Henry Grooms killed April 10, 1865

1NCCAV

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#1
Mountain fiddler Henry Grooms was killed 154 years ago today in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along with his brother George Grooms and his brother-in-law Mitchell Caldwell by members of a Home Guard unit commanded by Albert Teague.

Apparently, Mitchell Caldwell had a slight mental handicap or what we might call a mental challenge today. In those days they would have said, "He's a simple minded boy." But Mitchell did not understand what was about to happen and kept grinning at the Home Guard, which unnerved them. They made him cover his face with his hat before shooting him.

This inspired a scene in the film Cold Mountain.

Local legend has it that Henry played Bonaparte's Retreat, his signature tune, before being killed. Bonaparte's retreat can be rendered several ways. It can be played as a peppy dance tune but Henry was said to have played it that day in the slow, mournful way that can make a hound dog howl.

This fiddler plays it well both ways:


To this day, North Carolina mountain fiddlers will refer to Bonaparte's Retreat as "Grooms' Tune."
 
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#3
Mountain fiddler Henry Grooms was killed 154 years ago today in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along with his brother George Grooms and his brother-in-law Mitchell Caldwell by members of a Home Guard unit commanded by Albert Teague.

Apparently, Mitchell Caldwell had a slight mental handicap or what we might call a mental challenge today. In those days they would have said, "He's a simple minded boy." But Mitchell did not understand what was about to happen and kept grinning at the Home Guard, which unnerved them. They made him cover his face with his hat before shooting him.

This inspired a scene in the film Cold Mountain.

Local legend has it that Henry played Bonaparte's Retreat, his signature tune, before being killed. Bonaparte's retreat can be rendered several ways. It can be played as a peppy dance tune but Henry was said to have played it that day in the slow, mournful way that can make a hound dog howl.

This fiddler plays it well both ways:


To this day, North Carolina mountain fiddlers will refer to Bonaparte's Retreat as "Grooms' Tune."
Henry and George were deserters from the 62nd NC. Henry had been home on sick leave and declared deserted June 15, 1863. Only 2 file cards in George's record. Interesting that on 10/16/1863 a George Grooms from Haywood County, NC enlisted in Company K Union 11th TN Cavalry. He soon goes AWOL and declared deserted from the Yankees 12/12/1863. The last card in his file is from 1893. His widow was probably years obtaining a widow's pension. She had to have "deserted" cleared from his record. A notation on that last card says :

"The charge of desertion against this man has been removed. It has been determined from evidence presented, that he was killed by the enemy, April 22, 1864, while absent on recruiting service in Haywood County, NC".

The Yankees may have the date of his death wrong ? They also had him being 36 years old, but it seems to be the same man.

Fold3_Grooms_George.jpg

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May 3, 2019
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#4
Mountain fiddler Henry Grooms was killed 154 years ago today in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along with his brother George Grooms and his brother-in-law Mitchell Caldwell by members of a Home Guard unit commanded by Albert Teague.

Apparently, Mitchell Caldwell had a slight mental handicap or what we might call a mental challenge today. In those days they would have said, "He's a simple minded boy." But Mitchell did not understand what was about to happen and kept grinning at the Home Guard, which unnerved them. They made him cover his face with his hat before shooting him.

This inspired a scene in the film Cold Mountain.

Local legend has it that Henry played Bonaparte's Retreat, his signature tune, before being killed. Bonaparte's retreat can be rendered several ways. It can be played as a peppy dance tune but Henry was said to have played it that day in the slow, mournful way that can make a hound dog howl.

This fiddler plays it well both ways:


To this day, North Carolina mountain fiddlers will refer to Bonaparte's Retreat as "Grooms' Tune."

That is great thank you
 
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#6
Henry and George were deserters from the 62nd NC. Henry had been home on sick leave and declared deserted June 15, 1863. Only 2 file cards in George's record. Interesting that on 10/16/1863 a George Grooms from Haywood County, NC enlisted in Company K Union 11th TN Cavalry. He soon goes AWOL and declared deserted from the Yankees 12/12/1863. The last card in his file is from 1893. His widow was probably years obtaining a widow's pension. She had to have "deserted" cleared from his record. A notation on that last card says :

"The charge of desertion against this man has been removed. It has been determined from evidence presented, that he was killed by the enemy, April 22, 1864, while absent on recruiting service in Haywood County, NC".
". . . while absent on recruiting service. . ." I'd like to read that pension file! My guess is that Mrs. Grooms' attorney in the pension case was W.W. Rollins, and that he and G.W. Kirk swore Grooms died in the line of duty as a recruiter. That seems to be the general story in many WNC widows pension cases. Looking at compiled service records of men in the 2nd and 3rd NCMI, you'll find as many "recruiters" as soldiers. (Well, that's stretching it some, but you get the idea.)
 
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#7
". . . while absent on recruiting service. . ." I'd like to read that pension file! My guess is that Mrs. Grooms' attorney in the pension case was W.W. Rollins, and that he and G.W. Kirk swore Grooms died in the line of duty as a recruiter. That seems to be the general story in many WNC widows pension cases. Looking at compiled service records of men in the 2nd and 3rd NCMI, you'll find as many "recruiters" as soldiers. (Well, that's stretching it some, but you get the idea.)
As in William "Pink" Inman of "Cold Mountain" fame. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/re...s-in-the-civil-war.129343/page-2#post-1481773
 
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#8



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