Bullitt County History

Bullitt Countians in the Orphan Brigade

Edwin Porter Thompson, in his 1868 book, History of the First Kentucky Brigade, wrote a long sketch of Colonel Phil Lee, a native of Bullitt County. Thompson also gave brief information about the other Bullitt Countians who joined that brigade. We have transcribed this information below. Note that the seeming excessive use of commas is typical of writing in that era.


COLONEL PHIL. LEE

"Phil. Lee, third son of Wilford and Margaret Lee, was born in Bullitt County, Kentucky, October 22d, 1832. His father, who emigrated from Virginia in early life, was intimately related to the old revolutionary families of that name, and possessed, in no ordinary degree, their high sense of manly freedom, and that decision of character which forbids a man to halt between duty and interest; principle and policy. The subject of our sketch was educated at St. Joseph's College, Bardstown, graduating at that institution at eighteen years of age. He shortly afterward entered the University of Louisville, and, in 1852, at the age of twenty, he graduated in the law class there, and was admitted to the bar. In the practice of his profession, he has always been considered by his friends as an able advocate, and particularly before juries.

"In 1853, not having yet attained to his majority, he was elected to represent Bullitt County in the legislature, and was, it is said, the youngest member who ever sat in that body. Here he served two terms, having been reelected in 1855. In 1856, he was candidate for Presidential elector on the Fillmore ticket, in opposition to Governor Magoffin; and, in 1860, was on the electoral ticket for Bell and Everett, opposed by Judge Marcus R. Hardin and Captain Graves. This canvass is described as a most spirited one. The country was aroused; danger to our institutions seemed imminent; and the speakers were excited to more than common exertion. For three months they addressed the people almost daily; and, in this contest, the strong points of Colonel Lee, as a popular debater, so fully developed themselves, that, before the close of the campaign, he had won a reputation for ready polemic wit, a certain sharp invective, and, when it better suited his turn, a broad, old Kentucky humor, all of which combined to make him an antagonist to be feared on the stump, since these characteristics enabled him to suit his address to the occasion, and to reach every class of people, whose sympathies, it appears, he always enlisted in his favor, if not in that of the men whom he represented.

"Early in 1861, true to his blood and lineage, he came out boldly for the South, declaring that the honor of Kentucky was at stake, that an alliance with the South was the only natural and legitimate course that Kentucky could pursue. He pronounced the neutrality policy 'a foolish and impractical thing,' a trick of demagogues to deceive the too-confiding people; and he advised them to take no counsel of their fears, nor to consider for a moment the promptings of that base spirit of policy that led men to stand aloof from the struggle, or to ally themselves with the strong against the weak, for the mere ignoble purpose of preserving their property.

"He continued his opposition to the purposes and measures of the Government until further efforts were vain, and the chances for giving the Confederacy substantial aid were growing more and more dangerous and uncertain, when he set about enlisting men for the Southern service, and soon repaired, with more than a hundred young men—emphatically young men, for there was but one married man among them all—to a point in Tennessee, near the Kentucky line, where, in company with Moss, Breckinridge, and Tilghman, July 4th, 1861, he assisted in laying out the now historic 'Camp Boone.' July 16th, his company was organized under the designation of 'C,' Second Kentucky, of which he was elected captain. Shortly after this, he was ordered by Colonel Bob Johnson, then commanding, to take charge of a hundred picked men, and penetrate as far as practicable into Kentucky, for the purpose of disarming home-guards, and securing guns for the Confederate troops. Accordingly, August 20th, he set out with his detachment, (among whom was the gallant and soldierly Graves,) and, capturing a train of cars, he proceeded almost as far as Bowling Green. But the news preceded him; the cry had been raised that the rebels were coming, and the points along the route were hastily abandoned by the redoubtable militia, who were in the interest of the usurper, while the 'rebel' captain, who was compelled to confine himself to the road, returned with no other fruits of his expedition than having proved a dreadful fright to 'the defenders of their homes.' This incident is noteworthy chiefly on account of its having been the first Confederate raid into Kentucky, and the capture of the first train.

"Henceforth, until the disastrous close of the great struggle, his history is interwoven with that of the immortal Second Regiment, whose exploits at Donelson, in which it alone of the First Brigade took part, as we have elsewhere noticed, sent a thrill of joy to the hears of Kentucky soldiers every-where. Though they were defeated and in captivity, there was a secret pride to those who had not yet engaged the foe, in the knowledge that these, their brothers, had upheld the traditional honor of Kentucky on one bloody field, and that, sooner or later, their example should be emulated; that the old State, through these her representatives in the Army of the South, should still preserve her prestige; should still be known as the chivalrous old Kentucky—first and worthy daughter of the 'Mother of States'—'land of fair women and brave men.'

