Log Out | Member Center

65°F

86°/63°

Kansans to re-enact Battle of Chickamauga

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Sep. 1, 2013, at 5 p.m.

Ad Astra

This is one in a series of vignettes celebrating the state’s history. The series’ name comes from the state motto, “Ad astra per aspera: To the stars through difficulties.”

Kansas counties named for Civil War soldiers

Clark County: Capt. Charles F. Clarke, U.S. Volunteers

Cloud County: Col. William. F. Cloud, 2nd Regiment, Kansas Volunteers

Cowley County: 1st Lt. Matthew Cowley, 9th Kansas Cavalry

Crawford County: Col. Samuel J. Crawford, 2nd Regiment, Colored Infantry

Ellis County: 1st Lt. George Ellis, 12th Kansas Infantry

Ellsworth County: 2nd Lt. Allen Ellsworth, 7th Iowa Cavalry

Ford County: Col. James H. Ford, 2nd Colorado Cavalry and Brevet Brigadier General U.S. Volunteers

Gove County: Capt. Glenville Gove, 11th Kansas Cavalry

Graham County: Capt. John Graham, 8th Kansas Infantry

Grant County: Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, Union Army

Harper County: 1st Sergeant Marion Harper, 2nd Kansas Cavalry

Harvey County: Capt. James Harvey, 10th Kansas Infantry

Hodgeman County: Capt. Amos Hodgeman, 7th Kansas Cavalry

Jewell: Lt. Lewis Jewell, 6th Kansas Cavalry

Lane County: Gen. James Lane, 3rd and 4th Kansas Volunteers

Logan County: Maj. Gen. John Logan, U.S. Army

Lyon County: Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, U.S. Army

McPherson County: Maj. Gen. James McPherson, U.S. Volunteers

Meade County: Maj. Gen. George Meade

Mitchell County: Pvt. William Mitchell, 2nd Kansas Cavalry

Ness County: Cpl. Noah Ness, 7th Kansas Cavalry

Norton County: Capt. Orloff Norton, 15th Kansas Cavalry

Osborne County: Pvt. Vincent Osborne, 2nd Kansas Cavalry

Pratt County: 2nd Lt. Caleb Pratt, 1st Kansas Infantry

Rawlins County: Gen. John Rawlins, U.S. Army

Reno County: Capt. Jesse Reno, U.S. Army

Rice County: Brig. Gen. Samuel Rice, U.S. Volunteers

Rooks County: Pvt. John Rooks, 11th Kansas Infantry

Rush County: Capt. Alexander Rush, 2nd Colored Infantry

Russell County: Capt. Alva Russell, 2nd Kansas Cavalry

Sedgwick County: Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick, U.S. Army

Sheridan County: Lt. Gen. Phillip Sheridan, U.S. Army

Sherman County: Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, U.S. Army

Stafford County: Capt. Lewis Stafford, 1st Kansas Infantry

Thomas County: Maj. Gen . George Thomas, U.S. Army

Trego County: Capt. Edgar Trego, 8th Kansas Infantry

Wallace County: Gen. Lew Wallace, U.S. Army

Source: Kansas Adjutant Generals Report, Twenty-eighth Biennial Report, 1931-1932, page 63-64.

Buried in soldiers’ graves, the men of the 8th Kansas Volunteer Regiment have not been forgotten.

One hundred and fifty years after the Battle of Chickamauga, more than 30 Civil War re-enactors from Kansas are scheduled to go to Georgia the third week of September.

“Chickamauga saw a terrible battle where the 8th Kansas, our state’s busiest Civil War Unit, lost 54 percent of its men and four flag bearers,” wrote Ken Spurgeon, a Kansas historian and filmmaker in an e-mail to The Eagle. He will be among the re-enactors traveling to Georgia.

The 8th Kansas was nicknamed the Kansas Greyhounds, in part because of its speed as an infantry unit at traveling across country, wrote Civil War historian Bill McFarland of Topeka in his book, “Keep the Flag to the Front: The Story of the Eighth Kansas Volunteer Infantry.”

The regiment was organized in 1861, months after the start of the Civil War. It was to be a Home Guard Unit but was soon called elsewhere.

In the end, it would suffer some of the highest losses of the war and be the last Kansas regiment to be discharged. The 8th Kansas was in 17 battles, including Perryville, Chickamauga and Missionary Ridge.

The Kansas Civil War re-enactors, Spurgeon said, plan not only to participate in the battle’s re-enactment but to also hold a memorial service at the 8th Kansas monument there to honor where the unit experienced its worst moment.

“They were caught off guard and overpowered by Confederate forces,” Spurgeon said. “At one point, the unit fell back and Capt. Edgar Trego, for whom Trego County would be named for, is at the front giving water to the wounded and dying. He is physically picking up men and carrying them off the field. He then is mortally wounded as he is carrying one man away.”

Trego, Graham, and Thomas counties are named after men who died at the Battle of Chickamauga.

The morning of Sept. 19, 1863, — the second day of the three-day battle — the regiment marched eight miles in double-quick time, according to McFarland’s book.

Union military officials stationed troops at what would be the Confederate flanks — the center, they predicted would be ineffectual. Instead, it turned out to be at the heart of the battle, where the Kansas 8th was positioned.

“The Eighth Kansas had five captains, three lieutenants and over one hundred and fifty men shot down in less than half an hour,” McFarland wrote.

“As a Kansan, this is our biggest moment — it wasn’t Gettysburg or Vicksburg,” Spurgeon said. “Kansas Civil War soldiers were rarely in the thick of the big fights. Here, we were alongside all of the Eastern troops.”

Chickamauga was also a place where Kansans died far from home and were buried in the nearby Chattanooga National Cemetery.

“In that day and age, no family member would have gone there to put a flower on a grave,” Spurgeon said.

“In this day and age, we have the blessing and luxury of going there. Those graves need to be visited, marked and memorialized ... especially now.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

Subscribe to our newsletters

The Wichita Eagle welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views. Please see our commenting policy for more information.

Have a news tip? You can send it to wenews@wichitaeagle.com.

Search for a job

in

Top jobs