Family Stories

Death of John K. Wickliffe – Civil War Soldier From Muhlenberg County

John Kincheloe Wickliffe was the son of Moses Wickliffe and Nancy Young.  His siblings were Aaron, William Y., Susan Jane (who married William Y. Cundiff), Benjamin Singleton and Robert McLean (twins, who remained bachelors), Moses (also served in the Civil War), Agnes Elizabeth (who married John F. Davis), Charles Bryant, and Mary Frances.

John K. Wickliffe was listed as killed in the Maysville Weekly Bulletin, of July 7, 1864.  Listed were those men who were killed or wounded from the Ninth Kentucky Infantry, from May 9th to June 1st, 1864, Colonel J. W. Caldwell, commanding.

A History of Muhlenberg County by Otto A. Rothert, 1913

In this connection it may be well to refer to John K. Wickliffe, another of the Muhlenberg soldiers who lost his life fighting for the South.  John K. Wickliffe was a son of Colonel Moses Wickliffe, and one of the most popular men in the county.  He was born in 1834 near Bevier, enlisted in Company C, Ninth Kentucky Infantry, fought at Shiloh, Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, Hartsville, Stone River, Jackson, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, and Rocky Face Gap, and was killed at Resaca, Georgia, May 14, 1864.  No soldier’s death was more keenly deplored in the county, by both Northern and Southern sympathizers, than John K. Wickliffe, who had won his way into the hearts of all with whom he had come in contact.  Lycurgus T. Reid, of Rockport, Ohio County, writing to me in July, 1912, relative to the death of this brave man, says:

‘Although I may have forgotten some of my war experiences, I remember the time John K. Wickliffe was killed.  I had my hand on his back when the fatal ball struck him.  This incident, in all its detail, is as clear in my mind today as it was the day he was shot.  I need but close my eyes to see the whole scene reenacted.  It will be impossible for me to picture to you all the details of the event.  However, I will attempt to give an outline of the facts.

‘We were at Resaca.  We had dug out shallow trenches and on top of the low embankment and the lower side of the log, through which to shoot at the Yankees should they attack us.  We had left our arms back of the breastworks while we were working on this embankment.  Suddenly the rally to arms was sounded and every mother’s son of us made for our guns.  I, being a small man, was posted on the left of Company C (the color company of the Ninth Regiment), near the flag and John K. Wickliffe, who was our second sergeant and left company guide.  Something, at times, makes me think he was color sergeant that day, but if he was he held on to his gun and accoutrements.  We fell into the slight works and began to arrange ourselves for a good, square fight.  The Yankees were in sight and coming fast.  Wickliffe lay down on his stomach and, finding his cartridge box under him, asked me to push it up on his back.  While I was attempting to do so a minie ball from the Yankee column struck the lower edge of the log, just above our heads, and glanced down, striking Wickliffe in the forehead, a little to the right of the center, passing through his head.  He suddenly rose to his feet and fell backward, outside of the works, a dead man.  He scarcely moved a muscle after he fell.  I fired a number of shots over his prostrate body at the approaching enemy.  During the course of the fight that followed I was obliged to change my position, but before doing so I took another look at my old friend and then covered his face with a blanket.  That was the last I saw of John K. Wickliffe.’


1 reply »

  1. My ggggrandfather Hugh K Starkey also fought at Resaca, but on the

    union side. He was wounded. Had family on both sides of this conflict, both from Ky.

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