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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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Families of the Union Men

I have contacted several people in the northern Illinois area where the 14th Illinois Cavalry originated. It's been almost 146 years since the battle at Deep Creek, but there are probably family members descended from these men still living in Northern Illinois. I hope to establish contact with some of them.

There will be a small article in the Peoria Star Journal tomorrow Tuesday November 24th. Hopefully this will lead to family contact. I have learned that Lt. Horace Capron of Peoria, who died of wounds from the battle, has been in the local news as recently as eight years ago.

Terrell Garren
Our ancestor Solomon Peter Crow was in the 14 th. Ill. cavalry. He was enlisted Sept. 6, 1862 at Magnolia Ill. by James B. Dent and was mustered in at Camp Peoria Jan. 7 1863. He was mustered out at Pulaski Tenn. July 31, 1865. We know that Deep Creek was one of the places he was at. His papers say he was at Sweetwater and on Morgans Raid. We have a picture of him and also a sword he brought home . He Died in Coal Center, Pa. May 25, 1891. A strange thing is his enlistment papers say he was in the 14 th Ill.Cavalry but his grave marker says Co. B. 2 nd Cavalry.Someone at the church where he was buried said there were 2 very old ladies years and years ago who put the marker on his grave. Could they have been wrong or could he have been in both but his papers ONLY list the 14th. as his Reg. Any information you have on the 14 th. or this puzzle will be greatly apperiaceted. Elaine Crow
Hello Elaine,

It's nice to hear from you. Yes, I can answer some of your questions. It appears that you have some things correct and maybe some not. Your posting says that Soloman Crow "enlisted Sept. 6, 1862" and that he was mustered out July 31, 1865. The muster out date from the Provost records matches your posting but the enlistment date does not. The records of the Provost for the 14th Illinois Cavaly has the following for Crow: Soloman Peter Crow, Private, enlisted Jan. 7, 1863, mustered out July 31, 1865.

I have been through many many searches for individual soldiers. I almost always find family stories to be accruate. The problem for the Provost listing for him is that it is not his complete record. That document is something called "The Compiled Service Record." This record is something that the National Archives has on all Civil War soldiers. If we get his CSR I'll bet you a dozen donuts that the two old ladies were correct in what they put on his stone. And here is the probablilty: He probably enlisted on Sept. 6, 1862 in Company B of the 2nd Cavalry, then on Jan 7, 1863 he transferred to the 14th Illinois Cav. The Provost records for the 2nd Illinios Cavalry do not list anyone named Crow. Since he was only there a few months they may have missed him. The Compiled Service Record would most likely show that. It will also have more information regarding wounds and other issues.

I don't know if National Archives has the 14th Illinois on microfilm? If they do it's easy to get the record. If not you have to go to Washington DC or send in the form requesting a copoy of his record.

All that said, one thing remains clear. Soloman Crow was in the 14th Ill Cav and he was in that unit in February of 1864. Therefore we can conclude that he was with them on the Deep Creek raid. I hope we can discuss this further and I will help you get the stuff you need. Please feel free to write me directly at terrellgarren@bellsouth.net

Thank you,
Terrell Garren
Hi Terrell, Thank you for your reply on Solomon. Crow. I did receive some papers years ago from the National Archives. It says he was 21yrs.- 5 ft. 7 in.--gray eyes--brown hair-- from Washington Co. Pa. and a farmer. Most of the monthly listings just say present. One says " Appears on returns as follows: July 63 absent on {?} on Morgans Raid.The word I can not make out looks like "Met" but not sure. I take this to mean he was absent from camp chaseing after Morgan. Also on this page is "Oct. 63 Daily duty orderly at Hd. qrs. since Oct 28, 63." The next line says " Mch. to May 64 absent on Det. Ser. on Coms Post Sweetwater Tenn. Mch.14, 64 courier" Would these papers be the same as the Compiled Service record you are talking about or is that something differant than what I have? I appreciate any help. Please write to me at mecrow@comcast.net Elaine
Hello Elaine,

Private Soloman Peter Crow, 14th Illinois Cavalry

It seems that you do have his Compiled Service Record. The line that says "Mch. to May 64 absent on Det. Ser. on Coms Post Sweetwater Tenn. Mch. 14, 64 courier" tells us a little. The "Det. Ser." means detachment service. The "Coms Post" notation means Commissary Post. Men were often seperated from their unit doing detachment duty, which could be anything from working on supplies, as this one indicates, to spying. He must have been a trusted and dependable soldier otherwise he would not have been given duty as a courier.

