HORSE SOLDIERS OF THE BLUEGRASS - Chronicled by Jerry A. Johnson
A History of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry
Off to “Jine” the Cavalry
Due to the threat of invasion of Kentucky by Confederate forces in July of 1862, The Military Board of Kentucky was frantically trying to raise more regiments for the defense of the State. During this month, Confederate raider, John Hunt Morgan had already raided into the state. J. B. Temple, President of the Military Board, sent a letter to President Lincoln, asking him to permit Kentucky to raise 8,000 troops, one half cavalry.
Kentucky had attempted to remain neutral at the beginning of the war, however, Rebel forces had occupied Columbus and Federal invasion came soon after. Most of the citizens were loyal to the Union cause, but there were many whose loyalties lay with the South. John Morgan was one of the latter, being from Lexington, Kentucky.
In August, 1862, General Halleck, General in Chief of the U.S. Armies, sent a message to the Military Board of Kentucky, stating that “all regiments Kentucky can raise for three years would be accepted.” This was the basis for the formation of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry.
Men from Mercer, Garrard, Madison and Washington Counties came to Harrodsburg, where Captain Milton Graham was recruiting for the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, and began enrolling in the unit. Three of these men were Eli Mitchell Hurt, William Hurt, and Joshua Hurt. Eli Hurt is the author’s Great-Grandfather and the other two Hurt boys were his brothers. Harrodsburg was known as being largely sympathetic with the Confederacy, and indeed only a few days before, had given Morgan a friendly reception upon his traverse through the town on his way to Lexington. They would soon be moving the camp because of the rebel invasion and the increasing hostility from the Harrodsburg citizens, making it extremely difficult to arm and equip the recruits in this camp. By this time Kentucky had 5,000 cavalry ready for arming and mounting, but they had no weapons. The U.S. Government had given orders that no regiment would be equipped with arms until they were mustered into service. The Governor of Kentucky protested this order, as many of the recruiting camps were in hostile territory with no means to defend themselves.
Some arms were given to the new regiments and even though not mustered yet into the U.S. Service, were seeing some action against the Confederate forces. On the night of August 20th, 1862, General Boyle ordered out 150 recruits of the 11th Kentucky to go to Henry County in pursuit of Rebel recruits. They pursued the rebels through Shelbyville on their personal horses and returned to camp later in the evening of August 25th, having traveled at least 70 miles. Lt. Colonel Holeman commanded the detachment. The 11th Kentucky moved their camp to Frankfort where enrollment continued during August. By August 30th, Confederate General Kirby Smith had reached Richmond, Kentucky where he defeated Union General Nelson in a fierce battle.
After filling the ranks of Company B, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry began their march to Louisville on Sept. 1st. Only two days before they had drawn and collected 400 horses but they had no saddles or bridles. The recruits had not been mounted except for a few who had their own horses. The balance walked and rode in wagons. The first day they marched to Libertyville, 22 miles, having had during the day and night a good deal of trouble with the horses, several of which were lost. On this day a portion of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry, retreating from the Confederates at Lexington, also fell in with the 11th Kentucky Cavalry’s column and in the process mixed up some loose horses with that of the 11th Kentucky’s. Other regiments came up with horses, wagons, and mules, making it impossible to keep the stock separated and to identify that which belonged to the 11th Kentucky Cavalry.
On the 2nd of September, they marched to Louisville and encamped on the fairgrounds.
Recruiting for Companies E, G, and H commenced immediately. Company “A” had 107 men enrolled. The Regimental Commander was Lieutenant Colonel W. E. Riley, and the Company A Commander was Captain John G. Pond. Other Officers in that Company were 1st lieutenant Reuben F. Scott, 2nd Lieutenant John M. Cotton, and 2nd Lieutenant Howard Warren. Lieutenant Warren had enlisted as a Corporal, but was given the rank of 2nd Lieutenant for his vigorous recruiting efforts. Robert Anderson was appointed First Sergeant. The three Hurt Brothers were in this Company. Here at Louisville, the men were given regular picket duty under orders of Generals Boyle and Nelson. On their way from Louisville they lost, from desertions, several recruits. As many as30 were from Company C. Two other Companies of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry came up to Frankfort the day after the regiment had left for Louisville. Being unable to catch up with the regiment, and seeing the danger of being captured, disbanded and sought safety by individual flight. A number of men had been captured and paroled by the Confederate invaders. Some were entirely cut off by the enemy in Madison County and never reported to the regiment.
As of this date, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and other regiments had not yet been mustered into the service of the U.S. due to the lack of mustering officers. Governor Robinson wrote the Secretary of War, E. M. Stanton, on September 15th, stating that “Three battalions, composing parts of regiments-the Sixth, Tenth, and Eleventh Cavalry, being recruited, were full, having each the requisite number of men. They were not mustered because of the want of mustering officers. Meantime, they were ordered into service by U.S. Officers, and have each lost in killed and wounded and prisoners several men, reducing them below the standard. The Mustering officer now fears to muster them in because of the deficiency, through no fault of their own.”
Orders were soon given to muster in the new regiments, and on the 22nd of September, 1862, 6 Companies and a small detachment under Lt. Layton of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry were mustered into service. At this time the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was under the command of Major Milton Graham with 400 effective men. They were undrilled and raw recruits. Their weapons were sabers and the Savage pistol, and some had no weapons at all. They were given uniforms consisting of a wide-brimmed hat and a cap, called a “kepi”. In addition they received a blouse, jacket, overcoat, trousers, shirts, drawers, socks, boots and a woolen and rubber blanket. The trousers were reinforced with an extra thickness of cloth extending from the upper part of the seat down the inside of both legs for greater durability in the saddle. Infantrymen did not have this reinforcement. The Government issued these items free, but when they needed replaced, each man was expected to pay for them himself.
Fifteen men originally enrolled in Company “A” never reported for muster. They were reported to be within enemy lines at the time they were to report for muster, and were unable to join the regiment at Louisville. William Hurt was one of these men. He would rejoin the regiment in April, 1863. The Regiment remained in Louisville until the 3rd of October, 1862, doing constant picket duty. At one point they skirmished with the enemy’s pickets near Mt. Washington; another time in Taylorville and again near Taylorville. They took 16 prisoners in these actions.
In early September, General Bragg and his Confederate Army had invaded Kentucky and Rebel Colonel Scott, with a brigade of Rebel Cavalry had penetrated as far North as the outskirts of Covington, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The people of Louisville were in a panic, fearing the rebels would soon take the city. When the horses arrived, their training began in earnest, taking on a sense of urgency. Union General Buell was on his way to Louisville with the Infantry Divisions of Generals McCook, Crittenden, Ammen, Wood, Rousseau and Mitchell. On their way also was a Cavalry Division under General Kennett. General Buell hoped to beat Bragg’s forces to Louisville.
Marching to Frankfort
General Bragg’s Confederate Army was fast approaching Louisville and General Nelson, the Military Commander of the City, ordered the evacuation of the non-combatants from the city. Nelson’s forces were nearly all green troops with only limited training, but they were prepared to do battle. On the 25th day of September, 1862, General Buell’s Army arrived in Louisville. Many of the men had marched nearly day and night from Northern Alabama through Tennessee and Kentucky to reach Louisville. The troops watched these exhausted men march into the city. Some men were actually marching without shoes, which they had worn out on the long march from the south. Soldiers were also arriving by Steamer, having come up the Ohio River from the west. With the arrival of Buell’s Army of the Ohio, the Union forces in and near Louisville numbered about one hundred thousand, with one-half, including the 11th Kentucky cavalry, being new recruits. Many of these raw soldiers had been pouring into Louisville the past few days from Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
The entire city sprouted tents of all kinds, depending on which type had been issued the regiment, and smoke from their cook fires poured over the city. On the 29th of September, they were informed that Bragg had left Bardstown and apparently was in retreat, although he had left a small force at that place.
The 29th was also the day that General Nelson had been killed during an argument with Union General Jefferson C. Davis. They were saddened by this tragedy as General Nelson was a well liked and courageous man to the regiments which served under him, and he had been an inspiration to them during the recent rebel threat to Louisville.
Upon General Buell’s arrival in Louisville, the Army was reorganized and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was placed in General Dumont’s Division of the Department of the Ohio. This Division was made up mainly of newly formed regiments from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky.
On the 1st of October, 1862, and after resting his weary veterans for a few days, General Buell moved with the men towards Bardstown in pursuit of General Bragg. The Division under General Dumont and the Division under General J. W. Sill were to follow the main body and move toward Frankfort through Shelbyville. On October 3rd this Division of raw troops temporarily followed General Sill’s Division toward Frankfort. They camped the first night at the farm of Mr. Womack. They arrived at Shelbyville on the evening of the 4th. General Sill preceded the 11th Cavalry’s Division into the outskirts of Frankfort. This move to Frankfort was a feint to make the Confederates think Frankfort was the target for the whole army. Meanwhile, General Buell, with the main force moved on toward the southeast. A large part of Bragg’s Army was still in the town where a gubernatorial inaugeration was taking place. Bragg had appointed Richard Hawes as Governor of Kentucky and the capitol was full of rebel soldiers and civilians. Sill’s artillery opened up on the city, sending rebel soldiers scurrying. General Bragg, thinking the entire Federal force was upon him, quickly withdrew with his men to Versaille, Kentucky. This was on October 4th. On the 6th of October, when the regiment was still in Shelbyville, General Dumont detailed 100 men from the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and 80 men from the 4th Indiana Cavalry with orders to scout the country toward Bagdad. The detachment was commanded by James Johnson. Moving to Badgad, they encountered a force of rebel guerillas at High Point and pursued them towards Lexington. The rebels joined up with General Kirby Smith’s command before they could be caught. However they did capture 27 rebel sympathizers which were surrendered up to General Dumont on their return trip to Frankfort on October 15th. On the 8th of October, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry’s Division left Shelbyville and marched to Frankfort. There they charged Scott’s rebel cavalry on the upper bridge over the Kentucky River. The following day, the 11th Kentucky’s Division moved up to join Sill west of Frankfort, where they went into camp. They were in General W. T. Ward’s Brigade, which besides the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, consisted of the 1st and 7th Kentucky Cavalry, the 70th Indiana Infantry, the 79th Ohio Infantry and the 102nd and 105th Illinois Infantry. General Sill’s Division moved on to link up with General Buell.
On the 9th of October, word reached them that a large battle had been fought at Perryville, Kentucky between the Union forces under Buell and Bragg’s Confederate Army. The initial report was saying that the Union had suffered at least 2,000 casualties in the battle. It was primarily the rear columns of Bragg’s forces which Buell had attacked. The Confederate Army’s main forces moved on out of Kentucky into Tennessee. On the 10th of October, 60 men of Company E went to Midway, Kentucky under Captain Slater as escort to a party who were to put up a telegraph wire to that town. Arriving at Midway, they made a charge into town capturing 13 rebels and 11 horses. They returned to Frankfort on the evening of the 11th.
On October 11th, the 11th Kentucky, with its Brigade, marched from Frankfort to Lawrenceburg and 2 miles beyond on the Harrodsburg pike. There they attacked Buford’s Rebel cavalry and rousting them, pursued them for 4 miles, returning to Lawrenceburg that night. On the 12th of October, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry pursued the enemy to Salvisa, where they captured a Confederate Major and 70 of his men. They returned to Frankfort on the 13th.
Rebel Cavalry, probably some of Morgan’s men, was still operating in the Frankfort area. The rebels hesitated to openly attack Frankfort, as the Union artillery was a strong deterrent to such action. Their stay in Frankfort was extremely rigorous. They were constantly on guard and picket duty and riding out on short expeditions in pursuit of rebel raiders. Some of the men were coming down with sickness, mostly diarrhea. While here in Frankfort, Colonel W. E. Riley was made Commander of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment. Company A’s Sergeant, Bill Pierce, had been promoted to Adjutant on the Regimental Staff.
Gallatin and Hartsville
On the 1st of November, 1862, they broke camp at New Haven, where they had moved from Frankfort, and rode out towards Bowling Green, Kentucky. They were one man short in company A when they left Frankfort, as Private Randolph Davis deserted the Company on the day they left.
The march to Bowling Green was very rough on the men and horses. This part of Kentucky had suffered a severe drought and they were dependent on pools of water which had not yet dried up. When the Rebels had retreated, they attempted to destroy these remaining pools by killing animals and throwing their carcasses into them. The soldiers had to drink from these contaminated pools or die of thirst. Several of the men in the regiment became seriously ill, probably from drinking the poisoned water.
During their several days in Bowling Green, two men from Company “A”, Privates Allen Taylor and Jim Duggins died in the hospital from illness brought about by bad drinking water and an outbreak of measles. The measles first appeared among the men of the 79th Ohio Infantry. Several men of that regiment died here in Bowling Green. After a few days of picket duty at Bowling Green, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its Division moved to Scottsville, Kentucky, camping on the night of November 12th at Allen Springs. They arrived in Scottsville, Kentucky on the 13th, where they remained until November 25th, doing picket duty. A detachment of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was sent off by General Dumont under Captain W. H. Belle to Nicholasville where they did a great deal of escorting and picketing, taking a number of prisoners.
Rebel Cavalry had been reported active in the area and Morgan’s cavalry was also reported near Gallatin, Tennessee, south of Scottsville and in their line of march. They were ordered to remain in Scottsville. The 11th Ky. Cavalry Regiment was now assigned to the 34th Brigade of the Department of the Ohio, District of Western Kentucky. The District of Western Kentucky was commanded by Major General H. G. Wright, and the Brigade was commanded by S. A. Strickland. In this Brigade were also the 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th and 12th Kentucky Cavalry Regiments, and 4th Illinois Cavalry. The 11th was mainly used to protect General Rosecran’s flank on his push into Middle Tennessee. On November 25th they moved to Gallatin, Tennessee, where they reported to Brigadier General E. A. Paine, Commander of the Post at Gallatin.
MORGAN ATTACKS AT HARTSVILLE
Some of the Companies of the 11th Ky. Cavalry were used for picket and scouting duties, primarily along the Gallatin to Scottsville Road. On the 1st of December, 1862, Captain Slater and 70 men of Company E, of the 11th, had been sent to serve temporary duty with Colonel A. R. Moore, of the 104th Illinois Infantry, at Hartsville, Tennessee. Hartsville was a small village east of Gallatin on the Cumberland River. On the evening of December 6th, scouts reported to Colonel Moore that John Morgan, with a cavalry force of about 4,000 men, two regiments of Infantry and 8 pieces of artillery, had moved out of Lebanon, Tennessee toward Hartsville. The pickets gave warning in time for the troops at Hartsville to place themselves in proper line to receive the enemy. At Hartsville were the 104th Illinois Infantry, the 106th and 108th Ohio Infantry, 280 men of the 2nd Indiana Cavalry, 70 men of the 11th Ky Cavalry from Company E, and a section of Nicklin’s Indiana battery.
The line of battle was formed with the Indiana Cavalry, including Company E of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, and the 104th Illinois on the left. The 108th Ohio was in the center and the 106th Ohio on the right. On the 7th of December, Morgan’s artillery opened fire and the 106th Ohio broke and fled. The Cavalry Squadron rode forward trying to keep the enemy’s forward pickets from the ravine in front of the Federal lines. They soon had to retreat however, back to the main lines. The fight continued for an hour and a half, and at last Colonel Moore was obliged to order his men to surrender at their discretion. Nearly 2,000 men surrendered, with only a very few escaping and returning to Gallatin. Two Officers and 42 enlisted men of Company E of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry were among the prisoners. The men of the 104th Illinois were made to take off their heavy overcoats and give them to the rebels. This Regiment was ordered by command to draw up in line and given the order, “104th Illinois Infantry, Attention. Come out of them overcoats”. The weather was terribly cold and there was snow and ice on the ground. After they were captured, the rebels mounted two prisoners to a horse and crossed all of them over the Cumberland River. Once across, they were forced to march on foot at a rapid pace in the terrible cold toward Murfreesboro, which was General Bragg’s headquarters. They made 25 miles on that day between one o’clock P.M. and nine o’clock P.M., and then camped. Most of the men had not eaten for 24 hours. They were ordered to stand around the campfires in the snow where they stood all night. The next day they marched again without any food until 9 o’clock that night. Each man then was given two ounces of flour and four ounces of fresh meat. The men made a dough out of the flour and wrapping it upon a stick baked it over the fire while the meat was roasting. Most of the overcoats had been taken from the men and they suffered severely from the effects of the weather.
The next day, about noon, they reached Murfreesboro, where they were later paroled. On Wednesday morning, they were sent under guard to Nashville. When they were within three miles of the Union lines at Nashville, the paroled prisoners were forced to relinquish their blankets to the rebel guards. Colonel Moore was not released with the men and was kept as a prisoner. In all, Moore’s command lost about 150 men killed and wounded. The enemy’s loss is estimated at 120 killed and wounded.
About this time, a portion of Company A was ordered to Scottsville, Kentucky to accompany and guard a wagon train from that place to Gallatin and Nashville. They arrived in Scottsville on the 14th of December. On the 15th, they left with the supply wagons, this time without Private William A. Ross, who had deserted while they were in Scottsville.
