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Originally published: 2012-09-13 13:50:46
Last modified: 2012-09-13 13:50:46

Our Avery County: From Appomattox to Avery County: Local cemetery includes many resting places of Civil War soldiers

The graves of the boys who wore the blue and the gray are scattered throughout Avery County. Some are in small cemeteries, like those of two Union soldiers, Jacob Green and Green Buchanan, who are interred at Buchanan Cemetery; Samuel Carpenter and his son Alfred, both Confederate soldiers, are buried in Carpenter Family Cemetery. 

More soldiers from the Civil War time period are buried at Pisgah United Methodist Church Cemetery than in any other cemetery in Avery County. There are at least 17 Civil War soldiers buried there. 

Most of the soldiers served in Company A, 58th North Carolina Troops. Albert J. Franklin was only 18 years old when he joined on Dec. 30, 1861. Around Aug. 15, 1862, Franklin was struck by lightning while stationed at Johnson City, Tenn. He survived the experience, and actually went on to survive the war, dying in February 1917. 

His brother, David A. Franklin Jr., also enlisted on Dec. 30, 1861. He was just 16 years old. Davis served through the battle of Chickamauga, before deserting on Sept. 25, 1863, and heading home. He never rejoined his regiment, but did survive the war, dying in February 1891. 

Nathan Riddle served with the Franklin brothers. Unlike the Franklins, Riddle was rather old (for a soldier). He joined Sept. 2, 1862, and was 39 years old when he was mustered into the service. Riddle was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga in September 1863, and was sent first to a hospital in Knoxville, Tenn., and then to Atlanta. From January to August 1864, Riddle was listed as sick, and apparently never rejoined his regiment. He eventually died in 1889. 

William H. Wiseman appears to be the only Confederate officer buried in the cemetery; he likewise served in Company A, 58th North Carolina Troops, enlisting in Nov. 24, 1862. He was wounded in the right arm at the battle of Chickamauga, but rejoined the regiment. The end of the war found him in a hospital in Macon, Ga. Wiseman died in May 1909. 

Caldwell County native James Carroll started the war in Company F, 26th North Carolina Troops. This regiment went on to sustain the highest number of losses at the battle of Gettysburg. During the first day of the battle, the regiment lost 588 men killed and wounded, out of 800 engaged. However, Carroll was not there. On Aug. 14, 1861, he was discharged by reason of “disease.” Later, he tried to re-enlist in the 58th North Carolina Troops but was rejected. At some later point, Carroll moved to the area. Carroll is the only Confederate soldier at Pisgah to have an official military headstone. 

Joseph M. Parsons served in the 37th North Carolina Troops. This regiment lost more men to battlefield casualties and disease than any other North Carolina regiment during the war. Parsons probably did not enlist until near the end of the war, considering he was just 14 years old when the war began. He died in 1916. 

North Carolina had not even left the Union when John Wise volunteered in what became Company F, 14th North Carolina State Troops on May 3, 1861. Wise was wounded twice, once in July 1862 in the head and right thigh, and again on Sept. 17, 1862, at the battle of Antietam in Maryland. He apparently never recovered enough from his wounds, for he never rejoined his regiment. Wise died on 1931, but not before he and two of his brothers attended the 50th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. 

There are others whose details are not so apparent. Is the George H. Weld buried at Pisgah the same man who served in a Massachusetts regiment during the war? How about Tom Dellinger, or Lawson Franklin, or Richard Stonewall Hayes? They were all of military age. Did they serve? 

Time, and much digging (not literally, of course), might uncover even more facts about the lives of these men, and of numerous others whose graves are in the many tiny cemeteries scattered across Avery County.