Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Civil War Diary of EPS Hylton

EPS "Uncle Life" Hylton
40th KY Mounted Infantry

Civil War Diary of Lawrence Veteran, Found In a Lock Box of Bank, Relates Military Life In the Union Army In 1864
These were the headlines of an article published in The Big Sandy News in March of 1937. The diary belonged to my g.g.g. grand-uncle Eliphaz Shelton Preston (EPS) Hylton, the twin brother of my Grandmother Anna, and was dictated to his son, Willison P. Hylton, who served in Co. C, 40th KY Mounted Infantry, with his father.

Willison P. Hylton
40th KY Mounted Infantry

The elder Hylton was known as "Uncle Life", and his name so appears in the diary written by his son during their service in the army. After Willison's death, relatives found the diary in his lock box in the Bank of Blaine and consented to having it published in the Big Sandy News.
EPS Hylton's son Nathan P. Hylton was the grandfather of well-known Kentucky poet Jesse Stuart.

Note: Please click on page images to enlarge for easy reading.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Big Sandy Valley Oil Exploration in 1865

Antebellum oil company

The end of the Civil War marked the start of an oil boom in Eastern Kentucky. The antebellum petroleum legacy of Kentucky began in 1818, with a well drilled for salt. Salt-wells were bored, and some oil was found at the mouth of Blaine, Dean bend, Taber's creek, Tug Fork, Warfield, and mouth of Middle creek. Considerable difficulties were encountered in getting rid of the oil, and in some instances, the wells were abandoned in consequence of not being able to tube it out.

The Big Sandy River and its tributaries had long been known as productive of oil, the surface of the streams being frequently discolored with patches of floating oil, arising from oil springs in the bed of the stream and in the pools adjacent. For many years this surface oil was gathered in large quantities by skimming it from the surface, and used for various domestic and medical purposes. Kentucky soon became a center for the rapidly expanding coal oil industry in the 1850s. This was the focus for the first Kentucky geological survey (Owen, 1856; 1857a; 1857b; 1861), which systematically described and analyzed a large number of coal beds for their economic potential, not only directly as a fuel, but for their oil or gas yield. About 1855, Cummings & Dixon collected a half-dozen barrels from Paint Creek and treated it at their coal-oil refinery in Cincinnati. They continued to collect oil from Paint Creek and Oil-Spring Fork until the Civil War, at times saving a hundred barrels a month.

In 1859 and 1860, a number of shallow wells were sunk along the valley, all being put down by hand, and reaching the depth of from one hundred to two hundred feet. In 1861 they drilled a well three-hundred feet on Mud Lick, a branch of Paint Creek, penetrating shale and sandstone and getting light shows of oil and gas. Surface-oil was found on the Big-Sandy River, from its source to its mouth, and in considerable quantities on Paint, Blaine, Abbott, Middle, John's and Wolf Creeks. Large springs on Oil-Spring Fork, a feeder of Paint Creek, yielded a barrel a day. At the mouth of the Fork, in 1860, Lyon & Co. drilled a well two-hundred feet, tapping three veins of heavy oil. The same year a well was sunk one-hundred-and-seventy feet, on the headwaters of Licking River, near the Great Burning Spring. Gas and oil burst out for days, but the low price of crude and the impending Civil War put an effectual stop to oil operations in Kentucky.

Advertisement for Eastern Kentucky oil leases
Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 10, 1865

By the end of 1864, there was a renewed interest in Eastern Kentucky oil operations which resulted in a regular oil fever. The whole line of the river and its tributaries was "prospected" by speculators, up as far as it was safe to go for the guerillas who were still prowling in areas of Southwestern Virginia and the Kentucky border. Most of the land was leased by Eastern and Northern capitalists, and the preliminary work for sinking numerous wells was begun. Hundreds of wells were drilled, boats were crowded and the hotels were filled with strangers. A letter from Catlettsburg, written in January of 1865, gives a vivid picture of the situation,
Within the last two months this staid and quiet community has been aroused to an unusual degree of activity and excitement by the influx of oil-seekers from all parts of the country. At that time few strangers were to be seen here, except those who were connected with the military operations of this district, and the usual topics of conversation were results of recent elections, military movements, condition of the crops, etc. But a change has taken place. The hotels and streets are now filled with strangers, and every boat up Sandy carries numerous eager seekers after oil-territory. Turn where you will, in the hotels, on the boats, the groups of men you pass upon the street, and even in the family circle, you hear but one common subject of conversation — 'Oil ! oil ! oil !' As I have heard nothing but oil for the last few weeks, I have become pretty heavily charged, and have concluded eluded to relieve myself of the excess by writing you an oily letter, giving you a brief history of oil operations in the Sandy Valley. "

