Brief History of the 5th Kentucky Infantry
from The Union Regiments of Kentucky
Respect to the neutral attitude of Kentucky caused the first organization of Kentucky men for the United States service to be made outside of the limits of the state. On the 1st day of July, 1861, six companies of men, which had been organized in Louisville, crossed the river and went into camp on the Indiana side. The camp was named Camp Jo Holt. The six companies were under the following captains: John L. Treanor, fifty men; Lafayette P. Lovett, eighty men; Alexander B. Ferguson, thirty-four men; John D. Brent, sixty men; William Mangan, fifty men; J. E. Van Zandt,sixty men; in all three hundred and thirty-four men. It was under the leadership of Lovell H. Rousseau that this movement was made, and he became the colonel of the regiment formed of these and other companies, and the commander of the camp. In a short time the number of men under Rousseau grew to about two thousand five hundred. The men were drilled and arms and uniforms were obtained. About the last of August, Rousseau marched the entire force across the river and paraded through the streets of Louisville. He was warned not to do so, but he said Louisville was his home and he would go there. H. M. Buckley had come to Camp Holt,from Henry County, Ky., with a company, and being known to Rousseau, and a stalwart, determined man, he was appointed lieutenant-colonel.
While in Camp Holt, Rousseau’s command was presented with a flag by Mrs. Joshua F. Speed. It was carried throughout the war. One of the incidents in the camp was an address made by Hon. Joseph Holt. The men who had gathered under Rousseau at Camp Holt were formed into the Louisville Legion, or 5th Ky. Infantry, and 2d Ky. Cavalry and Stone’s battery. A portion also went into the 6th Ky. Infantry, under W. C. Whitaker. On the 9th of September, the Louisville Legion was mustered into the service of the United States. It was at first called the 3d Ky. Infantry, but afterward the number was changed to the 5th. This was done by Gov. Bramlette, and the change was very displeasing to the Legion.
On the 17th of September, 1861, Rousseau led his men from Camp Holt, and proceeded under the command of Gen. W. T. Sherman, to Muldraugh’s Hill. While at Muldraugh’s Hill. Rousseau was commissioned brigadier-general, and Lieut. Col. Harvy M. Buckley became colonel. The regiment remained for some time on duty along the railroad to Bowling Green and Nashville. From Nashville it marched with Buell’s army by way of Columbia to Savannah, from thence it was conveyed by boats to Pittsburg Landing. It arrived in time to take part in the second day’s battle at that place. Rousseau’s brigade at that time was a very fine one, being composed of the 6th Ind., Col. T. T. Crittenden; the 1st Ohio, which was McCook’s regiment; the 15th, 16th and 19th Regulars, the Louisville Legion and Terrell’s battery. McCook commanded the division to which this brigade belonged. The services of Rousseau’s brigade and the Legion were favorably mentioned in the official reports.
Gen. McClernand, who commanded a division in Grant’s army, which had fought the first day, in speaking of the events of the second day, says: "Our position at this moment was most critical and a repulse seemed inevitable, but fortunately the Louisville Legion, forming part of Gen. Rousseau’s brigade, came up at my request and succored me; extending and strengthening my line, this gallant body poured into the enemy’s ranks one of the most terrible fires I ever witnessed, then breaking its center it fell back in disorder, and thenceforth he was beaten at all points, until our successful pursuit was stayed. The generous response of Gen. Rousseau to my request for succor, no less than the gallant bearing of himself, Col. Buckley, Lieut. Col. Berry and Maj. Treanor, officers of the same command, challenge my gratitude while commanding my admiration." These are handsome expressions from one who, up to that moment, was a total stranger.
Gen. McCook, in his report, speaks of Rousseau’s brigade debarking at 5 o’clock a.m., the 7th inst., and proceeding at once to the front, where it became engaged. After pursuing the retiring enemy for a mile it encountered a "desperate stand.""At this juncture," says he, "Col. Buckley’s 5th Regiment Kentucky Volunteers charged and captured the two guns in position with four more of the same battery partially disabled, which the enemy could not carry off." Gen. Rousseau’s brigade continued to advance, and recaptured the headquarters of Gen. McClernand, of the day before. Gen. McCook speaks in his report in the highest terms of Gen. Rousseau. He says: "Gen. Rousseau led his brigade into action and opened the conflict of this division in the most handsome and gallant style. He was ever to be seen watching the contestwith a soldierly care and interest, which made him the admiration of the entire command."
Gen. McCook was so pleased with Col. Buckley’s conduct he expressed his thanks to him on the field, and declared he would do all in his power to place stars on his shoulders instead of the eagles.
The writer has learned from Col. Buckley, that Gen. Sherman was also profuse and full of enthusiasm in complimenting the work of the Legion. Riding in front of the regiment, he said he would like to make a speech to the men, but he was not a speaker; if his brother John were there he could do it - that he had nothing to give them except his hat, and threw it to them; with great shouts it was taken, but consideration for the general caused them to return it to him.
