Kentucky Cavaliers in Dixie: The Reminiscences of a Confederate Cavalryman

By Geo. Dallas Mosgrove | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXI.
LIEUTENANT ARCHIE W. SMITH--RECRUITING IN KENTUCKY--GENERAL ORDER No. 38--EXECUTION OF CORBIN AND MCGRAW-- LIEUTENANT-COLONEL GEORGE M. JESSEE--GENERAL S. B. BUCKNER.

LIEUTENANT ARCHIE W. SMITH.

EARLY in 1863 there came an order from Richmond that each Kentucky regiment should send one commissioned officer, one non-commissioned officer and two enlisted men into Kentucky on a recruiting expedition. In obedience to that order Lieutenant Archie W. Smith, of Company E, Fourth Kentucky Cavalry; Sergeant Will Helm, of Company H, and privates Wm. J. Corbin and T. J. McGraw, of Company D, were selected for that perilous duty. Upon reaching Central Kentucky the party separated, intending to go to the vicinity of their respective homes, as they thought they could operate more successfully where they were known. The entire party was captured. When it is remembered that Burnside's infamous order No. 38 had been promulgated, and was being cruelly and relentlessly enforced, the reader will realize that a great danger threatened the brave and adventuresome Kentuckians, when captured within Federal lines. General Burbridge, commanding in Kentucky, ordered that poor Corbin and McGraw should be shot to death. The order was executed in cold blood. Sergeant Helm escaped a like fate by being permitted to take "the oath." Lieutenant Smith was ordered to prison, but made his escape by daringly jumping from a car window. He was a man of splendid physique, exceedingly tall, his hair and beard of raven blackness--a man easily described and noticeable in any assemblage; hence it would seem almost impossible that he should succeed in eluding the Federals.

He never for a moment forgot his mission, and instead of taking "the oath" or endeavoring to slip back to the Con

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