Arriving back in Gallatin much fatigued and cold, they learned there was a breakout of typhoid fever in the camp. Many of the men were in the hospital and morale was becoming a problem. Two more men of the regiment deserted, one man from Company F on the 15th and one man from Company H on the 20th.
On the 20th of December, Corporal John M. Cates, of Company A, was identified by a man in the 4th Kentucky Infantry, recently arriving at the camp, as a deserter from that regiment. Corporal Cates confessed this was so, and was delivered to the Commanding Officer of the 4th Kentucky Infantry.
The Regiment stood at arms the whole night, on December 21st while Confederate Raider John Morgan was passing the camps of the Army about 6 miles away and the Union troops were expecting a possible attack on Gallatin.
On the 28th of December, one of the men in Company B died of typhoid fever. Many of the regiment’s men were ill. It seemed that not a day passed but what a man became sick from one disease or another.
Scouting and Skirmishing
On December 26th, 1862, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry received orders to proceed to Glasgow, Kentucky to protect the Louisville and Nashville Railroad from Rebel raiders. General Morgan, having been made a General after his victory at Hartsville, had left Tennessee for another raid into Kentucky and it was believed he would attempt to destroy the railroad between Louisville and Nashville.
Early next morning, December 25th, 1862, they moved out toward the Kentucky border. The weather had turned fairly warm and it was more like a spring day. They were leaving several men of the regiment in the hospital at Gallatin, most of them having Typhoid Fever. Some of the men left were from Company E, recovering from wounds received at Hartsville. Company E had rejoined the regiment by this time.
That afternoon they came upon several men who told them General Morgan had captured their wagon train while they were going to Glasgow. The wagons were loaded with store merchandise and Morgan picked out a dress from the merchandise to give to his new wife. This happened on the 24th, so Morgan had a big head start on them and was probably in Kentucky by now.
In the evening they camped at Lafayette, Tennessee, and left for Glasgow the next morning. That night they encamped at Skaggs. They marched 10 more miles the next day and camped near Glasgow, arriving there the next day. At Glasgow they went into camp.
General Morgan had ridden to Elizabethtown, about 40 miles south of Louisville, and captured the Garrison there. The Regiment moved on Dec. 31st in pursuit of Morgan. They marched to Bear Wallow and encamped. The next day on the 1st of January, 1863, they marched to Greensburg, camping on the outskirts of town. They Left Greensburg at daylight the next day and on double quick moved to Columbia. Intelligence had been received that Morgan may be there, but again they came up empty. By the time they arrived at Columbia, Morgan and his men had scattered and were heading east and south with several Union Cavalry Troops in pursuit. The Union troops, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, were never able to catch up with them to do battle. .Passing through Columbia the 11th Kentucky Cavalry marched 5 miles beyond. Here they turned and marched back to protect their wagon train from possible attack, and went into camp. On the 3rd of January the regiment marched to Campbellsville and then on to Lebanon. They remained in Lebanon until the 19th of January, to rest the horses and teams and procure supplies. On the 19th they left Lebanon and moved to Springfield where they remained in camp until the 22nd. On that day they moved toward Gallatin, Tennessee, the line of march being New Haven, Glasgow, Scottsville and finally Gallatin, arriving there on February 2nd, 1863.
In Bowling Green, Private Dan Gayheart was discharged on disability, having suffered from the effects of the winter weather while on the march. During their pursuit of Morgan, one man from Company B deserted at Greensburg, Kentucky, on the 2nd of January. On their way back, while passing through Springfield, Kentucky, Private Cal Taylor, of Company A, deserted the Company. This was on January 20th. Pvt. Eli Hurt celebrated his 20th birthday on the 28th of January while on the march to Gallatin.
During their absence the regiment had received word that Private Henry Yates of Company A, had died at home while on furlough on January 25th, and Private Larkin Wilder also died at home on January 8th. Private Bill Hughes had been discharged on disability at Gallatin, being one of the men left behind in the Gallatin Post Hospital. Company A was now down to 57 men from the 68 they had started with at Louisville. In addition they learned one man from Company B had deserted in Grant County, Kentucky on January 20th while that Company was on scouting duty in the Northern Kentucky Counties. Company B also had word that one of their men had died in Gallatin on the 19th of chronic diarrhea. Company D had one man who died at home while on furlough on the 25th. One man from Company E was discharged at Gallatin due to disability and one of that Company’s men had deserted on the 10th at Frankfort. One man from Company F deserted on the 1st at Gallatin, and one deserted at Armstrong’s Ferry, Tennessee on the 22nd, the latter being from Company G. One man from Company C had gotten into a fight with a civilian while home on furlough in Mercer County, and was killed.
On the morning of February 4th, 90 men from the 11th Kentucky Cavalry left camp on scouting duty and marched 35 miles, where they captured a Rebel Captain, a 1st Lieutenant and 5 privates. The Regiment returned to camp on the 5th.
The Regiment left Gallatin on the 7th of February and moved north into Kentucky, going to Danville and on to Stanford where they went into camp. They remained here until the 21st of March, scouting the countryside as far out as Somerset with all available forces.
During the month of February, one man from Company D died at home on the 1st, one man from Company C died in Mercer County on the 14th, and this man was that Company’s First Sergeant. A man from Company B died at Centre Point, Kentucky on the 20th, the cause being diarrhea. Desertions continued. Company E had two men desert at Lebanon, Kentucky on the 4th of February.
During the month of March, the regiment was put on alert to move at anytime, as Confederate raiders were in Central Kentucky with about 3,000 men. On the 15th of March, General Burnside was assigned to the Department of the Ohio and his first order was that all the small detachments of Federal Troops scattered over Central Kentucky were to be concentrated at Lebanon, Kentucky and at Hickman’s Bridge, Kentucky, under Generals Q. A. Gillmore and Jeremiah T. Boyle. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry was in the Command of General Boyle. An advance was ordered against the Confederates on the 28th of March, and the enemy was driven southward. General Gillmore was in the advance by about a day, and at Somerset, Kentucky, on the 30th, Gillmore, with his cavalry, met some of the Confederate forces and after heavy fighting, drove the enemy across the Cumberland River
Company G had been on duty at Gallatin, Tennessee and had arrived late in Lebanon in answer to General Burnside’s order. On their march from Gallatin to Lebanon, 3 men deserted. Two were Corporals and the other was a Farrier. One man from that Company deserted at Gallatin prior to their march to Lebanon. Nine men were discharged at Gallatin for disability. Also on the 6th of March, 1863, Lieutenant Blincoe of Company F resigned. The ranks of the poor Regiment were becoming rather thin from desertions, sickness and deaths.
Early in April, two Divisions of the Ninth Corps, commanded by General John Parke, arrived at Louisville to become a part of the Army of the Ohio. Most of these men were from New England and were made fun of by the Kentuckian troops because of their speech and manners.
While here in Lebanon, Privates Chris Tuder and Sam Tatum, of Company A, were discharged for disability due to illness. Three more from Companies B, C, and D, were also discharged due to disability. Two men from Company B, two men from Company C, one man from Company F, and one man from Company G deserted at this place.
On the 16th of April, 1863, 28 men were mustered into the Regiment. These men had originally enrolled in Louisville and had deferments for one reason or another, and also because some were behind enemy lines and could not report at that time. Nine of these men were in Company A, and William Hurt, the brother of Eli and Joshua Hurt, at last joined his Regiment. Company B received two men; and Company C received a like amount. Company E received two men, and Company H eleven men
Early the next morning, April 17th, the Regiment proceeded to Columbia, Kentucky, a distance of about 40 miles Again, early the next morning, the Regiment, at that time consisting of 150 men, being as many which were equipped with arms, rode toward Burkesville, Kentucky, encamping that night 12 miles from Lebanon, on the Campbellsville Pike, near Mrs. Saunders’ residence. The next day, at dawn, they once again rode south along the Cumberland River towards Burkesville. They reached Columbia at 4 PM. Here they received orders from Colonel Jacob, of the Ninth Ky Cavalry, communicating orders of Major General Wright for Lt. Colonel Riley to move his 11th Kentucky Cavalry to Creelsboro and ascertain the force of the enemy at that place. Lt. Colonel Riley found a squad of 55 men of the 12th Ky Cavalry here at Columbia who were ordered to report to him.
ACTION AT CREELSBORO
Lt. Colonel Riley left 50 men at Columbia to guard the wagon trains of the Ninth, Eleventh and Twelfth Ky Cavalry, and proceeded at daylight on the march to Creelsboro with 129 men of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and 30 of the Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry. On arriving on a trail leading into Grider’s Creek, back of Mr. Grider’s house, about 1 mile from Creelsboro, Colonel Riley called a halt. He detailed Lieutenants Debaun and Norton, of Company C, with 17 men, Lieutenants Purdy and Willemin, of Company G, with 16 men, and Lieutenant Taylor and Niemeyer of Company H, with 10 men, totaling 43 men in all and all from the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, under the command of Captain Jacob Cozatt, of Company C, and dispatched them on the double quick on the road over the hill to Creelsboro. The balance of the command, consisted of a detachment of Company A, 25 men under Captain J. G. Pond; also a detachment of Company B, 16 men under Lieutenant Burgess; also a detachment of Company F, 13 men, under Lieutenants Robinson and Burton; a detachment of Company I, 6 men, under Lieutenant String, and a detachment of Company H of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry under Lieutenant Lippincott, numbering 30 men, making in all 106 men. Riley moved with this detachment down Grider’s Creek to the crossing of the road from Creelsboro, up to the ferry and then down this road to Creelsboro.
As they descended the hill into Creelsboro, on double quick, the Confederate pickets fired on Captain Cozatt’s detachment. This firing was the first notice that the rebels, who were looting a store, had of the Union Cavalry approach. There were from 60 to 70 Confederates in and around the town. At the top of the hill the Union troops were met by about 25 Confederate soldiers, mounted and armed, who rode up within 50 feet of the Union troops before they had seen each other. Firing commenced instantly and was kept up for several minutes, when the Confederates turned and fled down the road toward Creelsboro. The Union troops pursued and riding through the town were fired upon from nearly every house and place of concealment. The Union Cavalry pressed on through the town pursuing the enemy. Splitting his command, Riley moved his left wing back into town, leaving the right wing to pursue the enemy. He ordered every house and shed in town to be searched, which was soon done. The enemy had scattered in every direction. Some fled to the hills and bushes, others hid under houses and in the lofts, etc. Leaving one of the enemy on the street in Creelsboro to die, but under care of the Union surgeon. They took 12 prisoners, one of whom was wounded and one being a Captain in the Confederate Army. The Union troops escaped without a scratch.
Leaving Creelsboro about 1 PM for Burkesville, they arrived at 6 PM and reported to Colonel Jacob for further duty. Riley’s cavalry had only 53 guns during the trip to Creelsboro and Colonel Riley wrote in his report that “the Savage pistol, of which they were armed, is worthless”. At Burkesville, they hoped to get a rest from the arduous trip. Since leaving Gallatin, before Christmas, the Regiment had marched more than 800 miles through 15 Kentucky Counties.
The Regiment stayed at Burkesville until the 26th of April, when it was ordered to proceed on an expedition to Monticello, Kentucky. The following regiments took part in this expedition: 1st, 9th, 11th and 12th Kentucky Cavalry; 2nd and 7th Ohio Cavalry; 112th Illinois Infantry; 24th Independent Indiana Battery; 21st and 32nd Kentucky Infantry; 20th Michigan Infantry; 44th, 45th, 100th, 103rd Ohio Infantry; and the 2nd Tennessee Infantry. They were hoping to completely drive the rebels from this part of Kentucky and maintain Federal control.
ACTION AT GREASY CREEK
The 11th Kentucky rode out with parts of the 9th and 12th Kentucky Cavalry, all under the command of Colonel Richard Jacob, and went by way of Jamestown and the mouth of Greasy Creek to the Cumberland River, to create a diversion in favor of General Carter, who was to have crossed the Cumberland at Waitsborough and Mill Springs to Monticello at daylight on April 27th. The advance guard caught 2 of the enemy’s pickets at the River. The next day, on the 28th, they took possession of the Narrows of Horseshoe Bottom, driving out the enemy’s pickets. The whole force had nearly crossed the river when word was received that the enemy was crossing at Rowena to try to flank Jacob’s force. He recrossed a battalion to prevent such a movement and sent scouts to ascertain the truth of the report. Some of Jacob’s pickets were attacked on this day also. Jacob, not hearing anything of General Carter, dispatched a courier to Somerset to determine whether Carter had crossed the Cumberland. Carter had not crossed per a return courier. Retaining possession of the Narrows, Jacob retained one battalion of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry on the North side of the River, telling them not to advance, knowing that the enemy to have nearly 4 to 1, with artillery.
On April 30th, Jacob received information from General Carter that he would cross the River and march to Monticello. On the same day Jacob was reinforced by the 20th Michigan Infantry and two pieces of the 24th Indiana Battery. He requested from Headquarters whether he should march to General Carter’s assistance and received an answer to immediately do so. On May 1st, at 1 AM, with his whole command, Colonel Jacob gave orders to cross. The Cumberland had now become unfordable, and they had to swim the horses that were on the north side, including the crossing of artillery and infantry. By 12 PM the whole force had crossed and by 2 PM arrived in Monticello. On May 4th, all the cavalry units at Monticello under command of Colonel Wolford pursued the enemy. Finding that the enemy had crossed the mountains, they returned. The next day, Jacob was ordered to return to Burksville by way of Jamestown. Crossing the Cumberland was a tedious process since they had only one small, half rotten boat that could transport only five horses at a time. They spent 2 days swimming horses, crossing wagons, etc.
Early on May 10th, Confederate General Morgan attacked Colonel Jacob’s command with his whole force, consisting of about 5,000 men, and after a severe engagement lasting some hours, Colonel Jacob was compelled to recross the Cumberland River, which he did in a most skillful way. The Confederates did not follow.
On May 22nd, having read Colonel Riley’s report about the worthless Savage Pistol, General Ambrose Burnside asked, in a message to General Boyle: “What arms do you need for the Eleventh Kentucky Cavalry? I will have them sent at once, if possible.”
For the remainder of May, 1863, they remained in this area of Kentucky scouting and watching the movements of General Morgan. There were skirmishes at Mill Springs and Jamestown but the 11th Ky Cavalry was not involved. In June, 1863, the 11th Ky Cavalry moved over to Scottsville and Glasgow, Kentucky.
The end of the Month found the regiment numbers down by at least 6 men. Private John Hammonds, of Company A, died in the hospital at Louisville. A soldier from Company H was killed in a personal encounter at Green River, Kentucky on May 25th. Company E lost a man from Typhoid Fever at Lebanon on the 3rd of May and a man from Company B and Company C were discharged at Lebanon for disability. A Sergeant from Company F was discharged to accept an appointment as a 1st Lieutenant in the 7th Kentucky Cavalry on May 8th.
During the first part of June, 1863, the Regiment was assigned to the 23rd Corps, Army of the Ohio, with General G. L. Hartsuff commanding the Corps. The 11th Ky Cavalry was in the 2nd Brigade, General E. H. Hobson commanding. The 2nd Brigade was part of the 3rd Division, with General H. M. Judah commanding the Division. The Brigade was composed of the 9th, 11th and 12th Kentucky Cavalry, the 80th Indiana Infantry, the 13th, 16th and 24th Kentucky Infantry, the 65th Illinois Infantry, the 103rd Ohio Infantry, the 8th Tennessee Infantry and the 24th Indiana and Wilder’s Indiana Batteries.
On June 11th, while the Regiment was in Scottsville, Kentucky, confederate guerillas raided a few outlying farms belonging to loyal Union families. The 11th Ky Cavalry pursued them for several miles but lost them in the dark of night.
General Burnside had moved his headquarters from Cincinnati to Lexington on June 2nd, and the Regiments were being provisioned and equipped for a long campaign. Burnside was planning a move on Knoxville, Tennessee. However, about this time the 9th Corps was withdrawn from the Army of the Ohio and sent to reinforce General Grant at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Any plans General Burnside might have had for an East Tennessee Campaign was postponed.
The Regiment continued scouting around Scottsville and Glasgow, Kentucky until the latter part of the Month, when reports of Morgan’s Cavalry being sighted along the Cumberland River near Burkesville were received. The Regiment was ordered to report to General Judah at Columbia, Kentucky.
Chasing After Morgan
At Columbia, General Judah divided General Hobson’s Brigade, taking command of the 11th Ohio, 23rd Michigan and 107th Illinois Mounted Infantry, the 14th Illinois, 5th Indiana, and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry. General Hobson was ordered to move west to Glasgow with the belief that Morgan my try to move that way if he crossed the Cumberland River, when General Judah told him to turn toward Tompkinsville, Kentucky.
The 11th Kentucky Cavalry marched with General Judah through Scottsville. It had been raining hard for the past few days and streams were out of their banks with many bridges washed away, slowing their progress. During the march, two men from Company C deserted the regiment.
Scouts had told General Hobson that Morgan’s men had started to move north and would probably cross the Cumberland River at or near Burksville, Kentucky. So, on the 1st of July, the regiment joined forces with Hobson at Tompkinsville. Hobson wanted to move at once to Burksville but General Judah ordered him to Marrowbone instead, ten miles to the west of Burksville, and told him to hold that town until further orders.
