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James E Rankin.jpg

James Edwin Rankin, I August 13, 1810 - July 24, 1864) was a citizen of Henderson Kentucky who was attacked and injured during a Confederate guerrilla raid. The raid initiated the execution of Charles W. Thompson and Pierman Powell, two Confederate prisoners of war who had nothing to do with the attack. They were executed due to General Order 59, issued by General Stephen Burbridge.

Burbridge's Order stated for every guerrilla attack on Union soldiers or Union sympathizers, up to four Confederated prisoners would be executed at or near the place of the guerrilla attack.

Rankin, though gravely injured, attempted to save the two men, writing a letter to stop their execution, but they were executed anyway. Rankin died a few days later, on July 24, 1864, from his injuries.

He was buried in Fernwood Cemetery in Henderson, Kentucky.