Forrest Reconnoitered

Historic marker #665 in McLean County relates the reconnaissance mission Confederate Colonel Nathan B. Forrest led into the area.

In the fall of 1861, Federal troops, led by Brigadier General Thomas L. Crittenden, took position in Calhoun. The Union men hoped their position would help stop the Confederate forces building in Bowling Green, approximately seventy miles to the southeast. In late November 1861, Forrest set out with troops to Greenville, Kentucky, to secure arms and equipment. Then, the Confederates travelled to Madisonville. From there, a small group of Forrest’s troops scouted out for Union troops near Ashbyburg, Kentucky. Upon reaching the area they determined that the Federals had moved on to Calhoun. The Confederates reported back to Forrest the numbers and strength of Crittenden’s Union troops camped near Calhoun.

This reconnaissance mission led to the later Battle of Sacramento. Occurring on December 28, 1861, this battle was fought between Forrest and Union Major Eli Murray’s troops. Confederate cavalry secured a victory by using the element of surprise and tactfully dividing their forces to surround Union troops. The Battle of Sacramento proved to be Forrest’s first significant victory.

The back side of this marker shows a map of the raids made by Confederates throughout Kentucky during the Civil War. Marker #665 was installed on June 24, 1964 in Calhoun on KY 81.