Welcome to Thomasville Tourism

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Civil War Sites

North Carolina Civil War Trail Brochure(pdf)

North Carolina Campaign Map (pdf)

Thomasville City Cemetery Donations

Thomasville City Cemetery Museum

NC Railroad’s Significance in the Civil War
John W. Thomas, who represented the Thomasville area in the State Legislature in the mid-1800s, laid out the town of Thomasville in 1852 on the proposed route of the North Carolina Railroad. Three years later, this line was completed to the new town, and the first train passed through on January 20, 1856. By 1860 Thomasville was thriving with 308 residents, a female seminary and a shoe factory. During the war, two companies, including the renowned “ Thomasville Rifles”(Co. B, 14th NC Infantry), served in Confederate General Robert E. Lees’ Army of Northern Virginia.

In 1864, Gen. James Longstreet’s corps passed through Thomasville on the railroad in route from Georgia to rejoin Lee’s army in Virginia. Many of the soldiers who boarded trains (200 feet from the current Depot) later fell in the Seven Days’ Battles, at Sharpsburg (Antietam), Gettysburg, and in the wilderness. Thomasville grew during the Civil War at first because of the importance of its shoe factories (local factories produced shoes for the Confederate cause) and later because of the hospitals. The Union occupation of North Carolina’s coastal region in 1862 caused the 1st influx of civilian refugees and wounded soldiers. A smallpox hospital was located in Thomasville prior to the war; local churches were turned into makeshift hospitals during the war; and convalescent facilities for soldiers arose during and after the war.

Thomasville
A Place of Refuge and Medical Care Thomasville provided a refuge for wounded and ill soldiers and civilians fleeing from war-torn eastern North Carolina. Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnson established hospitals in a tobacco warehouse and in the local Baptist and Methodist churches in March 1865, as his army of Tennessee retreated north. Confederate Surgeon Simon Baruch led the medical efforts. Local citizens ripped out church pews, gathered pine straw for makeshift beds, gathered food, drink and generally assisted in the care of wounded soldiers, both Northern and Southern.

Thomasville City Cemetery
One of a Kind While hospitals were established in a tobacco warehouse and in the local Baptist and Methodist churches in March 1865, all able bodied men, women and children in town ripped out church pews, gathered pine straw for makeshift beds, gathered food, drink and generally assisted in the care of wounded soldiers, both Northern and Southern. Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the hospitals were interred in Thomasville’s City Cemetery side by side. This is the only such grave site in the world. Three rows of 12 headstones have the names of the soldiers on them with the dates of 1861-1865 with the exception of the markers for unknown soldiers. The 36 soldiers are accounted for as such: Confederate soldiers- 28; Union soldiers- 4; and unknown soldiers- 4.

The City of Thomasville was founded in 1852 as a stop along the fledgling North Carolina railroad, and by 1855 burials were made in this cemetery. The City provided hundreds of soldiers to the Confederacy, and grew during the Civil War in part due to its important industries and later because of the location here of hospitals and convalescent facilities for soldiers. The Union invasion of North Carolina’s coastal region in 1862 caused the first influx of civilian refuges and wounded soldiers.

In March of 1865, Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnson established hospitals in a tobacco warehouse and in Thomasville’s Baptist and Methodist churches as his army of Tennessee retreated north. Local citizens ripped out church pews, gathered pine straw for makeshift beds, gathered food, drink and generally assisted in the care of wounded soldiers, both Northern and Southern. (A CWT sign on Main St. where the churches were located, recounts this story.)

Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the hospitals were interred in Thomasville’s City Cemetery side by side. This is the only such grave site in the United States. Three rows of 12 headstones have the names of the soldiers on them with the exception of the markers for four unknown soldiers. (A CWT sign identifies the area within City Cemetery.)