Monday, October 12, 2009

2009 Division Financial Report Published

The Kentucky Division 2009 Financial report can be viewed at:

You can also access it through The Orphan Brigade online archives. Go to then click on the misc items page link, and it will be listed as the 2009 financial report.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Terror in the Bluegrass

By Stewart Cruickshank

If someone told you that Kentucky's government would be taken over by the military, many dozens of its citizens executed without cause or trial, and hundreds more imprisoned or exiled, you might say it could never happen here.

It already did.

Stephen Gano Burbridge was born August 19, 1831 in Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky. His father had been a Captain in the War of 1812. His mother was a native of Port Gibson, Mississippi. Burbridge was educated at Georgetown College and the Kentucky Military Institute in Frankfort. When the War Between the States reached Kentucky, he was a gentleman farmer and non-practicing attorney in Logan County.

On August 27, 1861, the 26th Regiment Kentucky Infantry (US), with Burbridge commissioned as its Colonel, was enrolled for three years or the war at its encampment at Owensboro. The Regiment was stationed in Calhoun in November.

After the Confederate withdrawal from Bowling Green, the 26th was dispatched to Nashville, Tennessee where it arrived on February 26th, 1862. There it was mustered into the Union army on March 5. The regiment arrived on the Shiloh battlefield on April 7th and fought bravely according to reports. Afterwards it was posted to Corinth, Mississippi, Tuscumbia, Florence and Athens Alabama, and Battle Creek Tennessee.

On April 24th Burbridge resigned from his commission effective May 1st citing poor health. However, Gen. Van Cleve did not accept this resignation; instead, on June 22nd Burbridge resigned to accept a commission as Brigadier General in the 13th Army Corp in the Army of Ohio. Kentucky can only wish his first resignation had been accepted. Highlights of his career before being placed in charge of Kentucky include the Battle of Arkansas Post, and during the Vicksburg Campaign he was one of the first officers to enter Port Gibson. He also drew praise from Gen. William T. Sherman for his destruction of the Vicksburg and Shreveport Railroad.

Sherman’s concepts of “total war” would highly influence Burbridge in his military career. Sherman believed that the guerrillas and partisan rangers in Kentucky and other states were not regular Confederate soldiers, and thus not afforded any of the protections normally afforded prisoners of war. Sherman further felt they could be destroyed by denying them popular support, safety, sustenance and horses, by whatever means ("The government of the U.S. has any and all rights which they choose to enforce in war--to take their lives, their homes, their lands, their everything...war is simply unrestrained by Constitution...To the persistent secessionist, why, death is mercy, and the quicker he or she is disposed of the better..." W.T. Sherman, 31 Jan 1864). Sherman would prove an ominous mentor to Burbridge.

Brig. Gen. Burbridge transferred to General Grant’s command in February of 1864. On the 15th he was selected to temporarily command the District of Kentucky. Initially Governor Bramlette was enthusiastic that a fellow Kentuckian would hold the position. Another Kentuckian who was pleased was Radical Republican Dr. Robert Breckinridge. He too would become one of great influence upon Burbridge. On March 14th Burbridge assumed permanent command of the District.

Almost immediately Burbridge embarked upon a course that would alienate both sides in the conflict. On March 4, he followed orders from Gen. Grant to revoke the impressments of slave laborers and return them to their owners. One aim of ending impressments was to encourage recruiting of Blacks for the United States Colored Troops. This issue deeply divided Kentuckians: as a typical example, Lt. Governor Jacob and Union Col. Wolford gave stump speeches opposing recruitment of Blacks on April 4th.

On April 6th, Gen. Sherman cited the Military Laws of War approved by Congress on Dec. 27, 1861, as authorization for commanders in the field to approve and execute death sentences. “...I expect to execute a good many spies and guerrillas under that law without bothering the President.” Secretary of War Holt advised Sherman that he had no authority to do so, but the seed had been planted in Burbridge’s mind. On April 13th Sherman authorized banishment from the Kentucky department anyone who would not enlist in the Union Army.

On April 18th Burbridge’s General Order #34 authorized the enlistment of Negro troops, and he began efforts to shut down newspapers which were critical of this order. On May 21st, he issued General Order #39, which banned the recently published book “Life and Services and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson” as a treasonable offense. Defenders of civil liberties in Kentucky at this point may have begun to realize that their state government was becoming subservient to the dictates of the military.

On May 14th Secretary of War Holt clarified to Sherman that it would be acceptable for field commanders to approve trial and execution of men captured in arms in violation of parole (men waiting for formal exchange). On the 20th Burbridge asked if he could include captured guerrillas.

In June, Gen. John Hunt Morgan began his last excursion through Kentucky. Burbridge’s troops marched over 90 miles to defeat a portion of Morgan’s forces at Mount Sterling on the 9th, and on the 12th he defeated Morgan at Cynthiana. Still in need of horses at this point, Burbridge refused to return captured horses unless the owner could prove loyalty. On the 25th Burbridge began enforcing orders that all “disloyal” citizens be arrested and sent to Washington, D.C.

On July 4th President Lincoln sent Burbridge congratulations for defeating Morgan, and acknowledged his promotion to Major-General. The following day Martial Law was declared in Kentucky and the writ of habeas corpus suspended. Sherman empowered Burbridge to include guerrillas for trials and executions as requested. The stage was now set for a dark and bloody chapter of history in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Stephen G. Burbridge would become the conductor of Government sanctioned murder!

Reign of the Red Handed Monster

The Burbridge administration would rule by terror, and he would be recorded in history as the “Red Handed Monster”, “Bloody Burbridge” and “Butcher Burbridge”. His rule was riddled with allegations of corruption, bribery, favoritism, cruelty and incompetence.

A review of conditions in the Commonwealth in 1864 show how this terrible reign came to be: the War Between the States had degenerated to a localized civil war in the officially neutral border state. After three years of warfare conditions were deplorable. Civilian government had long since broken down as brother fought brother and neighbor fought neighbor. Crimes against the civilian population went unpunished. Outlaws and deserters from both armies robbed and murdered with impunity. Although the Union Army claimed Kentucky for the Federal Government, the Confederate Cavalry consistently challenged its domination. Generals John Hunt Morgan, Hylan B. Lyon and Adam R. Johnson led notable raids. In addition to these large Confederate raids, smaller bodies of detached soldiers and partisans made things lively for the isolated Union Home Guard Militia and other military forces throughout the state. Thousands of men from the Union Army were kept from the front lines to guard crucial depots and towns. Because these battles and skirmishes took place far behind the official Union Army lines of engagement the military referred to these men as “guerrillas”. Eventually this definition was expanded—to include anyone who offered support to the Southern cause.

On July 16 Burbridge issued his infamous General Order #59 which said in part, “Whenever an unarmed Union citizen is murdered, four guerrillas will be selected from the prisoners in the hands of the military authorities and publicly shot to death in the most convenient place near the scene of the outrage.”

Numerous Confederate prisoners of war along with civilian political prisoners were taken from the military prisons in Louisville and Lexington and were subjected to death without cause or trial. These are the Confederate Martyrs of Kentucky! We may never know the full accounting of these victims-there are dozens of them documented, but their total number may have been in the hundreds

The executions began quickly: on July 22nd two men were killed in Henderson. On the 28th two men were shot in Georgetown. On the 29th one man was shot in Russellville.

On July 26th Burbridge issued General Order #61, which called for banishment from Kentucky for all refugees who had been exiled from Missouri or any other state. On that same day a Union army soldier killed Kentucky State Senator Gibson Mallory. Burbridge ordered the soldier released! On the 29th, Burbridge issued orders banning certain candidates’ names from appearing on state election ballots, ending any fa├žade that civilian government still had authority in Kentucky. On August 1st Burbridge recommended that all disloyals arrested be sent to prison in the Dry Tortugas Florida.

