Wednesday, September 19, 2018


View from Hilltop Cemetery
On September 27th, 1862, a small but vicious fight occurred in Augusta, Kentucky, as a portion of the Second Kentucky Cavalry, under Basil W. Duke, attacked the Bracken County Home Guards, some of whom had served at Cynthiana two months prior.  Duke was planning on crossing the Ohio River and raiding towards Cincinnati.  The home guards were successful in keeping the Confederates from crossing, but the town suffered the same fate as Cynthiana in 1864 as twenty buildings were burned by Duke's command, resulting in the loss of $100,000 of property value ($2.4M in today's currency).

Tour stop sign
I was working on a tour of Augusta, Kentucky for the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table, but as I have moved on from that organization (something about progressing forward vs. living in the past) I have decided to contact some folks in Augusta and see about developing a Civil War organization there, one that would encompass the elements of a round table, preservation group, and events (tours), all rolled into one.  Believe it or not, there is a decent bit of Civil War history in town, and some connections to other interesting periods in American history as well.*  There could be a quarterly speaker program (besides the several Civil War folks I know who would do talks, the Kentucky Humanities organization also has several speakers that cover Civil War topics.  Augusta has a community center that looks to be suitable for these types of events, and could also be a place to hold organizational meetings.  There is already a small walking tour in place, which could be enhanced/expanded by adding more details and human interest stories, and adding a couple of stops that would cover the initial Confederate artillery position on the heights above town, the Confederate monument, and the Baker-Bird Winery as a place of refuge for some of the town's citizens.  Augusta also offers a couple of lodging options, as well as some tasty restaurants in the heart of town.  Alas, no brewery, but if I ever win the lottery....

Confederate monument in Payne Cemetery along KY 8
The Official Records has three reports, two that cover the fighting at Augusta, one the covers the action at Brooksville the next day, and two pieces of correspondence, that vaguely refer to Augusta.  Not much to go on there, but Duke himself devotes several pages in his history of Morgan's cavalry, and there are some other available snippets that include some of the details of the fighting and human interest pieces.  Might be enough to put together a small booklet/tour guide.  

*For example, Alexander W. Doniphan, who fought in the Mormon and Mexican-American Wars, leading expeditions against the Navajo and Mexicans in the latter conflict.  Doniphan graduated from Augusta College in 1824.  

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