Monday, October 11, 2010

Louisa During the Civil War

Louisa, the county seat of Lawrence County, KY, lies at the confluence of Tug and Levisa Forks of the Big Sandy River, on a two-thousand acres tract of land surveyed by George Washington in 1769, the corners of which were well-marked with Washington's initials. Settlement was attempted in 1789 at The Point, between the forks, but it was abandoned. A settlement called Balclutha existed for a short time afterward west of The Point. The settlement that became Louisa began about 1815. The sources of the names are obscure.

Louisa Plat Map, surveyed June 10, 1823

The Forks of Big Sandy post office opened in 1819 and the Louisa post office opened in 1822. In 1823, a court house was erected in the center of the public square. The building was a two-story frame house, 35x30 feet, weatherboard side, and a wood shingle roof. The first story was 12 feet high, with sleepers 2 feet apart. According to old records, there were "two 12 light windows in the end of this large room." The second story had two partitions forming three rooms. Each room had "one 18 light window in the side." The old town pump was located near the court house, on the corner of Main and Main Cross Streets.

By 1830, Louisa had 87 inhabitants. In 1846, the town contained a court-house, church, post-office, four stores, two doctors, two lawyers, and several mechanics' shops. River traffic opened up in 1837 with the first steam boats chugging down the Big Sandy. Push boats and flatboats were still in use, especially when the river was low. The steamboat landing in Louisa was located near the end of Main Street. Many of the boats would go as far as Pikeville when the river stage permitted, which was often in the spring of the year. They would be heavily loaded with supplies and return with local products for markets east, such as ginseng, feathers, wool, beeswax, chestnuts, as well as dried apples and peaches.

Old Steamboat Landing, view from Water Street [now S. Vinson Ave.]

In 1843, Daniel Bayless Vaughn moved from Wood Co. VA to Louisa where he kept the "Big Hotel" and pursued his trade of merchant tailor. He was a steamboat man from 1852 to 1860, running the "Tom Scott" on the Sandy River. He built 5 large steamers, and 4 smaller ones to run on Sandy.

In 1860, Archibald Borders, an influential businessman and first Lawrence County judge, built the famous steamer "Sandy Valley". Judge Borders owned a large brick house which stood at the grade and was facing Main Street. The house was built before the Civil War. Also situated on the property were the Borders Servants Quarters. Archibald Borders owned half the block between Main and Madison Streets.

His son, A. P. Borders shipped goods on the steamer to various ports along the Big Sandy Valley. A freight bill, dated Dec. 18, 1860, for a shipment to J. Richmond, to be delivered "at the Port of Louisa, KY," shows every product imaginable that was taken up the river, such as crockery, yellow ware, sugar kettles, grass rope, stoves, hats and shoes, liquor, cheese, fish and specifically herring, black powder and German steel, raisins, paper, soda, pepper, coffee, indigo and madder, etc.
The steamboats also represented the main means of transporting passengers to and fro the Big Sandy Valley until the advent of the railroad in the 1880's.

Big Sandy River, near steamboat landing, Louisa

A stage coach line to Mt. Sterling, a distance of 103 miles, connected Louisa with the interior of the state. Weary travellers could rest at the Gallup Hotel, acquired by George W. Gallup in the summer of 1860 which stood on the banks of the Big Sandy River, near the steamboat landing, on Main Street in Louisa. The hotel keeper was Henry S. Bussey. A ferry, operated by George R. Miller, crossed the river at the end of Main Street just below the mouth of Levisa and Tug to Cassville, Virginia [now Fort Gay, West Virginia].

Louisa continued to grow and by 1855, the town had a court-house, a church, 4 stores & about 100 inhabitants. In 1860, Louisa was a small town with a population of 258. There were two churches in the downtown area. The brick Methodist Episcopal Church, South stood on the south-east corner of the public square, a commodious and attractive structure for that day. The First United Methodist Church, a brick building in Gothic style, with diamond-shaped glass windows, was located on the east side of Main Street.

First United Methodist Church, Louisa

In 1860, Lawrence County's chief economic resources were timber, minerals and tobacco but the beginning of the Civil War soon halted timber and coal production. In 1840, Louisa was the geographic center of American hog production but had lost its importance by 1850.

An 1860 business directory for Louisa

Granville Frasher, merchandising
Wm. Moore, merchant
Pleasant Savage, merchant
Greenville Lackey, merchant
Noah Wellman, merchant
James A. Wellman, merchant
Peter I. Livingston, merchant
John McHenry, dealer in minerals & merchandise
Amelia A. Cook, widow merchant
Mary J. Ferguson, widow merchant

George R. Miller, Ferryman

John P. Armstrong, teacher/pedagogue
Verlinda Davenport, school teacher
John Laidly, school teacher

George W. Gallup, lawyer
Laban T. Moore, lawyer
Jake Rice, lawyer
Kenas F. Prichard, lawyer

Marcus L. Hodge, carpenter
Robert Moore, carpenter
J. J. Taylor, carpenter
Jake [?] Bradley, carpenter

James M. Frazer, tanner & currier
Strother J. Yates, physician
Stephen L. Davenport, saddler
S. J. Small, seamstress

John W. Jones, deputy clerk
M. B. Goble, clerk of court

Boon Salter, shoemaker
John Frasher, boot & shoemaker

James M. Pigg, cabinet maker
Robert C. W. McKenzie, machinist

George Martin, blacksmith
John Pigg, blacksmith
Charles Hambleton, blacksmith
Willis Pigg, blacksmith
Armstead Burchett, blacksmith
Drury Burchett, blacksmith

William L. Allen, artist
Allen C. Hutchinson, artist

Calvin Wellman, lumber merchant
Jessee Meek, timber merchant

Henry S. Bussey, hotel keeper
William Troy, painter
Abraham Neal, waggoner

During the war, Louisa was chosen as a Union strong-hold. In the fall of 1861, a military camp named "Camp Wallace" was established by the 14th KY Infantry, named in honor of Thomas Wallace. In December 1861, a soldier from Ohio described Louisa as, "at best a straggling, unpainted hamlet, but the hostilities of six months had greatly increased its thriftless, untidy aspect. The men were nearly all in the army on one side or the other; the courthouse had been used as a barrack by the half barbarous volunteers of the mountain region, and a shabby brick tavern with its kitchen dismantled and its windows broken, still struggled against extinction as a public house by keeping a red nosed ex-hostler and a jug of new apple-jack behind the bar. Early in the War, as it was then, Louisa had been occupied and re-occupied by Federals and Confederates until its women no longer stared at the passing soldier as an object of interest, but charged him fifty cents for a dried peach pie, and as promptly besought the commanding officers to post sentries around their potato mounds and hen roosts, as though taught by the campaigns of a dozen years."

A month later, a Kentucky officer offered a glimpse of Louisa, "I suppose ... in summer with its circle of towering hills it must be a beautiful place, but just now everything is marred with the oceans of mud which surrounds one on all sides and literally flows through its streets; even the sidewalks are unpaved."

During the fall of 1861, as well as during Garfield's Eastern Kentucky Campaign, 1861/1862, several buildings in town served as military hospitals, including the First United Methodist Church, as well as what is now known as the Judge Stewart House which at the time belonged to James Lawson, a Southern sympathizer from Logan Co. VA. Both buildings are situated on Main Street. A third hospital, a two-story brick building, was located at the corner of Perry and Main Streets, at the top of the Grade.

Judge Stewart House

A temporary commissary was established in John McHenry's brick store [formerly belonging to Daniel W. Eba] and later in one of the buildings owned by Thomas Wallace. The courthouse was converted into barracks for the soldiers.

Louisa became the seat of the Military District of Eastern Kentucky which included a Provost Marshall's office, and thus functioned as a main point for prisoner transportation down the Sandy River for transfer to Camp Chase, Ohio, as well as other military prisons. The jail near the courthouse served as a guardhouse.

Throughout the war, various regiment encamped at Louisa, including the 14th, 22nd and 39th KY Infantry, 10th KY Cav, 4th VA Infantry, 5th VA CAV [US], 40th and 42nd OVI, McLaughlin's Squadron of Cavalry, and the 65th Illinois Infantry, 109th USCI, and the 68th Kentucky Enrolled Militia.

Some of the military camps established in Louisa during the Civil War

Camp Lookout
Louisa, Kentucky, a permanent Union camp.

Camp McClure
Louisa, Lawrence County; Camp of McLaughlin's Squadron.

Camp White
Louisa, Lawrence County; Permanent Union camp, summer 1863.

With the influx of regiments, the town was also occupied by many civilians, mostly family members of the soldiers, which caused the population to increase to more than twice its normal number. In October 1861, John Frew Stewart, who was employed in the Quartermaster Department of the 14th KY Infantry, boarded in the house of Pleasant M. Savage. In June of 1863, a 14th KY Infantry soldier wrote to his family, "for the women folks I will not say for maw to com fore they are so crowdid here that it is a hard mater for 2 person to git a place to stay." In 1863 , until the end of the war, several officers of the federal army were boarding with John M. Rice, including James D. Foster, 14th KY Infantry.

Map of Louisa, 1864

Due to its Union occupation and heavy fortifications on a high hill near the town, Louisa was never taken by the Confederates. On March 25, 1863, Gen. Humphrey Marshall considered an attempt, and skirmished with Union troops in Smokey Valley. The following morning, the Confederates carefully edged their way to within a 1/2 mile of Louisa when they discovered, "on a sudden turn of the road ... the position of the enemy, their artillery, & forces in line of battle - high up on a Gibraltar of a hill." Marshall immediately abandoned his plans and retreated toward Blaine.

During the summer of 1864, the US military began construction of Fort Bishop on the hill towering above Louisa to protect the town against Confederate raids. The fort was 3/4 completed, including the magazine, and was armed with 7 field guns, when the project was finally abandoned in 1865, due to the end of the war.

Site of Fort Bishop

On April 9, 1865 General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia near Appomattox Court House Virginia. After General Lee's surrender, CS soldiers were instructed to go to the nearest union post and surrender. Most of the Kentucky men from Giltner’s Brigade, the only Confederate force of any consequence left in Eastern Kentucky, surrendered on April 30, 1865, at Mt. Sterling, KY and were later paroled to their homes. Remnants of Giltner's command as well as other CS soldiers made their way to Louisa where they surrendered to the US Provost Marshall.

