3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry

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3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry
Flag of North Carolina (1861).svg
North Carolina state flag circa 1864
Active June 11, 1864 to August 8, 1865
Country United States
Allegiance United States Union
Branch Mounted Infantry
Engagements Raid on Camp Vance
Bull's Gap
The Battle of Red Banks
Raid on Waynesville, NC
Stoneman's Raid.[1]

The 3rd North Carolina (Volunteer) Mounted Infantry (3rd NCMI) was an all-volunteer mounted infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. The regiment was predominantly composed of Union Loyalists from North Carolina and Tennessee, but also included volunteers from several other Southern states.

The 3rd NCMI, under the command of Colonel George Washington Kirk, became associated with unconventional and guerrilla-like tactics. Consequently, the regiment became known as Kirk's Raiders and the men were labeled bushwackers.[2] The members of the regiment were also known as mountaineers because the majority of the men hailed from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina and East Tennessee.


February 1864 - Formation[edit]

The 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry was formed by Special Order Number 44, on February 13, 1864, when Major General John Schofield ordered Major George W. Kirk to raise 200 men to "... descend upon the rear of the rebel army under [Gen. James] Longstreet and destroy as much as possible of his stores and means of transportation ... [Y]ou will move along the railroad into Virginia, damaging the road as much as possible by burning bridges, trestle-work, water tanks, cars, etc., and by tearing up the track ..."[3]

From June, 1864 until February, 1865, the 3NCMI was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, Department of Ohio. From March, 1865 until August, 1865 the regiment was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District East Tennessee, Department of the Cumberland.[4]

June 1864 - Raid on Camp Vance[edit]

Camp Vance, near Morganton, North Carolina, was a training camp for Confederate conscripts.[5] The 3rd NCMI easily captured the camp, but did not achieve its primary mission to destroy the railroad bridge over the Yadkin River north of Salisbury, North Carolina.[6]

September 1864 - Bulls Gap[edit]

Was a battle of the American Civil War, occurring from November 11 to November 13, 1864, in Hamblen County and Greene County, Tennessee.

December 1864 Red Banks[edit]

On December 29, 1864, the Third Regiment of North Carolina mounted an infantry under Colonel George W. Kirk, engaged about 400 Confederate Infantry and Cavalry under Lt. Colonel James A. Keith at Red Banks of the Nolichucky. Seventy-three Confederates were killed and thirty-two officers and privates were captured. The Union forces sustained only three wounded men Tennessee Historical Marker 1A115

February 1865 - Raid on Waynesville[edit]

March 1865 - Stoneman's Raid[edit]

In support of Major General George H. Stoneman's order to disrupt railroads in Southwest Virginia and North Carolina, Kirk and his men were assigned to hold Deep and Watauga Gaps near Boone, North Carolina. This was necessary to keep the mountain roads open for Stoneman's men when their mission was complete.[7]

August 1865 - Discharge[edit]

The regiment was mustered out on August 8, 1865.

Total strength and casualties[edit]

There were 960 men in the 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry throughout the war. Sixteen were confirmed killed in action, and 23 were captured.[2]


  • Colonel George Washington Kirk (originally a Major, became Lieutenant Colonel; September 20, 1864, Colonel; March 14, 1865)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Hubbard
  • Major William W. Rollins
  • Captain John W. Edwards
  • Captain Laban W. McInturff
  • Captain William W. Moore
  • Captain Robert J. Morrison
  • Captain John H. Ray
  • Captain Stephen Street
  • Captain William B. Underwood

See also[edit]



  • Bumgarner, Matthew. 2000. Kirk's Raiders; A Notorious Band of Scoundrels and Thieves. Piedmont Press, LLC.
  • Killian, Ron V. A History of the North Carolina Third Mounted Infantry Volunteers U.S.A; March 1864 to August 1865, Heritage Books, Westminster, Maryland, 2008.
  • Tipton, A. Christine. 2000. Civil War in the Mountains; Greasy Cove, Tennessee. Shining Mountain Publishers.

Citations and Notes[edit]

External links[edit]