1st Regiment Kentucky Volunteers, Company E

The 1st Kentucky Volunteers, Company E

1st Regiment Kentucky Volunteers,
Company E

"The Alexander Guards"

The 1st Kentucky Infantry Regiment was formed by the merger of two Kentucky infantry battalions led by Blanton Duncan and Thomas H. Taylor. This regiment consisted of eleven (11) companies numbering some 800 men; mustered in Kentucky.

Both battalions arrived in Virginia just before the Battle of First Manassas. Duncan's battalion arrived at Harper's Ferry on May 4, 1861. Taylor's battalion arrived in early July.

Interestingly, both battalions were involved in train wrecks while en route to the Eastern front. The wrecks were at two different locations: Duncan's while en-route to Manassas and Taylor's while it was en-route to Manassas Junction to merge with the former.

Colonel Taylor was given command of the regiment by direction of the Secretary of War for the Confederate States on August 7, 1861.

Throughout the summer and early fall of 1861, the 1st Kentucky operated in the Northern Virginia area. In early December, General Gustavus W. Smith presented the Kentuckians with their first battle flag.

On December 20th, 1861, the 1st Kentucky along with 3 other Confederate regiments, a battery of artillery, and 250 cavalry, commanded by J.E.B. Stuart engaged federal forces at Drainesville, Virginia. The small battle lasted some 3 hours and at last the outnumbered Confederates were forced to withdraw.

On Christmas Day the regiment went into winter quarters approximately two miles west of Centerville, Virginia. The winter proved to be long and cold. The conditions were made worse by daily skirmishes with federal pickets.

The primary area of operation ranged from Frying Pan Road to Chantilly, Virginia.

On March 8, 1862, the Confederate army commenced a grand retreat through Warrenton, Culpepper Court House, and Orange Court House; a distance of some 70 miles. It remained at the latter for a period of 3 weeks.

During this time, Colonel Taylor was appointed Provost Marshall and 200 men of the regiment under Captain Joe Desha were detailed as guards. Major Crossland was given temporary command of the regiment.

After 3 weeks, the regiment moved to Richmond and on April 14 was ordered to Yorktown. It was here the Kentuckians encountered the heaviest fighting of the regiment's history.

On April 16, the regiment repulsed two federal assaults while under cannonading and small arms fire.

The army withdrew from Yorktown and the 1st Kentucky was ordered to Winder Camp in Richmond. Its 12 months enlistment having expired, the regiment was mustered out of service on May 13th and 14th.

The war was far from over and the former 1st Kentucky members enlisted in the Kentucky units operating in Tennessee as well as other various military organizations in Virginia.

Roster for Company E Colonel Thomas H. Taylor
Captain Joe Desha Captain Edward Crossland

This information appears here courtesy of its author, Terry Shelton;
Email: Roland.shelton@wcom.com