On April 3, 1865, Colonel Kirby of the 101st Ohio Infantry was ordered to "scout in the direction
of Asheville." The Union solders were aided by a "number of deserters familiar with the
terrain." Kirby advanced the French BroadRiver with a force of 900 infantrymen and
an estimated 200 partisans (which included Rebel deserters who had pledged an oath of allegiance to the United States),
two cannon, and a train of wagons. Kirby and the Union army approached Asheville on April
6 and planned to occupy it, but the vigilant Col. Clayton (a West Point graduate) and the 62nd North Carolina had other ideas about the Yankees' invasion. To the west, 600 men of
Thomas' Legion were stationed between Waynesville and Warm Springs (O.R., 49, i, 31). Col. Clayton was also assisted by a company of the Silver Greys and
some Confederate soldiers at home on leave. The Silver Greys was comprised of senior and junior reserves, which served as home
guard, and totaled 44 men; it included a 14 year old boy and a 60 year old Baptist
Battle of Asheville & Vicinity Map
Clayton gathered the Confederates and two small
brass Napoleon cannons and marched them to rough earthworks that overlooked the French Broad route being used by Kirby’s
men. When the two forces met at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, they simply lined up and began firing. There was no maneuvering,
but gunfire, peppered with a few cannon blasts, continued for about five hours.
At approximately , "the full Yankee brigade deployed." The Confederates commanded positions on the ridge, or high ground, and
the Federals hastily confronted them at short range (the location is currently known as Broadway Street). The battle commenced and the armies exchanged countless volleys until that night. Although
the Union army greatly outnumbered the Confederates, the Yankees were compelled to retreat. Union and Confederate casualties
were reported as "few."
Earthworks at the Battle of Asheville
North Carolina Office of Archives & History
(Left) The site of the breastworks,
or earthworks, is now part of the campus of the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
After General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, the Confederates serving
with Col. Clayton in Asheville withdrew and returned to their homes. They never swore the oath of allegiance as required
by Federal authorities. Lt. Col. Bryan Gibbs McDowell wrote that "No braver or nobler hearted men ever lived than those
composing the Sixty-second North Carolina Infantry Regiment."
Asheville had averted capitulation, it was soon captured, April 26, 1865, during Stoneman's Cavalry Raid. The city's fall, however, occurred almost two weeks after Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox on April
9, 1865, but coincided with Gen. Joe Johnston's surrender to Gen. William T. Sherman at Bentonville, North Carolina.
(See Official Order of Surrendering Confederate Forces.)
Recommended Reading:Confederate Military History Of North Carolina: North Carolina In The Civil War, 1861-1865.Description: The author, Prof. D. H. Hill, Jr., was the son of Lieutenant
General Daniel Harvey Hill (North Carolina produced only
two lieutenant generals and it was the second highest rank in the army) and his mother was General “Stonewall”
Jackson’s wife's sister. In Confederate Military History Of North Carolina,
Hill discusses North Carolina’s massive task of preparing and mobilizing for the conflict; the many regiments and battalions
recruited from the Old North State; as well as the state's numerous contributions during the war. Continued below...
During Hill's TarHeelState
study, the reader begins with interesting and thought-provoking statistical data regarding the 125,000 "OldNorthState"
soldiers that fought during the course of the war and the 40,000 that perished. Hill advances with the Tar Heels to the first
battle at Bethel, through numerous bloody campaigns and battles--including North
Carolina’s contributions at the "High Watermark" at Gettysburg--and concludes
with Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Reading:The Civil War in North Carolina.Description: Numerous battles and skirmishes were fought in North Carolina during the Civil War, and the campaigns and battles themselves were crucial
in the grand strategy of the conflict and involved some of the most famous generals of the war. John Barrett presents the
complete story of military engagements across the state, including the classical pitched battle of Bentonville--involving
Generals Joe Johnston and William Sherman--the siege of FortFisher, the amphibious campaigns on the coast, and cavalry sweeps such
as General George Stoneman's Raid. Also available in hardcover: The Civil War in North Carolina.
the Carolina's Civil War Sites (Touring the Backroads Series).
Description: Touring the Carolina's Civil War Sites helps travelers find the Carolinas' famous
Civil War battlefields, forts, and memorials, as well as the lesser skirmish sites, homes, and towns that also played a significant
role in the war. The book's 19 tours, which cover the 'entire Carolinas' (Coastal Plain to Mountain; from Lowcountry to Upstate)
combine riveting history with clear, concise directions and maps, creating a book that is as fascinating to the armchair reader
as it is to the person interested in heritage travel. Below are some examples from this outstanding book:
1. Fort Fisher - the largest
sea fort in the war that protected the vital town of Wilmington N.C., and the blockade runners so important for supplying
Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. 2.Charleston
- where the whole shootin' match started. 3. Bentonville - the last large
scale battle of the war. 4. Outer Banks - early Union victories here were vital to capturing
many parts of Eastern North Carolina from which the Union could launch several offensives. 5.Sherman's
March - the destruction of certain towns in both Carolinas (particularly South Carolina)
further weakened the South's will to continue the struggle. I also enjoyed reading about the locations of various gravesites
of Confederate generals and their Civil War service. Indeed, if not for this book, this native North Carolinian and long-time
Civil War buff may never have learned of, and visited, the locations of some of the lesser-known sites other than those mentioned
above. Johnson's writing style is smooth--without being overly simplistic--and contains several anecdotes (some humorous
ones too) of the interesting events which took place during the Civil War years. Highly recommended!
Recommended Viewing: The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns. Review:The
Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns is the most successful public-television miniseries in American history. The 11-hourCivil War didn't just captivate a nation,
reteaching to us our history in narrative terms; it actually also invented a new film language taken from its creator. When
people describe documentaries using the "Ken Burns approach," its style is understood: voice-over narrators reading letters
and documents dramatically and stating the writer's name at their conclusion, fresh live footage of places juxtaposed with
still images (photographs, paintings, maps, prints), anecdotal interviews, and romantic musical scores taken from the era
he depicts. Continued below...
The Civil War uses all of these devices to evoke atmosphere and resurrect an event that many knew
only from stale history books. While Burns is a historian, a researcher, and a documentarian, he's above all a gifted storyteller,
and it's his narrative powers that give this chronicle its beauty, overwhelming emotion, and devastating horror. Using the
words of old letters, eloquently read by a variety of celebrities, the stories of historians like Shelby Foote and rare, stained
photos, Burns allows us not only to relearn and finally understand our history, but also to feel and experience it. "Hailed
as a film masterpiece and landmark in historical storytelling." "[S]hould be a requirement for every
Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR), especially Kirby’s report of April 13, 1865, in Vol. XLIX, Part
1, Series 1; National Archives (NARA); Library of Congress (LOC); National
Park Service: American Civil War (NPS); North Carolina Office of Archives and History; North Carolina Museum of History;
Walter Clark's Regiments: Histories of the Several Regiments and Battalions from North Carolina in the Great War
1861-65; Weymouth T. Jordan and Louis H. Manarin,
North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865; Joseph H. Crute, Jr., Units of the Confederate States Army; D. H. Hill, Confederate
Military History Of North Carolina: North Carolina In The Civil War, 1861-1865; Forster
A. Sondley, A History of Buncombe County (North
Carolina), 2 vols. (1930); John C. Inscoe and Gordon B. McKinney,
The Heart of Confederate Appalachia: Western North Carolina in the Civil War (2000); William R. Trotter, Bushwhackers: The
Civil War in North Carolina, The Mountains (1988); Asheville Citizen-Times, April 30, 2005; John G. Barrett, The Civil War
in North Carolina (1963).