Clark County's Hanson Brothers

Historical Marker #951 in Clark County notes the fratricidal nature of Kentucky’s Civil War. Five Hanson brothers fought on opposite sides, and two of them, Roger and Charles, represent the divisive nature of the war.

Roger Hanson was born in Winchester on August 27, 1827. A Mexican War veteran, he participated in the California gold rush before becoming a Kentucky legislator. During the Civil War, Roger became colonel of the 2nd Kentucky Infantry (Confederate States of America). Captured at Fort Donelson, he ultimately became a brigadier general and commanded the “Orphan Brigade,” Kentucky’s most famous Confederate Civil War infantry unit. On January 2, 1863, Hanson was killed in an assault on Union lines at the Battle of Stones River near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Six months later, Roger’s Unionist brother, Colonel Charles Hanson, surrendered after fighting troops under John Hunt Morgan in Lebanon, Kentucky. During the action, Union troops killed Tom Morgan, brother to the well-known commander. Eager for retribution, another Morgan brother threatened to execute Hanson. Only at the behest of Lee Wheeler, a Confederate soldier and brother-in-law to Charles Hanson, was the Union Colonel spared and able to survive the war
This Winchester family represents the divisions that pulled Kentucky’s families and communities apart during the Civil War.

The marker reads:
Here lived five Hanson brothers, Civil War soldiers, USA and CSA. For USA: Col. Charles S., hero of Battle of Lebanon, July, 1863; Pvt. Samuel K.-died in service. For CSA: Brig. Gen. Roger, mortally wounded in the Battle of Stone's River, Jan. 2, 1863; Pvt. Richard H. and Pvt. Isaac S. Sons of the Hon. Samuel and Matilda Hickman Hanson.