Payne Reminiscences

    First Kentucky "Orphan" Brigade 


2nd Kentucky Volunteer Infantry
Details on Fort Donelson, prison life and escape from Camp Morton, battle of Hartsville

[Louis Douglass Payne's War Experience as written by his wife]


   The history of the 2nd [sic] Kentucky Brigade, often called the Orphan Brigade, because, for one thing, of having lost nearly all of its officers during the war, gives a glowing account of the brave and noble conduct of that body of soldiers. I am proud, indeed, to claim a place among them. Not only Joseph E. Johnston, but other able critics, said of them, "They are the finest body of soldiers I ever saw," and this after seeing them in action.

   In July, 1861, 1 left my home in Scott County, Ky., to take up arms in defense of the South, feeling that my dearly loved State was, naturally, part and parcel of the Southland, and their people one. I was accompanied by my brothers, Henry and Robert, Elisha Gordon, Junius Ward, Yancy, Kelley, and Lary. Only Henry and I got back out of the seven or eight who left the State together. We went to Camp Boone, seven miles from Clarksville, Tenn., where there were several thousand volunteers from Kentucky. We enlisted in Company B, Robert J. Breckinridge, captain; 2nd Kentucky Regiment, Roger Hanson, colonel; S. B. Buckner, brigadier general.

   We were armed with old flintlock guns, loading with three small and one large ball, very deadly, but not carrying far. Our cooking utensils consisted of a sheet-iron frying pan, in which, first the bacon, and then the flour bread was fried. At first this diet caused a good deal of sickness, but it was not long until we were better supplied and learned to manage better.

   In October we were moved to Bowling Green. From there we made several excursions against the enemy, but were engaged in no actual fighting. Yet the service was hard for our first experience, for we marched through pouring rains and mud almost to our knees. While on these excursions, we cooked our bread on the ends of ramrods and ate our bacon raw. As Lisle Gordon said: "Anything is good to a hungry man, even raw bacon." It was a most useful preparation for the terrible experience which soon befell us at Donelson. Donelson which ought to be remembered as a glorious victory, but, instead, always brings sadness. Such fighting as we did on that field! Such hardships we endured! Such brave loyal soldiers sacrificed! Such true, pure blood as was poured out there! Ah! it is disheartening to remember. Our own dear colonels and generals were subordinate to those who had not our honor and glory so near to heart. The Northern forces were poured upon us in overwhelming numbers. General Grant himself, when our forces were marched out before him, prisoners, exclaimed: "Where are all the men who have been opposing me for three days?" When told that they were before him, with the exception of about a thousand, he burst forth involuntarily: "Men, you are not whipped; you are overpowered."

   Fort Henry had fallen, so when we arrived at Donelson, Colonel Hanson had us drawn up in line and made us this speech. He said: "We will climb mountains and swim rivers, but, by the eternal gods, we'll never surrender!" and we felt indeed, that he had rightly expressed the sentiment of every heart in that brigade. Our first work was to dig rifle pits, cut down trees, and throw up breastworks, working night and day by relays, one company relieving another, to prevent the enemy from charging on us in an unbroken line.

   On the 12th of February, 1862, they drew near, and by night a few shots had been exchanged between the pickets of the two armies. That night we slept in the intrenchments. Early the next morning, the Federal batteries began to play upon us, and we saw their lines marching up through the woods. They were so close that we could hear the orders given by their captains. Colonel Hanson, who was on a little knoll behind us, sent this order to each of our captains: "Let not a man fire until I give the word." It seemed as if that word never would come. The Yankees were almost upon us. Finally, Captain McDowell could stand it no longer. He sprang upon the earthworks and, waving his sword, shouted: "Come on, you scoundrels, we are ready for you." A ball struck his forehead and the blood spurted, but I think he did not even know that he was shot. Then we were allowed to turn our guns loose. We could see the enemy falling by the score. "Keep it up," cried our captains. And we did. The enemy broke line and fell back. Three times they advanced to renew the attack, but without success. The ground was literally strewn with their dead. The firing ceased as it grew darker and we were at liberty to get supper, and, after that, sleep, as best we could. The weather had been pleasant, but now a cold north wind began to blow, bringing rain and sleet. As we were forbidden to make fires lest we make our position a target for the enemy, we passed a most uncomfortable night. Even though exhausted by labor and excitement of the previous day and night, sleep did not come to refresh us.

