Colonel A.M. Stout relieved McHenry when the order was received at their camp in Russellville, but he inherited a regiment in utter disarray. These loyal American citizens who had fought to preserve the Constitution and the Union were determined to follow Colonel Mchenry to the end. If the army didn't want him, it must not want them either and they were, almost to a man, prepared to desert their regiment.
Ever faithful in the service of his country, Colonel Mchenry prepared a Special Order to be read as a farewell to his troops on December 15, 1862. With the entire regiment gathered north of the town square at Russellville, the following order was read aloud. McHenry's character and eloquence as reflected therein are on par with many other great American leaders, and it is easy to see why his men held him in such high regard.
Headquarters, 17th Reg't Ky Vols.
Russellville, Ky., Dec. 15th, 1862
John H. McHenry, Jr.,
Col. 17th Ky. Vol.
Geo. W. Gist
1st Lt., and Adj.