Staging Area for Humphrey Marshall's Confederates
The 400-acre May Farm, with its steam-powered grist mill, was used as a recruiting post and staging area by the region's leading secessionists.
In September 1861, Jack May, Hiram Hawkins, Ezekial Clay, James M. Thomas, Benjamin Desha, and other Kentucky secessionists marched their militia companies to this location and organized the 5th Kentucky Infantry, C.S.A. Hawkins' Bath County volunteers were the first men to pitch their tents at the farm, and Jack May's Morgan County volunteers arrived the next day. William James May, the owner of the farm, was Jack's cousin, and the farm itself was Jack's birthplace and boyhood home.
The 5th Kentucky subsequently joined Marshall's command and saw action during the Battle of Middle Creek, which occurred on January 10, 1862.
On October 2, 1861, the Confederates camped at this location sent the following letter to President Jefferson Davis in Richmond:
His Excellency Jefferson Davis,
President of the Confederate States of America
Our Legislature has betrayed us. We have marched to this point on account of its strategic importance with 1,000 men. Hundreds are gathering around our standard daily. We can have 5,000 men here in two weeks. We would most respectfully petition Your Excellency to send us immediately some experienced
military man to command us, and place us upon a footing to make ourselves available in furthering the cause of civil freedom, in which we have enlisted, and to which we pledge our lives and our sacred honor.
Ben Desha, Captain of Light Infantry Company (armed).
E.F. Clay, Captain of Cavalry Company (armed).
James M. Thomas, Captain Mounted Rifles.
T.R. Worsham, Infantry (unarmed).
H.C. Swango, Infantry (unarmed).
J. May, Captain Morgan Guards, Infantry (unarmed).
Jesse Meek, Infantry (unarmed).
G.W. Connor, Captain, Infantry (unarmed).
G.M. Ewing, Captain, Infantry (unarmed).
John W. Sparks, Captain, Infantry (unarmed).