From Shiloh, the Legion went to Corinth, and from thence with Buell’s army to Huntsville, Ala. In the summer of 1862, it marched to Kentucky with Buell. From Louisville, it marched to Perryville. On the way it was engaged with the nemy at a place called Dog’s Walk, near Lawrenceburg. It was not with the troops engaged in the battle of Perryville. After that battle it went in pursuit of Bragg, as far as Crab Orchard, and thence to Bowling Green and Nashville, andcamped on the road to Franklin.
There Maj. John Treanor was complimented by being appointed by Gen. Rosecrans on a board of examination, of which Maj. John King, U. S. A., was president. He served for several weeks on this board, investigating the fitness and qualifications of officers
In the battle of Murfreesboro [Stones Ricer], the Legion bore its part, losing men killed and wounded. Among the wounded was Maj. Treanor. He was also captured and held as aprisoner five months, being in Libby Prison. At the same time he was promoted lieutenant-colonel, and upon his return was with the regiment in the Tullahoma campaign. The regiment also took part in all the movements about Chattanooga, and in the battle of Chickamauga, under Gen. Thomas, whose troops stood so bravely in the battle. At that time it was in the 3d Brigade (Col. Baldwin), st Division (Gen. R. W. Johnson), 20th Army Corps (McCook). Gen. McCook says, in his report: "Johnson’s division fought on the left. All acknowledge the gallantry of his division. He never attacked that he was not successful, and the enemy never assaulted him without being repulsed." He recommended Col. Berry for promotion. Gen. Johnson in his report specially mentions the 5th Kentucky and compliments its officers. In this terrible battle, Col. Baldwin commanding the brigade was killed and Col. Berry of the 5th Ky. took his place. Maj. Thomasson of the 5th was also killed, and the command of the regiment devolved on Capt. John M. Houston. Col. Berry reports that at a critical point in the battle the 5th Ky. "charged under the lead of Capt. Houston with an impetuosity excelled, struck the enemy in the flank and drove them a mile and a half capturing many prisoners, among them Gen. Adams." "In this charge," says he, "Lieut. Houston of the 5th was killed." Capt. Houston’s report of the conduct of the 5th in this battle mention especially Capts. Hurley, Lindenfelser and Wilson, and Lieuts. Zoller, McCorkhill, Miller, Powell, Thomas and Jones, also Adjt. Johnstone. He mentions the death of his own son, Lieut. Houston, and the wounding of Capt. Moninger. His report shows that he was full of admiration for his regiment. He says: "The men of the 5th Ky. are soldiers. This is notonly proven by their bravery on the field, but by the patience and forbearance with which they have borne the most xtraordinary labor, exposure and privation."
About two months after the battle of Chickamauga occurred the battle of Missionary Ridge. On the 23d the Legion was engaged at Orchard Knob, where, among other casualties, Col. W. W. Berry was wounded, but refused to retire. In the great engagement of the 25th, Col. Berry was again wounded and unable to walk. Being assisted and started down the ridge, he ordered his men to carry him forward up the ridge, which was done. In this battle the regiment lost forty-seven killed and wounded. Among the killed was Capt. UptonWilson whose gallantry was conspicuous at Chickamauga and elsewhere.
From Missionary Ridge, the regiment went under Gen. Sherman to the relief of Knoxville. It engaged in the operations against Longstreet, in East Tennessee, during the winter of 1863-4, being about Knoxville, at New Market and Strawberry Plains, and also below Knoxville at Lenoir Station. While in East Tennessee a portion of the regiment went into the veteran organization and were transferred to the 2d Ky. Veteran Cavalry. In the spring of 1864, theregiment became part of Sherman’s army, organizing for the Atlanta campaign.It was assigned to Hazen’s brigade of Gen. T. J. Wood’s division, 4th Army Corps. It participated in much of the fighting in this campaign, first at Rocky Face. At Resaca, the regiment lost a number killed and wounded, among the killed being Capt. Ed Miller of Company G. Loss was also sustained at Pumpkin Vine Creek, Dallas, Kennesaw, Chattahoochee River, Peach Tree Creek and other battles around Atlanta. From Atlanta the regiment returned to Nashville in August, 1864. At that time Gen. Rousseau was in command at Nashville, and for the time his old Louisville Legion was under him again.The time of the regiment expired in September, and it was mustered out of service September 14, 1864, at Louisville. A portion of the regiment entered the veteran organization - between eighty and one hundred men. These preceeded, under charge of Capt. John Baker, from Louisville to Nashville, and reported to Gen. Thomas for duty. They participated in the battle of Nashville, and after that they went on the pursuit of Hood’s army into Alabama, as far as Athens. From Athens they returned to Nashville. They were then taken by way of Louisville, Pittsburg and Philadelphia to New York, thence by ocean transport to Hilton Head, and from thence proceeded toRaleigh, N.C., where they joined Sherman’s forces. After the surrender they returned to Louisville, where they were mustered out July 25, 1865.