Burbridge was not alone in butchery, though; from July 19th until September 9th, in the District of Western Kentucky, Gen. Paine was responsible for a 51-day orgy of corruption, executions, bribery and exortion. After the purported deaths of over 43 men Governor Bramlette was successful in forcing Paine’s removal, but only after a military investigation.

Bitterness against Burbridge then began to surface. On August 13th George A. Mason was arrested in Cincinnati, Ohio, after he revealed an assassination plot to kill Burbridge with an “air gun”. Meanwhile the executions continued. On August 15th three men were killed at Lusby’s Mill. Two others were shot in Bloomfield. On the 20th two men were shot in Franklin. On September 4th four men were executed near Brandenburg. On the 13th one man may have been executed in Louisa.

Confederate Major J. Walker Taylor was sent under a flag of truce to confer with Burbridge about the executions on August 17th. The Union Army refused to recognize his flag, thus no meeting took place.

Complaints regarding the conditions at the women’s prison in Louisville reached the floor of the Democratic Convention in Chicago, Illinois in August. This prison held women and children accused of disloyalty.

Burbridge commanded an unsuccessful expedition into Southwest Virginia against the salt works located in Saltville from September 11th until he was recalled by Gen. Sherman on the 29th.

On October 11th, several guerrillas attempting to assassinate Burbridge were killed when they attacked a train at Lowes Station near Lexington. Burbridge was erroneously believed to be on the train.

Governor Bramlette had lost his initial glee regarding Burbridge by now, and felt that the General was issuing orders “calculated to exasperate and infuriate” the citizens of Kentucky. On October 16th Burbridge wrote to Washington defending himself against allegations of bribery and corruption. He also requested that three Union Army officers be removed from his department as they were allegedly supporters of Gen. McClellan who was running a “peace” ticket against Lincoln.

Confederate Captain Harrison of Gen. Forrest’s Cavalry forwarded to Burbridge on October 17th a threat of six-to-one retaliation if the reprisal executions in Kentucky were not suspended. Burbridge ignored this, and on October 25 four men were shot in Jeffersontown. Two others were shot in Hopkinsville. The following day Burbridge issued General Order #8, which forbade his troops from taking guerrillas as prisoners of war. A Black Flag was now raised in the Commonwealth!

Burbridge issued his infamous Hog Swindle order on October 28th. The order restricted the sale of hogs only to government agents at substandard prices. It is estimated that this order cost the farmers of Kentucky over $300,000.00 before it was repealed on November 27th.

November would become the bloodiest month of Burbridge’s reign. Confederate soldier Gervis Grainger recalled after the war that about this time fifteen fellow POW’s were forced to place their names in a death lottery. Eight men were selected and placed in irons at the Lexington Military Prison. On November 2nd four of these men were shot in Frankfort. The following day the other four were shot in Pleasureville. On November 5th four men were shot at Midway. Three others were shot as they attempted to escape pursuant to General Orders #8 near Bloomfield. On November 7th three men were shot seven miles from Bloomfield and on the 8th two men were shot at Lynn’s Camp Creek. On the 13th six men were shot in Henderson. On the 15th two men were hung at Lexington—one of these being accused of another assassination plot against Burbridge. On the 19th six men were executed near Osceola.

Meanwhile, Burbridge had escalated his arbitrary arrests of suspected disloyals. Governor Bramlette wrote to General Grant complaining of the banishment of a leading citizen of Lexington, John B. Huston and a newspaper editor P.R. Shipman of the Louisville Journal. President Lincoln ordered that Huston be allowed to return to Kentucky on the 10th, but Burbridge responded that “if the civilian authority would not suppress disloyalty that the military would”. Evidently even Lincoln couldn’t keep Burbridge under control at this point.

On November 14th Gen. Grant sent an investigator to Kentucky to look into the Burbridge administration. Burbridge was also under suspicion of stealing horses from the Lexington Railroad Military corral which were designated for the Military Division of Mississippi. It was alleged that he took the horses to Camp Nelson in Jessamine County to mount the 5th and 6th U.S.C.T. Cavalry.

On December 7th Burbridge departed on another, this time successful, expedition against Saltville. He returned on January 3rd, 1865. With his return, the short respite of killing prisoners soon ended with an execution which may have occurred on the 9th at Lusby’s Mill, an execution in Christian County on the 10th, a man being executed on the 26th in LaGrange, and at least two others executed in Louisville that month. While Burbridge was gone to Southwest Virginia, though, Gen. Grant had begun looking for a replacement.

Burbridge continued the escalation of his feud with the civilian government he was supposedly protecting by arresting and banishing Lieutenant Governor Jacob! Former Union Col. Wolford was also arrested and banished at this time. On February 6th Burbridge issued General Order #5 which called for all Home Guard and Militia units in Kentucky to be abolished! By this time, recognizing that retaining Burbridge was a lost cause, Dr. Robert Breckinridge recommended Gen. Benjamin Franklin “Beast” Butler as his replacement. “Beast” Butler being considered an improvement over Burbridge should be sufficient irony to prove Burbridge’s moniker of “Butcher” to be well deserved.

Finally, on February 22, 1865, Gen. Burbridge’s reign of terror was brought to a close by General Order #2. The next day Burbridge asked for and was granted a 30-day leave of absence. He was never again given a field command and resigned his commission in December, 1865. The executions continued under Burbridge’s replacement, Gen. J. M. Palmer, but there was now at least a semblance of a trial, and the close of the war shortly afterwards finally brought this terrible chapter of Kentucky history to an end. Burbridge attempted to live in Covington, Kentucky. However, complaining of being unable to earn a living within the state (could he have really thought that possible?), and fearing assassination, he moved to Brooklyn, New York where he practiced law until his death on December 2, 1894. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, section 1, grave #666! Most Kentuckians felt this “mark of the beast” to be well justified.

After the war the Kentucky Legislature passed bills calling for a gathering of names of those men by order of any commander who had been arrested, imprisoned, or killed outside of battle. Today, 136 years later, this project continues with the added goal of marking the victim’s graves. Another bill called for an official investigation of Burbridge for murdering men under military authority.

General Sherman would defend Burbridge after the war, claiming that he alone was responsible for any war crimes committed. In a defense still used to this day he claimed Burbridge was simply a “soldier following orders”. Sherman, of course, was never held accountable for these crimes. One result of Burbridge’s terror was an increase of respect and support for the returning Kentucky Confederates. Historians joke that Kentucky had finally joined the Confederacy by 1866—but they seldom teach why Kentucky came to support and honor the Lost Cause of the Confederacy so deeply. After all, it isn’t common to “join” the losing side when the loss is fait accompli . For a state which espoused a Constitutional Union (one of free will), though, the military occupation, martial law, and Burbridge’s brutality alienated a vast majority of Kentuckians, with even staunch Unionists finding the tactics unbearable. In the end, Kentucky’s Confederates returned home hailed as heroes, and took back the state government through the political process, dominating it for many decades.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The Forgotten Mountain Road by Richard Brown

Although history continues to remember and acknowledge the Mt. Sterling-Pound Gap Road, another road that benefited early Eastern Kentucky settlers has been forgotten.  Long before the Kentucky Assembly appropriated money for the Mt. Sterling-Pound Gap Road, pioneers settling the mountainous regions of eastern Kentucky utilized buffalo and Indian trails to travel between Pound Gap and the central part of the state.  During the War Between the States, this system of treacherous trails was known as the Rebel Trace.

