Friday, July 27, 2012

Reynolds' Station

Editor's Note:  Unfortunately, Captain Samuel K.Cox today penned his last diary entry for this period.  He will not write again until September 30, 1863 and provides no explanation for the interruption.  Perhaps the excitement of the soldier's life has diminished to the point where he no longer feels that anyone could possibly be interested. 

As the blue tide slowly encroaches upon the Nashville area, following the railway and turnpike from Athens, Alabama, the Seventeenth has checked out of the Pulaski Hotel and now find themselves at the busy rail junction between Pulaski and Columbia.  When the road is in good repair, supplies and civilian trains are moving through this critical depot twenty-four hours a day.  It must have been quite a shock after their relatively peaceful duty on the court square.

Captain Cox makes the following entry in his diary on the evening of July 27th, 1862.

We are now at Reynolds Station, 8 miles from Pulaski.  We came here one night last week. Nothing of importance has occurred since Sunday last, except we were alarmed once at Pulaski, and had the long roll beaten.  It turned out to be a false alarm.  Brink Neal passed down from the 11th Kentucky and also cousin Bob Cox from the 27th Kentucky.  Wrote to F. M. Allison today.*

In the upcoming months, the Seventeenth will be marching with Buell in his "Pursuit" of Bragg, from middle Tennessee to Louisville.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, p.21

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Escort Service

After last night's false alarm, Buell is still concerned about the defense of Pulaski, and well he should be.  Like most important points on the Tennessee railroads, it will prove to be a challenge for the next three years. Today's orders provide for General Fry to move up in support of Col. E.M.  McCook, who remains directing trains through Reynolds' Station, and then provide escort for supplies being sent to Athens, Alabama.  The army below Pulaski is generally operating on half rations due to the constant interruptions of the supply lines.


Tuscumbia, Ala., July 24, 1862.

Brigadier General S. S. FRY, Commanding Second Brigade:

GENERAL: You are directed by Major-General Thomas to cross your brigade at Florence with as little delay as possible and march direct to Pulaski by way of Lawrenceburg. As General Buell's trains are threatened by bodies of cavalry you will be vigilant and keep your troops on the alert all the time.
On your arrival at Pulaski communicate at once with the commandant at Reynolds' Station. Look to the protection of that point and convoy the wagon train from Reynolds' to Athens by an infantry force of strength determined by what may be learned of the dangers to be guarded against. You will receive further orders after you return to Athens.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Monday, July 23, 2012

A McCook at Reynolds' Station

The following orders from Buell's headquarters at Huntsville to Col. Edward M. McCook*  at Reynolds' Station indicate that Columbia, Tennessee has been selected as a point for consolidation in middle Tennessee.  Located in Murray County just south of Nashville, it is more centrally located and thus able to quickly supply troops to Murfreesboro, Franklin, Shelbyville, Pulaski and Nashville.


Huntsville, July 23, 1862.

Colonel McCOOK, Reynolds' Station:

The First and Second Kentucky Cavalry (Wolford's and Board's) and the Second Indiana Cavalry (McCook's) are ordered to concentrate at Columbia immediately, to assume active operations against the enemy's cavalry, which is threatening our lines and posts. It will be necessary for you to remain at Reynolds' Station in person at present to superintend matters relating to our supplies. You will be permitted to join your regiment as soon as practicable.

Chief of Staff.


Huntsville, July 23, 1862.

Colonel McCOOK, Reynolds' Station:

It is reported that the enemy, 500 strong, was marching south through Marshall County last night. Wolford's cavalry is just ordered to march south from Columbia and form junction with your regiment, and both then to move to within 5 or 6 miles of Reynolds', and move upon the enemy wherever he may be and attack and pursue. Board's cavalry at Columbia ready to re-enforce or act on the rear.
Send a messenger after your regiment to halt it till Wolford's comes down. Get all information you can and report and be prepared for vigorous action. Notify infantry below you and look out for trains.

Chief of Staff.

The "infantry below you" refers to the Seventeenth Kentucky who remain at Pulaski, about eight miles south of Reynolds' Station.  In his diary entry of July 27th, Captain Cox mentions hearing the long roll of the drums one night the previous week.  This must be the night.

