Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Eastern KY Mountains 1861 - 1865

The War on Civilians - Breathitt, Letcher, Perry, Owsley, Leslie & Wolfe Counties

June 1862:
A newspaper, the Lynchburg Virginian, reports that a Unionist named James Gilmore is killed in Wolfe County by William and Andy Martin. Gilmore's son, William, was wounded. Other Union men in Wolfe County were reported as being lynched.

Late August 1862:
Col. Benjamin E. Caudill begins recruiting for the 13th KY Cavalry [CS]. His camp is near Whitesburg, Letcher Co.
"I have not been at home sins the first of November Caudill came to that settlement about the last of August and was there the last I heard of them. What we all raised there is all destroy, I have to move my family from there..."
[Hiram Hogg Letter #1]

While Capt. South and Lieut. E. C. Strong were recruiting, some of their men had gone over on the South Fork and shot at Bill Strong, then a soldier just out of the Union army, having deserted and returned home. That fired him up, and he went to making up a company of his own men and killing nearly every Southern citizen he found.
[G. W. Noble, pp. 23/24]

October 1862:
Henry Maggard, brother-in-law of Gilbert Creech [see April 14, 1863], is killed by Talt Hall, a new recruit of the 13th KY Cavalry [CS]. Henry Maggard had erected a full 2 story hewed log home in a bottom just above the old Oven Fork Church, in Letcher Co. "His farm was later known as Polk Day place, then later it was called the widow Day house. When the war years came, Henry was too old to serve but he championed the Union cause as did most of his family and many neighbors. To make ones choice known was dangerous and to openly speak for and defend it was almost sure to place one in extreme danger. But Henry spoke out openly and often, despite warnings from family and friends. It was not long until a band of bushwhackers descended on his home. Some say that they were led by a Captain Hawk. Henry was captured, taken down by the river and there made to kneel in the daisies by a fallen sycamore log. Mockingly they told him to say his final prayers as discussion was held to determine who have the "honor" of ridding the country of another "Union Man". In the group was a new recruit, a 16 yr old boy named Talt Hall. One of the older men suggested that it would be a good time to allow the boy to kill his first man. Henry was murdered by Talt Hall. He was thrown in a patch of weeds where his body lay until vultures indicated the location of his body." Hall was later acquitted of Henry Maggard's murder.
[Coming Down Cumberland, by V.N. Phillips]
Note: Thomas Talton Hall enlisted in Co. D, 13th KY Cavalry [CS] on October 4, 1862, at Whitesburg, Letcher Co. KY.

October 1862:
George Washington Noble is killed by Captain Bill Strong's men, 14th KY Cavalry [US], on Barge Branch, Breathitt Co.
...We had not been at home long before an old slave by the name of Bailey came and told us that the Yankees waylaid the house of Uncle Washington, and when he came out had shot him right thru the body, and had shot at the old man. That was James Noble, his master. The old man had started up to see his brother, Washington, whom they had shot. His little boy had run down for the old man, and they were waylaying for him. They knew he would come that way. They were on a point at the mouth of a hollow where they were going to turn off to go to the river and as he came up opposite to them they began firing at him with out even saying a word to him. He was an old graybearded man. He turned around and looked at them and said, " Look at my gray hairs; you can't kill me, for God is with me." He said the Lord showed him that they could not hurt a hair on his head. He said there were about 15 in the crowd, and they just shouldered their guns and walked off, and he never moved until they got out of sight. About 12 o'clock Washington Noble died.
[G. W. Noble, pp. 22/23]
He was killed by Kim McIntosh and Hen Kilburn.
[William Murphy]
Note: George Washington Noble was the son of Nathan Noble and Virginia Neace.

Lesson Noble killed....they had the night previous taken Lesson Noble...a prisoner. They took him off, and his son-in-law was there and knew them all. He was a Union man and they inquired of him about the country. He was out with them a good while, the family said. After that we could never hear anything about Lesson Noble. Richard Haddix, his son-in-law, said that he knew them all. It was Capt. William Strong with a company of men he was recruiting for the army......John Little's creek, about two miles from his home...They had kept him over on that branch as a prisoner until they came back, and when Capt. Strong came to the men and told them that they had killed Washington [Noble], they killed Lesson Noble, for they thought if they turned him loose he would go to the army and they would have him to fight.
[G. W. Noble, pp. 23/24/25]
Note: Lesson Noble was the son of Nathan Noble and Virginia Neace.

