Friday, November 28, 2008

Aspirations of Greatness: John Hunt Morgan plots his path to glory

A clever man, John Hunt Morgan realized that by wearing civilian clothing without any symbols of rank, he could pose as a businessman or Union officer and slip away unnoticed when caught in thorny situations.

By the spring of 1863, John Hunt Morgan had public acclaim, a stunning new wife, and had recently been promoted. Yet, Morgan was not content. He aspired to a position in history far grater than that of Brigadier General in the Army of Tennessee.

Indisposed to remaining a subordinate officer, Morgan was plotting a path to greater glory. He began by exploiting the fact that his senior officer, General Pegram, was incompetent and generally disliked.

While Pegram had difficulties relating to volunteers who lacked formal military training, Morgan had the common touch. His men’s adulation bordered on hero worship.

“Morgan was in the zenith of his fame. I was inoculated with the idea that his judgment was unerring and that the ‘King could do no wrong.’ In the mortal apprehension I never once thought of trusting in God for safety, but wholly relied upon the wisdom and skill of John Morgan."

~ Bromfield L. Ridley

In late April 1863, Morgan dispatched scouts north to the Ohio River to seek spots in which it would be possible to ford the river. Morgan was putting the first steps of his Machiavellian grab for eternal acclaim into action. Morgan planned to take the war to Northern soil.

May 1, 1863

Morgan relished public acclaim. On May 1, 1863, the Confederate Congress issued the following statement regarding Morgan’s Men:

“entitled to the love and gratitude of their countrymen for the magnificent feat preserving Middle Tennessee for the Government.” [i]

It was considered the pinnacle of tribute to be mentioned in dispatches and receive Congressional commendation. Yet, even this public praise was not enough to satiate Morgan’s thirst for prominence.

May 10, 1863

The price a warrior pays for renown is constantly placing his life in danger.

On May 10, 1863, “Stonewall” Jackson was accidentally shot by his own men. Ironically, Jackson said,

“My religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time of my death."

When Jackson realized he was going to die, he calmly stated,

“I always wanted to die on a Sunday.”[ii]

What effect did Jackson’s death had a profound effect on the Confederacy and became the subject of popular poems and ballads. Was the memorializing of “Stonewall” motivational to Morgan’s schemes?

Why did John Hunt Morgan plan the Great Raid? What were his objectives? There are several theories as to his motivations:
  1. James Ramage makes a powerful case suggesting that Morgan’s raids filled his need to impress his new wife Mattie and dispel rumors that marriage had caused him to lose his edge. [iii]
  2. Ramage also advocates that Morgan desired cross over into Pennsylvania and join forces with Lee and toyed with the notion of moving into Illinois[iv] If Morgan sought to create a place for himself in the annuals of history, equal to that of Jackson’s or Lee’s, this notion of joining forces with Lee would have be a very great motivation indeed.
  3. The Official Records state that Morgan’s mission was to “divert the attention of the Union Army.”[v]
  4. Basil Duke implies that Morgan’s plan was to invade above the Ohio River, drawing forces from the East to help Lee on his invasion into Pennsylvania. This action would also cover General Bragg's retreat.[vi]
  5. General Bragg sent Morgan off on a diversionary raid to Kentucky ordering him to destroy the railroad lines important to Union General Rosecrans in Nashville. [vii]
  6. Some researchers suggest that Morgan was determined to enlist new recruits to the Southern cause by drawing from members of Copperheads and Knights of the Golden Circle while in the North. On early June of 1863, Morgan requested Thomas Hines to lead party of 25 men into Indiana and pose as a Union patrol searching for men who had gone AWOL. Their secret mission would be to determine if Southern sympathizers would support or join the impending raid. After visiting Copperhead leader Dr. William A. Bowles on French Lick, Hines learned that no formal support would be forthcoming.[viii] Hines rejoined Morgan at Brandenburg, in time to forewarn Morgan of lack of support. Thus, it would seem highly unlikely that recruitment was one of Morgan’s primary objectives.

Did Morgan’s superior officers know of his plan to cross the Ohio River? As even the men in Morgan's command didn't always know their destination until after they arrived, it is entirely possible that the only person Morgan entrusted with the full details of his plan was his brother-in-law Basil Duke. General Wheeler, Morgan's immediate superior, twice gave his permission for Morgan to raid as far north as Louisville. He did not seem aware of Morgan’s plan cross the Ohio River and continue northward.[ix] General Bragg however seemed far more aware of Morgan’s intent.

“Go ahead and raid Kentucky. Capture Louisville if you can. But do not, I repeat do not cross the river. Stay in Kentucky. Go anywhere you want in your home state, but I command you to stay south of the river.”

~ From General Braxton Bragg’s communication to Morgan

Lester Horwitz puts forward yet another theory of what motivated Morgan to cross the Ohio River.

"But Morgan went against orders and crossed the Ohio. The reason was that earlier, a Union cavalry officer had gone behind Confederate lines in a raid. Morgan said he would show them.

It was his ego that drove him to cross the river to show he was as good or better. Morgan rode more than 1,000 miles to prove it." [xi]

May 15, 1863

One clear motivation was Morgan’s covetous of command.

"I can only wish that you were permanently in command of my cavalry; and should I have the good fortune to have you assigned to command, I will so arrange it. In the mean time, I am informed that General Pegram, at present in command of the cavalry of this department, is your senior…With your consent, I will endeavor, at the proper time, to obtain your transfer to my department."

~letter from Major General Simon Bolivar Buckner to John Hunt Morgan, May 15, 1863

Possessing a very high opinion of his capabilities, Morgan was quite difficult to command. Consequently, Pegram and Morgan did not have an amiable working relationship.

“…General Morgan is your junior... You are aware of the feeling which exists in some irregular organizations in reference to being commanded by regular officers. In your relations with the troops, even more than with General Morgan, you should endeavor to conciliate that feeling. I have written to General Morgan, informing him that I have a right to expect from him a hearty co-operation with you as his senior. I feel assured that you will receive from General Morgan his able and hearty support, if you show toward him and his command the proper consideration and a spirit of great conciliation.”

~ A letter from Major General Simon Bolivar Buckner to Pegram on May 15, 1863

Such reconciliation was not to be! Morgan’s desires were far too great to be appeased by mere platitudes.


[i] Holland, Cecil Fletcher. “Morgan and his Raiders,” 1943 p. 162.
[ii] Scott, Jeffery Warren and Jeffreys, Mary Ann. “Fighters of Faith”
[iii] Ramage, James A. “Rebel Raider,” Chap. 12, pages 146-147.
[iv] Ramage, James A. “Rebel Raider,” Chap. 14 p. 159
[v] U.S. War Department, “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. Vol. 21, Part I pages 818.
[vi] Duke, Basil Wilson, “A History of Morgan's Cavalry,” Cincinnati, Ohio: Miami Printing and Pub. Co., 1867. page 460.
[vii] U.S. War Department, “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. p. 817
[viii] Horan, James D. “Confederate Agent: A Discovery in History,” 1954, pp. 24-28.
[ix] U.S. War Department, “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies”, 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. p. 817 -818.
[x] Stephen Starr, “Colonel Grenfell’s War” 1971, p. 44
[xi] McNutt, Randy .“Volunteers hope to save memory of Morgan's Raid,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, Monday, October 28, 2002. McNutt was quoting Lester Horwitz.
[xii] U.S. War Department, “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies”, 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901. Vol. 21, Part I, p. 316

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Roll of Company I, 3rd Regiment Cavalry, Kentucky Volunteers, CSA (redesignated 7th KY CSA)

“Come tighten your girth and slacken your rein
Come buckle your blanket and holster again
Try the click of your trigger and balance your blade
For he must ride sure who goes riding a raid!” [i]

Upon his exchange, my 2nd great grandfather, James Edward Evans, hastily returned to the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry.

