Madison County, KY | Aug 29 - 30, 1862
In August 1862, Maj. Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith’s Army of Kentucky with 6,500 Confederates operated in eastern Kentucky in support of Gen. Braxton Bragg’s invading Army of Mississippi. Bragg and Smith sought to support pro-Confederate political forces in the Union-held border state and to seek out new recruits. Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne’s division led Smith’s force as they advanced toward Richmond, Kentucky. Near there, on the morning of August 29, they met elements of a Union division under Maj. Gen. William “Bull” Nelson. Cleburne’s Confederate cavalry clashed with Union infantry but were pushed back. Fighting for the day stopped after pursuing Union forces briefly fought with Cleburne’s infantry in late afternoon. That night, Nelson ordered reinforcements into the fight. On the morning of August 30, Cleburne attacked the Union battle line near Zion Church. As the day progressed, additional troops joined both sides. Following an artillery duel and a Rebel attack on the Union right, the Yankees gave way. Nelson rallied some troops in Richmond but most of his men were routed. Nelson and a few men escaped but the Rebels captured around 4,000 Yankees. Smith went on the capture Frankfort on September 2, the only Federal state capital to fall during the entire war.