• Augusta College Echo Hall

Battle of Augusta Tour on April 13, 2019


Basil W. Duke

Under the leadership of Darryl Smith of Cincinnati, the Augusta tourism office and local organizers will offer a full day of activities on Saturday, April 13, 2019 including tours and instructional learning areas for children. During the weekend in September, which denotes the anniversary of the Battle of Augusta on September 27, 1862, the city will present a weekend of activities - perhaps with a full reenactment. For further information, call Augusta City Hall and speak with Janet Hunt, tourism director, at 606-756-2183.


What follows below is a summary of the Battle of Augusta as contributed by Caroline Miller.


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"However, there were nearly 300 more of Duke's soldiers moving into Abraham Baker's fields of grapes behind the cemetery. When this large group appeared, Bradford ordered the gunboats to fire. With this preemptive attack, Duke ordered his mountain howitzer to return fire in the path of the gunboats. However, most shots landed short of the river and into the backyards of the homes on West Riverside Drive.


The gunboat captains quickly ordered the boats to sped upstream toward Maysville. With the town left unprotected with the only ammunition, giving the city a chance to survive, Duke ordered his men to move into the streets and open fire on the homes and businesses where shots were killing his men.


At the end of the hour's battle, the streets contained the bodies of thirty-plus dead and as many wounded. Also, Duke ordered buildings and homes set ablaze - thirty-five of them. The smoke and stench lasted for days. The prisoners taken from the town numbered between 75 and 100. Citizens were crudely attempting to put out the fires while identifying the Confederate dead who were taken to the front field at the end of Main and Fourth Streets, now the home of John and Juanita White. The mutilated and dead bodies, members of the Home Guard, were lined up in James Armstrong's store, now the Beehive Augusta Tavern, with their heads to the counter and feet into the center of the room.


Troops were organized in Higginsport, Georgetown, Ripley, and Maysville to hopefully capture Duke's men in Brooksville where he was writing pardons and had encamped that night. The Union men advanced quickly but only fired at the rear of the escaping troops. Only one Union soldier was killed in Brooksville, William Carrington of Montgomery or Bath County.


When the dust settled and identification was completed, the Confederate dead were placed in a common grave at the head of the Payne Cemetery located adjacent KY8, just west of Augusta. The local deceased were buried in their family cemeteries, Payne Cemetery, and Augusta Hillside Cemetery. The loss of buildings and houses numbered thirty-five and the loss estimated at $100,000 which is currently $2,500,000."

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