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Col. George Washington Kirk 2nd and 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Union.

Discussion in 'Civil War History - General Discussion' started by leftyhunter, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Col. Kirk is a very controversial figure in the Civil War. George Kirk was a native of Greene County,Tn. Kirk originally enlisted in the Confederate Army but deserted early on. It is not clear if Kirk was enthusiastic about the CSA cause or he just joined to avoid punishment for not doing so. After deserting the Confederate Army he became a guide for escaped POWS in East Tn and Western North Carolina. Eventually he recruited Unionist guerrillas. At the age of 25 he became a Col and led deserters, Unionists and Cherokee Indians in the 2nd North Carolina Volunteers in raids behind enemy lines.
    Leftyhunter
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016

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  3. Legion Para

    Legion Para Captain Retired Moderator

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  4. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    I just checked out the link. The paper back edition sells for $171 which seems a bit much. Kirk fought the KKK during the "Kirk-Holden War" so he could not be altogether bad. I have not seen any evidence that Kirk was ever disciplined by the Union Army. The title may or may not be tongue and check. The old saying "one mans terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" may very well apply.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  5. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    US Grant thought so.

    Kirk's tactics were so egregious during the Kirk-Holden War (1870) that it led to the impeachment and removal from from office of the scalawag governor William Holden of North Carolina when US president Grant refused to support him. Holden was the US first governor to be impeached and removed from office.
     
  6. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots Captain

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    Were you aware he's buried in Santa Clara ?
     
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  7. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    No not at all. Tell me more !
    Leftyhunter
     
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  8. east tennessee roots

    east tennessee roots Captain

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  9. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    African -American leaders thought that Gov. Holden and in turn Kirk were justified in taking action against the KKK
    they cited"the right to go to the polls unmolested". Yes Kirk may of held men in violation of Habeas Corpus but he was fighting terrorists who in no way respected the law. Can you make the case that after Gov.Holden was impeached the African-Americans in North Carolina from 1870 on had full and equal rights including the right to vote and be elected to political office? I see no mention of the US Attorney's Office or the North Carolina State Attorney's Office or and District Attorney's Office issuing any judicial proceedings against George Kirk. If their is please provide documented evidence.
    Leftyhunter
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
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  10. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    "Ragan would not escape East Tennessee until July 1863 when George Kirk led 120 men out of Greene County. Even this trip nearly ended in disaster, as Ragan and the other recruits were almost betrayed by a hired guide and narrowly avoided capture by a Confederate patrol." p.68 "War at every door Partisan Politics & Guerrilla Violence in East Tennessee 1860-1869 " Noel C. Fisher The University of North Carolina Press.
    P.87 Fisher
    In February 1864 General Schofield inspired by Brig. Gen Morgan's partial success using Unionist Guerrillas authorized George Kirk to raise a regiment from the mountains of Tn and Nc. These regiments became the 2nd and 3rd Nc Mounted Infantry. I can't copy the entire page which has good information maybe it can be viewed on goggle books..
    "Kirk subsequently won several victories over secessionist guerrilla bands and harassed the weakened Confederate forces in Nc. But his men spent more of their time plundering and terrorizing secessionists. Overall, Kirk proved as much a disappointment as Clift,( another Unionist guerrilla leader sponsored by Brig Gen. Morgan) and again Federal officers discovered the limitations of their partisan allies'".
    Leftyhunter
     
  11. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    Had African-American encouraged Gov. Holden to restrain John W. “Chicken” Stephens instead of encouraging him, there wouldn't have been the sudden upsurge of Ku Klux Klan and Union League violence that led to the Kirk- Holden War.

    John W. Stephens has been a Lieutenant in the Confederate army during the war, but during Reconstruction, had thrown his lot with the scalawag Holden. At The beginning of the troubles, Stephens was a state senator and a “detective” for Holden.

