Contrary to modern belief, the January 10th, 1862 Battle of Middle Creek was not fought on the rolling fields of the Fitzpatrick Farm but on the rough hillsides and forests that overlooked them. Between 2,000 and 3,000 men fought until sundown; the Union trying to claw its way up the rocky hillsides while Rebel forces struggled from the hill tops to force them off the mountain, into the creek, and out of Prestonsburg. Each side labored to gain sufficient advantage over the other to declare victory until hunger, measles, and dysentery ultimately drove the ragged Confederate army from the ridge top up the Left Fork of Middle Creek to the safety of Virginia. The Union, desperate for any news of success, proclaimed Middle Creek a glorious victory to lift the moral of Union troops and civilians; transforming the unknown Union Commander James Garfield into a war hero who would latter become president of the United States.
On Saturday, January 5th and Sunday January 6th the Friends of Middle Creek and the Friends of May House will again partner to commemorate this watershed in Eastern Kentucky’s History. On Saturday, January 6th, Michael Warrix will lead a contingent of volunteers from several different states and reenactement units from the site of the Garfield House (The First Commonwealth Building) to the ridge top defended by Confederate troops so long ago. Troops will muster at the First Commonwealth parking lot where they will march up US 114 to the Battlefield and up the mountain top to map surviving artifacts of the Confederate defense. Afterwards they will adjourn to the farm of Floyd and Nancy Davis on the Left fork of Middle Creek for a customary dinner and encampment in quarters with the Davis family.
On Sunday, January 6th at 1:00 PM, The Friends of Middle Creek will conduct a service commemorating the 151 year of the Battle of Middle Creek with honor guards firing from both the top of the ridge and the Battlefield. At 2:00, the Friends will adjourn to the May House where Old Christmas will be celebrated with a special emphasis on introducing children to the legacy of the May Plantation and the games and traditions of Eastern Kentucky’s Christmases in the 1800’s.
If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Debbie Manuel at 606 886 0170 or Patrick Davis at 606 949-6433.