Friday, May 27, 2011

The Story of Captain John Baker Dortch

Captain John Baker Dortch:
50th Tennessee Infantry Regiment
Tennessee Partisan Ranger Company
3rd/7th (Gano’s) Kentucky Cavalry Regiment
2nd( Dortch’s) Kentucky Consolidated Cavalry Battalion.
8th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment

John B. Dortch was born May 11, 1830 in, and was a resident of, Port Royal, near Clarkesville Tennessee. Dortch was a grandson of former Tennessee Governor Willie Blount (1809-1815), and the nephew of Cave Johnson, Postmaster General (1845-1849) during President Polk’s administration.
In 1861, when the War Between the States came to Tennessee, Dortch enlisted in company E, of the 50th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. His company departed for Fort Donelson, Tennessee November 19,1861. He was promoted to Captain in December. Captain Dortch stood about 5foot 9 inches tall, had black eyes, dark hair, and a fair complexion.
On January 19, 1862 his company was ordered to Fort Henry, then counter-marched back about ten days later. When ordered to return to Fort Henry on February 6, Captain Dortch learned it had been captured while in route.
The Battle of Fort Donelson took place February 14-15, 1862. On the 15th, four companies from the 50th were ordered to re-enforce the 2nd Kentucky Infantry Regiment, which had taken severe casualties. The following day the garrison force surrendered. Captain Dortch and approx. fifty-five others from the Regiment escaped on the Wynn’s Ferry Road and made their way out. Captain Dortch told his men to return to their homes near Clarkesville and then report back to him at Nashville Tennessee. The Capital City fell so quickly that only a few men were able to comply with the order.

Captain Dortch filed a special requisition from Decatur, Alabama on March 23, for one pair of pants and shoes, one camp kettle, ten pans and twelve blankets. This was to replace items lost at Fort Donelson.
During the Battle of Shiloh April 6-7, 1862 Captain Dortch served temporarily with the 23rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment along with seven others from his company. On April 15,1862 Captain Dortch resigned his commission as a Captain in the 50th Tennessee Infantry Regiment. He stated that his men had been allowed to join other commands, which resulted in him becoming a supernumerary officer. His intention was to return home and recruit another company.
Tennessee Governor Harris, by special commission in August of 1862, granted Captain Dortch authority to raise a company of Partisan Rangers for twelve months service. Kentucky General A. R. Johnson, in his memoirs, recalled that Captain Dortch brought two companies of cavalry to Camp Coleman—a recruitment center - near Hopkinsville Kentucky in Todd County. On August 25,1862 Captain Dortch was assigned to Company G, 7th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry which was being recruited by the Texan, Colonel R. M. Gano, Morgan’s Kentucky Cavalry Brigade.
Johnson ordered Captains Dortch and Page (company H, Gano’s Regiment) to burn the railroad bridge between Bowling Green and Russellville KY. Volume 16 of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion contains a report by Colonel Bruce, 20th Kentucky Infantry, in which he acknowledges elements of the 17th Indiana Infantry and the 8th Kentucky Cavalry skirmished September 30th in that vicinity. There are several casualties listed for Dortch’s and Page’s companies in the Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, on that date.
On November 5, 1862, Colonel’s John. H. Morgan and Nathan B. Forrest’s Cavalry commands were ordered to co-operate in an attack upon Nashville TN. Failing to attack simultaneously little damage was done by the attacking Confederates. Morgan did manage to burn a portion of the Edgefield railroad depot across the river from Nashville. After relocating to Tyree Springs and Lebanon, Morgan won a decisive victory at Hartsville, Tennessee on December 7, 1862 and afterwards was promoted to Brigadier-General C. S. A..
From December 21 through January 5, 1863 Captain Dortch and his company participated in Morgan’s Christmas Raid of Kentucky. Leaving Alexandria Tennessee on December 23, 1862 the Confederates set out to destroy the railroad from Muldraugh’s Hill, Kentucky to Nashville, Tennessee. Glasgow, Kentucky was entered on Christmas Eve.
Bacon Creek railroad bridge was burned on the 26th. On December 27, the Battle of Elizabethtown resulted in the shelling of the town from the city cemetery. Morgan’s strategy resulted in the capture of the town.
The bridges at Sulphur Fork Trestle and the fort on Muldraugh’s Hill were burned on December 28.
Lt. Colonel J.W. Huffman , Captain Dortch’s commanding officer was undergoing court-martial at Rolling Fork River, near Boston, Kentucky on the 29th, for violating parole terms offered to the Union soldiers of the 71st Indiana & 78th Illinois Infantry Regiments at Muldraugh’s Hill the previous day. Union troopers from the 10th, 12th, 13th Kentucky Cavalry Regiments attacked and wounded Colonel Duke, resulting in the cancellation of the proceedings. Afterwards a successful withdrawal to Tennessee was accomplished by January 5, 1863.
While Morgan was raiding in Kentucky, the Battle of Stones River,(12/31/62-1/02/63)Tennessee took place. Afterwards General Bragg re-organized his troops placing Morgan’s Cavalry under the control of General Wheeler. Subsequent Confederate troop movements resulted in Morgan establishing his headquarters in McMinnville Tennessee. There were numerous scouts and skirmishes during the Spring, along with two pitched battles nearby, Milton (3/20/63), and Snow’s Hill (4/03/63). In June of 1863, Morgan gathered his troops together at Alexandria Tennessee. Another excursion to Kentucky was in the works!
About the 2nd day of July 1863 General Morgan ‘s troopers began crossing the upper Cumberland River near Burkesville, Kentucky. Flooding from recent rains had swollen the river. Lt. H. C. Merritt, of Dortch’s company recalled “only those who were considered well mounted were allowed to go on the raid. It was most strenuous work on both men and horses. Those who were poor swimmers grabbed on to their horses tail, to be pulled across.” Lt. Colonel Huffman placed Captain Dortch in command of the troopers who were to remain behind. These men became the nucleus of Dortch’s 2nd Kentucky Cavalry Battalion.

