By Frank Kourt
(Editor's Note: This is the first of three stories about upcoming events marking the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Richmond and the Civil War Sequecentennial.)
Register staff report
As the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Richmond approaches, a number of local events are on the horizon marking the Civil War Sequencentennial.
A historical marker will be unveiled Saturday at 11 a.m., on the spot near Mt. Zion Christian Church where a Michigan artillery was positioned during the battle.
A dedicatory service will be conducted at the church, 830 Battlefield Memorial Highway US 421), just south of Richmond.
This is the second marker placed by a state on the battlefield and the first by a Union state. A Texas marker in 2009 was the first to be erected.
Mt. Zion church is about 50 yards north of the initial spot where portions of Battery F & G of the 1st Michigan Light Artillery deployed on the morning of August 30, 1862.
These batteries fired the first significant shots of the action on August 30th. The church was damaged by Confederate artillery fire during this phase of the battle.
The bronze Michigan marker is 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It is the largest marker the Michigan Historical Commission produces.
The project was funded entirely by private donations, with several Civil War roundtables and other historical groups pooled their resources to finance this project.
“A number of Civil War roundtables from Michigan visited Kentucky in the spring of 2010 and saw the need to honor the Federal artillerymen from Michigan that fought at Richmond,” said Phillip Seyfrit, Madison County Historic Properties director. “They decided to make a difference, and have.”
The Battle of Richmond pitted raw Federal soldiers under Major General William “Bull” Nelson against experienced Confederate troops under Major General Edmund Kirby Smith. All of the Federal artillery (eight guns) were from Michigan. The Confederates swept the Federals into a complete rout after a day long battle in 95 degree and above heat. The region was also griped by a severe drought, which made conditions nearly intolerable.
The Battle of Richmond is regarded by most Civil War scholars as one of, if not the, most complete victories one side had over the other during the entire war.
The Michigan Historical Commission was established in 1955, and erected their first marker later that year.
Michigan has only two others historical markers in Kentucky, and both highlight Civil War action. Perryville had infantry, artillery and cavalry from Michigan, and Tebb’s Bend, in Taylor County, had Michigan infantry engaged against Confederate cavalry, many of which were from Madison County (11th Kentucky Confederate).
For more details, call the Battle of Richmond Visitors Center at 624-0013.