Gen. Sherman said of this organization: "No single body of men can claim more honor for the grand result than the officers and men of the Louisville Legion of 1861."
5th Regiment Infantry "Louisville Legion"
From Dyer's Compendium
ORGANIZED at Camp Joe, Holt, Ky., September 9, 1861. Attached to Rousseau's 1st Brigade, McCook's
Command, at Nolin to November, 1861. 4th Brigade, Army of Ohio, to December, 861. 4th Brigade, 2nd Division,
Army of Ohio, to September, 1862. 4th Brigade, 2nd Division, 1st Army Corps, Army of Ohio, to November, 1862.
3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Right Wing 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. 3rd Brigade,
2nd Division, 20th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 4th Army
Corps, toJuly, 1864. Unattached, 4th Division, 20th Army Corps, to September, 1864.
SERVICE.--Moved to Muldraugh's Hill, Ky., September 17, 1861, and duty there until October 14. Duty at Bacon
Creek and Green River until February, 1862. March to Nashville, Tenn., February 17-March 3; thence march to
Savannah, Tenn., March 16-April 6. Battle of Shiloh, Tenn., April 6-7. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss.,
April 29-May 30. Bridge Creek May 27. Duty at Corinth until June 10. Buell's Campaign in Northern Alabama and
Middle Tennessee June to August. March to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg August 21-September 26. Pursuit of
Bragg into Kentucky October 1-15. Dog Walk, Ky., October 8-9. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 16-November
7, and duty there until December 26. Kimbrough's Mills December 6. Advance on Murfreesboro,Tenn., December
26-30. Nolensville December 26-27. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. At
Murfreesboro until June.Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign June 22-July 7. Liberty Gap June 22-27.
Occupation of Middle Tennessee until August 16. Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and
Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 19-20.Siege of
Chattanooga September 24-November 23. Reopening Tennessee River October 26-29.Brown's Ferry, October 27.
Battles of Chattanooga November 23-25. ·Orchard Knob November 23-24.Mission[ary] Ridge,November 25.
Pursuit to Graysville November 26-27. March to relief of Knoxville November 28-December 8. Campaign in East
Tennessee December, 1863, to April, 1864. Atlanta (Ga.) Campaign May 1 to July 25. Demonstration on Rocky
Faced Ridge and Dalton May 5-13.Battle of Resaca May 14-15.Adairsville May 17. Near Kingston May 18-19.
Near Cassville May 19.Advance on Dallas May 22-25. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about
Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Pickett's Mills May 27. Operations about Marietta
and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Hill June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Assault on
Kenesaw June 27. Ruff's Station, Smyrna Camp Ground, July 4. Pace's Ferry July 5. Chattahoochie River July
6-17.Peach Tree Creek July 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-25. Ordered to Nashville, Tenn., July 25 thence to
Louisville, Ky. Mustered out September 14, 1864. (Veterans moved to Nashville July 25 and duty there until
January, 1865. Battle of Nashville, Tenn., December 15-16.Pursuit of Hood December 17-28. Moved to Louisville,
Pittsburg, Philadelphia, New York and Hilton Head, S.C., and rejoin Sherman at Raleigh, N. C., April, 1865.
Bennett's House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D.C., via Richmond,Va.,
April 29-May 19. Grand Review May 24. Moved to Louisville, Ky., June.
Mustered out July 25, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 8 Officers and 149 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 2 Officers and 143
Enlisted men by disease. Total 302.
ROUSSEAU'S LOUISVILLE LEGION
HOW AND WHEN IT WAS ORGANIZED
WHY IT WAS CALLED THE FIFTH KENTUCKY
BY ALFRED W. HARRIS (Former Corporal of Company D)
Louisville Commercial, September 11, 1895
The famous Kentucky regiment known throughout the great rebellion as Rousseau’s Louisville Legion has a most remarkable history, which were it written in full would compose several large volumes. From the beginning until the close of the great conflict the old "Corn-cracker" State was proud of the gallantry and daring deeds of the Third regiment she sent to fight for the Union cause and gave it a right royal welcome.
In 1860 Lovell H. Rousseau, who had served in the Mexican war as a captain of infantry, was a prominent lawyer in Louisville, and being a conservative Union man he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate by a large majority over his opponent, the Hon. Gibson Mallory. He was strongly opposed to the secession movement from the beginning, and made tremendous efforts to prevent Kentucky from joining the Southern Confederacy in which he was successful, but when he saw that war was inevitable, that the time was near at hand when Kentucky must be the battle ground, he resigned his seat in the Senate and began at once making Union speeches in Louisville, Shelbyville, and other towns in the State, and was always in demand at flag raisings and patriotic meetings.