The 3rd skirmished in Tennessee and Kentucky and then joined with John Hunt Morgan to conduct a raid into Indiana and Ohio as part of the Second Brigade under the leadership of Colonel Adam Rankin Johnson and Lt. Col. J. M. Huffman.

Colonel Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson earned his nickname when he captured Newburgh, Indiana on July 18, 1862. With only twelve men and two joints of stovepipe mounted on the running gear of an abandoned wagon he took the town from a sizable Union garrison by treating to blow them up with his phony cannon.[ii]

Due to a Confederate naming SNAFU, Company I, 3rd Regiment Cavalry, Kentucky Volunteers, CSA, which had originally been part of the 1st, was redesignated as the 7th by the Federal government after the conclusion of the war.

“7th Cavalry Regiment was organized in September, 1862, using Gano's Texas Cavalry Battalion as its nucleus. The unit skirmished in Tennessee and Kentucky, then fought with J.H. Morgan, Most of its men were captured at Buffington Island on July 19, and the rest at New Lisbon on July 26, 1863. The regiment was not reorganized. Colonel Richard M. Gano, Lieutenant Colonel J. M. Huffman, and Major Theophilous Steele were in command.”[iii]

The following are the names of the men in the Company with whom my 2nd great grandfather, James Edward Evans, rode on the Great Raid.


M. D. Logan, Captain
R. H. Cowan, 1st Lieutenant
J. F. Gentry, 2nd Lieutenant
H. D. Brown, 2nd Lieutenant
J. H. Gentry,, 2nd Lieutenant
J. H. Arnold, 1st Sergeant
John H. Prewitt, 2nd Sergeant
S. G. Engleman, 4th Sergeant
S. A. Moore, 5th Sergeant
R. A. McGrath, 1st Corporal
A. J. Thurman, 2nd Corporal
Henry Goodloe, 3rd Corporal
James H. Brown, 4th Corporal
Anderson, H. M., Private
Barker, John, Private
Brazley, John A., Private
Bigby, Charles A., Private
Brown, Joseph H., Private
Brown, Edward, Private
Byers, John S., Private
Baxter, E. B., Private
Baxter, W. A., Private
Baxter, J. H., Private
Chandler, J. T., Private
Cowan, J. C., Private
Cox, Archibald, Private
Curd, J. C., Private
Dickerson, T. W., Private
Denton, R. R., Private
Dickinson, W., Private
Evans, James, Private
Engleman, S. M., Private
Gray, H. T., Private
Gatlin, Albert, Private
Gray, John, Private
Harman, R. H., Private
Harris, S. T., Private
Harman, T. J., Private
Higgenbotham, J. E., Private (spelling as it appears on list)
Higginbotham, J. M., Private
Higginbotham, John, Private
Isham, W. B., Private
Jennings, C. B., Private
Jones, H. L. Private
Jones, Harvey, Private
King, O. N., Private
McMerdie, A. J., Private
McMerdie, Frank, Private
McKenzie, W., Private
McMurray, James, Private
McAffee, H. M., Private
Middleton, W., Private
Mitchell, S. D., Private
Messick, E. S., Private
Moore, James R., Private
Moore, John B., Private
Myers, Isaac M., Private
O’Bannon, S., Private
Overton, W., Private
Pipe, E. H., Private
Pipe, B., Private
Pipe, O. B., Private
Pipe, S. M., Private
Praigg, John G., Private
Rogers, Frank, Private
Rochester, John M., Private
Swope, F. F., Private
Thomas, J. M., Private
Vaughan, W. C., Private
Wingate, J. M., Private
White, Parker, Private”


[i] Unknown. “ Riding A Raid” 1861.
[ii] Warner, Erza J. “Generals in Gray: Lives of the Confederate Commanders,” 1959, p. 156
[iii] NPS records
[iv] McDowell, “The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Civil War, Confederate”, Vol. I pgs 710 -713

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Dutton Hill Battle

The Hickman Covered Bridge was constructed in 1838. It was the only bridge across the Kentucky River in the area of central Kentucky during the Civil War.

As Pegram and his subordinate officers wasted their energies sniping away at each other, James Edward Evans, my 2nd great-grandfather, was among the cavalrymen whose fate it was to follow the beleaguered Pegram on the ill-fated Kentucky raid.

“Mercury 27 degrees above zero. Clear and heavy frost. The Peach bloom are putting forth. The Louisville Journal of March 26th has some startling news in it concerning the invasion of the Rebels again into Ky. ‘It is stated upon good authority that John Breckinridge has command of the invading forces. -- Since his arrival in the State it is known that he has issued a proclamation to the people of Ky. copies of which had been received at Danville on Tuesday. The arch Traitor sets forth his proclamation that he has been authorized by Hawes the provisional Governor of the State, to possess and hold Kentucky as a member of the Confederate States, declaring among other things his intention of enforcing the conscription. We have learned from other sources, also that the provisions of that act are being rigidly enforced, in those regions thro' which the rebel army is passing; and that numbers of loyal men have thus been already pressed in to the rebel service.’ The same paper states that the residents of the state Capital were in a state of high excitement this morning in anticipation of an immediate advance of the enemy. It also states that the Confederate force under Wheeler, Forest and Wharton crossed the Cumberland River at Harpeth Shoals, this morning six miles above Franklin, and it further states there is no doubt that the Eastern portion of Ky. has been occupied by rebel troops. Also we have a pretty well authenticated report that Danville has been occupied by the enemy.”
~ Eldress Nancy of the community of Shakers lived at South Union near Bowling Green [i]

While foraging for cattle, Pegram’s cavalry encountered and skirmished with Yankees on March 28th at Hickman’s Bridge. Then, narrowly evading the closely following 44th and 45th Regiments Ohio Infantry, they continued to rustle cattle until they had rounded up about 750 head. Bragg was relying on beef to keep the Army of Tennessee supplied with nourishing food.[ii] Pegram’s cavalry had herded 537 of the cattle across the Cumberland River when their luck ran out.

March 30, 1863

About 1 1/2 miles from Somerset in Pulaski County, Kentucky, the Battle of Dutton Hill took place.[iii] Pegram’s cavalry was overtaken by a Union force of 1,250 men under the command of Brigadier General Quincy A. Gillmore. Pegram, displaying his usual lack of ability to plan or lead while on the battlefield, was sounded defeated.

The following account is reprinted with the permission of Kentucky artist Dan Dutton whose family owned the land the battle was fought upon.

“My dad did an interview with a local paper back in the 70s – telling the story of Pete Dutton and the Battle of Dutton Hill. This text is most of what I have to work with at present concerning Pete.

What I’ve included here begins at the entrance of the first human characters in my project, Pete and Charles arriving at Dutton Hill on horseback with my great-grandfather, Daniel (1). To set up this scene I intend to describe the formation of the limestone outcropping of the hill itself, and the water-table that supplies the spring, however many millions of years that took, and the life-span of the 400-some year old white oak that stood near the Dutton home-place.

