On the eve of the Civil War, 22-year old Isaac Spilman (also spelled Spillman) resided in Hardin County, Kentucky. He lived on his father’s farm near Elizabethtown and made a living as a carpenter. When the war came to Kentucky, Isaac Spilman joined a guerrilla ranger group. In 1862, according to his service record, Spilman was enlisted as a private in Captain R.A. Thompson’s Company Kentucky Cavalry. This company was then assigned to the First Kentucky Cavalry (Butler’s). On 17 August 1862, Spilman and nearly his entire company was captured near Mammoth Cave, Kentucky while on its way to join Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Regiment of Cavalry.
After his capture, Spilman was transferred from Camp Morton, Indiana to the Federal prison camp at Johnson’s Island near Sandusky, Ohio. He remained at Johnson’s Island until April 1863 when he was sent to Fort Monroe, Virginia. Spilman took the Oath of Alligence at Louisville, Kentucky in November 1863.
Interestingly, while at Johnson’s Island Spilman signed a written statement declaring his identity by acknowledging he was a private in the Buckner Guards of the Confederate States Army. Further he certified he was taken prisoner after a skirmish near Green River in Edmunson County, Kentucky. It also includes a physical description of Isaac Spilman. He was reportedly 6’1″ with blue eyes and dark hair and weighed 180 pounds.
After the war Spilman remained in Kentucky and married Margaret Morgan in 1872. He continued his work as a carpenter and furniture upholster until his death in 1916. He is buried in Owensboro, Kentucky.