Contributes to Kentucky Military Anecdotes include: Air Force COL Steven Bullard and excerpts from Call to Arms by COL Lary L. Arnett

Ulysses S. Grant attended military school in Maysville.  

 

Most Civil War generals insisted on riding only Kentucky horses.

 

Daniel Boone was the defendant in Kentucky’s first military court martial (he was acquitted and promoted to Major in the militia). 

 

The last battle of the American Revolution was fought in Kentucky  (a costly defeat at the Battle of Blue Licks). 

 

Kentucky’s first governor, Isaac Shelby, was a British military hero in Lord Dunamore’s War of 1774, led Continental troops to victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain in the Revolutionary War, and led Kentucky troops to a decisive victory at the Battle of the Thames in the War of 1812.

 

Jim Bowie of the Alamo was a Kentuckian. 

 

Approximately four out of six of every eligible male in Kentucky (25,708) were regulars, militia, and volunteers for the war of 1812.  Of those killed in the War, more than half were Kentuckians.  The state was frequently lauded as a model of patriotism.

 

On December 24, 1809, Christopher "Kit" Carson, the famous frontiersman, trapper, soldier, and Indian fighter, was born in Million, KY.

 

Kentuckian, LT. Presley O’Bannon of the U.S. Marines, was the first American to raise the U.S. flag over foreign soil upon defeating Barbary Pirates in Tripoli in 1805.   

 

Over 10,000 men stepped forward, a positive reflection upon the willingness to volunteer for their country, in the war against Mexico in 1846.  The number that was accepted was 2,500.

 

The highest ranking officer killed in World War II was LT. GEN. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. – the son of the famous Kentucky Civil War Confederate General and Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner.      

 

On March 5, 1860, the Kentucky Legislature reorganized the Kentucky Militia into the Kentucky National Guard.  The Militia was divided into three classes:  the State Guard (active Militia), the enrolled Militia and the Militia of the Reserves.

 

In the Civil War, Kentucky's position was that of strict neutrality when presidents of both the Union and the Confederacy requested troops to be organized and dispatched for their respective sides.  Governor Beriah Magoffin refused both requests although many members of the State Guard and private citizens volunteered for service on both sides.

 

The Stars and Bars, the official flag of the Confederate States of America, was designed by Nicola Marchall of Louisville in March, 1861.  Established that same year, Levey Brothers' became the greatest single provider of Confederate uniforms during the war.

 

The fact that Kentuckians held favor to both sides is reflected in the remarkable division of its population and their loyalty.  Sixty-seven native Kentuckians served as Union or Confederate generals.  Their fighting spirit and the war's ability to s;lit families if reflected in the fact that over 100,000 men served in the Union Army from Kentucky while more than 40,000 volunteered for duty with the Confederacy.

 

Kentucky was admitted as the 13th state of the Confederacy on December 10, 1861.  It was the 15th state admitted into the Union, having been accorded that status by the United States of America on June 1, 1792.

 

Kentucky's military importance was recognized thoughtout the North and is best reflected in a speech given by Boston clergyman, the Reverend James Conway, on February 1, 1862 when he said "President Lincoln would like to have God on his side, but he must have Kentucky."

 

Three hundred and fourteen Kentuckians served as officers in the United States Volunteer Navy during the war.

 

During the war, 10,774 Kentucky Union soldiers were killed, died from disease or died from wounds received in battle.

 

Kentucky provided more Negro soldiers for the Union Army than any other state.

 

Kentucky Governor and later U.S. Senator John J. Crittenden had one son serve as a Union general and another as a Confederate general.  Both achieved the rank of Major General.

 

Author Harriet Beecher Stowe, upon visiting relatives in Kentucky in 1851, wrote the book that became synonymous with the trials of slavery during this period and significantly fueled the anger in the North against the insitituion.  Her book Uncle Tom's Cabin was inspired after seeing an old slave sold away from his family on the steps of the old courthouse at Washington, Kentucky.

 

There were 473 battles, skirmishes and actions fought on Kentucky soil during the years 1861-65.

 

Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of all Union forces at the end of the Civil War and later President of the United States, attended military school at the Maysville Academy, Maysville, Kentucky.

 

The division of loyalty to the Union and Confederacy was also an issue at the state's colleges.  At Georgetown College, where the student population numbered approximately 200, sentiments were evenly divided between the North and South.  These rivalries created a serious conflict which ultimately forced the college president to intercede.  He lined those having Confederate sympathies up on the lught side of the lawn in front of Giddings Hall while pro-Union students lined up on the north side.  At a given signal, the two groups turned about and the entire student body marched off to war.

 

A total of 67 Kentucky officers achieved the rank of Brigadier General or above in both the Union and Confederate Army.  Woodford County's notable contribution to the military history of Kentucky is reflected by the number of generals it produced who provided service during the Civil War - seven.

 

Kentucky remains the only state where two native sons served in the position of President at the same time, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis.  They were born less than nine months and less than 100 miles apart.

 

E.G. Baxter, of Clark County, born on September 10, 1849, enlisted in Company a, 7th Kentucky Calvery in June, 186 at the age of 12.  A year after his enlistment, he was awarded the rank of Second Lieutenant, testifying to his courage, leadership and the respect he earned from his fellow soldiers.

 

The only official state burial ground for Confederate veterans of the Civil War is located in Pewee, Valley (Oldham County).

 

Oldham County is named for a veteran of the Revolutionary War, Colonel William Oldham.  In the late 1780s, a confederation of Native American tribes, with British backing, began raids to reclaim old hunting grounds throughout the Ohio territory, leading to open warfare.  Now a Colonel in the militia, Colonel Oldham led a regiment of Kentuckians north to the Wabash River as part of an army of 3,000 men under General Arthur St. Clair.  Early on the morning of November 4, 1791, Indians infiltrated the camp and killed over 600 men, including Colonel Oldham, in battle known as St. Clair's Defeat – our military’s worst defeat by Native Americans, with three times the loss of life suffered in the infamous Custer’s Last Stand.

 

Lee County, the 115 created county in Kentucky, was named after Robert E. Lee and is the only county named after a hero of the Civil War.

 

LTC George Armstrong Custer served in Hardin County prior to his defeat at the Little Big Horn.  Many of the 7th Cavalry's enlisted soldiers were Kentuckians.  This was a result of LTC Custers' assigned areas of responsibility in Kentucky and the utilization of tempory posts.  The Medal of Honor was awarded to four Kentuckians for their valor at Little Big Horn.

 

*A Call to Arms by COL Larry L. Arnett contains historical stories and anecdotes about Kentucky men and women who served in the military or in support of the military.  The book is available from bookstores and The Kentucky Publishing Company, 275 Boone Creek Est., Frankfort, KY 40601.

 

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