Guerilla activity was a problem in Spencer County all through the War, as it was in most of Kentucky. Having seen what was happening in Kansas, the Kentucky legislature took action to provide for a force in each County to protect the State, and if needed to deal with guerrilla activity. They passed a law organizing the militia into the Kentucky State Guard. Governor Beriah Magoffin signed this act into law, March 5, 1860:
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky That the Kentucky Militia shall be divided into three classes: 1st The Active or Volunteer Militia, 2nd. The Enrolled Militia, 3rd. The Militia of the Reserves. The Volunteer of Active Militia shall be styled the Kentucky State Guard.
Spencer County's State Guard unit was commissioned on May 18, 1861. Named the "Howard Guards", this company-sized unit was formed and based in Taylorsville. Original officers were: T. L. Bennett, Captain; James L. Davess, 1st Lieutenant; Quinton Bennett, 2nd Lieutenant; and James Beauchamp, 3rd Lieutenant.
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