The Battle of Middle Creek

About two months after the Battle of Ivy Mountain, the Confederate under Brigadier General Marshall returned to recruit new soldiers in the Paintsville area of Johnson County. The U.S. troops under Colonel James Garfield from Louisa in Lawrence County caused the Confederates to withdraw to Floyd County. There the two forces engaged near the mouth of Middle Creek south of Prestonsburg on 10th January 1862. The U.S. force attacked in early afternoon and the Confederates retired southward en route back to Virginia. Some sources call this the first U.S. victory in the war. Colonel Garfield was promoted to Brigadier General. Several years later, he would be elected President of the United States.

Pine Grove Kentucky Weather
10 January 1862
During the
Battle of Middle Creek

January 1862 wasn't a good month for military actions, according to Dr. Samuel D. Martin, the Smithsonian Institute observer at Pine Grove in Clark County. He reported that January was a bad month for any kind of outdoor activity. He recorded twenty-two days of rain or snow allowing for only twenty hours of sunshine for the entire month and little farm work. However, the weather hadn't prevented Confederate Brigadier General Marshall from recruiting in eastern Kentucky from his base in Paintsville in Johnson County. The U.S. troops from Louisa in Lawrence County advanced to expel them. Their movement south of Prestonsburg was slowed by streams that were swollen with runoff from the frequent rain, sleet, and snowmelt of early January. The Friday morning of 10 January 1862 was a mild 52°F and a mist was falling. There wouldn't be enough rain to measure during the day but the clouds continued. Shortly after noon, the battle was joined near the mouth of Middle Creek in Floyd County. By then, the temperature had only risen to 58°F with southwest winds. By evening, the Confederate forces retired southward, perhaps hampered by bad road conditions. As they withdrew, there was rain on the 11th and 12th, an inch of snow on the 13th, sleet on the 14th and a mix of rain, sleet, and snow on the 15th. The Confederates probably had not enjoyed this version of Kentucky's January weather.