Second Kentucky Infantry

Second Kentucky Infantry

Contributed by Tim Downey, Kentucky Department, SUVCW, Member

One of the active Unionists at Louisville, in the spring of 1861, was Capt. W. E. Woodruff. He had served in the Mexican war and was associated with Lovell H. Rousseau in the formation of companies for the defense of Louisville. It was plain to be seen that there was a necessity for military organization, but under the ideas of neutrality then prevailing, it was thought improper that it should go on in the state. It was under these circumstances that Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau established Camp Jo Holt, in the state of Indiana, just opposite Louisville, and that Camp Clay was established on the Ohio side of the river opposite Newport, Ky. Capt. W. E. Woodruff was an earnest, zealous man, and had exerted a strong influence at Louisville, among the military companies, for the defense of the city. Seeing the need of soldiers for the service of the United States, he concluded to recruit a regiment at Camp Clay. He took with him from Louisville two companies and these became the nucleus of his regiment, which became the 2d Ky. Infantry. It was mustered into the service June 13, 1861, at Camp Clay. In the same camp at the same time was the 1st Ky. Infantry, Col. Guthrie, and the two regiments were associated together all the time they were in the service. In the same month they were both ordered to West Virginia. They went up the river by boat, landed at Guyandote and marched at once to Barbourville, from which place they drove out the enemy under Col. Jenkins. This movement is mentioned by Gen. McClellan, in the following dispatch from Beverly, Va.: "One of Cox's regiments, the 2d Ky., defeated and drove six hundred of Wise's men out of Barbourville, Cabell county, on the 16th." The 1st and 2d had been placed by Gen. McClellan, under Gen. Cox, July 2d, by an order directing Gen. Cox to take command of the 1st and 2d Ky. and 12th Ohio, and proceed into West Virginia, on the Kanawha River. From Barbourville, the march was to Camp Poco, on Scury creek, where in an engagement Col. Woodruff was taken prisoner; Lieut. Col. Neff and Capt. Hurd were also captured. This was a severe blow to the regiment, but other officers took the places of the captured ones, and the regiments continued in very active duty.

Colonel W. E. Woodruff

July 25th the 1st and 2d Ky., 11th and 12th Ohio, and some regiments of militia were constituted into the brigade of the Kanawha, under Gen. Cox, the 2d being commanded by Col. T. D. Sedgewick. These regiments continued with Gen. Cox, and also under Gen. Rosecrans in West Virginia, during the fall of 1861, and had numerous engagements with the enemy, particularly one at Gauley Bridge and one at Cotton Hill, November 11th, which Gen. Rosecrans called "vigorous and brilliant." The 1st and 2d went into winter quarters at Charleston, in December, but on the 25th of January, 1862, they were ordered to Kentucky. They moved at once to Louisville, and February 5th marched to Bardstown. From thence they marched to Green river, and after the retirement of the Confederates from Kentucky, consequent upon the fall of Fort Donelson, they moved to Nashville. They then proceeded with Buell's army to Pittsburg Landing, and look part in the battle of Shiloh. The 1st, 2d and 20th Ky. were in Bruce's brigade, in Nelson's division. Gen. Nelson says in his report, that his division was over the river by 9 o'clock p.m. Ammen's brigade of his division was his left, Bruce's brigade his center, and Hazen's brigade his right. In this order the movement against the enemy began at 4 o'clock a.m., the next day. Col. Bruce speaks in the highest terms of the conduct of the 2d Ky. Being directed to charge a battery, he says: "The fight of this regiment in executing this order became almost hand to hand, and was of the most terrific character, Capt. Spellmayer was instantly killed; Capts. Bodine and Smith, Adjt. Weindall, Lieuts. Miller and Alms were carried to the rear all seriouslv wounded. Lieut. Miller died on the field." Col. Bruce says: "Col. Sedgewick, Lieut. Col. Spencer and Maj. Hurd displayed the greatest courage and daring. Col. Sedgewick was stricken down by a spent round shot."

