RAIDED BY YANKEES! According to family archives, the house was raided by Yankees three or four times. One of the bodies of troops came through, and William was there with the women. All the younger men of the family were off in the Army. The troops came in the house and were “taking everything that was not nailed down.” The Rankins had one old slave called Aunt Betsy, The Yankees were forcing her to fry eggs for them and cook ham. Elizabeth Rankin said that she saw Aunt Betsy in the kitchen with tears rolling down her checks and spattering in the frying pan – so enraged because she had to cook for the Northern troops.
One story is of Elizabeth Rankin diverting soldiers from the chicken house where the family silver was buried in the earthen floor. Another tells of the Yankees raiding a closet under the stairs. Aunt Betsy was holding a candle for the soldiers doing a search. As they were about to discover a gold watch in the closet she dropped the candle leaving them in darkness and the watch was saved.
According to the Bearden family archives, a cannon ball lodged in one of the chimneys during this battle. In the process of moving the chimney to an interior wall (1875), the cannon ball was retrieved and remained in Amelia Rankin Bearden’s possession. As the war ended, there was said to have been “an orgy of burning, looting and destruction of private property” as insurgents moved back through Asheville on their way home. The Union troops were fed near Asheville, and were to have marched peacefully through the town in return for three days rations for their journeys. But the Yankee troops returned on May 17, 1865 to wreak havoc on the residents. Hence it has been noted that though Asheville never surrendered, it was occupied in violation of the terms of the truce agreement.