On April 15, 1861, after the surrender of Fort Sumter, President Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 troops for three months, and in response Governor Magoffin replied to Simon Cameron, Secretary of War who telegraphed for "four regiments of militia for immediate service," that Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States." At this juncture Rousseau began to devote all of his time to recruiting men for home protection, the outgrowth of which was the organization of the Louisville Legion. His first move, however, in this direction was to call a meeting of the loyal citizens in the following card published in the daily papers on Saturday morning, April 20.
TO THE PUBLIC
We propose to organize four companies of good law abiding citizens of Louisville for the protection of the property, persons and houses of our people and for the maintenance of the laws of our land.
To this end we propose that all those favorable to the project meet at the east room of the Court house on Monday night, the 22d inst. at 7:30 o’clock.
LOVELL H. ROUSSEAU
W. B. WOODRUFF
CHAS. L. THOMASSON
The proceedings of this meeting were published in the Journal and the Democrat the next morning as follows:
The room on the east end of the Courthouse, about 8 o’clock last night, was filled by the most respectable and patriotic men of the city, met to form themselves into a body of military for the protection and defense of their homes and families. It was an enthusiastic meeting and showed a noble response to the call.
The meeting was organized by calling to the chair Richard Coxe, and appointing as Secretary Charles L. Thomasson. The object of the meeting was explained by Capt. Rousseau, who was followed by Nat Wolfe, Esq, and Major Woodruff in neat and pertinent addresses to which the crowd heartily and enthusiastically responded. Thereupon committees were appointed in each ward as named below, who were to receive the signatures of those who wished to join the organization. Such persons can call at the places named below and enroll themselves. The meeting then adjourned until Thursday evening at 8 o’clock in the east room of the Courthouse, at which time it is hoped the companies will be organized by the election of officers, and report made to the meeting.
First Ward -- Jesse Hammond, Jack Weatherford, Dr. H. M. Weatherford; meet at corner of Shelby and Main.
Second Ward -- James W. Osborne, Mike Paul; meet at Kentucky Engine house.
Third Ward -- John Magness, Dr. J. E. Timberlake, and A. S. Woodruff; meet at corner of First and Green
Fourth Ward -- Alex Duvall, Nathaniel Wolfe, Alex M. Stout; meet at Hughes glass-staining shop, Green, between Second and Third.
Fifth Ward -- C. L. Thomasson, Sim Watkins, Upton Wilson; meet at T. C. Pomeroy’s old stand, Jefferson street, between Fourth and Fifth streets.
Sixth Ward -- Henry Thomas, A. B. Fontaine, C. White; meet at City Clerk’s office, corner of Sixth and Jefferson streets.
Seventh Ward -- Dr. David W. Yandel, J. R. Brown, T. C. Pomeroy; meet at Relief Engine-house, Market street between Seventh and Eighth streets.
Eighth Ward -- Thomas Tindell, A. F. Dillard, F. Marion Minter, D. Spalding; meet at Browning & Co.’s lumber yard, corner Twelfth and Green streets.
Ninth Ward -- W. P. Boone, J. H. Slaughter, E. Vansant; meet at Preuss’ drug store, corner Sixteenth and Market streets.
Tenth Ward — John Kurfiss, Frank Hammond, John Shaw; meet at Bourbon House.
And then, on motion the meeting adjourned until Thursday evening next.
RICHARD COXE, Chairman.
CHARLES L. THOMASSON, Secretary
In order to facilitate business and prevent delay in recruiting men for home service, the following notice was issued through the home papers on Thursday morning, April 25:
Home Guard — The adjourned meeting for Tuesday evening last for this evening, in the east room of the Court-house is dispensed with, and the committees appointed in the several wards to enroll members for the Home Guard are requested to meet in the County Court-room this evening at 8 o’clock and report progress.
It is hoped each committee will use all exertions in their power to have the lists filled in their several wards.
