Union Private John Henry Land 4th Ky Infantry

Dec 31, 2010
Kingsport, Tennessee
john henry land union 4th ky.jpg

Been trying for some time to confidently graft this fine-looking Kentucky "Home-Grown Yankee" into my family tree but to no avail ! He may indeed be a distant cousin to my Land ancestors in Kentucky. Two lines of my Land family left Wilkes County, NC decades before the Civil War. One ended up in Monroe County, East Tennessee, the other in Jessamine and Scott County, Ky. This man's family was from Estill County, Ky.

John enlisted on 8/6/1861 at Camp Dick Robinson in Kentucky. On 10/9/1861 he mustered into Company E 4th Ky Infantry Infantry. At Chickamauga, the 4th lost 13 of 19 officers, and 160 enlisted men killed or wounded. In January 1864 the men that "re-upped" after the expiration of their initial enlistment, were mounted and designated "Mounted Infantry". Nearly half the regiment was captured at Lovejoy Station, Ga. John was captured the next day at Newnan and was confined at Andersonville. He was one of the fortunate ones to survive. He filed for a pension in 1866, no doubt in bad shape after prison. He lived till 1909 and fathered 11 children.

john land pension.jpg

Mill Springs after action report:

Report of Col. Speed S. Fry, Fourth Kentucky Infantry.

January 25, 1862.
SIR: In compliance with your orders I herewith transmit my report of
the part my regiment took in the engagement with the enemy on the 19th

At about 6.30 o'clock in the morning I was notified by you in person
that the enemy was rapidly advancing upon us, and ordered to call out
my regiment, which was done as promptly as possible. I was directed
by you to proceed at once towards the scene of action, the fight having
commenced, and to "go and take a position in the woods." I had no
information as to the strength or position of the enemy, and had to be
governed entirely by my own judgment as to what was best to be done.

Upon arriving at a point where I could see their position I immediately
determined to take mine on an elevated point in the field on the left of
the road, filed my regiment to the left through the fence, and formed my
line of battle parallel with and near to it, under a heavy and galling fire
from the enemy, who were concealed in a deep ravine at the foot of the
hill and posted on the opposite hill, distant about 250 yards. Their line
extended around the ridge at the head of the ravine and onto the hill
occupied by me, and within 50 yards of my right, covered throughout
its entire extent by the fence separating the field and woodland and by
the timber and thick undergrowth adjacent thereto. The engagement at
once became very warm. Finding that I was greatly out numbered, and
the enemy being under cover, I ordered my men to the opposite side of
the fence in our rear, the enemy continuing to fire upon us all the while.
After gaining this position the enemy was kept at bay until the arrival
of re-enforcements, having made during the time two unsuccessful
attempts to charge upon us with bayonets fixed and their large
cane-knives unsheathed.

Some time after we crossed the fence I was notified by
Lieut.-Col. Croxton that an attempt was being made to flank us
on our right through the woods, with a view, no doubt, of coming up
in our rear. As I did not see you upon the field, I assumed the
responsibility of requesting through him that another regiment should be
ordered up to engage the enemy on the right, while mine might attend
more closely to the force in front. After waiting some time the arrival
of the regiment, which Lieut.-Col. Croxton reported as
approaching, and when it was certainly ascertained that the enemy was
endeavoring to flank us on the right, I ordered him to bring up two
companies from the left of the regiment, to prevent, if possible, the
apprehended danger. It was promptly done, and the movement of the
enemy checked.

As the right and center were under a much heavier fire and more
directly engaged, I considered the transfer of those two companies more
judicious than a change of position of the whole regiment, which could
not have been executed without interrupting the continuity of my line of
fire, which, as the enemy were near and pressing upon us, I held
important to preserve unbroken. My command, thus disposed, held the
enemy at bay until Gen. Thomas arrived and, seeing the posture of
affairs, immediately ordered up the Second Minnesota and Ninth Ohio
Regiments. Very soon the enemy gave way, flying before our forces
like chaff before the wind. My men replenished their cartridge-boxes,
gathered up our wounded, and joined in the pursuit, which terminated in our
unobstructed entrance to this stronghold of the enemy.

I take great pleasure in stating that the conduct of Lieut.-Col.
Croxton, Maj. Hunt, Adjutant Goodloe, Quartermaster Hope, and all
my company officers, without a single exception, was deserving of the
highest praise and commendation and to their coolness and bravery I
attribute much of the determination of the men.

Towards the close of the fight I discovered we were getting short of
ammunition, and the company officers as well as the field officers
fearing that neither ammunition nor re-enforcements would reach us in
time, the command was distinctly given by the company officers to
their men to "fix bayonets," evidently showing a coolness and
determination not to be expected from volunteers, and especially those
who had never met an enemy in battle.

