During the war, the numerous hollows and caves in western North Carolina provided numerous places for deserters (from both armies), conscript dodgers, and dissidents to hide out. Probably one of the most famous is Linville Caverns, which I wrote about here.
This past Saturday, I had a chance to participate in the Avery County Community Day, held at Cranberry (the site of an iron mine during the war). I like attending such programs – I always seem to come away with some little bit of knowledge that I did not know. This day was not to disappoint. In conversing with the lady at the booth next to mine, I learned of a place called “Booger Den.” According to people she grew up with, this was a shallow, but large, cave that Civil War soldiers hid out in during the war. That is about as much of the story as I currently have, besides its location – on a trail in the Pisgah National Forest between Roseboro and Grandmother Mountain here in Avery County. I see a hike coming in the near future.
I might never find out who hid there during the war. It might have been used by all sides at different points, maybe even by the Blalocks. So many times that is how these stories come. I’ll give one other example, from Avery County. I’ve been told by several people that there was a skirmish during the war in Miller’s Gap. Miller’s Gap is on the way into Newland, close to where you turn off to go to the high school. But that is all of the story that I can get – just a skirmish at Miller’s Gap. And yes, it probably was not much: someone standing behind a tree shooting at some else who was walking up the road. That is so much of the war in Southern Appalachia.