Kentucky in the Civil War
Kentucky was a border state during the Civil War. Its legislators preferred neutrality at the beginning of the war, since it had strong ties to both sides. In the 1861 election, most of the state congressional seats went to Union sympathizers. In September 1861, a Confederate army went into Kentucky, thus breaking its neutrality, and a Union army followed. During the war, many battles and guerilla campaigns were fought in Kentucky. Kentucky soldiers served in both the Union and Confederate armies.
Kentucky Military Units
Most units were numbered, however, some were named. See the table below for lists of the regiments, battalions, batteries, and unassigned companies.
The information in the lists of Kentucky Military Units comes from the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors web site. This web site can also be searched by the name of a soldier.
Civil War (1861–1865)
Soldiers from Kentucky served in both the Union and Confederate armies. The state adopted a policy of neutrality until September 1861, when a pro-Union element gained control of the legislature. Though Kentucky never seceded from the Union, there was a sizable pro-Confederate element in the state. Indexes to the service records of Civil War Soldiers are at the Family History Library and the National Archives. The service records are available at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.
Compiled Service Records - The Compiled Service Records for Kentucky soldiers ($) (Footnote.com) are now available online. In the future, these records will be made available at no charge through the National Archives web site. Service records may provide rank, unit, date of enlistment, length of service, age, residence, and death date. The service records are also available at no charge at National Archives research rooms.
- Civil War Pension Index Cards - An Index to Pension Applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. Other wars, of that time period, may be included.
- Kentucky. Adjutant General. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, 1861–1866. 2vols. 1866–1867. Reprint, Utica, Kentucky.: McDowell Publications, 1984. (Family History Library films 1463599–600.) This book contains background information on the war, brief information about each unit, and a list of soldiers by unit, with their rank and service dates. An index is included in the book but not in the film. These records contain the reports for troops serving with the Union.
- Kentucky. Adjutant-General’s Office. Report of the Adjutant General [1861–1865]. Bethesda, Maryland.: University Publications of America, 1990. (Family History Library fiche 6082379–80, 6082382–84.) This record contains reports and rosters of units from Kentucky, with the names of officers by unit. It also contains their residence and dates of commission.
- Speed, Thomas. The Union Regiments of Kentucky. 1897. Reprint, Dayton, Ohio: Morningside House, [ca. 1984]. (Family History Library book 976.9 M2st; film 1321096 item 6.) This record includes a brief history of each unit and lists the names of all soldiers. The index lists only the names of the commissioned officers from Kentucky.
- United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of Kentucky. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0397. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1962. (Family History Library films 1487066–90057.) These service records are arranged by company and regiment and then alphabetically by the name of the soldier. They include the soldier’s name, age, rank, service record, muster, enlistment, discharge and disability information, payment cards, and physical description.
- The Civil War Archive-Union Regimental Index [Internet site]. N.p., 1998 [cited 25 October 1999]. Available at www.civilwararchive.com/unionky.htm. This site includes histories and background information on Kentucky regiments.
For the 1890 census of Union veterans of the Civil War, see the "Census" section.
- Kentucky. Division of Archives and Records Management. Index of Confederate Pension Applications. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Frankfort, Kentucky.: Archives Branch, Division of Archives and Records Management, Dept. of Library and Archives, 1981. (Family History Library book 976.9 M2k.) This index is arranged alphabetically and lists the applicant’s name and county of residence at the time the application was made, the date the application was received in the Confederate pension office, and the application number. The listings for the widow’s applications provide maiden names if stated on the application. The veteran husband’s name is listed in parentheses.
- The Kentucky Historical Society produced a second index to Kentucky Confederate Pension Applications. Both the index and the pension applications are available at the Family History Library. (Family History Library films beginning 1670795.) The pensions are organized by pension number.
- Kentucky. Adjutant General. Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Confederate Kentucky Volunteers, War 1861–1865. 191–?. Reprint, Utica, Kentucky.: McDowell Publishing, 1980. (Vol. 1 on Family History Library ; Vol. 2 book 976.9 M2rc].) The book contains brief histories of confederate units and includes a list of soldiers, with their rank and dates of service. It is indexed. An index to the infantry soldiers in volume 1 is:
- Cook, Michael L. Index to "Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky." Utica, Kentucky.: McDowell Publishing, 1979. (Family History Library book 976.9 M2rcaindex.)
- United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Kentucky. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0319. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1960. (Family History Library films 1447468–603.) The compiled service records of Kentucky soldiers are arranged according to a complicated organizational breakdown, ending with either the regiment or independent battalion or company. Under each unit the service records are arranged alphabetically by soldiers’ surnames.
- "Kentucky in the Civil War-Confederate Files" in USGenWeb Project [Internet site], N.p., 7 September 1999 [cited 25 October 1999]. Available at www.rootsweb.com/~kymil/cw/cw-conf.html. This site contains rosters or histories of Confederate military units and includes links to pension records, veteran’s records, biographies of prominent leaders, and military organizations.
An important inventory for finding Civil War military histories is:
- A Guide to the Microfiche Edition of Civil War Unit Histories: Regimental Histories and Personal Narratives. Part 1, Confederate States of America and Border States. Bethesda, Maryland.: University Publications of America, 1992. (Family History Library book 973 M2cwu pt. 1.) Kentucky units are listed on pages 33 to 38. The library has the large microfiche collection described in this guide. Use the library catalog to find individual items. This may include correspondence, diaries, memoirs, and regimental histories published before 1920. The guide shows the unit name, counties where it was raised, author, title, publication information, number of pages, and source repository. This guide includes an author index and a major engagements index.
- Wikipedia.com, Kentucky in the American Civil War, (accessed 9 March 2011)