The Battle of Munfordville, Kentucky

Buckeye Bill

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The Battle of Munfordville (Battle of Green River) was an engagement in Kentucky during the American Civil War. Victory there allowed the Confederates to temporarily strengthen their hold on the region and impair Federal supply lines.

In late August 1862, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's army left Chattanooga, Tennessee and marched into Kentucky. Pursued by Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell's Union Army, Bragg approached Munfordville, a station on the Louisville & Nashville Railroad and the location of the railroad bridge crossing Green River, in mid-September. Col. John T. Wilder commanded the Federal garrison at Munfordville, which consisted of three regiments behind extensive fortifications. Wilder refused Brig. Gen. James R. Chalmers's demand to surrender on September 14. Federal forces repulsed Chalmers's attacks that day, forcing the Confederates to conduct siege operations September 15 and September 16.

Late on September 16, realizing that Buell's forces were near and not wishing to kill or injure innocent civilians, the Confederates sent another demand for surrender. Wilder entered enemy lines under a flag of truce, and Confederate Maj. Gen. Simon B. Buckner escorted him to view the Confederate strength to convince him resistance was futile. Realizing the odds he faced, Wilder agreed to surrender. The formal ceremony took place the next day. With the railroad and bridge, Munfordville was an important transportation center, and Confederates' control hampered the movement of Federal supplies and men.

The Battle of Rowlett's Station (Battle of Woodsonville) was fought on December 17, 1861. Federal forces won this conflict and took control of the Louisville - Nashville Railroad Bridge (Battle for the Bridge). Confederate Colonel Benjamin Franklin Terry of the 8th Texas Ranger Cavalry unit was mortally wounded just north of the Rowlett's Station Train Depot. The new Texas Monument was not yet erected on our visit to this venue.

* The Civil War Trust Map.

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* Sketch of the Louisville - Nashville Railroad Bridge crossing the Green River.

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* The Louisville - Nashville Railroad Bridge Tiers over the Green River.

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* Sketch of Federal Fort Craig.

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* Modern Photo of Fort Craig (Private Property).

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* The Kentucky State Historical Marker on US 31.

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* The Anthony Woodson Farm House.

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* The Woodson Farm (The Main Battlefield).

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* The Colonel Robert Smith Monument (Sits on Louisville - Nashville Railroad Property)

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* The Kentucky State Historical Marker (Confederate Colonel Benjamin F. Terry was Mortally Wounded).

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* City of Munfordville, Kentucky American Civil War Mural.

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* Photos Courtesy of William Bechmann (2012)
 
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LoriAnn

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I got the chance to visit a couple of years ago. :smile: I believe it's right off of I-65.

I call this the Butterfly Battlefield in my head. As I walked past the farm house and under those trees, there were butterflies everywhere. You actually had to be careful as you walked to avoid stepping on them. Some of them even landed on me.

So, there I was with my butterflies, trying to figure out where the heck I was because I just stumbled upon this, and a train went by in the distance...which kinda added to the atmosphere.

It's very quiet and peaceful.
 

Buckeye Bill

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Thank you for this, Bill. I'm stickin' with you, Buddy, because I learn about so many fights through your nice photo essays and postings.

Thanks, Pat!

I love touring the famous American Civil War battlefields. But there is something special about touring the lesser known venues.

The states of Kentucky and Missouri contain a lot of lesser known battlefields.

One has to do more research before he or she heads out to these spots. This is where my passion and hobby turns to pure enjoyment and satisfaction.

Bill
 

Allie

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Anthony LeVillein Woodson was the first cousin of my 3rd great-grandfather, John LeVillein Woodson, who moved from Kentucky to Tennessee sometime in the 1840's and died in 1857. Thanks for sharing this, I wasn't aware of the Woodson connection to this battle or that the house was still standing. From what I'm reading this is not the original house but was built to the same plans shortly after the war, and the (separate) kitchen is original.
 

Buckeye Bill

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Anthony LeVillein Woodson was the first cousin of my 3rd great-grandfather, John LeVillein Woodson, who moved from Kentucky to Tennessee sometime in the 1840's and died in 1857. Thanks for sharing this, I wasn't aware of the Woodson connection to this battle or that the house was still standing. From what I'm reading this is not the original house but was built to the same plans shortly after the war, and the (separate) kitchen is original.

* Close Up of the Anthony Woodson Farm House Marker

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Mango Hill

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Really nice photos, specially love the mural. The surrender of Wilder was one of the most interesting and noble acts that I have found so far in my studies of the US Civil War. Turns out that Wilder went to see Buckner under a flag of truce to ask for his advice on what to do. Wilder was at the time lacked much military experience but trusted Buckner to give him an honest appraisal of the situation. Leaving the decision to Buckner was a rather naïve act but Buckner was unwilling to give advice. Instead, Buckner told Wilder that he should defend the fort if he thought it would help Buell but assured Wilder he was surrounded and outgunned. Wilder asked if Buckner would let him inspect the forces that encircled his, and Buckner obliged. Seeing that his little army was indeed surrounded and outgunned, Wilder made the decision to surrender. Buckner took Wilder to Bragg and surrendered the fort, the garrison, all the artillery and armaments. Source The Army of Tennessee by Stanley F. Horn.
 

Lubliner

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I was drawn particularly to 'Bullitt' who was Bragg's ambassador, or mediator sent to Wilder for the surrender. I have found reference of a Judge Bullitt in 1864 being divested of wealth and sent south from Kentucky, and I assume this was the mediator's father (?). I also found a report from 1862 where Stanton makes a remark about 'Bullitt' escaping their grasp in Kentucky. Can anyone point me in a direction for more details on this man. Thanks,
Lubliner.
 

OhioatPerryville

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How did you obtain this photo (closeup)? I thought this monument stands on private property.

Bill

P.S. How can I get some closeup photos of Fort Craig?

Hey Bill!

There is a trail from the west side that one can use to get there (black line). You leave the house area, drive south down to Rowlett's, then take a road north to the trailhead (circled in green). When I walked it a few years back it was pretty overgrown. But then you get cool pics of the bridge and monument area, so worth it. The trail area is not on private property.

As for the fort, private property, but hoping doing our tour next year we can get there.

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Championhilz

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Clinton, Mississippi
This photo is of James Smith, brother of Colonel Robert A. Smith of the 10th Mississippi Infantry who was killed at Munfordville. The photograph was taken in the Scottish marble yard with the cenotaph which he commissioned for Colonel Smith's grave in Greenwood Cemetery, Jackson, Mississippi. Robert Smith also paid for the monument to his brother that is on the Munfordville battlefield. Smith Park in downtown Jackson is named for James Smith.

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Buckeye Bill

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Great pics! I am going to add this to my list of battlefields to see.

Question of the photo of the piers. You say they are for the railroad but did you mean turnpike?

Thank you!

The piers in my photo are the old piers for the old turnpike (REVISED).

Bill

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