Monday, February 23, 2015

The high feud behind Lincoln's mountain map

     President Abraham Lincoln used this 1863 map to cast a vision for what became Stoneman's Raid. Pointing to East Tennessee, he told Gen. Otis Howard, "They are loyal there! They are loyal!"
     Lincoln could see that the topography was as friendly as the population. The upper Tennessee Valley was a route ready-made for an invasion of Virginia, complete with a railroad. 
     This was almost certainly the same map that Gen. George Stoneman followed. The detail and precision are remarkable, and the renderings of watersheds and ridges were vital for routing his cavalry through the mountains. 
     To see the map full-size on the Library of Congress website, click here.
     The map was drawn by Adolph Lindenkohl (1833-1904), a native of Germany who became a U.S. citizen in 1857 and served as the Army's senior draftsman from 1862 to 1864. 
     Lindenkohl credits the detail about the mountains to the surveys done by Princeton professor Arnold Guyot in 1856, 1859, and 1860. This may be the earliest map that labels Mount Guyot, Mount Mitchell and Clingman's Dome, whose names were still unsettled at the dawn of the Civil War.
Dr. Elisha Mitchell (1793-1857) and Gen. Thomas Clingman (1812-1897)
      Dr. Elisha Mitchell and his former student, Gen. Thomas Clingman, had a bitter dispute about which of them had discovered North Carolina's highest mountain. The honor was eventually accorded to Dr. Mitchell after his tragic death on the mountain in 1857 and his burial on the summit in 1858.
     On this map, however, the peak we now know as Mount Mitchell is still labeled by its former name, Black Dome. This may reflect Prof. Guyot's reluctance to take sides in the Mitchell-Clingman debate. The point Lindenkohl labeled Mount Mitchell is now known as Clingman's Peak (not to be confused with Clingman's Dome in the Smokies). Black Dome is listed at 6,707 feet, as measured by Guyot. It's remarkable that 155 years ago he missed the official elevation of 6,684 by just 23 feet. 

     In 1861, Clingman was one of the state's leading advocates for secession. He became a Confederate general who was wounded at Cold Harbor and nearly killed at Globe Station, Va. He was recuperating at Shallow Ford Plantation near Huntsville, N.C., when part of Stoneman's 1st Brigade crossed the Yadkin River nearby, April 10-11, 1865.
     The Yankees were busy preparing to attack Salisbury, or otherwise they might have captured Gen. Clingman. They did raid some of the houses around Huntsville and burned a local store. But they spared the houses, including some that stand today. Two Union troopers were shot April 10 as they tried to raid the home of a man named Greenberry Harding, and one of them, Dennis Shea, died April 22 in nearby Salem.
     Many of the town names have been changed since this map was drawn. For example, Taylorsville, Tenn., is now Mountain City, and Taylorsville, Va., is now Stuart, named after Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, who was Stoneman's counterpart in the Confederate cavalry. Both of those towns, as well as Taylorsville, N.C., were in the paths of Stoneman's troops.
     In Virginia, Cranberry Plain is now Hillsville, Jacksonville is Floyd, and Greensville is Galax. In Tennessee, Carter's Depot is now Watauga (near Johnson City). In South Carolina, Limestone Springs is now Gaffney, Pleasant Grove is Greer, Pickensville is Easley and Pickens has been relocated.
     I noticed two South Carolina communities near modern-day Liberty that are named Equality and Salubrity. I suspect the raiders might have shunned a town named Sobriety. 

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