J. Peter Lesley (in 1877)

One of the men who ventured down the Big Sandy Valley was J. Peter Lesley, an American geologist who made extensive and important researches in the coal, oil, and iron fields of the United States and Canada. He eventually became became State geologist of Pennsylvania in 1874.
Prof. Lesley was secretary and librarian of the American Philosophical Society from 1858 till 1885. He was also a member of various other scientific societies, and was one of the original members of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1884 he was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
In March of 1865, he undertook a trip to Eastern Kentucky. What follows are his observations during this time.
Cincinnati, March 21, 1865.
...This afternoon...I take a boat to Catlettsburg...river steam for Louisa...and another to Paintsville, where our headquarters will be made...I take the taste of the world out of my mouth, now and then, with a chapter of Dickens. His last is better than his first.
Here is a typical week of geological campaigning: -

...March 20th: We embarked on the Telegraph at Cincinnati and were compelled to lay up, the Tuesday night following at Portsmouth, by a great storm, which overturned the Marietta steamboat, loaded with passengers; but all were saved.

March 23rd: We took the Victress up Sandy to Louisa, and attempted to take the little river there, for Paintsville; but the storm continued, blew us ashore, and obliged us to spend the night in this rattletrap. We walked up to the fort, and had a merry party.

March 24th, Friday, we started on the River. I wish you could have seen us! and were all day getting up to Buffalo shoals, upsetting on our way a small boat full of people and a dead man in a coffin, creating a great excitement. After dark we formed a procession of fifty men and two women with lanterns, and walked and waded, climbed and stumbled over to Paintsville three miles.

March 25, Saturday: We could get no horses and I spent the day talking oil and studying my reports, and notes of Owen, Lyon, and Joe's, and got my first night's sleep.

March 26, Sunday: Five of the party started on foot up Paint Creek, and Ogden Lewell and I, on horses, into the most tremendous land of crags, ravines, cascades, oil springs, forests and guerillas, and reached Wash Webb's, to sleep in a cabin, while an old woman with a pipe studied curiously our mode of undressing. Before retiring we had a guerilla fright; not a pleasant episode. We rode cavalry horses, by the by.

Monday, 27th: Having opened communication with the foot party (who got lost among the precipices), we continued up three miles to Lyon's well, got some specimens of oil rock, waded the creek forty times, found the XI iron ore, and joined them five miles up Little (Oil) Fork of Paint, where we ate chicken, filled our bottles with tar, smoked the pipe of peace, discussed plans for the future, and the best mode of cutting up the 100,000 acres. Back three miles across the bend to Williams' (where the foot party had spent the night) and left them there unable to proceed. I got Carlisle to ride with me back to Paintsville, were we arrived nearly dead with fatigue. I had been very sick in the night with a sort of inflammation of the lungs, and asthma in the morning which has stuck with me ever since.

Tuesday, 28th: Lucky in finding the Red Brick (a scow with a locomotive on board) descending to Louisa, at daybreak. Unlucky in not taking the Rover when we passed her lower down. Were arrested by the military post at Louisa, who wanted the boat, and obliged to spend the last night there (here).

Wednesday, 29th: Desperate finding the Red Brick impressed, and no certainty of the Victress, Mason or Clarke getting up, because the waters have fallen. If they do, I shall be in Catlettsburg to-night, and try to reach Pittsburg by Saturday, April 1st, a precious fool for ever embarking on such an expedition...

Source for Lesley's notes: Life and Letter of Peter and Susan Lesley, by Mary Lesley Ames, 1909. Transcribed by Marlitta H. Perkins.
This specific article was researched and written by Marlitta H. Perkins, July 2011, and is under full copyright. Copyright © 2011, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mt. Sterling - An Important Military Base During the Civil War

Downtown Mt. Sterling

Situated in Montgomery County, KY, on the state road leading from Pound Gap to central Kentucky, Mount Sterling was long considered the gateway between the Appalachian Mountains and the Bluegrass and became a prosperous commercial center. In 1856, the town, with a population of about 1,500 inhabitants, boasted a large brick court-house, 3 or 4 churches, a newspaper office (Mt. Sterling Whig), an academy, 1 bank (Farmer's Bank), and the Highland Institute; also about 25 stores, and numerous mechanics' shops. The area had a large trade in live-stock and hemp, and the products of this rich grain region.

