HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY KENTUCKY
charles m. meacham
THE CONFEDERATE VOLUNTEERS
The Confederate Volunteers; The Oak Grove Rangers; Companies A and
B, First Kentucky Cavalry; Company H; Death of Col. H. C. Leavell;
Col. L. A. Sypert Organizes a Company; Joins Green’s Battery; Maj.
W. R. Henry Dies in Prison; Gen. Adam Johnson’s Command; Five
Confederate Brothers; A War Time Letter.
Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner occupied Western Kentucky early in the war and the Confederates organized a company in Christian County within sixty days after the beginning of hostilities.
On June 25, 1861, the Oak Grove Rangers, made up largely of young men from Christian County, were organized and mustered into service at Camp Boone, in Montgomery County, Tennessee.
The officers were: Thomas G. Woodward, Captain; Darwin Bell, First Lieutenant; Frank Campbell, Second Lieutenant; J. M. Jones, Brevet Second Lieutenant.
Woodward had seen service in the regular army and was a graduate of West Point Military Academy. Bell was a veteran of the Mexican War fifteen years before, one of the few Christian County men who was in that war.
Before the war ended, Captain Woodward was promoted to Colonel and Lieutenant Bell, who served throughout the war, rose to the rank of Captain.
The company numbered about 130 men, the very flower of the young manhood of the southern part of Christian County and adjoining counties. Among those from Christian County were:
Austin Peay, afterward a State Senator, and father of Governor Austin L. Peay, twice Governor of Tennessee, who died in office a few years ago; William A. Elliott, afterwards Captain of Company A, Second Regiment; Hazard Baker, afterwards a Lieutenant of Company B; W. Frank Buckner, B. F. Clardy, Henry Clardy, William McGuire, Robert Owen, Nat Owen, John Blankenship, William Nichols, Sim Nichols, WilHam Blakemore, Robert Kelly, W. L. Leavell, B. S. Leavell, Thomas Smith, W. F. Gray, Robert Searcy, A. Lyle, George Bacon, Alex Bacon, Milton Seward, Tim Morton, Creed Hood, :?rank Rogers, John Richie, Robert Baker, Minus Parsley, Harvey Saunders, and Radford, Hardin, Blanks and Kidd whose first names are not preserved in the meager records.
The recruits moved into Kentucky in September and went into camp at Bowling Green with the rest of General Buckner’s ~. They were assigned to duty as Companies A and B, First Regiment of Kentucky Cavalry, under Colonel Ben Hardin Helm. Company B with about one hundred men was officered with J. W. Caidwell, Captain; William A. Elliott, First Lieutenant; William Campbell, Second Lieutenant; Hazard Baker, Brevet Second Lieutenant.
Both companies saw active service and took part in General Buckner’s campaign leading up to the battle of Fort Donelson, at Dover, Tennessee, in February, 1862. It is a matter of regret that a complete list of these companies is not available.
In the fall of 1862 another company was mustered into the service at Hopkinsville on October 8th, and joined Colonel Helm at Bowling Green, Kentucky, November 1st, and became Company H. The muster roll of this company prepared by one of its members twenty-four years later is here given, ninety-three rank and file.
COMPANY H, FIRST KENTUCKY CAVALRY
Muster roll of Company H, First Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, Colonel Ben Hardin Helm commanding. Mustered into service C. S. A., October 8, 1862, at Hopkinsville, Kentucky, by General Clarke and ordered to
report to Colonel B. H. Helm at Bowling Green, Kentucky, November 1, 1862, and there put into First Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A., as Company H. This company was recruited around Fairview and Pembroke: H. C.
Leavell, Captain; Thomas M. Barker, First Lieutenant; William T. Had- ford, Second Lieutenant; William M. Bronaugh, Third Lieutenant; Tom Anderson, Jack Anderson, E. M. Allen, Ed Atkinson, James Bronaugh,
Banks Bronaugh, D. A. Bronaugh, Robert W. Barnett, Lindsey Buckner, J. E. Benson, J. L. Brame, Wesley Brame, Mack Brame, John W. Barker, R. H. Burt, William Boyd, S. R. Brooks, K. H. Benjamin, John Bowles,
A. B. Carver, Dixie Cavanaugh, Dr. L. B. Chilton, James Chilton, Mack Carroll, B. M. Dillard, C. S. Dunlap, J. C. Donaldson, William Drinkard, Thomson Fort, V. A. Garnett, W. W. Garnett, Robert Guynn, H. B. Garner, Thomas Hannah, Puss Hargis, Phil Huffman, W. H. Jesup, Thomas Johnston, John Jenkins, Robert Knight, Cyrus W. Love, Ben D. Lackey, A. 0. Lackey, M. C. Layne, H. C. Long, James H. Lander, R. R. Lloyd,
John B. Massie, John H. Massie, James H. Massie, J. W. McRae, W. H. McRae, John Mullins, John Marquis, Pat Major, Rev. R. W. Morehead, James Mallory, John Moss, John Carter Nelson, Rice Oldham, John T.
