xt78sf2m6g0s https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt78sf2m6g0s/data/mets.xml Thompson, Edwin Porter, 1834- 1868  books b929737469t37218682009 English Caxton Publishing House : Cincinnati, Ohio Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Confederate States of America. Army. Kentucky Brigade, First. --History. United States --History --Civil War, 1861-1865 --Regimental histories. Kentucky --Militia. Kentucky --History --Civil War, 1861-1865. History of the First Kentucky brigade. text History of the First Kentucky brigade. 1868 2009 true xt78sf2m6g0s section xt78sf2m6g0s
1

f'

HIST 0 It Y

of the

By ED. PORTER THOMPSON.

s.

CINCINNATI: CAXTON PUBLISHING HOUSE. 1868.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by EDWIN PORTER THOMPSON, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the District of Kentucky.
0)o irtJF ppmorg

O F

lentilduaiis who -|ejl in pefense of the |)ouffy

and as a simple monument to that chivalry which espouses the cause of the weak ; to that unselfish ardor which sacrifices ease to encounter privation and danger for the oppressed ; to that fortitude which suffers patiently for the cause of

Truth and Right;

to that lofty courage which neither danger nor calamity can appall ;  and to that love of home and friends which turned the eyes of the dying soldier to his native land, and, in his lonely struggle, soothed him with a picture of early scenes and those for whom he gave up his life,

^HIS  j3oOK  IS JDeDICATED, by the

Author.

CONTENTS OF THE FIRST DEPARTMENT.

-w>S*;o  -

CHAPTER I. Introductory Remarks.........'.........13

CHAPTER II.

Political Condition of Kentucky in 1861,...........27

CHAPTER III.

Enlistment and Organization of the Regiments originally constituting

CHAPTER IV.

Early Movements; Evacuation of Kentucky; Battle of Shiloh,   ... 64

' CHAPTER V.

Army at Corinth; Retreat to Tupelo; Defense of Vicksburg, .... 107

CHAPTER VI.

Battle of Baton Rouge,.................130

CHAPTER VII.

From Baton Rouge toMurfreesboro'; marching toward Kentucky; return

to Murfreesboro'; Battle of Hartsville,.......... 157

CHAPTER VIII. Battle of Murfreesboro'..................ISO

CHAPTER IX.

Chattanooga; Battle of Chickamauga,..........201

CHAPTER X.

Brigade at Mission Ridge; at Tyner's Station; Battle of Mission Ridge;

retreat to Dalton,.................. 223

CHAPTER XI. From Dalton to Jonesboro'; the Summer Campaign of 1864.....

230

CHAPTER XII. Brigade, as Mounted Infantry, in Georgia and South Carolina,    .   .   . 262

w
CONTENTS OF THE SECOND DEPARTMENT.

PAQE.

273

Preliminary Remarks,.................

Biography of Lieut.-Gen. Simon B. Buckner,......... 277

Maj.-Gen.   John C. Breckinridge,........ 299

"        William Preston,.......... 308

Brig.-Gen.   Roger W. Hanson,   ......... 329

"        Ben Hardin Helm,......... 338

"        Joseph H. Lewis,.......... 348

Colonel      James W. Moss, (2d Regiment),    .... 361

"         Phil Lee,                   "          .... 366

"         Robt P. Trabue, (4th Regiment)..... 372

"         Joseph P. Nuckols,        "          .... 380

"         Thomas W. Thompson,   "           .... 390

"         Hiram Hawkins, (5th Regiment), .... 394

"         Martin H. Cofer, (6th Regiment),  .... 409

"         Tho. H. Hunt, (9th Regiment),..... 417

John W. Caldwell,        "           .... 425

Lieut-CoL  James W. Hewitt, (2d Regiment)..... 432

"       Wm. L. Clarke, (6th Regiment),    .... 434

"      Jno. C. Wickliffe, (9th Regiment), .... 439

Major       Thomas B. Monroe, (4th Regiment),   .   .   . 444

"         Jno. Bird Rogers,             "       .... 453

"         Rice E. Graves, (Division Staff)..... 462

Captain     Fayette Hewitt, (Brigade Staff)..... 469

"          Sam. H. Buchanan,       "            .... 478

"         Ben. Monroe, (4th Regiment)...... 482

"          Joe Desha, (5th Regiment)....... 488

"         D. E. McKendree, (6th Regiment),.... 497

Judge        Tho. B. Monroe,.......... 509

Governor    George W. Johnson,......... 525

A general notice of the Medical Officers,.......... 533

The Confederate Women of Kentucky,........... 548

(vi)
CONTENTS OF THE THIRD DEPARTMENT.