During the Civil War, Mount Sterling's strategic location and rich resources did not escape the attention of the military commanders, both Union and Confederate. The town served as base for the Union Army operating in the Eastern Kentucky mountain counties, as well as a supply depot. Between October 1863 and May 1864, the US military forces, consisting of troops belonging to the 21st MA Infantry and troops under Asst. Quartermaster J. M. Mattingly, 37th KY Infantry, took possession of and occupied a two-story brick house, a frame building, log house and shed, all situated on Main Street, the property of John Lindsey & Son, manufacturers of furniture and coffins. The buildings were utilized as an office and depot for QM stores and commissary supplies, and as quarters for the troops. The Ascension Protestant Episcopal Church, a well-constructed and well-finished brick building, as well as the grounds, were also occupied by the military and the church used for "Camping and hospital purposes." The Montgomery County Courthouse was utilized as headquarters. Mount Sterling served as a point of safety for Union refugees from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky who had been driven from their homes by rebel forces and guerrillas. However, Union possession of Mount Sterling was contested several times by the Confederates, and the courthouse changed hands at least twelve times during the Civil War. It was eventually burned in 1863 by confederate forces.

Mt. Sterling, ca. 1863.
Union troops are camped around the Court House

Below is a chronicle of events as they occured, compiled from official records, newspaper accounts, letters and diaries, &c. It is not complete by any means but provides a good overview of the Civil War in Mount Sterling.

Oct. 11, 1861 - The Mt. Sterling (Ky.) Whig, of the 11th, had the following particulars in reference to the "rebel" encampment near Prestonsburg, Floyd county, which has been christened "Camp Dixie." ... Judge Moore, of this town, and the Ballards, who murdered Capt. Jeffries by laying in ambush in this county two weeks ago, were in camp as "big as life."

December 22, 1861 - CS General Humphrey Marshall wrote from the Big Sandy valley, "I sent forward a detachment of mounted men as far as West Liberty, in Morgan County, and covered the march of about 50 unarmed recruits to my camp, collecting at the same time a drove of about 130 hogs, and making contracts for about 30,000 weight of bacon for my command. The Union men stampeded in every direction, for it was reported that I had an army pouring from the hills and numbering at least 10,000. Some of my men were thrown out in advance of West Liberty, and actually went down to Mount Sterling, within 20 miles of Paris. The Union men were absconding even from Mount Sterling."

Dec. 23, 1861 - US Colonel James A. Garfield reported, "I have now ... three squadrons of Kentucky cavalry and one regiment of Ohio infantry moving in the same direction by the way of Paris and Mount Sterling."
(The 1st KY Cav (Wolford's) and 40th OVI were moving on Prestonsburg)

May 1862 - The Mt. Sterling Whig gave the particulars of the assault upon Mt. Sterling ... "by about thirty-five or forty cavalry belonging to Marshall's rebel brigade, under charge of a rebel captain, said by some to be a son of Gen. Marshall himself. They marched into town by the Paris-pike, went to U. S. Commissioner Apperson's office and demanded J. A. Bradshaw, late Sheriff of Powell county, who that day was on trial for treason before the Commissioner. Bradshaw was taken, with his gun and accoutrements, the rebels gave three cheers for Jeff. Davis, cursed the National flag which Robert W. Mayhugh keeps all the time floating in front of his house, and marched over the Spencer road, taking with them Aleck Voris's horse. The rebels are rendezvoused, to the number of three or four hundred strong, at McCormick's, some twenty miles above Mt Sterling, on the State road, for what purpose only themselves know."

July 1862 - The Mt. Sterling (Ky.) Express has been suppressed for favoring rebellion.

July 20, 1862 - Union cavalry struck a guerrilla band between Mount Sterling and Owensville, Ky., and scattered them, taking their cannon and horses.

July 29, 1862 - A Skirmish took place at Mount Sterling, Ky., between a number of the citizens of that place and a force of about two hundred and forty rebel guerrillas, resulting in a complete rout of the latter, with a loss of about seventy-five of their number in killed, wounded, and prisoners.
The Memphis Daily Appeal reported, "At sunrise, 240 mounted guerrillas, mostly armed, principally from Boone county, KY., arrived at North Middleton. A Union man sent from there notified the inhabitants of Mount Sterling of the design of these guerrillas to attack the latter place. In the afternoon seven of these guerrillas went into Mount Sterling to demand its surrender. The Mount Sterling Home Guards, thirty strong, under Captain Evans, provost marshal, killed the whole seven. The remainder of the rebels, coming up, were fired at from the houses on the road. Six more were killed and some twenty mortally wounded. The rebels, retreating some miles..

August/September 1862 - Confederate Invasion of Kentucky. CS General Humphrey Marshall marched from Pound Gap by way of Mount Sterling to join Kirby Smith. His force were estimated at from 8,000 to 15,000. About 300 rebel troops were reported at Mount Sterling and 100 at Winchester.