Morgan’s Ohio Raid (7/2-7/26/1863) was the longest raid made by cavalry during the war. Although the troopers covered over 700 miles and destroyed millions of dollars worth of property the raid resulted in the
capture of most of Morgan’s command. As a result Gano’s Kentucky Regiment ceased to exist. Those men who escaped capture eventually made their way to Morristown Tennessee. where General A.R. Johnson had been ordered to gather ‘Morgan’s Men” for reassignment.
Captain Dortch and about 300 men were briefly associated with Colonel J. Q. Chenoweth’s 16th Kentucky Partisan Rangers. Eventually enough men were gathered to form two battalions of cavalry. Captain Kilpatrick led the 1st Consolidated Kentucky Cavalry Battalion and Captain Dortch led the 2nd Consolidated Kentucky Cavalry Battalion.
Bennett Young in ‘Confederate Wizards of the Saddle”, wrote that Dortch’s and Kirkpatrick’s Battalions “...were among the best that Kentucky furnished. They were largely young men from the Bluegrass, few of them exceeding twenty-five years in age. They came out of Kentucky in July1862 and October 1862, had now received more than a years seasoning, and were by their military experiences fitted for the hardest and fiercest conflicts. They had left Kentucky well mounted.”
On September 18,1863 Captain Dortch reported to General Forrest’s command for duty and was assigned to General Pegram. Dortch’s men were stationed in the vicinity of Chickamauga and Tunnel Hill GA. After the Battle of Chickamauga (9/19-9/20/63), Dortch’s Battalion paused at Bryd’s Mill to regroup and re-shoe their horses. Afterwards they moved up the Knoxville & Chattanooga railroad towards Charleston, TN. September 28,1863, General Bragg ordered General Forrest to turn over his troopers to General Wheeler.
During General Longstreet’s East Tennessee Campaign Dortch’s Battalion foraged and skirmished at Philadelphia, Loudon , Maryville and Knoxville. When Burnside’s Federal Army cut them off at Knoxville from the main Confederate forces, Dortch’s command made their way back to Confederate lines via Big Bend Mountain and Montvale Springs in Cherokee County North Carolina.
On November 24, 1863 Special Order # 102 placed Dortch’s Battalion in Grigsby’s Kentucky Brigade of General Kelly’s command in Wheeler’s Cavalry. On December 22,1863,Dortch petitioned to be allowed to return to Kentucky, where he hoped to recruit a regiment of mounted rifles. However the petition was denied in January of 1864.

