Marion poet cradles the individuals in her lifeby Rob NeufeldReview of: Barefoot in the Snow by Julia Nunnally Duncan (World Audience trade paper, Apr. 2013, 67 pages) “The Loving Child” might be an alternate title for Julia Nunnally Duncan’s new book of poems, “Barefoot in the Snow.” Her title poem…See More
Asheville BookWorks Inaugurates Broadside & Reading Series: Vandercooked Poetry Nights Asheville BookWorks, a community resource for print and book arts, introduces Vandercooked Poetry Nights, a reading series that offers the public the opportunity to print letterpress broadsides at the series events. The first Vandercooked Poetry Night is Saturday, June 1, 2013. Printing begins at 7:00 p.m. The reading begins at 7:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Asheville BookWorks will…See More
The history of the 25th NC Troops--a WNC regiment--exemplifies how staggeringly long their and others' odysseys had been. The episode--along with others of the Civil War in the Southern mountains--stands out among other chapters in history. Rarely are so many so tested, and with such a great variety of responses, and such a multitude of impacts. To not recreate, relive, and reconsider the experiences is to claim human experience irrelevant.
But how is the subject being taught? Might we make it part of a national ritual?
I have to admit that I didn't learn much about the Civil War during school. I've recently taken an interest and want to learn as much as I can. I think it's an important part of our nation's history. I don't think everyone needs to be an expert on it, but I think people need to know the basics, which many don't. I can't wait to dig into Shelby Foote's "The Civil War." I hear it's quite good... and really long.
How it is taught can vary depending on various issues like age and personal interest. What is important is that it be taught in some form. In most contemporary schools the Civil War is barely mentioned. As noted Civil War historian and author Shelby Foote once said, "The Civil War defines us as a nation."
Foote's words are certainly true but their overall impact and current implications are much greater for the South and Western North Carolina in particular. Approximately 25% of the adult male population of the south died in that war fighting for the Confederacy. Many more were left permanently debilitated in body or mind, or both.
The twenty-one counties of WNC sent approximately twenty-seven thousand men to the Confederate Army. Over six thousand of those died in Confederate service. Almost every mountain family has several Confederate ancestors. There are hundreds if not thousands of individual accounts of these men and their participation in some of the most notable battles in all American history. Local men have been identified in every major battle of the Civil War except Shiloh.
Some of these same men gave up on the Confederacy late in the war and went to the Union Army for personal benefit, protection and survival. Some of these men were deserters, some were in Union prison camps and some were just trying to escape the war. Some eighteen hundred of these mountain confederates went to the Union Army.
These men rode with J. E. B. Stewart, marched with Stonewall Jackson and defended Vicksburg and Atlanta. They served under Robert E. Lee at the Seven Days, Malvern Hill, Antietam and Petersburg. Those who survived were there when the great leader surrendered at Appomattox. The average high school or college graduate from our area has no idea of all this. If it were not for Rob Neufeld, the Asheville Citizen-Times and a few local historians a lot of this history might be lost.
Citizen-Times writer John Boyle once wrote an article about street names in Asheville and their connection to the Civil War. He mentioned some good ones but missed many. These names and other reminders are everywhere.
Asheville and all of WNC was deeply involved. Nothing before or since has such a profound influence on contemprary life. Teaching of our Civil War history should be a priority for the schools and it should be taught at multiple levels. People will be amazed to learn of the incredible bravery and sacrifice of the people of our area.
You have chosen well, Andre, in selecting Foote's 3-vol. Civil War Narrative. Not only does he pack his work with insightful detail but he writes in a style that is enjoyable to read, and entertaining. This reading project should keep you busy for a year or so depending on how much spare time you have. Hope you enjoy it.
Regarding the teaching of the Civil War to the younger generation, it seems to me to be a difficult proposition. I remember my school days, way back when, and how little attention I gave to history classes. If today's primary and secondary school students can just absorb the basics of the Civil War history, then that could be a spring board for future inquiry, study and learning. Many school systems are achieving this objective, I might add. A few years ago my daughter (a 10th grader at the time) showed me a test she had taken on the Civil War. Her teacher had asked the class to write an essay on the Battle of Gettysburg and allowed the whole class period to be used in composing and recording their thoughts. I was blown away with what she wrote and her overall grasp of the details of that horrible and complicated 3-day affair. Her several-page document is stashed with many of my other important Civil War materials and every now and then I run across it.
