The second part of a three part series to commemorate the Haywood County’s Civil War Sesquicentennial, entitled Preview“Last Shot Fired” will commemorate the 150th anniversary this upcoming weekend, May 8 – 11. The weekend events are guaranteed to educate, entertain and appeal to history buffs of all ages. There are many small stories and events that make up the whole tale of the “Last Shot Fired” in the Civil War east of the Mississippi and several groups in Haywood County have come together to tell these stories, reenact the battle, and commemorate this moment in history.
The last shot of the Civil War, east of the Mississippi, was fired during a skirmish between Thomas’s Legion, a Confederate unit also known as Thomas’s Legion of Cherokee Indians and Highlanders, and the Union’s 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment. In early May, 1865, Lieutenant Robert T. Conley and his men from Thomas’s Legion were passing through the woods in White Sulphur Springs, North Carolina (present day Waynesville) when they stumbled into the camp of the 2nd North Carolina Mounted Infantry Regiment led by Lieutenant Colonel William C. Bartlett. Conley rapidly formed a skirmish line and began firing causing the Union soldiers to run in confusion. One of Bartlett’s men, James Arwood was killed during the skirmish. The Union soldiers retreated into Waynesville and Thomas’s Legion surrounded the town. The following day, Confederate commanders General James Green Martin and Colonel William Holland Thomas (for whom the Legion was named) met with Bartlett at the Battle House in Waynesville in order to negotiate the surrender of the Union forces. Martin and Thomas were made aware that General Joseph E. Johnston had capitulated in Durham, North Carolina on April 26th, so Martin and Thomas surrendered their Confederate troops instead.
The weekend of May 8 – 11 will be full of events like battle reenactments, memorial services, guided and self-guided tours of Haywood County’s multiple civil war sights and much more. For a full schedule of events click here: Last Shot Fired – 150th Civil War Commemoration
There will be further events June 12-13 commemorating the occupation and reconstruction by federal troops. Publicity about these events will go out closer to June. For a complete itinerary, please visit www.lastshotfired.com. Information about parking and taking shuttle buses to events can be found on the website.
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