Thursday, March 1, 2018

Booknotes: Kirk's Civil War Raids Along the Blue Ridge

New Arrival:
Kirk's Civil War Raids Along the Blue Ridge by Michael C. Hardy (Arcadia Pub & The Hist Press, 2018).

This is the last of the most recent batch of Civil War releases from Arcadia/THP. Born in East Tennessee, George W. Kirk opposed secession and actively resisted the Confederate government. He fought with the 2nd NC Mounted Infantry (Union) and later raised and led the 3rd NC Mounted Infantry. He's probably best known for his late-war raids into western North Carolina, but he and his men were a terror to the civilian population on both sides of the TN-NC border for much of the war. Michael Hardy's Kirk's Civil War Raids Along the Blue Ridge recounts the full story.

From the description: "In the Southern Appalachian Mountains, no character was more loved or despised than Union officer George W. Kirk. He led a group of deserters on numerous raids between Tennessee and North Carolina in 1863. In 1864 at Camp Vance in Morganton, Kirk’s mounted raiders showcased guerrilla warfare penetrating deep within Confederate territory. As Home Guards struggled to keep Western North Carolina communities safe, Kirk’s men brought fear throughout the region for their ability to strike and create havoc without warning."

Southern Unionism and the irregular war on the home front have been popular topics of late, and it looks like the book will be a great resource for those wishing to know more about Southern Appalachia's "inner war." Before Hardy's book came along, options beyond Matt Bumgarner's Kirk's Raiders (2000), which I haven't read, seem to have been pretty slim.

1 comment:

  1. After the war Reconstruction governor William Holden, facing Klan activity in Alamance County and elsewhere, suspended habeas corpus appointed Kirk to suppress it. As might be expected it was a bloody affair and simply inflamed tensions. Hard to imagine him appointing a more divisive figure for this sort of work, and it was one more thing that led to Holden's impeachment.


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