John H. Borders
Private - Company D, 14th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment

He was born at Lowmansville, April 15, 1845. His father died when he was a baby and he lived with his grandfather Borders in this County until he was five, then he went to live with an uncle near Flat Gap, Johnson County.

At 16, tiring of farm life, he ran away and joined the Union Regiment organized by Lieu. Col. Laben T. Moore in this County, and later served under Col. George Gallup and Gen. Jas. A. Garfield. The following excerpts of his war experience is from that interview:

"After enlisting I saw a little fighting in a few skirmishes back home, then I went with Gen. Garfield with his campaign up the Big Sandy. While we were encamped at Catlettsburg with about 1500 men, we were ordered to meet the enemy under the Confederate Humphrey Marshall, who had about 45,000 men. We marched from Catlettsburg to Hager Hill, about five miles above Paintsville. After an hour of hard fighting, we defeated the rebels and they retreated over into old Virginia.

"Later we were ordered South and I took part in several battles, but the hardest fighting I was in took place when 13,000 of our men met and fought 40,000 of the Rebels. This was mostly hand to hand fighting that lasted three days. And when it was over we were pretty well starved and almost naked for clothes, so they had to take us to Lowmansville for a complete new outfit of clothes and equipment. Later I was with General Hooker on Look-out Mountain and with General Sherman on his march to the sea.

"Sometimes our usual fare of hardtack, bacon and coffee grew pretty monotonous. One day I decided to cook some beans, but discovered that the nearest water was a half-mile distance. As I was in a hurry and quite hungry I thought I would try cooking the beans in some grease, but to my surprise and chagrin, the longer they cooked the tougher they became, and when I tried to eat them they felt more like buck shot than beans. Needless to say I went hungry that day.

"Many little incidents of interest still linger in my memory, but the one that stands out most vividly happened one day when I was out scouting. I had approached too near the enemies, and they discovered me and gave me the chase of my life. I could see they were gaining on me and escape looked impossible, but as I ran I saw a big hollow log and made a dash for it, crawled back into it several feet, but alas, it looked as if my good luck was not to last. My arrival had disturbed a big rattle snake, and to my horror he was ready for battle. I believe, that was the hardest moment of life. To stay in the log meant sure death from the snake, and to crawl out meant to be shot by my enemies. I hadn’t much time to think, but I got out as fast as possible and when I was finally free of the log I was surprised to find my enemies nowhere in sight. In their hurry they had run past my hideout, so I straightway dived into a thicket of underbrush and made my escape in another direction."

The war over, Mr. Borders returned to Johnson County and resided until moved to Ashland 30 years ago (ca. 1908;MP). Although rapidly approaching his ninety-third birthday, had been active in life until a short time ago. His death has come as a great shock to his family and friends.

Surviving are the widow, Mrs. Phoebe Borders, two daughters, Mrs. James Rose, at home, and Mrs. Joe Dixon, of Lucasville, OH: three sons, Lewis Borders of Summit; John Borders of Johnson County, and H.C. Borders, of Ashland.

Funeral services were conducted from the residence Sunday afternoon. Interrment was made at the Dixon Cemetery at Ashland.…Newspaper clipping dated 1938. (Sandy Valley Heritage, Vol.7, Iss. 20+ 21,1988-1989; Jill Gibson)

John B. Borders, b. 15 April 1845, at Sip, KY. His father died when he was a baby and he lived with his grandfather Lewis Borders until 1850, the went to live with his uncle until he was 16, at Flat Gap. Then he ran away and joined the Union Army.

He was married five times. First wife was Julia Ann VanHoose, b. Georges Creek, Lawrence Co., 1840. Died 1877. ("History of Lawrence County Kentucky, p.436, Lucille Sparks-Edwards) --Marlitta H. Perkins, P.O. BOX 384, Brice, OH 43109-0384 e-mail:

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You may write to me at email Beverly L. Pack

Lawrence County, Kentucky Veterans

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