Andrew H. Clark and the Civil War in Kentucky
By James L. Clark
On March 29, 1835, Andrew Hamilton Clark was born in Clay County, Kentucky, as the eldest son of William Clark and Tabitha Evans. His grandparents were two of the pioneer families of Clay County; his paternal grandparents were Henry and Jane Clark, while his maternal grandparents were Edward and Margaret Evans. Andrew was raised on his father’s farm along with his older sister Sarah J. (b. 16 June 1834) and his younger siblings Edward (b. 1 Feb 1837), Rachel (b. 19 Feb 1839), Henry J. (b. 18 March 1841), Martha (b. 1842) and Lucinda (b. 1844).
In 1843, Andrew’s father, William turned over his Clay County Justice of the Peace books to his brother Anderson D. Clark, and moved his family to Traveler’s Rest in what is now Owsley County, Kentucky. In 1854, William bought 700 acres of farmland from his brother Elhannon Clark, pushing his farm well over 1000 acres. William’s farm was situated near Green Hall in what is now Jackson County, Kentucky.
According to the 1860 Census, the Clark family farm was valued at $2,000. Andrew was single, and he was farming next to his father on a farm valued at $1,500. His sister, Sarah, was married with two children, and she was living with her father. Edward and Henry J. were also living with William and helping out on the farm. For Andrew and his family, life certainly must have been peaceful and comfortable.
1861 - The Civil War Begins
With the outbreak of the Civil War, however, life as it was known for the Clark family drastically changed. Theophilus T. Garrard of Clay County, who had served in the US Army as a Captain during the Mexican War was commissioned a Colonel, and was selected by General William (Bull) Nelson to raise a regiment of volunteers at Camp Dick Robinson (located about 8 miles east of Danville, Kentucky). Colonel Garrard now called out to all young men in the Clay County area to enlist and fight for the Union. William and his family, like many other mountain people in eastern Kentucky, supported the Union. As news of the war spread, William saw two of his sons - Andrew and Henry J. - leave the Clark family farm to answer Garrard’s call.
In the summer of 1861, Andrew, his brother Henry J., and several of their cousins enlisted in the 3rd Infantry Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers (which was later changed to the 7th Infantry Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers). Andrew’s brother Edward, who had recently married in Whitley County, had returned to his father’s farm with his new bride and did not enlist in the regiment. Andrew and Henry J. enlisted in Company D, which was recruited at Sturgeon, in Owsley County, and Andrew was elected Captain. His 1st Lieutenant was Thomas H. Wilson, and his 2nd Lieutenant was Andrew Hurd. Following his election to Captain, Andrew traveled to Lexington to visit the shop of George A. Bowyer, located on the south side of Main Street between Upper Street and Limestone. On September 10, 1861, Andrew walked into Bowyer's shop and purchased a uniform, a trunk to keep it in, and shirts and collars. His bill totaled about $100.00 ‑ the equivalent of about $1,900 in 2003 (In 1861, a small farm could be purchased for $100.00). Following his visit to Lexington, Andrew returned to Camp Dick Robinson. Andrew’s father William, who was a prominent citizen of Owsley County, was appointed Provost Marshal of the county.
The Road To Battle
In the summer of 1861, Kentucky was officially neutral, but both the North and South were recruiting soldiers from the state. The South was concerned that Union troops being recruited would invade east Tennessee. The North worried that Confederate troops would move into Kentucky in an effort to control the Bluegrass region, thereby gaining access to the Ohio River. The main artery of travel in eastern Kentucky was the Wilderness Road. Control of this artery also meant control of mountaineers whose sentiments were pro-Union.
In July of 1861, General Felix Zollicoffer assumed command of Confederate troops in Bristol, Tennessee. His task was to organize regiments and prevent a Union invasion of east Tennessee. That same month in Kentucky, Colonel Garrard, grandson of the former governor, was given command of a Union regiment that existed only on paper. He set up a recruiting station near his home town of Manchester. By the end of August, he had enlisted nearly a thousand men.
Confederates On The Move
On the 9th of September, Confederate General Zollicoffer ordered his troops to move into Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap. Within ten days, his troops, which numbered 5,400 men, took possession of the Cumberland Ford at Pineville, Kentucky and defeated a small group of Home Guard volunteers from the town of Barbourville (Barboursville in 1861). When the Confederate troops approached the town of Barbourville, they were obstructed by units of the Home Guard under the command of Captain Isaac J. Black. During the encounter, two men were killed, one a Lieutenant Lane with the Rebels and John Hendrickson of the Home Guard. Also, two homes and possibly a business were destroyed near the site of the encounter.
Not Yet Ready For Battle
On September 23, distressing news for Union forces reached Camp Dick Robinson where Colonel Garrard was just beginning to assemble his regiment. Advanced units of Zollicoffer's forces had already reached the Laurel River outside of London. Garrard's poorly outfitted soldiers were rushed forward to the Wilderness Road. They were ordered to guard a ford across the Rockcastle River in the rugged Rockcastle Hills. The 1st Kentucky Cavalry, which was sent ahead of them, was also less than battle ready. Training had consisted of little more than instructions on how to shoot a musket.
Garrard’s troops established camp on a ridge three miles above the south side of the Rockcastle River at a fork in the road. It was named Camp Wildcat. On September 29, Garrard reported that the Laurel County Home Guard had been routed at the Laurel River and were straggling into his camp The next day Garrard sent an urgent request asking for uniforms, blankets, and coats for his 975 men.
Confederates Move North
While Garrard was preparing Camp Wildcat, Confederate troops continued their push northward. Travel was slowed by a lack of forage and the poor condition of the road. Later, in his report on the battle, General Zollicoffer wrote, "The country is so poor we had exhausted the forage on the road for 15 miles back in twenty-four hours." Still, by October 17th his entire force had reached the Laurel River..
