Paul and his brother served in the Civil War. One made it home. the other never made it home.

Conflict Period:
Civil War (Confederate) 1
Confederate Army 1
about 1838 1
Clay County Kentucky 1
1865 1

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Personal Details

Full Name:
Paul Henson 2
about 1838 2
Clay County Kentucky 2
Male 2
1865 2
Mother: Nelly 2
Father: unknown Henson 2
Mary Polly Stewart 2
18 Sep 1856 2
Letcher County Kentucky 2

Civil War (Confederate) 1

Confederate Army 1
Civil War:
company: D 2
enlistment: 04 Oct 1862 2
place: Whitesburg, Ky 2
rank: private 2
regiment: 13th Ky Cavalry 2
side served: Confederacy 2
brother: William Henson 2
daughter: Virginia "Ginny" Henson 2
daughter: Sarah Ann Henson 2
daughter: Lucinda Henson 2
sister: Delilah Henson 2
sister: Charity Henson 2
sister: Mary Polly Henson 2
sister: Susan Henson 2
wife: Mary Polly Stewart 2

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Civil War


Paul Henson and his brother William were the best of pals. The boys belonged to a close knit family and did everything together. When the Civil War began, the brothers waited a year and six months before they enlisted. On the 4th Oct. 1862  Paul and William went to Whitesburg, Kentucky. There they enlisted in company D of the 13th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment of the Confederate States of America. Col. Benjamin E Caudill led the regiment in the Kentucky campaign.

William was granted a leave of absence shortly after enlistment. The date of leave is not known but on the 21st of Oct 1862 he deserted. Eight days later Paul deserted on the 28th. The reason the brothers deserted is not known. Paul rejoined the regiment on the 30th of April 1863. Paul was captured and taken prisoner on the 11th of Dec. 1863 in Pike County Kentucky, near or at his home. He was taken to the Federal Prison in Louisville Kentucky on the 23rd of Dec 1863. Paul lied to his captures about which regiment he belong to. Paul stated he belonged to the 39th VA Inf. He may have lied for fear of what would happen to him and his family. It is known from the civillian attacks made by his regiment, some of his comrades and their famlies were targeted and brutely beaten or murdered. Paul was transferred on the 27th Dec 1863 to the newly built Federal Prison at Rock Island, Illinois.

While a prisoner of war at Rock Island Prison, President Abraham Lincoln permitted confederate prisoners to enlist in the Union Army. This was the answer to Lincoln’s Indian problem out west. For the confederate prisoner of war, enlistment promiced escape from the hardships and horrors of prison life.  Paul swore an oath of allegiance to the union and enlisted for Federal Service on the 13th Oct 1864 at Rock Island Prison. The U.S. Volunteers were six regiments formed from the confederate prisoners who had taken the oath of allegiance to the United States. As these men were released from the prison pen, their confederate comrades began calling them Galvanized Yankees and other names. They were not released from prison, but just moved to different barracks within the prison. Paul served in Company A of the 3rd U. S. Volunteers infantry. They were assigined to duty at Ft Kearney to protect the Overland mail and action against the American Indians. Paul’s regiment left Rock Island in late Feb of 1865. While enroute to Ft Kearney the 17th of March 1865, Paul became ill and was left on the road ordered to return to the hospital in Ft. Leavenworth. Paul died from typhus fever on the 16th of April 1865 at the Indiana House in Mount Tarance Kansas, near Ft. Leavenworth. It is not known where his body is buried. 

would love to have others contribute to Paul. Anything about Rock Island Prison; or the Galvanized Yankees; I do have more to add

Paul Henson

Pike County Kentucky

1850 Pike County Kentucky
2 images

Paul Henson was the son of Nelly and unknown. Paul and his siblings were born in Clay County Kentucky. Sometime before 1850, Paul and his family moved to Pike County Kentucky. Very little is known about Paul’s parents until more records can be discovered. There are only two scenarios for his parents. The first being, his father, an unknown male Henson, has died or left the family. This would be between the years of 1844 and 1850. The second scenario is his mother is Nelly Henson and had illegitimate children. The first scenario is more likely the case in fact. The 1850 Pike Co. Kentucky census record, is the first census Paul and his family are found on. They are listed in household #366. This is really household #266, the census taker mistakenly wrote 366.  On this census their surname is listed as Hensley instead of Henson. Living very close in household #263 is the Hollinsworth family. This family has connections to the Henson families of Clay County Kentucky. With the Hollingsworth's living very close to the Henson's; this would make you think that they are related. However by many researchers all the Henson's listed on earlier census records in Clay Co. Ky. are claimed in family lines. Nelly Henson never shows up on an earlier census. Therefore she was not the head of a household, it would have been a male Henson in Clay County Kentucky, where her children were born. This would fit the first scernrio.

 Paul married Mary Polly Stewart on the 18th of September 1856 in Letcher County Kentucky. This marriage record states that Paul is a resident of Pike County Kentucky and was born in Clay County Kentucky. Mary Polly is a resident and was born in Pike County Kentucky. There marriage was blessed with three daughters, Virginia “Ginny”, Sarah Ann and Lucinda Henson. All the daughters were born in Pike County. The second census record Paul is found on is the 1860 Pike Co. Kentucky.  In household #153 is listed Paul Henson, his wife Polly, two daughters Virginia and Sarah. This is the last census record Paul is listed on. 

Rock Island Prison- On December 3, 1863, the first prisoners -- 5,592 in all -- arrived at the new facility. On the day of their arrival, the temperature stood at thirty-two degrees below zero and two feet of snow lay on the ground. Worse, it was discovered that ninety-four of those prisoners had smallpox. Hoffman had neglected to include any construction plans for a hospital at his new prison camp. Consequently, the sick had to be left in the barracks among the healthy. By the end of the month, 245 were sick, from smallpox and pneumonia, and 94 had died. Before long, there would be an average of more than 250 deaths a month in the prison’s first four months of operation. By the end of January 1864, little more than seven weeks into its existence, 635 of the 8,000 POWs confined at the Rock Island facility were sick, and 325 had James L. Walker

Northern newspapers, led by the local Rock Island, Illinois, Argus and carried by the New York Daily News, ran articles comparing the Rock Island Military Prison to some of the worst Southern prisons, later calling it the Andersonville of the North. “Many have taken ‘the oath’, any oath, “ reported one letter published in the newspaper, “to save themselves from actual starvation. All the released ones say that no man can live on the rations given, and there are men who would do anything to get enough to eat. Such is the wretched, ravenous condition of these poor starving creatures that several dogs which have come to the barracks with teams have fallen victims to their hunger, and they are trapping rats and mice for food.

In order to escape prison conditions, many POWs did take the oath. In fact, by December, 1864, nearly 1,800 would -- more than at any other prison, North or South. These men were placed in quarters separated from the others by a highboard fence and, reportedly, received better rations and care.


Pike County Kentucky

Page 2
5 images

These records show when Paul Henson was captured in Pike County Kentucky. Paul was sent to the Louisville Kentucky Prison first, then to the Rock Island Prison. These are the records that confirm he did lie about what regiment he belonged to.

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