(Here begins the excerpt from the newspaper story:)

Daniel would return to Missouri once, to get the two black farm hands that his father-in-law had given him - Pete and Charles. The three rode back to Kentucky on the back of a horse. Pete was eight. Charles was six. Charles eventually left the Dutton’s, but Pete stayed on. ‘Pete stayed here until he got so old he couldn’t work,’ Joe remembers, ‘even after he was freed.’ Pete Dutton – he took on his master’s last name – was a large measure of a man, standing about 6’4” and weighing 250 pounds. ‘He was big, powerful,’ Joe Dutton said. ‘His hands would almost make two of mine. He finally went to live with his kids in Danville,’ Joe said, ‘and he made a trip here every year, when I was just a boy, and it was interesting to hear him talk. One thing about him was that we’d get ready for a meal and say ‘C’mon Pete’ and he’d say ‘No s’um, I’ll eat after you folks.’ He wouldn’t eat at the same table with us. I guess it was drilled in his mind so heavy that he wouldn’t.’

It was Pete, perhaps the only witness who was not a participant, who relayed the story of the Battle of Dutton Hill at family gatherings when Joe was just a child. A few days prior to the battle, Pete heard that Confederate troops were retreating south toward the Cumberland River from a defeat around Danville, stealing horses and food along the way. ‘We (the Duttons) had four good horses and Pete haltered them up and took to those knobs back there with them,’ Joe said, pointing toward the East. Pete tied the horses under a big cliff and stayed with them. My grandmother (Lucy) told him, ‘Pete, if they come and find you with them horses, give them the horses.’ Pete said, ‘They’ll get them horses after Pete’s dead.’

Pete came back to Dutton Hill for food in about three or four days, leaving the horses up in the hills. He was in the house eating when he saw them. ‘He happened to look up, Joe remembers him saying, ‘and there was a Rebel in the yard for every blade of grass.’ Pete went out in the yard and was confronted by the soldiers. ‘They addressed him as a nigger,’ Joe said Pete told him, ‘They said, ‘Nigger, we want feed for 500 horses, And Pete said, ‘Sir, we haven’t got that much feed’ and the soldier said, ‘I’ll take what you’ve got.’ It was about that time that Pete first heard gunfire. It was coming from the North side of Dutton Hill on the road to Crab Orchard, now Highway 39. ‘They (the Rebels) rode as hard as they could go back to the hill,’ Joe said. ‘I never knew where my grandfather was. He was out logging or sawing somewhere, I guess. My grandmother (Lucy) said, ‘Pete, we’d better get out of here. We’d better leave here.’ Pete carrying Joe’s father, who was two years old at the time, helped Lucy Jane get everyone to David Dutton’s House in the Caney Fork area, then returned to the battle site. He positioned himself on a hill from which he could watch. ‘There was a big cedar snag,’ Joe said, ‘and he got up on it. He said that when he got back the northern soldiers were busy stacking up rails of an old rail fence along that hill and rolling rocks and working hard at it. Pete saw the Confederate soldiers advancing up the other side of the hill with three cannons. As they reached the top, they began to fire, but their shots went over the heads of the Union soldiers because of the steep incline of the hill. ‘Pete said they were doing a lot of shooting, but they were missing.’ Joe remembered. ‘Before long, they (the Union) were on top of the hill. It was all over then, the way he put it.’ The battle lasted about half a day, Pete told Joe. When the family returned home, it found that the Rebels had cleaned out the house and the barn before their retreat. ‘They busted up what they didn’t take.’ Joe said. The Union Soldiers buried 19 of the Confederate dead at the top of the hill, 10 in one row, nine in the other, head to head and wrapped in blankets. A monument now stands near the battle site.

Joe Dutton said that the Confederates retreated south toward Somerset and the Cumberland River. The Battle of Dutton Hill was an attempt to delay the Union Army so that the Confederates could get their horses across the river at Burnside. Before the Rebels showed up at the Dutton home, Pete told Joe that a large number of horses had gone on through, headed south.

Accounts in the history books confirm the story told by Pete Dutton, as Joe Dutton remembered it, right down to the tearing down of fences and the number of cannons. The battle involved 1,100 Union troops commandeered by Brigadier General Q.A. Gilmore, including about 400 from the First Kentucky Calvary under Col. Frank Wolford, and 2,600 Confederate Calvary under General Pegram.
A detailed account of the battle appears in ‘The Wild riders of the First Kentucky Calvary.’(an excerpt):

In front of the First Kentucky was a small field on a hillside, which had been in corn the year before, and on the crest of this hill were two or three pieces of artillary which opened fire upon our lines.

… Wolford’s men, not being in a situation to see the movements of the enemy, were now in hopes that the bloody work was over, but were mistaken, for just at this time, Scott’s dashing Louisiana Calvary was seen flanking our position on the extreme right.

…Wolford moved up cautiously until Scott’s men were located, then halted his men on the borders of heavy timbered land, with a small stubble field between them. Here our men received their fire at several hundred yards distance. There was a rail fence between our men and the enemy, which Col. Wolford ordered to be torn down.

…Wolford was again charging at the head of his command. It may truly be said that the Federals met foe-men worthy of their steel. Many of these men fought us hand to hand, when every hope of escape was cut off… The fighting at this point was desperate, but of short duration. There were more men killed here than in any other part of the field.’

The history books give varied accounts of the number of men lost by both sides, but all say that the battle lasted for three to five hours and that the Union chased the Confederates south to the Cumberland River, where the pursuit ended. ‘As it was, they were allowed to escape with an immense herd of cattle, and loads of plunder gathered mainly from the rich counties, called the Blue Grass Region.’ one book says.

After the war, Pete stayed on and helped raise the Dutton children, living in a small house near the battlefield. Both Pete’s house and the Dutton house are gone now. Pete often told stories about how he and the children played, Joe said. The last time Joe Dutton saw Pete was in 1931, at his funeral. He was 95 years old. ‘We buried him on a hot day in July.’ Joe remembers. ‘The ground was hard as brick. An old colored fellow came to our door and said Pete had died and wanted to be buried here. He came to dig the grave. He looked like he was almost ready for the grave himself. I was about 15 or 16, and Dad sent me out to help. At about two o’clock, we were still digging when the family came with Pete’s body. They stood and waited while we got it deep enough.’ Pete and his wife Jennie now rest in the Dutton cemetery, just a stone’s throw from the battle site and the place where a small house once stood near ‘Pete’s Spring.’ Just inside the gate to the cemetery is a neatly kept grave with a clean, new stone that reads ‘Pete Dutton, Born 1836 in Mo. Died 1931 in KY and Wife, Jennie. Born in Slavery-died free’.”

~ Dan Dutton [iv]

Pete Dutton’s gravestone. Photo courtesy of Dan Dutton [v]

200 CSA and 30 US soldiers were killed, missing, or wounded after the battle.[vi] One of the fallen was Felix G. Stailey, a private in Co C, 1st KY Cavalry USA. [vii]

“Here off duty until the last reveille, lie the Southern soldiers, in numbers who were slain in this county during the war of the secession. They fell among strangers, unknown and unfriended. Yet not unhonored; for stranger’s hands have gathered their ashes here, and placed this shaft above them, that constancy and valor, though displayed in a fruitless enterprise, may not be unremembered.”

