Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Impressions - Confederate Homeguard - Watauga County, NC, Fall 1864

This is a shot from the King's Mountain event from last weekend, which incidently, was a photo-rich environment for someone who doesn't get to take many pictures at a typical event.

The reenactor featured is representative of the civilian nature of the local Confederate homeguard in the mountains of North Carolina. Specifically, this fellow is part of the 11th Battalion North Carolina Homeguard, which was based in Watauga county at Camp Mast. As with other homeguard units, the 11th Battalion was charged with many duties, mainly serving as provosts to catch deserters. Two companies of homeguard comprised the 11th Battalion. Since the unit was composed mostly of farmers, one company would be out every other week to tend to their farms.

Homeguards were not armed with the best gear, having to make do with what they obtain from the Confederate authorities. The 11th Battalion was known to have carried muskets. Speculation is that they were either M1816 or M1842 Springfield muskets converted from flint to percussion. Civilian clothes, especially in 1864 or 65, were probably the order of the day. Other things like haversacks and canteens were more than likely homespun too.

The 11th's defining moments were few, and never worked to their advantage. Under their commander, Major Harvey Bingham, the 11th was exceptionally successful at nabbing deserters. When the opposition had more teeth and gumption, the story was different. The single action that the 11th fought was ingloriously called "The Battle of Beech Mountain", where they were ambushed by local Unionists. Outmatched by Spencer rifles, the musket-armed homeguard were driven off Beech Mountain and retreated back to Camp Mast. Near the end of the war, a small contingent of Federal Cavalry would compell the battalion, by clever trickery, to surrender en mass at Camp Mast.

4 comments:

David Corbett said...

Dear Elephant ,
This feller has a dandy impression don't he ? Keep up the good work .
all for the old flag,
David Corbett

mntineer said...

Dave -

He had a great impression -- the one thing I wish he had on was his coat, which would have really topped it off nicely. But we were doing this in upper 80 degree weather, so I was lucky to get the shots. :-)

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Jacob said...

Great article,very interesting, not very many articles out there on this subject.