charles m. meacham



Federals Organize in 1861; Maj. John W. Breathitt’s Company A, Third Kentucky Cavalry; Capt. B. T. Underwood; Col. E. A. Starling; Gen. Jas. S. Jackson Killed; Surviving Federal Soldiers in 1930.

It is hard to imagine at this late day the excitement that prevailed in Christian County when Fort Sumpter was fired upon and actual war broke out. While the Southern forces were organizing in the southern part of the country, the Northern, or Union forces, took similar steps north of town. As has been said, Hopkinsville is perched upon a ridge separating the sandstone and limestone formations underlying the soil of Christian County. It sharply divided the forests from the barrens in early settlement days. This time the line was to separate the people themselves into hostile camps, who up to the very time they donned their uniforms had met on the common ground in the county seat as friends and neighbors. The principal camp of the Federals was on the farm of Joseph F. Anderson and it came to be known as “Camp Joe Anderson.” Here several hundred recruits. were assembled and the attempt was made to organize a regiment with the* following officers: James F. Buckner, Colonel; Thomas C. Fruit, Lieutenant-Colonel; William T. Buckner, Major; John P. Ritter, Adjutant, and Joseph F. Anderson, Quartermaster. Among the Captains were B. T. Underwood, Hugh Cooper and William Starling. The regiment had one piece of artillery. In September, 1861, General S. B. Buckner, with a force of 4,000 or more Confederates came from Bowling Green and the recruits were dispersed. Colonel Buckner was captured in Hopkins County and taken a prisoner to Paducah. Lieutenant-Colonel Buckner with forty or fifty men was also surrounded in a church and captured after a brisk fight. This was the end of the first attempt. It should be added that the war was not at this time taken very seriously. The soldiers enlisted for one year and few on either side realized that it was to be more than a clash at arms, that would soon be adjusted. No one dreamed that it was the beginning of a long, hard-fought struggle with two armies of an unconquered people, struggling until one was crushed. By fall the fighting in Virginia had disillusioned the boys out for a frolic and things got down to a war basis.

John W. Breathitt got together a company and proceeded to Calhoun, Kentucky, where they were mustered into service for a period of three years, and assigned to duty December 13, 1861, as Company A, Third Kentucky Cavalry, under Colonel James S. Jackson. The officers were John W. Breathitt, Captain, afterwards Major; Charles L. White, First Lieutenant; N. C. Petrie, Second Lieutenant. It is impossible to get an accurate list of county men in this and other companies, because companies were made up from many counties. Following are some of the noncommissioned officers and privates in Major Breathitt’s company:

S. W. Abbott, Thomas W. Ashford, W. H. Barnett, J. Blankenship, J. B. Barnett, W. J. Barnett, H. Baker, J. J. Bowen, A. Brewer, George Bobbitt, W. H. Cansler, N. L. Cavanaugh, F. M. Cooper, I. D. Cooper, S. D.
Collins, M. F. Chesterfield, J. J. Fuller, James Fuller, W. L. Gibson, J. B. Goode, 3. C. Hunter, H. H. Jones, J. D. Johnson, A. G. Johnson, W. H. Johnson, Edward Kelly, D. H. Knight, 3. W. Kirben, H. H. Lindsay, J. J.
Long, George L. Lovan, H. McIntosh, F. M. McIntosh, 3. B. Martin, J. C. Martin, J. G. Moreland, John Matheny, Aaron Morgan, F. P. Miller, George H. Myers, A. H. Perkins, 3. H. Phaup, J. H. Phillips, B. M. Powers,
W. H. Power, William Ray, J. J. Renshaw, Rev. Sol. Smith, J. G. Stephenson, A. P. Smith, J. W. Underwood, U. M. Underwood, William Vine, A. Vinson, Charlie A. White, Moses W. Woosley, J. W. White, W. T. Williamson, Wyatt M. Wright, J. B. Wright, G. U. West, W. W. West, M. W. West. Captain Breathitt was promoted to Major May 27, 1863, and Charles L. White became Captain, with Thomas W. Ashford and Edward Kelly, First and Second Lieutenants.

This company fought under General T. L. Crittenden, and participated in the battles at Sacramento, Kentucky, Shiloh, Corinth, luka, Pea Ridge, New Market, Kinderhook, Chaplin Hill, Stone River, Chickamauga and other points in the Southern campaign following the battle of Shiloh. In 1864, Major Breathitt saw service in this part of Kentucky.