Very little written history remains of this infamous trail.  The famous author, Joseph Hergesheimer, wrote about the trail in an April, 1930, edition of the Saturday Evening Post.  Another author, Martin Harry Greenberg, chose Hergesheimer’s story to use in his book, Confederate Battle Stories.  Earlier, Captain Edward Guerrant and Private George Mosgrove described the trail in their journals of the war.  Confederate General Humphrey Marshall also mentioned the trail in his official records.  Today, the only mention of the once infamous trail on the internet is Rebel Trace Lake, a small, man-made lake in Menifee County.

Although there are several legs of the Rebel Trace, the main trail ran from Pound Gap through the counties of Letcher, Knott, Perry, Breathitt, Wolfe, Powell, Menifee and Montgomery to Mt. Sterling. Part of the road could be traveled by wagon but the majority was accessible only by foot or horseback.

The reason the treacherous road was called the Rebel Trace probably was due to Confederate soldiers using it more than Union troops.  Union troops in this area were usually from Ohio, Indiana and Michigan and preferred to stay on the Mt. Sterling-Pound Gap road, which was much safer for them.  However, at least two Union regiments were known to use the Rebel Trace; the 14th Kentucky Cavalry and 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry.  The majority of these Yankee soldiers were from the mountains of southeastern Kentucky and knew the trails as well as their Rebel counterparts.   Also, there were more southern sympathizers living along the Rebel Trace than northern supporters.  Because of its friendlier nature, it was not at all uncommon for a Rebel soldier to pause and check on his family while traveling the Rebel Trace.

The Rebel Trace was used dozens, if not hundreds, of times by soldiers during the war.  The following examples are only a small fraction of the overall utilization of the trace.  The first military use of the trace occurred in the first year of the war as hundreds of men from the Bluegrass Region of the state used it to travel to Confederate recruiting stations in Prestonsburg, Whitesburg and Virginia.  Union commanders forced southern sympathizers to use the trace by closely monitoring the Mt. Sterling-Pound Gap Road, arresting anyone suspected of trying to join with the Rebels.      

In December of 1863, Captain Peter Everett CSA used the trail to escape Yankee pursuers after his raid on Mt. Sterling.  The captain left Abingdon, Virginia, with the 1st Battalion Kentucky Cavalry, 10th Kentucky Mounted Rifles, and 7th Confederate Cavalry.  The Confederates rode rapidly along the Mt. Sterling-Pound Gap Road, stopping long enough in Salyersville to rout a small Union garrison.  Later that night, the Rebel raiders successfully attacked a Union force, much larger than their own, that was garrisoned in Mt. Sterling. The raiders captured a large number of horses and supplies, while destroying a large Union commissary stored in the town.  Knowing that the Yankees would be expecting them to return to Virginia by the Mt. Sterling-Pound Gap Road, the young captain allowed some of the men of the 10th Kentucky Mounted Rifles to lead the raiding party back along the Rebel Trace.  The majority of the men of this regiment were from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and knew the trail by heart.  Upon arriving in Whitesburg, the captain left the 10th Kentucky there to check on their families and continued with the remainder of the raiding party back through Pound Gap.    

In May of 1864, another attack was conducted by utilizing the Rebel Trace.  However, this time, Union soldiers took advantage of the trail.  The 11th Michigan Cavalry had received a report that a company of the 10th Kentucky Mounted Rifles was encamped at the old Confederate training grounds at the mouth of Colly Creek in Letcher County.   Major Charles Smith of the 11th Michigan wisely asked the 39th Kentucky to accompany them on a raid on the Confederate encampment.  He was aware that the mountain regiment knew the trails that led to the encampment.   Leaving Pikeville, the men of the 39th Kentucky led the Union raiding party past Pound Gap and down the Kentucky River.  Early on the morning of May 13th, the Union raiders passed through the sleepy little town of Whitesburg, traveled the trail running along Dry Fork Creek, Smoot Creek and Trace Fork of Colly Creek and arrived opposite the encamped Confederates.  Taking advantage of surprise, not to mention their new repeating rifles, the attacking Yanks drove the Rebels out of their camp and into the nearby woods.

The most famous use of the Rebel Trace occurred during the first week of June in 1864, when General John Hunt Morgan led a large contingent of mounted and dismounted Confederate soldiers on his last raid into the Bluegrass Region of Kentucky.  On June 2nd, the Confederates attacked and routed a contingent of approximately 500 Union soldiers guarding Pound Gap.  From scout’s reports, the general knew that General Stephen Burbridge was bringing several thousand Union troops along the Mt. Sterling-Pound Gap Road on a raid aimed at destroying the salt works in Saltville, Virginia.  Morgan knew he could not defeat the much larger Yankee force and decided to continue the raid, hoping to entice the invading Union Army into turning around and chasing him. The Confederate general chose to travel to Mt. Sterling by the Rebel Trace, which would allow him to travel parallel with the Yanks on the main road.

Once again, men of the 10th Kentucky Mounted Rifles led the way along the treacherous trail.  The grueling trip was hard on both man and animal, resulting in the loss of more than two hundred horses along the trail.  Upon arriving outside Mt. Sterling, the general was surprised to learn that his dismounted men had kept up with mounted ones, an amazing feat that rivaled the legendary Stonewall’s foot cavalry. The Confederates easily captured Mt. Sterling, routed the Yanks stationed in Lexington and defeated the defenders of Cynthiana.  Unfortunately for the dashing general and his men, General Burbridge turned around at Pound Gap upon learning of Morgan’s raid and uncharacteristic of the general, relentlessly pushed his men back to central Kentucky, resulting in the deaths of many of the Union cavalry horses along the way.  Burbridge, reinforced with additional troops from central Kentucky, attacked and defeated Morgan at Cynthiana.  Many of the retreating Rebels traveled back to Virginia along the Rebel Trace.  

After the end of the war, the Rebel Trace continued to be used by the mountain people but never again on a large scale.  As years passed, many legs of the trail were improved for the use of wagons, and eventually, for automobiles.  Blacktop roads and concrete bridges replaced muddy ruts and rocky creek crossings.  The memories of the old Rebel Trace have pretty much been forgotten now, though occasionally, one will listen to an old-timer tell of his grandfather pointing out a deeply rutted trail through the mountains that once was trodden by thousands of horses and foot soldiers.

Sadly, many of these stories and sites have been lost to passage of time and the so-called “progress of man”.  The following excerpt from Guerrant’s journal sums up how General Morgan’s adjutant felt about part of the Rebel Trace while traveling it in June of 1864: “Our journey lay 30 miles down the everlasting Troublesome (Creek).  It was a Troublesome Creek, a Troublesome Way, a Troublesome Journey, a Troublesome Troublesome!   Awful traveling on our horses.  Stopped a moment at the forks of the Troublesome to see our column properly formed.  After great difficulty and hard traveling, which broke down dozens of horses, we stopped for the night.”  A characteristic description of the famed Rebel Trace!

On a personal note, a fight along the Rebel Trace affected my family.  My great-great-grandfather, Ben Brown of Dry Fork, was a member of the Union home guard.  He was killed during a fight in January of 1865 along the Rebel Trace on Dry Fork.  My great-great-grandfather Sergeant John B. Cornett of the 10th Kentucky Mounted Rifles led the Confederate patrol involved in the fight.  This engagement resulted in a feud between the Brown and Cornett families for years to come after the end of the war.  Ben Brown was John Cornett’s uncle as Ben’s sister, Sally Brown (wife of Joseph Cornett of Dry Fork), was John’s mother.

Before the war, Ben Brown and Joseph Cornett’s families had worked together to improve the trace enough to allow wagons to travel the Dry Fork section to the river just below Whitesburg.  My thanks go to the Letcher County Historical Society that set a modern tombstone for Ben Brown and to the Colonel Ben Caudill Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans that set a military tombstone for John Cornett.  Both organizations work tirelessly at setting markers in order to maintain the memory of our mountain ancestors.  I would also like to thank my cousin, friend, and fellow member of the Caudill Camp, Manton Ray Cornett, for helping me with this story.

