Historical Marker #2603 remembers The US Civil War battle of Saratoga and the Saratoga Methodist Church located in Lyon County, Kentucky.
When the United States Civil War broke out in April 1861, Kentucky, while a slave state, remained in the Union. But in an attempt to keep Kentucky out of the war, the state officially declared neutrality when Governor Magoffin and the Kentucky General Assembly passed declarations of neutrality on May 20, 1861. Kentucky’s neutrality would not last long, on September 4, 1861 the town of Columbus, Ky. was occupied by the Confederate Army. On September 6, 1861, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for Confederate troops to leave Kentucky; soon after, Kentucky declared their allegiance to the Union ending their status of neutrality.
On October 26, 1861 300 Union soldiers faced off in battle against 160 Confederate soldiers from the First Kentucky Cavalry at Saratoga Springs Methodist Church in Lyon County, Ky. The battle was presumably related to the Confederate Army’s attempts to secure locations in Kentucky along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Ultimately the Confederate soldiers were defeated at the Battle of Saratoga. By mid-1862 the Union Army had control over the majority of Kentucky and remained in control of the state until the war ended in April 1865.
Saratoga Spring Methodist Church survived the Battle of Saratoga and the Civil War. Today the church stands where it did in 1861. Evidence of it’s history can still be seen as there is a bullet hole from the skirmish on the east side of the church.
The Battle of Saratoga
The confrontation at Saratoga was
one of the earliest Civil War
actions in Kentucky. On Oct. 26,
1861, 300 Union soldiers
surprised 160 Confederate recruits
stationed here, which resulted in
7 CSA deaths & 3 Union injuries.
Lyon County saw clashes between
Union & Confederate forces and
CSA-aligned guerrillas until the
end of the Civil War.
Saratoga United Methodist Church
Saratoga Methodist Church was
established in 1822 in a log
structure. It was later replaced
in 1859 by a contemporary edifice.
It is thought to be one of the
oldest churches, and the only one
to serve as a scene of a Civil War
battle, in Lyon County. The
clapboard on the east side of the
church has a bullet hole from
The marker was dedicated on September 29, 2019.
Source: Craig, Berry and Todd Hatton. “Kentucky Civil War Dispatch – First Blood.” WKMS. WKMS, Kentucky Civil War Dispatch. March 30, 2020. https://www.wkms.org/post/kentucky-civil-war-dispatch-first-blood#stream/0.