Middle Creek National Battlefield is the site of an important Union victory in the American Civil War that occurred on January 10, 1862, at a farm established sometime before 1800 by John Fitzpatrick, a Revolutionary War veteran. In this battle, Colonel James Garfield led 2,000 Union troops and encountered 2,500 Confederate troops under the command of Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall. the battle ended with relatively few casualties, but the ramifications were significant as the victory established Union control over much of Eastern Kentucky. Following the Battle of Mill Springs a week later, the Union expanded its control of the area which allowed Northern forces to proceed into Tennessee. The battlefield was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1992 and is operated by the Middle Creek National Battlefield Foundation, founded that same year. The site is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
By January of 1862, the Confederacy was trying to gain control of Kentucky. At the time Kentucky was in the Union but had plenty of support for the South within its borders. Abraham Lincoln, who was born there, recognized the need to stabilize the Union's control of the state and led the campaign to achieve this. After
the battle at Ivy Mountain over a month before, Confederate Brigadier General Humphrey
Marshall brought more men to southeast Kentucky in relation to recruitment
duties. By the beginning of January, Marshall gathered over 2,000 volunteers
along the Big Sandy River near Prestonsburg, however he could not completely
Colonel James Garfield of the Union was instructed to drive
Marshall away from the area and into Virginia. With the 18th Brigade,
Garfield sent Marshall’s men out of Paintsville to Prestonsburg. On January 10,
1862, Garfield’s men met Marshall’s after 12:00pm, who had set up west and
south of Middle Creek. The battle lasted for the majority of the afternoon,
when more Union forces came, at which point the Confederate forces decided not
to make a further attack on the Union army but instead went south. The
Confederate forces were sent to Virginia on January 24th. The
battle is thought to have ended with 92 casualties.