Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Three Federal North Carolina Regiments

This past Saturday, I got the opportunity to speak to the state convention of the Military Order of the Stars and Bars in Asheville. They were a great group of folks, and I enjoyed being there. After that, I wandered over to Books-a-Million. Someone had given me a gift certificate for Christmas and, since there is no Books-a-Million in Crossnore, and it could not be used online, I had not used it as of yet.

When I was leaving, I ran into Scott Nicholson, an Appalachian-horror writer who lives in Boone and has been kind enough to review some of my books for the Watauga Democrat. We got to talking about home yankees - those who were from North Carolina and joined Federal regiments. The three in discussion were the 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry and the 13th Tennessee Cavalry. It is amazing how few people know anything about these regiments.

The 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry was organized in Knoxville, Tennessee in October 1863. The regiment was commanded by Lt. Col. J. Albert Smith, an Indiana native. A large number of men in the regiment came from Buncombe and Henderson counties. One of the company officers in the regiment was George W. Kirk, a Tennessee native. He set about to recruit his own regiment, and the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry, with Kirk as colonel, was organized at Knoxville, Tennessee in June 1864.

The 3rd NCMI was likewise made up of North Carolina men, mostly from Yancey, Wilkes, Watauga, and Mitchell Counties. Many of these men were former Confederates. Fifty-four of the men of the 58th North Carolina Troops joined these two regiments after they deserted.

Both regiments pulled almost the same service. The 2nd North Carolina was

Ordered to Greenville, Tenn., October 16, 1863, and on duty there until November 6. Moved to Bull's Gap November 6, and was on duty there until December. March across Clinch Mountains to Clinch River. Action at Walker's Ford December 2. Gibson's and Wyerman's, Miss., February 22, 1864. Duty at Cumberland Gap and patrol duty in East Tennessee until April, 1865. Scout from Cumberland Gap January 23-27, 1865. Expedition from East Tennessee into Western North Carolina March 21-April 25, 1865. Moved to Boone, N. C., April 6, and to Asheville, N. C., April 27-30. Duty in North Carolina and East Tennessee until August. Mustered out August 16, 1865.

The 3rd North Carolina did

Scout and patrol duty about Knoxville, Tenn., and in East Tennessee until December, 1864. Scout from Morristown, Tenn., into North Carolina June 13-July 15, 1864. Camp Vance June 28. Russellville, Tenn., October 28. Big Pigeon River November 5-6. Moved to Paint Rock December 7. Expedition into Western North Carolina March 21-April 25, 1865. Moved to Boone, N. C., April 6, and to Asheville, N. C., April 27-30. Duty in North Carolina and East Tennessee until August, 1865. Mustered out August 8, 1865.

Likewise, the 13th Tennessee was of the same ilk. According to Jeffrey Weaver’s web site:
The 13th Tennessee Cavalry was formed based on authority granted by Major General Ambrose E. Burnside, and was mustered into Federal service at Strawberry Plains, Knox County, Tennessee between October 28 and November 8, 1863. The regiment mustered out of Federal service at Knoxville on September 5, 1865. The regiment was commanded by Colonel John K. Miller during its existence

The 13th Tennessee Cavalry saw limited action during the first year of its existence. In the late summer of 1864, however, the regiment was pressed into active field service. The regiment skirmished the Brigadier General John C. Vaughn's East Tennessee (Confederate) Brigade on several occasions, and participated in the abortive column sent to support General Stephen Burbridge's October 2, 1864 raid on Saltville, when the Confederates soundly defeated the Federals at Bull's Gap. Subsequent fighting in November also resulted in defeat for the Federals.In December, 1864, however, General George Stoneman replaced Burbridge in operational control of forces in the area. Stoneman was a more agreeable commander for most of the Federals, increasing their morale, supply situation, and overall esprit de corps. The Confederates, on the other hand, had moved many of the men defending the saltworks at Saltville to the Shenandoah Valley and Richmond in the interim. In mid December 1864, General Stoneman led a raid, including the 13th Tennessee Cavalry on the important mines and railroad in southwest Virginia, and succeeded in wrecking the Saltville saltworks, and destroying iron forges in Smyth County, and shops in Wytheville, and eventually the lead mines in Wythe County, Virginia.The remainder of the winter of 1864-65 was spent in quarters, and occasionally chasing the remnants of John Vaughn's Confederate Brigade. The next active campaign, the last of the war, was again with Stoneman, through Watauga County, North Carolina, into Wilkes County, into Surry, and back into Southwest Virginia. The war was basically over, and little of military importance was accomplished on Stoneman's last raid

There is no modern treatment of the 13th Tennessee Cavalry. A history of the regiment was published in 1903 and has been reprinted by Overmountain Press.
In 2000, we got two books on the 3rd North Carolina. The first, by Ron V. Killan, I do not have and cannot comment on. The other, Kirk’s Raiders, by Matt Bumgarner, makes mention of the 2nd North Carolina and contains a roster of both regiments. But this book has no notes and no index.

I’m sure that I as work through the 58th NC that there will be more posts about these three regiments.

1 comment:

JB said...

My great-great-great Grandfather Zachary McIntire was in the 2nd Regiment.

He was the only one in his family that faught on the side of the North.

I have never been able to find out anything about the rest of his family.

He married a North Carolina Cherokee women and moved to the mountains of Kentucky where he owned a mercantile store. They had 16 children.

If is nice to find information at least about his unit.