On October 21, 1861, General Zollicoffer launched an assault against the Union troops at Camp Wildcat, which would forever be known as “The Battle of Wild Cat Mountain.” Repeated assaults by the Rebels were repulsed by the Union troops. After the first day of battle, Union forces spent the night fortifying their entrenchments for an attack that never came. Late in the night the sound of beating drums and moving Confederate wagons rose from the valley floor. When the sun rose, the valley was empty.
Zollicoffer wrote, "Having reconnoitered in force under heavy fire for several hours from heights on the right, left, and front, I became satisfied that it could not be carried otherwise than by immense exposure... I deemed it proper the next day to fall back."
The battle of Wildcat Mountain was over. This was the first general battle fought in Kentucky. (The Barbourville military action September 19, 1861 was a skirmish.)
Disease Kills More Than Bullets
The inexperience of both Union and Confederate soldiers and the cover provided by the heavily wooded terrain helped keep the number of casualties low. General Schoepf reported four Union soldiers killed and eighteen wounded. General Zollicoffer reported eleven killed and forty-two wounded or missing from the Confederate side. However, the aftermath of the battle proved more deadly that the assault itself. Twelve of 21 Union prisoners taken by General Zollicoffer died within six months. Measles and fever took a heavy toll. The 33rd Indiana alone lost at least fifty men to sickness and hundreds of others were reported ill within a few weeks of the battle.
The 7th returned to Camp Dick Robinson and then advanced again on the road leading to Cumberland Gap as far as Mount Vernon, remaining in this section of the state during the winter.
1861 - Cumberland Gap
In the spring of 1862, the7th was placed in General Samuel P. Carter’s brigade of General George W. Morgan’s division. The division, which numbered just over 8000 men, moved out and reached Cumberland Ford (Pineville) on April 11th; General Morgan ordered the brigades under General Carter and Colonel John F. DeCourcy to make a reconnaissance toward the Gap. About four miles south of Cumberland Gap is a narrow defile formed by an abrupt mountain on one side and the Cumberland River on the other, through which passes the State Road to the Gap. On the edge of the defile was an abandoned cabin, known as “The Moss House,” situated at the junction of the State Road and a pathway leading to Lambdin’s place on the main road to Big Creek Gap.
On the morning of May 22nd, the brigade of Colonel DeCourcy, with an artillery battery, occupied the defile and began to construct a fort as a stratagem intended to puzzle the Rebels. At the same time a strong party of pioneers (engineers) widened the path leading to Lambdin’s place to enable Union artillery to move forward. The mountain was steep and rugged, and skill and toil were necessary to move the guns.
Twenty-two guns, two of them 30 pounders and two 20 pounder Parrotts had to be dragged over the Pine and Cumberland Mountains, at times by means of block and tackle and at others by putting in as many horses as could be used, and again by men, 200 at a single gun, hauling with drag ropes. The pathway leading from the Moss House had been made the width of a wagon, but two teams could not pass each other. On the 6th and 7th of June the brigade of Colonel DeCourcy had gone forward: Baird occupied the defile at the Moss House; and General Carter was assigned to hold the defile till the last moment and then bring up the rear of the column.
On the afternoon of June 17th the Rebels began evacuating the Gap and marched toward Morristown, Tennessee. General Morgan was unaware of the evacuation, and at 1:00 o’clock on the morning of June 18th, Morgan’s troops advanced in two parallel columns of two brigades each to attack the Rebels who held the Gap. Four hours after the evacuation by the Rebels, the flag of the Union flew from the loftiest pinnacle of the Cumberland Range.
Carter’s brigade went forward in pursuit of the Rebels as far as Tazewell, but the enemy had fallen back toward the Clinch Mountains. The Gap had been taken without the loss of a single life. The 7th and also the 19th Kentucky, were with General Carter’s brigade in this expedition.
Four thousand stand of arms destined for East Tennessee, but left at Nicholasville and Crab Orchard during the winter on account of the impassable state of the roads, were now sent forward to Cumberland Gap with a large supply of ammunition, and magazines (powder and shot) and an arsenal were prepared for them. A vast storehouse capable of containing supplies for 20,000 men for 6 months was also built by Captain William F. Patterson and his engineers. The nerves and muscles of every man were stretched to the maximum, and the Gap became a vast workshop. Over four hundred wagons in small trains were dragged from the Bluegrass region through the wilderness to Cumberland Gap. Colonel DeCourcy and Captain Joseph Edgar (afterward killed in action at Tazewell) were detailed as instructors of tactics for the officers of the new regiments of East Tennessee troops, and forage was collected with difficulty by armed parties.
General Morgan held Cumberland Gap until the invasion of Kentucky by Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg and Edmond Kirby Smith. General Smith had crossed the mountains into Kentucky south of the Gap on the 16 of August and had occupied Cumberland Ford. General Smith sent a demand for the Union Troops on the Gap to surrender as General Stevenson attacked with four brigades. General Morgan replied, “If you want this fortress, come and take it.”
The Confederates were now invading Kentucky in great force from three directions: General Bragg, by way of Glasgow; General Smith through the mountains by way of Barbourville, directed upon Richmond and Lexington, General Humphry Marshall out of Virginia, toward Mt. Sterling, while Colonel John Hunt Morgan and his Rebel Cavalry hovered, ready to pounce upon any weak point.
Before making a firm decision to attempt an escape, General Morgan ordered Colonel Garrard to take a detachment of men and ride for Cincinnati. General Morgan later wrote that he “sent the troops to save the horses from starvation and to send a gallant officer with a brave little band of veterans to lead on new troops.”
Andrew Clark and some of his men from Company D were part of the detachment of 400 men who rode out of the Gap with Colonel Garrard on the night of August 25, 1862. The detachment broke through the Rebel lines and rode to Richmond where they dismounted. Colonel Garrard then rode on to Cincinnati and arrived there the evening of August 29th. Andrew and the remainder of the detachment remained at Richmond to await the advance of the Confederates.
