The Second Struggle

The early settlement of Kentucky demanded every resource of the pioneer. For thirty-five years he was hunter, scout, warrior and farmer by turns, and even women were called from the distaff to seize the death-dealing rifle. Up to the close of the war of 1812 no hour came that did not bring with it the distant threat of war. The first fury of the Indian onslaught had hardly spent itself, when the national questions involved in the free navigation of the Mississippi River, and the treason of Aaron Burr, were added to keep up the general alarm. Then in close sequence came the agitation over England’s high-handed outrages which culminated in actual conflict. It was amid such scenes that Todd joined the sisterhood of counties, and though remote from the threatening border, the interest of each became the duty of all, and this county freely sent forth her sons to do battle for the general weal. The West, with its thousand savages, sullen with defeat, offered an admirable theater for the action of the enemy, and the flame of war rapidly spread toward the wilderness of Ohio and Michigan. Kentucky entered the ranks with ardor, and on every field her sons were “where danger called or duty.” The population of Todd was small, but it is said the Hon. Benjamin Reeves organized a company which served in the war. Nothing is definitely known of its career, or under whose command it served, but there were some from Todd County in Gen. Hopkins’ command, and it is probable that Col. Reeves’ company was in the same department. On the declaration of war between England and the United States, the martial spirit blazed forth with unprecedented vigor in Kentucky. Several thousand volunteers at once offered their services to the Government, and 1,500 were on the march for Detroit when the news of Hull’s surrender induced them to halt. The military ardor of the State seemed to increase in the face of this disaster, and 2,000 volunteers responded to the call of the Governor for troops to march against the Indian villages in northern Illinois. These volunteers rendezvoused at Louisville, and set forth under the command of Gen. Hopkins. The march into the Indian country was a difficult undertaking. Provisions became scarce, and the ardor of the untried soldiers having had time to cool, they deliberately returned to their starting point in spite of the remonstrance of their commanders, without having accomplished anything. Many of these volunteers afterward did noble service under Gem Harrison and some of the Todd County contingency took part in the battle of Tippecanoe.


Battle, J. H., W. H. Perrin, Counties of Todd and Christian, Kentucky : historical and biographical, Chicago : F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1884.

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