Henry County

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Brief History 




A brief history the Sixth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Union)

The Sixth Kentucky was organized in late 1861 and seven of its ten companies were mustered into Federal Service on December 24, 1861 at Camp Sigel in Louisville. Two of its companies were mustered into Federal Service at Camp Joe Holt, Jeffersonville, IN, on September 9, 1861, and the other company was mustered in at Shepardsville, KY on November 1, 1861. Its volunteers came principally from Henry, Jefferson, Kenton, Oldham, and Shelby counties. Anderson, Campbell, Fayette, Hardin, Madison, Spencer, Trimble, and Woodford counties were also represented. In addition, there were about 60 men from southern Indiana in the regiment. Four of the Sixth Kentucky's ten companies were composed principally of German-born residents of Louisville.

Walter C. Whitaker of Shelbyville, KY, a lawyer and State Senator, was the Sixth's first colonel. He was promoted to brigadier general in July, 1863. Whitaker was succeeded as colonel of the regiment by George T. Shackelford of Richmond, KY. After Colonel Shackelford was wounded in the battle of Chickamauga in September, 1863, Walter C. Whitaker's younger brother, Major Richard T. Whitaker commanded the regiment. Major Whitaker resigned his commission in May, 1864 and Capt. Isaac N. Johnston of Henry County led the regiment through the Atlanta Campaign.

The Sixth Kentucky was a member of Colonel (later Brigadier General) William B. Hazen's brigade. Hazen's brigade served in the Army of the Ohio and its successor, the Army of the Cumberland.

The Sixth Kentucky fought at Shiloh, Stones River, Chickamauga, Brown's Ferry, Orchard Knob, Missionary Ridge, and in the four-month-long Atlanta Campaign.

The Sixth Kentucky was at Perryville on the day of the battle, but its division was not called into the fray. However, the Sixth was in the vanguard of the Union Forces that pursued the Confederate forces until it was certain that they were leaving Kentucky. During this time, there were frequent skirmishes with Braxton Bragg's rear guard.

The survivors of the three years of heavy service were mustered out in late 1864. About forty men re-enlisted and were assigned to the Fourth Kentucky Mounted Infantry Regiment for the duration of the war.

Over 110 of its men were killed or mortally wounded. Many others were wounded and disabled for life. Almost 90 died from disease and illnesses, and many were disabled by these causes. By the end of the regiment's three years of service, its rolls had been reduced from approximately 900 men to about 300.

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