April 6-11, 1862.--expedition from Greeneville, Tenn., into Laurel Valley, N. C.
Reports of Maj. Gen. B. Kirby Smith, C. S. Army, with congratulatory letter.
headquarters Department of East Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., April 17, 1862.Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of an expedition sent by my order into a portion of the State of North Carolina known as Laurel Valley, lying near the Tennessee border, and in the vicinity of Bald Mountain: A detachment of troops, composed of three companies of the Fortythird Tennessee Regiment, Lieutenant-Colonel Key commanding, moved from the town of Greeneville, in this department, on the 6th instant, arriving on the 7th at a point on Bald Mountain which had been occupied as a camping ground by a party of outlaws, who had decamped two days previous to that time. On the morning of the 8th our force moved down into Laurel Valley, a district long known as a general resort and hiding place for outlaws, who have been accustomed to send out from this point marauding parties into the adjoining counties of Tennessee and North Carolina, greatly annoying the people in those sections. Directing his march through this valley, Colonel Key met no regularly-organized force, but his command was repeatedly fired on by parties of from 4 to 10 men, who would then immediately retreat beyond his reach, the country being particularly favorable to this mode of warfare. A portion of the force was deployed on either side of the line of march, the column being thus protected in a measure, and the enemy driven from their hiding places. Owing, however, to the impenetrability of the thickets, few of them could be killed and none captured. This skirmishing was kept up on the 8th, 9th, and 10th, during which time about 15 of the enemy were killed. The casualties on our side were 3 men wounded-Privates Smith, Morgan, and Higdon, of Company A, the latter two mortally. On the 11th the expedition returned to Greeneville. The lieutenant-colonel commanding reports that there seems to be a regular organization among the inhabitants of that portion of the country. The whole population is openly hostile to our cause, and all who are able to serve are under arms. Lieutenant-Colonel Key reports the officers and men to have behaved themselves well on this tedious and difficult march, and it is but justice to him to say that he evinced unusual energy and forethought, conducting the expedition in a highly creditable manner. Respectfully, your obedient servant,
headquarters Department of East Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., April 16, 1862.Sir: With the hope that the information herein contained may be of service, the commanding general of this department begs leave to call your attention to the condition of affairs in a portion of North Carolina lying near the Tennessee line and in the vicinity of Bald Mountain, known as Laurel Valley. Repeated depredations having been committed on this side of the mountain by armed parties of marauders from that quarter, the commanding general ordered, about the 5th of this month, a detachment of troops to proceed from Greeneville, in the State of Tennessee, into Laurel Valley, with instructions to put down any illegal organization of armed men that might be found there. These instructions were carried out as far as the circumstances of the case would permit, but as it was impossible to scour the country thoroughly, owing to the thickness of the undergrowth, many outlaws probably remain there. The commanding officer of the expedition reports that there seems to be a regular organization among them, and that the entire population who are able to bear arms are arrayed against us. He reports killing about 15 of them, with a loss on our part of 2 killed and 1 wounded. Notwithstanding the universal hostility of the people to our cause no private property was molested, except what was necessary for our troops while there. The commanding general respectfully recommends that some measures be taken by the authorities of North Carolina to put a stop to these depredations. I am, sir, most respectfully, your obedient servant, By order of Maj. Gen. E. Kirby Smith: E. Cunningham, Acting Aide-de-Oamp. His Excellency the Governor of north Carolina, alejig, N. a. headquarters Department of East Tennessee, Knoxville, Tenn., April 17, 1862. Lieut. Col. D. M. Key, Forty-third Regiment Tennessee Volunteers: Colonel: The major-general commanding directs me to express to you his appreciation of the energy and judgment displayed in the conduct of the late expedition into North Carolina, communicated in your report of the 14th instant. He desires also that this shall be communicated to the men then under your command in such terms as will assure them of his confidence in their zeal in the prompt discharge of their military duties and in their patriotism. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
H. L. Clay, Assistant Adjutant-General.