Got impression will travel - at least to the Bennett Place this weekend. Did a little research, and I think I'll have a fairly convincing and educational impression going into the event.
I plan to do a Western theatre Federal soldier from the 8th Tennessee Infantry regiment. This was the only Unionist Tennessee infantry regiment to leave the eastern Tennessee area and participate in the Carolinas Campaign. It was attached to the 23rd Corps, which actually hung back while the rest of Sherman's army drove north, ultimately aiming for Virginia.
The 8th Tennessee ultimately occupied Raleigh in April before being mustered out that summer, which is around the time of this event. Since details of the 8th are sketchy at this point in time, other than a unit history stating it was in garrison, it would be possible that a detached company could have been moved westward to keep the peace.