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  • Writer's pictureDerrick

Amazing Finds

Over the past several weeks, I have been able to dive into some new sources for the book. These have really added another perspective to the overall story of the events in Western Kentucky during the summer of 1862, and the best part is that they have solidified the accuracy of other sources. I was able to add in two more chapters that previously were not going to be included, and I am now able to add more information and details to the Indiana Legion section of the book. There is a whole new section on the Battle of Uniontown in Western Kentucky, the paths taken by two Confederate recruits, and much more for the Indiana Legion.

The first source I found was actually by accident. I was searching through the digital archives of an Indiana library looking for information on Colonel William F. Wood, and instead stumbled across the letters of Private Ransom Hawley of the 78th Indiana Infantry regiment, a 60 Days regiment recruited after the Newburgh Raid. Hawley gives several excellent accounts of the Battle of Uniontown in Union County, Kentucky from the Federal perspective.

The Filson Historical Society also had another manuscript that was part diary and part memoir. It was written by Daviess County native Benjamin T. Field who was a young recruit in Stovepipe Johnson’s 10th Kentucky Partisan Rangers. He gives extra details of the Confederate perspective at Uniontown, and also special details on the 10th Kentucky before and after that battle. Field was captured shortly after by Colonel Foster and his Union soldiers and sent north to a prison camp, just two weeks before the battle in Owensboro, which for me, is unfortunate. Nonetheless, it is an amazing read.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to travel to Indianapolis to the Indiana State Archives. They had a treasure trove of information on the Spencer County (4th) Indiana Legion. The 4th Indiana Legion was the Union force that fought the 10th Kentucky on September 20, 1862 just south of Owensboro. It was an incredibly feeling being able to handle hundreds of original documents. The amount of information I gained from this was unreal. I have since been able to determine that the Legion force that crossed the Ohio River to fight was carrying a variety of weapons. They had Belgian, Austrian Lorenz, Mississippi Rifles, Springfields, and Enfield muskets. They also had Harper’s Ferry smoothbore muskets that had been converted to percussion from the original flintlock. The documents also told me that the regiment was mostly not uniformed. One advantage they had was Adam Johnson’s own doing, which would come to bite him later. After his Newburgh Raid, the Indiana Legion was woken from its long slumber. Ever since that fateful day in July when Confederates had captured the first Northern city, the Legion was put on constant alert. Many of the documents specified that the companies of the 4th Legion had been on duty from July to October 1862. Plenty of time to drill and train. All of this information adds a whole other dimension to the fight on September 20th.

I hesitate to say that I am finishing the thing up. Every time I think I am, something new comes along that requires me to make changes or add more. I am just telling myself that it will be done when it gets done. Estimating a time when I think it will be done has never worked so far, so I am not doing that anymore!

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