Battle of Augusta

Historical Marker #501 commemorates the Battle of Augusta, Kentucky. Although smaller than most battles fought that year, this action changed the course of a major military campaign.

When Confederate armies invaded Kentucky in 1862, Confederate Colonel Basil Duke's 2nd Kentucky Cavalry moved on Augusta. Duke hoped to disperse Unionist militia there before crossing the Ohio River and moving on Cincinnati.

On September 27, after driving off some Union gunboats, Duke's horsemen rode into town, expecting a quick surrender. Instead, residents mounted a stiff defense and met the Confederates with a hail of gunfire. Ultimately, hand-to-hand fighting erupted as the rebels forced their way into homes and businesses.

Duke wrote, "The hand-to-hand fighting in the houses . . . was the fiercest and hottest I ever saw. I witnessed in some of them the floors piled with corpses and blood trickling down the stairways."

Although the Confederates eventually forced the militia to surrender, the number of Southern casualties made Duke abandon his plans of taking the war onto Northern soil. Therefore, the citizens' stand at Augusta kept the Confederate invasion confined to Kentucky in 1862.

Images

Augusta College, Augusta, Kentucky.

Augusta College, Augusta, Kentucky.

On September 27, 1862, Confederate cavalry battled Unionist Home Guard at Augusta. In the fight on the town's streets, fierce hand-to-hand combat erupted and several of the town's buildings were burned. The Home Guard's defense of Augusta prevented the cavalry from finding a suitable ford across the Ohio River. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

The Ohio River at Augusta, Kentucky

The Ohio River at Augusta, Kentucky

On September 27, 1862, Confederate cavalry battled Unionist Home Guard at Augusta. In the fight on the town's streets, fierce hand-to-hand combat erupted and several of the town's buildings were burned. The Home Guard's defense of Augusta prevented the cavalry from finding a suitable ford across the Ohio River. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Upper Street, Augusta, Kentucky

Upper Street, Augusta, Kentucky

On September 27, 1862, Confederate cavalry battled Unionist Home Guard at Augusta. In the fight on the town's streets, fierce hand-to-hand combat erupted and several of the town's buildings were burned. Many of the Home Guard took cover in buildings along Upper Street in downtown Augusta. Their defense of the town prevented the cavalry from finding a suitable ford across the Ohio River. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Sanders, “Battle of Augusta,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed March 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/15.

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