In southwestern Kentucky on January 10th 1862 the Battle of Middle Creek was fought, setting up the Union army for its invasion of middle Tennessee.
Confederate Brigadier General Humphrey Marshall was moving into southeast Kentucky recruiting volunteers, setting up a headquarters in Paintsville Kentucky. By early January 1862 he had raised more than two thousand men, but had only been able to equip part of them. Union Brigadier General Don Carlos Buell, ordered Colonel James A Garfield to push Marshall back into Virginia. Garfield; the future President, took the 18th Brigade and marched south pushing the Confederates to retreat to Prestonsburg Kentucky. The Union continued south, but were slowed by the numerous swamps and streams, arriving near Marshall’s camp on January 9th. In the morning of January 10th 1862 Garfield’s troops march out at 4am to the mouth of Middle Creek, where they fought off some Confederate cavalry.
Marshall put his men in line southwest of the creek near its forks. The Union attacked just before noon, and the fighting continued through the afternoon. The Confederates retreated south, and finally Marshall was ordered back to Virginia on January 24th.