At first, General Smith had contemplated cutting off the supplies of the garrison at Cumberland Gap, but learning that they were well supplied and seeing the difficulty of supplying his own troops in the poor region of Southeastern Kentucky, he determined to push on to the rich Bluegrass country of the state. There was not much time for sight seeing, however, as General Smith now was hurrying to close with the enemy, despite the fact that his troops were worn by their long, rapid and arduous march on insufficient food. Of this General Smith was well aware; his men, he said on August 29th , were “ragged, barefooted, almost starved, marching day and night, exhausted from want of water. I have never seen such suffering.”
Rebel Impressions of Southeastern Kentucky
Writing to his wife, General Smith said, “The country is desperately union bushwhackers have commenced operations against our detachments,. . .the people are bitterly and violently opposed to us.” Barbourville he did find to be, “or was before the war,” a pretty village of about three hundred people at the foot of the mountains in a beautiful valley.
General Smith’s soldiers also left records about the difficulties and hostile environment of the country, although not all found Barbourville to have any redeeming qualities. Major Paul F. Hammond, sarcastically called Barbourville “the metropolis of this mountain region,” and characterized it as “a dilapidated village.” Captain Hugh Black recorded in his diary that after “pretty scarce” rations on his trek over the mountains, “upon our arrival at Barboursville we were informed we could get nothing to eat but green corn and beef and not much of that, but our forces had succeeded in capturing a large amount of coffee and sugar which added a great deal to our comfort.”
Captain Black also wrote that, at Williamsburg, “we got whiskey and everything that we could wish to make us comfortable.” William Lowery, commenting on events after Barbourville, recorded in his diary: “The bushwhackers fire into our line. We halt, throw out the right and left companies and after skirmishing a while, take 3 of the scoundrels and march them to toward London.”
Captain Frank T. Ryan later recalled an incident revealing both the hardships and the hostility of citizens along the route: “On the second day’s tramp after leaving Barboursville, . . .it must have been 9 P.M., and we were still trudging along, footsore, weary and hungry, when I espied a strong, masculine-looking woman standing in the doorway of a little one-room cabin that stood several yards from the road.” Captain Ryan recorded that he bowed to the woman and, “raising my greasy wool hat, said: “Madam, will you be so kind as to inform me how far ahead will it be before we find a stream of water?” Seeing my garb and judging. . .that we were the Southern Army, she, doubtless the wife of one of those bushwhackers who had given us no little trouble ever since we reached the mountainous region,” replied, according to Ryan, “with a scornful, contemptuous look, answering in a snappish, petulant manner, “I guess you will find it in the Ohio River.”
As General Smith said, the country was “aroused,” the “people all against us.” His expedition, he told his wife, was “like Cortez, I have burnt my ships. . .and have thrown myself boldly into the enemies country.” The enemy he thought “has hardened their hearts and blinded their eyes only to make their destruction the more complete.” General Smith was also convinced that support would come, once his army was in the Bluegrass.
On the morning of August 29th, lead elements of the Rebel army cleared Big Hill and began moving northward into the Bluegrass region. These were nearly 7,000 veteran troops, accustomed to hardship. Many were veterans of Shiloh while the Union troops at Richmond were mostly raw levies, against whom the Rebels could expect to have a decided advantage. Here, above all, was an opportunity to fight them south of the Kentucky River. General Smith’s troops could eat and rest later; now was the time to march and fight!
The Rebels were no doubt exhausted but General Smith was making the right move to engage the Union troops at Richmond. In Colonel Patrick Cleburne, who was commanding his lead division, General Smith had an Irishman who frequently has been praised by historians and buffs alike as the best division commander produced by the Rebels in the Western Theater.
Some of General Mahlon Manson’s Union troops found the advance to Richmond about as tough as the Rebels had. Samuel Reid of the 66th Indiana wrote. “We marched from Lexington here in one day, 26 miles. Very many of our boys gave out. . .As we marched along, our boys pressed every darkey they could find and made them carry their knapsacks.” Reid also found that food was scarce. “We have been almost starved for five or six days, the boys stealing almost everything they ate,” he said. “I was so weak that I could scarcely walk, and. . .I took my revolver and one of the boys, and went to a house out in the country, determined to have my dinner if I had to kill the man of the house. Luckily for him, he was not at home. . .”
Reid found the yard “full of young darkeys, mostly naked,” and asked “an old negro woman, dressed in a night gown - that is, part of her was - if I could have some dinner.” Her reply, wrote Reid, was “Yes Honey, you can have something to eat as long as there is any food on this plantation.” The young soldier thought “it was a dinner sure,” that seemed to be “the best of any I ever ate.” For Reid that dinner, prepared by the black woman, truly might have been the best he ever ate for he was killed at the Battle of Richmond.
Leading General Smith’s troops was a cavalry unit of about 900 men under the command of Colonel John S. Scott. His unit reached Madison County on the evening of August 29th and encountered Union troops about half way between the small village of Kingston and the town of Richmond.
Early on the 30th, the Rebels found that a Union force had moved forward and was in line of battle about a mile north of Kingston. The Rebels attacked and the Union troops fell back toward Richmond. The battle continued and the Union troops fell back to a low lying ridge running along the Richmond Cemetery. General Nelson, having ridden some fifty miles from Lexington by way of Lancaster, using a relay of horses, was now in command of the Union force. General Nelson attempted to restore order and was able to rally about 2500 troops. There the Union troops sheltered themselves behind a stone fence and the tombstones, preparing to make one last stand.
The position of the Union line in the cemetery seems appropriately ironical and gruesome, symbolic of the Union fate on that hot summer day. The time was about five o’clock in the afternoon, as the Rebels advanced toward the cemetery and gun smoke once more polluted the air. General Nelson, desperately attempting to inspire the troops to fight, lumbered about, displaying his huge bulk, and shouting to his men: “Boys, if they can’t hit something as big as I am, they can’t hit anything!” Within seconds, Nelson was hit in the thigh and forced from the field of battle.