Richard G. Brown, P.O. Box 421, Ermine, Kentucky 41815

The following is a brief description of the location of the Rebel Trace:

From Mt. Sterling in Montgomery County, the trace follows Spencer Creek in a southeasterly direction for several miles, leaving the creek only to cross Greenbriar Creek on its way to Slate Creek.  The trace continues up Slate Creek, eventually leading into Menifee County, turning eastward toward Frenchburg. Near Frenchburg, the trace turns southward and follows Indian Creek, leading into Powell County, where the creek flows into the Red River, near Haystack Rock in the Red River Gorge.  Turning eastward once again, the trace follows the Red River toward Campton, in Wofle County.  Near Sky Bridge, the trace leaves the Red River and follows Camp Swift Creek to Campton. Leaving Campton and winding its way southeastward past Vancleve, in Breathitt County, and beyond Jackson, the trace reaches Quicksand Creek, and crosses over onto South Fork of Quicksand.  The trace follows South Fork to a point near its head, where it crosses over onto Buckhorn Creek.  The trace reaches Troublesome Creek in Knott County by following Buckhorn upstream to its head, crossing onto Balls Fork, thence up Balls Fork to Vest, and finally crossing over onto Troublesome Creek by way of Ogden Branch.  (An alternate route, as described by Guerrant, follows Troublesome upstream out of Breathitt County, past the mouth of Buckhorn through Perry County, and past the mouth of Ogden Branch into Hindman in Knott County)  Following Troublesome into Hindman, the trace turns up the right fork, continues to the head of Troublesome, and crosses over onto Carr Creek.  Following Carr Creek downstream and southward, the trace then turns eastward up Little Carr (Burgeys) to its head, and crosses through the gap into Letcher County where it reaches Rockhouse Creek.    A short distance down Rockhouse Creek to a fork in the same, the Rebel Trace also forks, with one fork leading directly to Pound Gap at the Virginia and Kentucky state line.  The second fork takes a longer route to Pound Gap through Confederate encampments at the mouth of Colly Creek and at Whitesburg.

To reach Pound Gap by the shorter route, the trace follows Rockhouse Creek upstream past Deane and turns southward, crossing over onto Millstone Creek.  Continuing southward and following Millstone Creek downstream, the trace reaches the North Fork of the Kentucky River, and then follows the river upstream to its head at Pound Gap. The trail through the gap and across the mountain into Virginia is also known as the Fincastle Trail.

To reach Pound Gap by traveling through Whitesburg, the trace follows Rockhouse Creek downstream to Low Gap Branch, and then travels upstream of the branch, crossing over onto Colly Creek. The Rebel Trace follows Colly Creek as it flows downstream, to its junction with Rockhouse Creek.  At this junction, the Confederate Army under Colonel John S. Williams had an encampment that was used periodically throughout the war.  In order to reach Whitesburg from this encampment, the trace turns up Trace Fork of Colly Creek to its head, crossing over onto Smoot Creek.  The trace goes a short distance down Smoot Creek and crosses onto Dry Fork Creek by way of a small gap.  Following Dry Fork Creek downstream to the mouth of Little Dry Fork, the trace goes up Little Dry Fork to its head, and then crosses over onto the North Fork of the Kentucky River, just below the Confederate encampment on John A. Caudill’s property.  This encampment was in the huge bottom where Food City is now located, and is just downstream from the mouth of Sandlick Creek.  Another mile or so upstream from the encampment is the town of Whitesburg, a Confederate stronghold.

Another leg of the Rebel Trace left the head of Millstone Creek and followed Rockhouse Creek upstream, crossing back into Knott County on Beaver Creek.  The trace then followed Beaver Creek to the Licking River and downstream from there, to Salyersville in Magoffin County, which was located on the Mt. Sterling- Pound Gap Road.  There were probably other legs of the Rebel Trace that have now been lost to modern times.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Confederate Images: Lt. Alfred Surber

By Don Shelton

Alfred Surber was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1834, the son of Adam and Mary Hubble Surber who had moved to Kentucky a few years before from Smyth County, Virginia. When the fledgling Confederacy called for men, Alfred and his brother Andrew answered by enlisting in T. H. Shank's company of cavalry. On early rolls sometimes referred to as Co. E, but ultimately Capt. Shanks was assigned Co. B of the 6th Kentucky Cavalry under Col. Grigsby.

When the company was organized at Stanford on September 10th, 1862, Alfred was made 2nd lieutenant. The 6th Kentucky participated in actions in and around Perryville a few weeks later, and in numerous skirmishes associated with Bragg's withdrawal from Kentucky. The 6th Kentucky then participated in the Battle of Murfreesboro, but at that point Alfred wasn't there.

Lt. Surber had been removed from his office sometime after the retreat to Tennessee by a general order from the War Department which consolidated Buford's Brigade. After losing his commission Alfred returned to Kentucky - presumably to recruit men to form a new company. However, he was captured on December 20th in Danville and imprisoned in Lexington. On December 27th he was transferred to the prison in Louisville, but only stayed there two days as he was exchanged and sent to Vicksburg.

Alfred rejoined the 6th Kentucky sometime after that, and regained his commission as 2nd Lieutenant. In March of 1863 the 6th Kentucky was assigned to Brig. General John Hunt Morgan. On March 20th the 6th fought under Morgan at Milton, Tennessee where Col. Grigsby was wounded and Lt. Col. Napier was wounded and permanently disabled from service.

The 6th also participated in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend near Monticello, KY on May 10th. For several weeks after that the brigade was on the line along the Cumberland River, but by the end of June it was obvious to the men that Morgan was planning something big; prior to the Great Indian/Ohio Raid Morgan's command had been split into two brigades, with th 6th Kentucky being placed in the 1st Brigade under Gen. Basil Duke. The long string of engagement on that amazing military action beginning on July 2nd is too great to mention, but included Green River Bridge at Tebb's Bend, Lebanon and Corydon. At Versailles, Indiana the 6th Kentucky was dispatched to burn bridges. The 6th also appropriated $5,000 from the public funds of the city for the Confederate Cause.

Near the end of the Raid the men were beyond exhaustion. On July 18th Morgan skirmished with the 23rd Ohio Infantry at Pomeroy, Ohio. It was a continual fight along a road in a ravine surrounded by hills which the enemy occupied. The 6th Kentucky took the lead, dismounted and dislodged the enemy. Morgan's command then reached Chester at 1 o'clock where they halted for a costly hour-and-a-half. The delay kept them from arriving at Buffington Ford - where they could escape into western Virginia - until after dark.

Heavy rains had the river higher than normal, and a night crossing could have proved disastrous. Morgan decided to wait until dawn to attack the ford, with the 5th and 6th Kentucky chosen to lead. In the morning the works were found abandoned, so the 5th and 6th were ordered to move down the Pomeroy Road and cover the crossing for the rest of Morgan's command. There they dispersed an enemy advance guard, capturing many. Shortly, though, the main body of the enemy arrived in superior force. It was now becoming apparent that the 5th and 6th Kentucky would have to sacrifice themselves in order to buy time for the others to cross the ford. The enemy charged and both regiments were pushed back, the Parrot guns were lost and ammunition began running low. With the Federal gunboats, Morgan's men were shelled from three directions. The left flank was turned and the 6th Kentucky was almost surrounded. They fought their way out under Major Bullitt - Col. Grigsby having been separated from the regiment. Under Bullitt the 6th formed the rear guard and kept their pursuers at bay "with empty guns". Then the enemy charged again and 700 Confederates were captured, including Gen. Duke, Maj. Bullitt and Lt. Alfred Surber. This began Lt. Surber's long tour of Northern accommodations. He was listed in the Cincinnati papers as among the officers captured at Buffington Island. He was held at a "depot near Sandusky Ohio", which must certainly have been Johnson's Island, until August 4th when he was sent to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by order of Gen. Burnside. On January 1, 1864 he is shown on a roll of prisoners held at the Penitentiary in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. On March 20th, he was transferred to Point Lookout, Maryland, and then on June 23rd he was transferred to Fort Delaware. Finally on March 7, 1865 - more than a year-and-a-half after his capture - Lt. Surber was paroled and left Fort Delaware for City Point, Virginia for exchange. Many of Morgan's men were exchanged at City Point during late February and March, 1865. Some of them got back to their command before the war ended. Most were placed in a parole camp called Ft. Lee near Richmond and some were still there when the war ended. It is difficult to know Lt. Surber's exact location when the end came.

