Battle of Athens

Battle of Athens

January 26, 1864

The Battle of Athens was fought in Athens Alabama on January 26, 1864.

Battle of Athens Limestone County AL 1857
Battle of Athens Limestone County AL 1857

Union force was a company under Captain Emil Adams from the 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry regiment. The Confederate force was the 1st Alabama Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel Moses W. Hannon.

On the morning of January 26, 1864, at around 4:00 a.m., 600 Confederate cavalrymen attacked Athens, which was being held by a Union force of only 100. Even though the Union defenders had no fortifications and were outnumbered six to one, they were able to repulse the Confederate attack and force them into a retreat after a two-hour battle.

Other Names: None

Location: Limestone County Alabama

Campaign: Operations in North Alabama (1864)

Date(s): January 26, 1864

Principal Commanders: Capt. Emil Adams [US]; Lt. Col. Moses W. Hannon [CS]

Forces Engaged: 9th Illinois Mounted Infantry [US]; 1st Alabama Cavalry [CS]

Estimated Casualties: 50 total (US 20; CS 30)

Description: Confederate cavalry, numbering about 600 men, attacked Athens, held by about 100 Union troops, around 4:00 am on the morning of January 26, 1864. After a two-hour battle, the Confederates retreated. Union forces, although greatly outnumbered and without fortifications, repulsed the attackers.

Result(s): Union victory (The Confederate force failed in its attempt to take Athens.)

CWSAC Reference #: AL002

Preservation Priority: IV.1 (Class D)

[Editor’s Note: The term “Battle of Athens” may refer to a Civil War battle in Clark County, Missouri on Aug. 5, 1861, the civil uprising of August 1-2, 1946 in Athens, Tennessee (aka The McMinn County War), or the American Civil War action in Limestone County Alabama on January 26, 1864 as below]