PAOK.

General Introductory Remarks,..............562

An account of the Field and StafT Officers of the 2d Regiment, .   .   . 571

" Officers and Men of Company A,     " ... 572

" " Company B,    " ... 575

" " Company C,    "        .  . 587

w " Company D,    " ... 597

" Company E,    " ... 603

M " Company F,    " ... 615

"    Company G,    " ... 617

" " Company H,    " ... 625

u " Company I,    " ... 635

" " Company K,    " ... 643

An account of the Field and Staff Officers of the 4th Regiment, .   .   . 652

" Officers and Men of Company A,    " ... 653

" '    " Company B,    " ... 662

" " Company C,    " ... 671

" " Company D,    " ... 680

u "   .        Company E,    " ... 688

M " Company F,    " ... 698

u " Company G,    " .  . 706

" " Company H,    " .  . 714

" " Company I, ... 722

" " Company K,    " ... 729

" Field and Staff Officers of the 5th Regiment, .   . .737

" Officers and Men of Company A,    " ... 740

"     ,     Company B,    " ... 746

" " Company C,    " ... 747

" " Company D,    " ... 753

(vii)
Vlll

contexts of the thikd department.

An aceount of the Officers and Men of Company B, 5th Regiment,

u "           Company P,

ii "           Company I, "

11 "            Company K, "

" Field and Staff Officers of the 6th Regiment,

" Officers and Men of Company A, "

"           Company B, "

u "           Company C, "

" "            Company I), "

"           Company B, "

"           Company F, "

"           Company G, "

"           Company H, "

-          ii           Company I, "

"           Company K, "

" Field and Staff Officers of the 9th Regiment,

" Officers and Men of Company A, "

"           Company B, "

"           Company C, "

" "           Company D, "

"              Company G, "

" "           Company H, "

" "           Byrne's Battery,   .   . .

" "           Cobb's Battery,   .  . .
LIST OF ENGRAVINGS.

PAGE

Portrait of Major-Gen. Breckinridge,........Fronlupiece.

Portrait of Lieut.-Gen. Buckser,............ 277

Maj.-Gen. Preston............. 308

Brig-Gen. Hanson,............. 361

. 'I      Belm,.............. 409

",    Lewis,   .  ... .;     ...    .    '   ^^^          425

.   Colonel    Moss,.............. 361

"       Lee,.............. 361

"       Trabue.............. 361

"      Nuckols,............ 409

-      Thompson............. 425

Hawkins,............ 469

"       Co fee,............. 409

"      Hunt, .............361

"      Caldwell,............ 425

Lieut.-Col. Hewitt,............. 469

"     Clarke,............                                             . 409

"     Wickliffe,............ 361

Major      Monroe,............. 469

"         Rogers,............. 409

"         Graves,............. 361

Captain    Hewitt,............    425

"        Buchanan,............ 4-5

"        Monroe,............. 469

"        Desha,............. 409

"        MoKendree,........... *25

Doctor     Newberry,............ 425

Chaplain   Pickett,............. 409

Judge      Monroe,............. 469

Governor Johnson,............ 469

(be)

Part I.

HISTORY OF THE FIRST KENTUCKY BRIGADE.

CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTORY.