Inscription on the Dutton Hill Monument

The base of the monument at Dutton Hill. Photo courtesy of Dan Dutton.[viii]

Only a small obelisk stands atop a knoll on Old Crab Orchard Road, about 1 mile north of the Junction of KY 39 and KY 80 in Somerset, Kentucky, to mark the site of the actual battle and the resting place of those who fell. According to State Marker number 712 located in Pulaski County, Kentucky, on KY 39 two miles north of Somerset, Union forces under General Q. A. Gillmore overtook the Confederate cavalry on March 30, 1863. A five-hour battle resulted during which the Confederates were driven from one position to another and finally tried to escape by crossing the Cumberland River as night fell.

"Father, I came very nearly being killed in that fight"
~ John Barker Company D, 5th KY Mounted Infantry

James Edward Evans was among the men captured by Union forces on March 30, 1863 in Somerset, Kentucky, during the Dutton's Hill Battle.[ix] As a prisoner of war, James was taken to Louisville and held at the military prison. On April 13, 1863 he was processed to be sent to City Point, Virginia by way of Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland. This travel was made by railroad, usually in unheated cars. James was paroled at Fort Monroe, Virginia on April 21, 1863 and exchanged under the terms of the Dix-Hill Cartel with in a group of 527 Confederate Prisoners of War and one surgeon on April 22, 1863 at City Point, Virginia. The surgeon’s name was J. H. Thompson.[x]

James Edward Evans was man number 36 on the April 10, 1863 Roll of Prisoners of War at the Military Prison in Louisville, KY. Click the image to enlarge the roll.

“…prisoners went to City Point, Virginia, east of Richmond. The route ran through Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Washington to Fort Monroe.” [xi]

The battle sparked the powered keg of personal animosity between Pegram and Scott. Each blamed the other for the Confederate defeat. Pegram lost several hundred men as prisoners as well as most of the cattle he had gathered to feed Bragg’s army. He also lost any last respect his men held for him. In the face of open criticism from his subordinate officers, Pegram requested reassignment back to the Eastern Theatre. The request was granted. Once back in his native state, Pegram seemed to have far fewer problems working with others. Perhaps his condesening manner was more acceptable amoung Virginians.

"…The 112th is taken from the 3rd Brig & is stationed here alone. We shall probably stay here a number of days. The Brig has been on the move night & day ever since we left Lexington. Many are sick. The Cavalry caught up with the Rebels near Somersett & have a grand fight - Whipped them good - took 300 prisoners. Killed & wounded about 100 - our loss was very small - The 112 was about 8 hours behind the fight. I have to come back to the Regt when we left the Brigade. All the detailed men have got to come back…I returned to the Regt on the 30th of March. I was sorry to come back…The 112 I suppose will stay here until they get their Horses & Equipments. They are going to be Mounted. It will be nearly the same as Cavalry. It will be much harder than Infantry for we shall be kept here in Ky in the Mountains & in the Edge of Tenn. The Regt is getting quite small - about 50 are Paroled Prisoners & a large number sick…It is the coldest weather I ever saw at this time of the year - freezes hard here every night…"

~ John C. Rockwell of the 112th Illinois Infantry, Company I. Datelined "Lincoln County / Milledgeville Ky / April 6th /63 Monday Morn"


[i] Neal, Mary Julia. “ The Journal of Eldress Nancy” 1963
[ii] O. R., vol. 23, part 2, p. 760.
[iii] O. R., vol. 23, part 1, p. 171-6
[iv] Dutton, Dan. “ You’ll Always Come Back,” dandyland muse, Friday, October 3, 2008, original interview appeared in the Pulaski Week, 1990 - the interviewer was the editor, John Nelson, Joseph Dutton was 76 years old.
[v] Photo courtesy of Dan Dutton whose family owned the land the battle took place on.
[vi] Porter, Melba and Hay, Dianne. “Roadside History: A Guide to Kentucky Highway Markers” University Press of Kentucky
[vii] Wolford, Col. Frank. “The Wild Riders of the Firse Kentucky Cavalary: A history of the regiments, in the great war of the rebellion, 1861-1865: Pathetic scenes, amusing incidents, and thrilling episodes, a regimental roster, prison life, adventures and escapes"1894.
[viii] Photo courtesy of Dan Dutton whose family owned the land the battle took place on.
[ix] Compiled Military Service Record of James Edward Evans 1862 – 1865
[x] Compiled Military Service Record of James Edward Evans 1862 – 1865
[xi] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 8, p. 131

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Report of Rebel Army at Tullahoma

Clicking on the image will enlarge it to a readable size.

Brigadier General John Pegram: A Failure of Command

Brigadier General John Pegram, a Virginian educated at West Point, was highly unpopular with his subordinates.

"A competent leader can get efficient service from poor troops, while on the contrary an incapable leader can demoralize the best of troops."

~General John J. Pershing

John Pegram seemed to possess the makings of an ideal officer. He came from a well respected Virginia family, had graduated tenth in his class at West Point, had Cavalry experience and even spent time in Europe observing the war between Italy and Austria. Yet, with all the right credentials, Pegram struggled in leadership roles.

From the beginning, Pegram’s superior attitude and sense of entitlement led to disagreements.

Rather than accept the first position offered when enlisting with the Confederacy, Pegram negotiated for months, wrangling the best possible deal. When finally commissioned as a Lieutenant Colonel in July of 1861, Pegram was sent to western Virginia to serve in Brigadier General Richard Garnett’s command. Upon his arrival, Pegram incurred the disregard of his fellow officers by disputing matters of seniority.[i]

Pegram’s inability to get along with others also led to disgrace on the battlefield. In August 1861, while defending a mountain pass, Pegram refused to heed intelligence from his subordinate officer.

"…Not long after the sounds of axes could be heard on the left of Camp Garnett as well. Captain Higginbotham heard the chopping on his left, and twice sent word…to Pegram. The Captain was curtly told ‘to mind his own business.’ This ended any further communications between the two officers…" [ii]

Moments later the arrogant Pegram was astonished to find Union forces attacked from his left. Flustered to the point of being unable to counter balance the attack, Pegram’s unit was quickly flanked and cut off from Garnett’s main force. Pegram panicked. Lost and completely disoriented, he abandoned any attempt at escape in favor of surrender. Thus, Pegram became the first former U.S. Army officer captured during the Civil War. He spent the next six months as “a guest of the North.”[iii]

After his parole, Pegram lobbied Richmond for promotion to general. He was instead promoted to Colonel and briefly served as a military engineer for Pierre G. T. Beauregard. He was quickly reassigned as Lieutenant General Edmund Kirby Smith’s Chief of Staff during Kirby Smith’s unsuccessful raid into Kentucky.[iv]

In November 1862, Pegram was entrusted by Kirby Smith as one of three cavalry brigade commanders. The small brigade was a rag-tag lot, composed, at various times, of the 1st Louisiana, 1st Georgia, 1st Florida, 1st and 2nd Tennessee Cavalry Regiments, the 16th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion, and Huwald’s Tennessee Artillery Battalion.[v]

The other commanders selected by Kirby Smith, John Hunt Morgan and Colonel John S. Scott, found Pegram difficult to work with. The complaints appear to have stemmed from cultural clashes between the well bred Virginian who insisted on polished manners and the somewhat rougher “western ways” of officers from Kentucky and Tennessee. Pegram, accustomed to the gentile nobility of Richmond’s high society and the unlimited wealth of planters looked down his nose at officers he considered to be little more than uneducated farmers and poor mountaineers. Likewise, these patriotic volunteers resented this West pointer who couldn’t seem to handle leading a group of eager but untrained young men.

