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Nineteenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry

The 19th Kentucky Infantry was recruited and organized at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, in the fall of 1861 by Colonel Wm. J. Landram and Lieutenant Colonel John Cowan, and was mustered into the United States service on the 2d day of January, 1862, by Captain H. C. Bankhead, United States Mustering Officer. From Harrodsburg the regiment marched to Somerset, Kentucky, In January, 1862, and was engaged for some time in destroying the intrenchments of General Zollicoffer, and collecting property captured at the battle of Mill Springs.

The regiment marched from Somerset to Cumberland Ford, Kentucky, In April, 1862, and was assigned to General Baird's brigade of General George W. Morgan's Division. It remained at Cumberland Ford until June, when it took part in the movements which resulted in the capture of Cumberland Gap, and assisted in the construction of the fortifications at that point.

The Gap was evacuated in September, 1862, by the Federal forces, who marched through the mountains of Eastern Kentucky to the Ohio river, occupying over twenty days. Upon this march the troops suffered much for want of food, subsisting chiefly upon meal grated upon the bottoms of their mess-pans.

At the termination of the Cumberland Gap campaign the 19th was assigned to the division of the Army of Kentucky commanded by Brigadier General A.J. Smith, and composed part of the 2d Brigade under command of Col. Landram. It marched by way of Louisville, Kentucky, to Memphis, Tennessee, and formed part of Major General Sherman's Army which moved on Vicksburg via Chickasaw Bayou. It participated in the battle of Chicasaw Bluffs, December 29th, 1862, and acquitted itself with credit. From Chickasaw Bayou it prceeded to Arkansas Post, and participated in the battle which resulted in the capture of that place on the 10th of January, 1863.

It returned from Arkansas Post to Young's Point, Louisiana, where it remained for some time. On the 15th of April, 1863, the regiment marched down the east bank of the Mississippi river and crossed to the rear of Vicksburg, participating in the battles of Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, and the siege of Vicksburg and Jackson. Of the conduct of the regiment at Port Gibson the Brigade Commander mentions in his official report the undaunted bravery and gallantry in the following terms,

"The 19th Kentucky Infantry advanced under a heavy fire to within 60 yards of the enemy's lines, where they returned the fire with such coolness and accuracy, for about two hours, as to silence the fire in their front, capturing 25 or 30 prisoners, and cutting to pieces the 5th (Rebel) Missouri regiment." The regiment was commanded in this engegement, as well as the others mentioned, by Lieutenant Colonel John Cowan (Colonel Landram being in command of a Brigade), who is uniformly spoken of by his superior officers in terms of the highest praise.

In the assault on Vicksburg, on the 22nd of May, the 19th lost about 60 in killed and wounded. Among the killed was that gallant officer, Major Morgan V. Evans, who fell in front of his men nobly doing his duty. This regiment was among the few Kentucky organizations that ook part in the capture of Vicksburg, and in the numberous battles incident thereto, and is favorably mentioned by Major General McClernand, commanding the 13th Army Corps, in the following congratulatory letter to Governor Robinson, viz:

"Headquarters 13th Army Corps,
"Near Vicksburg, June 5, 1863
"Governor: I have the honor to inform you that there are two general officers and three regiments, the 7th, 19th, and 22nd Kentucky, in the 13th Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee, under my command, who crossed the Mississippi river with me at Bruensburg, below Grand Gulf, on the 30th day of April, and who took part in the battles of Thompson'[s Hill on the 1st of May, Champion Hills on the 16th, Big Black Bridge on the 17th of May, and at Vicksburg, beginning on the 19th of May and continuing up to the present time.
"I am most happy, sir, to congratulate you, and through you your noble State, for the victories won by the common effort of her brave sons with those of sister States, and to bear testimony to the gallantry, bravery, and good conduct of her officers and men in all these bloody struggles. They bore themselves with unflinching steadiness of veterans, both under galling fires of artillery and musketry, andin making charges upon fortified lines. They have shown themselves compeers and fit companions in arms with brave men of sister States in a series of battles in which it has become impossible to make particular mention of those who distinguished themselves, without mentioning individually both officers and men.
"Your most obedient servant,
"John A. McClernand,
"Maj. Gen. Comd'g 13th Army Corps, Department of the Tennessee."

After the siege of Jackson, the 19th Kentucky Infantry, being in the 13th Army corps, was transferred to the Department of the Gulf, and was with General Banks on the unfortunate "Red River Campaign." At the battle of Sabine Cross Roads, Louisiana, it was assigned to the First Brigade of the Fourth Division, commanded by Colonel Landram. In this battle the 19th Kentucky repelled five distinct charges before the enemy was enable to break through its lines; and the Corps Commander, Gen. Ransom, says "they all did nobly, and their list of killed and wounded bears evidence of the obstinacy with which they resisted the overwhelming forceof the enemy." After the Red River Expedition it returned to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where it remained until ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, where it was mustered out January 26, 1865, the veterans and recruits being transferred to the 7th Kentucky Veteran Infantry.

Source: Adjutant General's Report

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Last updated  04/21/2003     Copyrightę 2003 by Karen McWhorter Wilhelm