The Civil War and the presence of the military left some of the buildings in town in shambles. In February 1865, Judge R. F. Vinson requested the Commander of the Military Post in Louisa to surrender up to the Civil authorities the public buildings "in this place now held and occupied by them." It was stated that, "While the army was here, they took possession of the courthouse and jail of Lawrence County and used the jail as a guardhouse and the courthouse as commissary for storage of forage and while hauling to and from the same, run the wagons against the outside corners, broke and knocked out bricks from walls, greased and soiled the floors and inside walls, broke down the stairs and floors, cut and mutilated columns, destroyed and carried away the seats, broke the frames out of two outside doors, and knocked out bricks from sides and overhead, destroyed the well in the public square by getting a horse in it and filling it up. In order to hold court, the officers were forced to procure a house to hold court in, they held court in a church building."

The Methodist-Episcopal Church did not fare much better. The trustees of the church stated that, "during the Civil War, the United States forces, by proper authority, took possession of the house of worship and used and occuied the same as barracks, as a commissary, for hospital purposes, and as a stable, for a period of about three and one-half years, or until the spring of 1865. That during said occupancy, the troops removed from said building the windows, doors, flooring, altar, pulpit, and seats; damaging the walls and ceiling so as to necessitate replastering and refinishing; destroyed the fencing inclosing said building, and otherwise greatly injured said property."

Methodist- Episcopal Church, Louisa, 1917

None of the above claims were ever paid by the US Government.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mrs. Higginbotham's Trip down the Big Sandy River in April 1864

Mrs. Higginbotham was born Louisa Ward, daughter of William and Nancy Thompson Ward, at Ward's Cove, in Tazewell County of Virginia, March 12th, 1808. On September 8th, 1831, she married William Elliott Higginbotham, scion of a famous Tazewell family. For ten years following they dwelt at Burkes Garden, enjoying wealth and public esteem. The family were followers of the Mormon faith. Two years after her husband's death on July 3, 1862, Louisa Higginbotham began a difficult journey from Burke's Garden to Utah Territory. She was accompanied by her sons Simon Shelby (1839-1899), Francis David (1848-1911), daughter Elizabeth Letitia (1846-1938), her four year old grand-daughter Lettie and son-in-law David H. Peery, who, until recently, had served as Assistant Commissary under CS General Humphrey Marshall. In "Tullidge's Histories", Edward Wheelock Tullidge vividly recounts the dangers Louisa Higginbotham and her family encountered while traveling down the guerrilla infested Big Sandy Valley in April of 1864.

Big Sandy River, at Louisa, Kentucky

"David H. Peery's faith in the gospel had now grown active and enthralling. He and young Simon withdrew from the army and sent substitutes; but the conscription in this last epoch of the struggle had become so universal and so strict in the South, that if they departed it must be by stealth. Mrs. Higginbotham gathered the few remnants of her own property and aided her son-in-law in accumulating his available means; and then under her advice, David and Simon left Burkes Garden in the night on horseback, to travel to Catlettsburg, Kentucky, where they were to await her coming. She secured two wagons, into which she packed all the valuables belonging to Mr. Peery and herself which she could safely carry; obtained a considerable number of good horses, and secured a nephew of Mr. Peery, a young boy below the draft age, to drive one team, while her son Francis was to drive the other. She packed away under the false bottom of a trunk $1,400 dollars in coin, belonging to Mr. Peery; and $300 in gold, belonging to herself, she secreted on her own person.

One night, just before she was going to depart, envious neighbors broke into the stables, loosed her horses and drove them away. Undaunted by this disaster, she soon replaced the stock, and this time, in order to make her departure in certainty, she went to one Col. Swan, a Confederate officer of her acquaintance, and frankly told him of her troubles. She said that she was a Mormon, and that she desired to leave for Utah with such little property as the calamitous war had left to her. The Colonel gave her a military escort of fifteen men to accompany her through the Confederate lines; and she journeyed in safety to the banks of the Big Sandy, where the soldiers were obliged to leave her. This was one of the most dangerous spots imaginable, for it was directly on the line between the two opposing forces; and this was an hour, too, of peculiar peril, because all the original bitterness of the strife had been intensified by three long and bloody years. Besides, the region between the two armies was infested by guerillas, who spared neither friends nor enemies, and who had no regard for age or sex.

Sister Higginbotham was a heroine as great as any sung of in classic story. Without shedding a tear, she saw her escort depart and leave her with one dear daughter, just blossoming into girlhood, one precious little grandchild, and two young boys, to face all the dangers of that guerilla-infested region. The first night after her escort left her, her party camped on the banks of the Big Sandy. In some mysterious way she received an intimation that robbers had hovered about her path, and that they were intending to descend upon her camp, murder the boys, steal the horses, and escape with all the portables of value. Without a moment's hesitation she instructed her son and his companion to take the horses up the river, and there secure a trustworthy guide who could lead them through the mountains over to Catlettsburg, a distance of seventy-five miles, where they were to unite themselves with David and Simon. When Francis remonstrated against leaving her, she told him that she and her two girls would stay with the wagons and the property, and without any earthly protector they would still he kept in safety, and that they would join him at Catlettsburg.

Some hours after the boys had departed the guerillas assailed the little camp. They ransacked the two wagons, but failed to find any of the money. They took such things as they wanted, and Sister Higginbotham offered no resistance and solicited no favor, since she believed that either would be fruitless. But finally in overturning a trunk the robbers discovered the clothing and jewelry of her dead daughter Nancy, and these things appearing valuable, they exultingly seized and apportioned them among the members of their gang. This outrage was more than she could bear, and she screamed with pain and anger. Fortunately, she was heard by a Mrs. Blackburn, who lived in that vicinity, and who hastened from her residence to answer the call of distress. The robbers, fearing to be identified by one who could expose them to the vengeance of the military authorities, fled. Sister Higginbotham found entertainment at the Blackburn residence for a day or two, until a flat- boat came down the river; and upon this she took passage with her two girls and such of her property as was remaining after the assault of the mercenaries; and then she journeyed in comparative safety and comfort to Catlettsburg, where she found David, Simon and Francis in good health, but very anxious concerning her."

View of the steamboat landing in Catlettsburg, KY, from Virginia Point,
at the confluence of the Big Sandy River and the Ohio River

At Catlettsburg, the party disposed of their horses. They subsequently boarded a steamboat and travelled via the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers to Omaha. Mrs. Higginbotham and her family arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, Utah Territory five months later, on August 31, 1864.

Source: Tullidge's Histories, (volume II), Containing the History of All the Northern, Eastern and Western Counties of Utah: Also the Counties of Southern Idaho. With a Biographical Appendix of Representative Men and Founders of the Cities and Counties; Also a Commercial Supplement, Historical; By Edward Wheelock Tullidge;
Published by Press of the Juvenile Instructor, 1889; p. 211/212

Transcribed by Marlitta H. Perkins

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lt. Col. William Henry Eifort, 2nd KY Cavalry [Union]

The following article appeared in a book titled "Marietta College in the war of secession, 1861-1865, Volume 17", published by Marietta College, Ohio in 1878, pp. 74-78.

Lieutenant Colonel William Henry Eifort
Preparatory Student.

William Henry Eifort was a son of Sebastian Eifort, Esq., and Rachel Jackson Eifort, of Hunnewell, Kentucky.

He was born at Jackson Furnace, Jackson County, Ohio, December 26th, 1842. He was brought up in Scioto County, Ohio, where his father was engaged in the manufacture of iron.

In his thirteenth year his father moved to Carter County, Kentucky, where he built Boone Furnace. Here his son Henry was engaged as clerk and storekeeper, with the exception of the time spent in school. In the Spring of 1859, he came to Marietta, and entered the Preparatory Department. He was distinguished here for a peculiarly bold and generous spirit, impulsive and frank in a high degree.

At the breaking out of the war he found himself in a state which assumed the attitude of neutrality, but he was too straight-forward and too spirited a youth to be beguiled into any imaginary path between loyalty and disloyalty. He promptly espoused the cause of the Government, and with two or three friends of like spirit, attempted to raise volunteers for the Union Army. It was a perilous undertaking; they found that " neutrality " meant war upon all who should dare to rally men to the old flag on the soil of Kentucky. Their lives were threatened, and they were targets for the rifle and revolver as they rode through the country.

But Eifort was one of those bold spirits who seem insensible to fear. Danger only roused him to his best. He and his friend raised a company, which, on its organization, chose him first Lieutenant, his friend Thomas being made Captain. At this time Lieutenant Eifort was but eighteen years of age. The company could not camp on neutral soil, but crossed to Indiana to Camp Joe Holt, where they were mustered into the United States service, July 18th, 1861.

Enlisting first as Infantry, they were invited to change their organization, which they did, forming a company of the Second Kentucky Cavalry. The Regiment was under Sherman in his first campaign in Kentucky, in the Fall of 1861, and served in the Army of the Cumberland through the war. It fought many battles, and almost numberless skirmishes.

Request for leave of absence
(Compiled Service Records)

Everywhere Eifort was conspicuous for his courage, continually getting in advance of his men when there was an enemy in front. He attempted exploits which were almost unheard of even in cavalry charges; not from vanity or ambition, nor as the result of stimulants, being strictly temperate in his habits. He never seemed to appreciate his own personal danger, but fixing his eye on the end to be reached, forgot himself till success was assured.

An instance of his courage is given just before the battle of Shiloh, in the Spring of 1862. He with a detachment of thirty men was sent forward on the pike near Franklin, Tennessee, when the rebels in their retreat were burning bridges behind them. Coming in sight of a bridge which they had just fired and fled from, Eifort spurred on ahead of his men, blind to danger or impossibility, plunged into the smoke and flames with his thirty men after him, crossed it as by a miracle, and suddenly appeared among the astonished rebel pickets, whom he made prisoners. In a few moments after the crossing the bridge was a mass of fire.

Eifort rose steadily through the grades of promotion, being made Captain, April 26th, 1862; Major, December 14th, 1863; and Lieutenant Colonel, June 22d, 1864, when he was but twenty-two years old. His extreme daring cost him his life. This occurred in a skirmish at Triune, a small village between Murfreesboro and Franklin, Tenn., September 4th, 1864.(*)

In this engagement his zeal and daring led him many yards in advance of his men, when he was mortally wounded, living a few hours, and sending home the message that "he had died as a soldier ought," that "he was the first man in, and the last man out of the charge."

His body is buried at Portsmouth, Ohio, by the side of his grandfather, who was for fifteen years a commissioned officer in the French and German wars of Napoleon.