August 25, 1862 – Seven men of the Bath County (Ky.) home guards, under Captain Warren, surprised and captured near Mount Sterling, Ky., eighteen rebel guerrillas with their horses and arms.

Sept. 10. 1862 - Hon. Richard Apperson, from Mount Sterling, reports Humphrey Marshall, there, with 4,000 troops, including cavalry and artillery, arresting citizens, searching houses, &c.

September 21, 1862 - CS General Humphrey Marshall's troops ordered to Mt. Sterling by E. Kirby Smith. Command 3,000 strong. Marshall dined with Mrs. McGowan, a daughter of Hon. Garrett Davis, a resident of Mount Sterling ... She counted his pieces of artillery.

Sept. 24, 1862 - CS General Heth ordered to Mt. Sterling from Georgetown. He arrived at Mt. Sterling on Sept. 25, 1862
CS General Leadbetter ordered to Mt. Sterling
CS General Churchill's division to move to Mt. Sterling from Paris.

Sept. 25, 1862 - CS General E. Kirby Smith reports, "The whole command, comprising Generals Heth's and Churchill's divisions (four brigades) should arrive at or near Mount Sterling this evening or to-night.

Sept. 29, 1862 - According to Union reports, "Reynolds', Churchill's, Heth's, and Leadbetter's brigades and Kirby Smith himself have united with Humphrey Marshall at Mount Sterling. There are now more than 16,000 men and thirty pieces of artillery there. John Morgan sent there day before yesterday for 4,000 re-enforcements to enable him to hold some point--what point I did not learn. They are said to be fortifying Mount Sterling."

Oct. 2, 1862 - CS General Marshall ordered to Paris.

Oct. 15, 1862 - Col. Wm. Henry Wadsworth's troops (KY State troops) capture, near Mount Sterling, about 50 of Gen. Humphrey Marshall's Confederate pickets.

Oct. 17, 1862 - Humphrey Marshall's troops near Mt. Sterling at Ticktown on their way from from Camp Dick Robinson.

Oct. 18, 1862 - Col. Wadsworth captured 17 of Marshall's men at Mt. Sterling.

Oct. 21, 1862 - Col. Wadsworth wrote, "You ordered Colonel Wisner, of the Twenty-second Michigan, to go with me at once to Mount Sterling, and we started off that night, our forces consisting of that regiment and one section of artillery, my lads, and one piece and two companies of the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, under Major Doniphan. We reached Mount Sterling Tuesday evening."

Oct. 24, 1862 - Col. Wadsworth noted, "went on to Mount Sterling again to endeavor to protect my district with 382 recruits, not in the service of the United States, against Humphrey Marshall's horsemen. Marshall, with his train and artillery, and such of his infantry as did not desert, has easily escaped, without any pursuit except such as I have detailed, through Prestonburg and on his way to Abingdon, Va. I should say 1,000 or 1,200 of his men had deserted him. I captured 150 and 50 horses, besides muskets, pistols, &c. His horsemen remain behind in Kentucky to plunder and ruin the people... These bands yonder around and beyond Mount Sterling still ruin the people. Smith, Bragg, and Marshall retreat beyond pursuit and no help comes...Unless you order a force of mounted men, supported by some infantry, to clear out the region beyond Mount Sterling and Owingsville all this part of the State will be infested and plundered all fall and winter...Troops at Mount Sterling, Owingsville, and West Liberty will protect and relieve a third of this State."

November 6, 1862 - 14th KY Cavalry (US), Companies "A," "B," "C" and "D" organized at Mt. Sterling. Ky., and mustered in November 6, 1862.

February 12, 1863 - 400 Union Home Guards stationed at Mt. Sterling.

February 23, 1863 - "A Body of seven hundred rebel guerrilla cavalry, under the leadership of Colonel Leroy Cluke, made a thieving expedition into Kentucky. They first went to Winchester, thence to Mount Sterling, Straw Hill, and Hazel Green, robbing and destroying property of every description. A large amount of government property was destroyed at Paris, in order to prevent it from falling into the hands of the rebels. They were pursued by a detachment of National troops, under the command of Colonel B. P. Runkle, but the rebels, though superior in numbers to the Union force, preferred the business of robbing to that of fighting, and continued to retreat from place to place, until they finally got away with a large amount of property, and a great number of horses."

March 2, 1863 - Skirmish, Slate Creek near Mount Sterling between forces under Cluke and the 10th KY Cavalry and 7th OH Cavalry. "A force of three hundred and fifty Yankees posted at Mount Sterling, Kentucky, were routed ... by a regiment of Morgan's cavalry, under Col. Cluke. Fifty of them were captured, together with all their commissary stores, arms, etc."

