Lock #1 in the Civil War


After the Battle of Perryville in 1862, Captain George Jesse and his Sixth Confederate Battalion had remained in Kentucky with orders to disrupt Union logistics.  Jessee had recruited his unit from Henry, Carroll and Trimble counties along the lower Kentucky River, and he centered his guerrilla raids there on familiar terrain where he could elude Union pursuit.  Reporting to Colonel J. Stoddard Johnston and General John C. Breckinridge in Virginia, Jessee constantly evaded the Union Army.  He struck at railroads and bridges, terrorized Kentucky River steamboat crews and project workers, and took brief control of villages.  When Captain Jessee and his guerillas attacked Ghent, Kentucky in August, 1864, artillery fire from across the Ohio River at Vevay drove them away.  From Ghent, Jessee headed up the Kentucky River to Lock No. 1 and on August 29 he wrecked the lock’s operating mechanisms and lockgates, causing enormous damages estimated at $5,000.


from Leland R. Johnson’s Engineering the Kentucky River: The Commonwealth’s Waterway, published by the Louisville District of the US Army Corps of Engineers.