AFEW months prior to the close of the late war, the writer conceived the design of preparing, at some future time, a history of that military organization known, from the time of its formation under Buckner, on the Tennessee border, September, 1861, as "The First Kentucky Brigade." Various changes in its organism subsequently took place: at Corinth, the regiments composing it were embraced in two different commands. An attempt was made to form divisions by numerical designation of brigades, and the five Kentucky regiments were separated in organization, though serving in the same division. The designation first acquired, however, was like many others that survived the war. It was founded upon some special fitness of tilings, distinct from the arbitrary terms of commanding officers. If the "Stonewall Brigade" had dwindled down to a corporal's guard, the squad would have persisted in calling themselves by the name with which the genius of their general and their own glorious deeds first invested them; had it been separated into as many different parts as there were regiments composing it, and placed in as many larger bodies, each would have contended for the right of giving the old name to the new command. To Kentuckians, the designation that they bore from the first, and by which they recognized themselves

in the thrilling report that went out to the world after the battle

(13)
14 history of the

of Shiloh, was as dear as that of "Stonewall" to the brigade of Jackson, or as "Old Guard" to the honored and chosen band of Bonaparte. It took hold upon their feelings, and was, withal, in perfect accord to their sense of propriety. An officer like the First Napoleon would have seized upon the circumstance, and, in encouraging the predilection, would have increased the devotion of the men to the name, and it would have become at once, as it really afterward was, the great conservator of the morale of the corps, and enhanced its efficiency. We may remark in this connection, however, that it is no part of our plan to be captious and fault-finding. We shall seek no occasion to indulge in oracular dissertations upon the misconduct of the war. No one can detest more heartily than ourselves every thing savoring of the trade of the parlor general, and the hypercritical wisdom of him whose "shooting-stick" was found only on the table of the compositor. That there were faults of administration in the army need not be denied, but human wisdom was not always adequate to avoid them; that there were official errors which precipitated, if they did not determine the final catastrophe, we can not question    looking at it only in a human point of view   but we believe that history can produce no parallel to the uniformly self-sacrificing, devoted patriotism of the general officers of the Confederate army, from the commander-in-chief of the forces in the field to the brigadier who last donned the wreath-encircled stars. If they erred, it was in judgment     and the nature of the struggle was such that (more than is usually the case in even the uncertain science of warfare) error was unavoidable. If Ave sometimes have occasion to speak of the actions of commanding generals, we shall do it in a spirit of fairness and generosity. Our native modesty (not the same kind, we beg you to believe, as whilom distinguished "sweet Jack") would suffice to save us from the absurdity of arraigning our superiors at the bar of our own inadequate judgment. We have referred to Bonaparte in connection with the known effect which certain circumstances, apparently trivial in themselves, exert upon bodies of troops; and we believe that, more

15

than to any other cause, his power of judging man as a creature influenced, often really controlled, by imagination, was the means of the great ascendancy he acquired over them, and told largely upon the efficiency of the army of France and his own destiny. To the necessary training of the military academy, he added a keen insight into human nature, which enabled him to make the raw recruit almost as effective as the regular, and while, in his general plans and movements, keeping in view the great principles of the schools as his guides, or rather, we may express it, his mental base of operations, he controlled his men in accordance with the peculiar circumstances then existing. As in the case referred to, he would have seen at once that a simple, common-place designation could be made the means of completely arousing and maintaining an esprit du corps, and would have benefited by it.

The effects of this singular predilection for a distinctive name were noticed by many at the time, and no little dissatisfaction attended the new arrangement, which took place on the 28th of April, 1862. The Fourth and Ninth Regiments, and Byrne's Battery, under Brigadier-General Hawes, in connection with a regiment and a battalion of Alabama troops, made the First Brigade of Division; but the men willfully styled themselves, in almost all references to the subject, "First Kentucky Brigade." The Third, Sixth, and Seventh Regiments and Cobb's Battery, under Brigadier-General William Preston, with a single regiment of Alabamians, constituted Second Brigade of Division, but, having the advantage of more Kentuckians in their organization, they seemed to take it, as a matter of course, in all unofficial titterings, that they were the "First Kentucky Brigade," and that the other regiments had been detached from them, and mixed up with some foreign troops. A simple instance will suffice to show1 how they bandied words with one another, and how each party assumed itself, in perverse inconsistency with the existing state of case, as being the bona fide historic band: Two soldiers, acquaintances respectively of the Third and Fourth Regiments, met one morning shortly after having been separated, and one accosted the other
16

history of the

with, "Hey, John!   what brigade do you belong to now?" "First Kentucky Brigade," says John, with an emphasis that made him draw out the words like a vicious drill-master. Our man of the Third jerked up suddenly, and curtly ejaculated, "Ah   ha! you do! There," said he, waving his hand toward the encampment of General Preston's troops, "there's the First Kentucky Brigade!" Neither history nor tradition has handed down to us what the old Second Regiment thought of itself, cooped up then in that delightful home of unfortunate rebel soldiers, Camp Morton, but they doubtless deemed it a poor honor to Kentucky to have a First Brigade at all unless they were along.

