By Officer Candidate Zachary Dooley
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
First Kentucky Brigade was the only Confederate element from the state of Kentucky during the Civil War. The brigade was formed by former Vice President, Major General John Breckinridge.
Historians have two theories as to why the First Kentucky Brigade had the nickname of the Orphans: first – the brigade went through multiple commanders in its five-years of service; second – they were unable to return home during the war due to Kentucky's political stance.
Today, the Kentucky National Guard’s 149th Brigade Support Battalion traces its lineage back to that Orphan Brigade and to this day, still goes by that name.
Staff Sgt. Dusty Sadler, an ammunition specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 149th BSB, said the theory of the Soldiers not being able to return home was correct. Sadler explained that Kentucky named the Confederate Soldiers outlaws and they were unable to get reinforcements, supplies, or return to their families until the war was over.
"The Orphan Brigade was mostly reliant on themselves to stay alive and fight. They would get very little help from other states' armies during the war and some people said the Soldiers felt abandoned," said Sadler.
To commemorate the history of the 149th BSB, Sgt. Bobbie Goss an allied trade specialist, assigned to the 149th Field Maintenance Company created a guidon stand for the battalion. The stand includes the Orphan Brigade Cross with 13 stars, a sprocket to pay tribute to the armor, and when standing behind the stand it shows a replica of the 149th unit patch. Goss spent approximately 57 hours in total creating the stand from sheet metal and piping. She used training from her six years in the Guard to complete the task.
"They gave me what they wanted, and I took components of it and put this design together. I really like the way it puts together our history as the Orphan Brigade," said Goss.
The 149th BSB Orphans have campaign streamers from Kentucky 1861 to Operation New Dawn 2011 and have no plans on slowing down with the continued support of the state behind them.