Skirmish at Warm Springs
Because Madison County was a “border county” in a “border state” during the Civil War, there are many examples of communities as well as families divided in their allegiances. There were no major battles in Madison County although both armies moved through the area and Madison County furnished troops for both sides. The Skirmish at Warm Springs was fought on the hotel grounds at Warm Springs (the former name of the town of Hot Springs). When the Confederates learned of the presence of Union Troops there, a mounted battalion led by Major J. W. Woodfin (a lawyer from Asheville whose family name is now a town north of Asheville) arrived and Woodfin was immediately shot dead as he was crossing the bridge. The rest retreated and planned to avenge the death of Woodfin. The attack was to come from both front and rear, all under the command of General R. B. Vance (the brother of Governor Zebulon Vance). However, the rear battalion decided not to attack. The front battalion fought but retreated in defeat when they did not receive the expected support.