MANY NATIVE SONS WERE IN THE 4TH KENTUCKY INFANTRY
MANY NATIVE SONS WERE IN
THE 4TH KENTUCKY INFANTRY ©

by Holly Timm
[originally published 22 April 1987
Harlan Daily Enterprise Penny Pincher]
In addition to the many southeast Kentucky men who saw Union service in Federal troops in the Civil War in the 47th and 49th Kentucky Infantry units, a large number of area men also served in the 4th Kentucky Infantry.

The 47th and 49th lost only two soldiers to battle but five officers and 144 enlisted men died of disease. On the other hand, the 4th Kentucky had 68 men killed in battle, 77 taken prisoner and two missing. Another 251 men died of disease.

Among those serving from southeast Kentucky were Calvin Howard, Charles Day, Sampson Estepp, Pleasant Hogg, Samuel Woolum, and James Kelly. Josiah Baker was among those captured at Newman, Ga, and Jacob Madden died June 26, 1865, at Macon.

The names of many well known Civil War battles will be found in the following brief account of this unit's activities.

According to the Adjutant General's report, the 4th Regiment of Kentucky Volunteer Infantry was mustered into service on Oct. 9, 1861, marching to Crab Orchard 17 days later. From there they moved to Lebanon and then on to Logan's Cross Roads in Pulaski County.

On Jan. 19, 1862, they were attacked by Rebels under the command of Crittenden and Zolicoffer. Defeating the Rebel troops, they marched that same night to within a mile of the enemy entrenchment, whereupon the enemy retreated, abandoning their artillery, baggage and stores.

February and March were spent traveling on foot and by boat from Louisville via Nashville to Pittsburg Landing, arriving there on April 8. Four days later the regiment, with a brigade under Fry and a battalion of cavalry, all under the command of General W. T. Sherman, went to Bear Creek by steamer and from there marched to the Memphis and Charleston Railroad and burned a bridge.

The 4th moved with the army from Shiloh to Corinth, skirmishing constantly and entered Corinth, Miss., on May 29th. The summer and fall of 1862 was spent at various places in Tennessee and western Kentucky. On Dec. 11 the unit marched to the vicinity of Gallatin, Tenn., and on Christmas Day went by railroad to Munfordsville, Ky. Then, via Elizabethtown to Rolling Fork where it skirmished with Morgan's Rebel cavalry.

The spring of 1863 was spent in scouting. On June 23, they started on the Tullahoma campaign, skirmishing at Hoover's Gap, Concord Church and Tullahoma, entering the latter on July 1. In mid August, they entered the Chickamauga campaign, participating in the battle of Chickamauga on Sept. 19 and 20. Two days later they entered Chattanooga, skirmishing with the enemy of the 25th. After the battle of Missionary Ridge on Nov. 25, the regiment marched to Ringgold and returned.

After being furloughed at Louisville, the unit rendezvoused at Camp Nelson in early March of 1864, reorganizing as a mounted regiment, returning to the war via Nashville, Tn. and on to Snake Creek Gap, Ga., skirmishing at Lafayette on June 24.

In July, the unit left Snake Creek Gap and joined McCook's Cavalry Division at the Chattahoochie River. It engaged in battle at Mason's Church, Lovejoy's, Shakerag and at Newman, Ga., where a large portion of regiment was captured. The remainder of the regiment returned to Nashville to refit and on Aug. 31, 1864, started in pursuit of Wheeler's Reel cavalry, following them through Tennessee, skirmishing at Franklin and Campbellsville.

It then followed Forrest through Tennessee, skirmishing at Pulaski. By late October, the unit was in the vicinity of Florence and on Nov. 5, fought with Hood's forces at Shoal Creek. Retreating before the enemy, it fought at Campbellsville, Lewiston Pike and Franklin.

They retreated to Nashville and in mid-Dec fought in the battle there. Afterwards they followed Hood's forces to the Tennessee River, marching to Waterloo, Ala. The summer of 1865 was spent scouting the country around Macon, Ga., in search of Jefferson Davis.

The unit was mustered out at Macon on Aug. 17, 1865, taking the train two days later for Louisville where it was paid off and discharged on Aug. 30.

This recital of the bare facts does not give justice to the service this unit performed for the country. As the Adjutant General's Report states, it was "entitled to the highest encomium of glory and patriotism, having been among the first of Kentucky's brave soldiers to gather around their country's flag in the recent struggle for national existence. It received the praise and commendation of every General Officer under whom it served; and the casualty list clearly shows it to have been ever foremost in battle."

back to the index


Purely Decorative Image

visitor