The Battle of Richmond


The Battle of Richmond


In 1862 General John Hunt Morgan of Lexington swept through Kentucky on a cavalry raid. The lack of opposition on the part of Union troops led General Kirby Smith of the Confederate Army to decide to invade Kentucky, which was still in the Union. And so, in August of 1862 Smith crossed out of Tennessee through Cumberland Gap with 12,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry.

General M.D. Manson commanded 7,000 Northern troops stationed in Richmond. In August Confederates entered Madison County where they met their first opposition and were repulsed by Union troops at Rogersville. The next day, however, the Southerners came on in force and in a ferocious battle drove the loyal troops before them. The temperature was near 100 degrees and the battle was fought through fields into the Richmond cemetery and in the streets of Richmond. The Federals made a gallant stand near Mt. Zion Christian Church, but had to give way under the Rebel assault. General John Miller of Madison County died in a house near the church after leading the U.S.A. counterattack. A cannonball stove in one side of the church-the place can still be made out among the brick. Bullets cut grooves in tombstones in the Richmond Cemetery -- which may still be seen.

General William Nelson arrived during the day to try to rally the Northern troops, but failed. The Union lost 1,000 men wounded or killed and 4,000 captured. Confederate wounded and killed numbered about 300. Forty men were buried near the Mt. Zion Church, others were treated at homes all along Big Hill Pike. In Richmond, Madison Female Institute, which stood on the hill now occupied by Madison High, was turned into a hospital. The trustees of the school filed a claim with the United States government in 1863 and 52 years later -- May 1915 -- received $5,200 for damages to the school building. Claims against the government were processed slowly in those days, too!

Shortly after the battle a Confederate unit -- the 11th Kentucky Cavalry -- was raised in Richmond, commanded by Col. David Walker Chenault, Lt. Col. Joseph T. Tucker, and Major James B. McCreary. The horsemen served under Morgan.

The Confederate army advanced on beyond Richmond, fought at Perryville and withdrew to the south, leaving Kentucky within the boundaries of the Union.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “The Battle of Richmond,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed August 19, 2018,