Skirmish at West Liberty, October 23rd,
1861—Colonel L. A. Harris’ 2nd Ohio Infantry regiment and a company of
Union cavalry, part of General “Bull” Nelson’s command, skirmish with
Captain Jack May's much smaller Morgan Guards, driving them out of Morgan
County and back to Prestonsburg.
Battle of Ivy Mountain, November 8th, 1861—Led by Captain May, three
companies of the newly-formed 5th Kentucky Infantry, C.S.A., fight a
delaying action against four Union regiments led by General “Bull” Nelson,
slowing their progress so that the main body of the 5th, under Colonel
John S. Williams, can evacuate Pikeville and fall back to Pound Gap. Union
losses are eight killed and twenty-four wounded. Confederate losses are
ten killed and fifteen wounded. For more information, click here.
Sill's Occupation of Pikeville, November 9th, 1861--With Metcalf's
Kentucky horsemen leading the way, Colonel Joshua W. Sill and several
companies of Kentucky and Ohio infantry come down Ferguson Creek and
advance on Pikeville. Along the way they exchange fire with the
Confederate horsemen who are reconnoitering their advance. When they reach
the mouth of the creek, Metcalf's men dismount, climb the hills flanking
the road, and fire upon the Confederate horsemen gathered in the town's
main street. Then Sill brings up his artillery and shells them, causing
them to retreat up the Shelby Creek road. One Union man is killed in the
action, and two Confederates are wounded. "Troops are very hungry," Sill
later reports. "All that we can get is beef. There is a mill near here,
which we will set in motion to-day, and get plenty of corn meal."
Skirmish at Tom’s Creek, January 4th, 1862—Nine hundred Union infantry
under Colonel James A. Garfield, having marched up the Big Sandy from
Catlettsburg, skirmish with one hundred Confederate cavalry sent on a
scouting expedition by Marshall, whose command occupies a fortified
position at Hager’s Farm near present-day Hager Hill, Kentucky.
Skirmish at Jenny’s Creek, January 7th, 1862—Three hundred Union cavalry
(the 2nd Virginia Cavalry under Colonel William Bolles) attack two hundred
Confederate cavalry which Marshall has posted at Jenny’s Creek, several
miles west of Paintsville, and drive them off. Six Confederates are killed
and several wounded. Union casualties are two killed and one wounded.
Battle of Middle Creek, January 10th, 1862—Eighteen hundred Union troops
under Colonel James A. Garfield fight a day-long battle with 1,950
Confederates under General Humphrey Marshall. Garfield mounts several
assaults and finally succeeds in driving one Confederate regiment from its
entrenched position. When night falls, the Confederates retreat, burning
some of their supplies and leaving their dead on the battlefield. Union
casualties are three killed and eleven wounded. Confederate casualties are
twelve killed and fourteen wounded.
Garfield's Occupation of Pikeville, February 19th, 1862--With three Union
regiments, Garfield takes possession of Pikeville and establishes his
headquarters at Ratliff Tavern, located at the south end of the town's
main street. A heavy rainfall on February 22nd causes the Levisa Fork to
flood, and on the following day Garfield writes his wife: "The house where
I am staying, which is sixty feet above the usual level of the river, is
now surrounded. A wild river roars around it on all sides. Two large
steamboats are up in the principal street of the village. Houses, stacks
of wheat and hay, gigantic trees, saw-logs, fences, and all things that
float are careening by with fearful velocity." Several days later Garfield
receives word from the War Department that he has been promoted to
Brigadier General. Since no superior officer is available, the swearing-in
ceremony is conducted by Squire Charles, a local Justice of the Peace.
Battle of Pound Gap, March 14th, 1862—Six hundred Federal infantry and one
hundred cavalry led by Brigadier General Garfield attack the Confederate
garrison at Pound Gap, consisting of five companies of Virginia State
Militia under Major J. B. Thompson. After a twenty-minute fight, the
rebels are routed and flee their fort, consisting of sixty log huts,
commissary, hospital, and officers quarters. There are no Union
casualties. Confederate casualties are seven killed and wounded.