The pressure from the Rebels was too much and the Blue line broke into a general rout and the battle of Richmond was over. The Confederates won, and August 30 proved a bleak day for the Lincoln administration; coupled with the Richmond disaster was the Union defeat at Second Manassas in Virginia. Lexington prepared for Confederate occupation, and the Union soldiers destroyed government stores and ammunition before retreating. When Smith's Confederates entered Lexington on September 2, 1862, they were cheered, and Smith wired the Confederate high command in Richmond; "They have proven to us that the heart of Kentucky is with the South in this struggle." The Rebel loss was 78 killed, 372 wounded and 1 missing. The Union loss was 206 killed, 844 wounded, and 4303 captured.
Andrew Clark and the small detachment of men from the 7th had joined the raw recruits who had only been in service for a few days. Being unable to check the Rebel advance upon Richmond, Andrew and his double first cousin, Private Edward Clark were among those captured by the Rebels. Although captured, Andrew’s luck was holding, because he and the rest of those captured were paroled by the Rebels on the same day. General Nelson later wrote of Colonel Garrard’s men that they “. . .dismounted, hitched their horses and did excellent service.”
On September 16th General Morgan began his retreat from the Gap across Kentucky by way of Manchester, Booneville, and West Liberty to Greenupsburg, on the Ohio. His route was the old “Warrior’s Path,” an old forgotten track of travel used by the Indians, mentioned in “The Wilderness Road.” The Warrior’s Path was “a trace along which the Indians traveled back and forth from their towns on the Miami and Scioto. It ran in an almost direct north course from the Gap across the eastern end of Kentucky to the mouth of the Scioto.”
The season was dry and water scarce. The country was full of Confederate forces, and Confederate Colonel John Hunt Morgan was active on the roads which General George Morgan had to travel. The terrain was rough, and at one point, a road had to be cut for four miles. For this work, the Union forces had one thousand men under the supervision of Captain Patterson and his company of engineers. General Morgan’s forces crossed the Kentucky River at Proctor, eluding General Marshall at West Liberty, feigning toward Maysville, and pushing for Greenupsburg.
General Morgan reached the Ohio on October 3rd “without the loss of a gun or a wagon, and with the loss of but eighty men” as he stated himself. The force he had was noticeable; 3rd (7th) KY, Garrard; 14th KY, Cochran; 19th KY, Landram; 22nd KY, Lindsey; Mundy’s battalion of the 6t KY Cavalry; and Patterson’s KY Engineers. He also had six Tennessee Regiments, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th. By October 7th, 1862 Colonel Garrard was in command of detachments from the 7th KY and 32nd KY and the 3rd TN which were assigned to the 33rd Brigade under General William R. Terrill in the Army of the Ohio at the Battle of Perryville.
The Battle of Perryville, fought between Confederate General Braxton Bragg and Union General Don Carlos Buell on October 8, 1862, was a tactical victory for the Confederates, but also a strategic defeat. This battle, which was the largest Civil War engagement in the Commonwealth, killed and wounded over 7,500 troops. Although the Southerners whipped the Federal left, Bragg was forced to withdraw his outnumbered army from the state, ending his invasion and dashing the hopes of a Confederate Kentucky. The Confederates left Lexington on October 8, and by October 16, the Union forces returned.
After Perryville Andrew rejoined the regiment; they were then ordered to Charleston, West Virginia, under General J. D. Cox in the Kanawha Valley, remaining there from October 21st to November 10th. The 7th was then ordered south to join forces under Genera William T. Sherman, then advancing upon Vicksburg, Mississippi. The 7th arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, joining Sherman’s Yazoo Expedition. The 7th was involved in the battle of Chickasaw Bluff, which was a failure with great loss to the Union forces.
1863 - Clark Takes Command
The 7th was then part of the assault on and capture of Fort Hindman, (Arkansas Post) Arkansas in January 1863, then moved down river to Young’s Point, Louisiana and remained there until March 1863. During this period, Colonel Garrard had been placed in command of the 1st Brigade, 9th Division, 13th Army Corps, of the Army of Tennessee. His second in command, Lieutenant Colonel Joel W. Ridgell, had resigned in January, and Andrew had been placed in command of the regiment.
Andrew felt that he should be promoted and requested Colonel Garrard to recommend him to the military board. Colonel Garrard refused, stating that although he felt Andrew was a good man, he was without energy or discipline. Upon hearing that, Andrew submitted his letter of resignation on February 18, 1863.
Andrews’s letter of resignation stated. “In as much as you doubt my ability as a commander, and make outside, or junior reckamandations (sic) to fill vacancies that have occurred in the Regt. The only conclusion at which I can arrive is, that you either consider me unworthy, or incompetent to be promoted in the U.S. Army. I therefore upon due reflection, and with all due respect to your rank tender this, my unconditional resignation.” The letter also stated that Andrew had not been paid since August 31, 1862, and was not indebted to the government for subsistence or otherwise.
Colonel Garrard forwarded the letter to General Peter J. Osterhaus, commenting that the service would be better off without Andrew because he had been in service for eighteen months and had not improved. General Osterhaus forwarded the letter to General McClernand with the comment that “Capt. Clark was a very inefficient officer who was deficient in military knowledge and spirit and that from the style of his resignation, was utterly illiterate.” The resignation was approved by General Grant on February 22, 1863.
Andrew said goodbye to his friends and comrades and left for home in Kentucky. At that time, 1st Lieutenant Thomas H. Wilson was promoted to Captain of Company D. Andrew’s brother Henry J. Clark had risen through the ranks from Private to 1st Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant, was then promoted to 1st Lieutenant. The following month, Andrew’s double first cousin, Hiram Clark, a Private in Company D, took sick and died of "chronic diarrhoea" on the Hospital Steamer " D. A. January" at Young's Point, Louisiana. His death was certified by Capt. Thomas Wilson. The following month, Hiram’s brother Edward who was also a Private in Company D, died of "chronic diarrhoea" at Lawson Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri. His death was certified by his double first cousin, Lt. Henry J. Clark. Edward is buried in the Jefferson Barracks Cemetery in St. Louis. His military monument is incorrectly marked as Edward D. Clark, 3rd KY Cav. On May 16th, at the Battle of Champion’s Hill, Mississippi, Captain Wilson was killed in action and Henry J. Clark was then promoted to Captain of Company D. Even though Andrew had left his position with the regiment, his luck as a survivor had held for it could have been Andrew who was killed instead of Thomas Wilson.
