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The Battle Rages Higher

The Union's Fifteenth Kentucky Infantry

Kirk Jenkins

Publication Year: 2003

" The Battle Rages Higher tells, for the first time, the story of the Fifteenth Kentucky Infantry, a hard-fighting Union regiment raised largely from Louisville and the Knob Creek valley where Abraham Lincoln lived as a child. Although recruited in a slave state where Lincoln received only 0.9 percent of the 1860 presidential vote, the men of the Fifteenth Kentucky fought and died for the Union for over three years, participating in all the battles of the Atlanta campaign, as well as the battles of Perryville, Stones River and Chickamauga. Using primary research, including soldiers’ letters and diaries, hundreds of contemporary newspaper reports, official army records, and postwar memoirs, Kirk C. Jenkins vividly brings the Fifteenth Kentucky Infantry to life. The book also includes an extensive biographical roster summarizing the service record of each soldier in the thousand-member unit. Kirk C. Jenkins, a descendant of the Fifteenth Kentucky's Captain Smith Bayne, is a partner in a Chicago law firm. Click here for Kirk Jenkins' website and more information about the 15th Kentucky Infantry.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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pp. vii

List of Maps and Photographs

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pp. viii-ix

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pp. xi-xix

In my central Kentucky hometown, the Civil War is still part of the fabric of life. A cannonball is deeply imbedded in the brick wall of a store in the town square, a mute reminder of a brief visit paid by John Hunt Morgan in the fall of 1862. Lincoln's Birthplace National Park stands only fifteen miles from the house where I grew up; I remember...

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Chapter 1. Raising the Regiment

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pp. 1-23

By all rights, Curran Pope should have been heading south that day rather than north. His family was old Virginia: Westmoreland County, home of the Washingtons (cousins of the Popes), the Monroes, the Lees, and other towering figures of early American history. Among his galaxy...

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Chapter 2. Missed Opportunities

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pp. 24-47

Seven in the morning, the officers had said; of course, it didn't work out that way. The Fifteenth Kentucky and the rest of the Seventeenth Brigade were last out of the Bacon Creek camp, and it was noon by the time the buglers finally sounded the march. By that time, the men and...

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Chapter 3. Seeing the Elephant

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pp. 48-81

Initially, Buell intended that the Third Division guard the back door as the Union army concentrated in Tennessee. Lovell Rousseau, the forty-four-year-old Kentucky lawyer and Unionist politician who now commanded the division, was no doubt alarmed to hear that he was to...

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Chapter 4. The Orphan Regiment

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pp. 82-92

In the days following the battle, Bragg had momentary thoughts of fighting Buell again. The Federal commander had no intention of obliging him, however. Buell did not believe that Bragg was evacuating the state. Rather, with Confederate supply depots established and rumors...

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Chapter 5. The Fight in the Cedars

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pp. 93-117

Dawn came up with cold wind and wild rain the next morning. As the men were finishing breakfast, company wagons were packed with most of the camp gear. Orders from headquarters set a limit of three wagons for each regiment, with everything else to be stored in Nashville....

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Chapter 6. Flanking Bragg

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pp. 118-153

Another battlefield, still and quiet in the gentle rain. The smoke gone, the noise-the gut-wrenching, teeth-clenching roar of artillery, musketry, the sounds of thousands of men marching, running, falling, yelling, swearing, praying-all gone too. Now only the rain, falling...

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Chapter 7. Riot on the River of Death

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pp. 154-190

John Beatty's long anxious night, isolated from the rest of the army at Cooper's Gap, finally ended. Negley had been ordered to concentrate his division during the day on September 9 so that he could take the head of Thomas's advance on La Fayette the next day. Federal cavalry...

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Chapter 8. Holding Chattanooga

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pp. 191-206

Negley's division was stationed at what was immediately renamed Fort Negley, a fortification built by the rebels in a large brickyard a few miles south of town just west of the La Fayette road. The men worked through the morning, digging rifle pits through the clay beds of the...

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Chapter 9. Fighting Kentuckians All the Time

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pp. 207-243

The ground crunched beneath the brogans of the 267 veterans of the Fifteenth Kentucky as they stirred on the morning of May 3, kindling fires for their morning coffee. The temperature had dipped below freezing again the night before, and frost covered the ground; the sunny...

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Chapter 10. Coming Home

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pp. 244-254

Around Atlanta in the days following, the Federal troops made use of the fine weather to push forward on the construction of breastworks, knocking down homes-most abandoned, some not-for wood. The men of the Fifteenth Kentucky settled into their camp. A few of the officers...

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Epilogue: Starting Over

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pp. 255-262

"I Am A Soldier Now And Under Military laws. Therefore I Cannot Go home At My own option." So Ben Foster had written from Camp Hamilton Pope on December 2, 1861. Now that the men were not under military laws for the first time in over three years, for many of the...


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pp. 263-287

Biographical Roster

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pp. 289-406


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pp. 407-417


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pp. 419-452

E-ISBN-13: 9780813128665
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813122816

Page Count: 472
Publication Year: 2003