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Phased Timeline

"My Heart has been broken a hundred times in a hundred miles. But Oh! The gallantry of my men"
Colonel Stout at the end of the 17th's march from Chattanooga to Atlanta.



Sep. 6, 1861

Enrollment Begins: [Colonel McHenry establishes] Camp Colloway... in Hartford, and camps in Owensboro, Henderson, and Calhoon Kentucky for recruits from adjacent counties. [In that they were subject to attack from Confederate State Guards, the camps remained vigilant and] the men were in active service from the time of their enlistment. Col. McHenry says: "Great difficulty and even danger was experienced by recruiting officers in Western Kentucky in filling up their ranks. In many counties were numerous persons who desired to volunteer in the regiments then being formed for the Union army. They had no opportunity for doing so without fleeing to the north side of Green river. Leaving their homes and families unprotected, they would band together in squads, and with such arms as could be procured, cross the river at night and come hastily to the Union camps." [Captain Foote's Report of September 25, 1861 at Owensboro page 274 Chap. XII]

Oct. 29-31, 1861

1st Skirmishes: [Elements of the 17th] engage the enemy at [Woodbury] and Big Hill near Morgantown [Col McHenry's Woodbury Report of Nov 1, 1861 page 221, Chapter XII]

Nov. 1861

Assembly: [The 17th, with other Union regiments, was] still only partially organized, and was concentrated at Calhoon under command of Gen. Thos. L. Crittenden, of Frankfort. [The Union units] were the 11th Ky., P. B. Hawkins; 17th Ky., Col. McHenry; 25th Ky., Col. J. M. Shackelford; 26th Ky., Col. S. G. Burbridge; 3rd Ky. Cay., Col. J. S. Jackson, and the 31st, 42d, 43rd and 44th Indiana, and a battery of artillery. Here the recruits suffered greatly from measles, colds and pneumonia, and many were so disabled that they were afterwards discharged.

Jan-Feb, 1862

Deployment: In January, 1862, four of these regiments were sent to join the command of Gen. Grant. They were transported by steamboats. They were the 17th and 25th Ky., 31st and 44th Indiana. Col. Cruft being the ranking officer, commanded them as a brigade. When the steamers reached Ft. Henry it had been captured. They at once went back down the Tennessee river and then up the Cumberland to Ft. Donelson. They reached that place in time to share in all the fighting that preceded the surrender.

Feb. 12-16, 1862

Battle of Fort Donelson: Col. McHenry says: "As my regiment was disembarking, Gen. Grant, who was at the place, said, 'I have a big contract on hand, and will have some work for you and your regiment to-day or to-morrow, and I expect to hear a good report from the Kentuckians.'" The next day they engaged in the fighting; Col. McHenry describes it as very severe. He says the lines of the armies were in full view of each other and in gunshot range for hours, it being the intention of Grant to draw his enemy out, and the intention of the others not to be drawn out. And the matter was determined by an assault by Grant's forces. During this engagement the attacking forces were exposed to severest weather. At Donelson the 17th and 25th were in Gen. Lew Wallace's division. He says: "Col. Jas. M. Shackelford, 25th Ky., and Col. John H. McHenry, 17th Ky., and their field and company officers all won honor and lasting praise; nor can less be given to the valor and endurance of the men who composed their regiments." Col. Cruft compliments all who were in his brigade, saying all behaved well. Col. Shackelford in his report, says: "He led his men in the face of a most terrific fire." Col. McHenry described the fighting as a "terrible battle." The casualties of the 25th were fourteen killed and fifty-eight wounded; of the 17th four killed and thirty-four wounded. [Report on the Capture of Fort Donelson page 175, Chap XVII]

Mar. 14-17, 1862

Consolidation Begins: After the fall of Donelson Grant's army moved to Pittsburg Landing [Crumps Landing]. Arrangements were made at that time for the consolidation of the 17th and 25th Ky., and Col. J. M. Shackelford returned to Kentucky to raise another regiment. The 25th continued under command of Lieut. Col. B. H. Bristow (afterwards Secretary of the Treasury)

Apr. 6 & 7, 1862

Battle of Shiloh: [The 17th & 25th] regiments were closely associated in the battle of Shiloh, being in the same brigade under Brig. Gen. J. G. Lauman. Gen. Lauman in his report says the regiments in his brigade "fought from morning until night like veterans." Col. McHenry describes the 17th in line early Sunday morning, near the right of an open field in rear of a portion of the camp Gen. Prentiss had occupied. It first had to endure a terrible artillery fire, then a column of infantry attempted a left flank movement, and was driven back with dreadful loss. Fighting until cartridge boxes were exhausted, the regiment was moved to a new position, which it held until nearly sundown. He says: "About four o'clock, owing to the withdrawal of Lieut. Col. Bristow, who was wounded, and the wounding of Maj. Wall, of the 25th Ky., that regiment was turned over to me and the gallant officers and men acted with the same courage that had characterized them during the day." Capt. Morton, of the 17th, was mortally wounded. Capt. Robert Vaughan was wounded. He specially mentions Capt. Beckham, Lieuts. Kieth, Nall, Brown, Campbell, Bratcher, Ferguson, Little, Heston, and Adjt. Starling. The casualties were, one officer killed and two wounded; seventeen men killed and sixty-seven wounded. [Report of Colonel McHerny on Shiloh of April 1862, pg 240, chpt. XXII] On the 13th of April, 1862, the 25th Ky. was formally consolidated with the 17th, and under the latter designation continued during the remainder of their service.

