Long Walk Awaited P.O.W.
Elihu Weaver, a resident of Ashe County and my great-great-grandfather, enlisted in the Confederate army on July 8, 1862. He was part of the 5th North Carolina Cavalry Battalion that was organized in Jacksboro, Tenn. in the fall of 1862. He was promoted to Corporal in Company D, 5th N.C. Cavalry Battalion on May 1, 1863. The 5th Cavalry became part of the 65th North Carolina Regiment, 6th Cavalry, in 1863. Elihu’s regiment fought a battle in Philadelphia, Tenn. on October 20, 1863. During this battle his horse fell, injuring him, and he was subsequently taken prisoner. He was first sent to Rock Island, Illinois and held there until Feb. 25, 1865, when he was transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland for exchange. Before he could be exchanged, the war ended and prisoners were simply released. Elihu had no way to get back to Ashe County except to walk. Unlike Inman in Cold Mountain, he managed to make the long journey safely, all the way to his family’s farm. When he finally came walking up the road toward the family home in Warrensville, his mother was sitting on the porch and called to her daughter, “If I didn’t know Elihu was dead, I would think that was him!” She had recognized her 21-year-old son even though his hair and beard had turned white during his captivity. Elihu Weaver lived out the rest of his life in Ashe County as a kind and God-fearing man although, according to his family, he never took the oath of allegiance to the United States of America. He died Jan. 26, 1913 and is buried in Ashe County.