   The 14th was a day of comparative inaction, except for the firing between Foote's squadron and the water batteries. Although Foote's flotilla had been driven off, and we had so well maintained our position on the 13th, it was evident that a desperate struggle was at hand. Before day on the 15th, our regiment was ordered to leave the entrenchments, march to the left, and take a position near Graves's Battery. This battery opened fire on the enemy, and was answered by one of the Federal batteries. These two kept up a sort of duel for some time. About nine o'clock, Buckner sent some Tennessee and Mississippi regiments to dislodge the Federal battery, but they were well supported and held their position. Then Buckner said: "The 2nd Kentucky will have to do that work." Just then Colonel Graves came over the hill, behind which we were standing and shouted, his keen, incisive voice cutting the air like a knife: "Company B! Company B! come to my assistance." Company B heard him. Away we dashed, regardless of aught else, even the hoarse call of our own beloved Hanson, "Come back! come back!" then, as he saw himself unheeded, "Go to hell, every one of you!" And it was nearly that, the storm of shot and shell that rained around us: but we saved his battery. Many, many of our gallant men fell in that mad charge. As we dashed up the hill to the Federal battery, I saw on the ground a cap and sword of an officer, I picked them up, and, after returning to the main body of the army, presented them to Col. Roger Hanson. He exclaimed: "Ah! Col. John A. Logan! He was a good man; I am sorry he was killed." He was not killed, however, only severely wounded. He lived to become a general on the Union side.

   Colonel Hanson now came to our aid. The battery was well defended, but we captured the guns and carried them back to Graves. We were then drawn up in a hollow square and complimented by General Buckner on the gallant action of our regiment. And what an encouragement it was to the weary soldier! How it nerved us for the bitter fighting and hardships that followed! It was such things as this that forever bound us to those incomparable commanders. We knew that we were in their hearts as men, and were not merely the machinery of war. "The Incomparable Regiment," they called us. We were ordered back to the entrenchments, and set off in high spirits. But just as we stepped over the breastworks, there were the Yankees! Instead of continuing to retreat, they had brought up fresh forces and arrived at the rifle pits as soon as we. They greeted us with the most galling fire, and we fell into utter confusion. General Buckner, coming up, ordered us to fall into line, regardless of companies or regiments. We did so and retreated in good order to the second line of the entrenchments, which were made at intervals of twenty or thirty yards. We lay there, keeping up a desultory fire, until about nine o'clock at night. The marching, fighting, cutting trees, digging trenches, and throwing up earthworks had kept us almost incessantly engaged now for four or five days, so we were in an exhausted condition. That night we slaked our thirst on the blood and water which filled the horses' tracks.

   The "History of the Orphan Brigade" says the soldiers were informed, on the morning of the 15th that we must surrender. But when the bugle blew on the night of the 14th, we knew only too well that it meant "cease firing," all is over, the sacrifice has failed. Our good General Buckner knew how it hurt us. He said: "It was not your fault, my brave boys; it was not your fault." Pillow was the recreant who turned back in the very hour of victory, and gave us (we felt then) the indelible stain of disgraceful defeat. How I wished a bullet had laid me low on that field of battle. Hunger, thirst, exhaustion hurt, but they were as nothing to that surrender.

   Brother Henry and I had gotten separated by the occurrences of the day, and at its close we hunted about the camp to see if we had a loved brother's death to mourn. But both were alive and well, though with slight wounds and bruises.

   On the 17th we were put on board transports and taken to Northern prisons. Camp Morton, at Indianapolis, was our destination. The fair grounds had been appropriated for use as a prison. Sheds were built against the high board fence which surrounded the grounds, and tents were scattered over the intervening space. In these the prisoners must shelter themselves as best they could from the cold, which was severe to men just come from the South.