On July 2nd, Morgan’s men began crossing the Cumberland River near Burksville. Hobson’s Brigade attempted to get ahead of Morgan by riding to Columbia and then to Campbellsville. The 11th Kentucky’s Brigade, under General Judah, found itself trapped south of the Green River when it ran out of its banks. For 36 hours they waited for the river to recede enough for them to cross. In the meantime, Morgan had reached Columbia where they had a fight with Colonel Wolford’s Cavalry.
The regiment finally crossed the river at Vaughn’s Ferry at 8 AM on July 6th. They were now headed for Muldraugh’s Hill, where Hobson’s forces were. All the telegraph lines had been cut and Judah could not send word of their whereabouts to General Burnside in Cincinnati.
Confederate General Morgan reached Lebanon, Ky on July 5th, attacking the post commanded by Lt. Colonel Charles Hanson. Hanson held out for several hours, but after exhausting their ammunition and having several wounded men, Hanson surrendered the post.
On July 8th word was received that Morgan had crossed the Ohio River at Brandenburg and was now in Indiana. Judah and the 11th Ky Cavalry were now in Elizabethtown, Ky, 20 hours behind Morgan. He reported that his horses were about broken down. They were being replaced by citizen’s horses. The rations were also about gone and Judah requested a train be sent with supplies for six days for 1,200 men and four 8 mule teams. On July 9th, Judah moved to Litchfield, against General Boyle’s orders. A courier was sent to Judah ordering him to move to Munfordville and there await General Boyle’s orders. General Judah disobeyed this order. General Boyle reported this to General Burnside.
On July 10th, Morgan and his raiders were north of Salem, Indiana. General Hobson, with his forces crossed the Ohio River in pursuit. General Judah’s forces were still in Litchfield awaiting orders. Word finally reached Judah that Morgan had continued moving north and was across the Ohio River in Indiana. The Brigade rode back to Elizabethtown and boarded railway cars on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and rode to Louisville. At that city they went aboard steamboats to continue up the Ohio River in an attempt to cut Morgan off at Cincinnati. The Brigade was aboard 10 different boats. The flagship “Bostona” led the way, followed by “No. 2 Fisher, “Emma No. 2”, “Wren” and “Silver Moon”. This trip up the Ohio allowed the men and especially the horses to get a much needed rest. When they landed at Cincinnati, they found they were about 10 hours too late as Morgan had passed north of the City, continuing east through Ohio. Orders came from General Burnside for the Brigade to return to the steamers and proceed upriver, keeping as close to Morgan as possible. General Judah had to leave part of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry at Cincinnati due to their lack of horses. He gave orders for them to follow as soon as they could, but not enough horses could be found. The Brigade eventually disembarked from the boats at Portsmouth, Ohio, and rode west along the River Road, believing the enemy was making for the River. They learned, however, that once again, instead of being in front of Morgan, they were behind and to one side of him.
Continuing their pursuit of Morgan, they pressed on hour after hour, their poor horses tired and the men half asleep in their saddles, finally reaching the town of Pomeroy, Ohio. Morgan was not far away now and General Hobson was about 10 miles away in Chester, Ohio. In Pomeroy, the brigade rested in the streets and the people of the town brought them food and some fodder for their horses.
After resting, they marched through Racine, Antiquity and Dorcas, driving hard for the ford across the Ohio River at Buffington Island, where Morgan was expected to cross over into West Virginia. The fog was very thick along the River bottom, and suddenly they found themselves nearly face to face with the Rebs, not knowing they were so close to the ford.
BATTLE AT BUFFINGTON ISLAND
As soon as they discovered each other through the fog, they received a volley from at least a hundred enemy rifles. The 8th Indiana, under Colonel Butler, was up forward and the 14th Illinois Cavalry was in the rear, in reserve. Other Regiments had swung wide to form up on Butler’s right, and a detachment of the 5th Indiana under Lieutenant John O’Neil, followed the River’s edge. General Judah and his staff rode just ahead of a single Gun belonging to Henshaw’s Illinois Battery and an escort of 45 mounted men under Lieutenant Armstrong from the 14th Illinois.
The Rebels, throwing their rifles aside, charged the 8th Indiana, firing their pistols and yelling. The 8th Indiana began to retreat and then the lead horses, pulling the single cannon, were killed and the other horses became entangled in the traces. The Gun overturned and General Judah had a difficult time getting back through the narrow lane.
Regrouping, the 11th Kentucky with 2 other regiments attacked Morgan’s men about 6 A.M. and nearly surrounded them. The Union Batteries began firing into the enemy’s rear units. With the arrival of General Hobson’s forces, the enemy began to fall back. Within an hour about 700 of Morgan’s men surrendered. More than 120 were dead or wounded. General Morgan, with about 500 men escaped. This battle took place on July 19th, 1863.
CAPTURE OF MORGAN
General Hobson replaced General Judah and took his command in pursuit of Morgan and his men. General Shackelford also with a large force joined in the pursuit. Out in front were cavalry commanded by Major Rue and with him were 120 men of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, including Company A, commanded by Major Graham. By July 24th, Major Rue was at Bellaire, Ohio, closing in on Morgan. On the 26th, Major Rue, with the 9th Kentucky Cavalry and some of the 11th Kentucky, was ordered to intercept Morgan who was going in the direction of Salineville, Ohio. Coming within 1 mile of Morgan and his men, Major Rue ordered his command to move forward on the double quick. Rue took the advance accompanied by Captain Pond and Adjutant Pierce, with about 20 men from Company A, of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry. They dashed forward over a rough, hilly road in advance of the Confederates and drew up in line of battle, ready for action of the enemy’s front and flank. Previously Major Graham had ordered Lieutenant Burton of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, with 30 men, to annoy the rear of the enemy by following him on the main road and prevent Morgan from retreating. Morgan was now surrounded. Morgan then sent in a flag of truce and surrendered. Major Rue held the prisoners until General Shackelford came up, about 30 minutes later. General Morgan even presented his fine horse to Major Rue. However, after Shackelford came up he took the horse for himself. Major Rue, in his report, praised Captain Pond and Adjutant Pierce and the 20 soldiers of Company A of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry for their boldness and bravery. It is possible that Eli Hurt and his two brothers were among the 20 soldiers mentioned.
Returning to Kentucky, via Cincinnati, the 11th Kentucky rode to Nicholasville, where men and mounts were rested and the regiment refitted. During this month of July, Colonel Riley resigned and left the regiment on the 18th. Colonel Graham assumed command of the Regiment. Also, during this month, one man from Company B died at Campbellsville, Ky. of diphtheria on the 18th. A man from Company D was sent home sick and three men from Company D were discharged on disability. While at Glasgow, Kentucky, on the 1st, a Private from Company F deserted.
The East Tennessee Campaign
On August 6th, by order of General Burnside, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was placed in the Independent Cavalry Brigade consisting of the 1st Ky. Cav., 12th Ky. Cav., and the 11th Ky. Cavalry. This force was commanded by Colonel Frank Wolford. Wolford was a Kentucky mountain man, rough, and according to his men, ugly as sin. Some of them called him “Ole Meat Axe”. He was barrel chested, hawknosed and rode an oversize roan horse like a farm boy. He originally commanded the 1st Kentucky Cavalry Regiment and once was wounded and made a prisoner by Morgan. He had previously been in the Mexican War.
General Burnside was concentrating his forces of the Army of the Ohio at Crab Orchard, Kentucky in preparation for a push into Tennessee with the goal being Knoxville. Colonel Wolford’s Independent Cavalry Brigade was sent to Somerset, Kentucky from Glasgow. On August 20th, at Somerset, Wolford was given orders to detail a guard of 300 men to proceed with a cattle herd that would arrive at Somerset, to Chitwood, Tennessee. They were to remain there awaiting the arrival of the main column or receipt of other instructions. A portion of Wolford’s Brigade moved to Albany, Kentucky, arriving there on August 22nd. This detachment was to meet Wolford’s main force later at Huntsville, Tennessee. Wolford received orders to proceed with his main force to General Hartsuff’s headquarters at a camp on the Cumberland River. There they were detailed to guard a supply and ammunition wagon train into Tennessee. At Chitwood, Wolford’s Brigade was reinforced by an infantry regiment to help in guarding the wagon train to Montgomery, Tennessee.
General Burnside’s forces moved into Tennessee in two columns. General Hascall’s Division was to move to Kingston, Tennessee via Somerset, Kentucky, Chitwood’s, Huntsville and Montgomery, Tennessee. General White’s Division was to move from Columbia, Kentucky, via Creelsboro, Albany and Jamestown, Tennessee to Montgomery, Tennessee. Colonel Wolford’s Independent Cavalry Brigade, which included the 11th Kentucky, was to guard the supply and ammunition train following General Hascall.
On August 24, Colonel Wolford received orders to send a detachment of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry under Captain Pond to guard General White’s division to Jamestown, Tennessee. Returning to Monticello, Kentucky in charge of a wagon train, Captain Pond was then ordered to Crab Orchard, Kentucky. There, they were told to rejoin their Brigade in Tennessee, by way of Cumberland Gap, although at this time, the Gap was in Confederate hands. The rest of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry rode with Colonel Wolford from Somerset to Sloan’s Valley and encamped on the 25th of August. They then moved toward Chitwood near the State border, arriving there on the 27th of August. On the 28th, an infantry regiment joined the train to help guard it. On the 29th, the Brigade resumed the march, going to Hunstville, Tennessee and Kingston.
The forward elements of the drive to Knoxville reached that city on the 3rd of September. Knoxville was taken with very little resistance as the Confederates had fallen back east of Knoxville and also to the south down the valley. General Burnside, with his main force, arrived in Knoxville a little later. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry and the rest of Colonel Wolford’s Brigade reached Knoxville on September 8th with the wagon train. The cattle guard detachment joined the Brigade on the 12th. Cumberland Gap had now been taken by Union forces and soon Captain Pond and his detachment of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry rejoined the Brigade at Knoxville.
On September 16th, Wolford’s Brigade marched across the Holston River in the direction of Strawberry Plains and encamped. The 12th Kentucky Cavalry was ordered to Seviersville, Tennessee to operate in the upper Tennessee valleys. A detachment of Wolford’s cavalry went by Cumberland Gap to guard prisoners into Central Kentucky. On the 19th, Colonel Wolford was ordered back to Knoxville to receive further orders.
At Knoxville, he was ordered to move his Brigade south down the valley to operate on the right flank of the enemy and protect General Rosecran’s left. Rosecrans was in northern Georgia pushing the Confederate Army under Bragg. Soon after this time, a large battle was fought between Union and Confederate forces at Chickamauga, Georgia. General Rosecrans was pushed back into Chattanooga and lay under siege in the city.
On the 21st, Wolford’s men crossed the Holston River. The current was so swift they had to turn upstream with the horses and go sideways across. After crossing they moved 4 miles and camped on the Athens Road. On the 23rd, they rode through Philadelphia, Sweetwater and Mouse Creek Station to Athens. They went into camp at Cedar Springs, 2 miles south of Athens on the Cleveland Road. Colonel Byrd’s Union Cavalry Brigade had earlier, on the 11th, sent a detachment of his Brigade to Cleveland, 30 miles below Athens. This detachment was overwhelmed by the enemy and fell back to Athens. On the 22nd, Colonel Byrd, with his whole Brigade, moved down in the direction of Cleveland. The Confederate advance soon began pressing Byrd’s forces and Byrd called on Wolford for reinforcements. Detachments of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, under Captain Lawson, the 1st Kentucky Cavalry under Captain Burton, and the 45th Ohio Mounted Infantry under Captain Humphrey, all under the command of Major W. N. Owens of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, were sent to his support. A large detail of Byrd’s force was sent to the junction of the Dalton and Cleveland roads. Here they met the enemy in force and at once opened fire on them. After holding the enemy in check as long as he could, the detachment retreated and recrossed the Hiwassee River. At daylight on the 26th, strong reconnoitering parties under Captain Burton, which included the detachments of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry under Captain Lawson and the 45th Ohio under Captain Humphrey, were sent in the direction of the enemy on three different roads. At 9 AM, Byrd received a message from Captain Humphrey that he had been attacked by the enemy and was forced to pull back. Two companies of the 112th Illinois were sent to reinforce him. Soon Captain Lawson, of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, reported the enemy was advancing on the Dalton Road. Captain Burton, with his detachment of the 1st Kentucky, had been ordered to go 5 miles on the Chatata Road. He soon met a heavy force of the enemy and skirmished with them, retiring back toward the Hiwassee River and returning to Colonel Byrd’s main force on the north side of the River. About 12 PM, the enemy appeared in immense numbers. For 2 hours Byrd and his men contested the crossing of the River but were outnumbered. Byrd fell back on the road to Athens.
In the meantime, Colonel Wolford had moved the camp of his Brigade from the south to the north side of Athens. Hearing of Colonel Byrd’s retreat, he met him with his Brigade 2 miles south of the town on the Athens road and formed into line of battle with Byrd’s Brigade. The enemy soon appeared. After an engagement of an hour, the enemy retired. The Union forces then fell back to the camp of Wolford’s Brigade on the north side of Athens. That night they pulled back in the direction of Loudon.
E.Tarrant wrote in his book “The Wild Riders” of an anecdote told on Wolford by Captain Joel Huffman, of General Shackelford’s staff, as follows.
The enemy is approaching in strong force. May I fall back?
Before Burnside had time to reply, another dispatch was received.
The enemy is still approaching. Can I fall back?
There immediately followed another dispatch.
The enemy is here in overwhelming numbers. I am falling back.
On the 27th the command fell back, reaching Sweetwater at 5 AM. Soon the enemy appeared. After skirmishing a short while, they again fell back to Philadelphia, reaching that place about noon.
On the morning of the 28th, Colonel Silas Adams of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry moved out toward Sweetwater where he met the enemy and skirmished with him until 10:30 AM. Being outnumbered, he fell back to the main line at Philadelphia, followed by the enemy. The Union forces then fell back to Loudon and were put under the command of General Julius White of the 2nd Division of the 23rd Army Corps.
On the 29th, scouting parties were sent out, finding the enemy had retired. Colonel Adams was sent in pursuit and went 14 miles on the Athens road. He returned that night to Sweetwater. On September 30th, the 12th Kentucky Cavalry, which had been detached in the upper Tennessee valley, rejoined the Brigade at Loudon. At 7 AM, on this same day, Wolford’s and Byrd’s brigades moved in quick time to Philadelphia and there formed into a line of battle.
On the 1st of October, the Brigade resumed the march and encamped 2 ½ miles below Sweetwater, reaching the vicinity of Athens on the next day. A detachment was sent on the 2nd by Colonel Wolford toward Calhoun in search of the enemy. The enemy was found on the opposite side of the River in Charleston. They opened fire on the enemy pickets and then moved back to Wolford’s camp. Wolford was soon ordered back to a safe position and on the 4th, saddled up and rode as far as Mouse Creek Station and went into camp. On the 5th, they moved to Sweetwater. Here the two Brigades separated, Byrd moving back to his old position at Post Oak Springs, west of Kingston. Wolford’s Brigade and the 11th Kentucky remained at Sweetwater, staying there about a week scouting for the enemy.
Colonel Wolford learned, on October 10th, that the enemy had crossed the Hiwassee River at Charleston and occupied Athens that night. General Manson, at Knoxville, directed that if Wolford found the enemy too strong, to fall back to Philadelphia or Loudon. On the 11th, the enemy appeared in Wolford’s front. Wolford pulled back to 2 ½ miles and camped in line of battle. However, the enemy, though near, did not show up. The next morning the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, with the Brigade, marched to Philadelphia. Reaching that place, Wolford heard from his scouts that the enemy at Sweetwater was mainly reconnoitering parties.
On the 14th, Wolford reported to General Burnside that the main body of the enemy had fallen back. Eight privates and one Lieutenant had been captured by the enemy within the last couple of days. Wolford kept his scouts out in every direction. On the 15th, wagons of the 45th Ohio Mtd. Infantry were out foraging when rebels attacked them. The enemy was repulsed. Lt. Colonel Adams, of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, was sent out to help. The wagons were brought in safe and Adams trailed the enemy to within 4 or 5 miles of Decatur. There he charged the enemy, capturing 25 men and recapturing 9 of the Union prisoners. After chasing the enemy away, Adams returned to Philadelphia about midnight. A detachment of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was with him.
About this time, some changes were made in the Army and Department Commands. On the 16th of October, 1863, the Department of the Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee were united into the Military Division of the Mississippi, with Major General U. S. Grant in command. General Rosecrans, at Chattanooga, was relieved of command and replaced by Major General George Thomas.
THE BATTLE FOR PHILADELPHIA
About 10 AM on the 20th, Wolford received word that a large force of the enemy had attacked his wagon train out foraging about 6 miles west of Philadelphia. Wolford sent Major Milton Graham with his 11th Kentucky Cavalry to their defense. Shortly thereafter, word was received that the enemy was stronger than anticipated. Colonel Wolford then sent Lt. Colonel Silas Adams and the 1st Kentucky Cavalry to join with the 11th Kentucky. Reaching the train, the two regiments drove the enemy off. However, they were now cut off from their Brigade by enemy forces in their front and rear.
