The Battle of Asheville

 

A Confederate Victory at the Battle of Asheville

The Sixty-second North Carolina Infantry Regiment was one of North Carolina's last regiments to surrender. The fragment of the regiment composed part of Palmer's Brigade at Asheville on March 10, 1865, and with General Martin it engaged and repelled Kirby's Brigade near Asheville on April 6, 1865.

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 Broad River, 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 N.C. Regiment 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 minister.

At approximately 3 p.m., "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 8 o'clock that night. Although the Union army greatly outnumbered the Confederates, the Yankees were compelled to retreat.

After General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia on April 9, 1865, the Confederates serving with Colonel Clayton in Asheville withdrew and returned to their homes. They never swore the oath of allegiance as required by Federal authorities. Lt. Colonel Bryan Gibbs McDowell wrote that "No braver or nobler hearted men ever lived than those composing the Sixty-second North Carolina Infantry Regiment."

 

Sources: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (OR); 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).    Test edited text here.