Of course the Civil War was more than militay movements and battles. Research on my great grandfather's regiment (25th N.C. Troops) gave me a whole different perspective on the war. Sickness and disease, desertion, life in the Petersburg trenches, homefront woes, bushwhackers roaming the WNC mountains and terrorizing the lonely homesteads, and more, were separate personal battles that the soldiers and their families' fought. Those are the kinds of things that we all need to understand better and figure out how best to educate our fellow highlanders. Historian / authors such as Terrell Garren are doing that and others must. Perhaps there is a larger role that the Civil War reenactors can play in this education process. Not being a reenactor, I'm not sure how that might play out. But the reenactors will surely know.
By the way I am still looking for primary source information on the 25th Regiment N.C. If anybody knows of old letters, photos, etc. related to this mountain-bred regiment please let me know. Thanks!
Yesterday was my birthday, and I am now the proud owner of Foote's "Civil War: A Narrative."
I also look forward to picking up your book, Mr. Jones. I think it's interesting to look at events like the Civil War from the perspective of someone who is not in charge.
I finished Stephen Wise's "Gate of Hell: Campaign for Charleston Harbor, 1863" last week. It's a good read, with lots of details, but the thing that strikes me is that it's mostly told from the perspective of the officers in charge. It talks about strategies and bombardments and conflicts between commanders, but it gets into very little about the relationships between the soldiers--even the relationships between soldiers on opposite sides--and what life was like for them as they dug trenches and endured life under fire in Charleston during the heat of summer. I would guess that this mostly has to do with the fact that the officers left behind more written records than the foot soldiers. In fact Wise writes that General Beauregard ordered his commanders on Morris Island (Fort Wagner).
Andre, my book is a very modest contribution to the history of the Civil War compared to Foote's "Narrative". So don't even think of reading my work, or anyone elses, until you have digested your three new volumes. Once done with those you will have sufficient foundation to delve off into whatever avenue of the war that might be of particular interest. Another author you might later consider, if you are interested in Robert E. Lee and his Army of Northern Virginia, is Douglas Southall Freeman. He is my favorite.
I think primary sources should be used more often when teaching about the Civil War, especially letters and journals. The stories become more real to the learner.
In reference to the 25th, Pinckney Allen was a member of the 25th Regiment. Cornelia Henry mentioned Pinck Allen quite often in her journals, as he had once worked for Mr. Henry, and Mr. Henry had performed Pinck's marriage ceremony. He was reported to have deserrted several times, and a September 1862 ad in the Asheville Times offered $30 for his apprehension.
Here are some of the entries:
It is reported that Pinck Allen is lying in the woods as he is a deserter. It would be much better for him to go to his Regiment. He belongs to the 25th Reg. He was no use when at home & now he is no use to his country. Not at home as I hear of a good many hen roosts being robbed.
Feb 1, 1863
Tom Morris is at home. He came after Pinck Allen who has deserted again
Thursday 4th June 1863
Pinck Allen is still a deserter, also his brother in law Bryson. Allen says he will never go back to the 25th Reg. & Bryson says he don’t intend to go the 60th or any other. Rachel Allen came to see Harrie yesterday about Pinck. Harrie told her he could do nothing for him.
April 5, 1864
Mr. Henry & his men have gone to hunt Pinck Allen tonight. They intend watching his house for several days. He has so many friends, I fear they will not find him. Tom Cook stays here tonight. I had some rations cooked for the men this evening.
May 14, 1864
Some one stole some of Mr. Andy Jones’ wool last night. I expect it was Pinck Allen. He is a terrible rogue…
May 15, 1864
Mr. Henry & Frank went up in the Starnes settlement. There is a good deal of stealing going on. I am so glad Mr. Henry is at home. I have been affraid they would break in the smoke house or mill. I do wish they could catch some of these bad men that are stealing & doing other mischief
May 16, 1864
There was a man found dead in the Starnes settlement this morning, said to be Pinck Allen. Mr. Henry went up this evening to see him. They have taken him to Mrs. Norman’s. He is shot through the body under the arms. His sisters & wife take it very hard. He has been lying out nearly a year & stealing generally. He will steal no more in the world
May 22, 1864
Nothing new going on in the country. Allen’s sudden & inglorious death has ceased to be a theme of conversation. I think it has give some of the deserters in this neighborhood a big sceer.