October 14, 1862:
Major John C. Eversole's House, situated between Krypton and Chavies in Perry Co., is ambushed by Captain Anderson Hays and Capt. William Smith, both 13th KY Cavalry [CS], with 100 men.
"The Rebels got in about half a mile of Major Eversole's house and halted to send out spies to see what they were doing. The spies came back and reported that they saw the soldiers; that there were about fifty from what they could learn....We lay there all night, keeping pickets out. The next morning at the break of day we marched down to the house, aiming to surround it, but a man came out of the house toward where we were, and Shade Duff shot at him, and he ran back into the house, and the Yankees began shooting at us from the house. The Rebels shot thru the windows and the doors and were charging toward the house, when the Yankees ran out in their drawers and ran across the Kentucky river and up the hillside into the timber, and shot back at the Rebels. Capt. Hays with his men charged down the bank of the river. Dick Duckam said that he shot at a man and saw him fall. Dick afterwards deserted the Rebels and joined the Yankees, and so did Bill Deaton. We fell back to the point out of reach of their guns. While there I saw a man walking about 300 yards down the river in a field. I had a Springfield rifle. I raised the sights to 900 yards and laid my gun on top of the fence, and said " Watch me make that man run. "When the gun fired--you ought to have seen him run. I did not care then if I did kill him, for the Yankees had shot Ephrem Sizemore in the head, and his brains were running out. He was a brother-in-law of Capt. Noble. We left him where he was shot. We heard that he lived until the next day...All the soldiers got back to camp safely except Ephrem Sizemore. It was not long until Capt. Hays and Capt. Smith left the country for Letcher county.
[G. W. Noble, pp. 26-27]
Note: Ephraim Sizemore, Pvt. Co. G, 13th KY Cavalry [CS] is buried in the cemetery near the Eversole cabin.
[Sherry Baker Frazier]

End Oct./Early November 1862:
Members of the 13th KY Cavalry [CS] at the farm of Elisha Breeding on Breeding Creek, Letcher [now Knott] Co. They confiscated most of the family’s food supply, then took Elisha to a spot near the pass between Knott and Letcher Counties, near where the Highway No. 15 crosses the hill. On the way, Elisha was able to throw down his pocket-book near a gate, where it was later found. He was then shot in the back. Then the family was allowed to haul his body away in a sled, and they buried him on Breedings Creek, near his home.
Identity of the members of this band was known. They were: S. Sexton, A. Amburgey, Steve Sexton, Willy Moore, Francis Amburgey, Willey Amburgey and Ben Caudill.
[Hiram Hogg, Carl Breeding, Marie Fetter]

November 1, 1862:
Hiram Hogg is forced by threats from Col. Benjamin E. Caudill's men [CS] to leave his home in Letcher Co. "I left home they ware threatening me and about that time they took old Elisha Breeding and drove him out and two shot hime at one time...
[Hiram Hogg Letter #1]

Briant Collins has went and gave himself up to them they waylade him and shot him"
[Hiram Hogg Letter #1]
Note: Possible motivation for the murder of 49 year old Briant Collins by Caudill's men may have been the fact that two of his sons, Jesse and Fielding Collins, were members of the 14th KY Cavalry [US]. On the other hand, a third son, Carter Collins, was a member of Co. H, 13th KY Cavalry [CS].

January, 1863:
Perry, Breathitt, Letcher and Owsley...The rebels are still in possession of the counties named above, having driven off the families of the Union men in that vicinity, but, with the proper arms and the necessary drill, Major Eversole's hardy mountaineers will lose but little time in retaking their homes and inflicting punishment upon the rebel vandals who have temporarily dispossessed them. The rebels in that region of country number four or five hundred, under command of the notorious Jack May and the robber-chief Benj. E. Caudelle.
[Louisville Daily Journal, Jan. 29, 1863]

Jan. 9, 1863:
Captain Henderson Matthew Combs, Co. G, 13th KY Cav. [CS] shot and killed on a barge by men from Company K, 14th Kentucky Cavalry [US] while home on furlough [?], Clayhole, Breathitt Co. KY.
Darlene Gray
"Capt. Strong's men killed him [Combs; MP]. They would not let him surrender, but killed him in his own house, and went on a mile and killed David Barnett, an innocent man."
[George W. Noble, p. 78]
Note: According to Gordon Barnett, David was shot (reason unknown) down along Troublesome, where he owned 50 acres.

