On 16 September 1861, a Confederate force of about 800 was sent by Brigadier General Zollicoffer to destroy Camp Andrew Johnson at Barbourville in Knox County. Since the summer, U.S. recruits had been given training there. The Confederates found that the U.S. recruits had been evacuated and only a small Home Guard remained. The Home Guard under Captain Black was quickly dispersed and the Confederates destroyed the camp.
August had been a rather wet month but by September the frequency and amount of rainfall had diminished. The Smithsonian climate observer in Danville in Boyle County was Ormond Beatty, the Professor of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy at Centre College. He would become the Centre College President in 1868. But this morning, he recorded the first of three weather observations that he made each day. His records showed that the most recent rain had fallen during the night of 11 September and since then the temperature had gradually risen. At 7 a.m. on the morning of 16 September 1861, he recorded that the temperature was 70°F. The sky was only three tenths covered with stratus clouds that were moving in from the west. There were light surface winds from the southeast and the barometric pressure was 29.20 inches. By 2 p.m., the temperature had risen to 85°F and the stratus clouds had increased to cover seven tenths of the sky. The winds were still light but had shifted to come from the southwest. The barometer was falling and had reached 29.14 inches. At 9 p.m., it had cooled to 68°F and stratocumulus clouds then covered nine tenths of the sky. A light breeze continued to blow from the southwest. By the next morning, the pressure had fallen to 29.09 inches and 0.20 inch of rain had fallen during the night. It had been a beautiful fall day but perhaps not for the participants in the Battle of Barbourville in Knox County.