JOHN HUNT MORGAN DIDN'T DO IT ALL; COUNTY HOLDINGS - GALLATIN THROUGH GREENUP
(c) 1997 by Sandi Gorin
I recently saw an article reprinted from the Paducah Sun-Democrat -
not dated. But thought it might be of interest to the readers. This was
reprinted in an Edmonson Co KY quarterly entitled "Echoes From Edmonson
County" by by Kathie Rajewich:
"Confederates Torched a Dozen .. 22 Courthouses Burned in Kentucky During
the Civil War." Written by Hall Allen.
"Twenty-two Kentucky Courthouses were burned during the Civil War - 19
of them in the last 15 months of the conflict.
"The Kentucky Historical Highway Marker Program, under the direction
of W. A. Wentworth, Frankfort, has just finished placing markers of the
"One side of the marker tells of the buring at athat paraticular
place, and the other contains a map of Kentucky, showing the locations of
all the burnings.
"The greatest 'courthouse burning spree' was conducted by Gen. Hylan
B. Lyon, a native of Eddyville. He invaded Kentucky with 800 men in
December, 1864, to recruit Confederate soldiers, securing supplies and
divert forces from the defense of Nashville which was under attack.
"With Confederate fortunes fading rapidly, Lyon found recruiting
slow, and he undertook to enforce the Confederate Draft Law. In several
towns he conscripted all able-bodied men and put them under oath to join
him on Jan. 20. Later he complained bitterly that all failed to show up
"Lyon's forces entered the state about Dec. 12th, and promptly burned
the Christian County courthouse at Hopkinsville. As in most cases, he
allowed officials to remove their records. After commandearing clothing
and other supplies, he moved tdo Cadiz on Dec. 13.
"The Trigg County courthouse there was occupied by Union soldiers who
fled as the Confederate forces advanced. They left behind one soldier who
was too ill to travel. A member of Lyon's command promptly decided the
soldier was suffering from smallpox, shot him on the spot, and burned the
"The following day Lyon reached Eddyville, his home town. He routed
the Union troops but spared the courthouse because it was across the
street from his home and a member of his family was reported to be ill in
"The other courthouses burned by Lyon and his men:
CALDWELL COUNTY: Lyon and his forces arrived at Princeton on Dec. 15
whre, as the general said in a report, "I burned the courthouse and
annoyed the people."
HOPKINS COUNTY: At Madisonville, on Dec. 17, Lyon's men burned the
courthouse and conscripted a number of men who failed to join him later.
OHIO COUNTY: On Dec. 20, Lyon's forces captured and paroled a group
of Union soldiers quartered in the courthouse at Hartford. Then he burned
GRAYSON COUNTY: On Christmas Eve a contingent of Lyon's forces
burned the court house at Leitchfield.
TAYLOR COUNTY: The courthouse at Campbellsville was burned Christmas
Day. By this time desertions had reduced his forces to about 250 men and
Lyon started moving out of the state to rejoin Gen. Nathan Bedford
CUMBERLAND COUNTY: The Lyon raids ended at Burkesville on Jan. 3,
with the burning of the courthouse, robbery of stores and seizure of the
houses. Lyon then moved south to Alabama.
"Other courthouses burned during the Civil War:
BRECKINRIDGE COUNTY: On Dec, 28, 1864, guerillas burned the
courthouse at Hardinsburg but citizens saved the records and a part of the
MARION COUNTY:The County Clerk's office at Lebanon was burned July 5,
1863, by Gen. John Hunt Morgan, to destroy treason indictments against
some of his men.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY: Confederate cavalrymen burned the Mt. Sterling
courthouse Dec. 2, 1863, to prevent its use as a Union garrison.
POWELL COUNTY: In the spring of 1863 guerrillas burned the courthouse
and other buildings at Stanton.
HARLAN COUNTY: In October, 1863, the courthouse at Harlan was burned
for reprisal for the burning of the Lee County, Va. courthouse.
DAVIESS COUNTY: Courthouse at Owensboro burned by guerrillas on Jan.
4, 1865, while it was being occupied by Union troops.
LARUE COUNTY: The courthouse at Hodgenville was burned by guerrillas
on Feg. 21, 1865. It had been used by Union soldiers as barracks.
BATH COUNTY: On March 21, 1864, Union troops fled the courthouse at
Owingsville as a Confederate force approached. An overheated stove
started a fire, destroying the building.
MONROE COUNTY: The courthousse and other buildings at Tompkinsville
were burned by Confederates on April 22, 1863, in reprisal for burning in
Celina, Tenn. by Union forces.
CLINTON COUNTY: The courthouse at Albany was burned by guerrillas
late in 1864.
CRITTENDEN COUNTY: The courthouse at Marion was burned by guerrillas
in January, 1865.
ROWAN COUNTY: The courthouse at Morehead was burned by guerrillas
March 21, 1864."