January 22, 1863:
50 year old Joseph Bowman is killed by Lt. Smith and his men of the Confederate Army at Rocky Gap, near Bear Creek, Breathitt Co.
Note: "Lt. Smith" may have been Samuel B. Smith, Co. B or Lt. Isaac Smith, Co. I, both 13th KY Cavalry [CS]. May also have been possibly Captain William Smith, 13th KY Cavalry [CS]

March 1863
After the Major [Eversole] returned to war, his family moved two miles down the river, and it was here that a band of marauding guerillas descended on the helpless wife and children. The marauders took all the cattle and horses except one blind mare and one yearling steer which were hidden in the woods, they took all the meat from the smokehouse; they killed the geese and threw them in the river to float downstream; they ripped the featherbeds and let the feathers blow away on the March wind.
[Etta J. Eversole, This Old House]
Note: This took place in Perry Co., near Krypton.

April 7, 1863:
Andrew Jackson May's Company of the 10th KY Cavalry [CS] at the house of Abijah Gilbert in Owsley County: "(May) took every horse and mule I had, numbering thirteen...They got after my two oldest sons, up the branch from my house, and shot most of their ammunition at them: (William P.) Lacy then charged upon my oldest son, with his musket in hand, cursing him - swore he would hang him. My son drew his pistol, shot Lacy through the arm, and into his canteen. Lacy threw up his hand, hallowed out, don't. My son fired again, took Lacy under the ear, dropped him off his horse dead. The boys then broke - the musket balls cutting all round them - ran down a steep cliff...and made their escape....The rebels then set fire to my houses; burned everything I had, leaving my wife and children with nothing but the clothes they had on. My wife got on her knees to them and offered them one thousand dollars in cash, not to burn our houses. They kept her off with their muskets; some few things, however, which she did get out were taken from her by the rebels...The balance all went to the flames."
[Gilbert letter, April 13, 1863, Louisville Daily Journal]
Note: In April 1863, Andrew Jackson May's Co. of the 10th KY Cavalry [CS] was part of General Marshall's command.
"I was elected to the Senate in 1860 to fill the unexpired term of (blank). I voted against Kentucky seceding and for this my house was burned during the war. I removed then to Clay's Ferry, in Fayette County."
[Abijah Gilbert, John Jay Dickey Diary, transcribed by Sherry Baker Frazier]

April 6 - 12, 1863:
Edward "Ned" Begley is hung at the Nigh Way Point on Cutshin Creek, Leslie Co. by a man named Wells from Captain Bradshaw's Co., 2nd Battalion KY Mtd. Rifles [CS]. Edward had been doing some carpenter work for a neighbor and had his hammer and saw in his hands. The rebels, acting as though they were Union men, betrayed Edward into revealing his sympathies. He remarked that his family was expecting the Union men and had been cooking for them all day. Immediately the rebels fell upon Edward, taking the rawhide bridles from their horses and hanging him on a paw paw tree right beside the road.
[Clarence B. Davis, Malvery Roberts Begley, Amanda Begley Carner, John & Maudie (Nave) Roberts & B.G. Coomer in "Clay Co. Ancestral News 10-1999"]
Comment by Edward O. Guerrant, Adjutant of General Humphrey Marshall, regarding Ned Begley's murder. Guerrant noted that Begley "was most cruelly hung by a man named Wells in Bradshaw's company; men whose last act is the consequence of former ones. Old man Begley was a Union man, in connection with the Bushwacking Home Guards who are waylaying us every day & betrayed himself unsuspectingly to our soldiers..."
[Edward O. Guerrant Diary, Vol. 4 (manuscript)]
Note: In April 1863, the 2nd Battalion KY Mtd. Rifles [CS] were part of General Marshall's command.