This kind of abnormal arrangement prevailed till September following, when the Second Regiment returned from prison, and preparations were being made to join the army under General Bragg, when the Kentucky regiments were all thrown together, and the title became once more appropriate in every sense. The Third and Seventh were detached, with a view of moving them into Kentucky, by way of Jackson, Tennessee, and were not again connected with the main body, but there were four regiments still together, under that title, until the autumn of 1863, when the Fifth Kentucky Infantry was added, or rather substituted for the Forty-first Alabama, and no further change took place in the brigade organization.

As remarked in the outset, it was conceived to prepare a particular history of these troops, and more especially of the regiments composing the brigade at the time of the surrender. It was our wish to include the entire service of the Third and Seventh Regiments, nor did we relinquish our hope of being able to do so until we had made every reasonable effort to procure the material necessary to as full an account of them as we have been enabled to give of the other regiments composing the brigade-proper. The plan that we sketched at the time, was that which has been substantially followed in the present work. Relating chiefly to Ken-tuckians, it was deemed proper that it should be exhaustive, and constitute a full and perfect record   that not only the general

17

narrative of events themselves should be given, but that sketches and portraits of the general and field officers should be published, and the names and deeds of other officers and all the men be concisely noted. This was submitted to many, of every grade, and met with unqualified approval. The project of doing more for the private soldier than was ever before the case in military annals, though exceedingly troublesome, and of less interest to the cursory reader than other portions of the work, was pronounced upon as worthy to engage serious and patient consideration, and of infinite moment to the great body of the soldiers themselves and their friends every-where. The brigade staff promptly and generously promised aid. We accordingly set about gathering up the necessary material for the history of companies, as that was of most consequence to be procured while the men were together. This we did not press, however, with sufficient zeal, from the fact that, like Mr. Davis, Kentucky soldiers never doubted of ultimate success, and, of course, never desponded. They had no hope of a speedy ending of the contest; but they were none the less determined to stand fast as long as the South could keep an army together; and so many obstacles had been overcome   so many impossibilities, so to speak, had been resolved by the genius of ' the great man at Richmond, and by the General of the Armies, into simple things that they very naturally concluded their liberty only a question of time, and would have been insulted at a doubt expressed. Under this feeling the writer was led into the belief that there would be time enough, and the work of collecting the necessary accounts was scarcely well begun when the news of the crowning disaster broke upon the country.

More impressed by the unfortunate termination of the struggle than ever, with the propriety (not to say necessity) of placing fairly on record, and preserving from neglect, perhaps defamation, these men of heroic mold and never-quailing devotion, we determined still to execute the work, at such time as circumstances should render it expedient, and so announced to those concerned. The public records of the command, such as had been preserved,
18 history op the

were turned over to us by the gallant officers who composed last "Head-quarters;" but on examination, these were found to contain nothing more than would suffice for the mere skeleton of a very general and unsatisfactory narrative. The reports of officers, after engagements, had not been duplicated, and the originals were now in the hands of the Federal Army. Many important orders, such, for instance, as had been written on the march and in the field, were lost or illegible; and it became apparent at once that we must rely upon memory and very insufficient data, or set to work to procure from others an item here, another there, and work patiently and persistently in examining and collating every thing that related even remotely to the command, before we could hope to produce an authentic account, of such an exhaustive nature as we had at first proposed. And. the company accounts yet lacking were inaccessible now, save by the slow and doubtful means of correspondence; but the experiment was ventured upon, nevertheless, and after long and patient effort, under many discouragements   depressed pecuniary circumstances, ill health, impatience of friends, in some instances, and doubt in others   we have succeeded in surmounting the main difficulties, and in executing the original design as fully as our most sanguine expectations warranted.