(*) The Compiled Service Records indicate that William Henry Eifort was mustered in as 1st Lieutenant in Captain Thomas' Company, 1st KY Cavalry, which subsequently became Co. C, 2nd KY Cavalry. He was promoted to Captain of Co. H and mustered to date August 23, 1862. This date was later amended to date April 27, 1862. Eifort was promoted to Major, mustered in to date January 27, 1864. His final promotion was Lieutenant Colonel of the 2nd KY Cavalry, dated June 22, 1864. He was killed in action near Triune, Tennessee, on September 3, 1864.

Major William Henry Eifort Military Record
(Compiled Service Records)

Major General R. H. Milroy noted in his report, "It is with pain that I mention death of the brave Lieutenant-Colonel Eifort, of the Second Kentucky, who received a mortal wound while gallant leading a charge on the rebel battery and rear guard about noon on the 4th instant, of which he soon afterward died. The Tenth Tennessee Cavalry had been ordered to move around to the left of the rebel position and charge them in flank, while Colonel Eifort, with the detachment of his own regiment and a portion of the Fifth Tennessee, went to charge them in front. After a sufficient time had been given the Tenth to get into position Colonel Eifort charged forward in the most gallant style, but the Tenth had failed to get into position and charged simultaneously, as was intended. The consequence was that Colonel Eifort was repulsed and driven back; and while the colonel was bravely trying to hold his men in the unequal fight, amid the enemy's guns, he was shot through the body. In this death society lost an ornament and the country a brave young officer of much promise."

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Confederate General John B. Floyd and the Warfield Saltworks

John B. Floyd
Image from the Brady-Handy Photograph Collection (Library of Congress)

Warfield was established in the early 1850's as a coal, salt and lumber community by George Rogers Clark Floyd and John Warfield of Va. It is located on the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. Products such as salt, which was an essential preservative for farmers and for traders of salt pork, were shipped by river boats to Cattlettsburg. In 1870, Warfield became the first county seat of the newly created Martin County, KY.

George Rogers Clark Floyd was a son of Governor John Floyd of Virginia and had served as Secretary of State for the Territory of Wisconsin under Polk from 1845 to 1848. On March 3, 1857, George Rogers Clark Floyd deeded all the Warfield property to his brother John B. Floyd. Thus began a short but interesting chapter in Lawrence County history.

John B. Floyd, son of VA governor John Floyd, was born in Smithfield, Montgomery County on June 1, 1806. He graduated from Columbia College in South Carolina in 1829 and lived three years in Arkansas before returning to Virginia to practice law in Washington County.

He served in the VA state legislature from 1847 until 1849 and as governor of Virginia from 1849 to 1852. He supported James Buchanan during his campaign for US president and upon his election Floyd was appointed sceretary of war. Floyd held this post from 1857 to December 1860, which he resigned, being a Southerner in his convictions and beliefs, after Major Robert Anderson’s occupation of Fort Sumner, SC.

On May 23, 1861, Floyd was commissioned brigadier-general in the Confederate Army. He saw his first service at Carnifex Ferry, Va., Sept. 10, 1861, where he was wounded. He was the senior commander at Fort Donelson in February 1862, when Grant advanced from Cairo upon the fort. Floyd refused to surrender, withdrew with a large part of his brigade, and reached Nashville in safety. He subsequently had command of the "Virginia State Line," which operated mainly in western and southwestern Virginia.

At the beginning of hostilities production had ceased at Warfield and the coal mines were used throughout the Civil War as hiding place against marauding by enemy. On Aug. 16, 1862, according to Damian Beach, Confederate cavalry repulsed and defeated a unit of Kentucky Home Guards near Warfield."

Warfield Skirmish, Historical Marker

Gen. John B. Floyd's vast Warfield property of 15,000 acres came under a sheriff's sale January 21, 1862 and was sold to Colonel Laban T. Moore and wife Sarah, Col. George W. Gallup and wife Rebecca, and Joseph Tromstine and wife Bertha.
[Lawrence Co. Deed Book F, pp. 555-559/559-566, recorded September 11, 1862]

Health reasons forced Floyd to return home to Abingdon where he died on 26 August 1863 at the age of 57, at the home of his adoptive daughter, Mrs. Eliza Johnston Hughes, a niece of Confederate Maj. General Joseph E. Johnston. Her husband Robert W. Hughes was a US district judge from Norfolk, Virginia. Just eight days prior to his death, on Aug. 18, 1863, John B. Floyd had bequeathed all his estate to his wife Sallie B. Floyd.
[John B. Floyd Will, Martin Co. Will Book]

On Sept. 14, 1866, after the close of the Civil War, the Moores, Gallups and Tromstines sold the Warfield property to Robert W. Hughes for $ 3500, relinquishing all rights and title to the said property under the former sheriff's sale in Lawrence Co.
[Lawrence Co. Deed Book H, p. 522]

On July 2, 1867, the Warfield Coal and Salt Co. was deeded to Sallie B. Floyd, conveying all of Warfield, under general warranty to her.
[Lawrence Co. Deed Book I, pp. 245-247 ? /285-287]. On the same day, Robert W. Hughes was appointed her Executor and Trustee
[Lawrence Co. Deed Book I, p. 284-285]

Warfield Map, 1879
For larger image, click on map

In December 1881, a correspondent of the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that "After a series of years of failure, mismanagement and disappointments, the [Warfield] estate fell into the hands of James A. Barrett of Martin Co., KY, a colonel in the Confederate army and a gentleman of rare intelligence. Knowing the value of associating capital in joint stock companies, Mr. Barrett has capitalized his estate and formed a company that develop its vast resources and bring untold wealth to its members."

Written and researched by Marlitta H. Perkins, 2002 - 2010.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guerrilla Chieftain "Rebel Bill" Smith, CSA

Image from "History of Lawrence County"
by Regina Tackett, Patricia Jackson and Janice Thompson, 1991

One of the more colorful people to grace the Big Sandy Valley with his presence during the Civil War was William S. Smith, or better known as "Rebel Bill" Smith, from Wayne Co. West Virginia. Admired by the South and feared by the North, Smith captured the imagination and attention of friend and foe alike.

In his own words he, "was born on Whites Creek in Cabell County, W. Va., on February 6, 1830. My Father John N. Smith was born and raised in Beaver Co., Pa. My mother's name was Sarah Ann Brown, a native of the Big Sandy Valley. My father emigrated from Pa., to the wilds of W. Va., in early manhood, where he soon married, and I was the fourth son born to them." Smith's childhood was spent on the family homestead which was located on the westside of 12 Pole Creek, one mile from Wayne Court House, later known as the Burrel Cyrus farm.

In December 1847, Smith, "became dissatisfied with affairs as they existed and resolved to abandon home [and] the advice and protection of friends and shift for myself. I accordingly purchased a skiff of Smith & Adkins at Trout's Hill." His older brother David, "had become interested in my welfare and clandestinely assisted my departure. After I had secured my clothes, a little money (fifteen dollars) - as I remember from my brother's firm - I, without intimating such a thing to my parents or anyone except my brother, launched my skiff on the turbid Twelve Pole, a seething murky current then overflowing its banks from hill to hill, and on whose surface was borne adrift every conceivable thing that could float. My skiff shot down the wild mountain stream almost like an arrow. Had I not been adept at rowing, my perilous journey would doubtless have soon terminated. As I passed by my father's home one mile below, he and my mother stood in full view, watching with interest my fleet and dangerous windings on a trip that to ordinary minds would inevitably end in destruction, not knowing who I was from my having changed clothes at the store ..." He soon reached the Ohio River and managed to get jobs working on steamboats, eventually earning a river pilot's license and piloting on the Missouri River.

In February 1849, Smith hired on with government contractors Majors & Russell who supplied the army at Fort Leavenworth/Fort Laramie, Kansas, where they arrived in Oct. 1849. Fort Leavenworth, begun in 1827, was a popular stop for travelers who were moving across the western frontier. Smith's party wintered at Round Lake Valley until March 15, 1850, when it was decided to go on to California where the Gold Rush was in full motion since early 1848. Aside from having to deal with hostile Indians, the men also encountered perils of a different nature. In April 1850, Fielding Isaacs, from Lawrence County, KY, was killed by a grizzly.

In June 1850, the party finally arrived in California and proceeded to the gold fields and pitched tents. Smith remained only a short while, finding, "the surroundings being in no way compatible with my preconceived ideas of pleasure or profit." He went to see an old friend of his father's, Wade Hampton, formerly from Wayne Co. VA., who lived on the road from San Francisco to the gold region. Smith remained with Hampton for 9 months and worked for him as ferry keeper.

In Spring of 1851, after killing a man in a shoot out in San Francisco for a robbery committed on Hampton, it was time for Smith to leave California. With the help of Hampton and friends, he boarded the "New York Belle" to the Isthmus of Darian, from where he walked to the Gulf Coast. There he boarded the "Orleans Jessamine" to New Orleans, where he, upon arrival, hired in on the steamboat of Capt. F. Davidson, a native of South Point, OH. A month after leaving New Orleans, Davidson's boat arrived at Cincinnati and Smith returned home to Wayne Co. VA, much to the joy of his family and friends who had mourned him dead.

After nearly four years of adventure, Smith was finally ready to settle down. On Jan. 28, 1852, he married a girl from Lawrence Co. KY, Surilda Roberts, daughter of John C. Roberts and Esther Abbott. By 1860, the family had grown by three children. They are listed in the Federal Census of Wayne Co. VA, HH #115/115
Wm. S. Smith, 30, farmer, b. VA, $300 personal property
Wife Surilda, 28, b. VA
Harry H. Smith, 7, b. KY
Permelia, 5, b. VA
Mary A., 3, b. VA

When the Civil War broke out, Smith quickly sided with the Southern cause and joined Captain James Corns' company, styled the "Fairview Rifles". Corns' company completed organization on May 28, 1861 and were temporarily mustered as part of the 36th VA Infantry on July 15, 1861. Smith claimed that he participated in the Battle of Scary Creek on July 17, 1861, that was fought along the banks of the Kanawha River in Putnam County, 10 miles north of Charleston, WV, yet Smith's name does not appear on the rosters of the 36th Virginia.

During the next two months, no mention is made of Smith, but an affidavit by Wm. E. Feasel, dated October 7, 1861, clearly shows that Smith had not been sitting idle on the side lines. Feasel stated that a group of men from Wayne Co. VA, "have been engaged in aiding and assisting the armed Enemies of the United States and of this State, by furnishing material & information and being in arms themselves, and by armed force preventing the operation of the Civil laws in their respective counties to the terror of the Loyal inhabitants and the inaugeration of anarchy and that he verily believes they will continue to do so, unless superior force is used to restrain them in the future."