May 1862

Siege of Corinth: [The regiment] moved with the army to Corinth and was engaged in severe skirmishing, [Bridge Creek, May 28] lasting nearly all the night before the evacuation and it was with the first troops to enter the place. In the organization of the army of the Ohio, in April and May and the summer of 1862, the 17th was in Ammen's brigade, Nelson's division. [McHenry's Corinth Report of June 10, 1862 pg 688, Chap. XXII]

Summer-Fall 1862

Pursuit of Bragg: From Corinth it marched with Buell's army to [Booneville May 31 - June 12. Then to] Huntsville, Ala.; in June it was at Athens; in July at Pulaski and Reynolds' Station, Tenn. It was with Buell's army in the march [through Nashville] to Louisville [August 21 - September 26], being often near to Bragg's columns, and at the time of the battle of Perryville was in McCook's corps, Rousseau's division, Starkweathers' brigade. It was not in the battle of Perryville, having marched from Springfield that day, where it had been sent as train guard, and arrived on the field after the close of the engagement. After the battle of Perryville the 17th followed Bragg's army as far as Livingston, Ky.

Nov. & Dec. 1862

Guard & Rest: [From Livingston the 17th] was sent to Bowling Green and thence to Russellville, where, in Col. S. D. Bruce's brigade, it, with other troops, was employed in the protection of that part of the state during November and December, 1862. At this time Col. McHenry's connection with the regiment ceased.
( He had issued to his regiment an order to deliver to their owners all slaves found in his lines. This order was read at Bloomfield, Kentucky [October 28, 1862]. It was in conflict with the policy of the administration [The Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862 and its promulgation in Article 42], and when it reached the eyes of the President an order was made dismissing him from the service. The order [dated December 2, 1862] was received at Russelville, Ky., and for some hours there was great danger of mutiny in the camp. In fact, some of the men left for their homes, and nothing but a personal appeal from Col. McHenry himself quieted them. It was more their love and affection for him that affected them than interest in the subject. His farewell address was published in the form of a Special Order dated December 15, 1862) [A. M. Stout took command of the Regiment at this point.]

Dec. 1862 -
Sep. 1863

Maneuver in Tennessee: In December, the 17th was ordered to Clarksville, Tenn., where it remained until March, 1863, when it proceeded by steamboat to Nashville, Tenn. In April it was at Brentwood; in May at Murfreesboro; in June and July at McMinnville, and crossed the mountain to Pikeville.

Sep. 18-20, 1863

Battle of Chickamauga: In the organization of Rosecrans' army, July 31, 1863, the 17th was in Crittenden's corps, VanCleve's division, Beatty's brigade, and it so remained until after the battle of Chickamauga, in which it was severely engaged both days. On the first day it assisted in capturing a battery which was sent to the rear. [Colonel Stout's Report on Battle of Chicamauga - Sep 14-18, published Sep 24, 1863 page 815 Chap XLII] In Gen. Crittenden's report [page 611, Chap XXII of this battle he mentions three regiments, 44th Ind., 9th Ky., and 17th Ky., which rallied and formed on Snodgrass Hill on the right of the main line on the second day, and fighting all day, only left the field when ordered at 7:30 p. m. Gen. Thos. J. Wood mentions this fact in his report, and says the fact that these regiments preserved their formation and did not retire when other troops did, was most creditable. Gen. Beatty, in the report of his brigade, says these regiments made a stand and held the hill by the most terrific fighting, until dark, when they withdrew by order and joined the army at Rossville. Col. Stout in his report describes the fighting of his regiment on the 19th and 20th. It was very severe both days; on the 19th Lieut John D. Millman was killed and Capt. J. W. Anthony wounded. Lieut. Col. Robt. Vaughan was wounded on the 20th. On the 20th the 17th, with the other regiments, fought as has been mentioned. The casualties in this two-days battle in the 17th were one officer killed, two wounded; five men killed, one hundred and three wounded, and fifteen missing. The fighting of the 17th is mentioned in the reports of many officers who were on the same part of the field.
(** Of the engagement on Snodgrass Hill, Col. Stout, in a letter, November 23, 1893, says: "I have always contended that the 17th Ky. was the first to start the line, and the others came up and formed." In another letter, dated November 26, 1893, he says: "I lay great stress upon my statement that we were the first to form the new line upon the right of Thomas, almost at right angles with him. He (Gen. Walker) says that we were the first to raise our colors on the new line." Gen. N. B. Walker, who was then colonel of the 31st Ohio Volunteer and an officer in the regular army, was a member that day, of Gen. Brannan's staff, in a letter, December 2, 1881, to Col. Stout, says: "You will remember that there was much confusion with the troops on the morning of the 20th of September, 1863. Your regiment was formed on the line with some of Gen. Brannan's, and some others, which did not belong to his division. For instance, the 21st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and, I think, the general meant to include both your regiment, the 17th Ky., and 21st Ohio, in his report, but he ought to have mentioned both regiments in the most honorable manner. I now say that your regiment the 17th Ky., was the first organized body of troops on the new line on the hills on the morning of the 20th. I well remember that when your regiment came upon the first hill one of your captains was carrying your colors, and I directed him where to plant the colors, as a guide to the deployment I wanted you to make. I offered to take the flag in my hand to indicate the precise point I wanted it to occupy, but the captain would not allow me to take it out of his hand, but stepped forward with me and planted the staff, saying that the flag should not quit his living hand. Your regiment immediately deployed on the right, and there remained and fought as bravely as men ever did. through the entire battle of the day." As early as July 4, 1878, Gen. Walker wrote to Col. Stout, saying: "Yours were the first colors on the new line, and they waved in grand defiance of the enemy all the day long, and until the unfortunate order to fall back came."

