(1) Encampment at Bobtown
August 29, 1862
Gen. Patrick R. Cleburne's division, vanguard of Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith's infantry, left Barbourville on August 23, 1862, the same day that Confederate Col. John Scott defeated Col. Leonidas Metcalfe on Big Hill. Barbourville's strong Union sentiment and lack of supplies in the countryside mad the Confederates anxious to move on.
The division, two brigades composed of eight regiments of infantry and two four-gun artillery batteries, marched out of Barbourville. Cleburne rode in front, leading Gen. Benjamin Jefferson Hill's brigade of Tennessee and Arkansas infantry. A brigade of Tennessee infantry commanded by Col. Preston Smith followed.
Hill's brigade reached Bobtown late on August 29, 1862. Col. Scott met Cleburne and reported that he had the Confederate front "well picketed."
Cleburne, apparently not comfortable with Scott's cavalry as his first line of defense, rearranged his infantry.
Cleburne pushed Hill's line north of the Bobtown intersection and placed his infantry along the high ground on either side of the Old State Road (US 421). Pickets were placed in front of the main line.
The men "slept on their arms," in line of battle with their weapons at hand, unaware that Union Col. Leonidas Metcalfe's cavalry unit was mowing toward them.
"Still feeling uneasy about our situation, with an unknown force of the enemy in our front, I determined, as a matter of precaution, to form line of battle facing the supposed direction of the enemy."
General Patrick Cleburne
(2) Engagement at Bobtown
August 29, 1862
"They sent some cavalry that night and we routed them."
Lieut. Marcus Fleishel, Douglas' Texas Battery
As late as August 29, 1862 the Union command had no idea of the size of the Confederate force south of Richmond. Was it a full-scale invasion or was it simply a cavalry raid? Col. Leonidas Metcalfe rode out to Richmond with his cavalry hoping to gain valuable information. South of Kingston the Federals encountered Col. John Scott's pickets. The Union cavalry attacked. Scott's men offered little resistance and quickly retreated south toward Patrick Cleburne's infantry.
The Union soldiers flew down the Old State Road in hot pursuit. Metcalfe, defeated by Scott at Big Hill on August 23, intended to settle the score. To his surprise, what awaited Metcalfe was not a small force of demoralized cavalry but a brigade of Confederate infantry. When Union horsemen were withing twenty-five paces the Confederates opened fire, emptying several saddles and stopping the Union advance.
The Federals dismounted and continued the attack but to no avail. Realizing that he could not win, Metcalfe ordered his men back to the Federal lines.
The Lincolnites...were allowed to approach sufficiently near to ascertain by the sound on the road something of their exact whereabouts, when skirmishers of the Forty-eighth Tennessee...were ordered to fire, throwing the cavalry into utter confusion, causing a pell-mell retreat. One of the enemy was here killed, several wounded, and three captured.
Col. Benjamin Jefferson Hill
"...firing and yelling was heard in our front, and almost simultaneously a multitude of stragglers, consisting of part of Colonel Scott's cavalry brigade...came flying in the utmost consternation, closely pursued by the whole of Colonel Metcalfe's command of United States cavalry, who were firing on them and yelling as though they were all excited with liquor."
General Patrick Cleburne
(3) Advance to Kingston
August 30, 1862
General Patrick Cleburne's two brigades encamped at Bobtown the night of August 29, At approximately 4:30 on the morning of August 30 a Confederate cavalry screen led by Captain William L. Garriott (sometimes called Garnett) of the Kentucky Buckner Guards rode north along the Old State Road. Col. Benjamin Hill's Infantry, which had been in line of battle all night, followed. Hill's brigade pushed toward Kingston, some two miles north. Preston Smith's brigade followed 500 yards behind.
The Confederate cavalry encountered Union pickets just north of Kingston at the intersection of the Irvine-Lancaster Pike (present-day US 421 and Crooksville Road). Capt. Garriott's men exchanged fire with the pickets, who quickly retreated toward Mt. Zion Church. When Capt. Garriott arrived at the intersection he saw Union infantry deploying near the small redbrick church. He quickly sent word back to Gen. Cleburne, who hurried his tow brigades forward. Cleburne deployed his artillery and began firing on the Union line near Mt. Zion Church.
The Battle of Richmond had begun.