Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Stop the presses! The longest raid is over

BOONE, N.C.
     To appreciate how long Stoneman’s Raid lasted, just try writing about it for 54 consecutive days. The cavalry didn't take a day off from March 21 (when they marched out of Knoxville in a driving rain) until May 13, 1865 (when they first heard the news that Jefferson Davis was in custody).
      They rode well over a thousand miles through enemy territory (over 20 miles per day) in addition to their day jobs of tearing up railroads, burning factories, and fighting rebels. Many still found time to moonlight as looters.
      Stoneman’s Raid was one of the longest cavalry raids in history—four days longer than the simultaneous Wilson’s Raid that caught Davis; and five days longer than Morgan’s Raid, an 1863 Confederate expedition featured in a book titled The Longest Raid of the Civil War.
      Keeping up with all that is enough to wear out an old journalist. And now that the 150th anniversary of the raid is past, I am going to take a few days off and shut down the daily version of The Stoneman Gazette. There will be a few epilogues, including the story of a skirmish May 22 that could have been devastating for Greenville.
      Like the raid itself, The Stoneman Gazette has been an adventure. Right now, I’m bone-tired and glad it’s over. At the same time, I can look back on it with pride. We found some good stories and broke a little news—much more material than I anticipated when I conceived this project back in the winter. I hope you have enjoyed it. 
     Joe DiMaggio’s famous hitting streak in 1941 ran 56 games with 91 hits. The Stoneman Gazette ran 54 consecutive days with 78 stories. And for our little "Yankee clipper," that's enough. 
     Thanks for reading! 

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