March 4, 1863 – "Reliable information from Eastern Kentucky states that there is a rebel camp of about nine hundred men near Mt. Sterling. It is being strengthened by predatory bands, which bring in horses, forage, clothing, &c., stolen from the people. – Their avowed intention is to make an attempt on Lexington and Paris very soon."

March 19, 1863 - skirmish at Mt. Sterling. Union troops: 2d OH Cavalry, Cos. I, K, L. M. The regiment had 19 men taken prisoner: 5 from Co. I, 6 from Co. L, 4 from Co. M, and 4 from Co. K.

March 22, 1863 - Confederate cavalry under Colonel R. S. Cluke, reinforced by Jack May, attacked the Mount Sterling with eight hundred men and capture the town. Special dispatch from Paris, dated March 22, 1863: "The rebel Col. Cuke surrounded Mount Sterling Ky., at 2 o'clock this morning. Our force, amounting to 200 fought them from the houses for four hours, but were finally compelled to surrender. It is believed that Cluke intends to attack Paris to night."

Battle of Mt. Sterling
Historical Marker

March 27, 1863 - Cluke's guerrillas still hover around Mount Sterling. Over 200 of his men have been captured since Sunday.

March 30, 1863 - On the 30th of March, Col. Cluke, of Gen. John Morgan's command, attacked the enemy at Mount Sterling. Their pickets were soon driven in, and their whole force took refuge in the houses of the town, from which they opened fire on our men--Col. Cluke, in order to dislodge them — being with out artillery — found it necessary to fire one or two buildings, which communicated to other, until a whole square was consumed. The enemy to the number of three hundred, finding further resistance useless, surrendered unconditionally. Col. C. then retired with his prisoners, intending to join the command of Gen. Pegram at Camp Dick Robison. At McCormick's, twenty-one miles south of Mount Sterling, he was reinforced by Gen. Marshall, when no changed his course, and went back to the latter place, of which he held possession at the last accounts.

April 3, 1863 - The 21st MA Infantry, 35th MA Infantry, 21st NY Infantry, and 51st NY Infantry arrived at Mt. Sterling.

13/14 April, 1863 - The 21st MA Infantry, and 51st NY Infantry left camp at midnight and went to Sharpsburg, in hopes of capturing a force of guerrillas but none were found. Noted a member of the 51st NY," A number of citizens were arrested on suspicion of being sympathizers with the Rebels. The horses which were pressed, were brought to camp. The citizens were released, and the horses returned, excepting in one or two cases where they were bought." Wrote a member of the 21st MA Infantry, "I felt heartily ashamed of being connected with the affair, particularily with the disregard of the humane principle that allegiance and protection go together." The expedition returned at 9 p.m., April 14, 1863.

April 17, 1863 - The 35th MA Infantry, 21st NY Infantry, and 51st NY Infantry were withdrawn and moved to Winchester, KY. Noted a member of the 51st NY, "On our leaving ... the inhabitants, and especially the female portion, were quite loth to lose us. As it was, we left in the shades of morning, on account, I suppose, of the parting between the ladies and the members of the regiment being likely to cause delay, thereby not reaching Winchester, Ky., in due time."

April 28/29, 1863 - Captain Peter Everett threatened Mount Sterling with several hundred men but came no nearer than Owingsville, some twenty miles away to the eastward.

June 11, 1863 - CS Captain Peter Everett made a successful excursion into Kentucky, with a body of three hundred rebels, and attacked a portion of the Fourteenth Kentucky cavalry at Slate Creek, east of Mount Sterling, Ky. "A severe engagement, lasting three hours, ensued, when the Nationals retreated, fighting as they withdrew." Union people fled to Lexington from Mount Sterling and Winchester.

June 12, 1863 - The 8th and 9th Michigan Cavalry arrived with a battery and, under command of Col. De Courcy, went in pursuit of the rebels. After a chase of fifty miles, Colonel de Courcy's command came up with the enemy and scattered them, killing and wounding a number, and taking a good many prisoners.

July 6, 1863 - The 21st MA Infantry, "bade good-bye to their kind friends in Mount Sterling".

Oct. 25, 1863 - "Persons from Kentucky report the execution of Lieut. Harvey C. Conner, of Col. Adam Johnson's regiment, by the Yankees, at Mount Sterling, on the 25th ult."

Early November 1863 – Great excitement in Mount Sterling as two guerrillas are executed without a trial by Union forces.