A superior attitude does not become an officer. Inability to work with fellow officers, poor personal relations with the enlisted men, and a reprehensible lack of planning and execution doomed Pegram to failure.

“But there was something wrong about his generalship. His relations with non-Virginians and volunteers were strained. His judgment on the battlefield, especially when in independent duty outside the direct supervision of his commander, was often poor.”[vi]

Brigadier General John Wharton began to question Pegram’s ability to employ artillery effectively.[vii]

Tensions increased when Colonel Scott was assigned to Pegram, a move that cause Scott to feel demoted.

Pegram's brigade was assigned to picket the Cumberland River and defend two northern Tennessee counties.

In early 1863, Pegram was selected to lead a nine day cavalry raid into Kentucky. It was during this raid that the displeasure of his subordinates became overt. Colonels Henry M. Ashby of the 1st Tennessee and John S. Scott of the 1st Louisiana openly questioned Pegram’s tactical decisiveness. John Hunt Morgan joined these men in their unrestrained criticism of their leader.

“…There was no fault to be found with the valor of the men who composed it [the Army of Tennessee]. But its history is one long tragic story of changing commanders, of bickering and wrangling among its leaders, of victories whose fruits were not gathered, of defeats which by a slight turn of fortune’s wheel might have been signal victories – a discouraging succession of disappointments and might-have-beens.”[viii]

March 19, 1863

Huwald’s Tennessee Battery and Pegram's Brigade were en route to Kentucky.

“The Division of Cavalry, commanded by Gen. John Pegram, to which my battery of Horse artillery was attached,….”

~Captain Gust. A. Huwald

Pegram would march as far north as Danville.[ix]

March 25, 1863

The Union seemed unperturbed by this latest raid.

“Wednesday, March 25
Rebels reported at Danville 2,000 strong. Sent out on picket with nine men in charge. See nothing of importance. Part of pickets on mud road which is almost impassable in wagon train start for Lexington.”

~ Charles W. Durling, Company G, 45th Ohio Infantry


[i]. Armstrong, Richard L. “25th Virginia Infantry and 9th Battalion, Virginia Infantry,” 1990. p. 14.
[ii] Armstrong, Richard L. “25th Virginia Infantry and 9th Battalion, Virginia Infantry,” 1990. p. 14.
[iii] Freeman, Douglas Southall. “Lee’s Lieutenants: A Study in Command,” 1945.
[iv] “Confederate Military History, Vol. 3. Virginia,” Evans, Clement A., ed. 1962.
[v] O.R., vol. 16, part 2, p. 985.
[vi] Laidig, Scott, “Brigadier General John Pegram, Lee’s Paradoxical Cavalier”
[vii] O.R., vol. 20, part 1, p. 969.
[viii] Horn, Stanley F. “The Army of Tennessee,” 1941
[ix] Kerr,Charles, Connelley, William Elsey, Coulter, Ellis Merton. “History of Kentucky,” p. 901
[x] Diary of Charles W. Durling

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bully for Bragg

Retreat demoralized the Army of Tennessee. They were left with little more than each other. Yet, somehow the brotherhood which forms within a fighting unit pulled them through the winter. They faced adversity with high spirits and a remarkable amount of good humor.

Sam R. Watkins delightfully captured the good natured attitude of an average Confederate private:

“One of those amusing episodes that frequently occur in the army, happened at this place. A big strapping fellow by the name of Tennessee Thompson, always carried bigger burdens than any other five men in the army. For example, he carried two quilts, three blankets, one gum oil cloth, one overcoat, one axe, one hatchet, one camp-kettle, one oven and lid, one coffee pot, besides his knapsack, haversack, canteen, gun, cartridge-box, and three days' rations. He was a rare bird, anyhow. Tennessee usually had his hair cut short on one side and left long on the other, so that he could give his head a bow and a toss and throw the long hairs over on the other side, and it would naturally part itself without a comb. Tennessee was the wit and good nature of the company; always in a good humor, and ever ready to do any duty when called upon. In fact, I would sometimes get out of heart and low spirited, and would hunt up Tennessee to have a little fun. His bye-word was "Bully for Bragg; he's hell on retreat, and will whip the Yankees yet." He was a good and brave soldier, and followed the fortunes of Company H from the beginning to the end.

Well, one day he and Billy Webster bet twenty-five dollars, put up in Bill Martin's hands, as to which could run the faster. John Tucker, Joe Lee, Alf. Horsley and myself were appointed judges. The distance was two hundred yards. The ground was measured off, and the judges stationed. Tennessee undressed himself, even down to his stocking feet, tied a red handkerchief around his head, and another one around his waist, and walked deliberately down the track, eyeing every little rock and stick and removing them off the track. Comes back to the starting point and then goes down the track in half canter; returns again, his eyes flashing, his nostrils dilated, looking the impersonation of the champion courser of the world; makes two or three apparently false starts; turns a somersault by placing his head on the ground and flopping over on his back; gets up and whickers like a horse; goes half-hammered, hop, step, and jump--he says, to loosen up his joints--scratches up the ground with his hands and feet, flops his arms and crows like a rooster, and says,"Bully for Bragg; he's hell on a retreat," and announces his readiness. The drum is tapped, and off they start. Well, Billy Webster beat him one hundred yards in the two hundred, and Tennessee came back and said, "Well, boys, I'm beat; Billy Martin, hand over the stakes to Billy Webster. I'm beat, but hang me if I didn't outrun the whole Yankee army coming outof Kentucky; got away from Lieutenant Lansdown and the whole detail at Chattanooga with half a hog, a fifty pound sack of flour, a jug of Meneesee commissary whisky, and a camp-kettle full of brown sugar. I'm beat. Billy Martin, hand over the stakes. Bully for Bragg; he'shell on a retreat." Tennessee was trying bluff. He couldn't run worth a cent; but there was no braver or truer man ever drew a ramrod or tore a cartridge than Tennessee.” [i]


[i] Watkins, Sam R. “Co. Aytch” 1962

Conscription Laws: Americans drafted into the Civil War

When the Civil War began, both the North and South were determined to rely upon volunteer armies. No one expected the war to last very long. Therefore, neither government saw fit to enforce conscription laws, even though such laws were common place in Europe.

“In the initial upwelling after Sumter, the South, expecting a quick victory or a European intervention, mustered in most of its volunteers for only one year. But the North was even more short-sighted (and also constrained by a militia law that dated from the Whisky Rebellion) and only called its men to three months' duty.”[i]

Yet, as the war ground on, both sides were forced to turn to conscription due to the dwindling numbers of volunteers. Therefore, the draft system was established in America.

The Confederacy was deeply reluctant to turn to a draft. The Southern ideal rested upon a man of valor whose patriotism drove him to joyfully volunteer to defend his nation and his beloved family. The concept that a man might be reluctant to fight for his country was abhorrent to the Southern mindset.
Thus, the Confederacy first tried $50 bonuses to appeal to the greedy, and 60 day furloughs to appeal to the homesick, before resorting to enacting the first of its three conscription laws on April 16, 1862. However, there were loopholes. The law included exemptions for certain occupations, only-sons, and medical reasons.

Less than a year later, Abraham Lincoln signed the first national Conscription Act on March 3, 1863. The Act required all white males from ages 20 - 45 to register for service in the army. The Northern law also contained exemptions for certain occupations, only-sons, and medical reasons. Furthermore, wealthy men could hire a substitute to take their place by paying $300. Many upper class Northerners happily avoided service. This led to accusations that the Civil War had become a “rich man’s war but a poor man’s fight.”

