The Orphan Brigade
The Orphan Brigade was the nickname of the First Kentucky Brigade, a group of military units recruited from
fight for the Confederate States of during the American Civil
War. The brigade was the largest Confederate unit to be recruited from America during the war.
Its original commander was John C. Breckinridge, former United States Vice
President and candidate for president, who was enormously popular with
The regiments that were part of the Orphan Brigade were the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 9th Kentucky Infantry Regiments. Units of the Orphan Brigade were involved in many military engagements in the American South during the war, including the Battle of Shiloh. In 1862, Breckinridge was promoted to division command and was succeeded in the brigade by Brig. Gen. Roger W. Hanson. At the Battle of Stones River, the brigade suffered heavy casualties in an assault on January 2, 1863, including General Hanson. Breckinridge—who vehemently disputed the order to charge with the army's commander, General Braxton Bragg—rode among the survivors, crying out repeatedly, "My poor Orphans! My poor Orphans," noted brigade historian Ed Porter Thompson, who used the term in his 1868 history of the unit. The name came from how the Confederacy viewed its soldiers from
Kentucky (which remained in the Union, but was represented by a star in both countries'
flags). The term was not in widespread use during the war, but it became
popular afterwards among the veterans.
The Orphan Brigade lost another commander at the Battle of Chickamauga, when Brig. Gen. Benjamin H. Helm, Abraham Lincoln's brother-in-law, was mortally wounded on September 20, 1863, and died the following day. Major Rice E. Graves, the artillery commander, was also mortally wounded.
The Orphan Brigade served throughout the Atlanta Campaign of 1864, then were converted to mounted infantry and opposed
March to the Sea. They ended the war fighting in Sherman South
Carolina in late April 1865, and surrendered at ,
on May 6–7, 1865. Washington, Georgia
The "Ohio County" unit was Company C, of the 9th Kentucky Infantry Regiment, which was part of the 1st Kentucky Brigade.