Feasel listed the following men -
"William Smith (son of Jno. N.), Wash. Adkins, David Smith, Jack Marcum, Jack. Miller, Samuel Wellman, John Plymale, Isaac E. Handley, James Stone, Calvin Fuller, R. P. Drown, Robt. H. Parks, Charles R. Parks, James V. Buskirk, Richard Apperson Fuller, Richard Johnson, Enoch Cyrus, Enoch Johnson, Marion Fuller, Micajer Parks, Franklin Downey, Samuel F. Vinson, Aly Vinson, F. M. Vinson, Joseph Parks, Hardin Scaggs, John Smith (son of Jno. N.), John W. Deskins, James Ferguson, Burwell Spurlock, Saunders Spurlock, John Ferguson (son of James), Wm. Ferguson (son of James), Perry Christian, Reuben Booten, Beverly Wilkinson, Wm. E. Wilkinson, of Wayne County."

A great number of the men mentioned served with Smith in the Fairview Rifles. Based on Feasel's statement, it stands to reason that Smith and his comrades were operating in Wayne Co. VA and vicinity, terrorizing Union supporters and seriously disrupting civil authorities in performing their duties.

On January 5, 1862, we find a possible reference to Smith and his men in a letter written by Col. James A. Garfield, commander of the Union forces in the Big Sandy Valley in Kentucky, to Capt. Bunker at Louisa, KY. "I am very much gratified with the intelligence that you have killed or disabled Smith and captured some of his associates. Send away all such men as fast as possible."

In early 1862, the Fairview Rifles became Co. K of the newly formed 8th VA Cavalry. The July 1862 Regimental Return for this company notes William S. Smith as "Detailed by Gen. Floyd". General John B. Floyd had command of the Virginia State Line, which operated mainly in western and southwestern Virginia. While on detached duty with Floyd, Smith began raising a company for Johnson's Rifle Battalion of Cavalry, which became Co. D, 2nd Battalion KY Mtd. Rifles. On August 26, 1862, the company was mustered into the service in Logan Co. VA, for three years - "paid by 'no one' and paid 'no time'".

In October 1862, Smith's company crossed the Big Sandy River into Kentucky and set up camp in Lawrence County. Before long, Smith and 17 other men of his unit were indicted by the Grand Jury of Lawrence County "in the name of the authority of the Commonwealth of Ky.", stating that Smith and his fellow comrades, "willfully & feloniously & as a part of an armed force of the so-called Confederate States, invaded the State of Kentucky, to make war upon her, against the peace + dignity of the Com"' of Kentucky." Smith remained in Lawrence County until November 1862 when his company was ordered out. According to his 2nd Sergeant Bill Wright, "We crossed Sandy at the mouth of Whites Creek. The day after we crossed we had a fight with Bob McCall. Bob fought very well but we made him trot and captured ten head of horses and accoutrements. We then went to Russell County, Virginia." On November 20, 1862, Bill Smith was elected Captain of Co. D, 2nd Battalion KY Mtd. Rifles. Thus began the long and eventful career of Captain "Rebel Bill" Smith in the Big Sandy Valley.

In February 1863, Captain "Rebel Bill" Smith and his company returned to Lawrence County, KY. On February 11th, Colonel Dils of the 39th KY Mounted Infantry [US], a newly organized regiment from the Big Sandy Valley, reported, "that the rebels were collecting a force with a view to an attack on his post at Peach Orchard, or at Louisa." On February 15, accompanied by his brother Samuel, William Holbrook, Andrew Pennington, and Lindsay Thompson, Smith proceeded to the house of John Ramey Wheeler who lived on Hood's Fork, near Blaine. Wheeler was a Union man and had a son who served in the 14th KY Infantry [US]. Here the men stole a horse, saddle & bridle & two overcoats.

John Ramey Wheeler House on Hood's Fork, near Blaine, KY

On the same day, a group of Union soldiers from the 14th KY Infantry [US] were halted by soldiers wearing U.S. uniform about 13 miles from Louisa. Much to their surprise they turned out to be Rebel Bill" Smith and his men. In this manner, Captain Smith captured and paroled two sergeants, two corporals, and 13 privates. Lieutenant Chilton Osborn, deemed too valuable to parole, was carried off as a prisoner. After receiving news of the incident at Louisa, the 10th Ky Cavalry was sent out to pursue Smith but to no avail. Noted one soldier,"they come almost in our Camp and we cant catch them."

Eventually, efforts by the Union forces at Louisa began to pay off. In March 1863, Smith's company began slowly to deteriorate, mainly because of desertions. In April 1863, Captain Smith's company took a hit when one of his Lieutenants, Jeremiah Riffe, was captured by Union soldiers and Henry and Andrew Young were killed by a Union patrol near their home in Lawrence Co. KY. This event apparently sparked more desertions.

Undaunted by these recent setbacks, Captain "Rebel Bill" Smith with a squad of men attacked the United States steamer "Transfer" about eight miles above Catlettsburg, on the Big Sandy River, on May 9, 1863. After the first volley, the crew headed her for the Kentucky side, and took up the bank as soon as she touched. Two or three of Smith's men crossed in a skiff and finding nothing on board, set the steamer on fire. Two strong detachments of Mclaughlin's Troopers were sent in pursuit of Smith. The troopers rode all night and reached Wayne Court House at daylight.

According to one of the troopers, "A short distance beyond that place the boys found what they were looking for - "Bill" Smith and his squad. But that did not seem to be the day that Smith wanted to fight. He preferred to run and he and his men put spurs to their horses and galloped away. The boys tried hard to catch him but without avail."

On August 25, 1863, Captain "Rebel Bill" Smith, with abt. 100 men, conducted a raid through Wayne Co. VA and stole all the horses they were able to find. On Dec. 1, 1863, Jefferson Gilkerson,a furloughed Union soldier, was killed from ambush by some of "Rebel Bill" Smith's men near the mouth of Elijah's Creek, Butler District, Wayne Co. WV. This location is near modern day Prichard.

Nothing else was heard from "Rebel Bill" and his men in 1863. It appears that he moved his unit from Eastern Kentucky, possibly into winter quarters. His absence from the Big Sandy Valley gave the Union forces as well as the civilian population a reprise from his activities. By February 29, 1864, Co. D, 2nd Battalion KY Mtd. Rifles was stationed at Camp Turkey Cove, near Dalton, GA.

During the summer of 1864, Captain "Rebel Bill" Smith and his company made a full comeback. In July of 1864, he made headlines once again when he captured the steamboat "Swan" and sank 3 hay boats on the Big Sandy River. The supplies on the boats were destined for the Union forces stationed in the Big Sandy Valley.

On Aug. 23, 1864, a "roving band of guerrillas" under the command of "Rebel Bill" Smith stopped at the home of 67 year old pioneer settler Jonathan Cooksey who lived in the Catt Fork area of Lawrence County. Cooksey, who had a son in the 14th KY Infantry [US], was accused of giving information to Union authorities about Smith's activities, and was killed accordingly. After their visit to Lawrence County, KY, "Rebel Bill Smith" was back in Wayne Co. Va and reportedly, "giving much trouble."

On the night of September 15, 1864, Captain "Rebel Bill Smith", with 110 men, surrounded Capt. Ben Hailey who who was stationed with his company of Independent Scouts at Ceredo. According to Hailey, he, along with 7 of his men, were captured, together with nine citizens, "whom I had cald in and armed to assist us in case we should be attacted we were all gobbled up with our arms and acouterments..." Next, Smith's men robbed the Post Office of stamps and stationary and $40. The citizens were relieved of all their horses and approximately $700. "Rebel Bill" and his men left in direction of Wayne Court House, "robbing citizens of their horses and other property".

In November 1864, "Rebel Bill" Smith's men combined forces with Vincent "Clawhammer" Witcher's men of the 34th Battalion VA Cavalry and entered Lawrence Co. KY from Wayne Co. VA. On November 4, 1864, Smith and Witcher raided Peach Orchard. They also burned the steamboats "Fawn" and "Barnum" near the forks of the Big Sandy River.

After the Peach Orchard raid, the Charleston Gazette ran an article on November 9, 1864, hailing Col. Bill Smith as the supreme commander in Wayne and Cabell counties. Smith soon left the Big Sandy Valley and set up headquarters at Abingdon, Virginia. On December 24, 1864, Smith came to a surprising decision. He resigned his commission as Captain of Co. D, 2nd KY Mounted Rifles, "by reason of being in command of a Battalion recently raised on the border of N. W. Va in the Counties of Wayne, Logan, &c."

Smith's resignation was active January 7, 1865 - by February, 1865, his presence was once again felt in the Big Sandy Valley. On February 14, 1865, "Rebel Bill" Smith went to Ceredo with 35 men and surrounded the house of Jesse Craig "Jack" Middaugh who was suspected of being a Union spy. During the fight that ensued, Middaugh was killed and his wife was wounded. "Rebel Bill" then ordered the house burned. The Charleston Journal later reported that the citizens of Ceredo were "awed into a painful condition of fear and dread. Nearly all the truly loyal and best men have left, under the belief that any of them may be the next victims of Bill Smith's barbary, as it is understood he has threatened that others must share a similar fate...Bill Smith has frequently claimed, I am told, that he is slandered by his enemies; that he is not cruel and revengeful, and not dishonorable. But turning a woman half-dressed out of her house to burn it, and refusing to permit her to save even her clothing, and she wounded, is very much like the atrocities by the Indians in the early times, and characterized as savage cruelty."

Less than a week later, "Rebel Bill" Smith's men under command of Lt. Wilkinson, appeared at the house of R. A. Fuller, a former member and scout of the 5th Va. Infantry [US], at Round Bottom, Wayne Co. WV. The design was, undoubtedly, to surprise Fuller in the same manner as Middaugh but this time, the intended victim was well prepared. Fuller not only survived but, with the help of two of his comrades, fought off his attackers, and captured two prisoners, four horses and three revolvers.

John Johnson, a member of the 54th KY Mtd. Infantry, who had been captured during the Saltville Raid in December 1864, made the acquaintance of Smith while a prisoner. Johnson managed to escape and returned to his home in Catlettsburg in February 1865, when "Bill Smith came with his rebel bushwackers, where he was compelled to leave his home to save his life, coming into Ohio, where he remained ..." He did not go back to Kentucky, "on account of rebel bushwackers while the war lasted."