Meanwhile, Wolford had sent a 12th Kentucky Cavalry detachment toward Sweetwater to ascertain the enemy’s strength. Finding a large force coming up the valley toward Philadelphia, a courier was sent to warn Colonel Wolford. Another courier was dispatched then to recall the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry Regiments, but the courier was captured before he reached them. Wolford was now left to defend the town with the 45th Ohio Mtd. Infantry, 12th Kentucky Cavalry, a small part of the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry, and a small howitzer battery. Outnumbered 3 to 1, Wolford held his position for one long hour until finally driving the enemy back. While this was going on, Confederate General Morrison, with 1,800 men, was making his way around to the west and rear of Wolford’s position. The 45th Ohio moved quickly to the new danger but was driven back to their line by superior forces of the enemy. Wolford then about faced his command and faced the enemy. During this conflict, Colonel Defosse, commander of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry was killed while leading his men in a charge. Now artillery from the enemy, under Confederate General Dibrell, opened fire upon the Union troops. Being attacked now from all sides, Wolford had no other options except to surrender or cut his way out. Gathering a large portion of his men, with saber and pistol, Wolford dashed against the Confederate line with such force that the enemy gave way, leaving a gap with which the Union soldiers made their way through to Loudon, although many of the troopers were captured by the enemy during this rush.
While this was going on at Philadelphia, Lt. Colonel Adams, with the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry, had driven off the enemy who were left to guard the captured wagon train, and captured several of them. Adams soon heard the sound of artillery coming from Philadelphia. He then pushed with his men for the scene of action. Advancing, he soon came upon about 300 rebels near the railroad. He opened fire on them and charged into their ranks, capturing many of them. Adams then proceeded toward Loudon, having noticed that the firing had ceased at Philadelphia. Moving on this road, they came face to face with a column of North Carolina Cavalrymen which had been sent to make a feint on Loudon. Adams wheeled to face the enemy and charged, capturing many. The enemy gave way and those not killed, wounded or captured made their way back to their own lines. During the following day, many of Wolford’s men, having escaped or eluded their captors, trickled back into Loudon, among them the surgeon, Dr. Hawkins Brown. Losses of the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry Regiments were 20 killed and 80 wounded. Nearly 354 men of these regiments were missing and presumed captured. Private James T. Pond, of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry Co. A, was killed and Farrier Dave Bishop, Privates Squire Davis, John Edmonson, Jim Elkins and Virg Layton of Company A were captured. Bill Simpson, quartermaster, Hospital Steward Bob Derr and 1st Lieutenant Reuben F. Scott were also captured, Lt. Scott being from Company A. In addition, the following Company casualties were: Co. B- 12 captured; Co. C- 15 captured; Co. D – 11 captured; Co. E – 1 killed and 15 captured; Co. F – 4 captured; Co. G – 9 captured, and Co. H – 1 captured. In all 2 men were killed and 75 were captured from the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, some of the captured being wounded.
From the 21st to the 28th of October, the Brigade skirmished continually with the enemy. At this time General W. P. Sanders came up and took command of all the Union Cavalry at the front. While at Loudon, some new recruits were added to the 11th Kentucky Cavalry. Company A received 10 men, being Edmund Burress, Woodson Murphy, Charles Moberly, James Whittaker, George Bogie, Thomas Cotton, John Tuder, William Key, James Holeman and Levi Hendron. Company B received 4 men, but they promptly deserted the regiment. Company D received 1 man, Company F received 3 men and Company H received 15 new men. Several East Tennessee men enlisted in the Regiment while at Knoxville and apportioned to the various Companies.
On the 28th of October, the Union Forces evacuated Loudon and moved to the north
side of the Tennessee River. Wolford received orders to move to Knoxville and the Brigade reached that place on the 29th. The next day the Brigade moved to Maryville to scout on the south side of the Holston River and as far as the Little Tennessee River. The dismounted men were ordered to remain at Knoxville to be refitted. Four men from Company B deserted on this day. On November 1st the Brigade crossed the Holston River and arrived at Maryville on the 2nd. One man from Company H deserted while passing through Rockford.
On the 3rd of November, a portion of the Mounted Forces of the Department of the Ohio was organized temporarily as a Cavalry Corps commanded by Brigadier General James M. Shackelford. The 1st Division was put under command of General Sanders. The designation of Wolford’s command was changed from The Independent Cavalry Brigade to the First Brigade, First Division, Cavalry Corps. The Second Brigade of the same Division was commanded by Colonel R. K. Byrd, and the Third Brigade was commanded by Colonel C. D. Pennebaker. Pennebaker’s Brigade also moved to Maryville and camped in the rear of Wolford’s camp.
The next day, November 4th, General Sanders received word of a large force crossing the Little Tennessee River. To verify these reports, Sanders sent a detachment of 150 men under Colonel Adams, to scout that area. Adams left at 1 AM that morning. Reaching the vicinity of Morley’s Ford, he waited for daylight. At sunrise he heard the advance of the enemy coming down the bank to the River. Waiting for their approach he then ordered a heavy volley to be fired into their column, then rushed them. He captured 40 of the men and 4 officers. The rest tried to make their way back but many of them were killed or drowned. Adams soon ordered the firing to cease and his men helped the enemy soldiers get out of the water and up the bank. A larger force of the enemy soon appeared on the opposite bank and Adams withdrew with his prisoners and rode back to Maryville.
ATTACK AT MARYVILLE
On the 7th, General Sanders’ Division moved to Rockford. The next day, the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, under Colonel Adams, was sent to Maryville for outpost duty. Adams returned on the 11th and Captain Harrison of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry replaced him at Maryville. The next day Harrison reported that his pickets had been attacked by a small enemy force. Later that day the 12th Kentucky Cavalry returned to Rockford and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, under Major Graham, moved to the vicinity of Maryville for outpost duty. On the 13th, scouts of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry drove back some enemy pickets in the vicinity of the Morgantown Road. That morning, Confederate General Joseph Wheeler, with his Cavalry Division, crossed the Little Tennessee River at Motley’s Ford and marched all night toward Maryville.
Having heard that a large force was moving on them, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry drew up in line of battle. The regiment was seriously depleted of men and had only 9 Companies, probably no more than 300 men, having lost many during the Philadelphia battle. The enemy appeared suddenly, having come through the woods into open ground. As soon as the enemy saw the 11th Kentucky, they immediately charged into the small regiment, scattering them into groups of 4 or 5 men as they skedaddled for safety. The 11th Kentucky was by far outnumbered. Many of the troopers were captured, but many did escape to fight another day. Hearing sounds of firing at Maryville, the 1st Kentucky and the 45th Ohio mounted their horses and moved quickly toward that place. A charge was made on the enemy by these regiments, but General Wheeler’s men were expecting them to show up and were waiting in ambush for them. Heavy firing commenced and the Union Cavalrymen were forced to retreat back over the Little River, where they rallied and reformed, checking the advance of the enemy for the moment. General Sanders now moved his entire Division back to within 5 miles of Rockford and went into camp. Company A lost 7 men at Maryville, all believed to have been captured. They were: Privates Steve Layton, Broadus Owen, Pat Callahan, Jess Cooley and Bill Hamm. Also Corporal Abe Tuder and Sergeant Joe Tatum were taken. Adjutant William Pierce of the Staff was captured. Company B had 6 men captured, Company E had 15, and Company F had 10, including the Company Commander, Captain Robert Curd. Company G had 3 men captured. Several men were wounded, but there were no deaths.
THE SIEGE OF KNOXVILLE
On the 15th the enemy advanced and soon engaged Sanders’ entire Union line. Skirmishing and fighting continued during the day until late in the evening. The Union Cavalry was pressed back into the Infantry lines on the south side of the Holston River.
The enemy advanced again on the 16th, but now found the Union lines on the Heights below the Holston River in well strengthened defenses. General Wheeler was now ordered to move to the other side of the River to join with General Longstreet and the main body of the Confederate forces. He immediately moved toward Louisville, crossing the river that afternoon. The Union forces, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, moved across the Holston River on the pontoon bridge and went into camp at Knoxville. The Confederate siege of Knoxville had now begun.
On the 18th of November, General Sanders’ Division, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, took position early to try to stall the advancing enemy. Wolford’s Brigade, though in the fight, being on the right, was not in the heaviest of the Battle. In this battle, General Sanders was wounded and later died. Soon the Union troops were forced to fall back down the hill across Second Creek and up the opposite hillside. The enemy advanced their lines to the bluff south of the Creek. The firing had now ceased for the day.
The City of Knoxville was now nearly surrounded by the Confederate forces under General James Longstreet. The Union forces were dug in behind formidable defenses and Wolford’s Brigade was now behind those defenses. After the death of General Sanders, Colonel Wolford was made commander of the 1st Division Cavalry Forces. Colonel Silas Adams was now commander of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry’s Brigade.
Adams was a young 24 year old native Kentuckian, born in Pulaski County, and moved to Casey County when he was 2 years old. He attended the Kentucky University at Harrodsburg and Transylvania University at Lexington. He entered the Union Army as a First Lieutenant with the 1st Kentucky Cavalry. He was soon promoted to Captain and later Lt. Colonel and then Colonel. After the war he attended law school at Lexington. He eventually was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Congress in 1889 where he served until 1895, afterwards which he resumed his law practice. He died in Liberty, Kentucky, May 5, 1896 and is buried in Humphrey, Kentucky.
On the evening of the 22nd, Colonel Wolford took the 112th Illinois and other mounted regiments 4 miles up the river on a reconnaissance, but did not find the enemy on the eastern side of Knoxville. The next day, Wolford’s Division, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, crossed the Holston River and went into position on the heights of the South Side. The men were put to work digging rifle pits and throwing up breast-works. This continued for several days. On the afternoon of the 25th, the enemy made a heavy assault on the Union Cavalry position south of the Holston. The enemy however, soon retreated back to their own position on their own hill.
A party of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was sent to determine the strength of Confederate forces in their front, south of the river. They advanced to the vicinity of Rockford and found no enemy north of Little River. The 11th Kentucky was ordered to send pickets out on the Maryville Road.
Even though some provisions were brought into Knoxville from the loyal citizens east of the City, rations for the troops became very meager. However, Lt. Colonel Adams’ Brigade Headquarters (that of the 11th Kentucky) found a stray hog and butchered it. The men subsisted on a small piece of bread each day, which only served to whet their appetite. The weather had become bad and the men of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry were miserable in their wet rifle pits. The men were divided into 3 reliefs and one third of them kept on guard all the time, night and day, 2 hours on and 4 hours off. Those men off duty slept with their weapons within reach.
On the 27th of November, heavy skirmishing and artillery firing continued all day. On the 28th, Adams’ Brigade went to Maryville on a scout, capturing 12 prisoners and returning at 11 PM.
On the morning of the 29th, the 11th Kentucky heard heavy artillery across the river at the Union Fort Sanders (named in honor of General Sanders). General Longstreet’s Confederate forces were preparing an assault on the Fort. When the cannonading ceased, the enemy charged the Fort. A large and deep ditch surrounded the Fort and wire entanglements were placed in front of that. When the enemy advanced, they became tangled in the wire and those that made it to the ditch were trapped while the Fort’s defenders rained down a fire upon them. Soon the enemy retreated back to their lines, leaving scores of dead and wounded in front of the Fort.
General Longstreet soon received a report that General Grant had assaulted and pushed Confederate General Bragg out of the heights surrounding Chattanooga, driving the enemy south into Georgia. Troops under General William T. Sherman were now advancing north from Chattanooga to relieve the besieged Union Forces at Knoxville. General Burnside ordered Lt. Colonel Silas Adams to take a detail south to meet Sherman’s forces. Adams chose 300 men from his Brigade for this mission. Under cover of darkness, Adams moved south and marched as far as Maryville. Here they heard cannonading near Loudon, and having orders not to run any unnecessary risks, he started on their return march. As they approached within a mile or so of the Union lines, they came upon a Confederate force that was waiting for Adams in ambush. Adams then wheeled to the right and went into a dense woods, with the enemy firing a few shots behind them. By narrow paths, Adams led his Brigade safely back into the Union lines.
On the morning of the 4th of December, the advance column of Sherman’s forces arrived in Knoxville. The following night, Longstreet withdrew his army from the west of Knoxville and began moving northeast. The siege was over.
After Longstreet withdrew, the Union Cavalry was ordered to go in pursuit. The Cavalrymen were scantily clothed with worn out shoes and boots, and weak from short rations. Many were dismounted and many of the horses that survived were feeble. Joshua Hurt, the brother of Eli Hurt of Company A, had entered the hospital at Knoxville with measles or Small Pox, where he would later die. The orders were to move slowly with caution, which was good news for these weary troopers. Wolford’s Division was in the advance and on December 5th marched 8 miles on the Rutledge Road and camped for the night. A number of enemy prisoners were captured during the march. At 10 AM on the 6th, Wolford’s Command moved a short distance up the road. On the 7th, they advanced about 4 miles and did some skirmishing with the enemy. They moved forward and camped on Flat Creek. The next day, the Command marched to Rutledge and encamped. Several Prisoners were captured this day. At 7 AM on the 9th, Wolford’s Command pressed hard on the enemy and captured a large number of them. They reached Bean’s Station at 2 PM, 49 miles from Knoxville. Here they remained in camp, sending out scouts and skirmishing with the enemy.
On the 10th of December, General Shackelford, commanding the Cavalry Corps, sent Lt. Colonel Silas Adams’ Brigade, which included the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, to reconnoiter on the Rogersville Road. Adams went as far as Mooresburg, where he encountered the enemy in considerable force guarding a wagon train, and began skirmishing with them. The enemy dismounted and went into position in a gorge. Finding the enemy unassailable, Adams withdrew his Brigade and returned to Beans Station.
ACTION AT BEAN’S STATION
Two Hundred men of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry were on reconnaissance on the Rogersville Road on the 13th. Their detachment was attacked and driven off by the enemy, 600 strong, and 3 or 4 forage wagons were captured. General Shackelford sent reinforcements and drove the enemy off. The next day, the enemy attacked Bean’s Station. Adams’ Brigade was the first to be in the fight. Soon the entire Cavalry Corps became engaged. The fighting was fierce and eventually the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its Brigade was forced to fall back. They retreated back to Blaine’s Crossroads where they went into defenses. One man from Company G deserted at this place. Eli Hurt, of Company A became sick with the measles and was sent back to Knoxville to recover.
General Longstreet hesitated to attack the Union troops at Blaine’s Crossroads due to the fact that a Division of Infantry had arrived to support the Union Troopers. Longstreet then moved his forces back toward the northeast.
About this time, Brigadier General James Shackelford, commanding the Cavalry Corps, took leave of absence due to illness and left for Kentucky. Brigadier General S. D. Sturgis was now put in command of all the Cavalry of the Army of the Ohio. Also General Burnside had turned his Command of the Army of the Ohio over to General John Foster, and had left Knoxville for his home in Providence, Rhode Island.
Adams’ Brigade and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved on the 17th in the direction of Strawberry Plains. They intended to cross the Holston River but the river was too high. They then moved on the 18th of December toward McKinney’s Ford and returned to their camp on the 19th where they remained until the 23rd. On that day the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its Brigade once more moved to McKinney’s Ford where they crossed the river with difficulty. After crossing, they moved on to New Market and went into camp. The next day, Wolford’s Division, along with Adams’ Brigade, moved out on the Dandridge Road, 1 mile from town, remaining in line of battle all day, and then encamped.
On the 27th of December, 1863, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved with its Brigade to Flat Gap to guard and picket the roads in the direction of Dandridge. An enemy force was at Dandridge. Colonel Wolford’s two Brigades were in a very bad state. Around 800 men were effective for duty and about 1,200 men were without horses. The latter were ordered to Strawberry Plains to guard that place.
On the 28th, General Sturgis ordered 4 regiments of Colonel Wolford’s Division, with 4 mountain howitzers, to move on Dandridge by the Mossy Creek Road, and Lt. Colonel Adams Brigade, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, which had been picketing the gaps in Bay Mountain, to move toward Dandridge by the New Market Route, so as to reach Dandridge at daylight on the 29th. Reaching Dandridge, they found the enemy had withdrawn and had massed their Cavalry Forces against the Union troops left at Mossy Creek. A hard day’s fight ensued and the rebels were repulsed.
At Dandridge, Wolford’s command started to return, but was cut off, and they had to move around by way of Bay Mountain. After marching hard all day in a rainstorm, they arrived at Mossy Creek at 8 PM. The next day, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry returned to its post at Flat Gap. The temperature fell to below zero and the Cavalry troops built huge log fires to try to keep from freezing. The regiment remained on picket duty at Flat Gap until January 14th, 1864.
ACTION NEAR DANDRIDGE
On the 14th of January, Wolford’s Division received marching orders and moved to Dandridge again. The enemy was in town at that time and the 112th Illinois Mtd. Infantry, being in the advance, drove them out. The next night, enemy forces attacked the Union pickets, but were driven off.
The Cavalry Command moved out early on the 16th, with the 11th Kentucky Cavalry’s Brigade in the advance, on the Morristown Road. They came upon a much larger enemy force in a strong position with artillery. The Division held its position until the enemy moved down on either flank, overpowering the small force sent to check them. The Union troopers then fell back to its former position, with the enemy following. The 1st Brigade, under Lt. Colonel Adams, made a flank movement on the enemy, driving them back from the camp. However, Adams’ Brigade was soon overpowered and fell back slowly to the position of the 3rd Brigade. Sergeant Tom Finnell of Company A was wounded in this action.