On Wednesday night, April 24, the citizens of the First ward met at Garrett Townsend’s saloon, on the southeast corner of Shelby and Main streets, near the La Fayette Engine house No. 8, and organized a company and named it the First Ward Home Guard. The following officers were elected:
John L. Treanor, Captain
William W. Rowland — First Lieutenant
John D. Orrill — Second Lieutenant
William C. Brown — Third Lieutenant
Jesse F. Hammond — First Orderly Sergeant
Milton W. Curry — First Corporal
Joseph H. Davis — Second Corporal
Michael Beltags — Third Corporal
James D. Coulter — Fourth Corporal
The number of men enrolled in the company amounted to seventy young, able-bodied and vigorous. It was the first to report progress, followed by the committees of other wards. The secessionists opened their first recruiting office on the 18th of April (Saturday morning), at Herbst’s Hall, on Green street, between Clay and Shelby, south side, three days before Capt. Rousseau called a meeting of the citizens. Recruiting on both sides continued in real earnestness, and on May 2 a grand rally was held at the Court-house. The citizens turned out en masse, and the City Hall was packed to its utmost capacity. The crowd was addressed by Hon. L. H. Rousseau, Hon. Walter C. Whitaker, and Hon. James Guthrie. It was a rare assemblage of talent, eloquence and patriotism. A meeting of the Western district regiment of Home Guards was held on Friday night, May 24, in the court-room, for the election of officers, Capt. John M. Huston, President, and Theodore Harris, Secretary, Lovell H. Rousseau was elected Colonel, William P. Boone, Lieutenant Colonel, and James Speed, Major. Shortly after this Col. Rousseau wrote a strong letter to President Lincoln, tendering his services in defense of the Union. He was immediately forwarded a Colonel’s commission of volunteer, and was authorized to raise two regiments, one of infantry and one of cavalry for the United States service. Many of the officers of the Eastern and Western Home Guards resigned their positions and rallied around him, and the greater number of men from these two regiments followed in their footsteps. The writer, with several other members of Captain Jesse Rubel’s company, then the General Guards, afterward the Dept. Guards, one of the very first to respond to the call of Major John M. Delph, enlisted in Capt. John L. Treanor’s company, Rousseau’s regiment. No camps were allowed on Kentucky soil, but he young men of the state could not wait, and for those who wished to fight for the Union camps were opened at various points.
About June 1 Camp Clay was established opposite Newport, Ky., on the Ohio shore, near Cincinnati. In this camp the First Regiment Kentucky infantry, under Col. J. V. Guthrie, was mustered into the United States service June 4, 1861, by Major H. Burbank, and the Second regiment Kentucky Infantry, under Col. W. E. Woodruff, was also mustered into service by the same officer in this camp on June 13.
On Monday morning, July 1, 1861, six companies of Col. Lovell H. Rousseau’s Louisville Legion went into camp opposite Louisville, on the Indiana shore, two miles below Jeffersonville, at the mouth of Silver Creek, known in antebellum days as Governor Point, and owned by William Patterson, Esq. It was known during the war as the famous Camp Joe Holt. These six companies had crossed over the river that day were the first troops to cross the Ohio river at the beginning of the war and were as follows: Capt. John L. Treanor, 50 men; Capt. Lafayette P. Lovett, 80 men; Capt. Alexander B. Ferguson, 34 men; Capt. John D. Brent, 60 men; Capt. William Mangan, 50 men; Capt. J. Ephraim Van Zandt, 60 men, making in all 334 men. It was not long after this that other companies began coming in from Louisville and various parts of Kentucky. Capt. Harvey M. Buckley came down from Henry county with a company of stalwart Kentuckians, and he being a young man of Herculean form and of commanding presence and courage, Rousseau at once selected him as his Lieutenant-Colonel, and Capt. Wm. W. Berry, also a man of commanding statue, military bearing and dauntless bravery, came into camp with a fine body of 100 men from Louisville, the Monroe Guards, and was promoted to the rank of Major.
The respective ages of these officers were as follows: Rousseau, 43; Buckly, 37, and Berry, 25. The two latter succeeded to the colonelcy of the regiment, and did their duty well, fearlessly and nobly, and on more than one occasion were recommended in the reports of the department commanders for higher promotion. As there were many members of the old Louisville Legion of Mexican war fame connected with col. Rousseau’s regiment, he yielded to importunities and named his battalion the Louisville Legion, and in doing so he felt confident that the new Legion, judging from their appearance and soldierly bearing, would emulate the old Legion in deeds of gallantry and daring in the war for constitutional liberty, which they did, and received great praise in the reports of the department commanders.
The first day the Louisville Legion went into camp the rendezvous was without a name, but on the next day, Tuesday, July 2, Capt. John L. Treanor, while standing on the shore of the Ohio river, near the water’s edge, not far form his company quarters, apparently in a contemplative mood, he picked up a short, narrow strip of pine board and a small bit of charcoal, that drifted at his feet, and wrote in a plain, bold hand the ever memorable inscription, "Camp Joe Holt." Then looking around for a good location for a sign-post, he finally discovered some trees by the roadside, and after surveying their dimensions and the immediate locality he concluded that it was a very suitable place for the sign-board, and selecting the most favorable to him, he stood on tip-toe, and reaching as high as he possibly could, nailed it fast to the tree with a few rusty nails that pierced the board when found, using a rock for a hammer. It was in full view from the entrance to the camp and quite attractive to the visitors who come in every day. The camp was named in honor of the late Judge Joseph Holt, a chivalrous Kentuckian, and a devoted friend to the Union, until his death, which occurred in Washington, August 1, 1894.
