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Re: Company D, 19th Kentucky Infantry


Company D, 19th Kentucky Infantry, U.S. Volunteers, was made up mostly of men from Pike and Letcher Counties in Kentucky. It was one of the first groups of men from that region to join the Union army. It was also the only company in the 19th to come from an area different from the rest of the companies which made up the regiment.

Go to the following link <> for specific information on the regiment and information on from where the majority of the companies were recruited. This source (Thomas Speed's book on the Union regiments of Kentucky) does not mention the source counties of the recruits for Company D. Some of that information can be found in William Ely's book, _The Big Sandy Valley_, particularly in the entry in that work for Captain Alexander Adams (pp. 195-200). There is a line drawing of Captain Adams in the same reference. As well, Captain Adams, I believe, was married to a daughter of Colonel John Dils, Jr., who organized, bankrolled, and led (for a time) the 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, which also drew many of its recruits from the same area.

My general research on the men who served from this area indicates that the Collins family was from the Letcher and Wise Counties area in Kentucky and Virginia respectively. The Hales were probably from the same area. Relatives of these men can be found in the ranks of the 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, most notably Nathaniel Collins, who led Company K. I recall, also, seeing a reference to the Collins family in the Official Records (the exact volume and page number escapes me) in one of Humphrey Marshall's numerous and extensive letters or in the writings of Edward O. Guerrant which stated that these men (the Collinses) were exceptionally effective soldiers and hated enemies of the Confederates in the border region.

As far as pictures of the men in Company D are concerned, I can only refer you to the one image of Captain Adams. I am not aware of images of any of the other members of the company, nor of any of the unit itself. This does not mean that they do not exist. In almost every similar case I have encountered, such images will be found in the possession of descendants of those veterans.

As well, Company D of the 19th Kentucky Infantry is almost forgotten by the local genealogists and historians as a product of Letcher and Wise Counties. For one reason or another, the local Confederates are honored (in many cases beyond their worth) while the members of Company D, the 19th Kentucky Infantry, who were with George Morgan on his march from Cumberland Gap to the Ohio River, were participants in the fighting at Port Gibson, Black River Bridge, and the sieges of Vicksburg and Jackson, as well as the Red River Campaign, are not revered or respected for their service. I do not say this to demean the service records of any Confederate soldiers from the region as much as I intend to point out that the locals, charged with preserving their own history, overlook the significant and elevate the insignificant because of their own prejudices and proclivities. None of the local Confederate regiments saw any service near as severe as did the men who served with your wife's ancestors in the 19th Infantry.

I am not a descendant of any veterans from this unit, but merely happen to be a historian (one of the very few) who specializes in preserving the history and service of the Loyal men from the mountains in the borderland. There are many who specialize in the Confederates from the region (several on this list whom I know of), but very few who work on studying the Union men (the majority of men who served during the war from the region went into the service of the Federal army) from the eastern and southeastern part of the Bluegrass State. This is an area of study for which there are vast untapped resources of information available, if one is inclined to make the effort to find them.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further use to you in your research.

I am, sir, yours very truly,

Robert M. Baker,

Signals Officer, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Department of Kentucky,
Member, McKee Lodge #144, F. and A.M.,
Historian for the 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, U.S. Volunteers,
Dispatcher, Post 11 (London), Kentucky State Police.

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Company D, 19th Kentucky Infantry
Re: Company D, 19th Kentucky Infantry
Re: Company D, 19th Kentucky Infantry