   The prisoners were not subjected to as strict a surveillance then as they were later in the war, and some were able to make their escape. I began to reason: "If they can, why can't I?" We had been in prison about two months when an old friend and I decided on a plan for escaping which we thought would be practical. I asked Brother Henry to join us, but he thought that we were very rash to attempt it, and would not consent. Joe Bell, my messmate, said to me one day: "Louis, have you noticed how those sentinels walk their beats?" "Yes. They are at least forty or fifty yards apart: it would be easy to run between them some dark night, if we were only on the outside of these walls." "Yes, but how to get outside is the question." "Well, I'll tell you what I think we can do; we can dig with our hands and pocket knives in the soft earth until we get a hole big enough to crawl under the fence." "O, pshaw! Let us knock down the guards at the gates and make a break for liberty." " No, sir. They would kill us sure. No, the best way is to wait for a dark or rainy night, dig under the fence, and then run when the sentinel is at the far end of his beat.'' '' All right, I am willing to try it?" And so it was arranged.

   We chose one dark, dismal night when the pouring rain made the lights flicker and almost go out. We dug with our hands and knives until we had a good-sized hole and then we tried to get Brother Henry to join us; but he said it was certain death, and would not go. I told him I would rather be dead than in there.

   I can hear those sentinels now, calling the half hours: "Post Number One, half-past one o'clock, and a-l-l's well." "Post Number Two, half-past one, and a-l-l's well." "Post Number Three, half-past one, and a-l-l's well." And so on till the entire circuit of the prison was made. Then the next half hour was taken up. I fancy it served to keep the sentinels awake, as well as to guard the prisoners. I crept through the opening, watching closely to see when the sentinel was farthest away before I made a move on the outside. Then I flattened my body against the ground, pulled myself slowly a short distance up the fence, and then stopped and waited for Joe. Then I heard a hoarse whisper behind me, "Louis! Louis! come back. I'm fastened." Heavens! What was I to do now? Turn back, with that sentinel coming up? Yet there was nothing else to be done. Better death than to desert a comrade in distress. So back I crawled and scratched away until his fat body was liberated. Then we crawled to a large oak near by. As we came beneath it a twig snapped, and the guard turned and looked our way. In his uncertainty, he threw a small stick to ascertain what was the dark object he saw moving. It struck Joe. He sprang to his feet and ran right up to the man. '' Halt," he cried. "Halt, yourself,'' said Joe. Down he threw his gun, on sped Joe in the darkness. Now what was I to do? Confused and uncertain by this unexpected turn of affairs, I zigzagged between the two sentinels who had come up, and, strange to say, found Joe about seventy-five yards ahead.

   Providence had favored us, but now a new danger threatened. We had run into a camp of Federal soldiers and were stumbling among the tent ropes, brushing against the officers, trembling in expectation of being arrested at any moment and being thrown back into prison, or perhaps shot, for attempting to escape. But, thanks to the dark night and the blue overcoats that had been furnished in prison, we came out of it safely. It was necessary to get away immediately, so we pushed blindly forward until we found the pike.

   We came to a toll gate a short distance down the road. The front porch seemed a good shelter from the pouring rain, so we crawled under. But hardly had we settled when a fierce dog began barking at us. He made such a noise that the people in the house struck a match to see what all the noise was about; then we "struck," too. Our next move brought us into Indianapolis. Here we hunted around till we found a railroad. We followed the road a short distance to a culvert under which we threw our mud-bedraggled coats, and then went into a woods near by.

   It was now about daylight, and we were tired and hungry. Having washed our faces and smoothed our hair as best we could with our hands, we walked down the railroad until we came to a village and found a hotel where we could get rest and food. We realized with thankful hearts what a Godsend it was that we had some money that our Kentucky friends had sent us and not the tell-tale Confederate bills. We stayed at the hotel and got our breakfast and dinner. This gave us a little time for some rest. I could hardly keep Joe awake, and was afraid that he would betray us by his exhaustion. He would be sound asleep in a second, sitting bolt upright in his chair, even while eating dinner.

   After we had rested a while, Joe said, with assumed indifference; "Mister, when will the train be along?"

"In about fifteen minutes, going into Indianapolis."

"What time does it leave for Louisville? " Joe spoke very slowly now.

"Seven P.M."

"O-mm-huh-thank you. Well, good evening, sir."

   We went out of doors to consult, and concluded it would be best to take the incoming train to Indianapolis, buy a paper, and then go into the woods till it was time for the Louisville train.