The Louisville Legion was the first regiment that crossed the Ohio river at this city, and were poorly supplied with shelter when they went into camp, and no equipage of any kind has as yet been received from the Government, and what little they did have was furnished by the loyal citizens before leaving Louisville. Tarpaulins were freely loaned them by loyal steamboatmen and their agents, which answered their purpose very well and the Government provided better. In a few weeks, tents, blankets, clothing, arms, ammunition and accoutrements were received by the quartermaster and distributed to each company. In the meantime Col. Rousseau was sent to Washington by the loyalists to confer with the President, as the Union’s troops could not be equipped and sent to the front through the regular State channels. President Lincoln at once sent an order to all ordnance officers, quartermasters and commissaries to issue arms and munitions of war on the order of Col. Rousseau.
New recruits were arriving in camp every day, and in a few weeks Rousseau’s Brigade numbered about 2,200 men, and out of this number was organized the Fourth Regiment Kentucky Cavalry — afterwards known as the Second — under Col. Buckner Board. It was mustered into serve on the same day that the Legion was. There was then left to the Legion twelve full companies. The supplemental companies, commanded by Capts. Hoptoff and Martin, respectively, were transferred to the Sixth Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, under Col. Walter E. Whitaker, then encamped at Apple-tree Garden, near Louisville, about the 27th of August, 1861. After the cavalry was organized and the two companies sent to Col. Whitaker, preparations for muster was ordered, and on Monday, September 9, 1861, a little more than two months from the time it went into camp, Rousseau’s Regiment was mustered into the United States service by Major W. H. Sidell, of the Regular Army, at Camp Joe Holt, as the Louisville Legion, Third Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.
The first pay it received from the Government in the name and number was in camp at Nolin, Ky., and the last in front of Corinth, Miss. When Col. Bramlette became Governor of Kentucky he had many of the regiments renumbered, and in consequence the Louisville Legion was ordered to assume the rank of Fifth Regiment and discontinue that of the Third, and henceforth make out all reports and pay-rolls accordingly. The order was of course reluctantly obeyed, and so the Legion was known better as the Fifth, when in reality it was the Third Regiment, and was frequently mentioned in the reports of Department Commanders as such, for the insignia was borne on their flags throughout the rebellion. After the battle of Shiloh, Gov. Bramlette sent a flag to the Legion, upon which was inscribed "Fifth Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry." It was not accepted but promptly returned with a brief message. Bramlette then called his regiment the Third, thereby doing the Legion a gross injustice.
The first stand of colors presented to the Legion at Camp Joe Holt were made by Mr. Hugh Wilkins, on Fourth street, and showed fine taste and workmanship, and the painting was done by Mr. George Fuller, the artist, corner of Fourth and Main streets. They were proficient in their business and well known.
The national flag, the "Stars and Stripes," was made of beautiful ribbed silk, with a name and number of the regiment in gilt letters painted thereon. "Louisville Legion, Third Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry." The regimental standard was a beautiful mazarine blue. On either side was the United States coat-of-arms, on a blue field, with the name and number of the regiment. This stand of colors cost two hundred and fifty dollars, and was quite attractive when unfurled to the gentle breeze. It was the first carried by a Kentuckian in a Union regiment fighting against the Confederate Kentuckian of Breckinridge’s Brigade at Shiloh. It was presented to the Louisville Legion by the ladies of Louisville at Camp Joe Holt, on Wednesday, August 21, 1861. Mrs. Joshua F. Speed and a host of loyal women arrived on the grounds, and at 10:30 o’clock that morning a committee, composed of the following gentlemen, assembled at Col. Rousseau’s tent, prepared for the occasion:
James Speed, Col. Wm. P. Boone, Judge Pirtle, John M. Harlan, Dr. T. S. Fell, Nat. Wolfe, J. W. Clarke, Wm. F. Rubel, Wm. G. Reasor, H. B. Semple, George M. Houghton, James L. Danforth, Dr. Goddard and Mr. Seaman. The Rev. J. H. Heywood, Judge P. B. Muir, A. W. R. Harris and other prominent loyalists were present. The colors were presented at 11 o’clock in the presence of at least 5,000 spectators. An address was first delivered by Judge Pirtle in behalf of the committee, after which Col. Rousseau made the reception speech. The scene was grand and inspiring; the speeches, eminently patriotic, elicited the most rapturous applause from the vast concourse in attendance. These flags were proudly borne by the Legion in the battle of Shiloh on the second day, Monday, April 7, 1862, under the command of Col. Harvey M. Buckley, when Gen. Don Carlos Buell, himself a Kentuckian, turned the tide of battle and saved Gen. Grant.
The second flag given to the Legion by the ladies of Louisville, and of the Seventh ward, was sent to them during the siege of Corinth, with these words feelingly inscribed thereon in letters of purest gold. "Louisville Legion, the Seventh Ward Remembers Shiloh." It was received with the greatest enthusiasm and profound feeling of love for these dear ladies.