Capt. Wellington Harlan, who had been for some time under arrest,
was conspicuous with his rifle throughout the battle, and for his gallant
conduct on the field was there presented with his sword by
Lieut.-Col. Croxton (who had caused him to be arrested) and
ordered to take command of his company. I cannot but speak, without
doing violence to my own feelings, in the highest terms of praise of the
conduct both of my officers and men. They all acted nobly their part
during the whole of the engagement. I led only 400 men and one half
of my company officers into the fight, nearly all the rest being absent sick.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Col., Cmdg. Fourth Kentucky Regt. of Infantry.

Col. M. D. MANSON,
Cmdg. Second Brigade, First Division, Dept. of the Ohio.

Source: Official Records
[Series I. Vol. 7. Serial No. 7.]


Report of Maj. Robert M. Kelly, Fourth Kentucky Infantry.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, December 1, 1863.
CAPT.: In compliance with orders, I have the honor to report as
follows as to the part taken by this regiment in the late movements and

I received orders, November 23, to form the regiment at the works in
front of its camp, making as much display as possible, at 1 p. m. About
4 p. m. moved out with the brigade and took position in front of Fort
Negley, the regiment being in the front line, with the Tenth Kentucky
Infantry on its right and Seventy-fourth Indiana on its left. About 11 p.
m. moved by the left flank till my right rested on the Ringgold (?) road;
remained in that position till about 3 a. m. of the 24th, when we moved
forward by the right flank and occupied some unfinished rifle-pits, to the
left of the Ringgold road,
thrown up by Sheridan's division. Completed them by an early hour in
the morning, and remained in that position till about 9 a. m. of the 25th;
then moved by the left flank up the river till near the pontoon thrown
across by Gen. Sherman; then faced about, and moved down the
river again about three-fourths of a mile; then moved to the front and
left, crossing a small stream and taking position about one-half mile in
front of the left of the enemy's rifle pits, at the foot of Mission Ridge.
The position of the regiment in the brigade was the same as first
described. Companies B and C were thrown forward as skirmishers,
under command of Capt. Williams. About 3 p. m. the line was
ordered to advance. The enemy fell back from their rifle-pits before our
skirmishers, and at the same time opened a severe enfilading fire upon
the advancing line from a battery on top of the ridge to our left. The
front line of the brigade was halted and ordered to lie down under cover
of the slight elevation along which the rifle-pits ran. The fire of the
enemy still continued very severe, inflicting, however, no loss on this
regiment. After resting nearly a half hour the line was ordered to
advance at a run, halting and reforming as soon as covered by the hill
from the fire of the battery on the left. The halt, however, was but
momentary. Seeing from the movements of the line that other regiments
were trying to get the start of us, and unable, by reason of the noise, to
hear the orders of Col. Phelps, commanding the brigade, who was
leading the charge on foot, I ordered the men to keep closed up, and not
allow any regiment to beat them to the top of the hill. The regiment then
moved up the hill as fast and in as good order as the nature of the
ground-steeper here than anywhere else-would admit. The steepness
protected them, in great measure, from the infantry fire of the enemy
in their breastworks at the top of the hill, and as the regiment reached
the summit abreast with the rest of the line, the rebels fell back before
them. After moving along the ridge to the left, firing briskly with the
enemy till it became too dark to see, they fell back out of range, and I
received orders to throw up works to strengthen our position. The
regiment was reformed and placed in line, under the direction of
Col. Hays, Tenth Kentucky Infantry, commanding brigade, and the
necessary works were finished in the course of a few hours.

Shortly after the works were finished, orders were received to procure
four days' rations and to be prepared for a movement at daylight. We
remained on the ridge, however, till afternoon of the 26th, and then
moved with the brigade to a point 2 miles east of Rossville.

On the 27th, advanced to Ringgold, arriving there about the middle of
the afternoon.

On the 28th, moved about 3 miles south of Ringgold, assisted in burning
four bridges and tearing up a mile of the railroad track, and returned to
camp of the preceding night.

At 11 a. m., November 29, marched for Chattanooga, arriving at dusk.

This regiment lost in the action of the 25th, 2 enlisted men killed and 9
wounded. One missing, supposed to be killed. I inclose a detailed and
classified list of casualties.*

I am, captain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Maj., Cmdg.

Capt. DAVIS, Assistant Adjutant-Gen.

Source: Official Records
[Series I. Vol. 31. Part II, Reports. Serial No. 55.]


2nd Lieutenant
May 23, 2018
One of the things I'd really like to do--eventually--is trace all the distant kinfolk who left Western NC and see where they ended up. I have discovered that an ancestor's sister and her husband are buried not too far from where I live now. They made it to Arkansas a good 150 years before the rest of us. :bounce:

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