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.
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?
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.