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A reflection on the Civil War era:
Excerpts from the Journal of Dr. John Lilly

This is part 2 of a three part series from the journal of John Lilly. The first part was published in The Magnet on July 24, 2002.


By John Lilly

Dr. John M. Lilly, a former Spencer County native, lived at the Lilly homestead near Goodwin Spring on Lilly Road. He chose farming rather than medicine as his life?s work, and was a successful farmer in this area during the 19th century.

Dr. Lilly was the grandfather of the late Bernard Lilly of this county. Dr. Lilly kept a farm ledger detailing his farming activities and his observations on the crops, the weather and current events effecting the neighborhood.

His comments on the effects of the Civil War on Spencer County:

September 25, 1862: The confederate troops have taken possession of this portion of Kentucky. Troops are thick around us.

September 28, 1862: Lizzie Doyle came home with us from church but she left Louisville by order of the Provost Marshall, as the city is expected to be attacked by the rebels.

October 1, 1862: We sold 241 bushels to the Southern army at one dollar per bushel from the granary. All was paid for in Confederate money. The army also bought some whiskey, corn and bacon.

October 4, 1862: The Federals are advancing and the Confederates are falling back.

October 15, 1862: We had difficulty in getting a pass out of the city, as martial law has been declared.

December 30, 1862: General Morgan is said to be in Bardstown today.

December 31, 1862: General Morgan passed on toward Tennessee, having principally destroyed 10 miles of the Louisville and Nashville R.R.

January 25, 1863: We were offered 45 cents for Confederate money in green backs. We did not accept.

December 18, 1863: Thomas (Dr. Lilly?s brother) and myself went to Taylorsville to be released from the draft. Thomas pled exemption, having orphaned children under 12 years. I was put on the list over 35, the drafting of which list has not come up yet.

March 17, 1864: Celeste, a girl of 18 or 20 years of age, ran off from Uncle Jack?s last week and has not been heard from since. She has been hired through a good many years and was one of the best house girls in Louisville.

There is very little chance of getting her back, there are no states? rights acknowledged by the Federal Party in power and the country is full of abolitionists who do pretty much as they please. There is now an order to enroll the Negroes of Kentucky.

June 26, 1864: Last night, Snade, two of Stone?s boys, Jake and Barney and some other Negroes of the neighborhood left to join the Federal Army, having been persuaded off by the minions of Abraham Lincoln, an affair not very agreeable to the farmers on the eve of wheat harvest. Oh liberty, where hast thou secreted thyself. Our property is taken from us and would be treason to attempt to regain it.

July 4, 1864: Moses, a Negro man of about 30 years, left for the army last night. Jim also left a few days ago from C. Rogans? place. Most of the young Negroes of the county are gone.

July 21, 1864: The guerillas pressed my shotgun today. They have only been armed with pistols.

They have killed a great many Negroes who were attempting to get off to the Federal Army.

July 25, 1864: The Federals have been pressing horses in several neighborhoods proposing to pay only those who can prove their loyalty.

August 4, 1864: John D. Lilly was killed by the Federals this morning near Jos. Wright?s He was shot through the head. He and I had visited the previous night.

November 8, 1864: It rained incessantly all day and the river rose and prevented those on this side from voting for the president and vice president of the United States.

November 11, 1864: A. Lincoln has been elected president of the U.S. over McClellan, the latter only getting the votes of three states.


See A Reflection on the Civil War Era:
Excerpts from the Journal of Dr. John Lilly
for Part I.


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