The Filson Civil War Field Institute: Kentucky Ho!
The Confederate Invasion of Kentucky: August to October 1862
By Brian R. Pollock
Join Like the Confederate soldiers in 1862, the regiment of The Filson Civil War Field Institute invaded Lexington to establish our base of operations. With many reenlisting as well as several new recruits, the third journey filled two buses for a tour of sites throughout Kentucky that related to the Fall 1862 invasion.
Kent Masterson Brown set the scene for the adventure and led our group on the same ground as the soldiers in Fall 1862. Everyone returned safely after learning the details of the Invasion of Kentucky during a weekend of both rain and beautiful weather.
The institute began on Thursday evening at the old Lexington Courthouse, site of the Lexington History Museum. Ed Houlihan opened the doors to host us as Kent set the scene for the impending invasion. Sitting in the courtroom on the third floor, we saw the plans of Generals Edmund Kirby Smith and Braxton Bragg unfold. After reacquainting ourselves with old friends and meeting the new enlistees, we were ready for Friday morning.
We woke on Friday to a cold, dark morning with threatening skies. As our buses pulled up, the weather was no longer threatening; it was pouring. We quickly loaded our supplies and troops to go to our first stop, Camp Dick Robinson. After seeing where the first Union troops were mustered we departed to Mill Springs Battlefield. The group piled out of the buses amidst the raindrops to hear the story of General Felix Zolliecoffer and the Zollie Tree. We found safe harbor at The Harbor Restaurant & Tavern at Lee’s Ford Marina. The warm vittles revitalized us as we overlooked Lake Cumberland. Unfortunately, as with the soldiers before us, we had to press on and after lunch we forged back out in the rain. Our next stop came at the Battle of Richmond and even with the rain, we still disembarked to learn the details of Kirby Smith’s movements as we retraced the steps around Herndon Farm. Our final stop for the Battle of Richmond came at the cemetery where we learned of the last attacks on Richmond. Wet and wiser, we were ready for something to fortify us for Saturday. Betsy Bulleit of Bulleit Bourbon greeted us with a warm fire and a splendid meal at the Idle Hour Country Club. We finished the meal with a Bourbon Tasting, a hint of what fortified Ben Cheatham at Perryville. We returned to the Campbell House to bivouac for the evening with the hope of a great day on Saturday.
Saturday morning broke with a light rain that ended as we headed for Munfordville. With the dry weather, came the cold wind. The troops once again braved the elements to learn about the Battle of Munfordville and Braxton Bragg’s movements and victory. Lunch came at the Old Talbott Tavern as we prepared ourselves for the Battle of Perryville. With the wind whipping around us, we could almost imagine the conditions on the field and understand how Don Carlos Buell could have missed the noise of the battle. Even after conquering the field, we, as with Bragg, had to retreat to Lexington for the end of the tour.
On the final day, the largest group yet returned for burial detail at the Lexington Cemetery. The band scoured the grounds in search of the numerous graves of Confederate and Union soldiers. We saw both the men who gave their lives during the conflict and those who survived to continue on, even becoming important figures in Kentucky’s government. The corps disbanded that morning with the promise of reuniting at Vicksburg to battle again and explore the history of the Civil War.
Continuing on the success of this institute, The Filson will embark again on April 12-15, 2007 to discover the battlefields and important sites associated with the Campaign and Siege of Vicksburg. We hope you will be able to enlist with our regiment of The Filson Civil War Field Institute and traipse through the pages of history in the landscapes of the Western Theater. Remember that the perfect gift for your Civil War enthusiast would be to send them on this institute. Details for the trip are available on our website at www.filsonhistorical.com •
The Filson Historical Society