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I am pleased to announce the foramtion of an informal, ad hoc Committee to recognize and mark the Deep Creek Battle site. Ideas under consideration or in progress include the following:

1. Seeking a commitment from the North Carolina Office of Archives and History to formally mark the site with an official state historical marker. The marker would recognize the fight at Deep Creek in Swain County between the 14th Illinois Cavalry and the Confederate Cherokee Battalion under Col. William Holland Thomas, which occurred February 2, 1864. The site is located at the confluence of the Tuckaseegee River and Deep Creek on the outskirts of Bryson City. It is one tenth of a mile or less up West Deep Creek Road.

2. To seek designation as a Civil War Trails Site.

3. To recognize the Cherokee contribution to the Confederate cause.

4. To raise funds for individual plaques or monuments in honor of Cherokees. Including but not limited to Cherokee Confederate Captain Enoli, the highest ranking Cherokee and Lieutenant Astoogatoogeh who was killed in action while leading his Cherokee men at Baptist Gap, Tennessee in 1862. There are others to consider.

Any other ideas are open for consideration.

It is suggest that interested parties read the recent posts on "the read on WNC" one is my research blog and the other is on Civil War Sties. Interested parties may sign on as a supporter by emailing me at terrellgarren@bellsouth.net.

Thank you.
Terrell Garren

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I am interested in this subject and volunteering to serve on this committee. My interest is a personal one for a couple of reasons. First, my Great Great Grandfather John S. Smiley (1843-1932) served in William Thomas' Legion of Cherokees and Highland Men. Second, my grandfather fought bravely in the battle at the mouth of Deep Creek. He survived the war and went on to pioneer education in Swain County and served at the first Superintendent of Schools from 1881-1889.

Thank you,
Jackie Smith
Bryson City, NC
Thanks Jackie. Your name will be added to the application. We hope to have it ready in just a week or two.

T Garren
Deep Creek, February 2, 1864: The biggest battle in WNC Civil War History in terms of casualties.

I have reviewed the records of the Indian Battalion, Thomas' Legion. The records document that ten (10) Cherokee Confederates were probably killed in the battle. My statement regarding this is based on NC Troops, volume XVI which states that these men's names were on a list of soldiers killed who's orphans recieved cloths. The date on the list, which also list some who died of disease, is February 14, 1864. I do not see the likelihood of any other clash that could have resulted in these men being killed around that time. It is my opinion that they were killed at Deep Creek. All the reports of the day indicate heavy casualties on both sides.

The Cherokee Confederates who gave their lives at Deep Creek were: Anido:Na, Di:Ye:Ledo:Hi, Gv:Hindv, Gv:Na, Ni:Gi, Sdugi:Gado:Ga, Tsa:Li, Tsa:Tsi, Tsuda:Sodi and U:Danidhu:Da. Their names should be on a plague at the site.

In addition to those killed there were thirty-two (32) listed as captured at Deep Creek. Of those fourteen were non-Cherokee men. There were eighteen (18) Cherokees captured of those none is known to have joined the Union Army except for the possiblity of Jim Cheoih who is listed as "may have joined the Union Army." Apparently all the Cherokees were released after taking the oath.

The fourteen (14) white men did not fare as well. They were all sent to Union Prisons. James Pinkerton, Asaph Sherrill, Andrew Wikle and John W. Welch all died in Union custody. All the others were held until the end of the war except for John F. Shuler who was exchanged.

The next step is to find out about the casualties on the Union side. The 14th Illinois is not on National Archives microfilm nor do I know the designation of the "three piece artillery section" that the 14th Illinois had with them on the raid. More research will be done on these issues.

Even so, at this point we have forty-two casualties just on the Confederate side. When one looks at the Battle of Asheville, April 6, 1865 , the raid on Camp Vance, June 28, 1864 or Swananoa Gap, April 20, 1865 it is apparent that none of them had this many killed.

There is also no other WNC fight that was primairily a Cherokee Confederate battle. It is my personal opinion that Deep Creek is the most significant unmarked Civil War battle site in all WNC.

Terrell Garren
Add my name to the support list.