Andrew made his way back to Kentucky, and in the summer of 1863, launched a drive to form his own regiment. Andrew must have had some political connections through either his father of some other source, because along with Alfred C. Wilson and Thomas H. Barnes, they formed the 47th Mounted Infantry Regiment. At the age of 28, Andrew had received his commission as Colonel. Wilson was commissioned Lieutenant Colonel and Barnes as Major.
The greater portion of the men were mustered into the regiment at Irvine, Kentucky in October 1863, the remainder at Camp Nelson (near Lexington) in December 1863 and January 1864. This regiment was to be used for defense of the state and was a peculiar necessity for the men of the mountains of Kentucky to thus organize. Their section was exposed to inroads from southwestern Virginia and was poorly protected; the people were generally Unionists and like Unionists of East Tennessee and West Virginia, they were compelled to act in self-defense.
Because the 47th would not leave the state, Andrew’s brother Edward enlisted in the regiment and was elected 1st Lieutenant of Company D. Edward’s first cousin and brother-in-law, David W. Clark also enlisted and was elected Captain of Company D. David was the son of Anderson D. Clark. David had married Mary Peace in Whitley County in 1859 and Edward married her sister, Jemima in 1861. Their first cousin, Henry J. Clark was elected Captain of Company E. He was the son of Elhannon Clark, and the brother of Hiram and Edward Clark who had died while in the 7th.
1864 - Year of Tragedies
The mounted infantry regiments used horses as their means of travel, but when in action, dismounted and fought using regular infantry tactics. The 47th was on scout and patrol duty in Eastern Kentucky at Big Hill, Booneville and Paintsville. During February 1864, Andrew’s brother Edward took sick with the fever while at Big Hill. He was sent home and was treated at his father's house by Dr. George G. Edwards. Edward revived a little after being home from February to March 1864 and returned to his unit then at Manchester. In the words of Dr. Edwards, "Edward was a prudent soldier," and his sense of duty proved fatal. Edward relapsed, and had to return to his father's house. This time he was suffering from Typhoid and Pneumonia. According to Dr. Edwards, Edward died on April 9, 1864. The unit muster out roll, dated December 26, 1864 at Lexington, KY shows Edward died of the fever at Booneville, KY on April 10, 1864. Luck for Andrew’s family had started to run out.
On May 30, 1864, Confederate General John Hunt Morgan made his last raid into Kentucky, with 2,700 men. General Morgan and his cavalry entered Kentucky through Pound Gap, Virginia. He was intent on destroying the Kentucky Central Railroad at Lexington and then pushing for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Morgan struck Mount Sterling on June 8 and captured a garrison, then headed for Lexington, to procure Federal supplies for some of his command who lacked mounts. Hundreds of cords of wood at the Kentucky Central Railroad building near the Lunatic Asylum were set on fire, and, as Coleman records in Lexington During the Civil War, one Confederate soldier recalled "though we had but four buildings burning they were nigh circled half the town and the illumination suggested the appearance of a general conflagration."
According to Coleman, Reverend Pratt, a native of Lexington, wrote in his diary, "It looked frightful and we feared the town would be set on fire. The federal forces retired to Fort Clay and commenced throwing shells over the town. It was frightful to see those missiles of death whizzing over our heads."
Morgan's men, tired and hungry, looted Lexington. Coleman also quotes a contemporary account from The Observer and Reporter, a local newspaper, which stated that the raiders "proceeded to help themselves to whatever they wanted, and did so unstintingly. They broke open nearly all the clothing and hat stores in town together with Mr. Spencer's saddlery establishment from which they took everything they desired." Although Morgan and his men left town after a few hours, Mr. John Clay lost about $25,000.00 worth of fine horses to Morgan, and Morgan's men also took $3,000.00 in gold and over $10,000.00 from the Branch Bank of Kentucky. Morgan rode North to Cynthiana, and in two days of fighting he captured Union Brig. General. Edward Hobson's command but was soundly defeated by Union General Stephen G. Burbridge at a place called Keller’s Bridge. General Morgan and some of his troops retreated west toward the Cumberland River, and the remainder of his troops under the command of Colonel Henry L. Giltner retreated to the southeast, toward Pennington Gap in the Cumberland Mountains. In this memorable campaign, General. Morgan had surprised two Federal forces and captured them; he had fought General. Hobson and captured him and 1000 men. In turn, General. Morgan himself had met with two serious disasters, Mt. Sterling and Cynthiana. He had paroled between 1200 and 1500 prisoners, and had lost in killed, wounded, captured, and missing about 1000 men.
Colonel Giltner was the commander of the 4th Kentucky Cavalry, CSA, which was organized about a mile beyond Owenton, Kentucky in September of 1862. The 4th saw service with Morgan’s and Marshall’s Brigades, obstructing the retreat of Union General Morgan from Cumberland Gap. The regiment was involved in forty-three engagements besides numerous skirmishes and including one winter’s service under General James Longstreet when he was engaged in the siege of Knoxville.
During the retreat from Cynthiana, Colonel Giltner’s command moved through Owsley and Clay Counties. During this retreat, several prisoners were taken, one of which was William Clark, Andrew’s father.
At the time of William’s capture, a Captain McGhee reported to Colonel Giltner that papers were found on William which empowered him to recruit Negroes for service in the Union Army and which identified William as a Provost Marshal. Colonel Giltner directed that William be held as a prisoner of war and ordered Captain McGhee to place William under guard. Later, two men, one of which was believed to be named either Stratton or Sutton of the 10th Kentucky, CSA, approached William’s guard and stated they had been sent by Colonel Giltner for the prisoner. The guard let them take William, but instead of taking him to Colonel Giltner, they and others left the column and started for the upper edge of Clay County.
