On June 24, 1861, the Inspector General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Simon Bolivar Buckner, orders Captain Lloyd Tilghman and six companies of the State Guard to Columbus to preserve the neutrality of the state and to guard the western river port. Tilghman resigns in protest and returns to Paducah to recruit men for the southern cause. Captain Benjamin Hardin Helm assumes command and sets up a camp near Columbus. The camp quickly dissolves, however, and accomplishes little to preserve neutrality. By the end of the month, Tilghman is regularly sending new recruits to Camp Boone on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Tilghman joins his men on July 5 and accepts an appointment as Colonel of the 3rd Regiment of Kentucky Volunteers. Buckner and Helm would follow his lead and join the Confederacy in the coming months. It is estimated that Tilghman may have recruited over 5,000 men from Kentucky prior to his departure, most having served in the State Guard.
Jun 17 2011