Thursday, July 29, 2010

An Incident and Aftermath in Falmouth, Kentucky during the Civil War

I found this description, almost a "lost and found" like article in the April 1897 edition of Confederate Veteran magazine and the local aspect of it quickly caught my attention.

C. H. Lee, Jr., Adjutant Camp 682, United Confederate Veterans, Falmouth, Ky.: "In August or September, 1862, a company of Confederate cavalry came to Falmouth for the purpose of burning the K. C.  railroad bridge, and while here engaged in a fight (editor note: KC railroad bridge refers to the Kentucky Central Railroad ) with a company of Federal soldiers. In the fight several of the Confederates were killed and wounded. Among them was the orderly sergeant of the company, Dr. Jennings, who was wounded, and died in a few days at the residence of Mrs. L. E. Rule, the mother of the commander of our camp.

Capt. Ratcliffe's company belonged to the command of Gen. E. Kirby Smith, who was at that time in Kentucky threatening Cincinnati. (editor note: see info here about the Siege of Cincinnati ) It is not likely that the family of Dr. Jennings ever knew when and where he was killed. He was cared for while he lived by Miss Annie L. Rule (who has been dead a number of years), and to her he gave a ring, with the expressed wish that it be the means of making known his fate to his friends. There is engraved in the ring the initials 'J. K. C. to S. S. J.' 

Mrs. Flora Seaman, a sister of Miss Rule, living here, says that Dr. Jennings's name was Samuel, and that the ring was given to him by his wife before their marriage. Moreover, that Dr. Jennings said that his home was in Mobile, Ala.

Capt. Ratcliffe's company was made up principally of the crew of a gunboat, either the 'Merrimac' or 'Virginia,' and was an independent company, and at some time may have been Gen. Heth's bodyguard. I wrote some time ago to the commander of a camp at Mobile, asking his assistance in the matter, to which he promptly assented. I have not heard from him since, and conclude that he failed to find any trace of Dr. Jennings's friends, and I know of no better way now to proceed than to ask the cooperation of the VETERAN in the matter.

Will you kindly insert a short notice in the next issue, stating so much of these facts as will enable any friends of Dr. Jennings, should they see it, to recognize the subject of this sketch? The ring has been deposited with our camp. If any of his relatives or friends should see the notice, I would be much pleased to hear from them, and will be glad to give them any additional facts in reference to the Doctor's death and burial place that I can. Dr. Jennings was first buried here, but after the war his remains were removed to Cynthiana, Ky., and buried in ' Battle Grove Cemetery' with other Confederate dead."

Records from Battle Grove Cemetery in Cynthiana, a town south of Falmouth, on US-27, do list an S.S. Jennings as buried in the Confederate plot of the graveyard. This link shows that this cemetery was not dedicated until 1868 and that a Confederate Memorial was dedicated in 1869. This sounds like a great excuse for a field trip, to take some pictures of more graves of Civil War veterans, including Dr. Jennings.

I admit I do wonder if Dr. Jennings' friends ever saw this story and what became of the ring. Hopefully it survives somewhere and is in the care of someone who knows its history.

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