First Kentucky "Orphan" Brigade 


 

Letter from Robert Lindsay, Color-Corp., 4th Kentucky Infantry

 

Camp neare Dalton, Ga.

Dec 17th 1863.

     Friend Gus. I received your letter a fiew days ago, I was glade to here that you was well.  the letter you wrote to Bower I received it and sent it to him    he is withe Grif Theobald at Enterprise Miss    he is doing well and in good health,  I seene Buck Steele a fiew days ago    he spoke of writing to you in fiew days,  in Regarde to Willis, he was not berried by our troops    he lost his watch a fiew month be fore his death    his trunk is at a Mr. Mays, Manchester Tenn.  it had not beene broke open at the time we left it.  I did not get to se Jo after he died    Buck went and seene to berrying him,  the boys are all well. Gus you must write and tell me what Lewis Gatewood is doing & what you are doing & who is married & evrything you think I would like to know. Chip Conder & Joh. Herndon & Sam Herndon & the boys from Owenton are awll well    Gus I am gone to write to mother and severl others   if you get yours and they dos not, try and tell them the news   William Lindsay & the boys of the companny send there best Resects to you   they say they would like to se you mightty   well write as soone as you Receive this from your friend

Robt. H. Lindsay

 

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This letter was written by Robert H. Lindsay, 21-year-old color-corporal of the Fourth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, to Augustine Brown Roberts, Co. D, Fourth Kentucky Infantry.  Roberts was appointed Third Sergeant of Co. D (Lindsay's company) in 1861, and at the battle of Shiloh, 6 April 1862, lost an arm.  He was discharged from the service in October 1862 and returned to his home in Owen County, Kentucky.  The letter was written in ink on lined paper, and was mailed in an envelope made of wallpaper, addressed to "A. B Roberts, Owenton Owen Co, Ky"  The envelope is postmarked "Old Point Comfort, Va, Jan 20," indicating this letter passed through the lines under flag of truce.  Spelling and punctuation are as found in the original. The original is in the possession of Maj. Greg Walden, US Army (Ret.), a gift from Roberts' grandson, the late William R. Vanice.

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Bower is John W. Bower, Co. D, from Scott County, Kentucky (Lindsay's home county). Captain Griffin P. Theobald of Owen County served as Quartermaster of the Fourth Kentucky and Post Quartermaster at Enterprise, Mississippi.   Buck Steele is probably Lieutenant Oliver B. Steele of Co. B.  Willis is Major Willis Roberts, Gus Roberts' uncle, who was the first captain of Co. D, killed at Murfreesboro on 2 January 1863.  Jo is Private Joseph W. Steele of Scott County, killed at Chickamauga on 20 September 1863.  Lewis Gatewood of Scott County, Co. D, was severely wounded at Shiloh on 7 April 1862 and discharged in that summer.  W. H. "Chip" Conder of Owen County was transferred from Co. D to the First Kentucky Cavalry in 1863.  John M. Herndon of Co. D was also transferred to the First Kentucky Cavalry, where Samuel Z. Herndon served as a lieutenant.   William Lindsay was Robert's older brother James William, of Co. F, Second Kentucky Infantry.

Robert H. Lindsay was twice named to the Confederate Roll of Honor (for Murfreesboro and Chickamauga), one of only seven such double awards in the entire Army of Tennessee, and was promoted color-sergeant in February 1864 and Ensign of the Fourth Kentucky in April 1864.  Having borne the colors in every battle of his regiment, he was killed in the Confederate charge at Jonesboro, Georgia, on 31 August 1864. His remains lie in an unmarked grave in the Pat Cleburne Cemetery in Jonesboro.  A memorial marker was placed there by the 4th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry reenactment unit and the Lindsay family in 1992.

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References:

Gregory A. Walden, "Color-Bearers of the 'Orphan Brigade,'" Confederate Veteran, July-August 1993, pp. 34-39.

Ed Porter Thompson, History of the Orphan Brigade (1898), p. 649.

Official Records, Ser. I, Vol. 20, Part 1, pp. 828, 975; Ser. I, Vol. 30, Part 2, p. 538; Ser. IV, Vol. 3, p. 189; Ser. IV, Vol. 3, p. 491.

Compiled Service Record, Robert H. Lindsay, 4th Kentucky Mounted Infantry CSA, Record Group 109, National Archives.

"Color-Bearer of the Fourth Kentucky Infantry," Southern Bivouac, Vol. 3, No. 6 (February 1885), p. 255.

Lot D. Young, Reminiscences of a Soldier of the Orphan Brigade (Louisville, KY, n.d. [ca. 1918]), pp. 97-98.

Research by Gregory A. Walden

 


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Geoff Walden: enfield577 (at) live.com
Laura Cook
: lcook62 (at) hotmail.com

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