Pendleton, Garland Quisenberry, Fidelia Rawlings, James Rogers, Ben Ritt, William Skillman, Robert Stevenson, D. A. Tandy, William T. Shelton, William Tandy, W. T. Tighlman, Adelbert Tandy, John Turner, Marcellus Turnley, Q. A. Sergeant, William P. Winfree, Peyton Venable, J. Vinson, L. R. Willis, W. 0. Wyatt, N. T. Watson, Frank Watson, L. D. Watson, W. T. Williams, Thomas Ward, William Wheatley, Elbert Wood,
James Wittshire, William G. Wheeler, Theodore Young. The above muster roll was compiled by Lieutenant Thomas M. Barker, for the purpose of having it placed in the Davis Memorial Hall at Fair-view, in 1886, but such a hail was not erected at that time.
Later while Colonel Helm was at Nashville, Captain Joseph Williams joined him with a company of about one hundred men recruited by Captairi Charles Edward Merriwether, who had been killed at Sacramento, Kentucky, in the fight between Forrest’s men and Col. Eli H. Murray, and the command had devolved upon Williams. This company had been in the battle at Fort DonelsoIi and had fought gallantly and had escaped after the defeat of General Buckner by General Grant.
Colonel Helm’s regiment followed the retreat to Alabama, doing scout duty in the rear of General Johnston’s army. After the battle of Shiloh and while at Atlanta, Georgia, the time of enlistment for Companies A and B expired and they were disbanded and returned home, but many of them re-enlisted in other units. Two companies were recruited and became a part of Colonel Woodward’s command and were with him when the attack was made on Colonel Mason at Ciarksville as alluded to elsewhere.
Colonel Woodward some time afterwards attacked the garrison at Fort Donelson under Federal Major Hart, but was repulsed, and the next day was himself attacked by Colonel Lowe from Fort Henry with a much superior force, while at the rolling mills on the Cumberiand River. The mills had been burned by the Federals. Woodward placed his small force behind the debris and made a stand with one piece of artillery under Captain Garth and defeated Colonel Lowe with the loss of twenty-nine killed and several wounded. The Confederate losses were slight.
Company H after the death of their old Captain, Lieutenant Colonel H. C. Leavell, passed under the command of Major J. W. Caidwell. They were in the thick of the fighting in the Kentucky campaign, serving as videttes. Their term of enlistment expired on the day the battle of Perryville was fought, but they remained for the battle, the bloodiest battle fought in Kentucky, and operated with the rest of the cavalry against the Federal flanks. Later they disbanded at Clifton, Tennessee, near Knoxville, and the company scattered, some returning home and others joining with other commands.
In addition to the three companies with Colonel Helm other companies were organized in Hopkins, a whole regiment being recruited from around Christian County. It was organized at the Fair Grounds in the summer of 1861 and became the Eighth Kentucky Cavalry. The officers at the start were Henry C. Burnett, of Cadiz, Colonel; H. B. Lyon, of Eddyville, Lieutenant-Colonel; William R. Henry, Major.
Colonel Henry Burnett was afterwards elected to the Confederate States Senate and resigned and Colonel Lyon, afterwards General Lyon, succeeded him. This regiment got into service and participated in the battle of Fort Donelson and the troops were surrendered in the capitulation, and sent to a Northern prison. Major W. R. Henry, whose ancestors had fought in the Revolution and whose grandfather was a General in the War of 1812, died in prison at Indianapolis from exposure in battle. In the fail of 1862 the regiment was exchanged at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the terms of enlistment expiring, the soldiers returned home or went into other commands. Other Christian County men were attached to commands in other fields.
Colonel L. A. Sypert joined Green’s battery in 1861 and took part at Fort Donelson. Colonel Green and Colonel Sypert escaped in the surrender and Colonel Sypert returned home, re-equipped himself and overtook the Confederates at Shelbyville, Tennessee. He was in the Mississippi campaign with Bragg and when Bragg left for Chattanooga he worked his way back home and re-enlisted as a private under Woodward, but was soon commissioned as a Colonel and given authority to raise a regiment. On his way back from Richmond, where he had gone to get his authority, the train he was on was attacked, but he escaped through North Carolina and Georgia and fell in with his old command and remained with them until after the battle of Chickamauga. He was next attached with this regiment to General Wheeler and at Columbia left the command and made his way home in 1863. As it was getting towards winter he returned south and came back in the spring of 1864 and recruited a regiment mostly in Union, Webster and Henderson Counties. With his recruits he took the field and his first encounter was to drive Colonel Sam Johnson out of Crittenden County, with losses of men and horses.