On March 5, 1865, Major Edgar B. Blundon, who commanded a detachment of the 7th WV Cavalry, reported from Gyandotte, WV, that, "There is but one organized band of guerrillas, consisting of Bill Smith and fifteen or twenty men, in Wayne or Logan Counties, and no organization in Mason, Cabell, or Putnam. The depredations committed by them are comparatively few contrasted with the past. No boats, either steam or trading boats, have been interfered with, nor has navigation been stopped for a moment on account of guerrillas." Blundon noted that his unit had been, "very successful in capturing all the notorious rebels in this country except Smith, and we are sanguine that we shall soon rid the country of him and squad."

Apparently, Major Blundon's unit was successful in subduing "Rebel Bill" Smith's activities. In August 1865, he was finally captured by Union soldiers from Louisa, KY, at his home in Wayne Co. VA where he went, "after skulking around his home in the woods for five months, hiding out", and taken to Lexington, KY. A Ceredo citizen commented that Smith "pretends to believe that 'nothing will be done' with him, and that he will return home again. Who ever heard of one of this kind of criminals who did not claim he had always been honorable, and strictly observed the rules of honorable warfare?"

It is unclear whether "Rebel Bill" Smith ever had to answer to any charges of crimes committed during the Civil War. At any rate, Smith was back in Wayne Co. WV by 1866. Much had changed since the end of the Civil War. The old family homestead was gone - Smith's father had sold it, possibly upon the death of his wife, to Col. Milton J. Ferguson, their former neighbor and good family friend. Union men were fast gaining control in political matters but there still existed irregular bands of marauders that kept the population in fear. According to unconfirmed stories, Smith, with a few men, attacked the Wayne County Courthouse in order to free some of Smith's men from the jail.

We catch one last fleeting glimpse of "Rebel Bill" in a letter to WV governor Boreman, dated July 15, 1868, stating that the "notorious Bill Smith" and about 100 "bad men had designed to clean the county of all who would be likely to oppose them or detect their operations in stealing horses."

"Rebel Bill" Smith's father died in 1869 and by 1870, he had settled across the Big Sandy River, in Louisa, Lawrence County, KY. Ironically, his next door neighbor was Captain Thomas D. Marcum, formerly of the 14th KY Infantry [US].
By 1880, Smith and his wife Serilda were living with Waren C. Hall at the Falls of Blaine.

Captain Rebel Bill Smith spent his last days at the Confederate Veterans Home, at Pewee Valley in Oldham County, KY. Taking a leave of absence, with the intention of re-visiting the "old scenes along the Big Sandy River", he traveled to Huntington, WV. According to the Huntington, WV, Advertizer, dated April 6, 1903, Smith was, "now old and broken, and but a shadow of the former man." On April 11, 1903, Smith took a trip on a flat boat, renewing old acquaintances and visiting scenes of his exploits. While on the boat he was drenched by a hard rain, caught a severe cold and developed pneumonia. He was taken to the home of his brother-in-law Major C. E. Prichard, on 8th Street in Huntington, where he died. The Huntington Advertizer noted, "old warrior fights his last battle. Surviving shot and shell of the Civil War, surrender to pneumonia. "Rebel Bill" Smith died near midnight April 11, 1903, a guerrilla warrior in the Civil War, who survived bullets that pierced his body, died of pneumonia."

Burial took place in the Confederate section of Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington, WV. His grave marker is simply engraved as follows - William S. Smith, Co. K, 8th Va. Cav. "Rebel Bill"

Article researched and written by Marlitta H. Perkins, July 2010

Muster Roll, Co. D, 2nd Battalion Kentucky Mounted Rifles - Rebel Bill Smith's Company

Muster Roll of Captain William Smith's Company (D), 2nd Battlion KY Mounted Rifles, General Hodge's Brigade, Army of the Confederate States of America (Colonel Thomas Johnson), from the first day of August 1863 when last mustered, to the Twenty-Ninth day of February 1864. This roll was made out at Camp Turkey Cove, near Dalton, GA.

This Muster Roll was captured at the Meadows of Licking River by the 14th KY Infantry in the battle of Half Mountain on April 14, 1864.

Name -- Rank -- Enlisted Where -- Remarks

William S. Smith Captain August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave
John Harris 1. Lieut. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
David Smith 2. Lieut. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Jeremiah Riffe Brvt. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Captured by the enemy April 1863
William Goble 1. Sgt August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Wm. Rite [Wright] 2. Sgt. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave

Note: William "Bill" Wright; s/o James Wright and Rebecca Harrell
Linsey Thompson 3. Sgt. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Geo. W. Rutherford 4. Sgt. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; On detached service
Ali Smith 1. Cpl. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Note: Brother of Captain Bill Smith; also known as Alia M. Smith
Thos. Finley 2. Cpl. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
James Webb 3. Cpl. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Captured by the enemy, April 1863
John Samson 4. Cpl. August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since June 1863

Adkins, Nathaniel Private August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Note: Nathaniel Adkins, Pvt. Co. D, 5th KY Infantry. Rank out in the 2nd Battalion = Corporal
Baker, George Private August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since March 1863
Burton, Bennett Private August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Captured by the enemy April 1863
Crouch, Thos. I. Private July 1, 1863 Washington Co. VA; Present
Note: A Thomas Crouch is listed on the rosters of Ficklin's Battlion, Pvt, Co. D
Dyre, Harvey G. Private August 1, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since Jan. 1863
Finley, Jacob Private August 26. 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave
Finley, William Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Note: Also known as William F. Finley
Green, Daniel Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Gartner, Richard Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent. w.o. leave
Harlis, Henry C. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deserted Oct. 1862
Harlis, Jasper Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since Sep. 1862
Harris, Greenville Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deserted March, 1863
Harlis, John A. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Harlis, James H. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Hix, Reuben R. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deserted March 1863
Hix, Alexander Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Herrald, Wm. R. Private Oct. 1, 1862 Pike Co. KY; Deceased Jan. 6, 1864
Hamlin, Charles Blacksmith Dec. 1, 1862 Hawkins Co. TN
Holbrooks, Wm. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave
Justice, John Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since Sep. 1862
Lowe, Washington Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deserted March 1863
Murphy, William Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
McCoy, Wiley Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deceased Sep. 1863
Mullins, John Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deserted March 1863
Note: A John Mullins is mentioned in a Pike Co. KY lawsuit [# 2087] in 1866. Also mentioned is a Booker Mullins, see below.
Mullins, Booker Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Note: A Booker Mullins is mentioned in a Pike Co. KY lawsuit [# 2087] in 1866. Also mentioned is a John Mullins, see above. May also be Booker Mullins who married Nancy Potter. Lived in Pike Co. KY and died in Jenkins, Letcher Co. KY in 1865.
Massey, Jacob Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave since Oct. 1862
Massey, James Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave since Oct. 1862
Mitchael, Samuel Private March 1, 1863 Logan Co. VA; Present
Morris, George C. Private March 1, 63 Logan Co. VA; Present
Parsons, Edward Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Pennington, John Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Poor, Alexander Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Rucher, John Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Ratcliff, Marion Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave since March 1863
Ratcliff, Isaac Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave since March 1863
Stafford, Wm. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Smith, Mathison Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Smith, Samuel Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Present
Note: Brother of Captain Bill Smith
Sexton, Uriah Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since Oct. 1862
Smith, Preston Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave
Note: Brother of Captain Bill Smith
Smith, Wm. Jr. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since Oct. 1862
Walker, John Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since Oct. 1862
Young, Henry Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w.o. leave since Oct. 1862
Note: Killed during the war, possibly with his brother Andrew.
Young, Andrew Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deceased April 1863
Note: Brother of Henry Young. Killed near his home in Lawrence Co. KY in pursuit by Union soldiers.
Young, Yesse Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deceased April 1863
Note: This entry is incorrect. Jesse was not killed and filed for a CS pension.
Pennington, Wm. Private March 1, 1863 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave since April 1863
Duff, Joel Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave since April 1863
Young, Frank Private July 1, 1863, 62 Pike Co. KY; Absent w. o. leave since April 1863
Smith, Wm. R. Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Absent w. o. leave since Oct. 1862
Collens, Joseph Private August 26, 62 Logan Co. VA; Deserted January 1863

Copy of Muster Roll at Pikeville College, Henry P. Scalf Papers, Allara Library, Pikeville, KY.
Transcribed and annotated by Marlitta H. Perkins

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Cook's Guerrillas

During the Civil War, numerous units and bands of Confederates roamed through Eastern Kentucky. One of the most feared were Cook's Guerrillas, a group of rebels who were led by Sid and Dave Cook.

Captain Sid Cook, who was in reality Algernon Sidney Lee, son of Martin and Fanny Lee, was born in Russell County, Virginia about 1832. Changing his name to Cook, he married Nancy Fraley in Russell County on November 20, 1857. The Cooks settled in Eastern Kentucky and were residing in Boyd County in 1860. Shortly after the beginning of the Civil War, Sid Cook moved to Carter County, Kentucky. In spring of 1863, he began raising an independent cavalry company, recruiting primarily in present day Elliott and Morgan Counties, Kentucky. Dave Cook, Sid's 18 year old brother, served as second in command.

Cook's unit rarely operated with the main Confederate Army but joined forces with other similar outfits that operated in Eastern Kentucky. They soon earned themselves a rather ruthless reputation because of their rough treatment of Union sympathizers. For nearly two years, the Cooks put fear in every Union man's heart in Eastern Kentucky. Eventually, the biblical expression "Live by the sword, die by the sword" proved to be true for Sid and Dave Cook. Both were dead by February 1865.

Spring of 1863 - Cook's Independent Company

March 1863:
Raid on Preston Pettit, a Rowan County Union Homeguard, in which Pettit was shot in the side while trying to prevent the "requisitioning" of his horses. He walked with a cane the rest of his life. Partly because of this, all the Pettits and Riddles were pro-Union. After the war was over, the man who wounded Pettit, John Jackson Nickell (son of Fowler Nickell), was tried for war crimes (most notably the murder of his cousin John Desha Nickell), convicted, and hung. Preston testified at his trial.
W. Lynn Nickell of West Liberty, Ky wrote a book about the trial in 1997, entitled "Hanging Justice: The Military Trial of John Jackson Nickell", which includes the full text of the witness testimonies as record by the trial clerk.

