Work in Progress
This article is a work in progress.
The Battle of Prestonsburg was a major battle between the Free Kentucky Republic and the coal country settlement of Prestonsburg. It was a major defeat for the FKR, killing many Forest Boys and severely wounding Governor Lazarus Helm.
FKR Governor Lazarus Helm wanted to invade coal country settlements, so he could use their coal resources for free of charge. The charge being constant raids and an outflow of caps. He began to gather a large force of Forest Boys, equipping them with loose scraps of armor and slightly better weapons. When he was ready, he had about 1,500 Forest Boys at hand. He split them in two, giving the first half to the general. Sending that group south, he sent his group of soldiers north. Attacking coal country on two sides. His first, and last target was the prominent settlement of Prestonsburg, a place teeming with untapped coal. He marched his 750 Forest Boys up to the edge of the Appalachian Mountains, where Prestonsburg was located.
Free Kentucky Republic: 750 Forest Boys
Prestonsburg: 100 Militia, 2 Canary traders
Free Kentucky Republic: 403 dead, 89 wounded, 5 missing
Prestonsburg: 13 dead, 2 wounded
The start of the battle began with a small skirmish between a scouting group and an outside farm. No one was hurt and Prestonsburg was immediately notified of the attack. Forest Boys began lining up in a small wooded area, but were immediately fired upon by a militia before they could get into formation. Causing them to retreat back out of sight.
On April 21, 2229, the assault began. Helm led a hard charge onto the walls of the settlement. While outnumbering the militia seven to one, Helm was a completely incompetent leader, never learning a single formation or tactic. They were also climbing upwards, on a steep mountain, they were open to being fired upon before they could ever reach the walls. The initial hour of the battle was spent trudging up towards the walls, being hit by shot after shot.
Assault on the Walls
After a long and hard charge, the walls were in the range of the Forest Boys. With better training and weapons, the militia were easily fired upon, but the Forest Boys had a wall to scale. Some were improvising with grenades or bullets, all failing. Those who tried to climb were immediately shot, and usually crushed the man below. Helm demanded the Forest Boys keep trying, but as the bodies kept piling he was exposed, formerly in the center for protection. He was shot six inches left of his heart, he went unconscious and the Forest Boys retreated. Once on a road, the ran into two Canary traders who mistook the grim runners as raiders and fired at them before realizing their mistake.
While the general's campaign in the southern part of coal country was successful and ongoing, they were forced to head back home for the Governor. Helm was seen as a weakling and a coward, he would do little else to help the nation and died of complications from his wounds three years later. This invasion, and the failed battle at Prestonsburg would inspire settlers in coal country to commit to their own failed invasion years later.