About the time Major Breathitt organized his company, Captain B. T. Underwood, who had been with the troops at Camp Joe Anderson, got together a company made up largely of the same men with him there and his company was mustered in at Henderson, Kentucky, as Company A of the Twenty-fifth Kentucky Infantry, under Colonel James M. Shackelford. The officers were: B. T. Underwood, Captain; H. W. Williams, First Lieutenant; Thomas B. Boyd, Second Lieutenant. This company was first with General Crittenden and was afterwards consolidated with the Seventeenth Regiment under Colonel John H. McHenry, Jr. Following is the roster of Captain Underwood’s company: J. G. Anderson, J. J. Armstrong, James Anderson, Jr., H. C. Brasher, M. B. Brown, A. E. Brown, F. Blanchard, S. E. Boyd, G. E. Boyd, W. H. Boyd, James M. Bennett, 3. D. Brown, L. H. Bourland, F. Cordier, I. A. Cook, J. W. Courtney, William Doss, Thomas Ewing, W. Fortner, W. Fletcher, T. Fletcher, Samuel T. Fruit, Edom Grace, James Gilliland, P. F. Gibson, William Gabert, J. W. Hammond, V. A. Hamby, G. H. Hamby, D. M. Hamby, L. H. Johnson, Daniel Kennedy, H. J. L. Love, Henry Ladd, W. H. Long, 3. W. Morris, 3. 0. Menser, S. D. Menser, Joseph Morgan, J. O’Roark, J. F. Pyle, Charles Pryor, A. Russell, 3. Rose, W. Sizemore, J. C. Teague, William. Teague, C. F. Trotter, W. J. Witty, W. S. Witty, E. T. Walker, E. Wilkins, 3. M. West, John W. Wyatt. Captain Underwood resigned April 5, 1862, and 3. V. Boyd became Captain, and Samuel T. Fruit and Albert E. Brown were First and Second Lieutenants. In December, 1862, the regiment of which this was a part was commanded by Colonel A. M. Stout, as Company G, after consolidation. It participated in the following battles: Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Chickamauga, Kennesaw Mountain, Corinth, Atlanta, Marietta, Kingston, Dallas, Cassville, New Hope Church and Altoona Mountain.

The company was mustered out January 22, 1865, at Louisville.

The Seventeenth Kentucky Cavalry was organized in 1864 and one or more companies were composed of Christian County men. It was commanded by Colonel Sam F. Johnson, doing scout duty. The Thirty-fifth Kentucky Mounted Infantry, commanded by Colonel Edmund A. Starling, was also largely composed of local men. It was organized at Owensboro, September 25, 1863. It operated in the Green River section until the summer of 1864 when it was assigned to Gen. E. H. Hopson, who was in conflict with the Confederates under General Adam Johnson. It also went as far as Saltville, Virginia, under General Stephen Burbridge and returning to Louisville in December, 1864, was mustered out at Louisville.

Colonel Starling was shot and killed by Jesse Ratcliffe in the excitement of a campaign while he was a Republican candidate for Sheriff, June 12, 1880.

General James S. Jackson was the highest ranking officer from Christian County on the Union side. He had been a lieutenant in the Mexican War, from Greenup County, Kentucky, and afterwards came to Hopkinsyule to practice law. He ran for Congress on the Know Nothing ticket in 1859, but was defeated. He ran again in 1861 as a Republican and was elected. While in Congress he was given a Colonel’s commission in December, 1861, and assigned to the Third Kentucky Cavalry. Was under General Crittenden in the Southern campaign and was promoted to Brigadier General August 13, 1862. He was killed at the head of his brigade in the battle of Perryville, Kentucky, October 4, 1862. His body was brought to Hopkinsville March 24, 1863, after having been placed in a vault in Louisville for several months, and was buried in Riverside Cemetery. General Jackson was only forty years of age when he was cut down in the midst of a brilliant career in law, politics and military leadership. He was an exceptionally handsome man, highly educated, a brilliant conversationalist, graceful, easy and knightly in his bearing and was as brave as he was ambitious. He had taken a prominent position at the bar and in business affairs when the war came on.

 John 0. Menser Crofton, Kentucky
 Butler Martin Crofton, Kentucky
 I. H. Wicks Crofton, Kentucky
 Michael Wolfe Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 McJ. Davis Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 Gus Breathitt Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 James W. Morris Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 Francis Morris Hopkinsville, Kentucky
 S. W. Hadden Hopkinsville, Kentucky

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