After the war Alfred returned to Pulaski County, where he married Mary Stigall. They had at least tree children, Alice born in 1872, George born in 1874 and John born in 1876.

Picture caption: Picture of Lt. Surber taken while he was a prisoner of war. This picture was in the collection at the museum at the Hunt-Morgan House in Lexington, labeled "Lt. Turber? 6 KY" until a descendant noticed it and identified it as Alfred Surber.

Originally published in the Summer 2004 The Lost Cause

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not Forgotten

By Joey Oller

The Elizabethtown City Cemetery is a quiet resting place for over fifty Confederate soldiers, but in December 1862, it was far from peaceful, as cannon balls roared through the air, bombarding Union forces occupying the city. Those forces would eventually surrender the hill to Confederate General, John Hunt Morgan.

After many years of research,that battle and the Confederate soldiers who called Hardin County home were remembered on August 1st by the General Ben Hardin Helm Camp at the cemetery, where three interpretive markers were unveiled.

The first marker was unveiled commemorates the Battle of Elizabethtown, in which Gen. John Hunt Morgan used the cemetery as part of the battleground. The other two markers or located on cemetery hill at Confederate Place, that list the names and regiments of numerous Confederate soldiers of Hardin County. Each name had to be researched through every source available, but sadly enough it is known that well over 300 names have been left off the markers.

The camp plans additional markers in the Helm Cemetery later this year to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the 1884 burial of Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm in Elizabethtown.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Memoirs of George Albert DeLong (Pt 2)

My second attempt to escape, the last year of the war, also proved futile. I heard some men had commenced digging a tunnel. They found out that two friends and I had money, about seventy-five dollars, and proposed if we divide the money with them, they would let us use the tunnel to escape. This we agreed to do. We waited for a dark night.

We arranged with some men who were to use the same tunnel the following night to answer to the roll call. Our group went through, but the last man did not replace the plank in the floor as planned, and before morning one hundred and sixty-seven prisoners escaped. The first group did not know that others besides their own number had passed through. Will English, Bate Washington and I went to Morrison Hotel, had a fine supper and went to bed. We had not slept on a good bed for a long time. About twelve o'clock the escape was discovered, the hotels were searched and all were arrested who could not prove they were residents. Officers came to our room and demanded entrance, saying every one in hotels and on the streets were being arrested that many had escaped from Camp Douglas.

As we were on the fourth floor escape was impossible, so we opened the door. We were corded together and taken to the police headquarters for the night, and placed in the safest cell, a real dungeon. Here we were searched. The following morning we were taken back to our prison. We were marched under guards of regular troops, subjected to taunts and gibes of people along the street. Fortunately the officers in command had fought against Morgan's men and knew they were brave soldiers. He shielded us as much as he could against the insults, such as " Morgan's horse thiever. "Hand them. Shoot them" The officer said to us, " Do not be uneasy; the first one who tries to do you violence, I will shoot. You soldiers are brave."

Arriving at the barracks we were again searched and they came near getting all our money. Mine was under an extra sole in my boot. Some was sewed inside my cravat. Once an officer had his hand on my neck. I said, "We have been searched twice," and he let go. We were taken to the flag staff, which had a parapet extending around it about twelve feet high. Around this we prisoners were placed, with our backs to the parapet. We were commanded to hold up our hands. A loop was put over each thumb and we were drawn up our full height, only our toes touching the ground. We were told if we would take the oath of allegiance and promise not again to attempt to escape we would be exchanged. This every man refused to do; We were left hanging in this condition until one man fainted. Jack Messisk's thumb was dislocated and all suffered great pain. I was fortunate in having very heavy soles on my boots and inner soles, where my money was hidden. I could press against the boards in such a way the whole weight of my body was not on my thumbs. Our place of abode for thirty days after our capture was in a dungeon, made in the cellar of the prison. A barracks was made about 40 by 60, without windows. We were confined during the coldest winter of the war. Our suffering from cold was so great we only escaped freezing to death by sleeping at different times. Those asleep had the overcoats and shawls over them, while those awake who had loaned them, walked and walked and walked, to keep warm until their time to sleep. We were less able to stand the cold because our food was scant and badly prepared.

Many amusing as well as painful experiences filled my nineteen months in prison. Many punishments were invented for those who disobeyed orders, some just, some unjust. Will English (my chum) and I had experienced many of these for we were full of life and fun, being just boys, and the time hung heavy on our hands. About the only thing we had not had wished upon us was a ride on Morgan's horse made of a fourteen by four scantling, placed fourteen or fifteen feet high. The chap on guard was a jovial and pleasant fellow so we deliberately disobeyed a command, knowing what our punishment would be, but thinking he would not keep us there long. Of course, Morgan's Men wanted to ride the rail named in his honor. Well, the kind guard was called away and a very mean one sent in his place. He kept us two hours and when the first guard returned, we were still riding. We never courted that punishment again.

Many funny incidents happened on some of our scouting expeditions in the early years of the war. Once on a scout near Falmouth, Kentucky, we were guarding an outpost. We were about eight in number. Some got off their horses and were playing a game of " seven up" in the road. I was holding the horses. One man had a winning and when he was about to throw down his card he began to say, High, Low, Jack and the Game", when he looked up and said, " Christ, here comes a thousand Yankees," It is needless to say this little band lost no time returning to their lines to report.

My most dangerous raid was to obtain a telegraph battery. Ellis, our famous operator, had lost his battery in one of our raids and much of the success of our plans was due to the fact that we could lead our enemy wrong by telegraphing incorrect news to the Yankees. Our command was about forty miles from Franklin, Kentucky where Saunders Bruce was
in command of federal forces, about forty thousand strong. Morgan called one out of each company to make this raid. We were in Tennessee. I was chosen from Company D, Duke's regiment. We were ten cavalry men in all who reported to Gen. Morgan, who personally explained the danger as well as the necessity of the raid. He ordered us to dress as Yankees in uniform and cautioned us if caught, we would be shot without trial. We started about dark, rode all night. In the morning we rode up to a house where we had been told we would find a Southern sympathizer. The women at first thought us Yankees, but when we gave her the note from Morgan, she gave us a good breakfast, wished us Godspeed and advised us to go by way of the hills. It was night when we arrived near Franklin. We reconnoitered and found where the sentinels were stationed. I had lived near Franklin and knew the operator, Samules, by name. Johnson, now of Fort Worth Texas and I went to Samuel's house and called him out. We told him we had dispatches from Gen. McCook to Saunders Bruce, who was then at Bowling Green. He took us to the station and when we entered the room, he was ordered to throw up his hands, which he did, as he was covered with pistols. Here he kept him until others disconnected the telegraph instrument. There were stacked in the room many five pound sacks of java coffee. Each on took as many as possible, for coffee was a great luxury to those in Confederate Camps.