Menifee’s Raid on Pikeville, August 2nd thru 5th, 1862—Captain Nathaniel
Menifee and his irregular band of Confederate guerrillas raid Pikeville,
skirmishing several times with the town’s home guards. Nine Union men are
killed and the rest are driven from the county. Menifee celebrates his
victory by looting John Dils’s General Store, causing the proprietor, a
well-known Union man, to flee for his life. The town’s stockyards are
looted and a large number of cattle are driven back to Virginia.
Marshall’s Invasion of Eastern Kentucky, September, 1862—Acting in concert
with armies led by Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg, Humphrey Marshall comes
through Pound Gap with Col. Robert C.. Trigg’s 54th Virginia, Col. Alfred
C. Moore’s 29th Virginia, Col. Campbell Slemp’s 64th Virginia, and Col. J.
W. Gillespie’s 43rd Tennessee. Leading the van is Brig. Gen. John S.
Williams’s 5th Kentucky Infantry. They occupy Pikeville, Prestonsburg,
Salyersville, West Liberty and other towns along the Mount Sterling-Pound
Gap Road. Following the Battle of Perryville (October 8th, 1862), Marshall
moves his army back to their base in Southwestern Virginia.
Battle of Wireman’s Shoals, December 4th, 1862—While escorting several
pushboats filled with military supplies up the Big Sandy from the Union
base at Catlettsburg to the Union outpost at Pikeville, Lt. Levi Hampton
and a small detachment of the 39th Kentucky Infantry are attacked,
surrounded, and captured by 800 Virginia Partisan Rangers under Colonel
John N. Clarkson. Union losses are 2 killed, 12 wounded, and 38 captured.
The Confederates capture 500 Enfield rifles, 7,000 rounds of ammunition,
and enough uniforms to outfit Clarkson’s entire command. After Lt. Hampton
surrenders, Clarkson’s men murder him and strip his body of its clothing.
For more information, click here.
Marshall’s Raid Through Eastern Kentucky, March-April, 1863—On March 15th,
1863, Marshall comes through Pound Gap with 1,800 mounted men, including
Col. Henry Giltner’s 4th Kentucky, Col. Thomas Johnson’s 2nd Kentucky,
Col. Ezekiel F. Clay’s 1st Kentucky, Col. Ben E. Caudill’s 11th Kentucky,
and a squadron of men under Captain G. M. Jessee. He is later joined by
Colonel Jack May and his newly-formed 10th Kentucky Cavalry. After
dispersing a Union force that has been harassing Colonel Roy Cluke’s
cavalry at Salyersville, Marshall marches to Louisa, intending to capture
Fort Bishop, but when he and his officers arrive on the scene and discover
how well-defended it is, they decide to change their plans. After this
fiasco, they move through Breathitt, Wolfe, and Owsley counties, burning
and plundering 43 Wolfe County and Owsley County farms before returning to
their base in Southwestern Virginia.
Skirmish at Smokey Valley, March 24th, 1863—Eighteen hundred Confederate
cavalry led by Marshall attack a defensive position held by 300 mounted
men of Col. George W. Gallup’s 14th Kentucky Mounted Infantry, forcing
them to fall back to Fort Bishop, the Union supply depot at Louisa. Union
losses are one killed, two wounded, and four missing. On the following
day, after inspecting the fort’s defenses with his telescope, Marshall
decides not to attack it.
Everett’s Raid through Eastern Kentucky, June, 1863—Three hundred
Confederate cavalry under Col. Peter Everett pass through Eastern Kentucky
in order to attack the Union supply depot at Maysville, where, on June
14th, they capture 50 horses, 330 rifles, and 25 pistols. On the next day,
near Olympian Springs in Bath County, they ambush Major R. T. Williams and
thirty men of the 14th Kentucky Cavalry, killing eleven and capturing
Battle of Triplett’s Bridge, June 16th, 1863—Two battalions of the 10th
Kentucky Cavalry led by Lt. Col. R. R. Maltby overtake Everett’s command
at Triplett’s Creek Bridge near Morehead in Rowan County. Maltby’s men
surround the Confederates, defeat them, and take 38 prisoners. When
DeCourcey’s 8th Michigan Cavalry arrives on the scene, mistaking Maltby’s
men for the enemy, Evertt and the rest of his men slip away and return to
their base in Russell County, Virginia.
