Richard Digman

by Edmund Starling, 1886

 

RICHARD DIGMAN was born in the City of Louisville, April 1st, 1835. After having received a good education for young men of that time, and, enjoying the advantages of city life, he entered, as apprentice to Milton Calehan, for three years in the stemmery department of a cigar and chewing tobacco manufactory. At the age of seventeen, his term of apprentice having expired, he fancied he would like the trade of brick mason and placed himself under an artisan both competent and willing to assist him. It was not long before he received journeyman wages, and, in the summer of 1854, came to Henderson to assist Mr. Weaver in building Von Kaff's tobacco stemmery in the Town of Cairo. Upon the completion of this factory, he returned to Louisville, where he remained until the spring of 1858, when he again came to Henderson, and, during that year and 1859 and 1860, alternated between Henderson and Louisville. In 1861 he joined the Kentucky State Guards, and, in September of that year, in company with the National Blues, went into camp at Glascow, Kentucky. After camping three three weeks, the company move to Cave City, where, by unanimous consent, it was attached to Colonel Joe Lewis' Confederate Regiment. A short time after this, sixty-five or seventy men, of which number Mr. Digman was one, representing twenty-one different counties, organized what was known as Buckner's Bodyguard. This company was taken by Buckner to Fort Donelson, and, before the surrender, made its escape with General N. B. Forrest. It then became a part of General A. S. Johnson's command, and, at the battle of Shiloh, acted as escort to General Hardee, and, during the engagement, in company with a regiment of Texas Rangers, made one of the most desperate charges known to have been made during the whole war. This company was composed of the best men of the army, and, as an evidence of it, when the company roll was called at Shiloh, only one man out of the seventy failed to respond to his name, and he because he had no horse. At the evacuation of Corinth, this command fell back to Tupello, Mississippi, and was there transferred to John Morgan's command; came into Kentucky as the vanguard of Kirby Smith; fought several battles, and, in the fight at Richmond, had the honor of taking in Metcalf's Cavalry, a most magnificently mounted and finely equipped body of men. At Lexington they joined General Morgan and fell back with him to Knoxville, where they reported to Buckner, who had been exchanged, and who gave them an honorable discharge from the service, and this was the last of the "BUCKNER GUARDS."

After spending a few days with relatives at Wartrace, Tennessee, Mr. Digman joined Colonel D. Howard Smith's Regiment, of Morgan's Command, marched through Kentucky, crossed the Ohio on the Morgan raid, and was captured by the Home Guards at Ewington, forty miles beyond Portsmouth, Ohio. He was taken from there to Camp Morton, and from there to Camp Douglass, Chicago, where he remained for eighteen long months. On the tenth day of March, 1865, near the close of the war, he was sent on to Richmond for exchange, was placed in a parole camp at Amherst Court House, and was there at the time of General Lee's surrender. After the surrender he walked from there to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was fortunate in getting railroad transportation to Chattanooga and Nashville. At Nashville he met a company of Louisville Federal soldiers, in whose ranks were a number of his old-time friends. They laid aside all past differences, received him as of old, dressed him on as a gentleman. He went to work at his trade and remained in Louisville up to the fourth day of July, 1866, when he came to Henderson and settled down.

On the fourteenth day of July, 1870, Mr. Digman married Miss Mollie B. Jeffries, a very handsome and intelligent young lady, half sister of Major J. Shannon and Richard Blackwell, with whom he has lived in marital felicity to this day. They have two beautiful daughters to add to the brightness and cheerfulness of their happy home, A prouder or more noble soul than Dick Digman does not live. His friendship is as true as his courage, and that characteristic is indisputable. Mr. Digman has taken all of the Masonic degrees, including the Knights Templar.

Since the above was written, Mrs. Digman and one daughter have departed this life.


The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 761-63;

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