* Editor's Note: Col. Edward M. McCook is one of the Fighting McCook Family from Ohio.  Major Daniel McCook provided 10 sons to the service of his country and was killed in The Battle of Buffington Island, defending against Morgan's raid.  All but one of his sons (J.James McCook, who died in 1842 during his enlistment in the USN) served in the Civil War.  His brother, Dr. John James McCook, served as a volunteer surgeon and contributed four sons to the cause.  Perhaps, the most prominent son, Maj. Gen. Alexander McDowell McCook, is currently commanding his divisions at Battle Creek, Tennessee, guarding the all-important passage to Chattanooga. The Seventeenth Kentucky is also under his command, Rousseau's Division, Harris' Brigade as Buell's march to Louisville is being organised.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pulaski Threatened

Buell summarises his quandary in the following note to his commander.  Notice that he bemoans the effects of mistreatment of the southern citizenry and its military consequences.


Huntsville, Ala., (via Nashville, Teen.), July 22, 1862.

Major-General HALLECK or
General THOMAS, Adjutant-General:

The enemy has thrown a large cavalry force, regular and irregular, upon our lines throughout Tennessee and Kentucky. The embarrassment from this is great. Small guards cannot protect them, and to give large ones would scatter my whole force. High water also has destroyed our bridges. From these two causes we have had to repeat our work, and it has been impossible to get either road open to Nashville.
Nashville is again threatened, and whether really endanger or not its security is a matter of too vital importance to be left in jeopardy, and I must keep force enough there to operate actively in that quarter and toward the east. But these cavalry raids can only be effectually counteracted by cavalry, of which there should be at least five, or, if possible, eight more regiments in the two States.
I am compelled to ascribe the greater part of our annoyance from guerrilla bands to the spirit of hate and revenge which has been inspired in this quarter by an unwise policy and personal wrongs. I just learn that the enemy's cavalry in considerable force captured the guards - 80 men - and burned three bridges between Nashville and Murfreesborough [sic] yesterday. It will take eight days to rebuild them.


The Seventeenth remains on garrison duty at Pulaski as Buell is feverishly trying to protect the line while fighting Forrest's Cavalry, but it looks like check-out time at the Pulaski Hotel is approaching as the troops are put on alert.


Huntsville, July [22], 1862.

General GEORGE H. THOMAS, Tuscumbia:

Cross a brigade at Florence as soon as possible and send it by Lawrenceburg to Pulaski. Our lines and trains there and elsewhere are threatened by large bodies of cavalry. Your troops must be continually on the alert. On arrival at Pulaski let the brigade commander communicate at once with the commander at Reynolds' Station and look to the protection of that point, and also convoy the wagon trains from Reynolds' to Athens by an infantry force of strength determined by what he may learn of the danger to be guarded against. Cross your cavalry as soon as possible and report it for orders.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Realignment, Again

The Seventeenth Kentucky, having been detached from Ammen's 10th Brigade, Nelson's Fourth Division, Army of the Ohio at Pulaski, have now been assigned to the 9th Brigade of Col. L. A. Harris in  Gen. L. H. Rousseau's Third Division of  the I Army Corps commanded by Gen. Alexander McD. McCook.

They are not included in various listings of the I Corps associated with the Battle of Perryville and other reports of this time period, possibly because of their detached assignments.  However, the following bit of book keeping was dated July 17, 1862 by General D. C. Buell.


HEADQUARTERS ARMY of the OHIO, Numbers 105.
Huntsville, ala., July 17, 1862.

* * * *
IV. The Twenty- third Brigade will hereafter be compopsed [sic] as follows: Fifty- firzst [sic] Ohio Volunteers, Eighth Kentucky Volunteers, Thirty- fifth Indian Volunteers, and Twenty- first Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel Staneley Matthews commanding.
V. The Thirty- eighth Indiana Volunteers is transferred from the Seventh to the Ninth Brigade, and the Twenty- first Ohio is transferred from the Ninth to the Seventh Brigade.
VI. The Thirty- seventh Indiana Volunteers is relieved from the Eighth Brigade.
VII. The Seventy- ninth Pennsylvania Volunteers is relieved from the Seventh Brigade and will remain where it sis [sic] until further orders.
VIII. The Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteers is transferred from the Tenth Brigade to the Ninth Brigade, and the Twenty- third Kentucky Volunteers is assigned to the Tenth Brigade.
* * * *
By command of Major-General Buell:
Assistant Adjutatn [sic]-General.

