Richmond Campaigns

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RICHMOND CAMPAIGNS. The Battle of Richmond on 29 to 31 August 1862, fought in Kentucky, was one of the most one-sided victories of the Civil War. In August 1862, Confederate Brigadier General Edmund Kirby-Smith invaded Kentucky with 21,000 troops. Leaving Knoxville, Tennessee, on 14 August and by passing the well-fortified Cumberland Gap, Kirby-Smith traveled 150 miles to Richmond, Kentucky, in two weeks. On 29 August, the Confederates were repulsed in a skirmish with Union cavalry at Rogersville, south of Richmond. Kirby-Smith pressed on and reached Richmond on 30 August. At Richmond, 6,000 Confederate troops faced a Union division of 6,500 under Major General William Nelson and Brigadier General Mahlon D. Manson. The Union soldiers were new recruits who had never experienced combat. The Confederates easily drove the Union force back on 30 August. The Union lost 206 killed, 844 wounded, and 4,303 captured. Additionally, the Confederates captured all of the Union wagon trains and supplies, nine pieces of artillery, and ten thousand small arms. The Confederates lost only 78 killed and 372 wounded. The victory at Richmond allowed Kirby-Smith to secure complete control over central Kentucky until early October. He periodically ordered cavalry raids into Louisville and Covington, Kentucky, just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. Kirby-Smith's victory threw Cincinnati into a panic, with Richmond being only seventy-five miles south of this major Northern city. Businesses were shut down and citizens were impressed to construct fortifications. Major General Lew Wallace arrived to declare martial law in Cincinnati out of fear that Southern sympathizers in Ohio might rise. Kirby-Smith advanced to Richmond in conjunction with General Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky. The Confederates intended to sway the border state to join the Confederacy. The invasion failed, however, after Major General Don Carlos Buell's Army of the Ohio fought Bragg to a bloody draw at Perryville, Kentucky, on 7 and 8 October.


Hattaway, Herman, and Archer Jones. How the North Won: A Military History of the Civil War. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983.

McPherson, James M. Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.

W. ScottThomason

See alsoCincinnati ; Civil War .