April 9/10, 1863:
Patrick Howard, Sgt., Co. K, 14th KY Cav[US, at home on sick-leave,] "murdered by the enemy commanded by Jack May, while a prisoner."
Note: In April 1863, Andrew Jackson May's Co. of the 10th KY Cavalry [CS] was part of General Marshall's command.

April 14, 1863:
Gilbert Creech and his brother Elijah, as well as roughly 50 other Union Home Guards, are captured by Benjamin Caudill's men under command of Major Thomas J. Chenoweth, 13th KY Cavalry [CS] on Leatherwood Creek, Perry Co.
They were all tried for various crimes and paroled, with one exception - Gilbert Creech. He was brought to trial at the Confederates' camp and it was proven that he had killed an old man and woman and robbed them. He was found guilty of other crimes as well. Major Chinaworth asked him if he had been bushwhacking his men and Gilbert answered, "Yes, and I will bushwhack again". Chinaworths answer was, "It's damned uncertain." Gilbert was sentenced to be shot by a firing squad. Isaac Collins, Ben Smith, and Dan Howard, whose brother had been killed by Creech, were among the selected men of the firing squad. Franklin Allen volunteered. Before he was shot, the men were told to take aim, and Creech patted himself on the chest and told the men he was ready. He was shot on April 14, 1863, at Brashear's Salt Works in Perry County (now known as Cornettsville, located at the mouth of Leatherwood in Perry County on Highway 699, just off Route 7), on the lot where M. C. Cornett's dwelling now stands. It was said by those present that Creech was one of the most daring and courageous men to ever face a firing squad. His body was buried in the P. H. Hall cemetery.

Note: Also known as "Scritch", Gilbert Creech, born 1815, was the son of John Creech, Sr. and Sarah Armstrong. He married Elizabeth Maggard, daughter of Old Sam Maggard, who lived above Hindman, on July 13, 1843. During the war, Creech associated himself with Clabe Jones.
His brother-in-law Henry Maggard was killed in October 1862, by Talt Hall, a member of the the 13th KY Cavalry [CS][see above]

June 4, 1863:
Miles Spurlock shot by the 14th KY Cavalry [US]. "They came to Samuel Spurlock's and his son, Miles, who was an ex-Confederate soldier in Capt. Swango's company with me, started to run and they shot him and he fell...
[G.W. Noble, p. 32]

Sept. 15, 1863 - Oct. 5, 1863:
Brittain Helton, enrolled as Pvt. in Co. F, 47th KY Infantry [US], is shot by rebels before muster-in and left at Irvine KY and has never been heard from since.

November 1863:
Capt. Bill Strong's house is being plundered.
[At Rest Among Thorns]

Jan. 20, 1864:
Captain Bill Smith, 14th KY Cavalry [US] stops at the house of Hiram Miller, a prominent Breathitt County man who lived in the upper region of the County, and "quickly and without ceremony" killed him.
[Herbert W. Spencer]

Jesse Spencer is shot and killed at his home, across the North Fork of the Kentucky River at a place now known as Wolverine, Breathitt Co. by Captain Bill Smith, 14th KY Cavalry [US]. When Captain Bill and his men came riding up to the Spencer home they shouted for the Spencers to come out. Jesse and Elizabeth came to the door and the Union Raiders searched their home looking for William. Then they told Jesse they would kill the "Rebel scout."
Elizabeth pleaded with Strong and his men for her husband's life. She said that he was an old man and was not active with either side in the war. Strong insisted that Jesse Spencer was a "Rebel Scout" so he was taken out to the fence gate, stood up against the fence, and shot to death in the presence of his wife.
They then drove away most of Spencer's livestock, went into the house, split open the featherbeds with their knives, and poured jugs of "sorghum" molasses into the "Feather ticks." Hams, middlings, and shoulders were taken from the smokehouse. They also destroyed what other property they could not take with them and carried away one of Jesse Spencer's slaves.
[Herbert W. Spencer]

Captain Bill Smith, 14th KY Cavalry [US], and his men went to "Holly" on the Frozen Creek section of Breathitt County. Here they shot Nathan Day but he was able to escape into the darkness.
[Herbert W. Spencer]

