The Last Official Battle of the Civil War
"An Down Home Artsy Community with Friendly People"
Just before I began writing the introduction to Waynesville, I finished a book I picked up at our library last week called Ghost Riders by Sharyn McCrumb. The book was in the hallway before entering the adult section where they sell their old books, CD's, etc. For some reason I picked up this book and then saw that it was about parts of the American Civil War that were fought in the Western Carolina, Eastern Tennessee area. The story goes back and forth between the Civil War days and the current day Civil War reenactments. Part of the book talks about the Battle of Waynesville which interestingly enough was a minor skirmish fought in May, 1865 several weeks after the official truce signing (of course no email and cell phones in those days to let everybody know). The last official casualty of the war took place in the battle with the death of a young solider from the Union forces from Indiana. And the confederates won that battle. Maybe that's where the expression "win the battle, but lose the war" or something like that came from.
"Dogs in Pickup Trucks - The Story Continues"
Now, when us Northeners think about the south we usually envision dogs in pickup trucks. Well, after several times on our trips seeing hunting dogs sticking their heads out of the front seat of a pickup truck and either not having my camera ready while they passed us by or not wanting to risk life and limb while taking a photo or video going 65 MPH I finally spotted this fellow (or lady didn't really get that close of a look) sitting the the bed of a pickup truck which was parked in downtown Waynesville. Finally got my picture.
Now to continue my story a little bit more, in the book Ghost Riders, a local sheriff from Eastern Tennessee has ridden over to Waynesville, North Carolina to try and discover if the last soldier killed in the Civil War is actually a relative of his (he never does find out). The author describes the meeting between the sheriff and a local historian who takes him to where the battle was fought. Thinking that the "battlefield" is still intact like Gettysburg or some other big battles the sheriff is prepared with hiking boots, a raincoat and a camera. The historian says (and here is where I will quote from the book), "Oh, dear. Before the sheriff could ask what the matter was , Collier (the historian) eased the car to the curbside, and parked in front of a one-story house with a carport."
"A Work of Down Home Art - The Story Ends"
Another thing us Northeners think about when we visit the south are banjo and fiddlers. As this picture shows, Waynesville takes pride in this local custom with a statue downtown (the dog and the truck were parked right next to this). More about the statue in another tip.
To finish my Civil War story. "Spencer (the sheriff) wondered if Collier had decided to make a stop at his own home before going out to the battlefield. Collier got out and gestured toward a brick barbecue grill beside the driveway , perhaps fifteen feet from the street. This is it Sheriff". The sheriff obviously disappointed that the battlefield is no longer there takes his picture of the barbecue grill and they leave.
Now, I am somewhat of a Civil War buff having at least 3 bookshelves at home with books on the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln (my earliest and still hero) and here I was in the town that had the last official battle and didn't even know about it until a month after I was there reading a book. It's perhaps kismet that I picked up that book. Anyway, I've got to find out where that house is so the next time I get back to Waynesville (yes, I would visit again) I can get my own picture of that barbecue grill.