RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ)-Richmond resident David Saylor says, “I have family, my parents are buried here in the Richmond Cemetery. So it means a lot to me what goes on here in the cemetery.”
David Saylor also has relatives who fought in the Civil War on both sides buried in Eastern Kentucky. But he feels closer to them now being able to honor them at home.
“We are quick to forget those who gave their lives overseas and we should not be quick to not forget those who gave their lives here on American soil. Many of which were buried in Richmond, here in the Richmond Cemetery.”
Madison County Historian Phillip Seyfrit keeps that memory alive every year as a reenactor.
He asks, “Is it hot, yes? But they didn’t know anything else.They don’t have air-conditioning at the time.”
Seyfrit says the Union and Confederate soldiers were evenly matched in number, about 7,000 men on either side, but the Union Army lacked the same discipline.
“They were extremely inexperienced. Most of them were from Indiana, a little bit from Ohio, a little bit from Kentucky and Michigan. But they had not been in the service for only two weeks and they really got a baptism by fire here.”
A bitter Union defeat, some say one of the worst Union defeats in the Civil War.
Only 500 soldiers got away, more than 4,000 Union soldiers sold as paroles to the Confederate Army.
Saylor says, “It was American blood spilled on our own soil. But it was something both sides believed strongly in that they would go to war against each other. It’s something that we need to remember and continue not to forget.”
While there are about 100 confederate soldiers buried in the Richmond cemetery now, during the time of the actual battle many of the graves weren’t here giving them room to fight. About 100 Union soldiers also lost their lives. They’ve since been moved to Camp Nelson.