Captain Bill Smith, 14th KY Cavalry [US] rode up to 1. Lt. Jeremiah Weldon South, Jr., Co. B, 5th KY Inf. [CS, Orphans], - Jerry "Old Jerry" South 's home. Jerry, seeing the raiders in the distance, started to run into the woods nearby, but a member of Captain Bill's band shot Jerry in the leg above the knee. The shot broke his leg but South managed to hide from the raiders in the darkness. South was taken to the woods by some of his friends and hidden. They also informed his wife, Caroline South, and she went to her husband and nursed him to a partial recovery.
[Herbert W. Spencer]

Feb. 7, 1864:
1. Lt. Jeremiah Weldon South, Jr., Co. B, 5th KY Inf. [CS, Orphans], shot and killed at Holly on Frozen Creek in Breathitt County, Ky. by Captain Bill Strong's men, at the homestead of John and Polly Hollon. They had taken Jeremiah into their home to care for him. During the night, Kentucky "Home Guards" came upon the home. When Polly came out with a lamp, they shot it from her hand and asked if any wounded soldiers were being harbored in the home. The Home Guards entered and killed Jeremiah, while their children were in the home. The Hollen home was located on Holly Creek.
[Bill James, via Timothy J. Barron ]

February 20, 1864:
Sanford Shackelford, a strong Union man, is slain by guerillas in the doorway of his home on Upper Devil's Creek. (also see June 1864)

April 14, 1864:
Citizens of Booneville [Owsley Co. KY], 40 strong, whipped, on the 14th instant, Fred Gray's guerrillas, numbering 75. Citizens report no enemy in Perry or Breathitt Counties. Whitesburg, in Letcher County, evacuated by rebel forces lately there.
[O. R., Ser. I, Vol. 32, pt. 1, p. 646]
...The only man killed was a guerrilla shot by Perry Bishop. It is reputed that Perry said afterwards, "I knew the man I shot. He had been a friend of mine but I knew we had to kill some of them or they would kill some of us and I had too good a bead on him to let him go."
Note: Perry Bishop, b. 1834, married Vicey Baker.
[When They Hanged The Fiddler, by Jess Wilson, pp. 75/76]

May 2, 1864:
Major John C. Eversole and his brother Joseph reportedly had left the service by this time and returned home to Krypton, Perry Co. The Rebels either were not convinced that the Eversoles had in fact given up the fight or sought out retribution for the Yankees earlier action. A substantial group from Caudill's 13th Kentucky Cavalry [CS] (then under the command of Major Thomas Chenowith) attacked the Eversole house with great force that spring day and were successful at killing both Major Eversole and his brother Joseph. The Eversole house was riddled with hundreds of bullet holes throughout the thick poplar logs. Many bullet holes remain obvious today.
[Sherry Baker Frazier]
Lieut. Hawk had come in with his soldiers and killed Major Eversole and his brother, Joseph Eversole. They had quit the army and were staying at home, and were just shot down in retaliation for John Gambill and others.
[G. W. Noble, pp. 53/54]

June 1864:
James "River Jim" Allen, 13th KY Cavalry [CS], is killed on his farm in Wolfe Co. KY in retaliation for the murder of Richard Sanford Shackleford in February 1864. "River Jim" was taking some corn to a nearby mill for grinding when he was recognized by some of Shackleford's kin as one of the raiders. Jim was captured and killed in revenge. When his wife, Nancy, went to retrieve his body, it was gone. It is thought to have been weighted down rocks and thrown in the river or buried in the nearby woods. Either way, his body was never recovered. Three of Jim's brothers, John, Irwin and Emery Allen met a similar fate when they were ambushed by Union soldiers at the mouth of Drowning Creek in Estill Co., Kentucky in 1865 while walking home at the close of the war.
[Daniel A. Bellware ]

