I have collected and read many accounts of this action, but one detail I distinctly recall which I cannot find again. Any citation would be appreciated.
Roughly, after Kirk and his men burned the conscript camp at Camp Vance near Morganton, NC in 1864, he retreated with his prisoners back across the mountains to TN.
Accounts of his flight from the area seem to indicate at least three incidents where southern forces engaged his band.
The account I am looking for states that a local fellow acting as guide for one of the forces seeking to intercept Kirk on his way back through the mountains had brought an outfit of men to a point ahead of where it was believed Kirk must return.
This guide suggested that some of the men leave their horses and conceal themselves closer to the path so as to ambush Kirk.
His suggestion was ignored and the southern force remained mounted and their confrontation with Kirk was unsuccessful. Though it is said that Kirk was shot through or otherwise broke his arm in the skirmish, this guide later said that had they prepared the close-quarters ambush he had wanted, Kirk most likely would have been killed and his band routed.
I distinctly recall that this guide was mentioned by name, perhaps even interviewed in later years, but cannot find that information in my notes.