Skirmish at Grubb's Crossroads - August 21, 1864 - Caldwell County Kentucky

Skirmish at Grubb's Crossroads
August 21, 1864 - Caldwell County Kentucky

On the day before the battle, Federal Forces made themselves welcome to the 10 acres of corn grown by Groves Howard about a mile from the intersection of the Hopkinsville and Madisonville Roads. Groves was well known as a Southern Sympathizer. Federal troops often made it a habit to check in regularly on Groves to see what they could “borrow”.

After the Federals and their horses had their fill of Groves’ corn, they relocated to the area nearer the crossroads into a field owned by Bayless Grubbs. This field had a history of being used by the Confederates as a training ground at the beginning of the war.

Confederate General Adam R. ”Stove Pipe” Johnson was made aware of the presence of Federal forces occupying the area around Grubbs’ Crossroads. Johnson decided to attempt to capture these Federals.

Johnson split his force of approximately 500 raw recruits, only half of them armed, into three groups to capture the Federals and secure weapons for his men. Colonel Napier would move to the rear with one-third of the force. General Johnson would be at the head of Colonel Chenoweth and the remaining forces.

On the foggy morning of the 21st General Johnson led the charge into the Federal camp. This move surprised a group of 40 – 50 Federals who took off running towards a thicket. General Johnson charged to get in front of this group and convinced them to surrender. He then ordered the group to about face and make their way to the remaining Confederate forces enroute to the camp to be held.

At the sight of armed Federals approaching through the fog, some of the raw Confederate troops fired at them not knowing they were under the escort of General Johnson. One of the shots fired by the Confederates hit General Johnson in the right eye and exited his left temple. The General had lost both eyes to this friendly fire.

Great confusion took place in the captured Federal ranks when they learned of the General’s wounds. Some of the Federals took advantage of this confusion and escaped into the nearby thicket. The remaining Federal men of honor led the General upon his horse to the rear.

When word of the General’s wounding made its way to the Federal Officers it was decided that they would now make a fight of it.

General Johnson requested that Colonel Chenoweth take command of the Confederate forces. They were to make their way across the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers.

Four Confederates and one Federal died in this action.

"Stove Pipe" Johnson, Confederate Commander

Below are pictures and text of the two Kentucky Historical Society Roadside Markers of this action. 


"Ranger Leader Blinded"
"Confederate Gen. Adam R. Johnson with 1700 Partisan Rangers were in area seeking recruits and supplies. Learning of Union troops under Gen. E. H. Hobson camped at Grubb's Cross Roads, Johnson attacked, Aug. 21, 1864. In the skirmish that followed, Johnson was wounded, losing sight of both eyes. CSA became demoralized and retreated to Paris, Tennessee."

This marker was reported missing back in the mid-1980s. The local SCV Camp, Jim Pearce Camp 2527, raised funds in 2018 to get it recast and reinstalled.



Skirmish at Grubb's Crossroads"

"Most Caldwell County Confederates enlisted in Gen. Adam Johnson's Co. K, 10th Ky. Partisan Rangers. His purpose was to gather recruits and supplies, to secure state for CSA. In August, 1864, he attacked a Union regiment here, was blinded permanently. Rangers then retreated over Cumberland and Tennessee rivers to Paris, Tenn., where they reorganized for another Ky. raid."

The local SCV Camp, Jim Pearce Camp 2527, funded the relocation and refurbishment of this marker in 2008.


The Partisan Rangers of the Confederate Army, Adam R. Johnson, 1904
The Princeton Leader, July 8, 1976





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Father, retired Firefighter

American History, no such thing as a single cause
American History, no such thing as a single cause

History is a muddy mess! If someone tells you ANY event in history happened due to one thing or issue, RUN! They are an idiot! Example 1:American Revolution. What caused it? Taxes, representation, military over reach, distance, King George? All good answers but there are hundreds more! Example 2: "Civil War" was all about slavery. Lincoln called for the invasion in 1861 yet he created West Virginia in 1863 as a NEW UNION SLAVE STATE. Many more examples are out there...

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