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History of the Orphan Brigade [First Kentucky Brigade]
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HISTORY OF THE ORPHAN BRIGADE. Ed Porter Thompson. Hardbound, (1898), reprinted 2004, New, Illus., Index, 1,266 pp.
Here, and now back in print, is the History of the Orphan Brigade, one of the first Civil War histories originally completed after the close of hostilities. The History of the First Kentucky Brigade, written by Ed Porter Thompson, was a massive undertaking, which began in November 1864, during the final winter of the War, and concluded with the first printing in 1868. In 1898, Thompson revised, updated, and renamed the book History of the Orphan Brigade, resulting in this enormous work of 1,266 pages, including 76 illustrations.
Considered the definitive history of this famous brigade, it provides a thorough background on the formation, staffing, component units, battles, and leadership throughout the War. It takes you from the Kentucky parade grounds in the summer of 1861, to the recruitment and training camps on the Tennessee border, and through the battles at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Stones River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Resaca, Kennesaw Mountain, and Atlanta. Thompson develops a wonderful history of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th Kentucky Infantry Regiments, as well as detailed accounts of Artillery, Cavalry and other brigade units.
Thompson had been with the brigade from the beginning, enlisting as a private, promoting to first-sergeant, and, eventually, to Captain. He was a thoughtful man, well read, knowledgeable and convinced of the special place in history that would be bestowed on his Orphan Brigade. His participation in most of the battles, in either a line or staff position, and his access to the brigade records and papers, led to one of the most accurate Civil War unit histories written. William C. Davis, in his book, The Orphan Brigade: The Kentucky Confederates Who Couldn't Go Home, and author or editor of more than 30 books on the Civil War and southern history, writes, Thompson's efforts were "monumental works, and in the main far more accurate than most Civil War unit histories, thanks to a thorough grounding in the brigade's official papers."
Ed Porter Thompson believed that "no history of the command would be adequate that did not take cognizance of all the individuals whose conduct helped to make the fame of the organization," and this belief was one of his guiding principles in preparing his manuscript. To that end, more than half of the 1,266 pages are devoted to this endeavor. The personnel section of the book is organized into unit "rosters," with individuals listed under their assigned units. There are numerous photographs and engravings of many of the officers, as well as biographical information on officers and men in the ranks, making this book an exceptional memorial to the brigade's individual members.
Some examples of biographical entries for the enlisted men:
"JOHN DUNN, Logan County, was one of the corporals of the company, and took part in nearly all the battles. He was wounded at Chickamauga and Peachtree Creek, and was killed at Jonesboro.
"GEO. B. DODD, Allen County, fought with Co. H, Third Arkansas Infantry, during the first two years of the war; was transferred to the Sixth Kentucky, Jan. 13, 1863, and fought with it at Jackson, Chickamauga, Rocky Face Gap, Resaca, and Dallas; was severely wounded at the latter place, and disabled for further service during the war.
"PEYTON B. BYRNE, Greenup County, was an old man, but took part in most of the battles of his company."
These 1,266 pages include information on thousands of individual Brigade members, as well as a thorough history of the Orphan Brigade. This book is a wonderful resource for any Civil War buff or genealogist researching Kentucky.