Battle of Sacramento, Kentucky

Photos/text courtesy of Richard Edling, Philadelphia, PA
For any use of these photos contact

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1. Battle of Sacramento, KY
2. Sacramento, Kentucky - Wikipedia
3. Sacramento, Kentucky

Battle of Sacramento, Kentucky
Confederate forces, under Lt. Col. Nathan Bedford Forrest, were active in the Green River area during the fall and winter of 1861. They were protecting the Confederate base and capital at Bowling Green and trying to maintain control of the Green River and the surrounding area, a long time source of food for the lower South. Ten thousand Union soldiers under General Thomas Crittenden were stationed in Calhoun protecting Lock and Dam No. 2 and maintaining the security of the Union’s Ohio River supply lines as the campaign for control of the Mississippi was developing. Control of the Green River was crucial to both Union and Confederate goals during the maneuvering for position in late 1861. This made McLean County a focal point for both sides. On Dec. 27, 1861, Forrest assembled a force of some 300 men in Greenville to scout Union positions in the farming country between there and Calhoun. Union Major Eli Murray, only 18 years old, led a scouting party out of Calhoun to reconnoiter the area around Sacramento. The two forces collided on December 28, with Forrest emerging the victor, in what came to be known as the Battle of Sacramento. The Union forces reported 11 killed and 40 missing, while Forrest lost only 2 men. Confederate success was fleeting, however, and by February, they had withdrawn from Bowling Green and conceded control of the Green River valley to the Union - losing access to one of the South’s traditional sources of food.


(October 2008) Tour Stop-1, Greenville/Muhlenberg County Courthouse
On December 27, 1861, Forrest assembled his forces at the courthouse in Greenville, the county seat of Muhlenberg County. Forrest gathered nearly 300 men for a march toward Rumsey the following day. In Greenville, Forrest was joined by Captain W. S. McLemore’s 40 man unit, James W. Starnes’ Eighth Tennessee Cavalry and Captain Ned Merriweather’s First Kentucky Cavalry. That night Adam R. Johnson and Robert Martin were sent to scout the area for Union forces that might have crossed the Green River. The morning of the 28th, Forrest’s troops rose early and obtained breakfast and lunch for their carry sacks at the farm of a Southern sympathizer just north of Greenville. Forrest moved his men north toward Rumsey where they met Martin and Johnson eight miles outside of Greenville. The scouts reported sighting a Union force just south of Sacramento. Forrest pressed his forces quickly toward the small village of Sacramento, located nine miles south of Calhoun

(October 2008) Enlarge Marker at the court house



(October 2008) Enlarge Marker at the court house

(October 2008) Enlarge Modern court house


(October 2008) Tour Stop-3.
Tour Stop-2 (South Carrollton site) not photographed, under development
Near here, Forrest and his troops met scouts Adam Johnson and Robert Martin. They warned Forrest of the Union troops in Sacramento. Forrest hurried to Sacramento to engage the Union troops before they moved on - displaying what became his characteristic aggressiveness. Closer to Sacramento he met Molly Morehead, who gave him more precise information about the Union troops


(October 2008) Enlarge View from Tour Stop-3

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