December 2, 1863 - Court House in Mt. Sterling burned by CS Cavalry under Peter Everett. Clerk's records were saved but the circuit court records were destroyed. From a correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial, Dec. 3, 1863: Last night at half past 2 o'clock, Major Chenowith, with Capt. Everett and Capt. Young, entered the town of Mount Sterling, broke open many storehouses, and burned the beautiful court-house to the ground, and committed many other depredations, all of which I shall not pretend to mention this time. The 40th regiment lay one and a half miles from ← Mount Sterling in perfect quietude.-- After the court-house had been burned, and the town generally plundered, the 40th regiment made its appearance, but not until they were informed, as I understood, by Mr. Samuel Williams, that the rebels were burning the town."
Capt. P.M. Everett reported, "that he had burned $700,000 worth of stores at Mount Sterling and Jackson, captured 250 horses, and killed, wounded, and captured 100 of the enemy without losing a man of his detachment. He has his prisoners with him. The enemy, about 1,200 strong, followed him through Pound Gap." It was later claimed that Everett burned the court house because the Union Army had confined "therein those persons who wore the gray, he heard of the shooting of a prisoner. Without the town of Mt. Sterling were encamped a great body of Union soldiers, but, fearing nothing, he with his band of sixty swept into the town and with torch fired the court house, freed the soldiers and dashed away again without being captured."

Lock and key from the old Montgomery County jail.
Everett's men set fire to the building on Dec. 2, 1863, but citizens and Union soldiers were able to extinguish the flames after the raiders had left town.

Dec. 4, 1863 - Gen. J. T. Boyle wrote, "Colonel True notified me his pickets were driven in last night at Mount Sterling, on the Perryville road; that the enemy [numbered] 800. He had taken to the houses. I ordered him out of the houses to fight; that enemy could burn town. Enemy not exceeding 200, and that he could and must whip them. Don't believe there are 200. He telegraphed General Fry that it was reported that 3,000 of Longstreet's had come in. Colonel Gallup is at Paintsville. The whole story a rebel lie to scare Colonel True."

February, 1864 – "Four or five guerrillas were brought in yesterday from Mt. Sterling. They were sent in by Col. John Brown of the 45th Mounted Infantry stationed at Mt. Sterling, and had been captured by some of the 45th while in the act of putting a rope round the neck of a Union man for the purpose of hanging him."

February 25, 1864 - Union Home Guard Captain Henry C. Hurst reported from Mount Sterling, "There are about 10,000 soldiers here and they still keep coming in daily. Two regiments came in yesterday. I understand that there will be about five Brigades when they all get here. I don't know the intention of this move. They keep a regular scout in the mountains and they are cleaning things out to a considerable extent ... They bring prisoners in almost every day and many others come in and take the oath of allegiance."

June 8, 1864 – CS John Hunt Morgan with 600 of his men captured Mt. Sterling. and 150US soldiers. CSA forces under Gen. John H. Morgan, while on his last raid through Kentucky, attacked the Union camp at Mount Sterling under Capt. Edward Barlow and captured the town. Morgan's forces took 380 prisoners and material. Interview with a gentleman who was with Morgan's command, "They next made a dash on Mount Sterling, and captured four hundred of the enemy and large supplies of military and medical stores." Leaving a force here under Col. H. L. Giltner, Morgan moved west with his 2nd Brigade.
Later, at night, several of Morgan's men went to the house of J. O. Miller, cashier of the Farmer's Bank, took the vault key from him and robbed the bank of $60,000. The money was never recovered.

June 9, 1864 – US troops under General Stephen G. Burbridge, who were in pursuit of John Hunt Morgan's forces, attacked the Confederates under Col. R. M. Martin who were camped on Camargo Pike. CS Col. H. L. Giltner brought a force from Levee Road, but both were driven through Mount Sterling. The Confederates mounted a counter attack, but were repulsed and successfully driven out of town by Burbridge. Heavy losses were sustained on both sides. Union loss, 35 killed, 150 wounded. Total, 185. Union regiments involved: KENTUCKY--Battery "C" Light Arty.; 1st, 2d, 37th, 39th, 40th, 47th and 52d Infantry. MICHIGAN--11th Cavalry. OHIO--12th Cavalry.

Oct. 10, 1864 - Union man James P. Holderby wrote from Mount Sterling, "This town is filled with mountain men who have been driven from their homes by Guerrillas. Some of them are buying property and will make this their permanent home ... It was certainly lucky for the mountain people that this place has been held by the Union Army."

Oct. 17, 1864 - Burbridge's troops arrived at Mount Sterling on their return from the Saltville Expedition in Virginia.

December 2, 1864 – A small force of guerrillas make a raid on Mount Sterling, Ky., capturing some prisoners and seizing stores, &c., from the citizens of the place.

