salisbury, fought some surprisingly sharp skirmishes, and terrified the population, achieving a sometimes exaggerated reputation. Their mission did not end until Confederate president Jefferson Davis was captured. Reconstruction would be harder in their wake.
Chris J. Hartley’s Stoneman’s Raid, 1865 is the most detailed and complete account ever written of an action that remains as controversial today as it was in its time.