June 4, 1865
The tories blame you [Mr. Henry] with Allen’s death & have hung Tim so they say. I wish you had listened to me sometimes when you did not. Things would have been better for us I imagine but the past can’t be recalled. Let us submit to the decrees of a divine Providence. I am affraid you can never live here in safety again."
Local resident Jim Holbrook writes that Pinck Allen was shot near the current location of Speedy’s Junk Yard by a gunman on the hill east of Starnes Cove Road and north of the McKinney Road intersection, close to the present day Starnes Cemetery. Pinck had apparently been hiding out in a nearby cave. There was once a large rock in the field where the junk yard now exists where Pinck would come down, and his wife Rachel would meet him with food
It certainly seems that Richard Pinckney Allen had a tainted career in the Confederate army's 25th Reg. N.C. Troops. And if Jim Holbrook has figured out the exact spot where he was killed by the Home Guard (at least the records indicate he was probably done in by the local guard), then it is probably so. Jim is a good man and a first cousin of mine, I might add. Richard, I am not familiar with the journal from which you have taken the excerpts. Who was Conrelia Henry and has her diary been published or does it reside in a collection somewhere? Thanks!
Cornelia Henry lived in what is now the Malvern Hills area of West Asheville before, during and after the Civil War. She was married to William Henry, the son of Robert Henry of King’s Mountain fame, and Dorcas Bell Love, the daughter of Robert Love, founder of Waynesville. In the mid-1800s Cornelia and “Mr. Henry” owned the large Sulphur Springs Hotel, originally operated by Robert Henry, and had a huge farm on parts of the adjoining hundreds of acres of land, including a mill. The hotel burned in March, 1861.
Cornelia’s journals and other documents are kept at Pack Library in downtown Asheville in the North Carolina Collection, and may be viewed on request. Yes, they have been published as “Fear in North Carolina: The Civil War Journals and Letters of the Henry Family”, by my cousin Karen Clinard and myself. Thanks for asking, Carroll! The references to local troops are quite interesting and informative, and you may find the dozens of entries regarding the Jones family to be of personal value.
Thanks! Found a copy online and ordered it this moring. The area you mention around the old Sulfur Springs Hotel was also located in the vicinity of the Western Turnpike, the main east--west trace which connected Asheville with Haywood County and points farther west. I've written a story about my Great Grandfather Hargrove's droves from Haywood's Pigeon Valley to the markets in Greenville, South Carolina and Augusta, Georgia. He drove his herds and wagons along the Western Turnpike from Pigeon River (Canton) to Asheville, hugging the banks of Hominy Creek most of the way. In Asheville he and his band from Forks of Pigeon gained access to the Buncombe Turnpike and headed south toward Flat Rock, Saluda Gap, and the rich markets in the flat country beyond. I really look forward to reading your Henry family primary source material and learning more about the history and culture of the area during the Civil War era and gleaning any tidbits of interest that were recorded on the 25th Regiment N.C. Troops.
Tensions between pro-slave states and the abolitionists, with the increase of disagreements in the relationship between the federal government and state led to violent conflicts in the expansion of slavery into new states. Abraham Lincoln, candidate of the Republican Party and a great abolitionist, was elected president in 1860. Before they took office, seven slave states declared their secession from the United States, forming the Confederate States of America. The federal government argued that secession was illegal, and soon the attack by the secessionists at Fort Sumter, the beginning of the American Civil War.
After the victory of the Union in 1865, added three amendments to the constitution to guarantee freedom of the nearly four million African Americans who were slaves, became citizens and giving them the right to vote. The war and its resolution led to a substantial increase in the powers of the federal government.
United States participated in the war in Vietnam, where finally after a bloody struggle, which caused heavy casualties on both sides, United States was defeated. This war is seen as the sad fact of history. that part of the story is very important to tell you not?