On the 17th of January, the enemy attacked the entire Union Line about 2 PM. Heavy skirmishing continued until dark. About 10 PM, the Division fell back toward Strawberry Plains, fording the Holston River. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its Brigade moved at 11:30 PM and marched all night through a cold drizzling rain, crossing the Holston River late in the afternoon on the 18th, and camped 2 miles below Strawberry Plains. That night the temperature dropped and it commenced snowing and snow soon covered the ground. On the 19th of January, Pvt. Joshua Hurt of Company A died in the hospital in Knoxville.
The following day, the command marched to Knoxville. On January 20th, Wolford’s Division crossed the Holston River and marched 12 miles toward Seviersville and encamped. They remained in camp till the afternoon of the 21st, when the men were supplied with 100 rounds of ammunition each. The march resumed on through Seviersville and 2 miles beyond, where they went into camp. On the 22nd, the Command moved 8 miles to Fair Garden, capturing 5 enemy wagons and a guard of 20 men. The next day they captured a train of 11 wagons and 70 prisoners. They moved back about 3 miles on the road on the 24th, and the following day moved within 3 miles of Seviersville.
ACTION AT SEVIERSVILLE AND FAIR GARDEN
On the morning of the 26th of January, Wolford’s Command, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, moved out to Fowler’s on the road from Seviersville to Fair Garden. Colonel Adams and 11th Kentucky Cavalry was in the advance. They arrived at 12 PM and halted. Soon the Union Pickets were attacked by the enemy coming from Fair Garden. Adams formed his Brigade into line with the 8th Michigan Cavalry in reserve. The Union pickets were soon driven in and the firing commenced all along the line. The enemy soon succeeded in flanking the Union Cavalry on the left. Colonel Adams ordered the left to fall back to their horses and mount, after which this part of the line swung back to the creek. The enemy did not pursue and the Command fell back on the Seviersville Road and went into camp 2 or 3 miles from town.
Wolford’s 2 Brigades moved back to Flat Creek Gap on the morning of the 27th, but found no enemy. In about 2 hours, Colonel Adams, with his Brigade, was ordered to move to Dickey’s, some 3 miles from Seviersville. Colonel McCook’s Union Division was engaging the enemy and Adams’ Brigade was put in position to guard the left flank of McCook’s line. However, the enemy soon retired.
On the 28th of January, the Command moved to Fair Garden and on the road to a point near Kelley’s Ford, where the enemy was found in a strong fortified position. The Command was dismounted and formed into line, with Adams’ Brigade on the left. The line then advanced and charged the enemy. The enemy then poured a terrific fire into the Union Line. The line fell back for a moment but then rallied and held their position for more than 2 hours until ordered to fall back. Major Milton Graham, commanding the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, was badly wounded in this action and one man from Company C was killed.
After this engagement, the Cavalry fell back and camped at Dr. Hodgedon’s place on Pigeon Creek. Meanwhile, a heavy enemy infantry force had moved to the rear of the Brigade, cutting them off from the main body of the Army of the Ohio. Adams’ Command was ordered to move to Maryville by a back road route. The Command moved at sunrise on the 29th, marching 16 miles over bad roads, passing through Devil’s Gap, and camping at Weir’s Cove. They moved on the 31st down Little River and arrived in Maryville at sunset. Private Levi Hendren of Company A deserted at Knoxville during this month and 2 men from Company H deserted at Halls Gap, Kentucky on the 3rd and 6th of January.
The 11th Kentucky Cavalry remained at Maryville until February 4th, using the time for rest and recuperation. Wolford’s Division, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, on February 4th, was ordered to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky to be reorganized, remounted, and re-equipped for service and to guard the State against raids. One man from Company B deserted at Maryville. Another trooper from Company E was AWOL since January 20th, and was caught, arrested, and returned to the regiment on the 4th of February. Eli Hurt remained in the Hospital at Knoxville. On the 4th of February the Division marched through Cumberland Gap and crossed the Cumberland River passing on to Flat Lick. On the 8th of February, they passed through Barboursville and camped near London. They crossed the Rockcastle River the morning of the 9th, and evening found them in camp near Richmond. The next day, the 10th, they crossed the Kentucky River and camped near the Ford. The next day they camped at Winchester in the evening. On the 12th of February, they arrived at Mt. Sterling and went into camp about half a mile north of town. Two men of the Regiment later died in the hospitals at Louisville and Aurora, Indiana, from wounds received in the fighting of January in East Tennessee.
The Atlanta Campaign
While in Mt. Sterling, many of the men were given furlough. The Cavalry Regiments were being remounted and new clothing and equipment was issued. It was a time of rest with limited duty. Captain Cozatt of Company C was discharged on disability on the 28th of February. Sergeant Major William Taylor, Regimental Staff, was reduced to Private by order of Colonel Holeman and transferred to Company L.
The third battalion joined the 11th Kentucky Cavalry during February. This battalion consisted of Companies I, J, K, L and M which were recruited in the fall of 1863 and mustered into service with their Commander, Major W. O. Boyle. Three other officers were brought into the 11th Kentucky Cavalry with the Battalion, those being Lt. Colonel A. J. Alexander, Major English and Colonel Holeman. It was here that injustice was done to Major Milton Graham. Major Graham was the starter of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and led them bravely in the recent East Tennessee Campaign. However, Lt. Colonel Riley was given command of the Regiment at the start. When Riley resigned in July, 1863, Major Graham took over the Regiment. Now the command was given to Colonel Alexander. Alexander would soon resign, but the Regimental command would go to Lt. Colonel Holeman. Holeman would resign in December and Major Boyle would take command. Major Boyle was a young man not yet 20 years old, but he was the son of General Jeremiah Boyle and the General had great influence in Kentucky. Toward the end of the war, Major Graham would finally be made Regimental Commander again.
Company A received 5 new recruits in March. These men were: Harrison Spainhour, Nelson Tuder, James Walker, Drury Shrewsbury and Mariman Murphy. The number of men in Company A at the end of March was 58, 10 less than when they started in September, 1862. Company B received 2 new men, Company D only 1. Company E received 5, Company F 2, and Company H received 29.
In March, 1864, the loyal citizens of Lexington, Kentucky invited Colonel Wolford to come to their town to receive their appreciation for his performance in ridding the State of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan in July of 1863. Wolford went to Lexington where he was presented with a sword. Wolford then gave a speech thanking the citizens of Lexington for this honor. However, later in the speech, he condemned the President for their call for colored volunteers to join the Union Army and said it should be stopped. In a few days time, Colonel Wolford was put under arrest by the following order:
NASHVILLE, March 18, 1864
Major General J. M. Schofield, Knoxville, Tennessee
Col. Frank Wolford, First Kentucky Cavalry, has this day been ordered to report to you in person in arrest. You will cause your Judge Advocate, or some other staff officer to prepare charges against him, based on his recent speech in Kentucky, and cause, as soon as practicable, a general court martial to be convened for his trial.
By order of Lieut. Gen. Grant
T. S. Bowers,
A court martial was never convened, but Colonel Wolford was dismissed from the service 6 days later by order of President Lincoln. This action caused great consternation among the men of the 1st, 11th, and 12th Kentucky Cavalry Regiments, and there was a lot of talk against the Military and Government by some of these men. The following message was written by General S. G. Burbridge, Military Commander in Kentucky, to General Schofield in April, 1864.
April 8, 1864
Major General Schofield:
…..The influence of the First, Eleventh, and Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry is very dangerous in Kentucky at this time. The quiet of the State demands that they be removed as soon as possible.
S. G. BURGRIDGE
During this month of March, Pvt. James Holeman of Company A, deserted at Mt. Sterling on the 7th. One man deserted from Company D, and a man deserted from Company on the1st. A man from Company G deserted at North Middleton, Kentucky on the 5th and another man from that Company deserted at Mt. Sterling on the 30th. Company H had five men desert on the 12th of March. Sickness and disease are always with the Army and a man from Company B died in the hospital at Lexington, Kentucky of Pleurisy on March 15th, and another trooper died of small pox at the hospital in Aurora, Indiana on the 16th. The Provost Marshall brought in a man who had deserted from Company B on October 8, 1862. This man claimed he was a paroled prisoner but was unable to prove such a claim. He was returned to duty with the regiment with loss of pay during his absence.
The regiment remained at Mt. Sterling training the new recruits and scouting. Pvt. Eli Hurt rejoined the regiment during this month of April, having recovered from his illness at Knoxville. Nine new recruits from Company H deserted the regiment while they were at Paris, Kentucky, between April 1st and the 15th. One soldier from that Company attempted to sneak away from camp and desert, but was drowned while trying to cross the Kentucky River. Two men from Company F deserted on the 30th while at Camp Nelson and a man from Company D, who had been absent without leave since June 20th, 1863, voluntarily returned to the regiment on the 24th of April. On the 29th of April, Lieutenant Pierce, Staff Adjutant, rejoined the regiment as an exchanged prisoner. He had been captured at Maryville, Tennessee. On the 12th of April, Captain James Pond, Commander of Company A, resigned and was transferred to the 12th Kentucky Cavalry.
On April 27th, 1864, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved to Nicholasville, Kentucky to fully equip and prepare for the journey to join General William Sherman’s forces for his push on Atlanta, Georgia. Here in Nicholasville they received their past due pay.
General Sturgis had been replaced as Commander of the Cavalry Corps of the Army of the Ohio by General George Stoneman. Marching orders were issued by Stoneman to move to the front in Georgia on April 28th. Colonel Holeman was now the Brigade Commander which included the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry. Holeman’s Brigade moved on the 30th of April, marching one day behind Colonel Biddle’s Brigade. All the men of Holeman’s and Biddles Brigades which were left behind reported to Colonel Capron. Capron was to see these men were fitted out and sent to their regiments as soon as possible. Pack-mule trains were attached to each regiment, which was a new experience for the troopers.
The first objective of the march was Point Burnside on the Cumberland River. Many of the men, particularly of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, were passing near their homes and the temptation was too great for these men to resist. One by one they began to break ranks to pay a final visit to their relatives before going into battle once more. Soon they were deserting the column in droves. On the 2nd of May the command reached Point Burnside. A roll call was called and the 1st Kentucky showed only 71 men and 2 officers present out of over 800 men they started with. General Stoneman was furious and ordered all the absent officers to report to him under arrest when they arrived. Many of the officers and men reported later in the day on the 3rd of May. Men from the 11th Kentucky may also have left ranks, but there is no record of such. Most of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry troopers were from counties farther to the north in Kentucky.
On the 4th of May, the command made some rapid marching for over 110 miles to Kingston, Tennessee, arriving there on the 7th of May. They crossed the Tennessee River at the mouth of the Clinch River and went into camp opposite Kingston. By this time, most of the absent men had returned to their regiments. They lay over at Kingston, drawing rations and preparing for the next march.
The march resumed on the 9th of May, going 28 miles and camping at the mouth of Sewey’s Creek. On the 10th they reached Cleveland, Tennessee at 4:30 PM. The next day they crossed over into Georgia at 10:15 AM and encamped near Varnell’s Station at 3:45 PM. Here they could hear weapons fire coming from the front. The Confederate Army under General Joe Johnston occupied a strong entrenched position at Dalton, Georgia. General William Sherman had immediate command of the three armies operating against Johnston. These were the Army of the Cumberland, The Army of the Tennessee and The Army of the Ohio (23rd Corps), all totaling about 99,000 men. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its Corps were attached to the Army of the Ohio. On the 6th of May these Armies were grouped as follows: Army of the Cumberland at and near Ringgold, Georgia; that of the Tennessee at Gordon’s Mills, Georgia, and that of the Ohio near Red Clay on the Georgia line, north of Dalton.
ACTION NEAR DALTON
On the 12th of May, Stoneman’s command relieved General McCook’s forces on the left. Soon after relieving McCook’s men, the enemy cavalry attacked the Union line from Varnell’s Station south. Stoneman’s first line, consisting of the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry, extended along the ridge from Varnell’s Station to west of the Railroad. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry was in the lower left of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry and in front of a dense stand of woods.
All of the officers of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry were still under arrest except two. As the enemy came into sight, Colonel Holeman came up with orders from General Stoneman, relieving all the officers from arrest. The enemy approached the line of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and made a fierce attack on that regiment. The firing continued for some time until the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was forced to fall back in supporting distance of an Infantry Regiment. The enemy did not press the attack and on the afternoon of the 13th, all the Confederate forces withdrew from their position and moved toward Resaca, Georgia. One man from Company H was killed during the fight.
The next morning Stoneman’s cavalry moved on different roads toward Resaca. Holeman’s Brigade, (that of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry), started early and entered Dalton at 10:40 AM, where they witnessed a number of Union Infantrymen looting stores in the town. The cavalry officers, seeing this, rebuked those men and their officers for allowing this looting to happen. Sergeant Dudley of Company A became cut off from the Union lines and was captured by the enemy.
General Stoneman had orders to cover Dalton and guard General Howard’s left. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved through Tilton at 11:40 AM the next day and camped at 7:30 PM, where they spent the night strengthening their positions. Skirmishing commenced the next morning all along the line. General Sherman ordered General Stoneman to move over to the Coosawattee River and make demonstrations on the enemy’s rear. The command moved out but of the three bridges across the Connasauga River, the command succeeded in getting possession of only the lower one at File’s Ferry, from which the command was soon driven off by the enemy.
The 11th Kentucky and its Brigade lay on their arms on the night of the 15th and marched at 9:40 on the morning of the 16th. They reached the Coosawattee River where they ate their rations before resuming the march at 4:30 PM.
On the 17th of May, General Stoneman sent the 1st Kentucky Cavalry and others, in all about 750 men, with orders to cut the railroad between Kingston and Allatoona. The Command started early, but at 1:30 PM they encountered the enemy in such force that they were compelled to halt and go into camp.
During the night, the Confederate forces once more retreated south, this time to Cassville where there were strong entrenched positions. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its brigade moved early on the 18th and camped on Big Pine Creek. The next day General Stoneman’s cavalry, including the 11th Kentucky, moved early, skirmishing with the enemy all day, driving their outposts into Cassville. When the Union Infantry came up at dusk, the Cavalry went into camp. A man from Company G was captured this day while acting as a courier between the regiments in the Brigade.
On the night of the 19th, Confederate General Joe Johnston again retreated south across the Etowah River. While the main Union Army rested on the 20th, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry went into line near Cassville and at 7 PM went into camp near a bridge. An inspection of the horses was conducted on the 22nd which showed that many of the horses were unfit for active service. On the 23rd, Colonel Holeman’s Brigade, that of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, moved to Cass Station and encamped near Colonel Strickland’s Infantry Command. General Sherman had begun moving his Armies toward Dallas, Georgia on this day. The 11th Kentucky and its Brigade were left at Cass Station to guard some stores of corn and to protect the rear of General Schofield’s wagon trains.
BATTLE AT CASS STATION
At 10 AM on the 24th of May, Confederate cavalry, commanded by General Joe Wheeler, consisting of three brigades, attacked General Schofield’s wagon train between Kingston and Cass Station, burning some and capturing others. When the first shots were heard, the men of the 11th and 1st Kentucky Cavalry mounted their horses and galloped in the direction of the attacked train.
The force which was to protect the wagon train was made up of the 14th Kentucky Infantry and about 200 of the 125th Indiana Infantry. These wagons were moving to the front with the Infantry in their rear and front and the Cavalry again in the rear of them. The enemy attacked the train in the center where they were least guarded and succeeded in burning the greater portion of the train before the 11th and 1st Kentucky Cavalry moved up. The Kentucky Brigade advanced across a small stream and proceeded across an open field where they saw the enemy at the edge of a dense oak and pine woods. The enemy opened fire as the Brigade moved closer but the Brigade rushed on, driving them back to their main forces. It was seen now that the enemy outnumbered the small Brigade. The main force of Wheeler’s Cavalry charged the Union Regiments. The 11th and 1st Kentucky Cavalry Regiments fell back with several losses. As they retreated through the dust and smoke, the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry became mingled with each other and also with that of the enemy. Lieutenant Harris, of Company A of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, disabled one of the enemy by a blow on the head with his saber and then captured him. Harris also emptied the saddle of an enemy trooper and Lieutenant Hall another. Several of the enemy troopers were captured in this melee. A black flag bearing a white, grinning skull was captured and brought in. As the Brigade moved back, the Infantry came up and soon the Confederate Cavalry withdrew. Back at Cass Station, Colonel Strickland had ordered the depot burned to keep it out of Confederate hands.
The Kentucky Regiments then moved back and gathered up their dead and wounded and took them back to Kingston. At Kingston they buried the dead troopers and placed board markers on their graves. Their names were carved on the boards. Two of the dead were from Company D, one was from Company B, one from Company I and one from Company K. One man from Company H and two men from Company K were wounded. Company H had 4 men captured and Company G had one man captured. Company A had two men captured, being Pvt. George Bogie and Corporal Woodson Wilder. The next day, in the afternoon, the 11th Kentucky moved across the Etowah River and encamped in the rain. No dry firewood was to be found to cook their meals and they made do with just their hardtack.