Nov. 25, 1863

Battle of Missionary Ridge: The 17th remained at Chattanooga until the 25th of November, when it participated in the battle of Missionary Ridge. It was in the grand assault made then, and Gen. Beatty especially complimented the work of Col. Stout and his men. Col. Stout says: "When the battalions in advance had advanced half way up the ascent, I advanced quickly, and had great difficulty in restraining officers and men in their ardor to reach the crest. Their enthusiasm, excited by the desire to reach the crest, and the tremendous cheering of our several lines, and the thundering of the guns on both sides knew no bounds . . . We reached the crest soon after the first flag had been planted on it, and while the balls of the enemy were flying thick around us." [Colonel Stout's Report on Missionary Ridge 23-26 Sept, published 27 Nov, 1863 page 309 chap XLIII]

Fall 1863 -
Spring 1864

Maneuvers in East Tennessee: After the battle of Missionary Ridge the l7th went with other troops into East Tennessee where it remained moving from place to place during the winter, being at Maryville, Knoxville, Strawberry Plains, Powder Spring, New Market and Dandridge. In April it was at Cleveland, May 4th at Catoosa Springs

May -
July 1864

Atlanta Campaign: [From Catoosa Springs it] moved thence to take part in the Atlanta campaign, being in the 4th Corps, Wood's division, Beatty's brigade. May 7th, marched to Tunnell Hill, May 8th advanced and suffered loss at Rocky Face; also was engaged at Cassville, losing severely. There Capt. W. J. Landrum was killed and Lieut. C. A. Brasher badly wounded May 24th, at Altoona. May 27th fought at Pickett's Mills, where Capt. Thos. R. Brown was wounded; June 6th at Ackworth; June 17th Capt. R. C. Sturgis received a wound from which he died. Fighting was continuous throughout the campaign about Kennesaw, Dallas, Marietta and across the Chattahoochee. Then in the battles around Atlanta, and in the movement to Jonesboro and Lovejoy's south of Atlanta. Col. Stout says in his report: "During the campaign the regiment made twenty-seven lines of strong defensive works and many slight lines and barricades . . . The loss was one officer killed, four wounded, seven men killed, and eighty-three wounded." He compliments the officers and men of the regiment for their conduct.

Jul.- Oct. 1864

Pursuit of Hood: After the fall of Atlanta, the 17th moved with Sherman's army in the pursuit of Hood, spending the entire month of October, 1864, marching through the northern part of Georgia, still being with the 4th Army Corps. When Sherman prepared to march to the sea, November, 1864, he sent the 4th Corps and 23d Corps to Nashville to serve under Gen. Thomas against Hood's army. The 17th Ky. went with the 4th Corps and in November was at Pulaski, Tenn., the 4th and 23d Corps being under Gen. Schofield. From Pulaski the troops fell back to Columbia, then to Spring Hill, then to Franklin

Nov. 30, 1864

Battle of Franklin: The battle was fought November 30th. The 17th participated in all the movements and engagements of this campaign.

Dec. 1864 -
Jan. 23, 1865

Retirement: After the battle of Franklin it was ordered to Louisville, where it was mustered out of service January 23, 1865. Few regiments had a record equal to that of the 17th Ky. It had more than three years of service in the field, and participated in six of the greatest battles of the war, and an untold number of smaller engagements.


Major portions of the timeline table were extracted from Speed's History of Union Regiments. Quote of Colonel Stout from A Hundred Miles, a Hundred Heartbreaks. Many links to Cornell University and the Official Records of the War of Rebellion


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