   We carried out our plan and reached the woods in safety, but here another bad scare was in store for us. We found some logs on fire and sat down to warm and discuss the situation.

"Now," said Joe, "if we get that Louisville train, we are safe."

"Yes," I replied, "we'll go into the coach, get seats apart, pull our hats over faces, and read our papers; and if we talk, we'll be as big Yankees as anybody."

"Well, I won't buy any tickets, Louis. You've got to do that."

"I -- but look, Joe! Who is that coming this way?"

"Louis, they're Union soldiers! We're gone now; there are four of them, and they are right after us!"

"It is no use to run," I replied, "We will just have to give up. Sh-h-h-h- Here they are."

"Good morning," they say politely, and passed on. The world goes on turning on its axis, and our hair resumes its natural flatness.

   We took the evening train for Louisville and arrived there without further adventures, though we were in hourly fear of being arrested. We went to the Louisville Hotel, kept by a Southern sympathizer whom Joe knew. The neutral ground taken by Kentucky in that unhappy contest rendered it dangerous for residents to declare their Southern sentiments. So even in Old Kentucky, our homeland, we must be extremely cautious. We were secretly taken to the top of the house and put into a comfortable room. There we were furnished with every luxury in food and clothing, but were not allowed to leave the room on any pretext. Here, many friends, seeking news from their absent friends or relatives, came to us, one at a time, in the midst of the night.

   At the end of a week, when all danger of pursuit was over, we were conducted one evening, about dusk, to the front entrance, where two buggies awaited us. Each was supplied with a driver whose name we must not know. A large crowd of Southern sympathizers were gathered to get sight of two "Southern soldiers escaped from prison," but not a word passed between us, for there might be spies about. We were taken about forty miles into Shelby County and left in a dense woods. We had been told that we would be well cared for and must on no account venture to anybody's house. A genial old man brought us food for the few days we had to wait till we could communicate with our friends. Uncle Romulus sent me a horse, money, and a brace of pistols, with the strict injunction not to come near his home. In those days, servants and neighbors were spies. So, though close to home, we must pass by.

   In going through Paris, I rode in a rockaway with a Mr. Wilson and wife, he driving, while Joe Bell rode on horseback. The town was full of Federal soldiers, and Joe's eyes kept a swift dance from side to side for fear that he would be recognized. Brother John was with him, and Joe said to him:

''John, you had better go back. I am well-known in Paris, and if I see the slightest intimation of being arrested, I will ride for my life and fire as I ride. I will not be taken alive.''

"Pshaw, Joe. Nobody will know you," replied John.

   We got through all safe, and stayed in the hospitable home of Mrs. Warren Rogers and her patriotic daughters for a week. We then worked our way toward the mountains. On the way our party was increased to fourteen by men who wished to join the Southern army. An old mountaineer volunteered to guide us through Pound Gap. When nearly to the Gap, we got the news that a body of Federal soldiers was waiting there to intercept us. '' We are caught,'' we exclaimed; "all our hardships are for nothing." "Not so," said the stanch old guide, ''when we can't go through, we must go over." So up the steep mountain wall we struggled, sometimes on a path so narrow that a single misstep would have hurled us a thousand feet below; sometimes so steep that we must drive our horses ahead and pull ourselves up by holding on to their tails. So exhausting was the half-mile climb that I fell in a swoon when the top was reached. An hour's rest sufficed to restore me, so that I was ready when the rest were for the gentle descent on the Virginia side.

   We went to Abingdon, where we met Pete Everett, Bob Stoner, and Lee Hathaway. They were set on returning to Kentucky to raise a regiment, so we came back with them to help. Joe and I stopped in Montgomery County and waited for them to return, but they were so long in doing so that we concluded they had been captured, and decided to return without them. Pete eventually came out with seventy men. We again went to Abingdon, received our back pay, and were given permission to travel anywhere in the South till our command was exchanged.

   We were in Richmond during the Seven Days Battles, and with no little wonder did I behold thousands of soldiers in gray parading the streets in idleness, while that bloody struggle was in progress. When I left home, friends, possessions, to lay down my life, if necessary, for the dear Southland, little thought I to find in the capital of the Confederacy that lack of enthusiasm, that indifference. However, I suppose long familiarity had brought about stolid, undemonstrative endurance.