Some, indulging no considerations except those which are met by the general historian, will, no doubt, question the necessity of these particular annals, and a certain class of wiseacres, whose astuteness enables them to judge without having examined a subject, will perhaps cavil at the propriety of elaborately reviewing, and thus fixing upon the records of the times a reputation disproportionate to the handful of men who achieved it; but the great mass of men, and reflecting men, too, will readily concede that the fact of a military body, of no greater magnitude than the one under consideration, having won a reputation co-extensive with the United States   that even, we are told (and we have no cause to doubt the authenticity of the statement), was talked about upon the streets of London and the boulevards of Paris, while the

IP

world stood astonished at the nature of the deeds being performed by the Army of Virginia, that would seem, for the time, to overshadow every subordinate command   would be sufficient of itself to justify a minute examination into the nature of its service, and an elaboration of all the circumstances connected with its inception and formation, and the character of its individual members.

We are aware that among soldiers, when once the esprit du corps is aroused, and the members of any military organization become sufficiently imbued with that martial pride which makes them dread not only individual disgrace, but the slightest defection of the whole, and to feel that the honor of a command is in their keeping, and worthy to be well kept, they are apt to fall into that very pardonable, and, in a soldier (particularly if on our side) not very disagreeable vanity of supposing that his command is about the only one adequate to the task of marching forward, as the forlorn hope, at a critical moment, when odds are to be encountered and the decisive blow struck; and it is, perhaps, not amiss to anticipate those carpers m'ho, not having the fear of Mars before their eyes, may insist that Kentucky has arrogated to herself more than she deserves, in awarding to these "wayward sons" (so called) greater credit than the Confederate authorities, soldiers, and people accorded them.

Shortly after the battle of Shiloh, Judge Walker, of New Orleans, who was on the field during the engagement, published an account of it, which was circulated in pamphlet-form, and in which he mentioned several of the Kentucky officers by name, and spoke of the conduct of the brigade in terms that sent a thrill of pleasure to the heart of every true son of the old State who had the good fortune to see it.

On the retreat from Corinth, May, 1862, a portion of it was selected as a special rear-guard of infantry, and it is a patent fact, that from that good hour to the close of the war, it had no lack of that honor which comes from being pitched upon for the performance of special, perilous, and important duty.

In drill and discipline it was acknowledged to have no peer in
20 history of the

the Army of Tennessee, after the trial-drill, May, 1863, with the Louisiana Brigade, which had set rip a claim to superior training and skill in maneuver.

After a review at Dalton, January 30, 1864, Major-General Hindman, then commanding Hardee's corps, issued a complimentary order, in which he said: "It is announced with gratification that the commanding general was much pleased with the appearance and bearing of the troops of this corps on review to-day.

Without detracting from the praise due to all, the Major-Gcn-eral deems it but just to mention the Kentucky Brigade as specially entitled to commendation for soldierly appearance, steadiness of marching, and an almost perfect accuracy in every detail."

On a subsequent review, Mrs. Johnston's carriage had stopped by the road-side to allow the troops to pass, on their return from the field, and the General was standing near her when the Kentucky infantry began to march by. She broke into an exclamation of pleased surprise, and the General himself, looking at them with apparently more than usual satisfaction, remarked, senten-tiously, "They can't be beat." A prominent Confederate officer relates that he heard General Johnston say that there was "no better infantry in the world titan the First Kentucky Brigade." General Breckinridge told the same officer that he applied to General Johnston, in the winter of 1863-4, for permission to carry the brigade with him to Virginia, under promise from Mr. Davis that a brigade should be furnished as an equivalent, when General Johnston replied that the President had "no equivalent for it   it was the best brigade in the Confederate army." It is said that he made substantially the same remark at the Continental Hotel, in Philadelphia, sometime in the winter of 186n-6. In any event, it is known that that superior soldier and veteran officer, whose abilities were (to use an almost stale expression) "Napoleonic," held the command in the highest and most sincere esteem.

When the dismounted detachment moved through Columbia,

21

South Carolina, April, 1865, one of the men inquired of a citizen : " Did the mounted Kentuckians pass through here?" "Yes," he replied; "and," said another, standing by, "they were the only gentlemen who have passed through here since the war began."