    The beginning of the end for both Stephens and Holden occurred when a neighbour's chicken wandered into Stephens' yard and Stephens shot it. An argument ensued between the neighbour and Stephens and Stephens shot and slightly wounded the other man. The sheriff arrested Stephens and he was held over- night but was released the next day with no charges filed against him. Stephens should have let the matter drop at that point but apparently enraged for being arrested, he began to stir up the Union League against the white citizens of his town (Yanceyville). He was reported seen passing out matches to black members of the Union League. In any case, The Yanceyville Hotel went up in flames. A row of houses was destroyed, farmers of the county (Cashwell) had tobacco crops destroyed. The burning then moved to neighbouring Alamance County where the black sheriff and Stephens's henchman coordinated Union League activities. The burning and destruction continued on to two more surrounding counties - Chatham and Holden's home county of Orange. In the meantime, Governor Holden did nothing to stop his political allies. And yes, the Klan did react violently.
    Stephens and the Black sheriff were assassinated by unknown assailants, but the Klan was believed responsible – they probably were. While Gov. Holden had ignored and even encouraged Union League depredations, he didn't ignore the killing of his political henchmen and instigators. He then declared an insurrection in a four- county area of North Carolina. He then called in the notorious William Kirk, from east Tennessee to suppress the uprising.

    Kirk's high- handed methods were to lead to Holden downfall. Kirk had no idea of who were Klan members and who were not or who were guilty and who were not. He assumed all able- bodied white men were members and guilty of something.

    A Federal judge George W. Brooks issued a writ of habeas requiring the prisoners to be brought before him at the coming session of the Salisbury court. “Local citizens were placed in jail under military arrest, and both Kirk and Holden refused to recognize writs of habeas corpus for their release ordered by state judges. Holden at once telegraphed President Grant, denying Brook's right to issue the writ, and saying that, and saying that Kirk would be directed to refuse to obey the judge's mandate. Whereupon the President, perhaps on the advice of his attorney general, wired Holden to obey Brook's write. Meanwhile, Conservative won a sweeping victory at the polls. Deserted by Grant and repudiated at the polls, Holden declared the insurrection at an end.” William Holden was now political dead meat.

    Hugh T. Lefler and Albert R. Newsome, The History of a Southern State: North Carolina, pp. 466-468.
     
  12. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    The unionists captured approximately a dozen Cherokee boys in east Tennessee and gave them gold coins to join their army. Bad Mistake, though they survived the war, several were killed and the rest banished by fellow tribesmen when they returned to the reservation after the war.

    Vernon Crow, Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers








     
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  13. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    That's an interesting account and in no way was the rather weak U.S. and local government response to KKK terrorism ideal. An argument could be made that the Reconstruction state government of Arkansas was much more effective but that is a worthy subject for another thread.
    I can't see the denial of basic voting rights to an entire race of people for close to a hundred years being caused by some Reconstruction Era skirmishes.
    Leftyhunter
     
  14. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    D
    Do you have a page number?
    Leftyhunter
     
  15. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    The book was borrowed from a friend and I didn't write down the page numbers, I will call him tomorrow and see if he will bring it to our SCV meeting Thursday night. A few years ago, you could buy a copy of Storm in the Mountains: Thomas' Confederate Legion of Cherokee Indians and Mountaineers for about $15 or $20 now, on Amazon, a new copy goes for $250 and a used one for $199.
     
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  16. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Thanks. I don't know why book prices are going up so much. I have lots of CW book I can't see spending that much for one book. I would rather spend big bucks on hunting out of state since Calif sucks.
    Leftyhunter
     
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  17. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    I went to Amazon today to buy a copy and couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the price. Several years ago, I was at the Cherokee reservation website, I saw the book listed in their bookstore, I don't remember the exact price but it couldn't have more than $20. I could kick myself for not buying a copy at that time.
     
  18. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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    Brooks- Baxter War
    http://www.oldstatehouse.com/About-Us/History-of-the-Old-State-House/brooks-baxter-war

    A good book source is Otis A. Singletary's Negro Militia and Reconstruction, pp. 50-65.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  19. Rebforever

    Rebforever Major

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  20. CSA Today

    CSA Today Colonel

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  21. leftyhunter

    leftyhunter Colonel

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    Hi CSA Today,
    I have a thread on post Civil War violence.If you like I can bring it up and you can post your sources and thoughts about Reconstruction Era violence.
    I want to focus this thread on Colonel Kirk.
    Leftyhunter
     
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