Jeremiah Tilford Boyle

Jeremiah Tilford Boyle was born May 22, 1818, in Mercer County (now Boyle County), Kentucky. He received his education at Centre College, Princeton, and at Transylvania University, where he studied law. After graduation he commenced practice in Danville, Kentucky. Boyle owned slaves and was a Whig; nevertheless, he became one of the most fervent Unionists in the state. On November 9, 1861, he was appointed a brigadier general of volunteers and the following spring participated "with conspicuous gallantry" in the battle of Shiloh, where he commanded a brigade in T. L. Crittenden's division of Don Carlos Buell's forces. On May 27, 1862, Secretary of War Edward M. Stanton directed him "to take command of the forces in Kentucky ... on account of his intimate knowledge of the requirements of the service in his State. . . ." Boyle's administration of what was later denominated the District of Kentucky, as well as his military capabilities, has been the subject of considerable disagreement. He was certainly no strategist nor tactician. Regularly organized Confederate cavalry as well as guerrillas raided throughout the state while Boyle did little more than telegraph for reinforcements. Louisville, Boyle's own headquarters, lay in the palm of Braxton Bragg's hand during the Kentucky invasion of 1862 and was saved only by Bragg's ineptness. Boyle's civilian policy alienated all but the most zealous Union sympathizers, embracing as it did his ruthless punishment of persons suspected of "disloyalty," use of troops to control elections, and assessment of damages caused by guerrillas upon the citizens living nearby. In January, 1864, he was summarily relieved and ordered to report with his division to Knoxville, whereupon he resigned. General Boyle then interested himself in the railroad business and in land speculation. He died a wealthy man in Louisville on July 28, 1871, and was buried in Danville.

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Reference:  Generals in Blue.  Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner.  Louisiana State University Press.  Baton Rouge.