Battle of Turman’s Ferry, January 9th, 1864—While camped for the night in
a schoolhouse near Turman’s Ferry on the Big Sandy River fourteen miles
above Catlettsburg, 75 men of the 39th Kentucky Infantry are surrounded
and attacked by 150 Confederate cavalry under Colonel M. J. Ferguson.
Awakened from their sleep, the Kentuckians flee in panic, running barefoot
into the snow and sub-zero weather. Fourteen are killed or wounded in the
attack and many others suffer frostbite.
Battle of Laurel Creek, February 15th, 1864—Colonel Gallup, leading 275
unmounted men of the 14th Kentucky Infantry and 150 mounted men of the
39th Kentucky Infantry, launch a surprise attack on Colonel M. J. Ferguson
and his 16th Virginia Cavalry, camped at the mouth of Laurel Creek in
WayneCounty, West Virginia. Ferguson is captured, along with his surgeon,
two lieutenants, and 38 privates. Confederate losses are ten killed and
several wounded. Sixteen Federal prisoners held by the Confederates are
freed, along with a large number of horses.
Clay’s Raid into Eastern Kentucky, March-April, 1864—Six hundred
Confederate cavalry under Colonel Ezekiel F. Clay come through Pound Gap
and march down the Big Sandy to Paintsville, where, on April 13th, they
encounter four companies of Gallup’s 14th Kentucky Mounted Infantry and
500 home guards. When the rebels attack the Union position, they are
repulsed, suffering two killed, two wounded, and seven captured. Clay then
sends Gallup a flag of truce, asking for time to bury his dead and exhange
prisoners. Judging Gallup’s force to be stronger than his own, Clay
decides to retreat to Salyersville.
Battle of Puncheon Creek (Half Mountain), April 14th, 1864—Colonel Gallup,
leading the 14th Kentucky Mounted Infantry under Lt. Col. Joseph R. Brown
and the 39th Kentucky Mounted Infantry under Col. David A Mims, a total of
800 men, launches a surprise attack on Colonel Clay’s 600 Confederate
cavalry while they are camped at Half Mountain on the Licking River, three
miles above Salyersville. A four-hour engagement ensues, during which
Colonel Clay is wounded in the eye and captured. Confederate losses are 60
killed and wounded and 60 captured, along with 200 horses, 400 saddles,
300 small arms, and all their tents and equipage. Union losses are one
killed and four wounded.
Morgan’s Last Kentucky Raid, June 2nd-12th, 1864— Leading 1,400 cavalry
and 800 dismounted men, Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan comes through Pound
Gap, passes down Troublesome Creek, and raids Mount Sterling, capturing
380 Union soldiers. Brig. Gen. Stephen Burbridge is leading a large
Federal force up the Big Sandy Valley, and the purpose of Morgan’s raid is
to divert Burbridge from his objective, Preston’s Saltworks at Saltville,
Virginia. At Mount Sterling Morgan’s men steal and plunder, taking $80,000
from the Farmer’s Branch Bank.
Battle of Mount Sterling, June 9th, 1864—General Burbridge and his
troopers make an extraordinary 90-mile march from the Forks of Beaver
Creek to Mount Sterling, where they launch a surprise pre-dawn attack on
Morgan’s dismounted men, trampling them as they are sleeping in their
tents. A desperate fight ensues, and the Confederates are defeated.
Confederate losses are 54 killed, 120 wounded, and 150 captured. Union
losses are 8 killed, 20 wounded, and 50 missing.
Battle of Cynthiana, June 12th, 1864—After raiding Lexington, where they
capture 2,000 horses, Morgan and his men march to Cynthiana, where, on
June 11th, they defeat and capture the town’s 400-man Union garrison. On
the following day, lacking ammunition for their rifles, they are attacked
and routed by Burbridge’s troopers, who capture their baggage train and
send them fleeing in several directions. On their way back to Virginia,
Morgan and some of his men pass through Prestonsburg, where Morgan rests
his mount and spends a pleasant hour drinking a glass of water and
chatting with local ladies on the porch of the John Graham Johns House.
Let Us Pray Our For Troops In Foreign Lands
The Civil War in Morgan County 2003
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