The same cry was raised in the South where exemptions were being granted to any man owning twenty or more slaves.

“A law had been passed by the Confederate States Congress called the conscript act. ... From this time on till the end of the war, a soldier was simply a machine, a conscript. It was mighty rough on rebels. We cursed the war, we cursed Bragg, we cursed the Southern Confederacy. All our pride and valor had gone, and we were sick of war and the Southern Confederacy.

"A law was made by the Confederate States Congress about this time allowing every person who owned twenty negroes to go home. It gave us the blues; we wanted twenty negroes. Negro property suddenly became very valuable, and there was raised the howl of 'rich man's war, poor man's fight.' The glory of the war, the glory of the South, the glory and pride of our volunteers had no charms for the conscript."

~ Sam R. Watkins, First Tennessee [ii]

Rather than motivating “the stay-at-homes” to enlist, conscription laws prompted public outrage. Speeches and editorials declared conscription to be an infringement on individual free will and personal liberty. The enraged Georgia Governor, Joseph E. Brown, declared:

"No act of the Government of the United States prior to the secession of Georgia struck a blow at constitutional liberty so fell, as has been stricken by this conscription act"[iii]

Failure to report for duty, desertion, and the hiring of “substitutes” became common place, North and South.

“In October 1862, Robert Carter, a wealthy planter living in Concordia Parish, in the fertile cotton-growing delta along the Mississippi River in northeast Louisiana, faced conscription into the Confederate army. Rather than enter the service, Carter, whose family owned two plantations and 194 slaves, contracted with Frederick W. Scheuber to serve as his substitute. As a German, Scheuber was not subject to Confederate conscription and therefore could serve in someone else's place. Carter possessed both the motives and the means to avoid military service. In addition to wanting to escape the dangers inherent in life in the army, Carter possibly feared both losing control of his slaves and exposing his family to the enemy, especially with the Union army, as part of its attack on Vicksburg, less than fifty miles north of his home. With Carter's wealth exceeding $120,000, his agreement to pay Scheuber $2,500 at the end of the war and to provide Scheuber's wife with $20.83 per month (10 percent per year) until that time would not prove an insurmountable financial burden. Although Scheuber may have needed the money, he did not live to see the end of the war, perishing at Berwick Bay in April 1863, less than one year after signing his contract with Carter. During Scheuber's time of service, Carter paid the money to three of the German's female relatives, but it remains unclear whether he paid the full amount upon Scheuber's death.” [iv]

Hoping to sway more men into volunteering, the North began to offer payments known as bounties. If a draftee selected to “volunteer” before his muster date, he became eligible to receive a bounty, usually about $100. Some states and municipalities also contributed to the bounties. Thus, a man’s total bounty could exceed $500, an entire year’s pay.

Northern bounty’s led to endless difficulties. Unscrupulous men would enlist, collect their bounty, and desert. Some of these men began to grow wealthy collecting bounty after bounty. They simply enlisted in camp after camp, disappearing after the payments were made. This practice, dubbed “bounty jumping,” was as dangerous as it was lucrative. If the bounty jumper was caught, he faced death by hanging or firing squad.

Struggling to survive on the front lines, volunteer soldiers, both Northern and Southern, found themselves despising conscripts. Unwilling soldiers made untrustworthy fighting partners. Their unaccountability was an inexcusable sin. In the pitch of battle, one’s life depends upon the actions of the men to one’s left and right!

The final words on the matter should belong to a member of the 2nd Washington Artillery (Louisiana) who penned:

“They took me for a soldier and are going to make me fight
Though I could never believe myself that shooting folks was right

The only thing I’ll ever learn, is, how to run away-

Then they say they’ve found me out, that I’m a stupid lout,
I have so many orders, I don’t Know what I’m about.

But get some foreign Gentlemen, by paying in advance,
To swear you come from Germany, or Ireland, or France,

To set the matter right, have it writ in black and White,
That you’re a foreign fellow, and they cannot make you fight.”


[i] Harper, Douglas. “The American Civil War: Conscription”
[ii] Watkins, Sam R. “Co. Aytch” 1962.
[iii] McPherson, J. M. “Ordeal by fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction,” 1992.
[iv] Sacher, John M., “ A Very Disagreeable Business: Confederate conscription in Louisiana,” Civil War History, June 2007.
[v]Glatthaar, Joseph T. “ General Lee’s Army: From Victory to Collapse,” 2008, p. 404

Thursday, November 20, 2008

From Insult to Injury

March 3, 1863

“An Alphabetical Roll of Morgan’s Old Division Through 1863” shows James Edward Evans as having been wounded on March 3, 1863.[i] No details concerning the injury are included in this record.

Many questions race to mind. Was he wounded in a skirmish with Union pickets? What was the nature of the wound? How was the wound treated?

Little documentation remains to answer these questions.

“To each regiment of infantry or cavalry was assigned a surgeon and an assistant surgeon…”[ii]

“Every effort was made to treat wounded men within 48 hours; most primary care was administered at field hospitals located far behind the front lines. Those who survived were then transported by unreliable and overcrowded ambulances-two-wheeled carts or four-wheeled wagons-to army hospitals located in nearby cities and towns.

The most common Civil War small arms ammunition was the dreadful minnie ball, which tore an enormous wound on impact: it was so heavy that an abdominal or head wound was almost always fatal, and a hit to an extremity usually shattered any bone encountered. In addition, bullets carried dirt and germs into the wound that often caused infection.”[iii]

Family lore holds that his father, Dr. Isaac Greenup Evans, receiving word of James’ injury went by wagon and fetched him home. Isaac was intent on nursing his son himself. Letters from James’ elder brother John had revealed that Confederate field hospitals often lacked basic supplies and medications.

James, too weak to argue, returned home with his father. Yet, the moment he regained his strength, he left the family home in the middle of the night and returned to the Confederate Cavalry against his father’s will.

Sadly, no evidence to support or to disprove this family tale has been found.

What can be determined is the fact that Confederate surgeons did often suffer from lack of supplies.

“The surgeons and assistant surgeons, the generals and the officers lived with their men in the open fields, in trenches swept by the fire of the enemy, literally in ditches and holes burrowed in the earth, hair filled with water--from which they were sometimes in the rainy season driven out like rats. Half starved, upon the coarsest food, in cold and storm and rain, exposed to every hazard--these, our brethren of the medical department, quailed not; they patiently submitted to every hardship, often with systems shattered by privation and ill-health, whilst they performed services which required skill, care and serene courage.”[iv]

However, these dedicated men were not without remarkable cunning and resourcefulness.

“The Civil War surgeon could often be wounded or even killed. Hospitals sites were chosen close to the line and where water was available. Improvisation, particularly for the Confederate surgeon, was the name of the game. Hunter McGuire on the adaptability of the Confederate surgeon:

The pliant bark of a tree made for him a good tourniquet; the juice of the green persimmon, a styptic; a knitting needle, with it’s point sharply bent a tenaculum; and a pen knife, in his hand, a scalpel and bistoury. I have seen him break off one prong of a common table fork, bend the point of the other prong and with it elevate the bone in a depressed fracture of the skull and save life.”[v]

These revelations cause one to wonder, how did James manage to survive his wound?