On the 25th of May, General Sherman was facing the Confederate Army at New Hope Church, Georgia. The battle raged for several days. While this event was taking place, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its Division were covering the left and rear of General Schofield’s Infantry Forces. On the 26th of May they marched all day and camped at 10 PM. The next day they camped within 7 miles of Dallas. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry continued it movements protecting the rear and left of the Army until the 1st of June.
On the 1st of June, General Stoneman was sent, with his Command, to capture Allatoona Pass, which was done the same day with little resistance. The Cavalry now occupied the east and west ends of the Pass. The Regiment remained here until June 7th, scouting the surrounding country. On the 4th of June, the Pack Trains were ordered up. In the meantime, Confederate General Joe Johnston retreated again with his Army to Kennesaw, Pine and Lost Mountains. Lt. Colonel Milton Graham was now the Commander of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry.
The Kentucky Brigade moved on June 7th to near Ackworth, and on the 9th moved to the front pressing the retreating enemy and skirmishing with them. In this skirmish, one man of Company D was wounded and one man from that Company was captured. The Regiment returned to camp that night. The next day, June 10th, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and its Brigade moved up to the front again skirmished with the enemy. On the 12th, while heavy cannonading was going all day along the line, the 11th and 1st Kentucky Cavalry were dismounted and stood within the defenses in a cold rain.
On the 15th of June, the Brigade was again dismounted and moved to the front to try to take Lost Mountain, together with other regiments. However, the enemy was too strongly entrenched. The 11th and 1st Kentucky Cavalry were posted in two different places and Colonel Adams had to move between these positions to give directions. On one of his trips he was fired upon by enemy videttes (mounted pickets), with one of the balls tearing off a piece of his beard. Adams had been promoted Colonel and given Command of the Brigade. Colonel Holeman had taken a leave of absence and had gone home. He would later tender his resignation.
On the 17th of June, the enemy withdrew from Lost Mountain and Colonel Adams’ Brigade moved to the top. Coming down from the Mountain, Adams was ordered by General Cox to send his Brigade against some enemy artillery supported by infantry. Adams took the Brigade towards the spot and was ready to charge, when they were called back by a courier from General Stoneman. Stoneman had words with General Cox about sending his men on a mission without his consent. It is very likely that had the Brigade not been called back, it would have suffered severe casualties. The men of the Brigade thought a lot of General Stoneman at that moment.
The Regiment moved on the 19th of June toward Powder Springs and went into camp. The next day they continued toward Powder Springs and formed into line of battle. The enemy being too strong for the Brigade, they pulled back about 2 miles and went into camp on a stream called Mud Creek and to the right of General Cox’s Division of the 23rd Corps. Sergeant Major Harry Gee of Company A was promoted to Staff Adjutant. Lieutenant John Cotton resigned on the 20th and Corporal Howard Warren was promoted to Second Lieutenant on the same day.
On the 21st, about 1:30 PM, a large force of the enemy’s cavalry made their way through dense woods to the opposite side of the Creek near Adams’ Brigade and formed into line. Enemy artillery began shelling the camp, driving Adams’ Brigade off. The Brigade was soon reinforced by the 12th Kentucky Infantry with artillery and the enemy was driven off. The Brigade returned to their camp.
The Brigade loaded up its camp equipment, and on the 27th of June moved across Mud Creek and to the right of the main Army. They formed in line of battle and drove the enemy one mile and went into camp.
Also on the 27th, General Sherman gave orders for the main forces to make an assault on Kennesaw Mountain. The assault failed with considerable casualties on the Union side. Sherman then moved his forces to flank the Confederates, causing the enemy army to withdraw from Kennesaw on the 2nd of July.
While the Infantry was moving, Adams’ Brigade moved out of camp at and early hour on the 1st of July. They crossed to the south side of Sweetwater Creek, and went about 6 miles further to the right wing of the Union Army, driving some enemy pickets into their camp. Three Companies of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and three Companies of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry were sent out on a scout, but found no enemy. On the 2nd of July, the Brigade marched all day, capturing some prisoners, and camped near Salt Springs.
On the 3rd of July, 1864, the Command was ordered to the Chattahoochee River on a scout. They found the enemy on the opposite side, and skirmished with them. The next day, the enemy’s cavalry crossed the river and fired upon the Brigade’s pickets. Three Companies of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and 4 Companies of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry pursued them to the river at Campbellton, where a heavy skirmish took place.
On the 5th of July, the Confederate Army took position on Peach Tree Creek and the Chattahoochee River. Sherman’s Union forces began crossing the Chattahoochee at three points over pontoon bridges. Atlanta was now only 8 miles away from the Union Armies. Here Sherman gave his forces a short rest to await supplies.
Leaving early in the morning of July 10th, Stoneman’s cavalry moved toward Salt Springs where all the brigades would rendezvous. As they moved toward Sweetwater town, Silas Adams’ Brigade, consisting of the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry joined the column as it neared their camp near the ruins of the Sweetwater factory. About noon, they reached the Campbellton Ferry. Skirmishing began immediately with Confederates who were dug in on the east side of the river. After General Stoneman ordered the artillery up to shell the enemy, and after the shelling commenced, the rebel forces “skedaddled” and the citizens of Campbellton began hanging out white flags. A large factory in the town was set afire by the shelling.
RAID TO MOORE’S BRIDGE
Leaving the 5th and 6th Indiana Cavalry at Campbellton to keep the rebel forces busy,
on the 12th of July, General Stoneman’s Command, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, marched west in the direction of Carrolton to see if there were any bridges intact to cross the River. They rode about 20 miles, and went into camp. During the morning of July 13th, a scout came in with information given him by a citizen that Moore’s Bridge was just down the road. The Brigades moved out about 4 or 5 miles beyond Dog Creek to Five Points where they turned southeast and headed straight for Moore’s Bridge, determined to get to the bridge before it could be reinforced or burned by the Confederates. General Stoneman ordered Colonel Adams to take the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and hurry ahead to the bridge. Shortly before noon, 9 men of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, dressed in captured rebel uniforms, rode up to the bridge and leveled their guns at the rebel pickets skinny-dipping in the shallows of the river, and demanded their surrender. Some of the enemy clambered up the opposite bank and ran across the fields as fast as their bare feet could carry them. Others went for their weapons, but the Kentuckians opened fire, wounding a Lieutenant and capturing 20 others. The rebels were literally caught with their pants down. They were of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry.
Late that afternoon, General Stoneman and the rest of the column arrived at the bridge.
After repairing and replacing some planks on the bridge, a few men crossed over and captured some mules, some wagons and prisoners. Soon the whole Command was ready to cross over, but as soon as they started, the enemy opened fire with artillery from the woods on the other side. Rebel Cavalry under General Frank Armstrong had arrived unknowingly to the Union troopers. The Union troopers had to abandon their rifle pits and sprinted back across the bridge, where they opened fire on the enemy. Sergeant Byrum of the 11th Kentucky was wounded and later died. General Stoneman ordered the bridge to be burned, which was done. Both of the Brigades were ordered to fall back a short distance. General Stoneman then sent scouts down the river to within 13 miles of Franklin, but they found no fords or bridges across the river. The Command then fell back to Dog Creek near Villa Rica, arriving at 2 AM on the 15th of July and encamped near there. At daylight, Adams’ Brigade and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved to Dark Corner.
At 4 PM on the 15th, Adams’ Brigade left Dark Corner and crossed the bridge at Sweetwater shortly before sundown. They then turned south to picket and patrol the riverbank between Sandtown Ferry and the mouth of Sweetwater Creek. On the 20th of July, General Schofield’s Army and the Army of General Thomas fought a large and fierce battle near Peach Tree Creek. The Confederate Army was now under the command of General Hood, General Johnston having been relieved of his command.
General Sherman ordered that General Rousseau’s cavalry be sent to relieve General Stoneman’s Division on the 23rd of July. He also requested that General Stoneman and his Command report to him at Headquarters. On the 24th, Adams’ Brigade reunited with their Division and the whole Command crossed the bridge at DeFoor’s Ferry on the Chattahoochee. General Stoneman then met with General Sherman at his Headquarters on Peach Tree Road.
THE RAID TO MACON
General Sherman wanted to send the cavalry south to wreck the Macon Railroad. Stoneman’s and McCook’s cavalry would be given the mission. On the 26th of July, General Stoneman requested permission from General Sherman to go on to Macon with his Division, after wrecking the railroad, and release the Union Prisoners at that place. He also requested that permission be given to further move to Andersonville and free the men held there. Sherman gave his permission. Stoneman then summoned his Brigade and Regimental Commanders to his headquarters and announced his plans for the raid. The Officers were a little stunned at the prospect and not all of them liked what they heard. Some of his Officers, especially Colonel Biddle, had no confidence in General Stoneman’s ability to lead a raiding party. General Sherman himself said that “this is probably more than Stoneman can accomplish, but it is worthy of a determined effort.”
On this raid would be Colonel Silas Adams’ Kentucky Brigade, consisting of the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry, in all about 550 men, Colonel Biddle’s Brigade of 700 men of the 5th and 6th Indiana Cavalry, Colonel Horace Capron’s Brigade of the 14th Illinois, 8th Michigan Cavalry, and McLaughlin’s Ohio Squadron with 800 men. In addition there were Captain Hardy’s 24th Indiana Artillery Battery of 54 men and General Stoneman’s escort of Company D, 7th Ohio Cavalry with 32 men.
On the 27th of July, 1864, the Union horsesoldiers left their camp on the south fork of Peachtree Creek and moved to Decatur, Georgia where General McCook’s troopers waited. McCook would move on a separate road to Lovejoy’s Station. There he was supposed to meet up again with General Stoneman’s column. Several promotions were made in Company A prior to leaving Decatur. Francis Murphy was promoted to First Sergeant, Jim McDonald was promoted to Sergeant and Private Bill Yader was appointed Corporal.
After meeting with McCook at Decatur, Stoneman’s column moved south on the Covington Road. Crossing Snapfinger Creek they reached Latimer’s Crossroads, 8 miles east of Decatur, where they halted for a brief while. They then continued south toward Lithonia. That evening they stopped for the night 2 miles southwest of Covington, and early the next morning they moved into the town.
Leaving Covington about 8 AM on July 28th, Stoneman sent Colonel Adams’ Brigade down the west side of the Alcovy River with orders to scout toward Mechanicsville, watch the movements of the enemy and look for a bridge which the column could use to cross the Ocmulgee River. He then sent a detachment towards the railroad with instructions to tear up the tracks. In the meantime, a train of confederate soldiers were coming down the railroad and as fast as the Union troopers tore it up, the Confederates got off the train to repair it. Soon, General Stoneman told them to forget the railroad and continue on to Macon. Adams’ Brigade was to rejoin the column at Monticello at dark, but did not get to Monticello until midnight. They had moved down the west bank of the Alcovy, destroying a cotton mill. They burned Water’s Bridge after crossing the Alcovy and took the road south to Mechanicsville, sending scouts down the east side of the Ocmulgee River. They found no bridge at Seven Islands, (although Stoneman thought there was one). In fact, the scouts did not find any bridge along this stretch of the Ocmulgee.
Leaving Monticello that morning on the 29th, Stoneman sent Adams’ Brigade to the right to scout the country immediately east of the Ocmulgee River. They were to unite with the column again at Clinton. When Adams’s Brigade arrived at Clinton, Stoneman moved south again. Adams’s Kentucky Brigade was diverted to the right on the direct road to Macon. About 10 PM a flurry of gunshots crackled in the darkness. Adams’ advance guard had been fired upon by the rebels, killing a 1st Kentucky trooper and critically wounding another. A little further on there were more shots ringing out and the Kentuckians raced after the rebs. When they were within thirty yards of the enemy’s position, the rebels fired and the Kentuckians took cover. The enemy soon scattered, and Adams’ Brigade moved on, calling a halt about 5 miles short of Macon. At dawn on the 30th of July, they were back in the saddle. Adams had received orders, delivered by a courier, to strike the river at some point above Macon and find a means of crossing it.
When Adams’ Brigade came back toward Macon on the Clinton Road, Stoneman’s main force was in battle with the enemy in front of Macon. The 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry held the Clinton Road and skirmished with the enemy. Stoneman, feeling that the enemy’s position was too strong and fearing Confederate reinforcements at anytime, decided to continue on south, and maybe go to Pensacola, Florida. Farther north, General McCook had waited for Stoneman at Lovejoy’s Station. Since he had no word of Stoneman’s whereabouts, he moved back toward the Union lines.
General Joe Johnston was then in Macon, having been relieved of his command by General Hood a few days earlier. The Georgia Militia, with artillery, was facing Stoneman’s troops here at Macon. General Stoneman ordered Adams’ Brigade and the pack train to move down the east bank of the Ocmulgee River to hold a ford 7 or 8 miles below Macon until the rest of the Command arrived. After the Kentuckians had gone about 2 miles, a courier came in and told Stoneman that Rebel Cavalry was coming into Macon. Stoneman called Adams’ back.
Now there was nothing left to do but head back toward Atlanta and the Union lines. At 5 PM they started back up the road toward Clinton. Near Clinton, they had word that about 50 Confederate soldiers were there. The Union troopers swept into town, guns blazing. The Rebels retreated northwest of town. Releasing some of their men who had been stragglers and captured earlier, from the town jail, the troopers burned the jail down.
Stoneman’s column moved on and at 9 PM they were about 3 miles beyond Clinton. Here the advance guard of Colonel Capron’s Brigade met a column of oncoming Confederate troops. These men were from General Iverson’s Cavalry of Wheeler’s Command. Stoneman’s men pushed Iverson’s cavalry back about half a mile. Then the Rebs received reinforcements and more shots rang out. A charge by the 8th Michigan Cavalry drove the enemy back again. Colonel Adams’ and Biddle’s Brigades were still back on the road coming up from Clinton and did not get up to Stoneman until late that night. General Stoneman waited until dawn on July 31st, to determine where exactly the enemy positions were.
When the whole Command assembled, Stoneman ordered the men to dismount. Adams’ 1st Kentucky and 11th Kentucky Cavalry were ordered to charge up a slope at the dug in enemy. Some of the Kentucky men balked in the face of fire and refused to advance. Silas Adams rushed up, saber in hand, and tried to rally the Kentuckians to advance, but to no avail. Many of his men, especially in the 1st Kentucky Cavalry, were due to be mustered out in 2 weeks and no one could budge them. If the 1st Kentucky would not charge, then the 11th Kentucky wouldn’t either.
Finding themselves surrounded, Stoneman’s men put up a furious defense for the next few hours. The Kentuckians had retreated to the rear, but reformed and went up to the line. Colonel Capron’s Brigade was attacked and they fell back in panic to their horses, many of them were killed, wounded or captured. Next the enemy charged the 1st and 11th Kentucky Cavalry. The Kentuckians retreated back to where the 5th Indiana lay waiting. The Hoosiers charged the enemy but they too were driven back.
Most of Adams’ Brigade took refuge in a ravine while solid shot and shell rained down on them with considerable accuracy. Captain Pierce, of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry’s Company A, had just formed up the Company when a shell burst sent a piece of iron slicing into Lieutenant James Humphrey’s knee. Captain Wolford and others dismounted to assist him and another shell came in tearing away the head of the Captain. Captain Pierce then hurried Company A out of range of the Rebel Artillery. Finding Colonel Adams, Captain Pierce told him they could not stay here, that they must cut their way out. Adams had heard General Stoneman was going to surrender. The Kentuckians were now nearly uncontrollable at the thought of becoming prisoners and being sent to Andersonville.
Colonel Adams went to see General Stoneman and told him that many of his 1st Kentucky men were near their expiration of enlistment and it would not be fair to condemn them to captivity. In addition, many of the men in the 11th Kentucky were ex-confederates, and if they were captured that would surely be shot as deserters. Stoneman told Adams to take a flag of truce and surrender the Division. He said “if the men tried to cut their way out, they’d be shot down like dogs.” Adams replied, “General, do you order me to do so?” “What else do you propose to do?” said Stoneman. “Cut my way out” replied Adams, “and where I go my Brigade will follow”. Stoneman then told him to try it then and he would remain behind and hold off the Rebels as long as he could, thus giving Adams a chance of getting out. The two men then shook hands with tears in their eyes.
Adams’ Brigade mounted up and galloped into the woods, then across open fields, over fences and over hills and deep ditches, all without a sign of a road to guide them. Horace Capron’s Brigade soon followed. Most of the men in Stoneman’s Command wanted to cut their way out as Adams had. Individual men of the 8th Michigan had gone out with Adams and Capron. Lt. Colonel Matson rode up to some of his men of the 6th Indiana Cavalry and announced “anyone who wanted to escape should follow him.” Major Orlando Smith told other men of the 6th Indiana “if you don’t want to go to prison, follow me”. About 300 men and officers fell in behind them and galloped into the woods. At least 40 men of the Division were either killed or wounded before the breakout. Privates Andy Cooley and Cincinnati Alverson of Company A were captured.
General Stoneman remained with about 500 men and when their ammunition ran out, they surrendered. Colonel Biddle’s earlier remark about having no confidence in Stoneman’s ability to lead a raid was prophetic. He was with Stoneman at the surrender.
