Sunday, November 4, 2012

Guard and Rest at Russellville

The month of November proved to be an eventful one for the Seventeenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.  After pursuing Bragg from Nashville to Louisville and, after the Battle of Perryville as far as Livingston, KY, they were ordered to Bowling Green with an anticipated arrival date of October 31, as reported in earlier posts.  After this trek of nearly 600 miles, they were ordered to march from Bowling Green to Russellville, Kentucky for "Guard and Rest", still assigned to the District of Western Kentucky, Department of Ohio.  Thankfully this was merely another 30 miles along the Russellville Road (now State Route 80 / US 68).

The posts for this time from early November until late December will break from the "150 Years Ago Today" format because sufficient daily information is not available. Instead, two story lines relevant to these weeks on duty so close to home will be intertwined.  The first, "Why Russellville" will explore the significance of this small but historic seat of government for Logan County.  The second storyline, "Illegal Orders" will follow the conflict faced by Col. John McHenry as the former lawyer, whose father served in the state legislature, chose between following the laws of his state which he was fighting to protect and obeying an order from his Commander-in-Chief whom he had sworn to serve.  Col. McHenry's decision culminated in his dismissal from the service while stationed at Russellville, a controversial decision that gave President Lincoln cause to reconsider but not so for Secretary Stanton.

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