I have been reading "Storm in the Mountains" by Vernon H. Crow. Press of the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. It is about Thomas's Confederate Legion in the mountain region of NC. The Legion was made up of Cherokees and "Mountaineers". My GG Grandfather William H. Gunter was in the Legion.
In the book it states because of the unrest in the mountain region, Gov. Zeb Vance apealed to Gen. Henry Heth (in Knoxville) to investigate. Col. Lawrence M. Allen and Lt Col. James A. Keith of the 64th NC approched Gen Heth and asked permission to take the remgt to the mountains and hunt down the raiders.
From the book: "Heth told Keith that those captured were to be treated as criminals and he did not want any prisoners sent to Knoxville; there were already to many from that region."
This could be a order gone bad. Was it implied to kill the "radiers" ? By January, Allen was on suspension and Lt. Col. Keith was in charge.
Aftewr the Sheldon Laurel Massacre, Gov Vance was outraged by the act and vowed to see Keith hanged. Gov. Vance sent soldiers to capture Keith but Keith slipped away.
Union troops caught him, put him in jail, brought to trail in 1868. He escaped in Feb 1869. He disapeared into history.
Hope this helps
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