[i] Watkins, Drs. Elizabeth and Dwight G. “ Morgan’s Light Brigade” Alphabetical Roll of Morgan’s Old Division Through 1863 pages 234 -235.
[ii] S. P. Moore, S. P., M.D., surgeon-general of the Confederate States army, address delivered at Richmond, Virginia, October- 19, 1875.
[iii] The Civil War Society's "Encyclopedia of the Civil War"
[iv] Porcher, F. Peyre, A. B., M. D., “Confederate Surgeons,” Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XVII. Richmond, Va., January-December. 1889.
[v] Goellnitz, Jenny. “An Opinon of the Civil War Surgeon,”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

FEBRUARY 1863: Rolls, Reorganization, and Chaos

Notes from which the February 13, 1863 Roll at McMinnville, Tennessee was compiled. James Edward Evans appears near the bottom of page 78. Clicking on the image will enlarge it.

February 13, 1863

On Monday, February 13, 1863, roll was taken at McMinnville, Tennessee. The bottom of the roll reads:

“In September, 1862, the company (then known as Company “G,” Forrest’s Regiment) had been captured at Fort Donelson, together with horses, equipment, etc., and was exchanged at Vicksburg, Miss.; proceeded thence to Knoxville, Tenn., and were ordered to report to General John H. Morgan, at Murfreesboro, Tenn.: acted accordingly and were assigned to Gano’s Regiment of Morgan’s Cavalry. Since being connected with that command, the company has accompanied it into Kentucky and returned with loss of four men, as reported on the rolls. NOTE – Previous to the surrender at Fort Donelson this company was serving as Company “G,” Forrest’s 3rd Tennessee Cavalry.”

ROLL OF COMPANY I, SEVENTH REGIMENT CAVALRY, KENTUCKY VOLUNTEERS, CONFEDERATE STATES ARMY, #31 Evans, James, Rank : Private, When Enlisted: Sept. 7, 1862, Where Enlisted: Danville, Ky”[i]

What was this? The Compiled Military Service Record for James Edward Evans always lists him with the 3rd. How the 3rd came to be redesignated at the 7th is explained below.

1. J. Russell Butler, Colonel
2. Jack Allen, Lieut. Colonel
3. Jacob w. Griffith, Lieut. Colonel
4. J. T. Chenoweth, Major
NOTE ~ For Roster and Rolls of Gano’s 3rd Regiment, see Roster and Rolls of the 7th Kentucky Regiment Cavalry, C.S.A. Gano’s Regiment was part of 1st Brigade (Duke’s) Morgan’s Division and was known as the 3rd Regiment throughout the war – Richard Gano, Colonel; E. L. Hoffman, Lieut. Colonel – but it seems there was some one who was operating in Southwestern Kentucky and Tennessee who had a Commission as Colonel of the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry, C. S. A, ate-dating Colonel Gano’s; so the U S. War Office (Dept. Records of the Rebellion) changed Gano’s Third Regiment to the 7th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry.”

Studying the Company rolls listed within McDowell’s The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Civil War, Confederate, Vol. I, one can find clues as to the many reorganizations that took place as the Army of Tennessee was formed. On the Roll of Company F, 7th Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, C. S. A., twenty eight names are noted as “Member Company ‘E’ 3rd KY Cavalry; attached.”[iii] Six former members of Company I, 1st Regiment Cavalry (Edward Brown, W. Dickerson, James Evans, John Gray, R. H. Harmon, and S. O’Bannon) became members of Company I, 7th Regiment Cavalry.[iv] Thus, while designations continuously changed, James appears to have spent his entire time in the Cavalry with at least five constant comrades.

There remains a final consideration which may explain why James referred to himself as a member of the 3rd KY. Southerners who became prisoners of war, especially if they had become associated with Partisan Ranger Groups, often gave their initial enlistment rank, the name of their Company, and the name of the Regiment in which they had first enrolled in the hope they would face quicker exchange and better treatment while “guests of the North.” In 1862, U. S. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton had excluded prisoners classified as guerrillas from exchange under the conditions of the Dix-Hill Cartel. Thus, those associated with John Hunt Morgan’s raids had good reason to present “other information.”

“Exchange was the only hope for prisoners everywhere…” [v]

February 14, 1862

“February 14, 1862, Fort Donelson, Tennessee

Have been much exercised in mind for several days about the increase of card playing cannot expect to stop the men while officers openly play daily I pray for wisdom & grace Oh my Father teach what I ought to do & give me the strength to do it."

~ Chaplin Israel Cogshall, 19th Michigan Volunteer Infantry [vi]

February 20, 1863

“Louisville, KY., February 20, 1863

Col. A. Stager:

Rebels in Considerable force at Somerset, Ky., supposed to be under Morgan, advancing into interior of Kentucky. General Rosecrans is preparing to change base to Tennessee."

Sam Bruch [vii]

February 21, 1863

“Saturday, February 21
Started again. Went about two miles, then started out foraging. Took five loads of corn and four of hay. Went on. Overtook regt. Camped near Crab Orchard. Took three of Morgan's pickets. Morgan reported at Somerset or Mt. Vernon.”

Charles W. Durling, Company G, 45th Ohio Infantry

February 23, 1863

“Louisville, Ky., Feb. 23, 1863

I have no news to tell you except that we discovered last week a soldier who turned out to be a girl. She had already been in service for 21 months and was twice wounded. Maybe she would have remained undiscovered for a long time, if she hadn't fainted. She was given a warm bath which gave the secret away."

~ Joseph Frederick Shelly, 41st Indiana Volunteer Infantry, 2nd Calvary, Co. B [ix]

February 26, 1863

“Thursday, February 26

Started again. Four wagons burned, not being able to take them. Considerable camp equipage thrown away also. Reach Ky. River, build a raft. Cannot use it, the current of river being too strong. Let it go down stream and go to next ferry. Take part of things to opposite shore. Morgan reported within four rules of here. Get supper at private house near here, our rations having given out.”

Charles W. Durling, Company G, 45th Ohio Infantry

February 28, 1863

On a roll taken this date, James Edward Evans appeared as absent without leave since 18 November 1862 from Capt. H. C. Myer’s Co., Butler’s Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry. This information conflicts the information found on the February 13th McMinnville Roll.

How could this be?

Confederate records are woefully scant. Due to a lack of man power, some records were never filed. Other records were lost to fires or destroyed in battle. Some records were compiled from notes and/or best memory. These compilations were sometimes written by men who were not part of the company or were not present when the notes regarding the event were taken.

As the month drew to an end, the infernal reorganizing continued. A note at the bottom of one of James Service Cards reads:

“This company was also known as Company I and the regiment was also known as the 3rd Regiment Kentucky Cavalry which was formed about November, 1862 by the consolidation of three regiments which were commanded by Colonels D. Howard Smith, J. Warren Grigsby, and J. R. Butler. It was consolidated in March, 1863, with the 1st (Helm’s) Regiment Kentucky Cavalry and formed the 1st (Butler’s) Regiment Kentucky Cavalry. This company appears to have become (Old) Company H of the new regiment.” [xi]


[i] McDowell, “The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Civil War, Confederate”, Vol. I pgs 710 -713.
[ii] McDowell, “The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Civil War, Confederate”, Vol. I pgs 594 – 595.
[iii] McDowell, “The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Civil War, Confederate”, Vol. I pgs 700 -705.
[iv] McDowell, “The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Civil War, Confederate”, Vol. I pgs 528 -529 and 710 -713.
[v] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 8, p. 131.
[vi] Cogshall, Israel. "Journal of Israel Cogshall, 1862-1863," ed. Cecil K. Byrd, Indiana Magazine of History 42, no. 1 ,March 1946, p. 74.
[vii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Vol. XXIII, Part – II Correspondence” p.33.
[viii] Diary of Charles W. Durling.
[ix] Shelly, Joseph Frederick. "The Shelly Papers," ed. Fanny Anderson and trans. Sophie Gemant, Indiana Magazine of History 44, no. 2 ,June 1948, p. 186.
[x] Diary of Charles W. Durling.
[xi] Compiled Military Service Record for James Edward Evans.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


And we’ll march, march, march to the music of the drum,
We were driven forth in exile from our Old Kentucky Home,
We were driven forth in exile from our Old Kentucky Home.

