Civil War Trails

On the campus of Mars Hill University, you’ll find the story of how it was affected by the Civil War. A hundred-man detachment from the 64th North Carolina Infantry – called “Keith’s Detail” – was posted here, the first of several Confederate units at Mars Hill during the war. The college was closed during the last two years of the conflict as conditions in mountain communities deteriorated and supported for the Confederacy waned. Confederate troops left Mars Hill to forage in March 1865, just before Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender in Virginia, Union Col. George Washington Kirk led his 3rd North Carolina Mounted Infantry (U.S.) into the village and burned the college dormitory and teachers’ residence. Mars Hill College survived the war’s depredations, but it took forty years to replace what had been destroyed.