June 3, 1864:
Captain Bill Strong's brother, John C. Strong, 14th KY Cavalry [US], killed from ambush while returning home, near Canoe, Breathitt Co. KY.
"Jack Combs had taken charge of Alex's [Alexander Noble, brother to G.W. Noble; captured] Company of bushwhackers, and he and Hiram Sizemore had gone to the North Fork to waylay Capt. Strong. They went to a gap in the mountain called Hickory Gap and were secreted behind trees. Someone who lived in the neighborhood had told them how Capt. Strong passed thru that gap. His brother, Capt. Strong, came along and they shot and killed him. He was just nearly like Capt. Strong, but was a good man, and when the soldiers would be robbing houses Capt. Strong would stay outside and not go in. They were very sorry after they found out that they had killed the wrong man."
[George W. Noble, p. 54]

June 5, 1864:
Major Chenoweth and his men, 13th KY Cavalry [CS] set fire to a house on Troublesome Creek..."where Chenoweth's men had been after a bushwacker."
[Diary of E. O. Guerrant, p. 974 (manuscript)]

E. O. Guerrant passes up Main Quicksand and passes the body of William Day," a bushwacker - 'No more' - awful sight - a deserter from Chenoweth: run. Summary punishment. A dwarf woman looked at him."
[Diary of E. O. Guerrant, p. 974 (manuscript)]

Giltner's Cavalry brigade camps near Mr. Cope's, " father of Capt. A. C. Cope 5th K'y...Mr. Cope, Sr. being a Union man, sweetened our temper with a dozen or two fine stands of honey.
[Diary of E. O. Guerrant, pp. 974,975 (manuscript)]

June 16, 1864:
William Clark, Provost Marshall of Owsley Co., is captured by part of John Hunt Morgan's force, under command of Colonel Giltner, 4th Kentucky Cavalry (CSA), on their retreat from Cynthiana to Southwest Virginia. Clark had been on the Red Bird recruiting Blacks for military service when he captured. He was held prisoner for a time and then shot. Clark was the father of Colonel Andrew H. Clark, 47th KY Inf. [US]
[Biography of Col. Andrew H. Clark]

By August 5, 1864:
Elias Jent, Pvt in Co. I of 13th Ky Cavalry [CS] hanged in Perry Co. [now Knott Co.] According to family legend, Elias and his wife were going from Hindman to Lott's Creek and stopped at the home of a Mrs. Cornett and while there some soldiers came by, captured him and took him and his wife outside. In a few minutes the others heard shots rang out and when the soldiers had left they found him and his wife hung from a tree. They were buried nearby on Big Branch of Troublesome, Knott Co., under an old apple tree.

November 7, 1864:
25 guerrillas in command of Lieutenant Jerry W. South, Jr., made an attack upon 20 of the State militia on the Middle Fork of Kentucky River, in Breathitt County. After heavy fighting, the militia was compelled to retreat, having lost one man killed and six mortally wounded.
South’s men then started for Owsley County, made a raid on the town of Proctor, and robbed the stores of goods valued at 5000 dollars. The citizens were without arms an incapable of offering a defense. The marauders seem to care more for good horse flesh than anything else, and the best animals were “confiscated” by them at every point visited.
From Owsley County they moved into Wolfe County and made an attack on Compton, the county seat. The citizens had obtained information about their approach and were prepared to give them a warm reception. A brisk little skirmish ensued, in which the outlaws were speedily routed.
Captain J. A. Stamper of the militia learned of the movements of South, and, with twelve mounted men, started in pursuit of the band. At Devil’s Creek in Wolfe County, he had a slight skirmish with them and forced their retreat. Captain Stamper then made a sweep across the country and found himself in front of the marauders at Holly Creek, Breathitt County. He charged the outlaws and drove them back in confusion. Lieutenant South was made a prisoner.
[Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 18, 1864; article re-printed from the Louisville Journal]

November 1864:
Subsequent to the capture of Lieutenant South, a deserter from Caudill’s camp arrived at Irvine, KY, and stated that the advance of Rebel Colonel’s command, fifty men, had arrived in Breathitt County, and the main force was following a short distance behind. There are no federal troops in that portion of the state, and the militia could offer but feeble resistance to so formidable of an advance. It is presumed that the rebels have entered the state to obtain horses and supplies.
[Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 18, 1864; article re-printed from the Louisville Journal]