The July 18th entry from Captain Cox, reflects the restful life he had been anticipating.

Have been amusing myself today by playing a game of cards.  Lost $20.00.  Wrote to Josie today per Dillehay.*

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, p.21.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Duty in Pulaski

As the Seventeenth tries to maintain order in Pulaski, disorder is spreading throughout the Army of the Ohio in middle Tennessee as they are scattered along every rail, river and road.  As is typical in this part of the country, the period of drought has been broken by locally heavy rains, causing flash floods and destroying bridges near Columbia, Tennessee on the Duck River and other vital links.

The Confederate strategy of conducting isolated cavalry raids against the supplies and supply lines which are guarded by company and regiment level garrisons is proving effective.  To get an appreciation for the turmoil being generated in the Union ranks, refer to this communique from Buell to Nelson.


Huntsville, July 17, 1862.

General NELSON,
Nashville of Murfreesborough [sic]:

Reports are coming in frequently of a formidable advance of the enemy across the mountains from Chattanooga. they seem to have foundation. I do not believe, however, that Nashville is the immediate object. It is more probable that a strong movement will be made on our communications and rear by way of Winchester while a formidable attack is made in front at Battle Creek. I deem it necessary to make immediate arrangements mainly with that view. Wood, now at Shelbyville, is ordered to march for Winchester to-morrow. If anything should come toward Nashville you must be prepared for it. If not, and the danger should come this way, I shall want you personally here. In the mean time make the best possible disposition of the brigade with you to meet the enemy at Murfreesborough [sic]. Colonel Miles [?], who was captured there, has come in at Tullahoma. The enemy retired to McMinnville, where they are reported to have a force of 3,000 cavalry. A still stronger force of cavalry and infantry is said to be at Altamont under Price. Our line is about as difficult to guard as it could be. I shall occupy McMinnville as soon as possible.


Meanwhile, on garrison duty in Pulaski, Captain Cox attends to the task at hand.

This morning I was detailed as officer of the Guard, and am on duty tonight.  Guard posted around the Colonel's quarters, the courthouse, and in various streets through the town.  They are instructed not to allow any soldier or soldiers to go inside any private house or yard.  We came here to protect the property of all citizens and we intend so to do.  They have been imposed upon by such men as General Furchen [sic] long enough.  Rode out since dark in the stage coach to our lines to pass it through.*

 Colonel J.B. Turchin, who's original name was Ivan Turchaninov is a complicated figure.  He had served in the Imperial Russian Army as a colonel during the Crimean War until 1856 when he emmigrated to the U.S.  As of July 7, he has been on trial in a militry court martial for his conduct in Athens, Alabama with future President, then Brig. General, James.A Garfield presiding.  He was found guilty on two of three charges on August 6 and sentenced to dismissal for the good of the service. (Ref.: General Order No. 39) As the policy of "total war" was becoming increasingly popular, he was reinstated and promoted to Brigadier General by President Lincoln.  This debate between proponents of "conciliatory" and "total" warfare continues today, with each side occasionally having their day.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, p.21.

Monday, July 16, 2012

As the War Turns

On July 16th, 1862, the Seventeenth Kentucky bids farewell to Nelson's Fourth Division in the Army of the Ohio, having marched from Shiloh to nearby Pulaski, Tennessee in just three months and having spent this time rebuilding roads, bridges and railways in the hot southern summer.

The 17th's duty in Nelson's Fourth Division (light blue dots) included "Seige of Corinth" and "Pursuit to Booneville", Iuka and Bear Creek Bridge, M&C Railroad duty to Tuscumbia, on to Athens, Alabama and then to Pulaski, Tennessee- a march of nearly 250 miles in three months. After Booneville, their division was participating in "Buell's Operations in Northern Alabama and Middle Tennessee."
Original map courtesy of son of the south

Captain Cox believes they are finally getting that sorely needed rest as he writes today's entry in his diary.

