“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Turkey Cove in Lee County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Turkey Cove

An Appalachian Community in the Midst of War

Turkey Cove Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
1. Turkey Cove Marker
Inscription.  This valley was one of the most fertile and prosperous in the region during the Civil War. Turkey Cove contained farms large and small, prosperous and failing, and men who weighed their southern-facing economic interests with their traditional loyalty to the Union. When the Civil War came, each local resident had to make an important decision.

The Slemp and Richmond families were among the most successful farmers in the cove. Each owned large farms and slaves, and each supported the Confederacy when Virginia seceded. Early in September 1861, Campbell Slemp and James Buchanan Richmond organized some local men and drilled them in fields near the present-day community church.

They then marched to Camp Lane at the Methodist campground near Jonesville. On September 16, 146 men enlisted there in the 21st Battalion Virginia Infantry, with Slemp as captain of Company A. In November 1862, the unit merged with the 29th Virginia Infantry to form the 64th Virginia Mounted Infantry under Col. Slemp and Lt. Col. Richmond. On September 9, 1863, most of the men were captured at Cumberland Gap. Afterward, 79 of the
Turkey Cove Marker and Seminary United Methodist Church image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 10, 2017
2. Turkey Cove Marker and Seminary United Methodist Church
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original 146 enlistees were confined at Camp Douglas, Illinois. A total of 31 died in prison camps, while 9 chose to end their imprisonment by joining the U.S. Army or Navy. Of those not captured, 7 deserted and 4 died otherwise. Although no battles were fought in Turkey Cove itself, the Civil War stung here just the same.
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1861.
Location. 36° 48.662′ N, 82° 50.049′ W. Marker is in Turkey Cove, Virginia, in Lee County. Marker is at the intersection of Seminary Road (Route 708) and Seminary Church Loop (Old U.S. 58), on the left when traveling west on Seminary Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Big Stone Gap VA 24219, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Seminary United Methodist Church (a few steps from this marker); Members of Congress (approx. one mile away); Donelson’s Indian Line (approx. 2.6 miles away); Southwest Virginia Museum (approx. 4.7 miles away); Carl Martin (approx. 5 miles away); Big Stone Gap (approx.
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5.2 miles away); a different marker also named Big Stone Gap (approx. 5.2 miles away); Origins of Big Stone Gap (approx. 5.2 miles away).
More about this marker. There are four images on the marker. On the left is a photograph of Turkey Cove circa 1900s. In the center left is an image of an engraving captioned “Union army in Cumberland Gap.” On the right are two photographs, the first is “Seminary Church with drill field to the left, circa 1890s,” and the second “Unidentified Confederate prisoners, Camp Douglas.”
Credits. This page was last revised on July 1, 2017. It was originally submitted on July 1, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 378 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 1, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Apr. 13, 2021