Helm Cemetery

Historical Marker #833 in Hardin County interprets the Helm Cemetery, resting place of Kentucky Governor John LaRue Helm and Confederate General Benjamin Hardin Helm.

Benjamin Helm was a brother-in-law of Abraham Lincoln, having married Emilie Todd, who was a half-sister of Mary Todd Lincoln. As the Civil War began, President Lincoln offered Helm a commission as paymaster in the Union army. He turned down the offer and helped recruit the First Kentucky Cavalry Regiment for the Confederate army. Commissioned a colonel, Helm quickly rose in rank when he was promoted to brigadier general after the battle of Shiloh. Helm later served under fellow Kentuckian General John C. Breckinridge in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Eventually, General Helm became commander of the First Kentucky Infantry Brigade (the "Orphan Brigade") and was killed at the Battle of Chickamauga in northern Georgia on September 20, 1863. When President Lincoln learned of his brother-in-law's death in battle, he was deeply moved and told one member of his cabinet that he felt like David in the Bible when he learned that his son Absalom had been killed.