Since the entire 14th Illinois Cavalry, including Colonel Davidson came on the raid to Deep Creek and Crow was not on Detachment service until March of 1864, we know that he would have been there.

I have been in contact with a man named Bernie Drake in Peoria who you may want to talk to. He was past president of the local historical society. I may come up there and speak sometime this year. We want to honor the men on both sides. The historical marker for Deep Creek has been approved by the state of NC and is expected to be erected this spring.

Thank you.
Terrell Garren

Mr. Garren:

 

Just found this blog. Has the marker for the deep creek skirmish been installed yet. I knew that Stand Watie was the last conferderate general to surrender after Kirby Smith but did not know of this that happened in Bryson City. Im assuming the 14th illinois was assigned to Stoneman who was ordered by Sherman to invade WNC. Were you aware of the confederate soldiers buried (2) on the road to Big Fat Gap in the joyce kilmer/slickrock wilderness area? Thanks for your work in remembering those who fought and gave the last full measure. We are members of the Civil War Preservation society they might offer some assistance or info for this area.

Hello Bruce,

 

Yes, the marker has been installed. It is located just accross from the old courthouse on Main Street.

 

No, the 14th Illinois had no connection whatsoever to Stoneman. Stoneman's Raid was initiated on March 22, 1865. That date is more than a year after the attack on Deep Creek. Deep Creek was a totally seperate raid initiated by a different command structure. It was ordered by Union General Sturgis and the raid took place On February 2, 1864. It was the only attack I know of that was specifically directed at the Cherokees. That's what makes it unique in American Civil War history. Sturgis makes it clear in his report, they intended to kill all of the Cherokees there. Given that it was a winter camp, there were undoubtedly women and children there.

 

No, I was not aware of the graves you mentioned. I'd like to see them. Maybe you could lead me there?

 

Terrell Garren

Terrell:

 

I read on a book on "Lenoir and his times", can't remember his first name in the title. It is a excellent resource on a major character in that area. It also gives a understanding of the wnc perspective on slavery and the division it caused. Just how much division was there between the people of wnc since slavery was not prevalent there. I was surprised that some of the cherokees owned some such as major ridge. I know of the strong pro union sentiment in east Tennesee and the bushwhacking in wnc. Just how bad was it?

 

It's all a matter of timing, but first things first. Actually slavery was a lot more prevalent here than most people think. Unionism didn't really exist here to a large degree except for certain periods. Before the war and Fort Sumter, up to Lincoln's call for an invasion of the south, and at the end of the war when folks could see the south had lost. But for the most part and especially during the first two years of the war, WNC was solidly Confederate. Most of the men who went in the Union Army from WNC were Confederate deserters.

 

There were 3,500 slaves in Buncombe, Henderson and Madison counties in 1860. The other counties had plenty. Yes, Cherokees did own slaves in some cases. Yes, there was real pro Union sentiment in East Tennessee. Unlike WNC, it was there all along. But even East Tennessee Unionism tends to be exaggerated.

 

"Bushwacking" relates to crime and there was plenty of that. Criminals could be found anywhere early in the war but by the end of the war most of them had migrated to the Union Army. It's a simple point of logic. Criminals go where opportunity exists. If one stayed in the Cofnederate Army there was little food, no pay, no shoes and lots of sacrifice. What self respecting criminal is going to put up with that? On the other hand, if you went to you Union Army you cashed in big time. The bounties paid reached $300. and you got good shoes and a uniform. The food was plentiful and when the army went on the move there were plenty of opportunities for criminal enterprise. It was a bad time.

 

TG

 

 

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