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  • Writer's pictureDerrick

Almost There

Updated: Dec 9, 2018

Well, it would appear that it has been a while since I last posted. That does not mean that I have not been busy. I’ve been doing a lot with my main project, currently titled Torn Asunder (I’m definitely changing the title soon, since there is another book by the same name). I have been able to do some light traveling, discovered important telegrams that are actually online (!), and completed another piece of the overall puzzle for Ashbyburg. Progress on the Diary of John F. Locke has also been made this month, a lot.

Let’s start off with the travel. Two weekends ago I spent an entire day travelling and researching. I spent about 3 hours at the Spencer County Library in Rockport, Indiana, and what a useful three hours that was! I was able to peruse the microfilm collection they have on the Rockport Democrat, which was the local paper during the war. The only downside is that there is a gap in their collection. The Fall of 1862 is missing...including any possible reports on the Battle of Panther Creek in Owensboro. Was the paper in circulation then, or was it just lost? Not sure, so I am in the process of figuring that out. But, I was able to find some good tidbits that will fit in quite nicely.

Also in Rockport, I found a book that held maps of Daviess County, Kentucky from the 1880’s. For some reason, I could not find this at my own library. I have so far not had any luck in finding a detailed map of the county from the 1860’s, and this is the closest one I could find to the time period. I have been made to doubt the modern road is the original “Livermore Road.” When reading the first hand accounts, it just doesn’t add up with the distances mentioned. The 1880’s map shows a railroad and the location of a house, but again, it’s hard to tell if that was the Sutherland House of 1862. I know for certain a railroad did not exist there before that time.

After Rockport I drove to Henderson by way of Newburgh and Evansville, Indiana. Newburgh being the first place north of the Mason Dixon line to be captured by Confederate Forces. In July 1862, Adam Rankin “Stovepipe” Johnson with a handful of men, captured the town with all of its weapons and supplies without firing a shot. It was raining and wet out so I only got about two pictures of the place. Maybe I can visit the place on a prettier day and really get a feel of what Johnson did there.

At the Henderson Public Library, I was fortunate to find multiple articles written about the events I am searching for through their microfilm. The Henderson paper was weekly, so there was really only one issue with good information. I was able to go through some other local history books they have there and found that Colonel John Foster was not well liked in Henderson. As a reminder, Foster commanded a force that hit the Confederates at Ashbyburg the day after they fought in Owensboro.

Last week, I stumbled across Western Union telegrams and the telegraph book of Indiana Governor, Oliver P. Morton. What a gold mine! I found so much useful information, and it was like reading someone’s emails from the 1860’s! I found plenty on the fight at Owensboro, Col. Foster attacking Ashbyburg, and plenty on the panic in Louisville fearing a Confederate occupation. One thing I noticed is that General Jeremiah Boyle, commander of Kentucky forces, was on the verge of absolutely freaking out over the Confederate Invasion of Kentucky. Check them out for free here. This site is graciously provided by IUPI!

Today I found some letters connected to Colonel Gabriel Netter, the commander of Federal recruits in Owensboro. Netter had been a captain in the 26th Kentucky Infantry, been court martialed for refusal to obey orders and resigned his captaincy. However just weeks later he was commissioned colonel to raise a new regiment of mounted infantry/cavalry. He had also requested General Boyle for a supply of Colt rifles and pistols. I am wondering if any of these requested Colt Revolving Rifles ever made it to his camp.

So there you have it. I am getting closer and closer to finishing this project. When I started all of this last fall, I gave myself till Spring Break to finish. Spring Break is one month away...I can do this!

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