Up this morning at 2 o'clock and to our great surprise, we were informed that the regiment would be left to garrison the town, and the 23rd Kentucky to take place in the 4th Division, to which we heartily concurred for we are actually worn out and need a good rest.  We came up town this morning as the troops passed through, and immediately looked over our respective quarters.  We are now situated, or at least camped, in the buildings around the public square.  My company is in the Pulaski Hotel.  This is a beautiful place, but like all other towns in the South, shows the effects of the war.*

The Captain once again expresses his empathy for the Southern citizens, just as his home state is beginning to suffer similar "effects of the war." Buell's policy, though not always enforced by some of his commanders, is the practice of "conciliatory warfare" in which civilians and their property rights are to be respected.  The Seventeenth seems to embrace this policy as well, and the captain frequently laments the vulgar actions of some Union regiments.  There is no formal government policy regarding the treatment of civilians at this time but the debate is raging among northern editorialists and politicians.

As evidenced by this abrasive letter to the Commissary at Louisville from Buell's Chief of Staff, maintaing the supply routes is not the same as maintaining access to even routine supplies.


Huntsville, July 16, 1862.

Captain SYMONDS,
Commissary of Subsistence, Louisville:

What do you mean by not seeing your way clear if we use hard bread and salt meat? Can't you get these or can't you ship them? I see no difficulty in either case. We only eat about 75 tons a day. The railroad can send for Government 300 tons a day if it is properly presented. It would doubtless relieve your department very much if we furnish our own four and did not use salt meat; but the commissary department cannot be relieved from furnishing bread and meat. The country here cannot supply the flour, nor is there any necessity for our depending on the country if it could. The railroad from Louisville, the Cumberland River, and Green River to Bowling Green are all open to us, and if we don't get supplies it can only be our own fault. Three should be twenty days' supply ahead in Nashville, whereas there are none there and have been none for six or seven days.

Chief of Staff.

* Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, p.20.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hitting the Wall

The forced march ordered by General Buell is having devastating effects on the Volunteers in Nelson's Division.  The fatigue is evident in Captain Cox's diary entry for July 15, 1862

Started this morning at two o'clock, crossed the Elk River at Elkton at sun-up, at which place we took our breakfast and afterwards took the Turn Pike to Pulaski, Tenn.  The sun coming down, as on yesterday, and in fact, 'hotter than Hell."  Today the whole brigade gave out;  the men actually refused "Old Ironsides Nelson" to go an inch farther.  He took the artillery and moved on to Pulaski having made twenty miles in that time.

We are now encamped for the night on the creek near said town; a great many are still behind and one or two, I suppose, will never get up as they fell on the road.

We are ordered to move forward at 2 o'clock tomorrow morning.*

If the men had known of the multiple incursions into Kentucky and the Union's surrender of Murfreesboro, they might have been persuaded to continue.  At least Nelson got his artillery to Pulaski on time, per Buell's orders.

Buell's frustration finds expression in the following telegram to the recently promoted General-in-Chief Henry Halleck.


HEADQUARTERS, Huntsville, July 15, 1862.
General HALLECK:

My information up to the night of the 13th from Murfreesborough[sic] was that the Ninth Michigan had been captured, but that Colonel Lester's regiment and Hewett's battery were doing well and felt confident of being able to hold out. Re-enforcements were being started from Nashville. It appears that before they arrived Colonel Lester surrendered at 4 o'clock p. m. the same day. I have no particulars, and at present no remarks to make upon what appears now to be a most disgraceful affair; of course it may embarrass me considerably. I have been too busy to counteract it. The words is the interruption of the Chattanooga road, which was just completed. I had taken the precaution to place some twelve regiments on that route until it should be securely established. We will go to work again.


