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THE 6TH KENTUCKY
VOLUNTEER INFANTRY U.S
Courtesy of Kentucky Historical Society
A BRIEF HISTORY
By Joe Reinhart
At the end of three years of service, the rolls of the 6th Kentucky had been reduced from almost 940 men to approximately 400. The regiment's final companies mustered out in late December 1864 and early January 1865. About 40 men reenlisted and were transferred to the 4th Kentucky Mounted Infantry Regiment.
Nearly half the members of the 6th Kentucky became casualties (killed, wounded or missing), and almost 20 percent sacrificed their lives to help preserve the Union. Nine men were still in Southern prison camps when their enlistments expired. Two of these prisoners were killed on their way home when the woefully overcrowded steamboat Sultana exploded and burned north of Memphis, Tennessee.
The 6th's combat losses earned it a place in William Fox's list of "300 fighting regiments of the Union army." Capt. Thomas Speed (who served in the 12th Kentucky Infantry) wrote in the regimental histories section of The Union Regiments of Kentucky: "None of the Kentucky regiments had a better record than the 6th."
The Battle of Shiloh
A History of the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infanty U.S.: The Boys Who Feared No Noise was released by Beargrass Press on December 21, 2000 in a hardcover book containing 489 pages, 17 territorial maps, 11 battle maps, 41 photos and engravings, endnotes, full roster, and index. Based on more than 90 primary sources and containing a host of quotations and detailed information gleaned from diaries, letters and other documents penned by men who fought in the regiment, this comprehensive history of one of the finest fighting regiments in the Union's main Western army is a must for persons interested in the 6th Kentucky and others interested in Kentucky's Civil War history. If you had an ancestor in the 6th Kentucky or if you are interested in the regiment or the book, I would like to hear from you. You can leave a message in the guestbook or e-mail me at sixthky@i
Two Germans in the Civil War: The Diary of John Daeuble and the Letters of Gottfried Rentschler, 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry was released by the University of Tennessee Press in May 2004 in a hardcover book containing 279 pages, 8 maps, and 7 photos and engravings. Translated and edited by Joseph R. Reinhart
Retail Price $32.00
John Daeuble’s richly detailed diary entries and Gottfried Rentschler’s lengthy letters, written for a German-language newspaper, are important additions to the still-incomplete mosaic of the Civil War, not only because of their engaging content but also because they help fill significant voids created by an almost complete lack of published sources from Kentucky’s Union soldiers and by the shortage of primary source materials about, the diary and letters cover the participation of the two immigrants in the historic battles around Chattanooga, the pursuit of Longstreet’s corps in East Tennessee, and Sherman’s grueling Atlanta campaign.
Praise for this Book
Joseph Reinhart has provided us with an invaluable collection of Civil War soldiers' firsthand accounts. The words of Daeuble and Rentschler not only offer valuable glimpses into the life of the average soldier in the Western Theatre, but even more significantly illuminate some of the differences between German-Americanand Anglo-American troops. Expertly translated from the original German, Reinhart's edited compilation of these important letters and diary entries eloquently reminds us that the Civil War was not simply a struggle between North and South, but also a period of competing ethnic identities, nativism, and immigrant acculturation.
Chrisian B. Keller, Co-author of Damn Dutch: Pennsylvania Germans at Gettysburg
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