Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Simple Fifth Kentucky and Appalachian Otherness

In 1914, veteran of the 4th Ky. Infantry (CS) Lewis C. Garrigus wrote a series of articles in his (then) local paper, the Portland Morning Oregander. In one of these, Garrigus recalled nicknames that each regiment was given within the brigade.
Lieutenant-Colonel Phil Lee, of the Second Kentucky, was quite a wit and something of a wag as well, and after the Fifth came to use, he characterized the five regiments as follows: The "honest ninth," the "theiving fourth," the "supple sixth," the "invincible second" and the "simple fifth." The fifth had been recruited in the mountain counties of Kentucky, and we called them "seng diggers" when they first came to us, but we soon learned to respect them for their prowess, their indomitable courage notwithstanding their want of culture.
And in so doing, Garrigus joined what was, by then, a cultural phenomenon that considered the American mountain South another America, a retarded frontier, the contemporary ancestors of the country permanently locked in their Elizabethan past. This is not surprising for 1914 as many scholars who study the evolution of the idea of Appalachia will point out. But what is most interesting is that Garrigus' claims are backed up by wartime accounts that disparage the soldiers of the Fifth as jeans wearing, uncultured, ginseng digging, persons outside the mainstream Kentucky. The development of an Appalachian other has been linked to mountain unionism during the war, but I can't help but wonder if there are also roots of an Appalachia-as-other in intra-Confederate criticism of the mountaineer as well. I have decided to start poking around this idea this semester in a seminar with Dwight Billings to see if it has legs.

My exploratory steps thus far has been to see if the 5th was really a "mountain" regiment. Using E.Porter Thompson's 1868 annotated rosters, here's where the Orphans hailed from. Update: New maps! Red counties sent a company-sized contingent, Orange counties sent a significant (~15+) group, and Yellow counties sent a small number of soldiers into the unit:

The "Simple Fifth." While there are the large groupings from Morgan and Breathitt (2 companies in that case), there are certainly large contributions from non-stigmatized Northern Ky. Certainly, though, the 5th is the most tightly grouped of any of the units.

For comparison:
The "Invincible Second"

The "Thieving Fourth"

The "Supple Sixth" (not as South-Central as I had previously assumed)

The "Honest Ninth"


Wayne Fielder said...

you guys would happen to have a link for those articles in the Portland newspaper would you?

Patrick Lewis said...

I do think Lee got them off of one of the pay genealogy sites online, but it's been a little while since he pulled them so I can't remember which one. The dates are April 12, 19 May 3, 10, and 24 1914.

Coal Creek Road said...

Nice maps! Are you hoping to turn this into an article down the road?

Patrick Lewis said...

Thanks. Ideally this will turn into an article. I think my next step is to a) begin compiling all the references to the mountains/mountaineers in the Orphan corpus and b) start comparing the socioeconomic data of the 5th to the rest of the brigade as well as the 41st AL. I honestly don't know what I'm going to find, but it will be a fun trip nonetheless and I'll be sure to keep the blog updated!

cmadler said...

Some of the patterns seem a little strange, is this actually based on where people resided or on where they mustered in? For example, it seems odd (to me, anyway) that the 5th would draw so many men from Morgan, Breathitt, and Bath, and none at all from Wolfe.

Regardless, it's a very interesting look at what parts of the state the men came from. Thank you for making these maps!

Patrick Lewis said...

Strange indeed. The source is E.P. Thompson's 1868 history of the brigade where he has brief entries for each soldier. I'm honestly not sure how in the heck he compiled that. Was it was a self-report (he was gathering info from many, many individuals), a list from a former officer, his own compilation using any/all data at hand? I'm not sure, and it bothers me to some degree. I'm sure it isn't place of muster, Thompson didn't record that.

Keep in mind, too, that this is only one infantry regiment. Cav/irregular units might have drawn men from Wolfe.