The first courthouse was a brick building constructed in 1848, the year the county separated from Green County. It was larger than the second courthouse and was located in the center of the square.
During the Civil War, Federal troops slept inside on its floor and used it as a hospital and to store supplies. Both Federal and Rebel soldiers camped on the grounds of the Court House Square.
"We were quartered in the Campbellsville Court House and after early candle lighting, a large number of citizens assembled Mr. Joseph Chandler (state representative) addressed the assembly upon the present state of national affairs...I did not enjoy a very good night's rest in consequence of having to lie on the brick floor and not having a sufficiency of blankets to keep me out of absorbing distance of the bricks."
-Pvt. Marcus Woodcock
Gen. George Thomas' Troops marched through Campbellsville
January 1, 1862
In January 1862, two brigades of Brig. General George Thomas' men numbering at least 5,000, marched from Lebanon through Campbellsville on their way to Mill Springs near Somerset where they defeated Rebel General Felix Zollicoffer's troops. the commanders of the two Federal brigades were Col. Mahlon Manson and Col. Robert McCook. Both Manson and McCook were later promoted to general.
John Hunt Morgan and his raiders
Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's rebel force came through Campbellsville twice during the Civil War. On the Christmas Raid in 1862, Morgan had 3,900 troops headed south, returning to Tennessee. On the Great Raid in July 1863, Morgan commanded 2,500 troops headed north to Indiana and Ohio.
On these dashes through Campbellsville, Morgan's troops robbed cribs to feed their horses and devoured a large amount of food from peoples' kitchens and meat houses. From cobblers and saddle shops, leather was taken for shoes and harness. Horses were taken from stables. However, on occasion, the Rebels left worn out horses in their place. But, on neither raid, did Morgan set fire to the Taylor County Courthouse. However, another Confederate general did.
Morgan's men burned the Green River Bridge and Stockade on the Christmas Raid January 1, 1863. Six months later, on Morgan;s Great Raid, his troops returned and engaged Federal soldiers in the Battle of Tebbs Bend - Green River Bridge on July 4, 1863 here in Taylor County.
Gen. Hylan B. Lyon's 800-mile Confederate Raid
December 9, 1864 - January 3, 1865
General Lyon's troops had already set five courthouses on fire before they reached Campbellsville. His forces left their Hodgenville camp on a cold Christmas morning in 1864
and came to Campbellsville with about 250 men and one piece of artillery. Lyon, known as the "Courthouse Burnin'est General in Kentucky." found that the courthouse was service as a Federal depot for quartermaster and commissary stores.
After allowing three women and a little boy, J.R. "June" Smith, to enter the building to remove the records, Lyon ordered his men to torch the structure. Rebel soldiers surrounded the courthouse until it burned to the ground.
During the time there was no court building, court was held in the Campbellsville Baptist Church, then a white frame building, located across the street from the courthouse at 205 North Columbia. later, court was moved to the County and Circuit Clerks' Office building on the Courthouse Square after their building was completed in 1866.