A medical officer of White's Battery was asked, in the same city, if a certain command (naming it) was in the fighting below Camden.' " No   no," he replied, " they never stay at one place long enough to get into a fight." "Where was Lewis?" "Oh," said he, "Lewis was there. It is his men who are doing the fighting, and they '11 stick to it as long as they can find a foe to shoot at!"

About this time, too, Major-General Young gave free expression to his admiration, and declared that an army of such officers and men, with adequate means, could bid defiance to the world.

And one of the prominent Southern journals, referring to General Hood's defeat at Nashville, had this remark : " A correspondent of one of our exchanges writes of the unfortunate disaster at Nashville, and incidentally pays the highest comjiliment to Lewis' brigade, then absent, which was never known to falter."

The Mobile Advertiser and Register, speaking of a certain point of Hood's defense, on the same occasion, remarks: "Troops should have been placed at that point of whom not the slightest doubt existed. Had the Kentucky Brigade been there, all would have been safe."

It is well authenticated, also, that the United States Army knew them, and as the veteran soldiers of every civilized nation like those best who opj)Ose them most manfully, they respected them highly. When a large part of the brigade was captured at Jonesboro', General Jeff. C. Davis, by whose division they were made prisoners, made no effort to disguise his admiration of them, and assured them that they should be treated as gentlemen; and no insult was offered by the soldiers, nor was the then common custom of depriving prisoners of watches and other private property resorted to by one of them. On the contrary, -while expressing their joy at having captured them, they incidentally extolled
22

history of the

them in no measured terms. " Oh!" bawled a patriotic, and now powder-blackened and begrimed Indianian, "Hood is a played-out individual now. These are the Kentuckians that he fortifies his weak places with." Such treatment they shared, and like rough compliments with some of the troops of Cleburne, whose division enjoyed a reputation unsurpassed by any in the Confederate Army. The foregoing are a few of the many such expressions that were heard from Shiloh to Camden. It is unnecessary to swell the number.

Something of the interest which gathered about the command was no doubt due to the singular position they occupied. Almost the sole representatives in the Confederate infantry of a State renowned of old for the gallantry of her sons, displayed on almost every field since the Revolution; completely isolated from home, and, for the time, in direct antagonism to the authority of their commonwealth; without the comforts and encouragements that others enjoyed; but the noble, soldierly qualities exhibited in battling so manfully, suffering so patiently, bearing themselves so loftily under all, were such as would have attracted the attention of the country under any circumstances, and would seem to deserve special notice at the hands of the historian. The following circumstance, among other special reasons, may also be considered as rendering it just and proper that the brigade should be noticed in this elaborate manner. During the war, it employed no trumpeters but such as were required to keep the horns, and these confined themselves to their legitimate duties. We trust that our meaning is sufficiently obvious. While almost every other command in the army had from one to a dozen knights of the quill to chronicle its deeds in the news-sheets   anxious " trumpeters of fame," who exhausted the adjectival vocabulary in sounding the praises of "dashing" lieutenants, "gallant" captains, "brilliant," " magnificent," " heroic," " chivalric," " invincible" field and general officers   the Kentucky Brigade, with that scorn of mere pretense which characterizes the people whom it represented, had no one   not one   who was entitled to be called "Army Corre-
more and more manifest that the South, instead of desisting from gucfa work, owes it to herself to write, to publish, to disseminate the facts connected with the history of her defenders, and, so far as possible, indoctrinate her people more thoroughly with the ideas upon which she went to war. That .fearful spirit of agra-rianism, which seeks to level the distinctions naturally existing between races, and destroy the power and glory of the American people by contamination of blood, is rampant in the land; and since the literature of New England, consequent upon the war, has been made a prime agent in the devilish work, it behooves us to commemorate the deeds wrought in defense of Southern principles, and by this potent means invest with a kind of charm, and keep alive those principles themselves in the hearts and minds of the people. The cry was raised soon after the close of the war, that points of difference should not be discussed, and that all which tended to keep alive a remembrance of these things should be avoided, and this, at first, was received in the South with favor. There is no other man so easily reconciled as he who stands upon his honor and would pistol you for an infraction of his rights, provided an honorable method be adopted to quiet his resentment. So, there is no people more easily reconciled, more readily induced to forget the past, more prompt to adapt themselves to the situation when overcome and depressed by misfortune, than those who have made a fair and gallant struggle