Kentucky Militia Fallen 1774 – March 19, 1912
1774 – 1824 - 1825 – 1874 - 1875 – 1912
War of 1812 - Mexican-American War - Philippine Insurrection - State Active Duty (1875-1912) - Spanish-American War
First it must be acknowledged that there is no definitive list of those who have fallen in the line of duty while serving in the Kentucky Militia. Often it is even difficult to know who served and when. The names presented here are culled from Adjutants General reports, scholarly works, newspaper accounts and a variety of other sources. While this is without a doubt the most accurate such list ever gathered there are likely still names who have yet to be discovered that deserve to be honored alongside of these individuals. Names will be added as information becomes available and verified. The hope is to eventually honor each of the fallen with a page of their own with all the known information and a photo if available. If you have additional info you would like to submit please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Kentucky National Guard finds its roots among the oldest military organizations in the United States. On October 10, 1774, when Kentucky was a county of colonial Virginia, James Harrod, the founder of Harrodsburg, led a group of frontiersmen against an Indian coalition led by the Shawnee. The Battle of Point Pleasant took place in what is now West Virginia. In 1775 Virginia formally recognized Harrod's men, naming the group the Kentucky Militia and appointing him its captain. The militia was active in the defense of Kentucky settlements throughout the Revolutionary War.
Kentucky separated from Virginia to form a state on June 4, 1792 and twenty days later the Militia Act was signed into law by Governor Isaac Shelby, which recognized the formation of an official Kentucky Militia.
All able-bodied men coming into this territorial frontier were presumed to be in the Militia and were expected to serve as the need arose. The primary mission of these early Militiamen was to serve as a self-protective association against the frequent hostile attacks, Indian and foreign. The organization was loosened and tightened as the occasions arose. An unusual feature of the Militia was that there were no designated uniforms and each soldier was responsible for supplying his own provisions, weapons, and if possible, his own horse.
In 1903, the U. S. Congress passed the Dick Act, which promised the states an annual appropriation in return for meeting federal military standards. In 1908 the Dick Act was revised. In 1909 Kentucky took steps to comply with the law. It was not until 1912 that Kentucky was finally able to conform to the federal standards and became part of the National Guard system. On March 19, 1912, the Kentucky State Militia officially became the Kentucky National Guard.
During World War I, the “State Guard” were organized for emergencies requiring a military force to preserve law and order. These companies replaced Kentucky Guard units mobilized on August 5, 1917. “State Guard” units were disbanded by 1921.
In 1934, a law was enacted creating an “Active Militia” to supplement regular peace officers as a division of the Military Department. Kentucky's first Guard units were ordered to federal active duty in September 1940 in preparation for World War II. The Kentucky Active Militia served as a replacement for the Guard as a military backup to police in emergencies and also performed military funerals, appeared in parades, and assisted in crowd control at the Kentucky Derby each spring. The Kentucky National Guard units began reforming after the war with the first unit receiving federal recognition in September 1946. Militia units disbanded as the Kentucky Guard reconstituted. The Governor disbanded militia units by executive order in February 1947, relieving all officers and enlisted personnel from further duty. Kentucky's militia laws remain in place but has not been used since World War II. There are no known casualties in the line of duty for Kentucky militia members during World War I or World War II.
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