After emerging from the woods, Silas Adams’ Kentucky Brigade followed the Milledgeville Road as far as Blountsville before turning north toward Eatonton. Shortly before midnight, the Kentuckians rode into Eatonton. Staying only briefly, they hurried north on the Madison Road. Five miles north of Eatonton, Adams called a halt to rest his worn out Command.
They moved out a dawn and about 9 AM, on August 1st, Adams’ Brigade rode into Madison. Lingering only a short spell, they once more rode off north, crossing Hard Labor Creek on the Monroe Road. By the time the Brigade had reached Fair Play Crossroads, they had ridden 56 miles in 21 hours. While at the Crossroads, men of the 8th Michigan and Matson’s 6th Indiana arrived that afternoon. A little later Capron’s Brigade arrived. Capron, the senior Colonel, asserted his right to command. Adams objected, but after some heated words he agreed to obey Capron’s orders. Adams wanted to move northwest via Monroe and Lawrenceville, but Capron had heard of Rebel Cavalry in that direction and said they would go northeast towards Athens. The whole column then moved toward Athens shortly after dark. At midnight they were at High Shoals on the Appalachee River near Watkinsville. Adams’ Brigade charged into Watkinsville virtually unannounced.
Adams’ Brigade moved from Watkinsville toward Athens and to find a crossing across the Oconee River. Should he find a crossing, he would send word back to Capron. Three and a half miles south of town they were fired upon by artillery concealed behind fortifications. Adams withdrew and detoured westward, sending a courier to report to Capron. They came that night to a point about 16 miles northeast of Lawrenceville, and halted at midnight, the Command lying to horse, unsaddled, without going into camp. The Brigade was completely worn out, not having had any sleep for four days and nights.
Meanwhile, Colonel Capron had moved his men westward after Adams. After six miles he discovered his civilian guide had purposely led the column astray. After 6 hours of delay, Capron abandoned his idea of fording the Oconee River. He struck off to the northwest on the Hog Mountain Road about 4 PM. We can only wonder what he did to the civilian guide.
That night, Capron’s men were asleep in camp when they awoke surrounded by the enemy. Some of the men mounted and escaped, others fought briefly and were either killed or captured. When a private from the 11th Illinois Cavalry came up on Adams’ column, he told Adams that “Capron has been attacked and cut all to pieces”. The Kentuckians spurred ahead to help Capron. When they came to Capron’s camp, all they found were guns, pistols, blankets, etc. strewn all over the ground, these items being from Capron’s Brigade. Moving on farther about a mile, the Kentuckians collided with Rebel Cavalrymen escorting some prisoners. Adams’ men jumped into their midst and captured most of them. Deciding not to pursue those who escaped, Adams moved to his left on the Hog Mountain Road and that morning crossed Hog Mountain and rode on the Peachtree Road. At Pinckneyville, he detoured due north. About an hour before sundown the advance guard struck the Chattahoochee River at a ford a couple of miles above the ruins of McAfee’s Bridge, at or near Martin’s Ferry. By 9 PM everyone had crossed the River safely. They halted and camped in a cornfield about 2 miles beyond the River and near Newtown Crossroads. Since sunrise, they had ridden about 40 miles. Early on August 4th, Adams and his Kentucky Brigade mounted up and leisurely continued westward on the Warsaw Road through Roswell. About 11 AM his men began straggling into Marietta. They were back!
Colonel Adams made his report to General Sherman. Generals Garrard and McCook had already returned and had told General Sherman they were unable to hook up with General Stoneman at Lovejoy’s Station, and did not know where Stoneman was. When Sherman learned what happened from Colonel Adams, he was furious. Never having much faith in the Cavalry before, he had far less now.
Stragglers from Adams’ Brigade and Capron’s Brigade continued to return to the Union lines. Many had walked back, hiding by day and traveling by night. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry had at least 8 men missing, believed captured or killed. One wounded man from Company D died on August 5th in Marietta. Colonel Biddle’s Command consisting of the 5th and 6th Indiana Cavalry and a section of the 24th Indiana Battery, were captured with General Stoneman.
General Sherman ordered that Colonel Adams collect all of General Stoneman’s cavalry and make his depot at Marietta, and to picket Roswell in connection with the Regiment of Infantry there. Colonel Adams was asked to make a minute report of the facts and to let General Sherman draw the conclusions. On August 5th, all of Adams’ Command that were fit for duty moved to Roswell Factory. The horses sent to Roswell were mostly broken down, and hooves worn out for want of shoes.
General Sherman sent a message to General Schofield, telling him that he may send a detachment to Marietta and secure the horses of Colonel Adams’ Brigade and use them to mount other men. After the Macon raid, General Schofield was left practically without any cavalry for his Army of the Ohio. He told General Sherman, on August 9th, “that he had no good cavalry commander and that Colonel Adams was the best he had, but that Adams’ tour of duty was up and he would be discharged”. When asked if he wanted Capron, Schofield replied “I don’t know Capron personally, but understand he is not of much account”. “Colonel Garrard is the best man I have, but he is wanting in dash.”
On August 9th, Colonel Capron and six men came in during the morning and also Captain Bell of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, who was left on the battlefield July 31st. All came in on foot.
For the next few days, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry stayed in the Roswell area on picket duty. The 1st Kentucky Cavalry had been ordered back to Kentucky, and shortly thereafter, the 11th Kentucky also returned to Kentucky for refitting. They had no horses, so the Regiment went by train. Arriving in Lexington, they went into camp.
The Saltville Raids
On August 27th, General Burbridge, Commander of the Military Department of Kentucky, gave orders to have the 11th Kentucky Cavalry mounted immediately, drawing horses from the Quartermaster’s Department, and have them ready to march upon receiving orders. Burbridge had a plan to move to Saltville, Virginia to destroy the salt works at that place.
On September 11th, 1864, Burbridge gave orders for most of the Cavalry and Mounted Infantry Units to move to Mount Sterling, Kentucky, leaving the dismounted men behind. This order included the 11th Kentucky Cavalry. Although Burbridge did not, at this time, have approval for his proposed raid to Saltville, he felt he would get it. On the 12th of September, Major General Halleck approved the plan, and on the 19th, General Schofield met with Burbridge and reluctantly approved the expedition also.
General Burbridge moved out with his forces from Mount Sterling on September 20th, 1864. His column consisted of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry, the 26th, 30th, 35th, 37th, 30th, 40th and 45th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, the 12th Ohio Cavalry, and the 12th Michigan Cavalry. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry and the 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry had been borrowed by Burbridge from the Cavalry Division of the 23rd Corps and joined up with the column at Prestonburg, Kentucky. The 5th U.S. Colored Cavalry was a newly formed regiment, with many untrained recruits. The Mounted Infantry had about 600 horses that had been condemned as unfit for service for a single day, and a large number besides these were reported by the inspectors as probably fit for a march of not over 3 days. The result of all this was that many of men were dismounted after a few miles travel, and walked the remainder of the way, or were left behind.
The whole Command left Prestonburg on the 26th of September, followed by six 12-pounder mountain howitzers, which were dismantled and packed aboard mules and a long train of pack mules loaded down with corn. At Pikeville, the mules were unloaded, and the corn put into small sacks, which the men carried with them. Most of the mule train was sent back to Mount Sterling. On the 29th, the column rode into the little town of Grundy, Virginia and a little ways beyond, where the men got a little sleep.
In a rain that lasted all day, they left camp and marched to a farm near Richlands where they encamped. They pulled down the wooden rail fences on the Ratcliff farm and used them in their campfires to dry their sodden uniforms and ward off the cold. Most of the livestock on the farm was confiscated and eaten by the hungry troopers.
Leaving the next day near noon, Burbridge’s Command marched well into the night. Around midnight, they encountered a small group of the Burke’s Garden Militia. A few volleys of rifle fire compelled the small enemy force to scatter. A little later, the column moved down on the Bowen farm, cleaning the house and farm of nearly all edible things, and even taking the pots and pans from the kitchen. Many of Bowen’s slaves packed their bags and when the column left, they marched behind it. The Union column began its climb from the valley and up Clinch Mountain, with the white-horse Company of the 30th Kentucky Mounted Infantry in the advance.
The Confederate forces were waiting at the top of the mountain and when the white-horse troopers approached some 300 yards below them, the Confederate Commander gave orders to fire. A few troopers were felled from their saddles and the rest quickly dismounted and took cover. The next Union Brigade rushed up and began firing at the Confederate troops, which lasted for about a half hour. Soon the enemy withdrew to the top behind a thin screen of trees laid across the road. The Confederates then moved to a cleft on Flat Top Mountain. At 2 PM the Union troopers once again approached the enemy. The enemy opened fire, but Burbridge’s forces fanned out in a flanking movement around them, causing the Confederates to retreat. At Low Gap, the Confederates awaited Burbridge’s column again. However, seeing the sun shine off some of the rifles on the side of the gap, the Union forces were alerted. General Hobson dismounted his Brigade of Mounted Infantry and sent them against the enemy, that being the 64th Virginia. The enemy losses were severe, and the Union forces lost about a dozen men in this skirmish. The Confederates then retreated. The last obstacle between Burbridge and the Salt Works now was the Holston River.
Instead of moving directly on the Salt Works, General Burbridge’s forces crossed the river and encamped for the night. Unknowing to Burbridge, reinforcements for the Confederate defenders were on the way to Saltville. At dawn, October 2nd, the Union troops moved toward Saltville. Arriving within 2 miles of the Salt Works, skirmishing began with the enemy. The fight opened on the left early in the day and the action became steady along the entire Union line. About 1:00 PM, the 30th Kentucky Mounted Infantry and the 13th Kentucky Cavalry crossed the Holston River from the center of the Union line and attacked the Confederate line’s center. The Kentucky Regiments lost several officers and men. Soon a detachment of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry made a charge against the rebel line in support of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry and succeeded in driving the enemy back. The enemy then commenced shelling the Union line with their artillery. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry’s Brigade under Colonel Hanson found itself nearly surrounded by Confederates who were in position on high bluffs. The enemy fire was fierce and 45 men were killed or wounded, including Colonel Hanson who was shot in the stomach.
On or about 4 PM, Burbridge ordered General Hobson to assume command of all the troops and withdraw them from the field, as ammunition was almost exhausted and rations were low. General Burbridge himself, with his escort, left for Kentucky. The Union forces moved back across the river where they built fires all along the line as soon as it was dark to let the enemy think they were still there. The Union troops then began their retreat. On reaching the Bowen farm, the Union troops rested and got some sleep. The next morning as they resumed the retreat, Confederate cavalry came close to the rear guard of the column and skirmished with the Union Troopers, primarily the 11th Michigan Cavalry. The Commander of the Michigan Regiment was killed in this skirmish.
After arriving in Lexington, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry replenished its supplies. The Regiment was busy scouting and chasing Confederate guerillas in Central Kentucky for the rest of October and most of November, 1864.
Rebel forces in East Tennessee were building up strength and threatened the Union troops there. General George Stoneman, recently exchanged and released as a prisoner of War, asked that reinforcements be sent to East Tennessee. On November 16, General Burbridge sent a telegram to Major General Thomas stating that he could concentrate five Regiments, being the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, 11th Michigan Cavalry, 12th Ohio Cavalry and the 30th and 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry in 3 days. These regiments were presently scattered over the state after guerillas. As of the 21st of November, various detachments of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry were at Crab Orchard, Kentucky, Aurora, Indiana, Harrodsburg, Russellville and Louisville. Orders were given for all Regiments to at once move to Camp Nelson. On the 23rd of November, in a snowstorm, Burbridge moved his available forces from Camp Nelson to Barboursville. They were heading for Cumberland Gap and East Tennessee. At Barboursville, on the 24th, General Burbridge ordered the balance of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry be sent to Barboursville, if they can be found. The next day, at Cumberland Gap, Burbridge sent a message to General McLean asking him to hurry up with the 37th and 30th Kentucky Mounted Infantry and the 2 Companies of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry. Most of the 11th Kentucky, under Colonel Graham, was with Burbridge at this time.
On the 28th of November, a message was sent to the Secretary of War by General Burbridge, saying that “General Schofield had relieved him from Command, assigned by the President, in view of the presence of Major General Schofield.” The Secretary of War tells Schofield that “this order is unauthorized and is hereby countermanded.” The Secretary further directs that “General Stoneman be relieved from Duty in the Department of the Ohio, and go to Cincinnati, to await orders.” General Grant told General Schofield that it was his (Schofield’s) decision to relieve or keep Stoneman. Schofield elected to keep Stoneman and appointed him as second in Command of the Department in his absence, to the chagrin of the Secretary of War. None of this was known to General Stoneman at the time.
On November 30th, Burbridge and his forces were at Bean’s Station, Tennessee. General Stoneman directed him to send scouts up toward Rogersville and Kingsport as Confederate General Breckinridge’s forces were said to be in that area. Earlier, on the 26th of November, Stoneman had outlined a plan for a raid into Virginia and possibly destroy the Salt Works at Saltville. This plan was approved by General Schofield on December 6th.
On the 10th of December, General Stoneman left Knoxville for Bean’s Station, arriving there on the 11th. General Gillem was also there with his Cavalry Division. Stoneman’s forces now consisted of the 11th and 12th Kentucky Cavalry, the 10th and 11th Michigan Cavalry, the 12th Ohio Cavalry, the 8th, 9th and 13th Tennessee Cavalry, and the 5th and 6th U.S. Colored Cavalry. In Addition there were the 30th, 45th, 53rd and 54th Kentucky Mounted Infantry together with Battery E of the Kentucky Light Artillery, in all about 5,500 men. On the 12th of December, 1864, at daylight, the Union forces moved out toward Kingsport, Tennessee, General Gillem moving out first and then followed by General Burbridge and his command, which included the 11th Kentucky Cavalry.
On the morning of December 13th, General Gillem’s Cavalry attacked Confederate Commander, Basil Duke’s Command across the Holston River, killing and capturing many. General Burbridge’s Command moved on to Bristol, Tennessee, where on the 14th, at 3 AM, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was sent forward into the town. They met the enemy and skirmished with him until General Gillem’s Cavalry came up. The enemy then retreated. The Union columns moved on toward Abington, Virginia. There they destroyed portions of the railroad in order to cut the line between Wytheville and Saltville. The troops spent the night in Abington. That evening General Gillem’s forces arrived. The next day, Stoneman arrived and sent Gillem’s forces on to Glade Springs, with Burbridge’s forces following a few hours later, at which point they all spent the rest of the night. At 2 AM of the 16th, the Command was again in motion.
General Gillen was reinforced by two Regiments from Burbridge’s forces, being Colonel Brown’s Brigade consisting of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and the 11th Michigan Cavalry. Stoneman then sent Gillem’s troopers on toward Wytheville, Virginia. They rode into Marion, Virginia where they skirmished with General Vaughn’s rebel troops. However, the rebels soon retreated toward Wytheville, pursued by Gillem’s men. The Union troopers arrived at Wytheville about dark. Vaughn’s small force escaped leaving behind all their artillery and trains and 198 prisoners of war. By the night of the 16th, Gillem’s men had completed the destruction of stores, supplies and trains at Wytheville. He sent the 11th Kentucky Cavalry to Reedy Creek, 13 miles beyond Wytheville, where they destroyed the important railroad bridges over that stream. Gillem then withdrew his forces 3 miles outside Wytheville and encamped. At 7 AM on the 17th, Gillem started on his return toward Abingdon. After marching about 4 miles, he met a courier from General Stoneman, with a dispatch saying General Burbridge was at Marion in a battle with a considerable force of the enemy, and requested Gillem reinforce Burbridge. Gillem moved forward toward Marion with his entire Command, leaving Colonel Brown’s brigade to bring up the rear. About dark, Gillem met up with General Stoneman near the bridge, 2 miles from Marion. He sent a regiment of Tennessee Cavalry on to help Burbridge in the fight at Marion, in addition to Colonel Brown’s Brigade which he had borrowed from Burbridge.
The next morning the battle began in earnest, in a heavy rain and cold. Burbridge’s forces attacked the bridge which was held by the Confederates and at the same time Basil Duke’s Brigade on the right. The Union troops were eventually driven back. Lt. Colonel Boyle, of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was killed leading a charge to the bridge. When darkness once again fell, the Confederates still held the bridge and fords.
During the fight that day, General Stoneman sent General Gillem’s troops around the Confederate right and on to Saltville. General Breckinridge’s men were nearly out of ammunition and he retreated for Saltville. However, Union Colonel Buckley’s Brigade was planted firmly on the road. Seeing he could not advance, Breckinridge turned his force south and moved away into North Carolina.
General Burbridge’s troops moved out at dawn on December 19th, from Marion, stopping to feed and rest the horses, when he met Colonel Buckley near Preston’s farm.
General Stoneman and General Gillem rode around Burbridge’s camp, bivouacking that evening near Glade Spring.
The next day, Gillem’s command moved down the Glade Spring Road leading to Saltville and about 2 PM, encountered and skirmished with enemy pickets, driving them in. General Burbridge was on the Lyon’s Gap road, also leading to Saltville. At dark, Gillem moved quietly past Confederate Fort Breckinridge without being challenged, and made his way into Saltville where they began the destruction of the Salt Works. Confederate Fort Stathan was another story. General Burbridge could not get pass this fort right away. However, after the Confederates in the fort seen flames coming from Saltville, they knew the Union forces were there and they skedaddled, leaving Burbridge with the fort and the way open into Saltville. Burbridge’s forces moved into Saltville at 4 AM, and found Gillem’s men wrecking the Salt Works and the town. His men joined Gillem’s in the destruction. Stoneman’s Command worked all day of the 21st, destroying the town.
