Fifth Kentucky Infantry

Fifth Kentucky Infantry

(The Louisville Legion)

Typed by Joseph Reinhart, Fort Duffield Camp #1, SUVCW, member

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.Lovell Rousseau

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.Shiloh

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 contest with 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 enemy 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, and camped 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.Stones River/Murfreesboro

In the battle of Murfreesboro, the Legion bore its part, losing men killed and wounded. Among the wounded was Maj. Treanor. He was also captured and held as a prisoner 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), 1st 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 never 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 mentions 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 not only proven by their bravery on the field, but by the patience and forbearance with which they have borne the most extraordinary labor, exposure and privation."Chickamauga

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. Upton Wilson 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, the regiment 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.Battle of Kennesaw

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 to Raleigh, 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."


From Dyer's Compendium:

5th Regiment Infantry "Louisville Legion"

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, 1861. 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, to July, 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 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.


Joe Reinhart adds the following:

The Fifth Kentucky Infantry became part of William B.Hazen's brigade and Thomas J. Wood's division in October 1863. The members of the regiment who re-enlisted as veteran volunteers transferred to the 2nd Kentucky Veteran Volunteer Cavalry Regiment after the Fifth Kentucky mustered out of service in September 1864.

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


Additional Resources

5th Kentucky Infantry Roster

5th Kentucky Infantry Website

Joseph Reinhart, 5th Kentucky Historian

Rousseau’s Louisville Legion


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