Kentucky Battle Song

Bragg and the Army of Tennessee continued to struggle through the miserable winter.

“…the weather, which was usually cold in middle Tennessee from January to March. Ice formed on the river and streams, and snow and rain frequently turned to sleet and freezing rain. Bragg’s infantry huddled in their tents and cabins, and Morgan’s men shivered in lean-tos made of fence rails and oil cloths, open to the fire in front. They went for days without taking off their boots and gusts of wind drove the rain in their faces as they slept; when they rolled over the ice on their blankets would rattle in their beds. Often they were aroused by the bugle call “boots and saddles,” and they would stumble out in the bleak winter chill. Hungry and faint, they would untie their horse from the side of the lean-to and ride for miles to check a Federal scouting party.”[i]

Their beloved Kentucky homeland continued to suffer under the occupation of Union soldiers.

The following letter was written within miles of the Evans’ family home. While difficult to follow, its halting style illustrates the difficulties of trying to write to a loved one while on the march, feeling ill, and trying to attend to one's duties.

January 14, 1862 from Marion County, KY

Marion County KY

Jan 14 1862

Dear Margaret,

I take the present opportunity to drop you a line. We are again on the March. We left Camp Morton on the 11 and have been out three days. We are ordered to London in Laurel County near Cumberland Gap but the Col. is in town to night it is said that the order has been Countermanded or that there is sealed orders for this Reg. We are camped to night 5 miles from Lebanon on the road to Danville. We were ordered to London by way of Springfield, Lebanon, Danville. If we keep on I expect that we well be in Danville day after tomorrow. I expect that we will go through the Crab Orchard.

We have cold weather, the coldest that we have had since we left home. It rained Sunday,snowed last night. The snow was wet and soft at noon. It made very sloppy walking but it was better on us than the rain Sunday.

A man got shot Sunday, accidentally. He was a citizen. He was shot in the hand. One of the advance guards went in to a mill to get out of the rain. When he went to go out, the hammer of the his gun struck the door facing which discharged his gun. I was asked to see him. The regiment got a head of me. I never overtook the Reg. till night.

We marched three days. We have come a crooked road which you may see by reference to the Map. This was in order to keep on the pike. We have but one wagon to a company. When get of the pike I do not know how we will get a long. We will get out of a pike at Danville and [it will be] a very rough road. I expect that we will have to through away some of our plunder. The boy will have to pack their knap sacks. I have a number of the boys knapsacks hauled. Many are the silent tear that steels down my cheek to see the boys tired with their heavy loads on their backs. We have a lot of little boys that would be better off at home. They are a dear expense to the government & no profit. My Company is about the best company in the Regiment.

We staid last night a mile from Springfield at one of the stronger union men's [homes]. He was worth half Million dollars and he was ready to do any thing to make us comfortable. Washington county, the county at Springfield, has eight hundred soldiers in the field. We meet with many [a] warm reception. Some however, not so. The warmest reception that I expect to have is when you and I shall meet. When that will be I am not now able to conjecture. I had hoped that I would have seen you soon but that hope is blasted for the present. I hope that the time will not be longer. I hope and believe that the time is not far till this Rebellion will seace [cease] it must seaec [cease] it cannot continue at such a grand scale as it is now carried on.

I am in tolerable health. I have been sick. I had the flux. I was very weak when we started on the present march. I was reported sick on the day that we marched. I expected to have to go to the Hospital at Bardstown. When the boys started [without me] the boys looked like little children without a mother. I have got better every day since we started. Our boys are generally well. John & Tom Buskirk stand the march very well. I had John’s knapsack hauled to day.

I would like to be at home to see you and the children too. Time seems long since I saw you. I would like to see little Billy. I expect that he often talks of me. I know that he will never forget me [and that] the other children often think of me. I know that they love and respect me. I know that you have taught them such lessons.

Since I have been unwell Adjutant Quinn has not put me on duty. We [take turns] being officer of the day. I have not served since I have been complaining. Had Capt Quinn not been a good fellow and a particular friend I would have had to have gone to the hospital or [have had to take] my turn [at being officer of the day]. Major Thornton let me ride his Horse to day. The Major is as clever as he knows how to be. If you in future years ever see Quinn, I hope you will esteem him for the favors to one that is as near to you. Also if ever you should see a man [named, or] any of the family of Thomas Glessner of Bardstown. When he heard that I was sick, he sent me word to come to his house. I should have a room and he would take care of me with out any pay. When I came through Bardstown [on]Sunday he begged me to stay with him until I got well or to stay at his house till Tuesday morning and then to take the rail road to Lebanon. He was a good union man that I boarded with when I was attending the Hospital [Ritter studied medicine at the University of Louisville].

I must close. I have so many things to say to you that may paper never holds out.

J A Ritter”

~ Captain John A. Ritter, M.D. 49th Indiana Volunteers[ii]

[i] James A. Ramage, “Rebel Raider” chap. 13, p.149
[ii] Civil War letters of Captain John A. Ritter, M.D. 49th Indiana Volunteers

Onward Christian Soldiers

Religion offered hope and solace to the retreating Army of Tennessee.

“Half clad, half armed, often half fed, without money and without price, the Confederate soldier fought against the resources of the world.” [i]

During the fall and winter of 1862-63 Confederates attended daily prayer meetings, revivals, and worship services.[ii]

Religion was the greatest weapon of the otherwise disadvantaged South, providing the will to fight even against impossible odds.[iii]

“Modern history presents no example of armies so nearly converted into churches as the armies of Southern defense. On the crest of this flood of war, which threatens to engulf our freedom, rides a pure Christianity; the Gospel of the grace of God shines through the smoke of battle with the light that leads to heaven; and the camp becomes a school for Christ.”

~ Rev. A. E. Dickinson

The conversions were often dramatic. Even the daring and notoriously reckless John Hunt Morgan turned to Christianity and bible study after his 1862 marriage to Mattie Ready.[iv] Morgan frequently wrote tender letters reassuring his young wife:

“I must close tonight….It is getting late and my candle is quite low. Shall read two chapters in my Prayer Book you gave me… and in bidding you goodnight send you a heart full of love….”[v]


[i] Baskett, G. H. The Confederate Veteran, Vol. I, No. 12, Nashville, Tenn., December 1893.
[ii] Brooks, Gene. “Revivals in the Confederate Armies” 1996.
[iii] Romero, Sidney J. “Religion in the Rebel Ranks,” 1983.
[iv] Jones, Shirley Farris. “ Mattie Ready Morgan: The Hardships of War,” December 31, 2007 The Murfreesboro Post
[v] Ramage, James A. “Rebel Raider: Chap 14, p. 160.