There are a series of forage requisitions in Captain Dortch’s CSR files that indicate ongoing attrition (6.77%) in his ranks. In November of 1863 he requested forage for 300 horses and 60 mules, while stationed in the vicinity of Dalton Georgia. In December he requisitioned forage for 275 horses while stationed at Tunnel Hill GA. In January of 1864 the order had shrunk to 231 horses and 13 mules. On February 29,1864 Captain Dortch requested an axe and hatchet for himself and his staff, while stationed at Silver Springs Alabama..
In February of 1864 General Adam R. Johnson issued Special Order # 22 which allowed Kilpatrick’s and Dortch’s Battalions to return to south-.western Virginia. General Morgan had recently returned to this theatre after escaping from prison in Ohio in November 1863. However, on 3/12/64, General Wheeler chose to retain Dortch’s Battalion. Captain Dortch forwarded a petition 3/24/64 from his post at Childersburg, Alabama requesting that his command also be allowed to return to General Morgan’s Command. Captain Dortch pointed out that his Battalion consisted of not only the remnants of the 7th Kentucky Cavalry, but also elements of four other distinct Regiments that had formed one of the brigades in Morgan’s command. However permission was denied and in April Dortch’s Battalion was assigned to Humes’ Division, Grigsby’s KY Brigade. In May of 1864 the Battalion was stationed near Dalton, Georgia. A report dated 5/17/64, complained that Dortch’s troopers had abandoned their picket post on the Villanow Rd., near Dug Gap and were now camping with the infantry atop the mountain.
The 2nd Consolidated KY Cavalry Battalion was assigned to General J.S. William’s Brigade in June of 1864. This Brigade was composed of the 1st/3rd Kentucky Cavalry- Colonel Griffith, 2nd/15th Kentucky Cavalry-Major Lewis, 9th Kentucky Cavalry- Colonel Breckinridge , Allison’s Tennessee Squadron- Captain Reese and remnants of Hamilton’s Tennessee Battalion, a.k.a. 4th Tennessee Partisan Rangers- Major Shaw. The two Tennessee units were ordered to be merged 7/31/1864. Previously on July 7th, Captain Dortch had been ordered to proceed to Decatur Georgia and arrest deserters and stragglers from his Battalion.
In August of 1864 Captain Dortch ‘s Battalion followed General Wheeler in his last Middle Tennessee Raid 8/10-10/25./64. For William’s Brigade this meant an unplanned march to Saltville, Virginia after they were cut off from the main body of troopers in September. This occurred when General Williams obtained permission from General Wheeler to take two Brigades and half of the artillery to attack the Union garrison at Strawberry Plains near Knoxville. Federal troops were able to get in between him and Wheeler forcing Williams to leave the military department to which he was assigned. On September 21 Williams’ Brigade joined forces with Generals Duke and Vaughn near Rogersville, Tennessee. General Williams then went to Abingdon, Virginia in an effort to have his troopers re-assigned to the Department of Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee. After the Battle of Saltville 10/2/64, General Bragg ordered the arrest of General Williams. By this time Williams’ Brigade was camped at Liberty Hill, Virginia. The troopers were destitute, badly in need of clothing and shoes, and the horses were run down. Williams was to face a court-martial for his separation from Wheeler’s Command. However eventually the charges were dropped and Williams received the thanks of the Confederate Congress for his defense of Saltville. General Williams was restored to his command in February of 1865.
Meanwhile General Felix Robertson (himself under a cloud for his activities at Saltville) took over command and led the wayward troops back to the Army of Tennessee in Georgia. It appears that while in transit the command was ordered to return to Bristol and join General Vaughn’s Brigade. However Robertson chose not to obey the order. Apparently Captain Dortch had remained behind, still hoping for re-assignment.
Special Order # 286, issued 12/2/64 officially transferred Captain Dortch’s command into the Army of Tennessee. By January of 1865

