Felix G. Eakins

FELIX G. EAKINS



FELIX G. EAKINS, son of John and Sallie (King) Eakins, was born in Henderson County on the tenth day of April, 1829. He was raised on a farm, and for twenty years worked with unflinching zeal for the parental head. At the end of that time, the young man, embued with a noble ambition, backed by a solid education, determined to stare the world in the face and fight life's battles "on his own hook." To this end, therefore, he emigrated to the Lone Star State, and there engaged in surveying, having secured a deputyship in Robertson Land District, which embraced at that time all of the State of Texas lying west of the Trinity River. He remained there until the year 1851, when he returned to his home and was married to Miss Matilda D. Weaver, daughter of Littleberry and Eliza Weaver, then living in the Town of Henderson. He returned the same year to Texas, and followed his chosen profession, surveying, until 1853, when he again returned to Kentucky. He began farming, coupling with it surveying, serving as deputy to D. N. Waldren and Robert S. Eastin, both of whom during his deputyship were County Surveyors, elected and qualified. This he continued up to and including a part of the year 1862. The hounds of war had been turned loose, the tocsin had sounded its solemn to-arms, and, being a southerner to the manor born, he felt it his duty to go. So in the month of August of that year Mr. Eakins was sworn in a Confederate soldier, and was elected First Lieutenant of Company G., Tenth Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry. He soon, thereafter, participated gallantly in engagements had at Madisonville, Owensboro and Uniontown.

In October, 1862, he was wounded in a skirmish at West Franklin, Indiana; was captured, and confined in a hospital at Henderson until April, 1863. He was then sent to Johnson's Island, Lake Erie, where he was detained only a few weeks and was sent on exchange. He was exchanged at City Point, Virginia, and from there went by the way of Richmond and Lynchburg, on to Chattanooga, Tennessee, from thence via Tullahoma and McMinnville to Salt Lick Bend, on the Cumberland River, where he rejoined his regiment. His regiment was a part of the Second Brigade, attached to Morgan's forces, and was commanded by Colonel Adam R. Johnson. There was no "rest for the weary," for no sooner had he rejoined his regiment than the bugle called each man to his saddle. Kentucky was invaded, via Glasgow and Columbia, and at the latter place a considerable skirmish was had with the old veteran, Colonel Frank Woolford, in which Woolford was worsted. Morgan pushed ahead in the direction of Green River, to a point known as Green River bridge, and arrived by one thousand veteran Union soldiers, a strong stockade and two line of breastworks, under command of Colonel Moore; a flag of truce from Morgan was sent to Moore demanding a surrender, but this Moore declined, giving as his reason, that it was a day too dear to the hearts of his contrymen--it was the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence--and to entertain such a demand at that time, would be to turn his back completely upon hi country. "Call some other day, gentlemen, and I will be pleased to talk with you," was his reply. This, then, was the signal for a bloody assault, and a bloody one it was too. The Second Brigade of which our subject was a soldier, was ordered to charge; the charge was made, and the unionist were driven from their line of intrenchments back into the stockade. Here they made a determined stand, and owing to the rough and rugged surroundings, obstacles and all else operating against the attacking part, there was a quick slaughter of not less than seventy-five men. The Confederates then withdrew, and crossed Green River about one and a half miles below the bridge. The command then passed on to Lebanon, where it encountered General Manson and about three hundred Federals, who gave battle from sunrise in the morning until three o'clock in the afternoon, fighting from houses and whatever else could be found in the way of protection, but finally Manson surrendered. From Lebanon Morgan passed through the State, striking the Ohio River at Brandenburg, Mead County. Here two steamers were captured and the troops transported across the Ohio River onto Indiana soil. This crossing was effected July, 8th, 1863, Company G. being the last company put over, and this after midnight. This was Morgan's celebrated raid through Indiana and Ohio. After crossing the Ohio, and all things in readiness, the line of march was taken up at daylight, the Second or Johnson's Brigade bringing up the rear of the command, and Company G. bringing up the rear of the brigade. Between three and four o'clock that afternoon the command came in sight of Corydon, Indiana, a small place defended by some four thousand militia and soldiers, protected by rifle pits, and hurriedly made breast works. Company G. of the Tenth Kentucky, Lieutenant Eakins, was ordered from the rear to make the attack, which they did in fine style, beating the enemy in about fifteen minutes. From there Morgan passed unmolested through the State and entered the State of Ohio at a point called Harrison. Cincinnati was given the go by, only a short distance to the right. That night the command rode one hundred miles on to Vernon, where there was had a skirmish with General Manson. Morgan drew off, and proceeded on until the evening of July 26th, until the Ohio River was reached at Cheshire, where he hoped to cross into Virginia. Here an attack was made by General Shackelford, in command of a large force of Federals, whom the Confederates fought until about dark. Being entirely out of ammunition, and not hearing from the Commanding General, who had left some time before on another expedition, the little band to which Lieutenant Eakins was then attached, sent in a flag of truce, proposing to surrender. Seven hundred and twenty men surrendered, and were taken by boat to Cincinnati, where they were kept in prison for three or four days. One hundred and eighteen officers, including Lieutenant Eakins, were then forwarded to Johnson's Island, a place familiar to the Lieutenant, who had been there before. Lieutenant Eakins remained upon the Island until August, when he was sent with others to the Western Penitentiary, Alleghany City, Pa., where he remained until March 1864, when he with others was sent to Point Lookout Maryland, where he remained until July, when he was sent to Fort Delaware, an Island in Delaware River, between the States of Delaware and New Jersey. August 1st, 1864, Lieutenand Eakins with six hundred others was taken from Fort Delaware and sent to Morris Island. in front of Charleston, South Carolina, and placed in a stockade, between Fort Waggoner and Battery Gregg, under the cover of the Federal guns. The stockade in which he was confined contained just one acre of ground. He and his co-prisoners remained there under the fire of the Confederate guns for forty days; fortunately none of the shells struck inside of the inclosure[sic]. While none of the prisoners were wounded by friendly guns, some of them were struck from the guns of the guard, which was composed of a Massachusetts Negro regiment. Lieutenant Eakins and his friends were given a dainty diet; for instance, one "hardtack--a cracker about two inches square, half inch thick, one ounce of meat, not of the best, and a half pint of bean soup twice a day. He remained at this place forty days and was then sent down to Fort Pulaski, on one of the Tyber Islands, in the Savanah River, with no change of rations until January 1st, 1865, at which time he was given ten ounces of unsifted meal once a day. On that he lived from the first of January to February 1st, at which time there came an order for his immediate exchanged with others, and for them to be put on full army rations. On the fifth of March, he was taken on board of a vessel and sent to Norfolk, Virginia. From that place, and for some unaccountable reason, he was sent again to Fort Delaware. Lieutenant Eakins and his comrades were nothing more than skeletons, and as sad a story as it may seem, fully three hundred died of starvation during their incarceration in Federal prisons, although the story goes, that Uncle Sam fed well his enemies as he did his friends. Lieutenant Eakins was at Fort Delaware at the time of the surrender and was held a prisoner until June, 1865, when he and four hundred and twenty-five others were released after having taken an iron-clad oath. He arrived home on the seventeenth day of June, 1865, since which time he has rested in the bosom of a happy family, following farming and surveying for a livlihood.

 

The History of Henderson County, Kentucky by Starling 1887 page 681-84;

Return to the Henderson County KyGenWeb Home Page