Colonel Thomas H. Taylor
Col. Taylor set about organizing the troops into a regiment. Both
battalions were motivated and eager to prove their worth. Camping
around Manassas during the late summer of '61, the 1st saw little
action and was left with the boring routine of drill and more drill.
In September, the regiment marched to and established camp at
Centerville Virginia. From that camp, the various companies were
detailed for sentry duty. This would be the only action, the 1st
would see for the next three months. It was however an eventful time
in that the Kentuckians would engage in daily skirmishes with the
During the first week of December the regiment received its battle
flag from the hands of General Gustavus W. Smith. Ironically, it was
Smith, a native Kentucky, that Col. Duncan had offered the
Kentuckians' service to in May of '61.
The Kentuckians' desire for action was shortly granted. Early on
Friday morning at 3 o'clock am , December 1861, the 1st Kentucky was
issued 40 rounds and two days rations per man and ordered to report
to General J.E.B Stuart's headquarters. Accompanied by the 6th South
Carolina, 11th Virginia, 10th Alabama, Coutt's battery and 200
horsemen left Camp Sam Jones bound for the northern Virginia
The march led some 20 miles to the small community of Dranesville.
Northern Virginia had, in its' community, a number of union
sympathizers. It was those individuals, the expedition hoped to
relive of their stores. Unfortunately, a larger federal force was
embarking with an equal determination to defend them.
The ensuing battle, the regiment was first held in reserve, but
then ordered in on the confederate left. Moving through the dense
pine thicket, the regiment became mis-oriented and caught notice of
the blue uniforms to their right. Before the mistake could be
corrected some South Carolinians paid with their life. With their
proper direction now established, the 1st moved forward. When a faint
voice inquired if they were bucktails, a lone voice replied, "yes...
we are bucktails". The Kentuckians answered with a volley and drove
the Pennsylvanians from their position. Col. Taylor was moving back
and forth, from left to right behind his advancing troops. As the
confederate line began to alter its direction, he found himself
behind enemy lines. Maintaining his composure, Col. Taylor waited
until dark and slipped back to friendly lines. Outnumbered and
tired, the confederates made their way back toward Centerville.
Having grounded their overcoats before the engagement and forced to
withdraw in a different direction; the Kentuckians suffered a long
cold march. In less than 24 hours, they had marched 40 miles and
fought for three hours.
On Christmas day, 1861, Taylor's Kentuckians went into winter camp
near Centerville at the junction of Broad and Cub Runs. The "Kentucky Rifles"
performed sentry duty for the next three months. In
March the Army began its grand retreat toward the peninsula. In
route, at Orange Court House, Colonel Taylor was detailed as Provost
Marshal. The regiment reached the Virginia coast and participated in
the battles of Dam No 1 and endured cannon fire for nearly two weeks.
Although the Kentuckians held elections, the secretary of war ordered
its twelve months enlistment to stand and the men were mustered out
in May of 1862 at Winder Camp near Richmond.
Colonel Taylor was given command of a brigade in East Tennessee and
served in the Kentucky Campaign. His later assignments included:
Provost Marshal during the Vicksburg Siege and paroled after the fall
of that city, commander of the South Mississippi and East Louisiana
district and finally again assigned as Provost Marshall at Mobile.
Although nominated to the rank of brig. general, President Davis
never forwarded his promotion to congress for approval.
Following the war, Col. Taylor returned to his native state and
served as Louisville Chief-of-Police. On April 12, 1901, the man who
brought the two Kentucky battalions together as a regiment crossed
over the river.