April 9, 1863:
Dave Cook, Travis Kendall and others clashed with Home Guards near Grayson, Carter County, Kentucky. Nathaniel Marks, a member of Fields' Rangers, who frequently rode with the Cooks, killed Joseph Young during the fighting.

May 31st, 1863:
Cook and his men shot and wounded Jared Biggs, a private in the 10th KY Cavalry [US], who was home on furlough, near Oldtown, Greenup County, Kentucky.

Summer of 1863 - Patton's Rangers

Lt. Col. Oliver Patton commissioned to raise a squadron of partisan rangers. As captains he chose Samuel W. Thompson, and Sid and Dave Cook.

July 1863:
A night time raid on the store of William Davis, in Johnson Co., KY. Later, indictments were filed against Henry Jayne, Daniel Jayne, William Jayne, Henry Sparks, Henry Calvin (Colvin), Linelsly (Lindsey) Thompson, (John) May Hamilton, Reason Lyon, Marion Lyon, John Ficklin, John T. Williams.

Late July 1863:
Raid on Olive Hill, Carter Co. KY

August 1, 1863:
The Cooks and Captain Samuel W. Thompson were badly defeated by a mixed force of Home Guards and regulars led by Captain Harrison Litteral of Carter County. The rebels were surprised in their camp on the John Bumgardner farm on Laurel Creek in present day Elliott County. Bumgardner was killed during the attack and his son Robert gravely wounded.

August 11, 1863:
A detachment of the 14th KY Infantry encountered Captain Cook's force, "of Preston's command, in Morgan County, routed them," and captured 20 horses.

August 15, 1863:
Scouts from Co. I, 14th KY Infantry captured Lt. Col. Oliver Patton at West Liberty.

August 15, 1863:
Members of Cook's guerrillas under command of Dan Cook proceeded to Star Furnace on Williams Creek, a branch of East Fork of the Little Sandy River in Carter Co. KY and appeared at 6 a.m. at the house of the owner, Robert Lampton who was a well known "red hot" Union man.
Cook's men robbed Lampton of dry goods from his store, jewelry and other articles from his house, besides horses, gold watch, money and other valuables and broke and destroyed the furniture in his house.

August 28, 1863:
Patton escaped from McLean Barracks and participated on two more raids as commander of "Patton's Rangers".

September 2, 1863:
Cook and his men robbed the bank and citizens in Flemingsburg, KY.

September 25, 1863:
The Ashland bank was robbed by a half dozen guerrillas under Dan Cook.

October 1, 1863:
Dan Cook and his men killed William E. Tyree, a former Union officer and now Deputy Provost Marshall of Carter, Morgan and Rowan counties, at Tiger [Tygart?] Bridge, in Carter Co. KY.

October 8, 1863:
Patton captured at Hampton's Mills, KY, by a detachment of the 5th Batt. OH CAV, which left Sid Cook in command of the unit.

October 11, 1863:
Raid in Greeenup Co., KY. Three of Cook's men captured and sent to Louisville. John M. Auxier, Bunyon Oney & John H. Smith.

October 21, 1863:
Dave Cook was captured in Ironton, OH and delivered to the Provost Marshall, with his wife and a second woman. He claimed to be Thomas Gill.

October 26, 1863:
Dave Cook escaped from Ironton, OH, at 4 a.m., with Sgt. Jo Smith [one armed, invalid corps]in tow as hostage. Crossed the Ohio River near Ashland in a skiff at dark. Stole a horse, proceeded to Mr. Crum's house. Took Crum and went to Cannonsburg. There robbed a widow woman's house and went to Geiger's store. Took watch and money from the clerk. Took clothing and a pair of boots from store. Made off to Star Furnace*.
Cook went to R.W. Lampton house but all he found were woman and children. He then proceeded to the store and tried to break down the store door but was fired at by some men.
*Star Furnace Location: Carter Co. KY; Four miles southwest of Buena Vista Furnace. On Williams Creek and railroad located line fourteen miles from Ashland. Located 2 mi. W. of Boyd Co. line, on US 60, in Carter Co. KY.

October 26, 1863:
E. H. Logan, the clerk of Rowan County, was killed by Cook's men near Morehead.

Fall 1863 - Prentice's 7th Confed. Cavalry, Co. G

November, 1863:
"Cook's Guerrillas" affiliated with Lt. Colonel Clarence Prentice's 7th Confederate Cavalry as Co. G.

Nov. 10, 1863:
A Lt. and private of Cook's men were apprehended in Morgan County, Kentucky, by members of the 5th OH Indpendent Cavalry Battalion. The Lt. was shot through the shoulder, the other man through the bowels. [William Murphy and Jordan Henley]. They also captured John Nichols, "a notorious scamp and bushwhacker."

Nov. 11, 1863:
The 5th OH Indpendent Cavalry Battalion attacked Cook's camp at the home of James Banner near Cracker's Neck, in present day Elliott County, at breakfast. A wounded Dave Cook was captured. (Sid Cook had shot Dave Cook during a quarrel over a recently captured horse and slave. As a result of the altercation, several men had left Cook's unit.)

Cracker's Neck

November 15, 1863:
Stephen Keaton arrested in Morgan Co., KY

Abt. December 7, 1863:
Dave Cook was taken to the Ashland Hospital. He attempted to escape and climbed through a window but was too weak to get away and was recaptured.

Aldine Hotel, Ashland, Boyd County, Kentucky.
Used by the military as General Hospital during the Civil War.

January 1864:
Sid Cook and the Morgan County contingent had their base in the Elkfork section of the county. Union sympathizers were terrorized.

February 2, 1864:
Ed Brown, ex-Confederate soldier and leader of the Union Home Guard, intercepted Cook at the home of John Cantrell. Brown's men surrounded the house and captured at least four of Cook's men but the rest of the company managed to escape through a hail of bullets.

March 6, 1864:
John May Hamilton arrested in Johnson County, KY. He was sent to Lexington, charged with murder and executed without the benefit of a trial on August 15, 1864 at Bloomfield, KY, in retaliation for the killing of a home guard by guerrillas.

Late March 1864:
Mason Johnson apprehended by a Union patrol but exchanged on May 17, 1864.

July 1864:
Cook carried out a daring five day raid through Lawrence and Johnson Counties

July 11, 1864:
Two Union men taken prisoner; raid on a store in Lawrence County, KY.

Meeting of Cook's men near the mouth of Jenny's Creek, Johnson, Co., KY. Several Union men in the area were taken prisoner.

July 16, 1864:
Raid on Paintsville, KY. After robbing the Border store Cook's men left Paintsville and rode through Flat Gap, where the loot was divided. They continued on over onto Blaine and up Blaine to the head of Elkfork of Licking in Morgan Co., KY.

July 25, 1864:
The local Union militia finally caught up with Cook's outfit 7 miles from West Liberty. Several of Cook's men were taken prisoner during the ensueing skirmish.

December 1864:
Dave Cook died from his wounds at the Lexington Military Prison while awaiting trial for murder and robbery.

January 1865:
Several Castlewood residents were plundered by Cook's men to pay the local prostitutes and a mob was formed to burn down the brothels. Cook apparently tried to face down the mob and was killed by Cleve Boyd, a fellow rebel, during the clash. A company of the 4th KY CAV, CSA, had to be sent in to restore order in the town. Cook's unit, now numbering less than 20 men, disbanded and at least six of the members finished their Confederate service in regular units.

Friday, May 21, 2010

'Eat hearty, men, for this will be the last meal you will ever eat.

The Ross, Huff, Shelton, Ball & Boggs Killings of December 1862

During the fall of 1862, James Ross, Hiram Huff, Wash Shelton, Mint Ball and a man named Boggs (plus several others) were said to be members of a Lawrence Co. Home Guard unit which hailed mainly from the Caines Creek area in Lawrence Co. KY.

On or shortly before December 15, 1862, Ross and his men went to Carter County (present-day Elliott Co.) to raid the homes of John Barker, Azzle Lyons (Ross' brother-in-law) and Preston Fields.

John Barker was targeted first who lived on Wallow Hole Creek, a tributary of the Little Fork of Sandy River. It was almost night when they arrived at Barker's house who was at home at the time, but luckily for him Ross' and his men had 'confiscated' (stolen) a yoke of oxen along the way, and the sound of the yoke ring, as they approached, gave the alarm and Barker fled to the willows along the nearby creek and escaped.

Next, Ross and his men went to the homes of Azzle Lyons and Preston Fields who were both on leave from the Confederate service at the time. Both were captured. The prisoners were marched several miles. It was said that James Ross marched behind Azzle Lyon and punched his ears almost off with his bayonet along the way. There was no doubt in the minds of Azzle Lyon and Preston Fields that they were facing imprisonment, or worse, death.
Late at night the party lodged in the second story of a farm house, with James Ross as guard. According to sources, this was Sink Roberts' farm on Catt Fork of Blaine Creek.

Sink Roberts' House on Catt Fork

Meanwhile, Preston Fields' wife Minerva "Nerva" Green Fields had saddled a horse as soon as Ross and his men had left their farm with the prisoners, and rode several miles to find Captain Jack Marcum and helped him round up a few men who began searching for Ross and his prisoners. Incidently, Captain Marcum was Sink Roberts' son-in-law.

They found the raiders, surrounded the house and captured them before daylight without firing a single shot. James Ross tried to break out through the roof - without success. They were disarmed and placed under guard of their former prisoners. Capt. Marcum had breakfast prepared for his men and the prisoners. When they sat down at the table he said, 'Eat hearty, men, for this will be the last meal you will ever eat.' James Ross reportedly pushed back from the table and ate nothing.

After breakfast, Captain Marcum set out with his prisoners by way of Dry Fork to Bruin, a tributary of Little Sandy. When the little column reached the head of Wells Branch, a narrow hollow near the place where Lawrence, Carter, and Elliott Counties come together, Ross, Ball, Shelton and Huff were shot to death and stripped naked. Their bodies were placed in a shallow mass grave and covered with flat rocks.

View of Wells Branch

Several days later, on December 30, 1862, the bodies were discovered. Robert Ross found the body of his brother James and brought it back to Caines Creek to have it layed to rest in the Boggs Cemetery. James Ross' grave is marked but the stone has become nearly illegible over time.
The remaining bodies were reburied on Wells Branch in unmarked graves. One of the graves was located near the road going to Shine Gambill's grist mill.