Elaine Campbell
add my name to the support list
I support the committee's recommendation that the North Carolina Office of Archives and History formally mark the site with an official state historical marker to recognize the fight at Deep Creek in Swain County between the 14th Illinois Cavalry and the Confederate Cherokee and White Battalion under Col. William Holland Thomas, which occurred February 2, 1864.
Kathi Bobb
Columbus Ohio
Application completed and mailed to state

I discovered that the deadline for filing an application for a state Highway Historial Marker is soon. The committee meets in December. Therefore, I have completed the application and mailed it to the NC Office of Archives and History for a marker at the Deep Creek site.

Copies fo the application have been mailed to: The Swain County Commissioners, The Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal Council, the Bryson City Town Council, NC Representative Phil Haire and NC Senator John Snow.

A lot more nees to be done but the marker is the key step.

Thanks for helping.
Terrell Garren
Thank you Terrell for all you've done toward making this happen. Now we just have to hope the state of NC can afford to put it up.

Jackie Smith
Deep Creek Progress

Things are happening for the Deep Creek battfield marker. The application for a NC Highway Historical Marker has been received in Raleigh and will be considered at the December meeting.

Karen Proctor the Chamber of Commerce director for Bryson City/Swain County area met with me to look at the site. She is working on the Civil War Trails marker for the site. Obviously, if we get approval for the highway marker it will be easier to get the CWT marker.

The Bryson City town council has passed a resolution supporting the historical designation of the Deep Creek site. See Arron Morgan's article in The Smoky Mountain Times from last Thursday.

Terrell Garren
Documents or letters?

Local readers should consider reviewing anything they have realted to the Civil War in the area. Any mention of Deep Creek on an old letter or military record might be important. There could be some reference to it in old newspapers or other print. Sometimes old Civil War veterans did interviews or wrote stories about the war years after the fact. Clues to the Deep Creek story might be included in some of this material. Researchers here and in Raleigh would like to get thier hands on such information.

If anyone has anything to add they can post it here and I will see to it that it gets to the right people.

Terrell Garren
Deep Creek May Get HIstorical Marker, by Arron Morgan in the November 4th edition of The Smoky Mountain Times

For those interested in the Deep Creek effort I suggest reading Arron Morgan's column on the topic. It is an excellent article fully addressing the relevant points. Most important is that there are no mistakes. The article is accurate in every detail. You rarely see that these days.

To read it one must go to the Smoky Mountain Times site and click on archives, then enter Deep Creek in the search box, then click search. The story should come up at that point.

Terrell Garren
Deep Creek from the Union Side

The raid on Deep Creek was conducted by the 14th Illinois Cavalry. The 14th Illinois was formed in Peoria, Illinois in the fall/winter of 1862. Most of the men were from the northern Illinois area including Chicago.

They were involved in various actions in the western theater of the war and were stationed in Tennessee at the end of 1863. On December 24, 1864 the units were consolidated under the command of Brigadier General Samuel Sturgis. Sturgis ordered the 14th to sneak up the Tuckasegee River and surprise Thomas' Legion Indian Battalion camped on Deep Creek near Charleston (modern day Bryson City). The attack was led by Major Francis M. Davidson and made on the morning of February 2, 1864. Davidson had a three piece artillery section and about forty to fifty unionist guides totaling about 600 men.

In previous posts I have given an evaluation of Confederate casualties. I have since found an online roster for the 14th Illinois and have been able to identify some Deep Creek casualties on the Union side. Major John G. Foster's report to Maj. General Henry Halleck states that six were wounded and two killed.

My review of the online records for the 14th Illinois documents the following: Private Fred Henderson of Chicago, Illinois was killed at the battle. Recruit Thomas Heath, with no hometown listed was killed at the battle. Private Joseph Ridley of Odell, Illinois was killed at the battle. Lieutenant Horace Capron of Peoria, Illinois died of wounds four days later and private Harmon Huck, also of Peoria, Illinois died March 15, 1864 and may have been a Deep Creek casualty. No wounds were reported on this particular internet roster unless it was "died of wounds." There was also no record shown of any captures at Deep Creek.

The Adjutant General's Regimental History has the following reference regarding Deep Creek:

"The 14th alone, out of a large number of regiments in the corps, was designated to fight Thomas' Legion of whites and Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. Feb. 2, with the brass pieces, after following a mountainous old indian trail, it surprised the Legion, killing and capturing the greater part. General Grant, in a special disptatch highly complemented the regiment for this work. "

Terrell Garren

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