Kirk's Raid

Kirk's Raid (HM8BP)

Location: Edgefield, NC 28751 Edgefield County
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Country: United States of America
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N 35° 31.266', W 83° 6.403'

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On February 1, 1865, Col. George Kirk, 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry (U.S.), left Newport, Tennessee, with 400 cavalry and 200 infantry for a raid into Haywood County. He passed through the mountains at Mount Sterling, following the Cataloochee Turnpike up Jonathan Creek Valley to Waynesville. While in the valley, his men killed former Confederates Absolom B. Carver and James E. Rice. Kirk and his raiders also burned the home of Young Bennett in Cataloochee and then burned a school that served as a makeshift hospital for ailing Confederate soldiers.

Kirk reached Waynesville on February 4 and sacked the town, ordering his men to burn the home of Revolutionary War hero Colonel Robert Love. The raiders also opened the Waynesville jail, liberated its prisoners (mostly local Unionists confined by Confederate authorities), and destroyed the building.

After wreaking havoc on the village of Waynesville, Kirk marched his troops toward Tennessee and camped at Balsam Gap, where a small contingent of Home Guards and farmers attacked the raiders. Kirk retreated first to Waynesville and then to Soco Gap. As Kirk approached Soco Gap, Lt. Robert T. Conley's sharpshooters of Thomas's Legion attacked. Kirk ordered a swift retreat to Balsam Gap, where the Federals escaped into Tennessee less than a week after the raid began.

Sidebar: In 1863, local resident Solomon Finger enlisted in Co. E, 29th North Carolina Infantry, at age 44, leaving his wife and five young children at home. He was captured on July 22, 1864, during the Battle of Atlanta and imprisoned in Camp Chase, Ohio. When a flu epidemic later struck Maggie Valley, he was informed by telegram that all five of his children had died. Released at the end of the war, Finger survived a walk of more than 100 miles and a murder attempt during his long journey home. He and his wife, Eliza, later had four more children. Finger and his entire family are buried nearby.
HM NumberHM8BP
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 at 9:17am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 308971 N 3932874
Decimal Degrees35.52110000, -83.10671667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 31.266', W 83° 6.403'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 31' 15.96" N, 83° 6' 24.18" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)828
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 16 State Rd 1304, Edgefield NC 28751, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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