Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Appeal to the President

There was strong political pressure on President Lincoln to rescind his summary dismissal of Col. John McHenry.  The problem was that McHenry's supporters, like the colonel's father, were not Republicans.

The following item in appeared on the second page of Owensboro's The Monitor on January 14, 1863.

A resolution has been introduced into the Legislature requesting the President to restore Col. McHenry to his command, and also urging the President to attend to his rapid promotion.  We hope to not only see this resolution passed, but the President comply with this request, which is the desire of every loyal man in Kentucky.  We need true soldiers in this war, if we would be successful; and such Col. McHenry's heroic conduct in battle has proven him to be.  There are none that love their country and their country's welfare more, and his reinstatement would be a simple act of justice.*

* Special thanks to The Kentucky Room at Daviess County Public Library for their assistance in locating and copying this article.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year, 1863

After Christmas, the Seventeenth Kentucky Infantry did, indeed, receive their marching orders.  In Colonel McHenry's absence, their regiment, was now under the command of Colonel A.M. Stout.  They, and other troops from the Russellville encampment, were ordered again into Tennessee.  This time there would be no great battle looming on the horizon, as their assignment under Colonel Sanders Bruce was to garrison the newly re-occupied town of Clarksville, Tennessee.  This march was only 50 miles to the southwest of Russellville along present day US Hwy. 79.

They found that the inhabitants of Clarksville were devoted citizens of the Confederacy. However, having been subjected to a rather harsh occupation by Union troops after the battle of Fort Donelson, they were fairly cooperative with the comparatively civil authority of Colonel Bruce's command.

The Seventeenth, having the experience of garrison duty in Pulaski, Tennessee the previous summer, was better prepared than most to deal with a resentful population, and glad to be yet a few days' journey from their homes.  They only hoped that this might be their last assignment in an occupied South, and the new year would bring an end to this horrible war.