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Brad Asher – The Most Hated Man in Kentucky: The Lost Cause and the Legacy of Union General Stephen Burbridge

Brad Asher earned his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has taught history at a number of colleges and universities, including the University of Puget Sound, the University of Pennsylvania, Widener University, and Jefferson County Community College. His initial research focused on history in the western United States, but after moving to Kentucky over twenty years ago, Brad’s interests shifted to the history of the Commonwealth. He has authored four books: Beyond the Reservation: Indians, Settlers, and the Law in the Western Territory (Oklahoma University Press); On-the-Road Histories – Kentucky (interlink Press); Cecelia and Fanny: The Remarkable Friendship Between an Escaped Slave and Her Former Mistress (University Press of Kentucky); and, most recently, The Most Hated Man in Kentucky: The Lost Cause and the Legacy of Union General Stephen Burbridge (University Press of Kentucky). Brad is currently an independent research scholar, focusing primarily on Nineteenth-Century Kentucky. He lives in Louisville.

From Your President – Kent M. Brown

When I was a student at Centre College from 1967 to 1971, I would often drive to Lexington to attend meetings of the Kentucky Civil War Roundtable. On some occasions, I was accompanied by Phillip Norris “Army” Armstrong, a member of the roundtable. Born at Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1898, Army played football at Centre from 1918 to 1921. Alternating between positions of tackle and halfback through the 1921 season, Army was playing halfback and also serving as team captain on October 29, 1921.

On that historic day, Centre played undefeated Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts before a record crowd of nearly 60,000 fans. Harvard was the reigning National College Football Champion, having won their fourth National Championship in a row in 1920. They had defeated Centre 31-14 in1920, overcoming a Centre halftime lead of 14 to 7.

Before playing Harvard in 1921, Centre had already racked up victories over Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Xavier. The 1921 game was scoreless until the third quarter. It is said that teammate Red Roberts told the Centre Quarterback, Bo McMillin: “It’s time to score, ride my hump.” On the next play, McMillin sprinted thirty-two yards, outrunning three Harvard defensive backs for the only touchdown of the game. Winning 6-0. The New York Times in 2005 claimed the victory was “arguably the upset of the century in college football.” ESPN has called it “one of the biggest upsets in 130 years of college football.”

Little Centre College went on that year to beat the University of Kentucky, Auburn, Washington & Lee, Tulane, and Arizona, and was crowned the National College Football Champion, and Army Armstrong was captain of that team. Centre did lose their final game of the season on January 2, 1922, to Texas A&M 22-14 in the Dallas Dixie Classic, the predecessor to the Cotton Bowl. That game is also famous as the beginning of Texas A&M’s “12th Man” tradition.

After graduating from Centre, Army played professionally with the Milwaukee Badgers of the National Football League alongside his friend and Centre teammate, Bo McMillin. He then coached at Centenary College of Louisiana with McMillin. Later, Army coached Carroll University in Wisconsin for eight seasons, and then became athletic director for Carroll University.

Army Armstrong retired to Danville, Kentucky. He not only made history on the gridiron, but also loved history and was a lifelong student of it. Army loved the Roundtable and served on the Executive Committee for many years. His Centre College friend, Dr. Hambleton Tapp, was the roundtable’s first and longest-serving Secretary. Army and his wife of many years died in Danville on the same day, October 11, 1981.

Administrator’s Report – Susie Morton

Season’s Greetings Members! I wish you the Blessings of the Season and a Healthy and Happy New Year.

I recently sent reminder invoices to those who have outstanding dues balances. Please get your payments into me by December 31st to take advantage of the discount. As always you can pay online, by check, or by credit card.

We have had such success with prepayment for meals and guest fees that we will continue that moving into 2022. This eliminates the lines and makes it much easier for me to get everyone checked in so that I get to enjoy the meal and presentation like you do! Thanks so much for your cooperation. I really do appreciate it.

I hope you enjoy the new format for our Newsletter. We encourage you to share your stories or pictures with our editor, Alan Denny. Be sure to let Alan or me know how you like the changes. We need your feedback. See you at the next meeting!

Member News & Notes

In memory of William Deehan

  • The Executive Board voted to designate Board Member, Treasurer, and Former President, Jack  Cunningham, as an Honorary Member. The Board thanks you Jack, for your many years of support for the KY Civil War Round Table.
  • Our September speaker, Sam Hood, graciously waived his fee for his Presentation. For his generosity, the Executive Board voted to make him an Honorary Member of the KY Civil War Round Table. Thank you, Sam!
  • We are taking nominations for Board Members. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Bill Swinford (contact info below)


The Kentucky Civil War Round Table is the largest in the nation in terms of membership. Membership is open to all. Membership fees entitle you to attend five dinner meetings per year in January, March, May, September, and November (each member must pay for his/her own dinner) and the KY Civil War Roundtable newsletters, as well as access to special events.