Captain George W. Kirk led an expedition of the Third North Carolina (Union) Volunteer Infantry into western North Carolina, in the summer of 1864. Kirk's men were stationed in east Tennessee, which was controlled by Union forces. Western North Carolina was still controlled by the Confederacy, but there were many Union sympathizers and Confederate deserters in the region. Kirk crossed into North Carolina on June 13, 1864. His forces reached a Confederate force at Camp Vance undetected. Comprised of reserves that were unarmed at the time of Kirk's arrival, the Confederates surrendered. Kirk failed, however, to capture a train on the Western North Carolina Railroad which he intended to take to Salisbury. There, Kirk had planned on rescuing Union prisoners held at the Salisbury prison. Without a train that could quickly take them to Salisbury, the Union forces decided to return to Tennessee. Union forces continued to raid western North Carolina until the end of the Civil War. Kirk was later called upon by North Carolina governor W. W. Holden to suppress Ku Klux Klan activities within the state in the early 1870s.