"At Donelson, then, Captain Lee first led his company into action, and proved himself worthy of the name he bore, and of the confidence of his men. Imprisoned for six weary months, his regiment at length came forth to win new laurels at Hartsville. It is unnecessary to dwell upon his particular conduct on every occasion, for that has passed into history, to be known and read of all men. Suffice it to say, that (what the reader has, perhaps, observed in the course of the general narrative) he was present at every engagement in which his regiment participated during the war, except that of 22d of July, near Atlanta, and demeaned himself alike in all. Always active and vigilant, he inspired confidence and won honors in the path of danger and of duty. At Chickamauga, though yet in the line, and suffering, too, with illness, he was acting field officer, and is referred to in the report of the commanding officer as having done his duty 'with his accustomed gallantry.' Shortly after this battle, he was promoted to major, and, November 5th, to lieutenant-colonel. On the campaign from Dalton to Atlanta, he received the only wounds that were inflicted upon him during the war. He was painfully wounded at Resaca, May 14th, and received at Dallas, May 28th, a slight one. On the fall of Colonel Moss, at Jonesboro', August 31st, he was promoted to colonel, and commanded the Second Regiment till the close of the war.

"By reference to our account of the operations in South Carolina, it will be seen that, by a well-planned , timely, and properly executed ambuscade, at McClernand's Ford, Colonel Lee, with his regiment alone, succeeded in repulsing and heading off an overwhelming Yankee column, and saving the brigade train from falling into their hands. On many points of his military career we might linger, but it would be unnecessarily prolonging the personal sketch, since whatever we may have omitted here, or touched upon lightly, has been already noticed in the department of general history.

"A writer in the Louisville Courier, some years ago, gave us a description of Colonel Lee in the following terms, which, though very general, are yet accurate, and give us a tolerably fair idea of his personnel: 'In stature, medium, with a heavy, muscular frame; a piercing gray eye, and a countenance beaming with genial good humor.'

"In the army, as well as at home, the suavity and cheerfulness of his general deportment made him friends, and the esteem in which he was held in his own regiment attested the goodness of his heart. To him it was a source of great pride that he always had the love of the brave boys who were under his orders; that he was always welcomed with a smile and pleasing courtesy, whether at the marquee of the general or the camp-fire of the soldier. General Hanson once remarked that 'Phil. Lee's flow of spirits, his pleasantry, and genial wit go far toward lightening the toils of a campaign, since they always keep the regiment in good humor.' The strength of his attachments, the generous feelings of his heart, are attested by the importance that he attached to these things. To have been the object of devoted friendship, to have possessed the brotherly esteem of his comrades in arms, was as much a source of honest and soldierly pride as to have walked undismayed, and with chivalrous port, over the many fields where Death held his carnival. Speaking of the fall of his lieutenants, Thomas and Rogers, there was a pathetic force in the language that went to the heart, and it bears me out in my estimate of this feature of his character. 'Poor fellows!' said he; 'after having suffered a long imprisonment with me at Camp Chase and Johnson's Island, they were killed under my eye, at Hartsville, within five minutes of each other. Rogers, who had been my school-mate, my earliest and best friend, and who loved me as an elder brother, died in my arms. Two braver hearts than those that beat in the bosoms of Charlie Thomas and John Rogers never gave their life's blood for the cause of freedom!' We hear of 'the ruling passions strong in death,' etc., and sometimes this ruling passion manifests itself as strongly in disaster. With a case in point, we close our notice:

"On the evening of May 2d, 1865, in camp near Columbia, S.C., when General Lewis, Colonel lee, and Colonel Caldwell made speeches, in which they gathered respecting the terms of surrender, and advised as to the proper course, General Lewis remarked that, though he counseled quiet submission to the fate that was thrust upon the command, it was from no returning love for the Yankee, nor the Government of his administering; that his feelings and opinions were the same; though he must lay aside the gray, he never expected to wear a uniform of blue. Colonel Lee, concluding his speech, conceived that matters were growing too serious, so he brought his humor into play, and dispersed the command with a laugh: 'Boys,' said he, with his drollest serio-comic air, 'the General speaks of not wearing the Yankee uniform. Now, as for Phil. Lee, my opinion is that henceforth he'll wear no uniforms of any sort!'"

