In 1861, John D. Kirkpatrick was a young Cumberland Presbyterian minister at a church near Nashville. It wasn’t long into the Civil War conflict before Kirkpatrick, who came from a long tradition of military service, enlisted in the Confederate Army.
Kirkpatrick served under men, such as Gen. Robert E. Lee and Gen. John Hunt Morgan, under whose command he served as captain in the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry.
Texas author Thomas G. Stevens follows Kirkpatrick’s story in his recently published book, "Tennessee Preacher, Tennessee Soldier: The Civil War Career of Captain John D. Kirkpatrick, CSA, One of Morgan’s Men."
Stevens is a retired banker and a self-proclaimed lover of Civil War history who lives in Chappell Hill, Texas. All four of Stevens’ great-grandfathers were Confederate veterans, one of whom rode under Morgan’s command. Stevens has experience with many historical organizations, such as the Chappell Hill Historical Society and Independence Historical Society.
Stevens first became interested in Kirkpatrick when he found Kirkpatrick’s obituary in his grandmother’s files. He discovered Kirkpatrick was his great-grandfather’s brother. William Kirkpatrick, Stevens’ great-grandfather, had served as a second sergeant under his brother in the Ninth Tennessee Calvary.
After investigation, Stevens came upon more information on Kirkpatrick, “I would not have been able to write the book unless I had had the good fortune to find him mentioned by name in quite a few books and diaries written by Civil War veterans,” Stevens said.
Stevens found Kirkpatrick was severely injured in the war and remained in Virginia recovering until the end of the war, at which time he returned to Lebanon.
After his return, Kirkpatrick spent some time publishing the Lebanon Register, leading churches in Nashville and in his last years, teaching at Cumberland University in addition to serving as a trustee. Kirkpatrick’s body now resides at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Lebanon.
Stevens' book, "Tennessee Preacher, Tennessee Soldier: The Civil War Career of Captain John D. Kirkpatrick, CSA, One of Morgan’s Men," includes several other stories of Kirkpatrick’s life, including major battles and raids he participated in, his capture and his escape via bribery. To learn more or to order a copy of the book, go to tennesseepreachertennesseesoldier.com.