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Carolina Story: Virtual Museum of University History

Wilson Caldwell (1841-1898)

Fleeing Sherman's approach, a small detachment of Confederate cavalry under General Joseph Wheeler entered Chapel Hill on April 14, 1865. They intended to protect the university but continued to retreat after a two-day pause. Lacking further defenses, Chapel Hill residents resolved to save the town by a peaceful surrender. A committee that included President Swain and Wilson Caldwell, college servant and a prominent leader of the black community, searched two outbound roads under a white flag but failed to find the invaders.