They tied William’s hands behind him and drove him in front of them until he could go no further. William was then taken to the side of the road and shot, the ball passing entirely through his lungs, from one side to the other, coming out and passing through the upper part of one of his arms.
They left William’s body beside the road where it was found about two days later. They continued on, later stopping at the home of the Reverend John Gilbert, a Kentucky pioneer who was then upwards of 100 years old. They robbed him of his money, his food, and all of his horses, sparing only his life.
Andrew, who was then the post commander at Camp Nelson, learned of his father’s murder, and on June 21st, he requested that he be allowed to take his regiment to the mountains to avenge the blood of his father. Andrew may have received permission because The National Unionist, a Lexington newspaper, later reported in the fall of 1864 that some of the men were captured and shot by Colonel Clark’s men. The National Unionist went on to say that “such men ought never to be shown any quarter, and we trust orders will be issued to all our soldiers who meet with any of these thieves and robbers to take no prisoners, but get all the horses and empty saddles they can, but if the rascals are too quick at surrendering, to admit to their being shot down, then that orders be given to hang them to the first limb that will bear their weight. This is the only way to get clear of them and stop their murdering and thieving.”
The men who were shot by Andrew’s men may have been Confederate soldiers, guerrillas, or Southern sympathizes. One story provided to the South Fork Country News by L. C. Rose, claims that Andrew swore to have ten of the most influential men in Owsley County, who were Democrats and Southern sympathizers killed to avenge his father’s death. Nine of the men were identified as Moses Cawood, R.W. Rose, Simon Frost, Robert Wilson, Barry Combs, Bigey Gilbert, Merrida Ambrose, Ike Terry, and Martin Rowland. (If Merrida Ambrose is in fact Meridith M. Ambrose, then that name is somewhat doubtful, since he is the husband of Ann Clark, Andrew’s aunt and the father of Henry C. Ambrose who was a soldier in Andrew’s regiment. A review of the Owsley County census for 1860 revealed a Moses Cawood, age 40, born in Kentucky; Robert W. Rose, age 37 born in Kentucky; S. K. Frost, age 58, born in Tennessee; and Robert Wilson, age 44, born in Kentucky. The 1870 census listed Robert W. Rose, age 48, born in Kentucky; Robert B. Wilson, age 30, born in Kentucky; Martin W. Rowland, age 38, born in Virginia; Susan Frost with children, age 36, born in Virginia; Simeon B. Frost, age 66, born in Tennessee, and Abijah B. Gilbert, age 55, born in Kentucky. There was no listing in either census for Merrida Ambrose, Barry Combs, Bigey Gilbert or Ike Terry. The names are either incorrect or they could have been from surrounding counties.)
In another article in The South Fork Country News, G. Brittain Lyttle, a Confederate officer carrying a dispatch from General Humphrey Marshall in Virginia to Colonel John Hargis, a leading businessman and strong Southern sympathizer in Breathitt County, (The 1860 Breathitt County census listed a John T. Hargis, age 39, born in Virginia) encountered units of the 14th Kentucky Mounted Infantry near Booneville. Lyttle was able to escape on foot after his mount was killed and subsequently made his was to the home of Moses Cawood, about three miles above Booneville opposite the mouth of Cow Creek. Upon arrival at the home, Lyttle presented his credentials and “. . .was most heartily welcomed. . .” (This act was in itself enough to place Moses in serious trouble, for it identified him as a harborer, one who gives aid and comfort to the enemy, like Zack Wells, below).
That same issue of The South Fork Country News contained this editors note: “Moses Cawood was taken from his home and tied to a tree near the river where he lived and shot by firing squad. He is said to have died in the arms of his beloved wife, Emily.” (Moses Cawood was born in Harlan County in 1820. He and his family moved to Owsley County from Harlan sometime after 1850. Moses was a slave owner, well to do farmer, merchant, and Southern sympathizer with a son who was a Lieutenant in the 10th KY, CSA. According to excerpts from a letter below, that was all that was needed to get him killed)
In another issue of The South Fork Country News, a published letter dated July 14, 1864 written by James W. Sebastian to Major Elisha B. Treadway (of the 7th Kentucky Infantry) gives the following account: . . .”most alarming occurrence was the sudden appearance of Col. Clark with a Company of men for the purpose, as all thought of wreaking vengeance on somebody for the murder of his father. And Keywood was killed. I don’t know for what without it was for being a Rebel. You know we’ve had it in the bargain to kill Rebels ever since men assumed that infamous name . . .Other States are well dotted with the graves of citizens whom they have murdered . . .Besides putting old Mose out of the way, Clark did one thing worthy of note, which I believe gave general satisfaction to all loyal and brave men by securing and carving away the notorious old thief harbored, Zack Wells. Zack didn’t want to leave home much and insisted that he was an inoffensive man, meddling with no body, and always stay at home. Clark in his dry way with a derisive smile repeats, never goes any place? But Zacks plea notwithstanding . . .was not enough to prevail on the enraged Col.” The letter went on to say that the killing has been no more than usual and that some of us feel safer with a “few blue Jackets about since they have become so necessary to the protection of life, liberty and property.” (James W. Sebastian was enrolled as a Private in Company A of the 7th Kentucky Infantry Regiment in 1861. He was reduced from Sergeant to Private February 28, 1862. Promoted to Sergeant Major March 1, 1863; wounded at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863; leg amputated; discharged September 22, 1863 at Louisville, Kentucky)(The 1860 Owsley County census lists Z. N. Wells, a Baptist Preacher, age 50, born in Tennessee along with his wife and family. No members of that family are listed in the 1870 Owsley County census.)
When articles such as above from The National Unionist are read by those supporting the Union, it is easy to understand the hatred for those who supported the Confederacy. The same is true for the opposite side, as evidenced by the actions of Captain William McGhee, below.
