War In The Mountains: the Macbeth Light Artillery at Asheville, NC 1864-1865
During the War Between the States, the mountains of North Carolina were rife with internecine conflict where the phrase "brother against brother" truly applied. By late 1863, the Confederate government took measures to tighten control of the region, establishing the Western District of North Carolina, covering the area from the Blue Ridge Mountains west to the state border. In four months, Colonel John B. Palmer, commanding at Asheville, faced a crisis when Confederate General James Longstreet pulled his army from East Tennessee, leaving the district exposed and threatened by the growing Union presence at Knoxville. Palmer travelled to Richmond to plead for more troops, and a gun battery to counter recent Federal raids where he was outgunned by Yankee artillery. The Confederate high command ordered the Macbeth Light Artillery from Charleston, South Carolina, to Asheville where they arrived late May 1864. Hardened veterans of Second Manassas and Antietam, the Macbeth would see a different face of war in the mountains, fighting a different kind of enemy, often not in any uniform, native Southerners disloyal to the Confederate cause, conscript evaders, and deserters. This book is a panorama of the mountain war in North Carolina and East Tennessee, of raids, skirmishes, and battles where rebel commander John B. Palmer defended the Western District against Federal incursions and irregulars like the notorious Yankee raider, Colonel George W. Kirk. The Macbeth Light Artillery is covered in a first book length account within the context of a comprehensive study of military operations during 1864 and 1865 in Western North Carolina and East Tennessee. Topics covered include the Shelton-Laurel Massacre, Camp Vance Raid, and Battle of Asheville, all in North Carolina; Tennessee battles at Morristown, Bulls Gap, Strawberry Plains, and Red Banks; battles at Saltville Virginia, and numerous raids and skirmishes carried out across the region.