   After visiting Mobile, Montgomery, Atlanta, and other cities, we rejoined our command at Jackson, Miss., which by this time had been exchanged. After the fall of Vicksburg, we fought in the battle of Jackson. This was the last of my experience in the company of my comrade in many dangers, Joe Bell, for here we separated.

   My command was ordered to reinforce Bragg in Kentucky. Thus I was once more en route for my native State, this time not as a fugitive, but as a deliverer from the foe. We marched full of pleasant thoughts of the homeland. I shall never forget how it stirred us as we sang these old songs, "Old Kentucky Home" and "Home, Sweet Home." I must pause here for the sadness that comes over me at the recollection of that time No experience of the war was so trying to me as that. How we laughed and joked! How light and easy moved our way-worn feet as they moved toward home! We are almost to Cumberland Gap; a few more hours would put us on Kentucky soil. But the message meets us: "Fall back; Bragg is retreating."

   Back to Knoxville we went we went with bowed heads, lagging feet, sore hearts. There we took the train to Chattanooga, then on to Murfreesboro into camp. While waiting here for General Bragg, my regiment and one other was ordered to join John Morgan’s command in an attack on Hartsville. A forced march, which means as rapid as possible, the infantry changing with the cavalry in riding and walking, took us to Cumberland River in about eighteen hours. The distance, I suppose, was about seventy-five miles. We arrived just as day began to dawn, crossed the river on pontoon bridges, and began to fight at sunrise. The engagement was short but severe; it lasted only an hour and a half. It was here that I was wounded. Our company was pushing up the hill toward the enemy’s lines when I, with several others, became excited and ran ahead, reaching the brow of the hill considerably in advance of the company. While standing firing, I saw the blue coats give way, which enthused me. I jerked off my hat and whirled it in the air, shouting: "Come on, boys, come on! They're whipped, they're whipped," when down I went, shot through both legs. One moment mounting to the skies, the next grovelling in the dust, a poor worm of the earth. I lay there bleeding in the December snow with the bullets whizzing around me thick and fast, realizing very vividly the uncertainties of life, especially army life. One of the bullets tore the skin from the knuckle of my right forefinger.

   Our command captured the whole Union force, but had to retreat immediately, as General Harlan came up with re-enforcements. A Confederate teamster gathered me up with two other wounded into a wagon loaded with rifles and drove as fast as possible toward the river, but it availed nothing. The enemy came up so fast, he had to abandon us on the floor in a poor Irishman's shanty, and there we lay for three days and nights in untold agony. The ride in the wagon had been terrible; I plead with the driver to put me out and let me die; I wished with all my heart that I was able to handle one of the guns on which I was lying; I would have blown his head off, and thus have put it out of his power to continue his mistaken kindness. But my sufferings were still more aggravated by cold, hunger, and undressed wounds in that humble hut. The man had run off in his fear of the enemy and left his wife alone. She did what she could for us, which was little enough in her poverty and ignorance. After three weeks we were found by the Union soldiers and removed to the hospital in Hartsville. Every day the doctor talked of amputating both my legs, but I besought him to rather let me die. John M. Harlan had once run for Congress in our district and so became personally acquainted with my father, who was at that time in the legislature, and had been entertained in our home. He visited me, recalled these circumstances, and showed me every courtesy. Through his kindness I was allowed to be moved to a hotel owned by a Southern sympathizer in the town. Kindnesses now poured in on me from every side. Six weeks of "flat-on-my-back" in bed restored me enough to accede to the wishes of kind Mr. Alexander and his good daughter to be taken to their home at Dixon Springs, though it was with intense suffering that I took the ride.