Other Bullitt Countians in the Brigade

Ben Barnett, fought at Donelson; died in prison at Indianapolis, Indiana, of disease, March 1862. (p. 589; Company C, Second Regiment)

James Brewer, served as teamster. (p. 848; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Alexander Burton, fought with Graves' Light Artillery at Donelson, and was captured; rejoined the company in September, 1862, and fought at Murfreesboro; died of disease, 1863. (p. 848; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Thomas Clarke, fought at Donelson, Hartsville, and Murfreesboro; was killed at the latter place. (p. 589; Company C, Second Regiment)

Ben Cole, fought at Donelson; died of disease in prison at Camp Douglas, March 1862. (p. 590; Company C, Second Regiment)

John B. Cundiff, was appointed fifth sergeant, July 16, 1861; fought at Donelson and Hartsville; was elected second lieutenant, December 29, 1862; fought at Murfreesboro, Jackson, and Chickamauga; was promoted to first lieutenant, October 5, 1863; fought at Mission Ridge, Rocky Face, Resaca, and Dallas; was promoted to captain, May 28, 1864; fought from Dallas to Atlanta; at Peachtree and Intrenchment Creeks; on Sand Town road; both days at Jonesboro, and in the mounted engagements. (p. 588; Company C, Second Regiment)

Wm. Dawson, was wounded in battle at Shiloh; was generally incapacitated by disease for duty in the ranks, and served as teamster from May to November, 1862, when he was discharged. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

L. D. Demasters, fought at Donelson, but after his return from prison, he was generally disabled by disease for field duty, and was employed at hospital. (p. 610; Company E, Second Regiment)

Frank Hardy, was appointed fourth sergeant, October 10, 1861; fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, and Murfreesboro; was discharged by substitute in the spring of 1863. (p. 847; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Peter Hastings, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Baton Rouge; was discharged, November 10, 1862, being over age. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Henry Hayman, was appointed first corporal, October 10, 1861; was severely wounded in battle at Shiloh, April 7, 1862, but recovered in time to fight at Chickamauga, where he was again dangerously wounded, and disabled for further service during the war. (p. 847; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Wm. S. B. Hill, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Gap, Resaca, and Dallas; from Dallas to Atlanta; at Jonesboro, both days, and in the mounted engagements. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Joseph Hoglan, was appointed fourth sergeant, July 16, 1861, and died of disease at Bowling Green, September, 1861. (p. 588; Company C, Second Regiment)

Richard Hoglan, died of disease at Bowling Green, 1861. (p. 592; Company C, Second Regiment)

John Holsclaw, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Baton Rouge; died of disease at Tullahoma, Tennessee, June 20, 1863. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Daniel Jenkins, was killed in battle at Shiloh, April 6, 1862. (p. 882, Company B, Ninth Regiment)

A. L. Kaufman, fought at Donelson, Hartsville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Rocky Face, Resaca, and Dallas. Was killed at Dallas, May 28, 1864. (p. 593; Company C, Second Regiment)

John Kinnison, was appointed fifth sergeant, October 10, 1861; fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Rescas, and Dallas; was wounded at the latter place, but rejoined the company in the autumn, and served with the dismounted detachment till the close of the war. (p. 847; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

David L. Lee, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; was wounded at Dallas, and disabled for further duty in the ranks, but was engaged in various detail service till the close. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

James M. Lee, was appointed third sergeant, 1863; fought at Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; from Dallas to Atlanta; a Peachtree Intrenchment, and Utoy Creeks; both days at Jonesboro, and in the mounted engagements till sent into Kentucky on recruiting services. He was wounded at Murfreesboro; was one of the McMinnville guard, 1863, and was captured there. (p. 847; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

John A. Lee, fought at Donelson, Hartsville, and Murfreesboro. Was appointed midshipman in the navy, February, 1863, and afterward served in that line. (p. 593; Company C, Second Regiment)

John H. Lee, fought at Donelson, Hartsville, and Murfreesboro, at which latter place he was wounded and disabled for further duty. (p. 593; Company C, Second Regiment)

Thomas T. Lee, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Murfreesboro; was generally disabled by disease for duty in the ranks, and was detailed in 1863-4 for post duty; rejoined the command after it was mounted, and took part in the subsequent engagements. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Arch Marramon, fought at Donelson, Hartsville, and Murfreesboro. (p. 594; Company C, Second Regiment)

Hardin Masden, was discharged on account of disability by disease, March 12, 1862. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

James Masden, was a boy hero -- willing, ready, vigilant, and brave; fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; was killed at the latter place, May 28, 1864. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Jesse McWilliams, died of disease at Bowling Green, December 10, 1861. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Theodore Pearl, died of disease at Nashville, January, 1862. (p. 849; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Dan Phelps, fought at Donelson; was appointed third sergeant in the autumn of 1862; fought at Hartsville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Rocky Face, Resca, and Dallas; from Dallas to Atlanta; at Peachtree Creek, at Intrenchment Creek; on Sand Town road; at Jonesboro, both days, and after this, was detailed for work in brigade saddle shop, and remained there till close of the war. (p. 594; Company C, Second Regiment)

Jake M. Pittman, was generally employed as regimental blacksmith, but fought at Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; was badly wounded at the latter place; recovered and took part in all the mounted engagements. (pages 813-4l Company C, Sixth Regiment)

