Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Kerosene Billy in Fact and Fiction

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on April 4, 2013
Great Falls Mill


This image, posted recently at SHPG, caught my eye, particularly given its description:


Cotton Mill burnt out shell… the work of Sherman’s troops moving through Richmond County NC, in March 1865.


It’s a dramatic and potent symbol of the ravages of the war on the South. Or it would be, if it were true.

The ruins in question are those of the Great Falls Cotton Mill in Rockingham, built in 1869, that were destroyed in a fire in October 1972. It’s a well-known local landmark, and is even included in the Historic American Buildings Survey. As near as I can tell, Uncle Billy’s bummers were not suspected in the 1972 conflagration.

Now, there was a large mill on (or near) this site that was reportedly burned by Sherman’s troops, but this one ain’t it, and ninety seconds with “teh Google” would have made that clear. This misattribution is not a huge, hairy deal, but is it too much to ask for folks to expend a little effort — just a little — in getting this stuff right?