Camp Boone Letter

    First Kentucky "Orphan" Brigade 


Clarksville, Tenn., July 13, 1861

Mssrs. Editors:

   I have just returned from Camp Boone, named in honor of the hunter of the "dark and bloody ground."  The camp is seven or eight miles distant from this point, one mile distant from the Clarksville, Memphis, and Louisville Railroad. This place was selected by General W. T. Withers, who is now organizing a brigade composed exclusively of Kentuckians, for the service of the "Confederate States." General Withers has put forth every exertion to accomplish his end, and is succeeding beyond his own anticipations. He has now in camp about thirteen hundred volunteer Kentuckians, who are willing to sacrifice their lives for the constitutional liberty of the Confederate States. The only difficulty the General is in is deciding which companies he will accept, each officer being anxious to be first on the list. General Withers will have his full complement of men in less than two weeks. He is anticipating authority from the President, extending the number to [text unclear] thousand. I believe firmly that he can get six thousand Kentuckians if he desired them.


   Col. Hawes has just arrived from Richmond to take command of one of the regiments. No one is better (as I am informed) capacitated to fill the position; and I think before the war is over, that you will hear a good account of the Kentucky Brigade.


(excerpted from the Louisville Daily Courier, 16 July 1861, p. 4; copy courtesy Jimmie Epling)



William Temple "Temp" Withers was a native Kentuckian who was living in Mississippi in 1861, and was sent by Jefferson Davis to help Confederate recruiting in Kentucky. Gen. Withers, along with Robert Johnson and James Moss, recruited the nucleus of the 2nd Kentucky Infantry in Louisville, then took it across the state line and established Camp Boone.  For several interesting communications between Gen. Withers and the Confederate authorities, see the Official Records, Ser. 1, Vol. IV, pp. 367-68, 373-74, 376-80, 407.

Col. James Morrison Hawes was the first commander of the 2nd Kentucky Infantry, which was officially organized on 17 July 1861.

For further info, see our article on Camps Boone and Burnett.


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