Friday, May 7, 2010

Confederate Images

By Atlas D. Hall

Nathaniel Cook, a resident of Cynthiana, in Harrison County, Kentucky, was born about 1835, and was killed in action in January, 1862, being approximately 26 years of age. He was the father of a daughter named Dixie, who was born prior to the War Between The States, and a son named Nathan Humphrey Cook, who was born in March, 1862, approximately 2 months after he was killed in action. Family members believe that this son was named in honor of General Humphrey Marshall.

Nathaniel Cook was enlisted by Lieutenant R. B. Thomas, at Prestonsburg, Kentucky, on October 20, 1861, into Company A, 1st Kentucky Cavalry, Confederate States Army, which at the time of his enlistment was under the command of Captain John Shawhan, who was later promoted to Major, and killed in action near Morehead, on October 3, 1862. His commanding officer was Colonel (later General) John S. "Cerro Gordo" Williams.

The 1st Kentucky Cavalry was organized and saw service during the Mexican War, under the command of Colonel Humphrey Marshall. During the War Between The States, Company A of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry was partially organized at Cynthiana, and later increased at Frenchburg, Hazel Green, Salyersville, with formal completion at Prestonsburg, Kentucky on October 1, 1861.

Private Cook was engaged in action at the Battle of Ivy Mountain, near Pikeville, Kentucky on November 9, 1861, retreating to Pound Gap, Virginia, and thence to Lebanon, Virginia. Following the Battle of Ivy Mountain, the members of his unit were issued rifles to replace the double-barreled shotguns which they had used at the Battle of Ivy Mountain.

His service record indicates on an Appraisement Roll dated November 22, 1861, in Russell County, Virginia, as having personal equipment and a chestnut horse valued at $135.00, and that he was last paid on December 30, 1861.

Company A of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry was encamped at Salyersville and West Liberty on January 1, 1862, observing movements of Federal Colonel James A. Garfield's troops at Paintsville, Kentucky. On January 10, 1862, Private Cook was involved in the Battle of Middle Creek, near Prestonsburg, Kentucky. At some point during the Battle of Middle Creek, Private Cook was seriously wounded. Confederate forces (including the seriously wounded Cook) retreated through David and Brush Creek on what is now Kentucky Route 404, to the confluence of Brush Creek with Right Beaver Creek, at what is now known as Midas, near Garrett, Kentucky, and camped on the Joseph Gearhart farm for 2-3 days, before continuing their retreat into Virginia. Confederate forces left the mortally wounded body of Private Cook on the camp ground as they retreated, and the Gearhart family prepared his body for burial on a knoll adjacent to the Gearhart farmhouse, and later at least 2 Gearhart brothers who were Confederate cavalry veterans were buried near his final resting place.

Let us cherish the memory of this gallant soldier of the Confederate States Army who was unknown by the Gearhart family at burial and who remained unknown for nearly 140 years, and whose final resting place was many miles from the place of his nativity. He has finally been made known, and has today received the military rites which he so richly deserves. He now rests with many other Confederate veterans, known and unknown, awaiting the final roll call of the Eternal Commander.

Originally published in the Spring, 2004 The Lost Cause

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