In the final statement, Buell demonstrates that his efforts are still directed at maintaining the roads and supply lines, a priority that was passed down straight from the old general himself.  The importance of maintaining supply routes is a lesson learned early in an officer's education, but should not come at the expense of the mission objective.  How long will it take Halleck and Buell to realize that the primary purpose of an army in wartime is to engage and defeat the enemy?

* Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, p.19.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rise and Shine

The Seventeenth is once again on the road today, July 14, 1862.  There was no advance warning of this move and the destination was unknown, causing much discussion in the ranks. The men were also unaware of the followiwng orders received by General Nelson the previous evening.


HEADQUARTERS, Huntsville, July 13, 1862.
General NELSON, Athens:

Order the Third Kentucky Cavalry and one section of artillery from the artillery reserve to move by forced marches to Fayetteville, thence to Shelbyville, to form a junction with the troops at Wartrace or at Tullahoma, and to act, according to circumstances, in attacking the enemy, who appeared this morning at Murfreesborough [sic], or in cutting off his retreat. They must be vigilant on the march, and should take three days' rations at least and buy forage on the route. Move one of your brigades of infantry by forced march to Reynolds' Station, and there if possible take the cars and move toward Nashville to any point which may be threatened. If the railroad fails you must march of course. Take with this brigade four pieces of artillery from the artillery reserve. Move forward the most advanced regiment you now have working on the road by forced marches to Reynolds' Station and replace it on the road by another regiment moved forward by forced march from your camp. You are to go up in person with the brigade, and you will take command of any troops you find on the route and use them in the maner best calculated to drive back the enemy or cut off his retreat. You will understand that the preservation of the road is a matter of vital importance. It is reported that about 2,500 rebel cavalry surprised our troops at Murfreesborough [sic] this morning and defeated them. The wire is cut and we hear nothing from them except by messengers to Nashville. It is supposed the rebels will either move on Nashville or Franklin.

Chief of Staff.

 Captain Cox penned this entry in his diary after a hard days' march under the hot southern sun, having spent just five nights in the camp he had hoped to call home for the summer.

This morning we were aroused from our slumbers by the bugle sounding reveille at 2 o'clock.  It was something unusual for we were in the habit of sleeping until sun-up, except when on the march.  We could not imagine what was up until we were ordered to eat breakfast, strike tents, and be ready to march at 5 o'clock.  The boys did not like to tear down their tents from the fact that they were better situated than we have been since we came into service.  We, however, obeyed the orders and by five o'clock we were on the road to Athens.  We passed through said town and took the road leading to Elkton and Nashville and at present are camped for the night four miles from Elkton.  This has been the warmest day that was ever known.  I am sure that the Old Master cannot make the sun shine warmer than it has today.  We have travelled twenty miles, the men carrying 60 rounds of cartridges, knapsacks, etc.  The consequence has been that many poor soldiers have given up and are still behind on the road.  They will, I suppose, come up tonight.*

The captain's mention of "60 rounds of cartridges" is significant.  This is more than they would carry on a standard march, and indicated to the experienced officer that there may be trouble ahead.  By comparrison, each man carried only 80 cartridges into battle on that fateful Sunday morning at Shiloh. 

In the last statement, the Captain's concern for the men who were unable to keep up was tinged with the knowledge that small bands of men in gray and rogue civilians trailed these trains in hopes of picking off stragglers and capturing the occasional broken down supply wagon. Collecting just one weary soldier's Enfield with 60 rounds and a knapsack filled with three days' rations was a successful day for one of these scavengers.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, pp.19-20.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sunday Morning Near Athens, Alabama

Just a brief note from Captain Cox today, July 13, 1862.  Time seems to be passing quickly as he notes the beginning of a new week in their new camp, five miles from Athens.

This is again Sunday.  Had inspection this morning. Received a letter from Josie today per Dillehay from Josie.*

The fact that he mentions Josie's name twice seems to indicate that she is weighing heavily on his mind.

The other reference is probably to William S. Dillahay, 1st Lt. in Company H.  He had resigned on May 10, 1862  (due to illness or injury) and likely returned to visit his old unit.  Dillahay was from McLean County, Kentucky, near Calhoun.**  There were actually quite a few civilians coming and going from camps like this throughout the western theater, especially when the camps were relatively close to home.  They were a welcome source of newspapers, letters and special commodities that weren't available from the commissary officer.