Shortly afterwards he was attached to General Adam Johnson’s command and later was transferred to General H. B. Lyon and surrendered at Columbus, Mississippi, in 1865 at the close of hostilities. Colonel John D. Morris, who had been in the War with Mexico, volunteered in 1861 and was on the staff of General John S. Williams and later commanded a battalion of cavalry. He was in the 28th Virginia in the Wilderness Campaign and while on a mission to Kentucky with two other officers was captured and after some time was exchanged about the time the war ended.
FIVE CONFEDERATE BROTHERS
Five sons of John R. Green, Sr., and two other young men who subsequently became his sons-in-law, were Confederate soldiers. In 1861, the four grown sons, William H. Green, Thomas Wallace Green, Edward H. Green and Lucius Peyton Green volunteered. In 1863, Memucan H. Green, who was sixteen years old in January, enlisted in April and two months later was killed at Brice’s Cross Roads, in Mississippi, June 10, 1863. His body was buried behind the trenches and the following February the father went to Mississippi and brought it home for interment in the family cemetery. The other sons fought through the war, all gallant soldiers.
After the war William married Miss Armistead and died in 1917, survived by one son, Armistead Green. Wallace was in Forrest’s Division as a scout. After the war he married and died in 1922, survived by a son, William J. Green and a daughter.
Edward was in Green’s battery and after the war lived with his family in Hopkinsville, moved to Louisiana and died in 1923. His surviving children were Hartman, Hugh and Rufus Green and four daughters.
Lucius was in Cobb’s battery and located in California after the war and died in 1888, leaving three children, Lucius, Edward and a daughter.
The sons-in-law were Hon. Hunter Wood, who married Miss Rosa Green, and N. B. Edmunds, who married Miss Elizabeth Green.
There were in the family four other children, John R. Green, Jr., Robert S. Green and Nelson D. Green, and a sister, Miss Anna, who married W. T. Townes. These were all small children during the war. All except Nelson are still living.
WAR TIME LETTER
CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Ky.
Oct. 28, 1864.
Mr. Ben D. Moore,
Drummondville, Canada West.
Your favor of the 14th came to hand in due time. Much obliged to you for the manifestations of friendship towards us and that you have not forgotten old friends. I am glad to hear that you are well, though sorry to hear of your hard life. I attended to your business as you requested, as soon as you left. The condition of our country is about as when you left, with the exception of a negro raid, which came out from Clarksville. They took all the men they could find. They got Louis and Reuben from me; Matt got out of the way. Got all of your father’s except Daniel and Scip, and those two boys. All of Bill Hopkins’ men, Isaac and Pleasant Garrott’s, Parson Vaughan’s and many others, including Isaac from Mr. Radford’s. Your father’s Millie and Mariah have left since to follow their husbands. They got about 75 men. There has been a constant move ever since. There are from three to four wagon loads passing every day. Some people are driving theirs off.
As relates to our crops. We had a severe frost the 15th of October, which caused me to lose about one-third of my tobacco crop, having no help but Matt. If I could have kept the other two, I would not have lost any. Your father lost a good deal.
The draft is over in this county. All the young men from the Southern portion of the county were drafted, you among others. We have gotten credit for the negroes, which exempts all the white men and 300 over. It is the opinion of good men that there will be negroes enough to fill the calls without any further drafts in this county, as the negroes are all determined to go.
Some persons supposed to be robbers came to George Wills’ house in the night and demanded the doors to be opened. He refused to do it. They pressed hard to have it opened. He told them to wait until he put his clothes on, Upon that, they commenced firing at the house and set fire to his porch. He ran out to put it out. They shot him and fled. He was dead in an instant.
Married on the 13th inst. by the Rev. E. Vaughan, Ben Bacon to Gabe Donaldson.
The rebel Colonel Lyon, part of Forrest’s command, came to Ilopkinsville and made an attack on the town; one killed on each side, several Federals wounded. He captured some prisoners, about 60 horses and one ambulance and left for Eddyville. There he took the garrison, which consisted of one company of whites, some negro recruiting officers, 20 or 30 negroes, all wagons and teams and left, taking his prisoners with him.
He took a tour round some of the back counties, went out by way of the station carrying about 100 new recruits and 1,000 horses.
Young Brewer, who was a Southern soldier and a man by the name of Bradley were captured by Federals at Hopkinsville. Col. Sam Johnson had them both shot. We have a negro recruiting office in Hopkinsville.
Last news from the South: Hood had fallen in Sherman’s rear, taking Dalton, capturing 2,000 negro soldiers. Wheeler has taken Rome with about 3,000. Forrest, Newport with 2,000.
I believe I have given you all the news that I am in possession of. The negroes, headed by whites, have been to father’s and the neighbors round, robbing them of everything they have to live on. Dr. Drane fired on them, captured one gun, knocked one negro’s jawbone out.
Refugees from East Tennessee are crowding in at Clarksville, so they have to shove the negroes out to make room for them.
With best wishes for your welfare.
* C. O’NEAL.
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