We gagged Samuels, put him on behind, and rode out, unmolested. After riding about twelve miles, we left Samuels on the road side, each one hollering as we rode away. "Goodbye Samuels", He answered, "Goodbye Boys" We then rode on into the night. The following morning when we reached the home of the woman who had directed and helped us on our way, she told us how to cross above where we had crossed going, for she had heard our former ford was guarded by the Federals. We went as she directed, and crossed in a boat, making our horses swim. When the enemy discovered we were on the other side of the river, too far away for bullets to hurt us, though we could hear them whistling by.

My twelve-year old brother, Ami, secretly left home by night, on a farm horse, and presented himself for enlistment in the cavalry. General Morgan treated him very kindly, but told him he must return to his home. The general questioned him as to what he thought he could do as a soldier. He replied, "I am very sure I could beat the drum". The General had me take him home. This exemplifies the love young and old had for my daring, gallant Commander.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dozens of Markers, Monument Dedicated at Sandlick Cemetery

By Richard G. Brown and David Chaltas

On Memorial Day, May 28, 2007, the Colonel Ben E. Caudill Camp No. 1629 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans hosted a military salute and dedication at the recently placed monument and restored graves of more than four dozen Confederate soldiers. The cemetery, located in Whitesburg of Letcher County, Kentucky, had remained hidden under thick foliage of undergrowth that prevented anyone from viewing the graves.

In January of 2006, members of the camp began to clear the brush and debris from the cemetery. After two weekends of backbreaking labor, the military style rows of graves began to appear. Now clear of the dense foliage, camp members grubbed out the stumps and roots plowed the area and then sowed grass.

Four soldiers already had Confederate tombstones and eight more were identified. The camp obtained tombstones for these eight men and placed thirty-six more unknown tombstones. A monument honoring the graves was designed by camp members and purchased by money raised in the community. A granite bench, flagpole to fly a Confederate flag, two informative stones, and a Confederate soldier statute were purchased as well.

The majority of these soldiers had died in a military hospital that was established near the cemetery in the fall of 1861 by orders of General Humphrey Marshall. The general’s army was referred to as the Army of Eastern Kentucky and consisted of the 5th Kentucky Infantry, 1st Kentucky Mounted Battalion, 21st, 29th and 54th Virginia Infantries, Jeffress’ Battery and several independent cavalry companies. Disease such as mumps, measles and dysentery ravaged the Confederate army, resulting in dozens of deaths. The majority of the men were buried in the Sandlick Cemetery though some were taken by loved ones back to be buried in family cemeteries. The Yankees burned the hospital in the fall of 1862, resulting in the loss of most records. Ongoing research by the Caudill Camp and historical societies in Virginia is being conducted in an attempt to identify the unknown soldiers.

The Letcher County High School’s Junior ROTC students conducted the presentation of the flags. Dozens of Confederate re-enactors from Kentucky and Virginia marched to the cadence of a drum corps into the cemetery. After opening remarks by David Chaltas, the commander of the Caudill Camp, Kentucky State Representative Leslie Combs and Letcher County Judge Executive Jim Ward both gave speeches commending the Caudill Camp on their efforts to honor these southern heroes. Local musicians from Kentucky and Virginia performed period music throughout the program. After presentation of wreaths supplied by the VFW and the OCR was completed, the Confederate re-enactors and a battery of cannon fired three volleys in honor of all soldiers buried in the cemetery. A Confederate re-enactor performed the mournful tune of Taps to close the program. Our special thanks go out to our brother camps that came from Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida to assist with this historical dedication.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Memoirs of George Albert DeLong (Pt 1)

This previously unpublished memoir was given to Sam Flora by a granddaughter of George Albert DeLong. DeLong is buried in the Lexington Cemetery. Only minor editing (obvious typos and capitalization errors) has been done, leaving the original wording intact.

Memoirs of George Albert DeLong
As recorded by his wife Ida C. DeLong

George Albert DeLong enlisted in the War Between the States as a private in Company D, (2nd) Kentucky Cavalry, September 1, 1862, at Lexington, Kentucky, General John Morgan's Command. Federal records show that he was captured July 11, 1863, at Providence Island, called also Twelve Mile Island; received July 12, 1863, at Military prison, Louisville, Kentucky; received August 22, 1863 at Camp Douglas, Chicago, Illinois,- went from there to Camp Norton, Indiana. He was paroled Feb 13, 1865 and forwarded to point Lookout, Maryland for exchange. He was received February 21, 1865 at Boulwares & Coxes Warf, James River, Virginia, by Confederate States agent exchange. In a letter written by Brigadier General James Shackelford of the Federal Army to lieut. George E. Black August 1, 1863 published in a book entitled "Evansville and her Men of Mark" pages 113 and 114, General Shackelford says, "There was fighting between Federal forces and Morgan's Command between dates July 2nd, and July 26th. On the latter date a battle ensued near Salineville, on the new Lisbon Road where Morgan and his men surrendered to a force of Federal soldiers". This was known as Morgan's Ohio Raid. These captured soldiers were sent to the Ohio Penitentiary at Columbus. John Morgan and some of his men escaped from the penitentiary by means of a tunnel.

General James Shackelford was G.A.DeLong's uncle, the brother of his mother Mehitable Shackelford DeLong.

These war experiences of George Albert DeLong, written by me for our children, seem very trite and uninteresting, considering how differently they sounded as told by my husband, who had a wonderfully modulated and vivid voice. Each story had woven through it humorous incidents, emphasized by a laugh so merry and charming it was seldom forgotten.

Ida C. Delong.

This is the story of the War as related by him around the family circle:

" Before General Morgan started on his raid through Ohio he delegated eight men to make a feint on Louisville, hoping to attract the attention of the Yankees in that direction and thus cover his advance through Ohio. Forty of these men crossed the river at Providence Island, (sometimes called Twelve Mile Island) on a coal barge, so crowded that horses stood with heads outside the barge, over the water. The other forty remained on the Kentucky side until the barge could return for them. In the meantime, the Yankees were hot on our trail. I went in the first load with John Kines as Lieutenant. I had traded a fine Kentucky mare, worn out with travel, for a large raw-boned farm horse. I had requested the farmer who was riding with him to get down. This he did right speedily. After landing, we found we were pursued by the federals. We rode along the bed of a dry creek, very rocky, but with a fine growth of trees on the bank. Our vedette called "Yankees in the rear", and we started at full gallop, with bullets whistling around our heads. My horse had never heard the whiz of a bullet. He stopped and refused to move.

The Yankees were close behind. Presently a bullet grazed him. With a great jump he began running. Morris, who was in command of the squad, had been thrown and lay flat on his back in the road. My horse went over him without touching him. Lieut. Kines was behind me. Our command was stampeded in front of an army of Federals while we were but a handful. Lieut. Kines and I broke for the woods, threw ourselves from our horses, and hid behind some logs and brush, to consult as to what we should do. We were entirely separated from our squad and Yankees swarmed everywhere. We decided there was nothing for us but surrender. The first man who came along we figured was a Home Guard, so we let him pass, thinking we would rather surrender to a 'real' soldier. Soon a soldier in uniform, a little Dutchman, came by and to him we hollowed, "Hello" He answered, " Who is there?" We replied, "Confederate soldiers, who surrender." He commanded us to throw down our guns. This we did, but we bent them around a tree first. We took the loads out of our pistols, threw them one way and the barrels another, determined no Yankee should use our arms. The Home guard we let go by returned and said to the soldier, "Shoot the damned Rebels". Our little Dutch Soldier said, “No, you go fight some live Rebels," meaning those who had their guns. The Home Guard leveled his gun at Lieut. Kines. our Federal soldier knocked his gun up, and said. "If you want to fight like a 'man', I'll give the Rebel my gun, and you two can fight like men". The coward refused to do, and he made a sudden departure. We were taken to the Military Prison in Louisville where we remained several days. My mother came to see me there. We were sent from Louisville to Camp Norton, Ind. and from there transferred to Camp Douglas, Chicago, Ill, where I was in prison nineteen months. I spent my twenty-first birthday there.

