On June 18, 1864, during Gen. Sherman's campaign for Atlanta, Col. Louis D. Watkins, commanding the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (US), occupied LaFayette with about 450 men of the 4th, 6th and 7th Kentucky cavalry regiments (US) "to endeavor to rid the country of several guerilla bands." His headquarters were in the Court House, then in the center of the square, and his men were quartered in adjacent buildings.
On June 24th, about 3 A.M. he was attacked by Brig. Gen. Gideon J. Pillow, CSA, who, with about 1600 cavalry (CS) was moving to North Georgia to burn the railroad bridges over Chickamauga Creek and harass Gen. Sherman's communications.
Although surprised, Watkins' men barricaded their quarters and fought stubbornly: but without water, and with ammunition running low, their plight was becoming desperate when, about 8:30 A.M., relief arrived. Escaping the Confederate encirclement, one of the Union pickets had ridden for help and, at Rock Springs Church (8 miles N), he had found the 4th Kentucky Mounted Infantry (US), Col. John T. Croxton, encamped for the night.
Riding hard to LaFayette, Croxton surprised in turn Pillow's heavily engaged force and stampeded many of their horses. Uncertain of Croxton's strength, and with his own ammunition depleted, Pillow abandoned the attack and withdrew.
Losses: (US) 4 killed, 7 wounded, 53 captured: total 64.
(CS) 24 killed, 53 wounded, 78 captured: total 155