Dortch’s Battalion had shrunk to less than 32 men and it was disbanded, near Abingdon, Virginia. Many from his command had already re-assigned themselves to General Duke’s Brigade.
Captain Dortch apparently joined the 8th Kentucky Cavalry but was unassigned to a company. He took the “Oath of Allegiance” in Nashville Tennessee on May 3, 1865. The Provost Marshal indicated that Captain Dortch had left the Confederate Army on April 23rd.
After the war Dortch returned to Tennessee and farmed at Parson’s Creek, near Port Royal. In 1880 he married Phoebe C. Brown. About 1895 he left to live with his children in Butler County Kentucky. He died at the home of his son, James 3/9/1910. I believe he is buried near Morgantown in the Lebanon Cemetery.
With this article I hope to attempt historical revision and correct an error. The Supplemental Series of the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion erroneously record Captain Dortch as being one John Basket Dortch. In fact his true name is John Baker Dortch. This being confirmed by his wife in her Widow’s Indigent Pension request #1287 filed in Kentucky, June 5, 1912.

Stewart Cruickshank

1.Official Records of the War of the Rebellion & Supplemental series
2. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky (Confederate).
3. Partisan Rangers of the Confederate Army: Johnson
4. Confederate Veteran Magazine
5. Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Sifakis
6.Units of the Confederate States Army: Crute jr.
7.Confederate Veterans Association of Kentucky: reprint
8. A History of Morgan’s Cavalry: Duke
9. Winds of Change, Robertson County in the Civil War: Allen
10. Clarkesville Leaf Chronicle: March 15,1910
11.Confederate Wizards of the Saddle: Young
12.pamphlet;” Ride the Campaign Trail”: Elizabethtown KY. Tourism & Convention Bureau & KY Dept. Tourism
13. Consolidated Service Records ; microfilm:
I wish to thank the Tennessee State Library and Archives, The University of Western Kentucky and most importantly James Pritchard of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives for their assistance, gathering the various microfilm records made available to me.

Originally printed in the Fall 2007 publication of The Lost Cause

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Story of Confederate, Kentucky

Nestled between I-24 and Lake Barkley is a small community with a name that is hard to miss: Confederate, Kentucky. According to the Place Names Gazetteer, the only populated place in the nation named “Confederate” is this tiny community in Lyon County. There are variations, such as Confederate Ridge in Virginia, but the only community simply named Confederate is in the Bluegrass state. Among the homes and churches you’ll also find a vacant store building (much more on that later) and the Confederate Cemetery, with a nice gated sign saying “Confederate Cemetery”.
Naturally, our curiosity was aroused. What is the story of Confederate, Kentucky? It took a little digging to find out. An initial trip to Lyon County and inquiries there produced no solid information. Our subsequent research, though, led us to Deborah Atchley, who put us in contact with Mrs. June Thorpe, grand-niece of Confederate’s founder, Linn Gresham.