Col. Sedgewick, in his report, mentions the officers above named, and compliments the services of Capts. Brown, Baldwin, Whittlesey and Stag, and Lieuts. Cook, Hurd, Bonticue, Tuley, Tanman, Thayer, Bell, Martin and Brannan. After the battle of Shiloh, the 2d continued with Buell's army in the siege of Corinth, where Col. Sedgewick commanded the brigade and the regiment was under Lieut. Col. Spencer. In the fighting and skirmishing of that campaign, the reports make complimentary mention of the steadiness and soldierly qualities of the 2d Ky. After the evacuation of Corinth, the 2d marched with Buell's army to Athens, Ala.; and from thence to Murfreesboro, Tenn. July 21, 1862, two companies of the 2d (E and G) were guarding Mill Creek bridge, between Nashville and Murfreesboro, and were attacked and captured by Forrest's cavalry. Three were killed in the fight. Gen. Nelson, in his report at that time, says the 2d Ky. "is much reduced by losses."

August 13th the regiment was at Lavergne; August 22d, at Murfreesboro. In September and October it marched with Buell's army to Kentucky, being in Crittenden's corps, W. S. Smith's division, Cruft's brigade, and Col. Sedgewick commanding the regiment, from Kentucky, it returned with the army to Tennessee, and December 31, 1862, participated in the battle of Murfreesboro. Its casualties in that battle were nine killed and fifty-six wounded. Gen. Palmer says: "The 2d Ky. brought off three guns abandoned by Negley's division." Col. Cruft, says: "Col. Sedgewick displayed marked gallantry on the field." And he expressed his great obligations to him.

Col. Sedgewick's report of the part the 2d Ky. took in this battle is very graphic. He says: "Leaving camps at Nashville, December 26th, the 2d was the advance of Nelson's division. One mile from Lavergne it met the enemy and drove them from the ground. On 27th, bivouacked on Stewart's creek; 29th, advanced, the 2d and 31st Ind. being reserve to the brigade, halted at night three miles from Murfreesboro." On the 30th, the 2d and 31st Ind., under Sedgewick's command, moved in advance of the division in a cedar wood fronting a field, advanced and drove the enemy from position; 31st, the engagement became general, Sedgewick's position was attacked, held it until it was turned and exposed to enfilading fire; requested to be withdrawn, was refused, but the 2d was relieved by the 90th Ohio. "The passage of lines by the advancing and retiring regiments was executed in the most perfect order." The isolated condition of Sedgewick being apparent, he was withdrawn, in retiring he learned that three guns had been left by Negley's division, "double quicked to the spot and brought them off in safety." This ended the severe fighting. During the next day the 2d supported Swallow's battery and was exposed to a "terrible artillery fire." "In the action on the 31st, and during the fight on January 2d, soldiers never displayed more undaunted courage than those of the 2d Ky." Col. Sedgewick specially mentions Lieut. Col. Warner Spencer, Maj. J. R. Hurd, Capt. A. J. M. Browne. "In fact, every officer of the regiment is deserving of the greatest praise." The losses were ten killed and fifty-seven wounded.

January 30, 1863, the 1st and 2d were still in Cruft's brigade, Palmer's division, Crittenden's corps, and they moved with the army in all its experiences in the campaign from Murfreesboro to Chattanooga. It was at Murfreesboro, until May; in June and July, at Manchester; in August, at Dunlap; in September, at Chattanooga. September 12th, Gen. Palmer sent a portion of Cruft's brigade up the valley toward Pea Vine church, to clear that flank and learn the cause of the firing in that direction. "This was handsomely done by Col. Sedgewick and Col. Ripley, with their respective regiments, and one section of Stannard's battery." About dusk that day, Palmer's whole division was at Lee and Gordon's Mills.

In the battle of Chickamauga, September 19th and 20th, Gen. Palmer says: "Co1. Sedgewick remained with his regiment during both days' battles, and kept it in good order, under the heaviest fire, and brought it off the field ready to turn upon the enemy effectively at any moment. I recommend his promotion." Col. Sedgewick in his report says: The regiment crossed the Tennessee river, at Shellmound, on September 3d; September 6th marched to junction of Murphy's Bottom and Nick-a-jack roads. September 8th, at Hawkins Station; September 9th, at Chattanooga, and went on to Rossville, six miles south of Chattanooga; September 10th, at Pea Vine creek; September 11th, at Ringgold; September 12th, skirmished toward Lee and Gordon's Mill, and camped there; September 14th, escorted a train to Chattanooga; September 15th, returned to Gordon's Mills; September 16th, at Crawfish Springs. In the battles, 19th and 20th, he describes the terrible fighting and says: "The conduct of the officers and men during the battles of both days was of the most heroic character. The loss of the regiment, which occured on the first day, attests the bravery of the men. I had no stragglers." He says: "Lieut-Col. Hurd and Maj. Baldwin, as on all previous fields, displayed the greatest gallantry. Capt. Bodine received his death wound while coolly directing the fire of his men, Maj. Baldwin was wounded. All of my officers deserve special mention."

