Today in History:

389 Series I Volume XX-II Serial 30 - Murfreesborough Part II


RICHMOND, November 5, 1862.

General BRAXTON BRAGG, Knoxville, Tenn.:

General Mackall was ordered to report for duty to General Kirby Smith's department. He will not be ordered to Virginia.


Adjutant and Inspector General.

ABINGDON, VA., November 5, 1862.


SIR: Your telegraphic dispatch, directing the reorganization of the twelve-months' men in my command, renders it proper for me to advise you of what has been done in regard to some of the Kentuckians under my command, and of the difficulty which lies in the way of executing your order.

The Fifth Kentucky Regiment of Infantry was mustered for twelve months, from about the 21st of October, 1861, and was composed almost entirely of men from the mountain counties of Kentucky. When the act requiring the twelve-months' men to reorganize was passed, these men were told by Brigadier General John S. Williams that they were under a contract for twelve months only, and, as the conscript act had no force in Kentucky, they would be entitled to discharge at the end of their special enlistment. This was also taught them by Colonel A. J. May, then in command of the regiment, and under these teachings they refused to reorganize them, saying they would not, by reorganizing, subject themselves as conscripts for the remaining two years. I regarded the reorganization as a privilege, not an obligation, and told them the refusal to reorganize within the time limited by law would make their existing organization permanent, but would not release them, as supposed by others. They refused to reorganize. In my march from Kentucky the subject of their re-enlistment was frequently discussed. Once I made some remarks to them, urging them to re-enlist, and promised all the twelve-months' men furloughs of thirty days if they would re-enlist At McCormick's, on the 18th of October, I had two companies of the regiment brought to my headquarters, and promised to furlough them then if they would re-enlist, and I obtained but two re-enlistments from the two companies. Some one suggested that they desired to change to mounted service, and I agreed if they would make up companies of 80 men, I would accept them as cavalry, give them the furlough, and they could, at its expiration, rejoin me as mounted corps; all had no effect. The men said they had been in service about twelve months, and when their time was out they wanted an honorable discharge, and after a little rest they would re-enter the service, for they knew they could not stay at home. I could not then move them.

At Haxle Green, the 21st October, the regiment was not turned out to march. I went to see about it. They said their time was out, and they would not march out of Kentucky willingly. I found that desertions had been going on frightfully, and that the deserters carried off their arms and accouterments and ammunition. I determined to save what remained of these, and, considering that if they were disbanded and paid they might rejoin, but if they deserted they never would, I determined at once to muster the twelve-months' men for pay and to discharge them, and did so. The commissary returns show the regiment drew at Bryantsville, Ky., just before the retreat commenced, 1,047 rations;