The history of Confederate most likely really begins with the story of the nearby Tennessee Rolling Works. While Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond, Virginia is well known, there were a number of iron mills in Lyon County before the war. Describing the fledgling antebellum Southern iron industry, a copyrighted New York Times article published on November 15th, 1897, by J. E. MacGowan said, “The forges made a very fine grade of iron, resembling closely the soft and tough product of the Swedish forges and rolling works. It is probable that these furnaces...could have produced 75,000 tons of iron in the year 1860.”
Moved from Nashville in 1845-46 according to the Kentucky Historical Society, the Tennessee Rolling Works mill in Lyon County became the center of a community. According to the book One Century of Lyon County History, “ least 1,000 Negro slaves and 500-600 workers were employed at the Tennessee Rolling Mill during its operation. Hundreds of little houses stood on the hills around the mill…”. There was a company store, as well. One Century also says that in 1878 The community of Tennessee Rolling Mill still had over 200 inhabitants, a school and a church. The Mill was transferred to Louisville in 1884. It is likely the decline and demise of the mill led to the birth of Confederate.
One Century describes Confederate this way: “The history of Confederate is the history of (Linn) Gresham for it is his store that is the hub of activities from buying and selling during the day to the community center of Rook games and cracker barrel philosophizing at night. It was on Gresham’s land that that the spring was located and it was at Gresham’s house that the school teachers boarded.” One Century states that Gresham founded his store in the “middle 1800’s”, however June Thorpe says that her uncle built the store in 1882. The 1882 date would be significant since with the closing of the nearby Mill just two years later, and the closing of the company store with it, it made Gresham’s the natural place for people in the area to gravitate towards. June Thorpe feels that the Mill closing was possibly a catalyst in Gresham’s decision to open his store, perhaps Gresham anticipating the mill circumstances somewhat, or perhaps the company store closing before the mill actually did. Linn Gresham had at least two brothers in the Confederate Army, William and James. William is buried in Confederate Cemetery, and James across the street in Bethany Cemetery. The Adjutant General’s Report confirms that James served in Cobb’s Battery, and William in the 1st Kentucky Cavalry. Two other Gresham’s (more brothers, perhaps, but that could not be confirmed), John and M. C., enlisted in the 1st along with William.
Linn Gresham’s store operations grew through the years. Across from the store was a spring, in a grove of Maple trees. Traveling salesmen, known as “drummers” often availed themselves of the shade and water. This would prove significant. Initially the community became known commonly as Gresham. Some time after the store was founded, though, a post office was set up there, and a place name was needed. Apparently there was some discussion as to what to call the place. According to June Thorpe, it was one of the “drummers” who suggested the name Confederate.
Perhaps we’ll never know the exact reasoning behind this visitor’s suggestion, but it would seem reasonable to think it came from his perception of the place. There seemed to be no resistance in the community to the idea of being called Confederate, which would enforce the feeling of the salesman that it was a place of Confederates.
The Confederate post office survived until 1914 (postmarks from Confederate, Kentucky would likely be a hot collector’s item today if they could be found). The store passed to Leonard Gresham, June Thorpe’s father. He operated it from 1918 until 1959. In 1952, June joined her father in the business. She operated the store until it closed in 1974.
The store had to be moved in the 1960’s because of the construction of Lake Barkley, which now covers all of what was Tennessee Rolling Mill and much of what was Confederate (nearby Eddyville also had to be relocated in its entirety). Though closed since 1974, the building (after the move) is still standing.
So, there you have it; Confederate, Kentucky was founded by a family of Confederates, named by a visitor who saw something Confederate in the place, and after more than 125 years we still couldn’t imagine a better name.

Originally printed in the Fall 2007 publication of The Lost Cause

Friday, May 13, 2011

Burbridge the Extortionist

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to the John C. Breckinridge SCV Camp #100 in Lexington, KY and was asked about the allegation of extortion that I made against Major-General Stephen Gano Burbridge of the Union Army.
Confederate Veteran Magazine 1911, volume 19, page 527, provides my best source of this allegation. Charlton G. Duke, wrote an accounting of the timely ransom payment that resulted in his death sentence being revoked. Rather than rewrite the tale, I ‘d rather you read it in its original form.

“ Personal Prison Experiences and Death.”
By: Charlton G. Duke, Hopkinsville, KY.

“ By request, I give a short account of my capture and imprisonment at Louisville KY. After the wounding of Gen. Adam Johnson at Grubbs’ Crossroads, our command crossed the river and went to Paris, TN. I was sent by Colonel Sypert, with my brother, John C. Duke, and cousin, Capt. Lindsey Buckner, back into Kentucky to gather up some of our men, who had been unable to cross with the command and to recruit as many more as possible. This we attempted to do, but, finding the whole country overrun with Federal soldiers, we thought it best to hasten back to our command. In endeavoring to cross the river at Hillman’s Rolling Mills, we were captured and sent at once to Louisville to a prison, which bore the significant, if not euphonious, name of “slaughter pen”. I will not speak of the many indignities heaped upon our men while in this prison, but will pass on to a period which I can never recall without emotions of deepest sadness.

We had been there some three or four weeks. We were coolly informed one morning that Captain Lindsey Buckner, B. P. Wallace, John Duke, and I would be shot the following day by order of General Burbridge in retaliation for a mail carrier who had been killed by a band of guerrillas, supposed to be the Sue Mundy gang. We did not spend that day with any degree of pleasure, for the thought of dying such an ignominious death at the hands of our enemies was indeed depressing, but we determined to meet our fate like men.

