Acts of Treason Against North Carolina – George W. Kirk
High on the list of those who adhered to the enemy and waged war upon North Carolina was the infamous George W. Kirk, a murderous leader of fellow deserters and bushwhackers. Born in Greene County, Tennessee, he enlisted in Confederate service but fled to the enemy at the first opportunity to terrorize western North Carolina. The corrupt Reconstruction Governor W.W. Holden later utilized Kirk to suppress North Carolinians who resisted his bayonet rule.
Read more at: http://www.ncwbts150.com/ActsofTreasonAgainstNorthCarolina.php
Kirk’s Bushwhackers and Traitors
“My father was Captain Thomas Anderson Long, C.S.A. Near the end of the war he was stationed at Camp Vance, near Morganton, in Western North Carolina, where he was serving as captain in the commissary. He was captured there when this small post, a training camp for conscripts, fell into the hands of Colonel Kirk and his band of guerillas. These men were a motley crew from east Tennessee; among them deserters from both armies, whose god was plunder and whose sport was murder; a dozen or so Cherokee Indians gave color and flavor to the outfit.
Kirk and his men came down stealthily through the mountain trails. The post was too weak to do anything but capitulate. Loading his plunder on forty horses and mules, Kirk took his booty and his prisoners and made a dash back to the mountains; but he was forced from time to time to fight off pursuing squads of [Home Guard] men – old men and young men – who had collected quickly.
In these skirmishes it was Kirk’s practice to place the prisoners in his own front rank so they might be killed unwittingly by their own comrades. He was heard to say, “Look at the damn fools shooting their own men.” Some of the prisoners were shot down, but my father was fortunate to escape unhurt.
When the prisoners had crossed the mountains and had reached the Tennessee River, they were distributed to various prisons, the officers being sent to Johnson’s Island in Lake Erie. [The prisoners] felt lucky to [be alive]…Kirk himself would probably have treated the prisoners more harshly if the Union general in command at Knoxville had not placed a restraining hand on Kirk. Kirk raided the Carolina mountains many times and in many directions. Women and children were the worst sufferers. Many of the men were in the army, and in their absence the women folk did even the plowing; when Kirk took their cows and pigs and chickens, there wasn’t much left to live on. If you wished to see men in this region bristle, all you need do is mention the name Kirk.”
(Son of Carolina, Augustus White Long, Duke University Press, 1939, pp. 11-13)