January 9 - February 15, 1865 - Scouts about Mount Sterling by the 11th Michigan Cavalry.

January 19, 1865 - Col. S. B. Brown, 11th Michigan Cavalry, telegraphed from Mount Sterling, "Information received, deemed here reliable, that Peter Everett, with 200 or 300 men, contemplates attacking the railroad trains near Paris, for the purpose of taking the paymaster who they are informed is to pay the troops at Mount Sterling. They are reported to go down Licking and cross by Millersburg. We are in a bad fix now, seven rounds of cartridges to a man; not horses enough to mount ten besides the pickets. I sent 100 dismounted men to Flat Rock on the 17th instant. They discovered nothing in that vicinity. Can five or ten boxes of Spencer cartridges be forwarded to me from Lexington, to supply me until I obtain a supply on my requisition? The attack is to be made this afternoon or to-morrow."

March 3, 1865 - A report from Frankfort, KY, "about six thousand mounted Confederates are in the vicinity of Mount Sterling, Kentucky."

April 1865 – Commanding officer, US Forces, at Mt. Sterling to superiors, "We have seven guerrillas, some of them very bad men. If they could be hung at this place it might do some good."

April 25, 1865 - Union dispatch from Mount Sterling, "I have a flag of truce. The object of the flag is to ascertain the terms of surrender.-They claim to have waged an honorable warfare and will have honorable terms or none. Said to be about 1,000 to 1,500 men. The officer in command of flag is Major Chenoweth, and the dispatches signed H. L. Giltner, colonel, commanding division. Answer immediately." US Gen. Hobson telegraphed his superior officer, "They want to come into Mount Sterling with flag. I have forbidden it, and directed to keep out strong pickets, and also no citizens to communicate. What terms will you allow them? Answer immediately."
It was later reported that, "105 officers and 1,000 men of Morgan's old command recently surrendered to our forces, at Mt. Sterling."

Bell House

Union regiments stationed at Mount Sterling during the Civil War

Ordered to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February, 1864.

Moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., October 19, 1862 until November 16, 1862.

Duty at Mt. Sterling February 22 - April 6, 1864.

March to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February 17-26, 1864. Duty at Mt. Sterling, Paris and Nicholasville, Ky., till May 1, 1864.

Duty at Mt. Sterling and Nicholasville, Ky., till April 1864.

Moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February 17-26, 1864, and duty there reorganizing till April 1864. Ordered to Mt. Sterling, Ky., September 1864.

1st Battalion ordered to Mt. Sterling, Ky., December 9, 1862. Regiment concentrated at Lebanon, Ky., December, 1862.

Duty about Mt. Sterling, Ky., and in the District of Central Kentucky, scouting and operating against guerrillas and protecting that part of the State, till September, 1863. Operations against Cluke's forces February 18 - March 5, 1863. Slate Creek, near Mt. Sterling, and Stoner's Bridge, February 24. Slate Creek, near Mt. Sterling, March 2. Operations against Pegram March 22-April 1. Mt. Sterling March 22. Operations against Everett's Raid in Eastern Kentucky June 13-23. Operations against Scott's forces July 25 - August 6. Duty at Mt. Sterling till September. (2nd Battalion served detached in District Eastern Kentucky. Expedition from Beaver Creek into Southwest Virginia July 3-11, 1863) Regiment mustered out September 17, 1863.

Moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February 3-12, and duty there till April, 1864.

Moved to Lebanon, Ky., February 3-12. At Mt. Sterling till April 1864

Ordered to Mt. Sterling September 16, 1864. Burbridge's Expedition into Southwest Virginia September 20-October 17, 1864. Saltsville, Va., October 2, 1864. At Mt. Sterling, Lexington and Crab Orchard, Ky., till December 17, 1864

Companies "A," "B," "C" and "D" organized at Mt. Sterling. Ky., and mustered in November 6, 1862.
SERVICE--Assigned to duty scouting in mountains of Eastern Kentucky and operating against guerrillas till January, 1864. Mt. Sterling March 22, 1863. Slate Creek, near Mt. Sterling, June 11, 1863.

At Mt. Sterling, Ky., till May 1864. Operations against Morgan May 31-June 30, 1864. Action at Mt. Sterling June 9, 1864. Mt. Sterling, District of Kentucky, to February, 1865.

Operations against Morgan's Invasion of Kentucky May 31-June 18, 1864. Mt. Sterling June 9. Mustered out June 18, 1864.

Operations against Morgan in Kentucky till June 19, 1864. Mt. Sterling June 9. Mustered out June 19, 1864.

Moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February, 1864.

