This past Saturday, I had an opportunity to speak at the dedication of the new Camp Mast North Carolina Civil War Trail marker in western Watauga County.
As many of you know, the Home Guard was organized by Governor Vance in July 1863. Watauga County was designated the 11th Battalion, North Carolina Home Guard. The two companies were under the command of Major Harvey Bingham. One company was in camp while the other company was at home taking care of farms and families. Bingham and his command often spent their time scouring the mountains looking for deserters, conscript dodgers, escaped Federal prisoners, and dissidents. So well did Bingham do his job that the General Assembly voted him a letter of thanks in 1864. In February 1865, Camp Mast was captured, and the huts and cabins the soldiers occupied were burned.
Ever since I had the opportunity to work with the folks in Avery County in installing three North Carolina Civil War Trail markers, I have been advocating the placement of markers in Watauga County. If funding could be acquired, there would be room for four or five markers in the county where Daniel Boone once roamed and hunted. The funding for the Watauga County marker was provided by the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority, and approval for placing the marker at the old school came from the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.
In the past, salutes have often been provided by various re-enacting organization. This past Saturday, I was privileged to work with both the Watauga County Chapter 90 of the Disabled American Veterans and the American Legion Post 130, who provided an honor guard, a salute, and the sounding of taps.
I look forward to the dedication of future Watauga County North Carolina Civil War Trail markers.