“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New Haven in Nelson County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Fight at New Haven

Christmas Raid


—December 30, 1862 —

Fight at New Haven Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
1. Fight at New Haven Marker
Inscription. In the early morning hours of December 30, 1862, three companies of Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s 9th Kentucky Cavalry, supported by a single 12-pounder mountain howitzer, demanded the surrender of the Federal garrison at New Haven, Kentucky. The garrison commanded by Capt. John K. Allen consisted of Company H, 78th Illinois Infantry Regiment who occupied a small stockade at the west end of the L&N Railroad bridge at New Haven. The Union garrison, about 90 men strong, were outnumbered two to one by the 220 Confederates. Col. William H. Benneson, commander of the 78th Illinois Infantry Regiment was in New Haven when the Confederates attacked. Benneson respectfully declined the Confederate demand for surrender.

The fighting began with Confederate artillery fire 1000 yards northeast of the stockade. The Confederates shelled the Union troops for over an hour moving their gun several times to get closer to the Union defenders. When the Confederates had closed to within 800 yards, the Union soldiers opened fire. The Union fire drew in the Confederate cavalrymen, they dismounted leaving their horses behind the Howell House, deployed and returned fire. After thirty minutes, the heavy fire from the Federal infantry drove off the main attack. The Confederates tried once more this time they attempted to flank the stockade by coming down the
Fight at New Haven Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
2. Fight at New Haven Marker
north side of the railroad embankment, Union fire again drove the Confederates off. The Southern troops withdrew taking their dead and wounded with them. The Union soldiers suffered no casualties, but the artillery fire damaged several buildings in New Haven, including both taverns. Confederate losses were reported as 2 killed and 10 wounded.

The stockade at New Haven was similar to stockades constructed by Union soldiers all along the L&N. According to Sgt. James McNeil, 78th Illinois, the stockade was “…built of timber on end and about seven feet above the ground so arranged as to set our tents, four in number, on each corner; the corners made a circular the size of the tents, sixteen feet in diameter, the whole forming a square forty-five feet.”

The area of the stockade and railroad track near New Haven, December 30, 1862. Map from “…A Very Good Camping Place…” by Charles R. Lemons.
Erected by Kentucky Heartland Civil War Trails Commission. (Marker Number 17a.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail in Kentucky marker series.
Location. 37° 39.523′ N, 85° 35.632′ W. Marker is in New Haven, Kentucky, in Nelson County. Marker
Gen. John Hunt Morgan, C.S.A. image. Click for full size.
3. Gen. John Hunt Morgan, C.S.A.
is on West Center Street west of North Main Street (U.S. 31E), on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Haven KY 40051, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Goodwin (Goodin) Fort (approx. 3.1 miles away); The Lincolns at Knob Creek (approx. 4.1 miles away); Lincoln Knob Creek Farm (approx. 4.1 miles away); Living Off the Land (approx. 4.1 miles away); a different marker also named Lincoln Knob Creek Farm (approx. 4.1 miles away); Abraham Lincoln's memory of Knob Creek Farm (approx. 4.1 miles away); The Lincoln Tavern (approx. 4.1 miles away); Slavery in the Valley (approx. 4.1 miles away).
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on September 6, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 17, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 67 times since then and 7 times this year. Last updated on September 4, 2018, by T. Patton of Jefferson, Georgia. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 17, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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