Meanwhile, back at Headquarters in Corinth,  Major General Henry Halleck has been recalled to Washington in reward for his successive victories in the west, but General D.C. Buell, at his headquarters in Huntsville, is not so lucky.  Halleck had counted on the Army of the Ohio's advancing eastward to Chattanooga while maintaining control over the occupied territories of Tennessee and Kentucky.  This explains the Seventeenth's positioning near Athens, poised for the attack on Chattanooga.  Confederate activity since the Fourth of July, however, is drawing increasing attention as demonstrated in this communication from Buell to Halleck, also dated July 13th .

Editor's note:  For a better understanding of Buell's predicament, start at the link below and follow pages 136-151, correspondence for July 13 & 14, 1862. 

HEADQUARTERS, Huntsville, July 13, 1862.
General HALLECK:

General Boyle reports that Morgan's force is increasing by the rising of secessionists in the counties on the Ohio; that he is now at Danville and Harrodsburg, and will have Lexington and Frankfort if troops are not sent immediately. I shall have to send troops there. This morning I received a dispatch from Nashville saying that 3,000 cavalry surprised and, as the phrase is, "cut to pieces" the force at Murfreesborough [sic], two regiments of infantry, a battery, and some cavalry. I have no particulars and no information since. There has no doubt been an attack threatening Nashville and our railroad communications. I have ordered troops to meet the danger. The road to Stevenson was finished a strong force on the roads, but the lines are long and exposed from the east. Everything indicates that the enemy is throwing a heavy cavalry force into Kentucky and Middle Tennessee, which will give us occupation. The force at Chattanooga is stated at from 15,000 to 20,000, exclusive of the force under Smith farther east.


* Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel K. Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room archives, p.19.

** Blackburn, John, A Hundred Miles, A Hundred Heartbreaks, 1972, self-published, LOC 72-93774, p.221.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Fun in the Sun

On July 10th, Captain Cox commented that it had been "remarkably warm today" and on the 11th he mentioned going into Athens on the back of a mule with fellow officers Lieutenants Byers (Company E) and Davis.*

Avery Byers, 2nd Lt., (E) resigned on June 15th the following year.  He was one of three brothers that served in the Seventeenth alongside his father and his brother-in-law.  He later joined the 35th Kentucky Mounted Infantry and rose to the rank of captain.**

Thomas D. Davis, 2nd. Lt .and Commissary officer of the Seventeenth resigned his commission in October, 1863.***  It was probably his association with Captain Cox that led to the entry for this day, July 12, 1862.

Nothing worthy of note.  Reported to Division Headquarters, three miles distant, for the purpose of drawing clothing, and on reaching said place, our presence was not required as we received a wrong order from COL Stout.  It was anything but pleasant to walk three miles in the warm sun on a dusty road.  Consequently he received many a prayer from each commissioned officer in the company.*

Lt.Col. Stout was Col. McHenry's second in command.

* Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, unpublished manuscript, p.19.

** Blackburn, John,  A Hundred Miles, A Hundred Heartbreaks, 1972, self-published, LOC 72-93774, p.211.

*** Ibid, p.220

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Fine Spot

Captain Cox, still hopeful of finding a home for the summer, thinks this must be the place as he writes in his diary on the evening of July 9, 1862.

--Reveille this morning at 3 o'clock, and we started for our new camp, some four miles distant.  Arrived about 6 o'clock and immediately pitched tents for the summer, no doubt.  This is a pretty good place to camp and convenient to good water.  I am now in hopes that we may be permitted to remain here for at least a few weeks, if not longer, for we have indeed undergone many hardships and privations since we left Kentucky and it is time for us to rest.  Wrote a letter to Josie today.*

Striking camp and getting on the road is becoming routine for the boys in blue.  They made pretty good time between reveille at 3:00 and setting up a new camp four miles down the road at 6:00.  If the Seventeenth is to have a place to stay for the summer, which they sorely need, it is becoming apparent that a tent camp will not be it.