The story doesn't end here...
On April 30, 1863, James Ross' son David, enlisted in Co. B, 14th KY to avenge his father's death, as is surmized by some.
In February of 1865, his chance finally came. According to fellow comrade Dr. Nelson T. Rice [formerly Co. B, 14th KY] Ross shot and killed Hugh S. Sparks, a member of Field's Rangers [CS] and later of Captain William Horton's Co. M, 10th KY Cavalry [CS].

Although it isn't clear that Hugh S. Sparks actually participated in the killing of James Ross and his men, he certainly had knowledge of the grizzly deed. Shortly after the murders, Sparks and his little son Colby were passing the graves on Wells Branch. Sparks sang, `Ha! Ha! Ha! Don't you see me now crying to free the niggers, when the Rebels pulled the triggers, and sent you on your way to the happy land of Canaan.' Colby Sparks recalled that, 'While father sang, he had me dance on their graves.'

As to some of the other involved Confederates - Azzle Lyon hurriedly left Eastern Kentucky after the killings and moved to MO, presumably to avoid capture and/or the wrath of his nephew David Ross and local Union militia. He drowned in Randolph Co., Missouri about 1883.

Preston Fields also left Kentucky and moved to Ozark, Christian Co., MO, where he died on March 09, 1877, only 37 years of age.

Background Information

It was said that these men were responsible for the arrest and imprisonment of some of their neighbors. At least one of the men was known as a thief and for his "general cussidness." All four, according Colby Sparks, were "noted characters."

James Mintens [Mint] Ball:
Son of James Ballard Ball and Nancy Breeding. Wife Cynthia "Syntha" Lewis.
Elza Ball (great-grandson of Mint Ball) stated that Mint and the others were on their way to Louisa to enlist when they were captured and killed (also stated by Dr. Sparks).

Not identified; may have been Hugh Boggs who was killed by John L. Sparks (a first cousin to Hugh S. Sparks) on April 24, 1865. Son of William Boggs Sr. and Anna Johnson.

Hiram Huff:
Listed with his brother Washington Huff in the 1850 Morgan Co. KY Census. (Washington Huff was killed November 1861 at Brammer Gap in an ambush by men who had been recruited by Jack Marcum and Jerry Riffe. Hiram Huff and Wash Shelton were supposedly part of this Union patrol that was attacked).
Son of James and Arian Huff; Married to Celia Dyer; Former member of the 14th KY Inf., Co. H. Hiram Huff enlisted on Oct. 25, 1861 at Louisa, Law. KY and was discharged March 12, 1862 at Paintsville, Johnson Co. KY for poor eyesight. He later was wanted in Johnson Co. KY for counterfeiting. Constant companion of Wash Shelton from about 1861 until their deaths in 1862.

James Ross:
May have been member of a Lawrence Co. Home Guard unit (as stated by Polly Lyons).
It was said that James Ross (with Mint Ball) was on his way to enlist in the army when killed (as stated by Rev. Ball and Dr. Sparks). His wife was Sarah Lyon, sister to Azzle, Lewis and Jesse Lyons. Sarah Lyon Ross stated in her pension application in 1880, that Ross had just enlisted in Co B, 14th Ky Inf. at Louisa and was guarding prisoners (rebels) when he and his companions were in turn captured and killed. Service Records of the 14th Ky Infantry do not substantiate this claim.

Wash Shelton
Shelton was listed in 1860 in the Magoffin County Census. His profession was given as doctor. Was indicted and fined in Lawrence Co. KY as living in dishonorable circumstances with a woman. Listed in Magoffin County in 1860 as a married man.

Was with Hiram Huff when his brother Washington Huff, member of the 14th KY, Co. B, was shot at Brammer Gap on November 25, 1861, during a scout. It is said that Hiram Huff and Wash Shelton were constant companions until their death in 1862.

On December 30, 1861, CS General Humphrey Marshall reported from Johnson Co. KY to General S. Cooper that he had arrested Dr. Shelton ("Chilton") and had sent him off to Pound Gap. "He ought to have been shot, for he is one of the very worst men in this country and has been a scourge to our friends."

John (Albert) Barker:
Brother-in law of Preston Fields. Barker married Frances Fields on October 30, 1845 in Lawrence County, Kentucky.

Preston Fields:
Son of William Jason Fields and Anna Creech. B. January 11, 1840; d. March 09, 1877, Ozark, Christian Co., MO. On January 15, 1860, Preston married Minerva "Nerva" Jane Green [dau. of William Green and Sally Hutchinson; her sister Elizabeth was married to Union soldier Nelson T. Boggs (Co. B, 14th KY Inf.)]
Preston Fields was a first cousin to Jason Fields, commander of Fields' Rangers (CS).
His sister Mary Fields was married to Henderson Boggs, a brother of Nelson T. Boggs.

Azzle/Azel Lyons:
Son of Louis [Lewis] Lyon, Sr. and Linna Grizzell of Law. Co., KY; He married Lucinda Lyons on May 15, 1856.

Captain A. J. "Jack" Marcum :
B. ca. 1822 in Kentucky. Son of James Marcum & Dicey Chapman. Married Marinda Roberts, d/o St. Clair Roberts & Anna Stambaugh. Enumerated in the 1860 Lawrence Co. KY census. Enlisted in Co. C, 5th KY Inf. (CS) on Dec. 27, 1861, at Camp Hager near Paintsville, KY. Discharged due to a skull injury, June 13, 1862. He apparently continued to serve in the Confederate army as he was indicted by the Lawrence Co. Court for "invading the State" in April 1863. In April 1864, Marcum, William Wright and others were indicted for "arson and grand larceny".

Hugh S. Sparks:
Son of George G. and Nancy (Short) Sparks; born on May 21, 1829, in Lawrence County, Kentucky. He lived in Carter Co. KY;
Enlisted in Co. C, 5th KY Inf. (CS). Captured by Union forces, September 1, 1862, in Lawrence County, and sent to Camp Chase, Ohio. Exchanged at Vicksburg on November 1, 1862. Sparks joined Field's Company of Partisan Rangers in Lawrence County on March 16, 1863. In January 1865, Field's Company of Partisan Rangers was reorganized as Company M, 10th Regiment Kentucky Cavalry, Confederate States Army, at which time the regiment was furloughed and many of the men returned to their homes. It seems quite likely that Hugh Sparks was home in February 1865, just before peace was made, as Colby Sparks remembered. Sparks left home again in February 1865 to re-join his unit and never returned. It is reasonable to assume that he was killed about that time by David Ross.

"Sink" Sinclare (St. Clair) Roberts.:
Migrated from Tazewell County, VA to Lawrence County, KY and settled on a land grant in the Little Catt section. Became a prosperous farmer and business man who traded livestock and owned race horses. Served two terms as representative in the KY Legislature. Roberts was a controversial figure, noted for his outgoing personality and unusual sense of humor. Southern sympathizer during the Civil War. Granted land for the McDaniel School on Little Catt, as well as several other schools. Later removed to Carter County, KY where he died at the age of 93.

Edison "Shine" Gambill:
Husband of Matilda Boggs (dau. of Hugh Boggs and Hannah Blevins). For years he had owned and operated the grist mill and carding mill at Blaine. Died July 1927, 94 years old.

Article compiled and researched by Marlitta H. Perkins.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

General Daniel Hager of Johnson Co. KY

The recent reenactment "The Battle of Hager's Farm", held in Johnson Co. KY on April 16-18, 2010, has generated some renewed interest in the local Hager Family. It may be noted, that an actual "battle" never took place on Hager's Farm. Nevertheless, the patriarch of the Hager family, Daniel Hager, Sr., was very much involved in the events that transpired in the Paintsville area in the early days of the Civil War.

Battle of Hager's Farm, April 18, 2010

Daniel Hager, Sr. was born on November 15, 1801, in Amherst County, Va. He moved to Kentucky with his father John Hager, a native of Germany who came to America as a British soldier during the Revolutionary war. John Hager settled with his family in the part of Floyd Co. KY which later became Johnson County. In 1821, Daniel married Violet Porter and reared a large family of twelve children. His occupation was farmer and merchant. After Johnson County was established he became the first sheriff. Daniel Hager also represented Johnson and Floyd Counties in the Kentucky Legislature in 1845 and 1846.

When the Civil War began, Daniel Hager became involved in organizing the State militia, with the rank of General. The militia operated under the State law, and for the purpose of maintaining the neutral position of Kentucky. During the coming months it became evident that the sympathies of the State militia were predominantly Southern which led to the organization of local home guard units who were in support of the Union.

In the fall of 1861, General Hager cast his lot with the Southern cause and joined the Confederates who were organizing a force at Prestonsburg, commanded by General "Cerro Gordo" Williams. Shortly after the Confederate defeat at Ivy Mountain on November 8, 1861, a renewed attempt was made to bring Eastern Kentucky under Confederate control. A force led by General Humphrey Marshall entered the state by way of Pound Gap and made their way down the Big Sandy Valley. Daniel Hager served on Marshall's staff as assistant quarter-master. Humphrey Marshall established Paintsville as headquarters for some time, but on Christmas 1861 moved his troops to Hager's large farm which was situated about three miles south of the town.

Hager Hill

Marshall's men immediately began the construction of some earthworks on a hill, about three or four hundred feet high, lying between two branches of a creek. The parapet was heavily revetted with logs and hewn timber and traverses for several guns had been finished. The fortifications commanded the road for a mile down the main valley and for an equal distance of the left fork of the stream which came down from the West. Records show that Hager supplied the troops with corn and oats.

Receipt dated January 7, 1862

On January 6, 1862, Colonel Abraham Garfield arrived with a Federal force in the vicinity of Paintsville. At the same time, a second Union force under Colonel Cranor was moving on Marshall's position by way of Hazel Green and Burning Springs. Having no intentions of being trapped and crushed by the enemy, Marshall decided on January 7, 1862, to withdraw in haste toward Prestonsburg. He gave battle three days later, on January 10, 1862, at Middle Creek in Floyd Co. KY.

When Garfield's troops arrived on Hager's Farm, the enemy had cleared the area but camp fires were still burning and food was cooking in the kettles. Garfield noted that the whole camp showed signs of panic and a most disorderly retreat.

Daniel Hager remained in the service of the Confederate Army until winter 1862. He then left the army and rented a farm in Russell County, Virginia, where he remained until April 1865.