The third and last flag sent to the Legion by the truly patriotic ladies of Louisville represented the number of the regiment in was mustered into the service by. This flag was received at McDonough’s Station, eight miles this side of Cleveland, Tenn., as the command was starting in the Georgia campaign. On the flag were the names of all the battles the Louisville Legion participated in since it left Camp Joe Holt on Tuesday night, September 17, 1861, when Col. W. T. Sherman "Old Tecumseh," afterward General — came over in person by order of Major Robert Anderson, Gen. Rousseau being absent on important business, Sherman asked Lieut. Col. Buckley how would it do to call out at night by having the long roll beat, and in reply Buckley said it would do very well. So the long roll resounded throughout the camp and man or boy, as you will — was aroused. The regiment was soon in line and on the march, leaving the tents as they were, untouched on the camp ground. The Louisville Legion was the nucleus around which the Grand Army of the Cumberland was formed, and with the identical colors presented to it by the wives, mothers, sisters, sweethearts and friends of these brave men.
Why then may we not have a personal pride in being ever boastful of our political inheritance? Why should we not possess a pardonable love for the flag of our country, the dear old "Star and Stripes?" It is the flag of the mightiest of all the nations. It is the flag of George Washington, of Henry Clay, of Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. It is the flag of freedom and of liberty. It is the flag of eternal justice and the symbol of our American citizenship. God forever bless our grand old flag.
When freedom from her mountain’s height
Unfurled her stand to the air,
She tore the azure robe of night
And striped its pure celestial white
With streakings of the morning light.
Then, from his mansion in the sun,
She called her eagle bearer down,
And placed within his loyal hand
The symbol of her chosen land;
Flag of the free, heart’s hope and home,
By angel hands to valor given;
The stars have lit the welkin dome,
And all thy hues were born in heaven,
Forever float that standard sheet.
Were breathes the foe, but falls before us;
With freedom’s soil beneath our feet,
And freedom’s banner streaming o’er us.
Stirring Scenes At Camp Joe Holt—1861
From the Louisville Courier Journal, September 11, 1895
Opposite Louisville, on the Indiana side of the falls of the Ohio, is a spot of more than ordinary historical associations. There, at Camp Jo Holt, mustered the first Federal forces of Kentucky, and their presence was undoubtedly a strong factor in keeping the State within the ranks of the Union.
There were virtually two armed camps in Louisville after the opening gun at Sumter, the State Guards, whose commander-in-chief was the Governor, Beriah Magoffin, and who were supposed to be Confederate in their sympathies, and the Home Guards, organized by Lovell Rousseau, to offset the other body, for the Unionists feared that at any moment the city might be seized in behalf of the Confederacy.
When the news from Bull Run arrived there was the wildest excitement, and, many thought, imminent danger of a collision. Toward evening both armed forces gathered at their respective armories, and while the Federals awaited the issue in silence, the State Guards were harangued in fiery and triumphant speeches.
Many of the sympathizers of both sides, slipped over from Indiana and joined the respective forces. Among those who came to join the home guards was Col. James Keigwin ─ now Superintendent of the National Cemetery at Cave Hill. He went to their arsenal, on Jefferson Street, near Fourth Street, bringing with him his musket and cartridge-box, ready to take a hand. His brother, Albert Keigwin, was a Lieutenant of the guards.
Slowing the evening wore on, and every moment the men expected to hear the long roll of the drums and the alarm of the fire bells, telling of battle in the streets. The suspense became unbearable, and at least Col. Keigwin and a companion sallied forth to reconnoiter.
In speaking of the matter, Col. Keigwin says that he never saw the streets so utterly deserted. All doors were closed, windows barred and not a citizen to be seen anywhere. A death-like silence reigned in the thoroughfares of the city. The scouts reached Marble Hall, where the State Guards has an armory, and there they found an enthusiastic gathering, shouting, hurrahing, speaking and congratulating each other. It was more than the two scouts could stand they made their way back to their own quarters. All night they expected to hear the call to arms, all night citizens lay awake, dreading to hear the rattle of musketry, but the night passed with out any trouble.
There was a coterie of strong and able Union men in Louisville, among them James K. Joshua and Dr. Speed, William Needham, Thomas Ward Gibson, (father of Judge George H. D. Gibson of Clark county, Ind.), the great editor, George D. Prentice, John H. Hegney and the two Rousseaus, Lovell and Dick. All of these bent their energies to keeping the city and State loyal to the Federal Government.
With these men Lovell Rousseau conferred, and the result was the formation of the Federal brigade. But it could not be formed upon Kentucky soil, and thus while Gen. Buckner mustered the Confederate side of Kentucky’s youth on Tennessee soil, just over the border, Rousseau came to Indiana, and Camp Jo Holt, named by Capt. Jack Trainor after the Kentucky loyalist and jurist, became one of the greatest military camps of the war.