Late 1864:
Moses Cawood of Owsley Co. killed by order of Col. Andrew H. Clark, 47th KY Inf. [US].
He or troops under his command came to the Cawood plantation, located on the south fork of the KY River, at Fish Trap, seven miles north of Booneville, KY, and executed him, some say he was escorted across the river from his home tied to a tree and shot, and others believe he was hung, both versions have been told. Some said he was killed by Union Soldiers, and some just said it was a group of men.
[Winfred C. Tipton]

Jehue Cody served as private in Co. L, 14th Kentucky Cavalry [US], during the Civil War, and either after his discharge, or having come home on a furlough, he was murdered by a band of marauding Rebel outlaws, at the home of his brother, Thomas, on Mace's Creek, Perry Co. in 1865.

Jan. 2, 1865:
Capt. Combs, Capt. Hays and Lieut. John L. Noble, a brother of my father and who had lived in the States of Missouri and Indiana, marched to the Grapevine, and Jefferson Sizemore...captured Joel Duff and several others and shot Joel right in his father's house and left him dead. They went up the North Fork of the Kentucky river and over to Big Creek, in Perry county. They killed a man by the name of Fugate [Martin Fugate, see January 3, 1865] and came back.
[G. W. Noble, p. 65]
Note: Joel Duff's brother Henry was the husband of Capt. Bill Strong's sister Mahala.
Captain Combs = unclear as to identity; Captain Anderson Hays, Co. C, 13th KY Cav [CS].
John L. Noble was not an enlisted soldier at the time. He formerly served as 1st Lt. in Co. G, 13th KY Cavalry [CS]. He was under arrest June 1, 1863 and subsequently cashiered from the CS Army for stealing money.
[13th KY Cavalry Compiled Service Records]

Jan. 3, 1865:
Sgt. Martin Fugate, Corporal Thomas Hoskins and Pvt. William Millam (all three men members of Co. C, Three Forks Battalion), as well as Layne Fields [Co. M, 14th KY Cavalry (US)] are ambushed at Fugate's house on Little Willard Creek in Perry Co., near Typo (across the hill from Second Creek, and Butterfly), by Confederate raiders under John L. Noble of Lost Creek, Breathitt Co. Noble's men kill Fugate, Layne and Millam and leave Hoskins for dead, who survives the attack and escapes.
[Raid on Willard Creek, Perry County, by Carlos Brock]
Note: John L. Noble was not an enlisted soldier at the time of the ambush. He formerly served as 1st Lt. in Co. G, 13th KY Cavalry [CS]. He was under arrest June 1, 1863 and subsequently cashiered from the CS Army for stealing money.
[13th KY Cavalry Compiled Service Records]

Jan. 7, 1865:
Robert Pleasant Davis and Andrew Jackson South killed by Captain Bill Strong's men, 14th KY Cavalry [US], at Davis' house, on the South Fork of Quicksand, Breathitt Co. KY.
[G. W. Noble, p. 62]
Note: Andrew Jackson South was rumored to be in the CS Army but no records have been found to support this assumption. His brother Lt. Jeremiah Weldon South, Co., 5th KY Inf. [CS, Orphans] was killed by Strong's men on Feb. 7, 1864; see above]. Both South and Davis were listed as civilian casualties in the Weekly Kentucky Yeoman , Frankfort, KY, January 7, 1879.

Feb. 7, 1865:
52 year old Ambrose Hollon is killed by Home Guards in Breathitt Co.
[Letter from the Weekly Kentucky Yeoman, Frankfort, Kentucky, January 7, 1879]

March 1865:
Fayette Bentley is shot and killed by Captain Ephraim Ratliff , at his house on Beef Hide Creek, in front of his wife and children.
[Harry M. Caudill, The Mountain, The Miner, and the Lord, pp. 67-71]
Bentley was a private, Co. D, 13th KY Cavalry.