Operations in Kentucky against Morgan July 4-28, 1862. Mt. Sterling, July 29, 1862.

Ordered to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February, 1864.

Operations against Morgan May 31-June 20, 1864. Mt. Sterling, June 9, 1864.

Operations against Morgan May 31-June 20, 1864. Mt. Sterling June 9, 1864.

Actions at Mt. Sterling December 3 and 10, 1863.
Operations against Morgan May 31-June 20, 1864. Mt. Sterling June 9, 1864.

At Mt. Sterling, Ky., and cover front from Cumberland Gap to Louisa till March, 1864. Operations against Morgan May 31-June 20, 1864. Mt. Sterling June 9, 1864.

Operations against Morgan May 31-June 20, 1864. Mt. Sterling, June 9, 1864.

Operations against Morgan May 31-June 20, 1864. Mt. Sterling, June 9, 1864.

21st REGIMENT Massachussetts INFANTRY
At Mt. Sterling from April 3, 1863 until July 6, 1863.
"The regiment was treated very kindly by the inhabitants; and a strong mutual feeling of respect and affection grew up between our men and the citizens. It has been well said that the 21st gained one of its greatest victories during those three pleasant inactive months at Mount Sterling; for they taught a people, many of whom had been born into a bitter prejudice against "Yankees," to regard Massachussetts troops with confidence, respect, and love. Twice, when it had been ordered away, it was retained on petitions to the commanding general signed by the inhabitants unanimously."

35th REGIMENT Massachussetts INFANTRY.
Moved to Mt. Sterling April 3, 1863 and remained until May 6, 1863.

Moved to Hickman's Bridge, Ky., June 1-4, 1863 and to Mt. Sterling, Ky. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, to July, 1863. March to Mt. Sterling, Ky., February 6-24, 1864 and duty there till June 3, 1864.

Moved to Hickman's Bridge, Ky., June 1-4, 1863 and to Mr. Sterling, Ky. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 23rd Army Corps, Army of the Ohio, to August, 1863. Operations against Morgan May 31 - June 20, 1864 (Detachment). Mt. Sterling June 9, 1864.

Pursuit of Morgan May 25-June 20, 1864. Mt. Sterling June 9, 1864. Operations against guerrillas near Mt. Sterling till November 17, 1864. Jan. 9-Feb. 15, 1865, Scouts about Mount Sterling.

Moved to Camp Nelson, Ky., June 4; thence to Mt. Sterling, Ky., June 12. Attached to Artillery, 3rd Division, 23rd Army Corps, Dept. of the Ohio, to September, 1863.
Reconnoissance from Mr. Sterling, Ky., Bridge June 16. Moved to Lebanon, Ky., July 4.

At Mt. Sterling from April 3, 1863 until July 6, 1863.

Moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., April 3, 1863 until May 6, 1863.

Mt. Sterling, Ky., March 19, 1863 (3rd Battalion). Owensville March 31, 1863.

Regiment participated in operations in Central Kentucky against Cluke's forces February 18 - March 5, 1863. Slate Creek near Mt. Sterling, February 24 and March 2.

Operations against Morgan's Invasion of Kentucky May 31-June 20, 1864. Action at Mt. Sterling, Ky., June 9.

Moved to Mt. Sterling, Ky., October 1-10, 1861. Attached to Nelson's Command, Mt. Sterling, Ky., to December, 1861.

Operations in Central Kentucky against Cluke's forces February 18 - March 5, 1863. Action at Slate Creek, near Mr. Sterling, February 24. Stoner's Bridge February 24, 1863.

At Cumberland Gap till February 8, 1864. At Mt. Sterling, Ky., till April 6, 1864, when dismounted.

Skirmish in Bath County, Ky., March 26, 1865. Garrisoned Mt. Sterling, Shelbyville, LaGrange, Greensboro, Cumberland Gap, etc. (1865)

At Paris, Mt. Sterling, Richmond, Lancaster, Crab Orchard and Stanford, Ky., till June 1863.

Moved to Mount Sterling April 3, 1863, until May 6, 1863.

Duty in District of North Central Kentucky, at Booneville, Camp Nelson, Flemingsburg, Mt. Sterling and Paris, December, 1863, to April, 1864

Links of Interest
Montgomery County Historical Society
Visit the Civil War exhibit "Cross Roads of Conflict"

Historical Downtown Mt. Sterling Walking Tour Map
Map includes pictures and information about various sites.

Patten-Everett House
Home of Samuel and Henrietta Everett, Captain Peter M. Everett's parents.

Researched, compiled and written by Marlitta H. Perkins, July 2011. This specific article is under full copyright. Copyright © 2011, All Rights Reserved.