We were greatly surprised the next morning when several nicely dressed men in blue uniform, one of whom we recognized as Mr. Ed Baker, from our home at Princeton KY. came into the prison. He expressed pleasure at seeing me and my brother John, and informed us that it was his great happiness to convey to us the good news that through his influence and that of another prominent Union man of Princeton General Burbridge had been persuaded to countermand the order for our execution, and that we could have our choice of being sent to a Northern prison or take the oath of allegiance and return home. We thanked him and said we would go to prison. We asked if they could not influence General Burbridge to release our companions also. He replied that he could do nothing for Captain Buckner but that Captain Wallace would probably be released, which was afterwards done. Captain Lilly, Lieutenant Blincoe, and an old man named Halley were selected in our stead. We little supposed that the men who had interfered in our behalf were actuated by any but kindly motives in securing our release from death, but soon found that these expressions of friendship had cost our mother $2,000 in cash, which she promptly forwarded to Louisville. Our friend Wallace was also ransomed by his friends, and had Captain Buckner’s brother received in time the letter written him, his terrible fate would have been averted. But the letter was misplaced in some way.

In the afternoon of the next day the four men mentioned were placed in irons and taken out on the Jeffersontown road and shot to death. They requested that their eyes be not bound, and all refused to kneel when told to do so. Captain Buckner was one of the finest looking men I ever saw. He possessed an unusual degree of personal magnetism, was brave, as a man could be, but as gentle and affectionate as a woman. Just before the time appointed for the execution he was asked by one of his comrades to pray. I have never heard before or since such a prayer. He talked to the Lord in that calm beautiful way that made one feel as if in the presence of Jehovah, and as they passed out of the prison the last words I heard him utter were: “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.”

Shortly after this sad event I was sent to Johnson’s Island and my brother John to Camp Douglas, where we remained until the close of the war.”

Charlton G. Duke’s obituary in the Confederate Veteran Magazine Volume 30, 1922, page 30 also gives a shorter version of this same instance. There are some subtle differences in the recollections, however.
Fortunately there is another recollection by Charlton G. Duke in the “ Partisan Rangers of the Confederate States Army” Memoirs of General Adam R. Johnson, page 265, entitled “ Additional sketch of Colonel L. A. Sypert”. This recounting clarifies the activities of Duke’s military service up until his capture October 9, 1864.

Charlton G. Duke enlisted in Captain L. A. Sypert’s company in the Spring of 1864, at age 17. Sypert had a commission as Colonel dated 8/26/63, which gave him authority to raise a regiment of cavalry for the Provisional Army of the Confederate States. He actively recruited in Union, Henderson, Webster, Hopkins and Christian counties in 1864. After a brief period in Caldwell County, Duke crossed the Cumberland & Tennessee Rivers to recruit. Afterwards returning to Union and Hopkins Counties.
Near Morganfield at Blue Pond, his unit skirmished with the 17th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment Union Army. He also participated in skirmishes at Bell Mines and Old Salem. After merging into the Partisan Ranger Command of General A. R. Johnson, Charlton Duke held the rank of 1st Lt. Company A 13th (Syperts) Kentucky Cavalry Regiment. Only about 1/3 of these men were armed. During the fighting at Grubb’s Crossroads Johnson was blinded, and the command retreated into Tennessee. At some point Duke and the others fell in with Colonel J. Q. Chenoweth’s 16th Kentucky Cavalry, also of Johnson’s command. At Paris Tennessee, he was ordered to return to Kentucky and gather stragglers etc. and was captured. General H. B. Lyon replaced Johnson in command of the Brigade. After taking the oath in June of 1865, Charlton G. Duke was released from prison and returned to Kentucky owning a farm near Hopkinsville. He was a member of Camp #241 of the U.C.V.

Others mentioned; with historical corrections :

John W. Duke (his brother) was Sgt. Major of Company A, Sypert’s 13th Kentucky Cavalry.

B. F. Wallace was Captain of Company G, Sypert’s13th Kentucky Cavalry.

Lindsey Duke Buckner was a Captain in Colonel Chenoweth’s 16th Kentucky Cavalry. He was executed with three others, in Jeffersontown KY. October 25, 1864, by a firing squad from company B, 26th Kentucky Infantry (Burbridge’s own regiment). Historian, Nancy Hitt marked his gravesite in Green County with a Confederate headstone in 2001.

