Colonel George Kirk was a Union officer who, along with his 600 men terrorized Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee during the war. Like their Confederate counterpart, Teague, they did not care which side their victims were loyal to.
Ironically, on April 9, 1865, the day Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox, Kirk and his army of bushwhackers and criminals came to Cataloochee from Tennessee via Mt. Sterling.
Colonel Robert Howell, CSA, had the job of defending the Cataloochee Parkway, a crude road through Cataloochee and over Mt. Sterling. His soldiers were men too old to go to war and boys too young to go. Being greatly outnumbered and with insufficient firepower, all they could do was snipe and harass Kirk.
When the Blue Army was first seen, Colonel Howell sent one of the boys down the mountain to warn the families in Cataloochee. The boy stopped at Young Bennett's house. While the Bennett's hid their things Mrs. Bennett, rode a fast horse to warn the others in the valley.
The early warning enabled the people to hid their valuables, food and livestock from the dreaded raiders. The raiders stayed several days. They found out that the Schoolhouse Patch (a school/church building) had been turned into a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers passing through Cataloochee and raided the little building. Nine convalesing men were killed, six wounded and three were able to escape. (top)
© 2001, Cataloochee - A Valley & It's People