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city, seat (1796) of Warren county, south-central Kentucky, U.S. It lies along the Barren River, 65 miles (105 km) northeast of Nashville, Tennessee. It was settled in 1780 by Robert and George Moore, and tradition suggests that their sport of bowling wooden balls across the green gave the city its name. Designated the Confederate capital of Kentucky in 1861, it was occupied by Confederate general Simon B. Buckner's troops until the Union takeover of nearby Forts Henry and Donelson forced a retreat in 1862.