Through my uncle, Gen. James Shackelford's influence, a pardon-parole was obtained from Lincoln, which was never given me. I recall once I was called to the office and requested to act as secretary to the general in command, This I refused to do, saying if I did as requested, it would give one more man to the Federal force, which as a Confederate I was unwilling to do. The General was very angry and ordered me doublequick back to the barracks.

I tried twice to escape. The first time I received a box of eatables from home, in which was hidden some money. I, with some other, bribed a friendly guard to help get us out. The chance came during the coldest winter weather of that very cold season. The Yankee told me to be at a certain place at a stated hour. Arriving there, I was horrified to find three other men, the same guard had also promised to liberate, besides the two friends with me. I had promised him my watch and twenty dollars. When we met, the Yankees said the government had the day before, relined the outer side of the fence, which was twelve feet high, and that we must go over the top instead of taking off boards, as had been done on previous occasions, when prisoners escaped. The plan then made was to escape by means of a board placed standing against the fence. When the honest guard had his back turned to that part of the fence, two went over squirrel fashion, landing safely on the other side. The third man, Hewitt, by name, could not be persuaded to throw his shawl over, this attracted the attention of the guard, who fired at him. This gave the alarm and all had to run with great speed to our barracks and jump in our beds. We thus escaped detection.

continued in part 2

Friday, August 7, 2009

SCV Responds to Unconstitutional OH Parade Ban

For some reason, the government of Ironton, Ohio, doesn't think that the Constitution applies there, as members of the Kentucky Division were denied entry into last year's Memorial Day Parade for the purpose of honoring Confederate American Veterans. Needless to say, this situation is far from over (a quick Google on  constitutional law, free speech and government actors might give you an idea). The Ohio Division Commander has issued a press release condemning the heinous actions of Ironton, and laying out an explanation for those in need of education as to why Confederate soldiers are American veterans for who Memorial Day was intended to honor. For the full text of this release, here is the link:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Captain "Black Dave" Martin

David S. Martin
8th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry

6 Battalion Confederate Cavalry
Born 1/19/1828, Died 8/1/1896
Buried: Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Kentucky

Dave Martin enlisted in the 8th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry as a 4th Sergeant in Company H on August 1, 1862. Colonel R. S. Cluke commanded the unit, which was assigned to Colonel John Hunt Morgan’s Cavalry Brigade. Martin was known as "Black Dave" due to his dark complexion.

Morgan’s Cavalry Brigade 10/31/1862
nd Kentucky Regiment: Colonel Duke
th Kentucky Cavalry: Colonel Gano
th Kentucky Cavalry: Colonel Cluke
th Kentucky Cavalry Colonel Chenault
th Kentucky Battalion: Major Breckinridge
Captain Arnett’s Howitzer Battery

In September the 8th was ordered to proceed towards Irvine, Kentucky. Subsequently it was sent to harass the rear of Federal General George Morgan’s forces that were retreating from Cumberland Gap.

On November 20,1862, Martin was promoted to 3rd Sergeant of Company H. Sergeant Martin’s story can best be told by following the movements of Colonel Cluke’s Regiment.

Colonel Cluke’s Regiment participated in the Battle of Hartsville Tennessee December 7,1862. The Confederate victory resulted in Colonel Morgan being promoted to Brigadier – General. Casualties in the 8th Regiment were 2 killed, 24 wounded and 6 missing.

From December 23, 1862-January 1,1863 Morgan conducted a Christmas Raid into Kentucky. After capturing Glasgow, the Confederates burned the L&N RR Bridge across Bacon Creek. On the 27th Elizabethtown was captured after the town was shelled. The next day Morgan’s men burned two trestles at Muldraugh’s Hill. Colonel Cluke was ordered to burn the railroad bridge over the Rolling Fork River on the 29th. Before he could complete the task, Federal troops attacked. During the fighting Colonel Duke was wounded. The Confederate troopers managed a successful withdrawal to Bardstown. The Confederate raiders reached Columbia on the 31st. Morgan crossed the Cumberland River into Tennessee on January 2, 1863.

Colonel Cluke was granted permission to lead a raid into Kentucky in February of 1863. Approximately 800 men crossed the Cumberland River at Stigall’s Ferry below Somerset Kentucky . The purpose of the raid was to gather horses and mules as well as recruit troopers. General Marshall was to come into Kentucky from Pound Gap and cross through Hazel Green to unite with Cluke. General Pegram was to also cross later at Stigall’s Ferry and gather cattle and forage. All would then move south with badly needed supplies for the Confederate Armies.

On February 21, Cluke’s command was at Mt. Vernon, 28 miles from Richmond KY. After a brief skirmish at Comb’s Ferry the Confederates passed through Winchester and camped at Stoner’s Bridge. During a night attack on the 23-24th, the Confederate troopers withdrew through Mt. Sterling. Tick Town a.k.a. Jeffersonville was reached on the 25th. During the fighting numerous horses and mules were captured by the Federals. On the 26th Cluke’s men camped at Slate Creek approx. 13 miles from Mt.Sterling. They were attacked there on March 2. Losses were 10 killed and 16 men captured. The rear guard retired to Howard’s Mill. Afterwards while camping near Saylersville an epidemic of erysipelas (fever with chills, headaches and vomiting) decimated the command. Realizing that Marshall was not coming to his aid Cluke baffled the Federals by moving towards Mt. Sterling. His troopers covered 60 miles in 24 hours! On the 22nd of March he captured the town, lightly garrisoned by members of the 10th and 14th Kentucky Cavalries. They were guarding an immense commissary depot. After paroling approx. 300 men and occupying the town for 6 hours, Cluke withdrew towards Owensville, unmolested. During the occupation of Mt. Sterling, Cluke allowed his men to supply themselves with needed goods before destroying over $500,000 in supplies. He drove between 450-500 horses and mules as he withdrew. He reached Rockville in Rowan County on the 24th. When safely underway Cluke dispatched a portion of his command, Steele’s Battalion and company A of the 2nd KY Cavalry to the aid of General Pegram who would soon be fighting the Battle of Dutton’s Hill near Somerset KY. Subsequently he withdrew through Beatyville and Manchester back into Tennessee.

Brigadier General Morgan’s Cavalry Division April 1863

1st Brigade - Colonel Duke
2nd KY. Cavalry: Major Webber
5th Kentucky Cavalry: Colonel Smith
6th KY Cavalry :Colonel Grigsby
9th KY Cavalry: Colonel Breckinridge
9th TN Cavalry Colonel Ward

2nd Brigade-Colonel Cluke
7th KY Cavalry: Lt.Colonel Huffman
8th KY Cavalry: Major Bullock
10th Kentucky P. R.: Colonel Johnson
11th KY Cavalry: Colonel Chenault

In April of 1863 Colonel Cluke was camped in the vicinity of Celina Tennessee. Attempts to merge Tennessee Colonel O. P. Hamilton’s Partisan Rangers into newly formed, Colonel R.C. Morgan’s 14th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry met with failure. Federal troops were active in the vicinity of Jamestown and Scottsville Kentucky.

Federal troops attacked Morgan’s forces 4 miles south of Monticello on May 1 driving them back 3 miles towards Albany. Confederate losses were 8 killed. Morgan’s men withdrew to Livingston Tennessee shortly afterwards.