Upon his return to Eastern Kentucky, Daniel Hager took the amnesty oath on May 4, 1865 at Louisa, HQ of United States Forces, First Division of Kentucky, Office of Provost Marshal. Hager stated that during his absence from Johnson County, KY, he was "partially and only for a short time connected with the 5th Ky Rebel Infantry, as an assistant quartermaster - and never held any other civil or military office under the so called Confederate government." According to the records, he was 63 years old, had a dark complexion, gray hair, black eyes and was 5' 10" tall.

Daniel Hager's Amnesty Oath
dated May 4, 1865.

Hager applied for a Presidential pardon which was endorsed on Jan. 20, 1866, by Kentucky Governor Thomas E. Bramlette. Hager stated that he took the amnesty oath and that, "he is determined, in good faith, to conform thereto, and demean himself as a loyal citizen." He was pardoned July 6, 1866.

As was the case with many other families in Kentucky, the war had divided Daniel Hager's family. His oldest son John J. Hager joined the Confederate Army under Humphrey Marshall and was killed during the war. His son Daniel M. Hager served in the Union Army and joined the 45th Ky Mounted Infantry. His sons Samuel and Henry P. Hager engaged in steamboating on the Big Sandy River during the Civil War and supplied the Union Army with goods. Two son-in-laws also served the Union cause. Dr. Isaac Turner was a member of the 45th Ky Mounted Infantry and Captain Reuben Patrick was a famed Union scout.

In 1880, Daniel Hager served as President of the Eastern Kentucky Confederate Veterans Society, Johnson County Platoon. He died on July 5, 1887 and is buried in the Old Paintsville Cemetery.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Judge William H. Burns - Special Amnesty & Pardon

Amnesty papers, chiefly from the years 1865-1867, consist of applications for Presidential pardons by persons who were, for example, former high Confederate officials or persons owning $20,000 worth of property or more. The application files, which include supporting documents, can be a veritable goldmine for historians and genealogists.

The focus of this article is Judge William Harvey Burns who applied for amnesty and presidential pardon on Nov. 28, 1865.

Burns was born on Jan. 13, 1816, in Rockingham Co. VA, the son of Rowland Tiernan Burns and Catherine (Kate) Keyser. William Harvey Burns spent his childhood at Harrisburg, VA until his family moved to Monroe Co. VA [now WV], and from there to a point near the mouth of Big Sandy River in KY. His father's farm was known as the "Powers Homestead", and was located on Bear Creek in Boyd Co. KY. Rowland T. Burns was a farmer, preacher, lawyer and politician and represented Lawrence and Morgan Co. KY for two terms in the legislature.

William Harvey Burns and his brothers Roland T. Burns, Jr., of Louisa, Lawrence Co. KY and John M. Burns, of Catlettsburg, Boyd Co. KY, pursued legal careers and became distinguished lawyers.

On July 14, 1834, William Harvey Burns married Mary Sulser in Morgan Co. KY, where the couple settled. In 1860, William Harvey Burns lived in West Liberty, Morgan Co. KY, where he was a circuit judge of the 11th Judicial circuit. Census records show him as owner of 11 slaves - 2 black females age 40 & 28; 3 black males age 35, 9 & 2; 2 mulatto females age 15 & 6 months; 4 mulatto males age 35, 18, 10 & 8.

When the Civil War broke out he and his family were soon swept up by the events that took place in Eastern Kentucky.

Application for special amnesty and pardon, case # 3022

To his Excellency Andrew Johnson President of the United States.

your petitioner Wm. H. Burns by way of application for special amnesty and pardon beg leave to submit to your excellency the following statement of facts, which constitutes his case. Before the war and up to the 26th of October 1861, he resided in the county of Morgan in the state of Kentucky. he had never been a candidate for political office & had no aspirations that way. he was the circuit judge of the 11th Judicial circuit of that state and his constitutional term of office was within a few months of expiring. his circuit was in the extreme north Eastern part of the State, in the mountains thereof and was bounded for two hundred miles by the Big Sandy River & Cumberland mountains, Seperating it from Virginia, his residence was about fifty miles on the east and seventyfive miles on the South from Virginia in the midst of the mountains, and amid a people not distinguished for order or morals.

when Secession began my state seemed opposed to it, as it also did to coersion in this policy I fully concured. I thought the questions at issue would admit of a peaceful solution consistent with the safety, integrity & permanence of the union and national government to which I felt all the devotion that birth and education could inspire. I did not know & was slow to believe that any portion of the Southern people entertained hostile feelings to the national union or a desire to permanently interfear [sic] with the same and that the apparent hostility would cease as soon as guarantees were given for the security of thier [sic] slaves which I believe would be done & the matter settled, if a hostile collesion [sic] could be avoided until the minds of the two sections should coole [sic]. hence I felt it to be my sollum [sic] duty to oppose the war policy of the government by moral suasion [?] not to favor secession or enmity to the Union. But because I believed it to be the best remady [sic] to stop secession & save the Union it is due to candor now to state time has satisfied me I was mistaken for I now believe there was a deep laid plan to dismember the union permanently & forever but of which I was wholy ignorant and to which I would have been firmly opposed in this state of my belief a special election for members of congress was ordered to be held in Kentucky in June 1861

two parties appeared at that time, one advocating peace & denying Secession intentions. the other advocting coersion & war I supported the peace candidates believing it to be my duty to do so I was charged of being a secessionist I truly denied it but it suffised [sic] nothing the charge was generally made by those differing with me, after the Battle of Menasses [sic] my hopes of peace was much weakened and I determined to offer no further oposition [sic] to the government in the matter & I had no intention to participate in the pending struggle

I went on holding my courts urging order & obedience to the laws untill [sic] in Oct. 1861 large bands of armed men from the interior of the state came into my circuit pitched camps & commenced recruiting for the Confederate states they took possession of the town I lived in and commenced recruiting there, general confusion & anarchy now ensued I was warned by them that I would not be permited [sic] to hold courts any longer and I was warned by friends that there was orders to arrest & imprision [sic] me issued by the government for secession sentiments.

I became alarmed knowin [sic] it was imposible [sic] to hold my courts as well as dangerous. I wrote to the governor the facts ceased to offer to hold courts & went on my farm to work with my hands intending to resume my Judicial labors as soon as the impediments were removed in a few days I was informed a federal force was approaching and that the officers and men had been highly prejudiced against me by enimies [sic] of mine and if they got hold of me death or imprisionment [sic] was inevitable I feared and really believed my life was in danger

I with others hastily withdrew from home & went higher up in the mountains intending to return as soon as I could learn it was safe to do so I did not leave my home with any intention of aiding the rebellion but only to secure my personal safety. the federal army came and drove off the confederates & my horses cattle & other valuable property was taken and my wife threatened and alarmed. alarming rumors reached me day by day of threats against me which brightened my fears and induced me to still keep out of the way which I did. about the 25th December my wife came to me and give me information of the distruction [sic] of my property and of my negroes runing [sic] off & of threats against me and advised me that I could not safely live at home, owing to personal enimies [sic] & merauders [sic] that infested the country.

I believed it, as a means of safety the best I then could desire for myself & prosperity I determined to get my slaves the first chance I found to do so and some household furniture and moved into virginia and thus try to preserve my self & property during the war I knew which is true that my residince [sic] in Kentucky could not be regularly Protected by either army & would be the abode of lawless men during the war. I was now away from home with my family in a destitute condition without meanes [sic] of support, and no meanes [sic] open to me except to do some service in or for the armies of the confederates I accordingly as a hand done service in the subsistence department for a time, and about the 20th of January 1862, I was appointed capt. commissary of the 5th Regiment of Ky. confederate Volunteers, which I excepted [sic] (seeing it announced in the papers of Virginia that Kentucky had seceded also) this position I held & filled untill [sic] Oct 1862

I then met an opportunity to get out the remainder of my slaves that had not escaped, & a waggon load of household furniture & commenced keeping house in Scott County Va where I have resided ever since this I did not to aid the rebellion but to enable me to leave the service since which time I have not been connected with the army in any way nor have I given the rebellion any aid or comfort except to settle my commissary accounts which I done in march 1863 the business having bin [sic] done in the time by a sargent [sic], I had become convinced the rebellion had been matured and put on foot to disclose forever the Union and that Kentucky had not finaly [sic] secured I therefore wholy ceased to aid it further declined ______ positions that was afterwards tendered me and devoted my time trying to support my family, by toiling with my own hands and in trying to get security against injurys [sic] in future and reparation for injurys [sic] past for a class of persons here who maintained friendly veins towards the United states for which they were often oppressed and since the fall of Richmond by trying to restore law and order & reconcile the people to the government of the United States.

This is a faithful statement of all I ever did with the causes that led to it which I never intended or sought but which was forced on me as herein stated and for which I am truly penatent [sic]. I am fifty years old there are no charges against me in either kentucky or Virginia that I know of & I know none can be truthfully made except the facts heirin [sic] stated.

I took the oath of amnesty at Liberty, the 12th of June 1865 - rode over two hundred miles to do it. and being now advised that all Kentuckians who left their homes as I did are excluded from the benefit of the amnesty, offered in your Excellencies proclamation. Therefore being ardently desirious to again become a citizen of the United states & live under its protection the residue of my life humly [sic] ask your Excellency to grant me a special pardon & amnesty from the consequences of treason & rebellion hereby earnestly promising your excellency in the future to faithfully observe my allegience [sic] and studiously and in all affileation [sic] with treason or rebellion and as in duty bound your petitioner will ever pray &c.
Wm. H. Burns

Filed Nov. 28, 1865
Recommended by Gov. for immediate pardon [last word underlined]
Pardoned June 27, 1866

Supporting documents in the application papers show that Burns left his home in West Liberty with his wife on Oct. 23, 1861, upon the approach of the 2nd OVI, which was part of General William "Bull" Nelson's Federal troops who were on their way to the Big Sandy Valley.

Burns' military records indicate that he received a commission as Commissary of Subsistence, with the rank of captain, in the 5th KY Mounted Infantry [CS], dated November 3, 1861, near Pound Gap, VA. He continued to serve in this capacity until his resignation April 21, 1863.

According to Jesse Barber, a witness in this case, Burns returned to West Liberty in September 1862 and removed his remaining slaves and household goods to Virginia. It is unclear how many of his slaves made the trip to Virginia.

William Harvey Burns settled with his family at Estillville in Russell Co. VA. After the war, he once again pursued his legal career. He died on June 31, 1884 at Lebanon, Russell Co. VA, where he is buried in the North Cemetery along with his wife Mary and daughter Anna.

Amnesty application transcribed and researched by Marlitta H. Perkins, April 2010.