After a cold and frost-biting night, Stoneman led his men out of Saltville. Burbridge’s Command, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, went back to Kentucky via the Big Sandy River. Stoneman and Gillem moved back into Tennessee and on to Knoxville.
General Burbridge’s Command left Saltville in a blinding snow storm, and as they went down the steep mountain road the cold became more intense. The necks, breasts and forelegs of the horses were covered with clinging sheets of frozen breath or blood that had oozed from the fissures in their swollen nostrils. Often their lips were sealed by the frost to the steel bits. Many of the men were now walking as their mounts had died. In one mile alone, at least 200 horses had died. They reached Lexington on the 5th of January, 1865.
In his report of the Battle, General Burbridge recommended that 1st Lieutenant L. Linn, of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry be promoted to Captain, for valuable service rendered during the expedition.
On January 9th, 1865, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. On that day, orders were given to send the mounted part of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry to the New Lebanon Road, for operations in the region of Raywick, New Haven and Hodgensville against guerillas.
On the 10th of January, Special Orders were issued, from the Headquarters of the Military District of Kentucky, ordering newly recruited volunteers and unmounted members of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, to proceed to Louisville by railroad and report to Brigadier General H. Ewing, commanding the 2nd Division, for duty.
Orders were given, on January 13th, to Major Slater, commanding a detachment of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry at Lebanon, Kentucky, to move with his detachment on the following morning to Elizabethtown, going by way of Saloma, Pitmansville, Buffalo, and Hodgensville, and to scout the country thoroughly at Elizabethtown. Slater was also directed to report to General Ewing at Louisville, for orders. They were to carry rations for 3 days.
The North Carolina Raid
General Grant, on the 31st of January, had requested that General Thomas, Commander of the Army of the Cumberland, consider making a raid into Southwestern Virginia and North Carolina, tearing up the railroad at least as far as Lynchburg. Grant told him to place General Stoneman in charge of the expedition. On the 10th of February, General Thomas requested General Stoneman to issue and order to General Burbridge, directing him to turn over to Stoneman the 11th and 12th Kentucky Regiments of Cavalry, the 11th Michigan Cavalry and the 12th Ohio Cavalry. These regiments were to report to General Stoneman at Louisville.
When General Burbridge received the notification, he protested giving these regiments up. He stated they were needed in operations against guerillas operating in the Green River Counties of Kentucky. His protests came to naught as General Grant upheld General Thomas’ orders. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry was, at this time, issued the Spencer Carbines. General J. H. Wilson protested giving these weapons to the 11th Kentucky as he felt they should have gone to his men in preparation for Wilson’s Raid on Selma, Alabama. He was turned down, and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry kept their Spencers.
On the 27th of February, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, with their horses, left Louisville by train. They moved to Nashville where they reported to a Colonel Palmer. On March 6th, they were at Mufreesbourough, Tennessee. General Stoneman was now with them on the train. They arrived at Knoxville on the 8th of March, 1865.
The 11th and 12th Kentucky Cavalry were ordered to move to Strawberry Plains, Tennessee on March 15th. They were to wait there for further orders. Each regiment was furnished one wagon for the transportation of forage from the depot to their camp. On the 17th of March, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was officially attached now to the Cavalry Division, District of East Tennessee, commanded by General A. C. Gillem and in the 2nd Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Simeon Brown. With the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, this Brigade also included the 12th Kentucky Cavalry and the 11th Michigan Cavalry. The Division was made up of 3 Brigades. The 1st Brigade consisted of the 10th Michigan, 12th Ohio and the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry, led by General Palmer. The 3rd Brigade consisted of the 8th, 9th and 13th Tennessee Cavalry and was led by Colonel Miller.
On the 21st of March, General Stoneman’s Command left Strawberry Plains, moving toward Boone, North Carolina. They marched 15 miles and encamped. The next day they moved on to Rossy Creek. On the 23rd they arrived at Morristown at 1 PM, where each man was issued five days rations, one days forage (corn), and four horseshoes and nails. Colonel Miller’s Brigade was sent on the road to Bristol, with orders to take the north Ferry Road and by a rapid march by Fall Branch to get on the railroad between Jonesboro and Carter’s Station. The other 2 Brigades, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved out on the Babb’s Mill Road.
On the he 24th they marched 19 miles and camped for the night. On the 25th they encamped 10 miles west of Jonesborough. Here, a train came up and the 1st and 2nd Brigades drew all the rations the men could carry conveniently. On the 26th they moved through Jonesborough at noon and later a portion of the command encamped at Buffalo Creek and the remainder at Doe River Cove. The next day they left at 4 AM. Colonel Miller was ordered to concentrate his Brigade and follow the Division on the following day. The Command forded Doe River and crossed the Smoky Mountains into North Carolina bivouacking on the eastern slope of the Iron Mountains. On the 28th the Command moved at 5 AM, and entered Boone about 10 AM., where they encountered some Rebel Home Guards. The 12th Kentucky Cavalry drove them off, capturing many.
Here at Boone, the Command split up. General Stoneman, with Palmer’s Brigade went by way of Deep Gap to Wilkesboro, while Brown’s Brigade with the artillery and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved toward Wilkesboro by the Flat Gap Road. General Gillem and Miller’s Brigade moved by yet another route. Brown’s Brigade arrived at Patterson’s Factory at 9 PM and found a good supply of corn and bacon. Gillem and Miller’s Brigade joined up with Brown here. The next morning, after resting and feeding, the march was resumed at 11 AM. Colonel Miller was left with orders to burn the remainder of the stores and supplies and the factory. The 2 brigades joined up with General Stoneman and Palmer’s Brigade on the march. That night the 12th Ohio Cavalry moved into Wilkesboro and drove the enemy out.
In order to find forage they found it necessary to move the 10th Michigan and the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry to the north side of the Yadkin River that evening. Early in the morning the 12th Ohio crossed the river. The river now had become swollen, and the rest of the Command could not immediately cross. They moved 4 miles to the east of Wilkesboro and encamped. The next day they moved 4 miles further east where they found plenty of forage. Colonel Miller’s Brigade rejoined the command this day after
following orders to destroy Patterson’s Factory.
The Command moved to Jonesville on the 1st of April. The next day they moved out from Jonesville, crossed the Yadkin River, and marched to Mount Airy, North Carolina, by way of Dobson, encamping at 8 PM. They learned that a train of wagons had left that place at 3 PM, going in the direction of Hillsville, Virginia. Colonel Palmer was ordered to send a detachment in pursuit, with orders to follow until he captured the train. At 5 AM the next day, they crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains through Fancy Gap and halted at Hillsville, Virginia at 1 PM. Here, the captured wagon train was waiting. There were 17 wagons and one forge. The wagons were loaded with forage, which was fed to Brown’s Brigade and the wagons were then burned.
Colonel Miller, with a portion of his 3rd Brigade were ordered to proceed by way of Porter’s Ford, on New River, to Wytheville and destroy the railroad bridges over Reedy Creek and at Max Meadows, together with the depot of supplies at Wytheville. General Palmer’s Brigade was sent to Big Lick. Leaving the remainder of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry as guard, the Command moved at 7 PM in the direction of Jacksonville. Soon they encountered the enemy on the road. A brisk skirmish followed and the Command captured and burned a wagon train of 27 wagons. They then encamped in the vicinity of a depot of hay at 12 midnight. The next day the Command marched at 6 AM, halting at Jacksonville, Virginia at 10 AM where another depot of hay and corn furnished an ample supply for their animals. At this point Major Wagner of the 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry, with 250 picked men, was detached with orders to proceed to Salem, Virginia and from that point to destroy the railroad bridges as far east as possible. Here at Jacksonville, they obtained a copy of the Lynchburg, Virginia newspaper, where they learned of Grant’s Capture of Richmond, Virginia. The Command resumed the march at 2 PM in the direction of Christianburg, Virginia, arriving there at 1 AM on the 5th.
Colonel Palmer and his 1st Brigade were ordered to destroy the railroad track east of Christianburg. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry was sent to take possession of the railroad bridge and ferries over New River and the 10th Michigan Cavalry to destroy the bridges over the Roanoke River. For 2 days the Command was busy destroying the railroad and bridges over a 90 mile stretch. At Wytheville, Colonel Miller’s Brigade had a fight with the enemy, repulsing them with a loss of 35 of his men killed, wounded or captured.
On the 6th of April the Command moved at 7 PM toward Taylorsville, Virginia, arriving at Jacksonville at 10 AM on the 7th. At 2 Pm the march was resumed. They crossed the Blue Ridge at Mowbrey Gap and went into camp at Taylorsville at 11 PM on the 7th of April. Miller’s Brigade rejoined the Command at 10 AM on the 8th. Palmer’s 1st Brigade had encountered an enemy force of about 300 men at Martinsville, and routed them toward Lynchburg.
On the 9th of April, the Command once again saddled up at 7 AM, and moved south, halting at Danbury, North Carolina at 4 PM, a distance of 26 miles. Leaving Danbury at 7 AM, on the 10th, they arrived at Germantown at 12 Noon. Here, Colonel Palmer’s Brigade was instructed to proceed to Salem, North Carolina and destroy the large clothing factories and then to send out parties to destroy the railroad south of Greensboro.
The remainder of the Division moved at 4 PM by way of Bethania and arrived at Shallow Ford at daylight on the 11th. Detachments of the enemy were guarding the ford and were taken by surprise. They made a light attempt at resistance and then fled. The Command moved on south and when near Mocksville the advance came upon a small party of the enemy, which was at once charged and dispersed. At 8 PM the Command bivouacked in the road 12 miles north of Salisbury.
At 12:30 AM, on the 12th, the Command was again in motion, with Colonel Miller’s Brigade in the advance. Three miles down the road they came to the South Yadkin River. A few of the enemy were on the north side of the River, but retreated, offering no resistance. South of the River, the road forked, both roads leading to Salisbury. The main column took the west road and a battalion of the 12th Kentucky Cavalry was sent by the east road. At daylight the advance guard came upon enemy pickets, which were pushed back to the bridge over Grant’s Creek. At this point enemy artillery and Infantry fire opened up on the Union troopers.
ACTION AT SALISBURY
General Stoneman ordered 100 men to ford Grant’s Creek 2 ½ miles above the bridge, cut the railroad, capture a train if possible, and then get in the rear of Salisbury. The 11th Kentucky was selected for this purpose, commanded by Major Slater. About the same time, the 13th Tennessee Cavalry, with about 100 men, was ordered to cross the stream lower down. Major Keogh, of General Stoneman’s staff, afterwards joined the 11th Kentucky Cavalry and led it during the charge. Major Keogh will later be remembered for being with Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana. The rattling fire of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry’s Spencer rifles announced that the enemy’s left had been turned and Colonel Miller’s Brigade advanced on the main road and charged across the bridge. The remainder of Brown’s Brigade was ordered to move in support of Colonel Miller. The enemy’s retreat soon became a rout. The 11th Kentucky Cavalry having charged and capturing all the artillery of the enemy joined with Colonel Miller’s Brigade. The enemy soon retreated and scattered into the woods. The enemy artillery officer was Colonel J. C. Pemberton, late Lieutenant General and the defender of Vicksburg. Nearly 1,200 enemy prisoners were taken. Colonel Miller’s Brigade was called back from his pursuit of the enemy and ordered to destroy the railroad eastward. Colonel Palmer’s Brigade returned late in the afternoon, having destroyed 2 large factories, 7,000 bales of cotton and had cut the railroad north of Greensboro. Major Wagner, who was detached at Jacksonville, had also rejoined the Division, reporting he had destroyed all the bridges on the Tennessee and Virginia Railroad to within 4 miles of Lynchburg, Virginia. Colonel Palmer was directed to destroy the railroad south of Salisbury in the direction of Charlotte. At 2 PM on the 13th, Major Barnes reported the destruction of all rebel supplies to be complete.
The Division moved at 3 PM on the 13th of April and encamped at Taylorsville, North Carolina at noon on the14th, destroying railroad depots, etc. on the march. At 10 AM on the 15th, the Command marched to Lenoir, encamping for the night. General Stoneman left the Command and started back to Greenville, Tennessee with a detachment, taking with him the rebel prisoners. Colonel Palmer, whose Brigade was at Statesville, was ordered to establish his headquarters at Lincolnton, and watch the line of the Catawba River. Miller’s and Brown’s Brigades moved toward Morganton on the 18th, and arriving at the Catawba River, 2 ½ miles east of Morganton, the bridge was found to be torn up, the ford blockaded, and the passage of the River disputed by about 300 of the enemy and one piece of artillery. The 8th Tennessee Cavalry was sent up the river to get in the enemy’s rear. A few discharges from the Union artillery drove the enemy from their rifle pits, and the Union troopers charged across the bridge and drove the enemy from the ford. About 50 prisoners were taken. Moving into Morganton, large supplies of corn and bacon were found.
About this time General Stoneman had received a message from General Sherman, which was relayed to his Cavalry forces in the field, that a truce had been agreed to and hostilities should cease. However, not all of the Confederate troops had received the word of General Joe Johnston’s surrender to Sherman. On the 19th, the Command marched 23 miles toward Asheville and encamped at Pleasant Grove. On the 20th, the Command headed for Swannanoa Gap, in the Blue Ridge, where they found the enemy in force. They then turned back and went into camp 6 miles from the Gap.
On the 21st the Division moved to Rutherford, 40 miles south of Swannanoa Gap and by sundown on the 22nd they had passed over the Blue Ridge at Howard’s Gap with but slight resistance. At daylight on the 23rd the advance entered Hendersonville. Hearing that the Confederates had been in Hendersonville the previous day with 4 pieces of artillery and had gone toward Asheville, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry was ordered to pursue, attack and capture this artillery at all hazards. The 11th Michigan Cavalry was ordered to support the 11th Kentucky Cavalry. At 12 noon Major Slater of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry reported he had overtaken the artillery 12 miles from Hendersonville, and had charged and captured the 4 pieces and 70 of its infantry guard. At Hendersonville about 300 stands of arms were captured.
At noon the Division left Hendersonville for Asheville, intending to attack the town the same evening. At 3 Pm on the 24th, General Gillem met with Confederate General Martin under a flag of truce who claimed privilege of the armistice between Sherman and Johnston. The Command passed through the town and after marching 15 miles, was ordered back to capture and hold Asheville. On the 26th of April, the Command took possession of Asheville at 7 PM.
The Command stayed here at Asheville until the 29th of April, when they were ordered to be on the lookout and to pursue Confederate President Jeff Davis, who was fleeing south from Richmond. The Command moved out at 7 AM and crossed the Blue Mountains at Saluda Gap. They halted near Pickensville, South Carolina at 7 PM. The next day they marched to Anderson, arriving there at 4 PM. They moved thence to Danielsville, Georgia, arriving at 11 PM on the 2nd of May, 1865. On the 3rd, the Command entered and took possession of Athens, Georgia, capturing 2 general officers and a number of prisoners. General Brown’s Brigade, including the 11th Kentucky Cavalry, was ordered to hold the crossroads, fords, etc. from Athens northward to the head of the Savannah River, and Colonel Miller to do the same thing from Lexington to Danielsville. This was for the purpose of intercepting the disbanded officers and soldiers of Davis’ escort, and depriving them of their arms and horses and making prisoners of their officers. In a report to Cavalry Headquarters in Tennessee, General Palmer stated he would order Brown’s and Miller’s Brigades to return to Knoxville after their above orders had been carried out. The reason he gave for their return is because he believed their officers for the most part had lost all control over their men. Further stating that a large number of the men and some of their officers devote themselves exclusively to pillaging and destroying property, and that General Brown appears to have given them carte blanche in South Carolina.
On the 13th of May, word was received that Jefferson Davis had been captured near Irwinville, Georgia on the 10th, by a cavalry detachment from General Wilson’s Division at Macon. With this news, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved to Atlanta. On the 22nd of May, Brown’s Brigade and the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved back into South Carolina. And on the 25th they reached Asheville, North Carolina. On the 27th of May they arrived at Greenville. By the 3rd of June the Regiment was in Knoxville.
Leaving Knoxville, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved up to Cumberland Gap into Kentucky and on June 11th they were in Lexington, Kentucky. The newer men of the Regiment were transferred to the 12th Kentucky Cavalry to serve out their term of duty. Pvt. William Hurt died in the hospital at Nashville on June 23rd of small pox. He was the last man of the Regiment to die before the Regiment was mustered out. Of the 69 men originally mustered into Company A, not counting the officers, there were only 26 of them remaining in the Company. Most of the men captured at Philadelphia and Maryville, Tennessee died in confederate prisons, although a few had been exchanged and had returned to the regiment.
On the 1st of July, the 11th Kentucky Cavalry moved to Louisville, Kentucky and camped at the fairgrounds. They would never be the same. Young men had turned old from the horrors of war which they witnessed. Farm boys had seen new places and some would never be satisfied to stay in one place again. Friends had been made which would last for a lifetime. The majority of the Regiment was mustered out on the 12th day of July, 1865.