From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Corbin v Marsh (Nicholas County, KY)

The Militia Act of 1862 [from Selected Statutes] initially authorized men of African descent as laborers for the Federal Army and Navy, but the men did not become soldiers; the act granted freedom to the men and their mothers, wives, and children.

In October 1865, the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Kentucky decided the act of Congress was unconstitutional. The case was to be sent to the Kentucky Court of Appeals and if necessary to the U.S. Supreme Court for final adjudication. It was in Nicholas County, KY where the case of Corbin v. Marsh was taken to the Kentucky Appeals Court.

The judgment affirmed that the act was unconstitutional and not a valid law on December 11, 1865. Judge Williams dissented from the majority of the court. No opinion was sought from the U.S. Supreme Court.

For more see Select statutes and other documents illustrative of the history of the United States, 1861-1898, by W. MacDonald [full-text at Google Books]; "The Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Kentucky, has decided the act of Congress freeing the wives and children of colored soldiers, unconstitutional," Milwaukee Daily Sentinel, 10/10/1865, issue 238, Col. C; and Corbin vs Marsh 63 Ky. 193, 1865 Ky. 2 Duv. 193.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Montgomery County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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NKAA Source: Milwaukee daily sentinel (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Corbin vs. Marsh

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“Corbin v Marsh (Nicholas County, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed May 21, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-07-24 16:27:22