   For six weeks did this hospitable family nurse me back to health. One of them especially I remember most pleasantly. Perhaps you wonder why the romance of my life did not commence here. But it remained for another to capture my heart and battle-scarred body two years after the war closed, she who is now putting on record these reminiscences. This kind young lady, Miss Mary Alexander, now Mrs. Fields, of Louisville, used to bring me trays of cracked nuts, and charm away the tedium of my convalescence with lively conversation, games of cards, and in other ways that made the memory of her delightful. But I had other visitors who made me realize that I must get away from this haven of rest. Soldiers of the Union army came to see if I was well enough to be transported to a Northern prison. After one of their visits, I said to Mr. Alexander: ''I have been in one of their prisons, and I will not be again if I can avoid it." He said he would do all in his power to help me; so he put me and the crutches kind fiends had made into a buggy and drove to Carthage. There he had a boy to row me across the river where two horses awaited us. We mounted and, I suppose, rode about two hundred yards. When I recovered consciousness, I was lying on the ground and the boy was looking into my face weeping. He thought that I was dead. My wounds were too sore for that method of traveling. I told the boy to take the horse and return to Mr. Alexander as quickly as possible, while I proceeded as best I could on crutches.

   It was a long, weary journey -- one hundred miles -- occasionally helped by wagons; but the end was worth it. When I made my appearance in camp, a shout went up. Such a welcome they gave me! They had left me for dead on the battle field of Hartsville, and it was as if the dead were come to life. I afterwards saw my name in the list of mortally wounded in the Louisville Courier Journal. Indeed, the doctor told me that I had escaped the cutting of the main arteries by the space of a sharp knife blade.

   My return to camp was saddened by the news of the death of my youngest brother, Robert. He had died in a hospital from sickness contracted in army life. Brother Henry was in Knoxville, disabled by a wound from a cannon ball. General B. gave me a permit to join my father and Henry in Knoxville, where I remained a month. I then went into parole camp at Cahawba, Ala., and was there nearly a year. The prisoners, while awaiting our exchange, elected officers, drilled daily, and otherwise amused and exercised themselves. When the exchange was effected, I reported to Dalton, where we went into winter quarters. We passed the winter in sham battles, snow-fort sieges, and drills.

   During the winter I received my commission as second lieutenant in Morgan's command. Instead of going immediately to my assignment, I went into the ranks as private, and was in the battles of Rocky Face Gap, Resaca, and Dallas. At Dallas I was taken prisoner for the third time, and sent back to Camp Morton, Ind. Alas! no more escapes were possible. The prison regimen was strictly enforced. There were spies among us who reported all attempts to escape; yet attempts were constantly being made, for starvation and cold make desperate men. We suffered greatly front bone-ache, or scurvy, brought on by lack of proper nourishment. Once, several of us tried to escape, but were prevented and condemned to be hung up by our thumbs in punishment. A comrade volunteered to take my place, because he knew that it would surely kill me in my sore condition. I feel that I owe my life to him.

   Many of our friends thought that the war was near its close, and wrote urging me to take the oath of allegiance to the United States government, but I would not consent to do so. I remained in prison until exchanged, which took place a few months before the surrender of General Lee. After being exchanged at Richmond, Va., I went to Lynchburg, where I joined Cabel Bullock, one of my particular friends, Joe Hunt, and Lieutenant Bowmar. We all struck out on foot and caught up with our command at Charlotte, N. C. There Maj. John R. Viley gave me a horse, and I reported to Gen. Basil Duke, according to the order that had been issued to me, pending my exchange.

   From this time on confusion and uncertainty reigned in the South. After Lee surrendered, we went to Washington, Ga., and there the army disbanded. All the men from Tennessee and Kentucky were ordered to Chattanooga, where the privates were disarmed and sent home on the trains. Officers were allowed two horses and side arms. Fourteen of us went to Nashville together to take the oath of allegiance, and from there we rode through the country to our homes in ''Old Kentucky." I sold one of my horses for eighty dollars in gold, bought a suit of clothes and a pair of boots.

Confederate Veteran, Vol. 35, No. 12 (December 1927), pp. 456-460




Louis (Lewis) Douglass Payne, along with his brothers Henry C. and Robert T., all from Georgetown in Scott County, served in Co. B, 2nd Kentucky Infantry.  All enlisted at Camp Boone, Tennessee, on July 13, 1861.  Henry served as a sergeant and survived the war, having been wounded at Murfreesboro.   Robert was mortally wounded at Hartsville, Tennessee, December 7, 1862, and died at Manchester, Tennessee, sometime later, as a result of his wound and subsequent sickness.   In June 1864 Louis Payne was ordered transferred to cavalry service, to accept a commission in Co. E, 5th Kentucky Cavalry, but he was captured while still serving in the 2nd Kentucky Infantry during the Atlanta Campaign.