On May 4th, General Morgan ordered Colonel Cluke to send the 10th Partisan Rangers to Colonel Chenault so that he would have enough strength to reoccupy Clinton and Wayne Counties in Kentucky. On the 8th of May Colonel Cluke departed from his camp on the Obey River accompanied by Colonel Chenault on the Monticello road and advanced to the Wolf River in Kentucky.

Sergeant Dave Martin’s company H led the advance towards the mouth of Greasy Creek a.k.a. Horseshoe Bottoms, on the 9th of May. Learning of a Federal force with civilian prisoners a short distance ahead of them, companies H, I, and K raced to engage them.

Skirmishing took place at the Alcorn Distillery and lasted to nightfall. Confederate troops camped at Beaver Creek. On the morning of the 10th fighting resumed on the Coffey farm. After a spirited engagement the Federals withdrew to Columbia KY. Confederate losses were 1 killed and 15 wounded. They withdrew to Gainesboro Tennessee.

In July of 1863 General Morgan departed from Tennessee for what would become the longest cavalry raid of the war. The raid through Kentucky Indiana and Ohio resulted in the disintegration of Morgan’s Cavalry Brigade. The General and the majority of his troopers were captured. Colonel Cluke died in a POW camp.

Sergeant Martin was captured July 11,1863 at 12 mile Island in Ohio. He was confined at the McLean Barracks in Cincinnati on the 13th. Martin was forwarded to Camp Chase on the 19th. Curiously his rank is reported as private. On August 24, 1863 Martin was transferred to Camp Douglas. He is reported as escaping in December of that year. Apparently he made his way to Confederate lines and was promoted to 2nd Sergeant in January of 1864.

Shortly afterwards he was granted permission to return to Kentucky to recruit and remount. This ends his career with the remnants of the 8th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry.

Dave Martin’s activities in Kentucky appear to be undocumented until mid-August of 1864. It is thought that he and about 25 others were operating as an independent cavalry company in Henry and Shelby Counties. Martin’s company was credited with derailing a train on the Louisville & Frankfort rail road near Bagdad on August 25, 1864. The following morning "Black Dave" led his men on a raid to Shelbyville.

Captain Martin rode in from the north on the Burkes Branch Pike and then rode down Main Street and through 7th & 8th streets to the courthouse. Inside weapons and ammunition were stored. Martin proceeded to the back of the building, where he was berated by the jailer's wife for endangering the lives of civilians, including Martin's own wife and children who were sheltering in town. Meanwhile troopers with Lt. Veach dismounted and forced a black employee from James Hickman’s Blacksmith Shop named Owen to hold their horses while they proceeded to force entry into the building.

Two citizens of Shelbyville, Thomas C. McGrath a merchant and J.H. Masonheimer a tailor, began firing on the Confederates. McGrath’s store in the Market House overlooked the courthouse, and he opened fire from a third story window. Masonheimer stood in the street. He is credited with killing 4 horses and accidentally killing Owen who he had not recognized. Three of the raiders were killed, Lt. Joe Veach formerly a private in company C of the 8th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, had escaped Camp Douglas about the same time as Martin. Sergeant Bird M. Smith , formerly in company H of the same Regiment. The third man’s name was thought to be Dale. During the combat McGrath received a slight wound to his scalp. Captain Martin withdrew unsuccessful in his attempt to capture the weapons and ammunition.

During this time Confederate Colonel George M. Jessee was operating in Henry, Carroll, Owen, and Trimble Counties. The 6th Confederate Cavalry Battalion was divided in June of 1864. The Virginia companies were part of Cosby’s Cavalry Brigade temporarily operating in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Three Kentucky companies were with Jessee as ordered by Colonel Grigsby. Jessee was to gather stragglers and return them to Confederate lines.

David S. Martin enlisted in Jessee’s command near Springport as Captain, Company G, 6th Confederate Cavalry Battalion on October 16, 1864. On the 18th Jesse’s men were charged with firing on a train near Lair’s Station, nine miles from Paris KY. On the 19th the Confederates skirmished at Mudlick Springs in Bath County.

Confederate Colonel Morris, a POW, recently captured reported that six of Jessee’s men were taken from prison and executed by order of Federal General Stephen Gano Burbridge in October of 1864.

In November approx. 30 of Jessee’s men raided Clay Village a few miles from Shelbyville, robbing Mr. Walsh’s store. That same evening stores in Eminence were robbed.

Federal authorities were becoming concerned over reports that The Sons of Liberty, a secretive movement in sympathy with the South, was planning raids to free Confederate POWs in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Colonel Jessee was thought to be in communication with Confederate Agent Jacob Thompson, in Canada and Captain Hines, of the Confederate secret service.

On December 1,1864 Captain Bridgewater, of the Kentucky State Scouts reported that Jessee and 75-100 men were recruiting in Henry, Shelby, and Washington Counties. On the 8th, the steamer Bostonia #1, and another vessel reported men from Jessee’s command had fired upon them near Carrollton KY. Captain Bridgewater supported by the Henry County Home Guard attacked Colonel Jessee’s men at New Castle on the 13th. Jessee’s men numbering about 50 faced 140 of the Federals and were driven through Port Royal at a gallop. Jessee’s Command was reported at Milton on the 16th with about 100-150 men. Later in the month he was reported to be in Owen County.

Captain Bates of the 30th Kentucky (Mounted) Infantry (US) reported executing a Lt. Whetmore and several other of Jessee’s men in accordance with General Burbridges Order #8 on January 19,1865. He reported plans to shoot another at Lusby’s Mill.

General Palmer replaced the despised General Burbridge, in February of 1865. After the surrender of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia but prior to the surrender of the Army of Tennessee, General Palmer offered the disgraced General Burbridge authority to act as his agent to negotiate a surrender of Jessee’s men on April 14,1865. A few weeks later General Grant offered the same terms that had been given to General Lee. Confederate troops surrendered at Louisa on April 27. Others surrendered at Mt.Sterling on the 30th. Some of the 6th Battalion surrendered in May of 1865 at Port Royal.

Captain Martin returned home and lived peacefully until July of 1865 when he was arrested and charged with having been a guerrilla during the war. In a military court martial he was found guilty and was sentenced to two years hard labor. The Louisville Daily Journal of 7/19/1865 reported his detention in the Second Street Prison. General Palmer released him showing compassion for a Confederate soldier who had a family dependent upon him. No doubt public opinion which was weary of the post war retribution influenced his decision.

Side Bar Note

Thomas C. McGrath the merchant who had fired on Martin’s men during the Shelbyville raid did not survive long after the war ended. On May 19,1865 he was murdered by Private John Lewis, Company E, 13th Heavy Artillery USCT. McGrath was shot in the back while attempting to prevent damage to his implement shop. Just after the murder the feared guerrilla hunter Captain Ed Terrell rode into town and took Lewis from the jail and attempted to lynch him. Terrell was in the employ of General Palmer as a secret service policeman. Other Union troops intervened and Lewis was later tried by court martial on June 4th and found guilty of murder "with malice afterthought". Lewis was hung in Louisville on June 13, 1865. McGrath is also buried in the Grove Hill Cemetery.

Photos by Nancy Hitt and Mark Brooks
History of Shelby County: Wiilis
The New History of Shelby County: Shelby County Historical Society
Official Records war of the Rebellion
Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky (Confederate).
Confederate Soldiers of Kentucky: Lynn
A History of Morgan’s Cavalry: Duke
6th Battalion Confederate Cavalry: Weaver
Confederate Guerrilla Sue Mundy: Watson & Brantley
The Civil War in the Big Sandy Valley: Preston
Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: Mosgrove
Other notes and documents in the author’s collection.

Researched and written by Stewart Cruickshank

Above: Martin's grave markers