Not to belittle the accomplishments of Buell's Army in the spring of 1862, but the 17th Kentucky, along with the 31st & 44th Indiana had more battle experience than most of his men due to their temporary assignment in the Army of the Tennessee.**  Their charge of the fortified hillside at Fort Donelson was one of the turning points of the battle.  Their performances at the Peach Orchard, Wicker Field and  "Grant's Last Line of Defense" on Sunday at Shiloh were second to none.  And when Buell arrived that night to retake the eastern half of the battlefield,  they helped form the right flank under Generals Hurlbut, McClernand and Sherman  that swept the western half and eventually drove the Confederates from the field.  So Captain Cox can't be blamed for believing they were due some soft duty.

*Cox, Samuel K, Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.19.

**According to Dyer's, their neighbors from southern Indiana who had also steamed from Calhoun, Ky and fought under Cruft (at Fort Donelson) and Lauman (at Shiloh) were currently assigned as follows:  the 31st Indiana was nearby in Col. S.D. Bruce's Twenty-second Brigade of Nelson's Fourth Division and  the 44th Indiana was in the Fourteenth Brigade of General Crittenden's Fifth Division with other regiments from Calhoun.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Move It, Move It, Move It

On July 6th and 7th, Captain Cox recorded that camp life was continuing pretty much as expected. Drilling in the mornings and evenings to avoid the heat of the summer sun.  He did go into Athens on the 6th to visit Lieutenant Little whom he described as "very sick in town" and added that he "Saw several very beautiful young ladies."*  Lt. Finis Little (Co. C) resigned  his comission 24 days later as a consequence of his illness.**

The July 8th entry is a bit more informative and illustrates the captain's "dry" sense of humor.

Nothing of interest today.  Drilled 4 hours in the warm sun and dust 15 feet deep.  We have to wash our faces of an evening before we can tell what company we belong to.  Received information to the effect that we will move camp tomorrow.*

Nelson's Division had enjoyed this wonderful camp site for only nine days.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.19.

**Blackburn, John, A Hundred Miles, A Hundred Heartbreaks, 1972, LOC 72-93774, p.245.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Near Athens, July 5, 1862

The Seventeenth is pulling picket duty again on July 5th, 1862, but Captain Cox has no complaints.

Remained on Picket until 5 o'clock this afternoon, when we were relieved by a company of the 24th Ohio.  Have enjoyed ourselves remarkably, taking everything into consideration -- good water to drink and a fine creek to bathe in, and we have been fortunate to buy some marketing today from some farmers which we cannot do every day.  Report of McClellan is contradicted.*

Yesterday's rumor has been put to rest, as the clear-thinking captain had expected.  It was probably just a holiday prank that played on the hopes of the weary soldiers.  At least the gullible ones were happy for a day.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.18.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day, 1862

The July 4th entry from Sam Cox's diary speaks of picnics and pickets as Duty trumps Glory for  Company A, Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry. 

We had a grand review today, but our Company being on duty did not go out.  I think they had quite a dusty time judging from the appearance on their return.

How different I spent this day from last Fourth.  One year ago today, I was enjoying myself in the company of the fair sex of Kentucky at a picnic near the mouth of Barren River, and today I am on picket guard one mile from Athens, Alabama, and do not know at what moment I may hear a "minnie ball"[sic] come whistling through the timber searching for my precious body.

I was in hopes of passing this 4th with my friends and relatives in Kentucky, but alas, this cruel war has lasted much longer than anyone anticipated, and, Heaven only knows when it will end now.  We hope, however, that it may close soon and that we may once more meet friends at home.

Heard on yesterday evening that McClellan had taken Richmond with 40,000 prisoners.  I do not believe it, it is too good to be true.*

Recall that Wilbur Condit, in his letter dated May 22 had also expressed an expectation to be home by July 4th.  Surely he, too was disappointed to be in northern Alabama with no end of the war in sight.  Especially if he knew that Lincoln had just called for 300,000 more volunteers to fight the secessionists.

Editor's Note:  This Independence Day marks the first invasion of Kentucky by John Hunt Morgan.  From Knoxville, he slashed through southeastern Kentucky capturing 1,200 prisoners and hundreds of horses while destroying important Federal supplies.  The horses he kept, but the prisoners were paroled.