On August 7, 1864, General Stephen G. Burbridge was appointed commander of the Military District of Kentucky. Although he made many controversial decisions before he was removed from his command in February 1865, his infamous Order No. 59 made him Public Enemy #1 for Kentucky Confederates and earned him the epithet "Butcher" Burbridge. In an effort to punish the Confederacy for their repeated guerrilla activities, the order retaliated for every Union death with the execution of four guerrilla prisoners. Under this order, more than 50 executions took place.
In November 1864, a Captain William McGhee, reported to be from Owsley County (possibly the same Captain McGhee who had reported William’s capture to Colonel Giltner), slipped into Lexington with the intention of assassinating Andrew in an endeavor to revenge the death of the guerrillas shot by Andrew’s men. Captain McGhee, considered to be a notorious Rebel guerrilla and bushwhacker, was arrested at McGowan’s Hotel on Sunday the 13th of November.
After a military trial on the next day, Captain McGhee was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. On November 15th, 1864, Captain McGhee and another Rebel guerrilla were taken a short distance from town, and after their death sentences were read and suitable religious services by the Post Chaplain, they were both hanged.
An eyewitness to the hanging stated, “Captain McGhee, a notorious guerrilla, and Walter Ferguson, a Rebel spy, were hung here yesterday afternoon. McGhee confessed that he had killed and robbed every person he had met for some time. He also confessed that he was hired to come to Lexington and assassinate General Burbridge and Colonel Clark. Ferguson protested his innocence to the last. He was caught with Jesse’s gang, and was also in the gang that stopped the cars the day Montgomery Blair was on them. McGhee died like a cowardly murderer. Ferguson was bold and composed. Ferguson was formerly a resident of this city.” (Walter Ferguson was mustered in as a Private in Company A of Morgan’s Cavalry Squadron on October 27, 1861 at Woodsonville, Kentucky) The article went on to say that McGhee was from Owsley County. (The 1860 census for Owsley County lists a William D. McGee, age 21, at the Hampton Hotel in Booneville. Local folklore points out Hampton, as a Rebel spy. The same 1860 census for Clay County also lists William D. McGee, age 21, at his father’s house in that county)
After Morgan's last raid, the Civil War in Lexington was over. Nationally, the Civil War began to draw to a close with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, Virginia, on April 9, 1965. Colonel Giltner surrendered his forces on April 30, 1865 at Mt. Sterling, Kentucky taking the oath of amnesty. The men were paroled and allowed to return to their homes. During the conflict, over 75,000 Kentuckians fought with the Federal army, while approximately 25,000 of their fellow Kentuckians enlisted in the Confederacy. Over 20,000 of the Union soldiers from Kentucky were Negroes. Of those 100,000 Kentuckians who served, nearly 30,000 died. At least 10,000 were killed in battle, while the remaining 20,000 fell victim to disease and exposure.
1865 - War Crime Hearings
Andrew was mustered out of the army in December 1864, and even though he had been involved in the deaths of some of the Confederate guerrillas, and Southern sympathizers, he was still haunted by the murder of his father. If there was one thing that Andrew had learned about military service and command, it was that the commander is responsible for the actions of his command. Andrew felt that Colonel Giltner should be held accountable for the murder of his father.
In August of 1865, Andrew learned that Colonel Giltner had returned to his home in the western part of Kentucky. Andrew wrote to Governor Thomas E. Bramlett, advising that he had no intention of letting Colonel Giltner pass with impunity and asked how he should proceed. Andrew was eventually able to have Colonel Giltner indicted for the murder of his father in Clay County.
When Colonel Giltner learned that he had been indicted in Clay County for the murder of William Clark, he and his friends filed a petition for his pardon with Governor Bramlett.
Petition for Pardon, Giltner to Bramlette.
To his Excellency,
Gov. Thomas E. Bramlette
“Your petitioners would respectfully represent that on the 10th or 11th of June 1864, H.L. Giltner commanded a brigade of the Confederate Army, in the division of John H. Morgan. That after the defeat of Col. Hobson of the Federal Army at Cynthiana and the subsequent defeat and total routing of the forces of Morgan by Gen. Burbridge, he was on his way out of the State of Kentucky with a mixed, demoralized, and disorganized command. That during said retreat while in the county of Clay, in the State of KY., a Capt. McGhee reported to him (said Giltner) as the ranking officer, that he had, among the prisoners, one Clark, upon whose person were found papers, which empowered him to recruit Negroes for the Federal Army, and that he was also Provost Marshal of Clay County. He, the said Giltner then ordered McGhee to retain Clark as a prisoner of war. That subsequently, Giltner, in the reports of prisoners, (which on account of the disorganized condition of his men, but a small portion of them belonging to his original command) noticed that the name of Clark was not amongst the prisoners. As soon as possible thereafter he caused an investigation to be had which developed the fact that one Stratton or Sutton, said to belong to the 10th Regmt. KY Vols., CSA and another, had gone to the guard who then had said Clark in charge, and represented that they had been sent, by said Giltner for said Clark, that the guard without any order from Giltner, either verbal or written had delivered Clark to them. That Giltner then sent for said Stratton or Sutton and his companion, and found that subsequent to the delivery of Clark to them they had not been heard from, and he, Giltner then supposed it was a ruse resorted to by them to effect the escape of Clark and that it had preceded. At the close of the war, he with his command surrendered themselves to the Federal forces and took the oath of amnesty; but finds that in Clay (County) Circuit Court, he has been indicted for the murder of said Clark.
Your petitioners file herewith, affidavits in support of the above and would respectfully ask your Excellency, for a pardon for said Giltner. He does not fear a trial, if he could now possibly get the witnesses to the above to attend or could know where they all are; but he has information which gives him reason to fear mob violence.”
Governor Bramlett granted the pardon. Colonel Giltner died in the summer of 1892 at Murfreesboro, Tennessee and his remains were taken to Carrollton, Kentucky where he was buried.