The National Government was partially paralyzed when the crisis came upon it, and when Rousseau, unable to secure a commission from the Governor, returned from Washington with a commission from the President, he had to accept the hospitality of a private, patriotic citizen. Col. S. H. Patterson, a kinsman, of Jeffersonville, who placed the camp at the soldiers’ disposal, and when Jo Holt was occupied in June, 1861, this same private citizen used his credit and money to furnish the necessary supplied for the recruits until the National Government could get its breath.
The loyal Kentuckians came with a rush to the standard of their leader, and in a few days between 1,400 and 1,500 men, anxious to fight, poured into the camp.
It was more than he expected, but Rousseau soon got his raw recruits into some shape, and was soon after joined by the Second Kentucky Cavalry under Col. Buckner Board and a battery of artillery. Arms came and Camp Jo Holt became the resort of the fashion of Louisville which repaired thither to witness the drilling and dress parades.
Discipline was very loose at first, and the custom prevailed among the volunteer soldiers to pick out the company they wished to serve in, and if the first did not suit them to change to another, perhaps two or three times before they finally settled down. This nearly led to a tragedy in one instance, two captains of the Second Kentucky becoming involved in a quarrel over such a change made by some soldier, and one of the officers, a Capt. Thompson, was seriously hurt by the other.
In August a dramatic scene took place at the camp, which proved that Rousseau’s brigade served more useful purposes than merely to attract the idle and curious. The brigade had been ordered to Missouri, but a loud protest went up to Washington from the Union men of Louisville. They feared, the brigade gone, the Confederates would seize the city, block the Ohio, and work incalculable damage.
James K. Speed and others advised the Washington authorities to leave the Legion where it was, but no answer came. Rousseau made ready to leave, it was the last dress parade, camp was struck, the Legion, 2,000 strong, was drawn up in line, ready to march. A great crowd of people, thousands of them on foot, on horseback, in carriages, from Louisville, Jeffersonville and New Albany were there to bid the boys farewell. Many of these who had come to see Rousseau’s forces go felt heavy and sad at heart. Already the drums and fifes sounded, the battalions swung into line, when a buggy was seen to come from Jeffersonville at breakneck speed. One man stood up in it, yelling and gesticulating frantically, waving a letter over his head, while another man was driving the horse like mad. The crowd saw them coming, guessed their purpose, and cheer after cheer went up. In a badly racked buggy, behind a foaming horse, Dr. Speed and Dick Rousseau drew up in front of Gen. Rousseau and handed him a letter. It ordered him to remain at the camp.
It is thought by some that Rousseau’s celebrated night march to Muldraugh’s Hill was his first armed invasion of the neutrality of Kentucky, but this is a mistake. About two weeks before that event he ordered his brigade to be ready to march. Ammunition, which as kept at the Prison South at Jeffersonville, for safe keeping, was served to the battery and the soldiers, and then the leader declared to this soldiers that he proposed to march through Louisville and make a display. In earnest words he warned them that there must be no violence, no shot fired, unless by order of the officers. Taunts, jibes and jeers were to be utterly disregarded and the solder who would notice them or depart from orders would be severely punished.
On the night of September 17 the Legion left Camp Jo Holt forever.
At that time armed bands of Confederates came up as far as Nolin’s creek and Muldraugh’s Hill. They belonged to Gen. Buckner’s command and were never very strong, but they recruited men, impressed horses and took away provender and gave serious alarm to the city. Rousseau was ordered to Muldraugh’s Hill.
The night march was dramatic. But few in Jeffersonville and perhaps no one in this city knew of the order, and over the river the people, with the exception of a few roisterers, had retired to rest, when a long line of bayonets, glinting in the moonlight, moved up Market street.
Only the steady tramp of feet and now and then a low word of command were heard. In front rode Lovell Rousseau, a knight of the Nineteenth century to win the accolade of war. On came the silent column until it reached the Patterson homestead, where Mrs. Patterson, her daughter, Mrs. Ed. J. Mitchell, and several other ladies stood under the shadow of the porch. They had been very kind to the soldiers and as the dark, steel-created columns swept past, there rose sound as of the water rushing over the falls.
"Good-bye, little mother!"
"Good-bye, Miss Mollie!"
All along the line hummed and murmured the sound, the tribute of Kentucky’s brave soldiery to Indiana’s womanhood!
They would have cheered with lusty throats as the handkerchiefs of the ladies waved to them in salute, but the march was a secret one, and no unnecessary noise must be made. When the smoke banner of the ferryboat trailed along the water at the foot of Second Street and the soldiers landed in the city, there was perhaps not a citizen to meet the martial array. Silently the brigade marched to the L. and N depot and next day it occupied Muldraugh’s Hill. The Legion never returned to its birthplace as a military body.
Soon after the camp was reopened by order of Gov. Morton and the Forty-ninth Indiana was recruited under Cols. Ray and Keigwin, and later the Twelfth Indiana Battery, while many other regiments occupied it successfully until the Government finally converted it into a great hospital.