Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kirk’s Civil War Raids Along the Blue Ridge

Back when I was in the midst of one of my unionism in southern Appalachia reading phases (looking in particular at the upland region shared by East Tennessee, SW Virginia, and western North Carolina), I failed in my attempts to acquire a reasonably priced used copy of Matthew Bumgarner's Kirk's Raiders: "a notorious band of scoundrel's and thieves" (Tarheel Press, 2000). Apparently, now it's even harder to find on the secondary market at any price. The publisher's website linked above does still list it as available for purchase, but who knows how current their store might be. Like I have, I'm sure you've all run into dormant web stores with tantalizing ghost listings.

Anyway, the Tennessee-born Unionist George W. Kirk was an important player in the region's inner Civil War. In 1864, using East Tennessee as haven and base of operations, Kirk's 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry launched several raids across the border into western North Carolina, where the actions of he and his men (like they had in Tennessee) gained quite a notorious reputation. The topic is certainly worthy of another book, and I've just learned that one is on the way. Though he's better known for his many Confederate studies, Civil War North Carolina historian Michael Hardy will be the newest author to tackle the subject. His Kirk’s Civil War Raids Along the Blue Ridge is currently scheduled for a March 2018 release.

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