Basil Wilson Duke
Many in the Confederacy's high command became able historians of the conflict, but none more able than Duke. Born in Georgetown, Ky., May 28 1838, Duke studied law before the war and was practicing in St. Louis, Mo., when the crisis came. Associated briefly with partisan ranger M. Jeff Thompson, he soon returned to Kentucky, where he enlisted in the Lexington Rifles, commanded by his brother-in-law, Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan.
Duke rose rapidly, first to 2d lieutenant, then to lieutenant colonel of the 2d Kentucky Cavalry. He served with distinction throughout Morgan's campaigns, including the raid into Indiana and Ohio, in which both were captured. He did not take part in Morgan's celebrated escape from the Ohio State Penitentiary, 26 Nov. 1863, and was exchanged in 1864. Duke returned to the Kentucky cavalry that fall, serving in southwest Virginia, and on Morgan's death was promoted brigadier, taking over Morgan's cavalry.
Duke accompanied President Jefferson Davis and the fleeing Confederate government April - May 1865, his being the last organized command answering to the War Department.
Following the surrender, Duke returned to the law, moved to Louisville, and for the rest of his life took a prominent role in Kentucky affairs. A moderate, advocating reconciliation with the North, he devoted much of his time to preserving the history of the Confederacy. He edited Southern Bivouac, one of the best veterans' magazines of the 1880s, and wrote 2 first-rate books, A History of Morgan's Cavalry (1867) and Reminiscences of General Basil W Duke (1911). He died in New York City on September 16, 1916.
Source: "Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War" Edited by Patricia L Faust
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