The Post-War Years
Andrew must have agreed with the pardon of Colonel Giltner, for he made no further efforts to bring him to trial. Andrew gave up farming and became a lawyer, with offices in Booneville, Kentucky. Some of the men in Andrew’s regiment left Kentucky and went west. They may have been seeking a new life or were afraid some of the Southern sympathizers might seek revenge on men of the 47th. Andrew chose to stay. He married Louvenia Reins on December 24, 1867 in Clay County. Louvenia was the daughter of Frank Reins and Martha Wilson and was born September 12, 1847 in Clay County. Martha was a native of Clay County and Frank was a salt-maker from Virginia. Frank must have died during the war, because Martha married Andrew’s uncle, Anderson D. Clark in December 1865. Andrew’s brother, Captain Henry J. Clark also survived the war. He married Emma Rosina Jones August 8, 1865 in Clinton, Louisiana. Henry had met Emma while he was stationed at Clinton. Henry was 24 and Emma was just 16. After the wedding, Henry and Emma returned to Kentucky, and lived next to his mother in Owsley County. Henry had been sick during his service and took several months to recover his health. Emma had a hard time adjusting also, because she was young and had been used to having servants in the house. Emma never saw her parents again, but was visited by one brother in later years.
Henry became a hard-shelled Baptist Preacher (Elder) and belonged to the Tates Creek Association of Predestinarian Baptists. Henry rode a circuit, preaching at Flat Woods, Station Camp, and Lebanon Churches, He also preached at the Rock Springs Church near his home in Owsley County. He later preached at the Old Cane Spring Church at College Hill. After his mother died, Henry moved to Estill County and finally settled in Madison County. Henry died in 1925. He and Emma are buried in the Richmond, Kentucky Cemetery.
Andrew served as a state representative in 1881 and 1882 and moved to Barbourville where he was the Circuit Judge for Knox and Laurel Counties. Andrew and Louvenia had three daughters, Charlena, Lilly and Tommie. They lived in a Victorian house on the corner of Pine Street and Clark Street in Barbourville.
In May of 1888, at age 58, Andrew filed application for a pension. He stated that while at Wild Cat Mountain, he was taken sick with “measles, diarrhoea (sic) and a cough” for which he was treated by Dr. Abel Conant, the regimental surgeon. This condition, along with camp life and exposure, caused his condition to worsen. After military service he was treated throughout his life by Dr. Sanders of Booneville, and Dr. James D. Foster (his brother-in-law) of London. Andrew stated he thought he would never make application for a pension, but claimed that he had become so feeble that he could not live by his profession alone. Andrew died on April 12, 1898 and was buried in the Barbourville Cemetery.
From: History of Knox County by Elmer Decker
TRIBUTE TO JUDGE A.H. CLARK
“At a meeting of the Knox County Bar held Wednesday, April 12, 1898, Hon. James D. Black (Governor of Kentucky in 1919) was elected chairman, and Jesse D. Tuggle was elected secretary.
Upon motion of B.B. Golden that a committee of eight persons, the chairman to be one of said committee, be appointed to draft resolutions concerning the death of the Hon. A.H. Clark, late Judge of the Court, the following persons were chosen, J. Smith Hays, J.W. Alcorn, John L. Isaacs, B.B. Golden, J.R. Davis, S.B. Dishman and Judge T.J. Wyatt and the following persons were chosen as pall‑bearers, John G. Matthews, Hon. John H. Wilson, Hon. D.K. Rawlings, J.D. Main, Jesse D. Tuggle and J.N. Brafford, after which the meeting adjourned to meet again April 20, and upon reassembling April 20 the following resolutions were reported by the committee and adopted by the meeting:
The Honorable A.H. Clark, Judge of this Court, died on the 12th day of April 1898, at 10:20 p.m.
That this deplorable event resulted from his painstaking and earnest devotion to the duties confided to him by the people of this district is recognized by all of us. It was characteristic of the man to aim conscientiously to an earnest and zealous discharge of his duties regardless of the personal consequences to himself. He was a just and upright Judge, and yet never unmindful to this higher duties to the weak, the poor, the unfortunate of his fellow-men. He was a man most worth of honor and trust. As an officer in the army during the fearful sectional war which ravaged our country, as a member of the Bar, as a representative of his people in the State Legislature, as a Commonwealth's Attorney for this district he proved himself worthy of and faithful to every trust imposed, and, as a Judge, his triumphant re‑election to that office is the best evidence of how well and faithfully he discharged the duties of that high and honorable office. Others, who come after him, may be as efficient and as capable, but no one can have more of the confidence of the people in his honesty, uprightness, fidelity and devotion to duty.
Truly can we say, WE WILL NEVER SEE HIS LIKE AGAIN. As a testimonial to his great worth, and tribute to his memory, we ask and recommend that this be spread at large upon the order books of this Court, and a copy hereof be given to the widow and family of deceased.”
Andrew’s wife, Louvenia, later married Hugh B. Railsback on April 8, 1911 in Tampa, Florida. He died in 1926, and Louvenia moved to Louisville to be near her daughter Tommie. Louvenia died on July 29, 1930 and was buried next to Andrew.
Official Record of the War of the Rebellion. East Tennessee Historical Center, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Union Regiments of Kentucky: Book located at the East Tennessee Historical Center, Knoxville, Tennessee.
Adj. Generals Report, Kentucky. Book located at the East Tennessee Historical Center.
Southern Volunteers in the Union Army: Book located at the East Tennessee Historical Center.
Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: Book located at the University of Tennessee library, Knoxville, Tennessee.
War in Kentucky, From Shiloh to Perryville, Knoxville: Book, University of Tennessee Press, 1995.
Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. III, Castle, 1888.
The National Unionist: Lexington, Kentucky newspaper, Kentucky State Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.
The Knox Countian: Quarterly published by the Knox Historical Museum, Barbourville, Kentucky.
The South Fork Country News: Quarterly published by the Owsley County History and Genealogy Society Inc., Booneville, Kentucky.
National Park Service web site:
Individual soldier’s military and pension records, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
1860 and 1870 US Census for Owsley and Clay County, Kentucky.
Submitted by James L Clark
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