Wilson P. Lilly had formerly served in company G, 1st Missouri Volunteer Infantry. General Burbridge had ordered all Missourian’s in Kentucky to leave. Lilly most likely was arrested for failure to comply.
Executed 10/25/64.

Reverend Sherwood Hatley had been forwarded to Louisville after his arrest in Bowling Green, a month previously. Executed 10/25/64 (age 70?).

William C.” Dock” Blincoe served in Company D, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry Regiment. Executed 10/25/64
Historian, Nancy Hitt marked his grave with a Confederate headstone at the Bates burial-ground near Lewisport in 2001.

Further research is needed to identify Ed Baker.

Sources other than those mentioned above
Typewritten muster by S. D. Lynn, of Sypert’s and Chenoweth’s Kentucky Cavalry
Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky civil war vol.2 Confederate
The Union Regiments of Kentucky: Captain T. Speed
The Atonement of John Brooks : J. Head
Research compiled by the author Stewart Cruickshank

Originally printed in the Fall 2007 publication of The Lost Cause

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dozens of Markers, Monument Dedicated at Sandlick Cemetery

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.

Other News Items

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.

96 More Acres To Be Added to Perryville— The area known as as Sleettown will be added to the Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site. The $431,000 purchase was done with money from the Civil War Preservation Trust and a Transportation Enhancement grant. The cost includes an archeological study. Sleettown was an African-American community that ceased to exist after 1931. While preserving information about the Sleettown community is important, there is obviously a fear that political correctness will turn the new acquisition into some sort of “diversity” site that doesn’t include Confederates. In a release, state Parks Commissioner J. T. Miller said “We plan to use the property to tell the story of the Battle of Perryville as well as the history of Sleettown”. The area was a staging ground for Confederate forces.

Two More KY Camps Chartered—Two more Kentucky camps were chartered on June 17th, the Col. Alfred Johnson #276 and Kentucky Secession Site #2125.

Bad Yankee Shooting—The National Rifle Association is a powerful organization today; it was formed in 1871 by 15 New York National Guard officials who were all Union veterans. They formed the NRA “ promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.” It turns out they thought the NRA necessary to correct the poor marksmanship of yankee troops during the war. Source: fwdailynews (Fort Wayne, IN)

Flag Finally Returned—Nebraska Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry, Lee Terry and Adrian Smith returned the flag of the 1st Regiment Alabama Volunteer Infantry CSA to the state of Alabama in May. The flag had been in yankee hands since the regiment was surrendered at Tiptonville, TN in April of 1862.

From the Floyd County Times—June 29th, “Charges Filed” section: Ned B. Pillersdorf (the lawyer who lied about basketball incidents when his team played Allen Central - see our article on the Allen Central hoax), 52, of Van Lear, drinking alcoholic beverage in public place. We hope Ned knows a good lawyer. Note to Ned: if you move to rural Kentucky, a lot of the counties are dry. Most folks are also proud of their Confederate heritage. If you want to drink in public and curse the Confederate Battle flag, Floyd County is the wrong place to live. Go home. New York needs you.

From the Lexington Herald-Leader—A defendant represented by Ned Pillersdorf was recently not only convicted but received the maximum sentence in a scheme where the defendant—a prison guard—was smuggling drugs into the federal prison. The defense that Pillersdorf had presented was that the prison guard only did it because she had been threatened by an inmate if she didn’t smuggle the drugs, and not because of the thousand dollars she received each time she smuggled the drugs in. We repeat: hope Ned knows a good lawyer.

Pvt. Henderson Whisman, 5th KY Infantry Co D CSA will had a new gravestone dedication on Sept. 2nd, 2007 in Rowan Co. KY at the Whisman Cemetery located on Island Fork Rd. The 5th KY Camp # 2122 and the 5th KY Infantry Co's D E & F, Arthur Camp and Ben Caudill Camp assistied in this Confederate soldier’s long overdue ceremony.

Originally printed in the Fall 2007 publication of The Lost Cause