The 2d was at Bridgeport during October, November and December, 1863. In January, at Tyner's Station, Ga.; February, March and April. At Cleveland, East Tennessee.

In the organization, in April and May, 1864, it was in the 4th Corps, Stanley's division, Cruft's brigade. It moved with Sherman's army as far as Resaca, and the Etowah river, when being much reduced from sickness and losses in the field, it was returned to Kentucky, and stationed at Covington, in the command of Gen. Hobson. That officer mentions the 1st and 2d Ky. as being part of the forces with which he would resist the Morgan raid of June, 1864.

It was mustered out of service June 19, 1864 at Covington.



From Dyer's Compendium:

2nd Regiment Infantry

Organized at Pendleton, Ohio, May and June, 1861. Moved to the Kanawha Valley, West Va., July 10. Attached to Kanawha Brigade, West Va., to October, 1861. District of the Kanawha, West Va., to January, 1862. 22nd Brigade, Army of the Ohio, to February, 1862. 22nd Brigade, 4th Division, Army of the Ohio, to September, 1862. 22nd Brigade, 4th Division, 2nd Corps, Army of the Ohio, to November, 1862. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, Left Wing 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 21st Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to October, 1863. 1st Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, to June, 1864.

SERVICE.---Campaign in West Virginia July to October, 1861. Red House July 13 (Cos. "A," "B," "D," "F" and "K"). Barboursville July 16. Scarrytown July 17. Gauley's Bridge September 1. Operations in Kanawha Valley October 19-November 16. Attack on Gauley by Floyd's Batteries November 1-9. Gauley Bridge November 10. At Charlestown, W. Va., December 4 to January 24, 1862. Moved to Louisville, Ky.; thence to Bardstown February 5. March to Nashville, Tenn., February 14-March 12. March to Savannah, Tenn., March 13-April 5. Battle of Shiloh April 6-7. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Miss., April 29-May 30. Phillips' Creek, Widow Serratt's, May 21. Bridge Creek, before Corinth, May 28. Occupation of Corinth May 30. Pursuit to Booneville May 31-June 6. Buell's Campaign in North Alabama and Middle Tennessee June to August, March to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg August 21-September 25. Pursuit of Bragg to Loudon, Ky., October 1-22. Battle of Perryville October 8. Camp Wild Cat October 17. Destruction of Salt Works at Goose Creek October 23-24. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 24-November 9. Duty at Nashville until December 26. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30. Lavergne December 26-27. Battle of Stone's River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Duty at Murfreesboro and Cripple Creek until June. Expedition to Woodbury April 2. Action at Snow Hill, Woodbury, April 3. Middle Tennessee (or Tullahoma) Campaign June 24-July 7. At Manchester July 9 to August 16. Passage of Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Pea Vine Creek, Ga., September 10. Lee and Gordon's Mills September 11-13. Battle of Chickamauga, Ga., September 19-20. Siege of Chattanooga September 24-October 27. Reopening of Tennessee River October 26-29. At Bridgeport, Ala., October 28, 1863, to January 26, 1864. (A Detachment at Ringgold Gap, Ga., November 27, 1863, and on Demonstration on Dalton February 22-27, 1864. Near Dalton February 23. Tunnel Hill, Buzzard's Roost Gap and Rocky Faced Ridge February 23-25.) At Ooltewah, Ga., until May 17, and at Resaca until June 3. Ordered home June 3. Operations against Morgan in Kentucky until June 19. Mt. Sterling June 9. Mustered out June 19, 1864.

Regiment lost during service 3 Officers and 74 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 87 Enlisted men by disease. Total 165.

Copyright 2000-2009, Robert M. Baker, Timothy Downey, and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Kentucky Dept.


Additional Resources

2nd Kentucky Infantry Rosters


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