On June 8, 1863, Benjamin R. Haley and his son James enlisted for one year of service in the 45th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry. The 45th was organized in the summer of 1863 as a battalion (four companies) whose purpose it was the protect the Virginia front and the counties of eastern Kentucky. On October 10, the 45th was upgraded to a regiment in Ashland. At that time, Haley was made captain of Company B, while son William A. Haley was made second lieutenant.
“During the early part of 1864 the regimental headquarters were at Mt. Sterling, Ky., from which point the 45th was continually employed in constant and arduous duty, covering the entire Virginia front from Cumberland Gap to Louisa, and keeping in check, by ceaseless activity, the rebel cavalry command concentrated in and about Abingdon, Va.,” according to Union Regiments of Kentucky.
In March of ’64, the 45th moved its headquarters further north to Flemingsburg, Kentucky. Haley, perhaps wishing to remain closer to his home in Wayne County, resigned on March 17, 1864. William absented himself from command at Prestonsburg, Kentucky, on April 24, 1864 while on the march to Saltville, Virginia. James A. was mustered out on December 24, 1864 at Catlettsburg.
On April 8, 1864, John Bowen, a resident of Buffalo Shoals, wrote West Virginia governor Arthur I. Boreman to request that Ben Haley be permitted to organize a company and provide more Union protection in Wayne County.
Dear Sir I wish to inform you that Mr. Morgan Garret has declined to raise a Scouting Company for this part of our county and has gone to Kentucky. Horse Stealing is Still going on here. We need a company for this part of the county very much. They have three companeys upon Sandy and I understand they are trying to get another one. I think if their are to be another company for this county it ought to be for this part of the county. I would recommend either Benjamin Haley or William Nixson for capt. of a company and I request that one of them be commisioned to raise a company as soon as possible as we need protection badly.
Governor Boreman heeded Bowman’s request. On April 28, 1864, 46-year-old Ben Haley organized an Independent Company of Scouts for Wayne County. Some 25 men enlisted at Ceredo to serve in Captain Ben Haley’s Company for twelve months. “The members of my com were organized and Sworn in to the Servis by Abel Segar Esq the only Justice of the Peace that is in the County that will attempt to Edecute his office,” Haley wrote to the governor. On May 7, he requested 25 hats, 25 pairs of boots, 25 woolen blankets, 25 rubber blankets, 25 haversacks, 50 flannel shirts, fifty pairs of drawers and fifty pairs of stockings. He also requested 25 Colt rifles, 4000 bullet cartridges, 25 bayonet scabbards, 25 waist belts, 12 screw drivers and two ball screws, among other items. On May 10, Haley took his oath of office and then signed an oath of allegiance to the United States of America on the following day.
On June 6, Haley wrote Governor Boreman:
Sir I have the Honor of reporting the condition of my co of Independent Scouts for Wayne Co West Va. We are in Camp at present in Ceredo. The men in good condition except 3 cases of sickness disserrtions non captured two rebels prisoners one of Rebel Witcher command & the other of Jenkins turned over to the post at Catllesburg Ky please instruction what to be don with Sick also what is to be don with capturd property horses guns in consequence of the U.S. Troops being Sent to the front we are very much trobled with Strong bands of gurillas which prevents our Scouting very far in the county notwithstanding we have Scouted considerable & have lost no man I think in my next months report I shall be able to give a good account of the Service of my men as they are brace & hardy. Men all Suplied with arms in good condition.