July 14, 1865:
Major E. B. Treadway, commander of the Three Forks Battalion, writes to Kentucky Governor Bramlett, suggesting that three of his eight companies be retained for an additional two or three months. Treadway wrote that, "We have not yet established civil courts or even yet put down all the guerrillas in the counties of Harlan, Perry, Breathitt, Letcher, etc. There are reported to be three bands of guerrillas in those counties under the command of `Smith', `Osbern' and Dan `Jones.'
[Holly Fee-Timm]

After War's end: July/August 1865
Capt. Blankenship and his men had murdered Drewery Quinn, my brother-in-law; David Richison, Emery Allen, Irvine Allen and John Allen at the mouth of Drowning Creek, in Estill county, after peace was made.
[G. W. Noble, p. 74]

Events not dated exactly - After August 1862/1864
William Smith was at home on leave in Breathitt Co. when some soldiers came up and raided the farm. They supposingly took him behind the barn and executed him. They took so much that there was nothing left to eat. Later Nancy Jane Hounshell, his wife, remarried to a Hugh Johnson Turner.
[Belinda C. Allender ]
Bill [Smith], a Confederate soldier, was killed at the mouth of Ball Creek by guerillas while home on furlough.
[HISTORY OF PERRY COUNTY, KENTUCKY HAZARD CHAPTER DAR, 1953; Compiled by Eunice Tolbert Johnson]
Note: William Smith was a nephew to Zachariah "Ball Creek Zack" Fugate.

Colson Duff and wife Elizabeth (Gilbert) owned a large tract of land on Grapevine Creek, North Fk. KY River, Perry County - 1,500 acres. During the Civil War, a group of men came by his home and robbed him. He escaped to Owsley County, built a farmstead, and lived there until his death on March 18, 1911.

Levi Eldridge lived about three miles from Blackey, Letcher County, KY, on Rockhouse Creek near the mouth of Perkins Branch. He was a farmer and owned a grist mill. He owned all the land in and around Letcher School. Levi was shot by guerillas during the Civil War and left for dead. He recovered and moved to Morehead, Rowan County, KY, where he died a few years later. When he left Rockhouse, all of his land holdings were sold for taxes, leaving him penniless. After Levi's death, Easter moved back to Letcher County, living at Roxana, KY. His son John C. Eldridge served as a Pvt. in Co. F, 5th KY Inf. [CS].

John Maggard, son of Henry Maggard, killed by bushwhackers on Cowan Creek. He had 8 children. (His father Henry Maggard, brother-in-law of Gilbert Creech, was killed by bushwhackers during the Civil War, near his home in Letcher Co. [see Oct. 1862]).
[Phyllis Reynolds Goelz ]

William Landsaw Hurst's house in Jackson, Breathitt Co. is burnt down by Captain Pete' Everett's command. "I did not return to Breathitt to live after the beginning of the war. Pete Everett burnt my house where the Haddix Hotel now stands, and I determined not to try Jackson again. I had some rough experiences while I lived there and did not wish to renew them."
[William L. Hurst, John Jay Dickey Diary]

Guerrillas destroy the entire property of Elisha Bowman Treadway [7th KY Inf. [US]] [before Sep. 1864?] leaving his wife and three children destitute. Upon his resignation from the 7th KY Inf. and his return home, Treadway raises the Three Forks Battalion [US], which he commands with the rank of Major.
[When They Hanged The Fiddler, by Jess Wilson, pp. 75/76]

Other casualties (Breathitt Co.)
Alex Overbee, John Pence, Lance Woods, John Chaney, John South, Wm. South, David Little, Pat Hounshell, John C. Little, Reuben Angel, Wm. Taulbee, Wayne Taulbee, and James Barnett. "All these were private citizens when killed."
[Letter from the Weekly Kentucky Yeoman newspaper of Frankfort, Kentucky, dated January 7, 1879]

Researched and compiled by Marlitta H. Perkins, Nov. 22, 2003; updated June 14, 2011.
Re-published from "Eastern Kentucky Union Soldiers", archived at: http://www.oocities.org/eastkyunion/Mountain_Chronology.html
This specific article is under full copyright. Copyright © 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Free Civil War graphic by Skedaddle


  1. My GG Grandfather Samuel Spicer was in the 14th Ky. (Union), and I was always told that he was killed by guerrillas on 5 Feb, 1865, in or near Crocketsville (Breathitt Co.). Is there any truth to this based on your research?

  2. Great bit of work here Marlita. Sent the Allen story to one of his descendants