Most Endangered Battlefields 2010
Richmond, KY - August 29-30, 1862
IN AUGUST 1862, Confederate Maj. Gen. Kirby Smith’s newly-dubbed “Army of Kentucky” – a bearded, shoeless band of rough-looking soldiers – marched north in the soaring heat, into the rich bluegrass region of Kentucky. In Richmond, Smith encountered a hastily-formed Union force under Maj. Gen. William Nelson.
The ensuing battle became one of the most decisive and complete Confederate victories of the Civil War. After skirmishing on August 29, Smith launched a concerted attack on the Union right flank the next day. Union troops made several, futile stands, but were ultimately routed, retreating toward Louisville in disarray. The Union lost more than 5,300 of its 6,500 troops engaged. The Confederates suffered fewer than 500 casualties from their force of 6,800. The outcome was the virtual annihilation of Union strength in central Kentucky. For the Confederates, the way north stood open.
Since 2001 the Battle of Richmond Association has done tremendous work protecting land associated with the first and second phases of the battle, near Kingston and along Duncannon Road, and interpreting it for visitors, while simultaneously increasing local interest in the site. However, future preservation efforts will be complicated by the addition of a new highway interchange off of Interstate 75 near the battlefield.
Since residential and commercial development tend to follow established transit lines, the new roadway has opened the possibility of significant commercial growth in an area that had previously experienced little such pressure. Already, tracts that may have been potential opportunities for future preservation have been subdivided, and for sale signs have begun to appear, advertising the region’s desirability for commercial enterprises.
CWSAC has classified Richmond as a Priority II, Class B battlefield.