W. D. Raymond, fought at Donelson, Hartsville, and Dallas, at which place he was killed, May 28 1864. (p. 595; Company C, Second Regiment)

John W. Rogers, was elected second lieutenant, July 16, 1861; fought at Donelson and Hartsville, and was killed at the latter place. (p. 587; Company C, Second Regiment)

William H. Rowley, was appointed corporal at Dallas, 1864. Fought at Donelson, Hartsville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, Rocky Face Gap, Resaca, and Dallas; from Dallas to Atlanta; at Peachtree Creek, at Intrenchment Creek; on Sand Town road; at Jonesboro, both days, and in all the mounted engagements. After the battle of Murfreesboro, he was awarded medal of honor for "gallant and meritorious conduct on the field." He was wounded at Chickamauga, September 20, 1863. (pages 594-5; Company C, Second Regiment)

Samuel H. Runner, served in Company C, Fourth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, during the Mexican war; fought with Company H, Sixth Regiment, during the late war, at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Baton Rouge; was discharged, November 29, 1862, being over age. (p. 851; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Geo. W. Scott, was appointed third corporal, October 10, 1861; fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; was wounded in the right arm at Dallas, and permanently disabled. (p. 847; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Wm. Judd Shaw, was elected second lieutenant, May 10, 1862; fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, and Murfreesboro; was wounded at the latter place; fought at Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; from Dallas to Atlanta; at Peachtree and Intrenchment Creeks; was severely wounded at the latter place, July 22, 1864, and disabled for further service during the war. (p. 846; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Eugene Smith, was appointed first sergeant, July 16, 1861; fought at Donelson, Hartsville, and Murfreesboro. (p. 587; Company C, Second Regiment)

John Smith, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Baton Rouge; was killed at the latter place, August 5, 1862. (p. 851; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Allen A. Snellen, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; from Dallas to Atlanta; at Peachtree and Intrenchment Creeks; was killed at the latter place, July 22, 1864. (p. 851; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Joe Southern, was killed in battle at Donelson, February 15, 1862. (p. 595; Company C, Second Regiment)

Richard Southern, was transferred to this company in October, 1863, and fought with it at Mission Ridge, Rocky Face Gap, Resaca, and Dallas, at which latter place he was killed, Mary 28, 1864. (p. 595; Company C, Second Regiment)

James Sweney, was captured at Shiloh, and died of disease at Camp Douglas, June 1862. (p. 851; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Henry C. Thompson, fought at Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Gap, Resaca, Dallas, and Kenesaw Mountain. He was captured at the latter place, July 2, 1864, and detained in prison till the close of the war. (p. 851; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

L. Warren, was appointed first sergeant, October 10, 1861; was discharged on account of disability by disease, March 27, 1862. (p. 846; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Wm Warren, was appointed second sergeant, October 10, 1861; was discharged on account of disability by disease, March 27, 1862. (p. 846; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

James H. Williams, fought at Donelson, Hartsville, Murfreesboro, Jackson, and Chickamauga. (p. 596; Company C, Second Regiment)

Thomas Withers, fought at Shiloh and Vicksburg; died of disease in Atlanta, May, 1863. (p. 852; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

George W. Younger, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Murfreesboro, Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Ridge, Resaca, and Dallas; from Dallas to Atlanta; at Peachtree Intrenchment, and Utoy Creeks, and at Jonesboro; was wounded at the latter place, but took part in the mounted engagements. (p. 852; Company H., Sixth Regiment)

Wm. Younger, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, and Baton Rouge; was discharged, November 29, 1862, being over age, but died of disease in camp at Manchester, Tennessee, February, 1863. (p. 852; Company H., Sixth Regiment)


Edwin Porter Thompson was born in Metcalfe County in 1834. He entered the Confederate army and served until the end of the war. He was twice wounded, and was a prisoner of war for five months, before being exchanged. Later he was promoted to a captaincy on the regimental staff of the Sixth Kentucky Infantry.

Following the war, Thompson wrote his History of the First Kentucky Brigade which was published by Caxton Publishing House in Cincinnati in 1868.

In 1888 Thompson was appointed by Governor Buckner to fill a vacancy in the office of state librarian; and in 1890 became Buckner's private secretary. He was elected superintendent of pubic instruction in 1891, a position he held for four years.

In 1898, Thompson enlarged this volume under the title, The Orphan Brigade. He had published a volume titled A Young People’s History of Kentucky for Schools and General Reading a year earlier. "The text, while entertaining, was typical of nineteenth century historical prose. More attention was paid to the heroic accomplishments of the pioneers and the tragedy of the Civil War than any economic or social factors that shaped Kentucky history." [A Concise Historiography of Kentucky by Ron D. Bryant]. Thompson died in 1903.

This volume is available in several places, including in Google Books.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/orphanbrigade.html