*Cox,Samuel K. Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.18.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Athens, Alabama, July 3, 1862

Yet another day in camp near Athens, and Nelson's Brigade remains stationary.  Captain Cox writes:

"Nothing of importance today.  I finished my rolls this morning, and this afternoon played a game of draw and won $45.00.  There will be a grand review tomorrow, July 4, 1862."*

We can assume the daily routine is similar to their camp in Cloud Field at Pittsburg Landing, pulling picket duty, maintaing equipment and company drills. Now, with fresh running water in abundant supply, it was an important time for recovery and tending their aching feet.  Whatever their next destination, it is likely to be a long march from here.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.18.

Monday, July 2, 2012

"Lincoln Green"

On their third full day in camp at Athens, the men were making themselves at home and enjoying some free time.  The arrival of the paymaster lightened the atmosphere as Captain Cox writes:

Still at work on rolls.  Nothing of importance today.  The boys are amusing themselves by playing cards for the "Lincoln Green".*

The fact that the army seemed in no particular rush to continue their march led most men to give up the idea that they were headed to Virginia.  As news from home filtered in to the camp, the men became more anxious to return to Kentucky.  It was becoming clear that the Confederacy had designs on their homes in the Green River country.

Letters from home painted scenes entirely different from the idyllic ones residing in the volunteers' memory. "Some newspaper circulation restricted, people of all classes arrested for suspected disloyalty, or persecuted and robbed by guerrillas for having strong sympathies in any direction, just to name a few of the injustices.  Helping deserters would get citizens arrested, even though they were usually let go in a short time.  Most of the time, grounds for the arrest did not exist in the first place."**

Civilian authorities had to deal with increasing lawlessness with little capacity for housing prisoners.  Obtaining an unbiased jury was literally impossible.  As an example, "June 16, 1862, three men from Owensboro, arrested for suspected aiding and abetting the rebellion were released after taking the oath of allegiance."**

What was once considered idle gossip now had serious consequences, angering and alienating families, friends and neighbors. This breakdown in civil society was the harbinger of war.  Rumors that the Confederates were coming to Kentucky served to embolden their supporters.  Families of the volunteers hoped their troops would return soon.

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennnedy Cox, courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.18.

**Harp, Beth Chinn, Torn Asunder: Civil War in Ohio County and the Green River Country, 2003,
McDowell Publications, p.75.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Duty First, Then Thoughts of Home

The Volunteers of the Seventeenth Kentucky undoubtedly had a good night's sleep in their new camp and enjoyed a regular breakfast after their morning duties were complete.  Despite all of the complaining, the food prepared by the company cook was generally superior to the toasted hardtack and coffee prepared over their fires during the long march from Bear Creek.

The Muster Card for S.T. Brown dated June 30, 1862 indicates that he was "Absent- Sick- At Louisville"  as Captain Cox prepared the rolls for May and June. No further details are available.

For Sam Cox, July 1, 1862 was just another day at the office.  His complete entry for this day is printed below.

Have been busy engaged in making out pay and muster rolls today.  Wrote a letter to Josie.*

Included with his diary is a letter from his sister, Jenny Mosely, dated June 25, 1863- approximately one year from this entry. The following paragraph provides a curious glimpse into the young captain's family life back in  Hartford, Ky.

I suppose you have heard, Sam, that Josie Landrum and John Adams are going to be married.  Mrs. Barrett was asking Verda Nall about it and said it was quite a mistake for cousin "Josie wouild never marry but one man in this world and if he was killed in battle or died, she would never marry."  I told Mrs. Barrett that I, too, thought it was a mistake.  Is it not, dear Sam?  Tell me your secrets, and I assure you they shall never be divulged.  I have a woman's curiosity to know the cause of your and her quitting corresponding, and I think you might tell me.*

*Cox, Samuel K., Civil War Diary 1862-1865 of Captain Samuel Kennedy Cox, Courtesy of Daviess County Public Library, Kentucky Room, archived manuscript, p.18 and addendum