Asheville in Buncombe County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
1st U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery
"Ready to Take the Field"
Gen. Davis Tillson raised 1,700-man 1st U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery in Tennessee and North Carolina in 1864. The unit encamped nearby while garrisoned in Asheville in 1865. Assigned to Tillson's 2nd brigade, the men participated in operations in Tennessee and Alabama and joined Gen. George Stoneman in Virginia and North Carolina in 1865. Stoneman reported that the unit had 1,100 men "ready to take the field."
On April 27, 1865, Tillson wrote, "The First U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery were moved toward Asheville, N.C. arriving there on [April] 30th."
To Many white Southerners, the appearance of African American soldiers symbolized defeat. Local resident Forster A. Sondley wrote, "Negro sentinels were placed at the approaches to the town in order that no insult might be spared to devoted people." Sarah Bailey Cain recalled, " We passed through an immense crowd of privates and insolent Negroes in U.S. uniforms. One of the Negroes called out to my father 'How do you like this, old man?'"
Tillson (picture included) accepted the surrender of Confederate Col. William M. Bradford and his troops at Asheville
Four soldiers of the 1st Colored Heavy Artillery were executed nearby on May 6, 1865. The next day, Col. Chauncey G. Hawley reported that the men "who committed the rape, except one witness, four in number, were shot yesterday, before the whole regiment." Gen. Davis Tillson wrote that they "stole out of camp on the march to Asheville and committed a brutal rape of the person of a young white woman, after nearly killing her uncle and aunt, two very old people, who tried to prevent the outrage. I am much gratified that they have been found and shot." The execution and burial of Pvts. Alfred Catlett, Alexander Colwell, Washington Jackson, and Charles Turner of Co. E took place at the present day junction of Broadway with Mt. Clare Avenue and Chestnut Street (Five Points). About 1900, workers on Mt Clare Avenue uncovered their graves. They were reburied nearby, but the location is not known.
Erected by North Carolina Department of Transportation, North Carolina Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these African Americans • War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the North Carolina Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical month for this entry is March 1885.
Location. 35° 36.22′ N, 82° 33.457′ W. Marker is in Asheville, North Carolina, in Buncombe County. Marker is at the intersection of Broadway and Mt. Clare Avenue, on the right when traveling north on Broadway. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9 Mt Clare Ave, Asheville NC 28801, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Locke Craig (within shouting distance of this marker); Riverside Cemetery (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Jeter C. Pritchard (approx. Ό mile away); Kiffin Y. Rockwell (approx. 0.3 miles away); Caney (Canie) Brown House (approx. 0.4 miles away); In Honor of Markus and Maria Reich (approx. 0.4 miles away); Sweet Harmonies (approx. half a mile away); Raphael Guastavino (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Asheville.
Regarding 1st U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery. 1st Regiment Heavy Artillery
Organized at Knoxville, Tenn., February 20, 1864. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Corps, Dept. of Ohio, to February, 1865. 2nd Brigade,
SERVICE.--Duty at Knoxville, Tenn., until January, 1865. Operations against Wheeler in East Tennessee August 15-25, 1864. Operations in Northern Alabama and East Tennessee January 31-April 24, 1865. Stoneman's operations from East Tennessee into Southwestern Virginia and Western North Carolina February to April. At Greenville and in District of East Tennessee until March, 1866. Mustered out March 31, 1866. (Union Regimental Histories, Source - "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" by Frederick H. Dyer Part 3)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 22, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 1,531 times since then and 78 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on May 25, 2012, by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.