The following individuals are mentioned in this article:

Elisha Smoot Gordon  --  3rd Sgt., Co. B; wounded at Hartsville and Chickamauga, captured at Kennesaw Mt., June 20, 1864 (from Lexington)

Junius Ward  --  Pvt., Co. B; was discharged early in the war, due to disability by disease

R. H. Yancy  --  4th Corp., Co. B; killed at Hartsville, December 7, 1862

Thomas W. Kelley  --  Pvt., Co. B; lost a leg as a result of a wound at Fort Donelson; not afterward heard from

William Lary (Leary)  --  Pvt., Co. B; died of disease at Bowling Green, December 23, 1861

Lisle Gordon  --  ?  (possibly Pvt. L. D. Gordon, Cobb's Battery)

Capt. McDowell  --  Hervey McDowell of Cynthiana, Capt. of Co. F; later promoted to Major and Lt.Col. of the 2nd Kentucky

Joe Bell  --  Joseph N. Bell was 2nd Sgt. of Graves' Battery

Pete Everett  --  Peter M. Everett served as a Pvt. in R. G. Stoner's Co. E, 1st Bn. Ky. Mounted Rifles, then as Capt. of Co. B, 3rd Bn. Mtd. Rifles.

Bob Stoner  --  Robert Gatewood Stoner, Lt. Col., 9th Kentucky Cavalry; Stoner had been Capt. of Co. E, 1st Bn. Mtd. Rifles, but had resigned to raise a regiment; he raised a battalion of cavalry in the summer of 1862, which was joined to W.C.P. Breckinridge's Battalion to form the 9th Cavalry in December 1862, with Breckinridge as Colonel and Stoner as Lt. Col.

Lee Hathaway  --  Pvt., Co. I, 8th Kentucky Cavalry

Cabel Bullock  --  Ordnance Sgt., Co. B; fought in every battle of his company

Joe Hunt  --  Pvt., Co. I, 8th Kentucky Cavalry

Lt. Bowmar  --  Joseph M. Bowmar, 1st Lt., Co. A, 5th Kentucky Cavalry (later Adjutant)

Maj. John R. Viley  --  Chief Quartermaster of the First Kentucky Brigade

Gen. Basil Duke  --  commanded 2nd Kentucky Cavalry and a brigade under Gen. John Hunt Morgan; Duke participated in the escort for Pres. Jefferson Davis when he tried to escape capture at the end of the war

Exchange of prisoners of war was mostly a haphazard experience throughout the war.  Neither side was equipped to handle large numbers of prisoners, and early in the war most lower ranking prisoners were somewhat speedily exchanged.  At times, numbers of prisoners were actually allowed to return to their respective sides to await exchange; these men entered a bizarre system known as "parole camps," where they were not technically prisoners, but where they must remain, of no use to their own forces, until regularly exchanged.  Later in 1863 and through most of 1864, the exchange system broke down, and large numbers of prisoners were held by both sides (leading to the intense suffering in POW camps such as Andersonville and Camp Douglas).  In early 1865 there was another large exchange, and many Kentuckians who had been in prison for a couple of years found themselves sent to Point Lookout, Maryland, for exchange, with orders to report to Richmond, Virginia.  Some of these men returned to the ranks and fought again for the final two or three months of the war.

Payne’s memory is slightly mixed up about the battle of Jackson. The Orphans fought here in July 1863, not following their time in Vicksburg in the summer of 1862.

These reminiscences use an expression still common in rural Kentucky: "pshaw!" (pronounced puh-shaw'), meaning "nonsense!"


For another account of the Orphans at Fort Donelson, see the Spencer Diary.


Lstone.gif (1289 bytes)     Return to "From the Front"

Lstone.gif (1289 bytes)     Return to Battle Honors

4ky.gif (2036 bytes)     Return to Orphan Brigade Homepage



Comments to page authors:

Geoff Walden: enfield577 (at)
Laura Cook
: lcook62 (at)

All contents copyright 1996-2014, Geoff Walden, Laura Cook. All rights reserved.   No text or photos may be reproduced without the permission of the owners.  We gratefully acknowledge the generous permission of the owners in allowing us to show their images and other information on this page.