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Adair Co., KY History: When the Civil War turned, right here
A CM Must Read Post: Derek Coomer uncovers a letter which recounts a pivotal time in the Civil War, when, he writes, 'As many as 15,000 Union troops camped in and around Adair County during the weeks leading up to the battle, which would prove to be a crucial blow to Confederate forces in Kentucky and which would provide the North with its first major victory of the war.' The account includes an account of a visit to Todd's Cave, near Russell Creek north of Columbia, KY, more descriptive than even Thomas Wolfe could have penned. Each paragraph of the letter contains some new to most (it is to us) information about Adair County, including the delicious tidbit that Mrs. Todd was related to President Lincoln's wife.
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By Derek Coomer
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the battle of Mill Springs (which took place January 19, 1862) I thought I would pass along this fascinating letter I stumbled upon, written by a Union officer stationed in Adair County to his hometown newspaper, the Ripley Bee of Ripley, OH. The letter recounts a visit by a party of Union officers to Todd's Cave, led by Nathan Gaither Jr., an Adair County native who was then Kentucky Secretary of State and son-in-law of Governor Magoffin.
As many as 15,000 Union troops camped in and around Adair County during the weeks leading up to the battle, which would prove to be a crucial blow to Confederate forces in Kentucky and which would provide the North with its first major victory of the war.
The eyes of the nation were focused on this region of Kentucky, and Adair County and Columbia are frequently mentioned in contemporary newspapers. While this letter doesn't touch on the battle itself - histories of the battle are easy to find - it does offer a rare glimpse into the lives of soldiers and civilians at a time when Adair and its surrounding counties were at the center of the country's attention:
Messrs. Eds. Bee - Being one of a party of officers of the 59th Reg., O.V., invited by Mr. Nat. Gaither, Secretary of State of Kentucky, to visit the cave of MacPelah, or as it is more generally known in this neighborhood, "Todd's cave". I left camp with the rest of the party, this morning early, armed with candles, matches, hammers, and other necessary articles used in excursions of this nature.- Derek Coomer
This story was posted on 2012-01-20 06:49:43
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