“Sunday, July 12
Start again. Feed horses and breakfast at Paris, marching in quick time, pass through Dupont & Recksville. Camp near Versailles.”
~ Charles W. Durling, Company G, 45th Ohio Infantry[i]
General Burnside resquested Governers Morton of Indiana, Robinson of Kentucky, Blair of Michigan, Yates of Illinois, and Tod of Ohio to agree to his request to declare martial law.
“Indianapolis, Ind., July 11, 1863 -9:45 p.m.
Hon. E. M. Stanton, Secretary of War:
I send you copy of a dispatch received from General Burnside, and my answer:
Cincinnati, July 11, 1863.
Gov. O. P. Morton:
I am decidedly of the opinion that matial law should be declare in this department, with the condition that it is not to interfere with any civil matters, either public or private, except in instances to be enumerated. It should be done in a view of move readily controlling the militia force in the department. Neither official nor private business need be interfered with. I am not willing to take this step, however, without consultation with the Governors of the different States, and therefore request your acquiescence. Please answer as soon as possible.
A. E. Burnside,
Maj. Gen. Amrose Burnside, Commanding Department of the Ohio, Cincinnati:
If I understand the purpose to be accomplished by declaring martial law in your department, I am opposed to it, as I am unable to see any good to grow out of it, but much possible harm. So far as the present invasion of Indiana is concerned, it can certainly do no good; and so far as calling out and organizing the militia, either to repel invasion or maintain order, I am statisfied it can be done by State that Federal authority. I say to you, frankly, that so far as Indiana is concerned, it would be highly inexpedient, in my judgement.
O. P. Morton,
Columbus, Ohio, July 11, 1863
[To the people of Ohio:]
The recent invasion of our sister State (Indiana) and the severe battles in Pennsylvania demonstrate the wisdon of the President’s callupon us for 30,000 six months’ volunteers. I am pained to announce to you that less than 2,000 have responded to his call. This State must not be invaded. Rally, then, fellow-citizens, and respond to this call. Your crops will be as safe in your fields as they are in your barns. The several military committees are authorized to issue recruiting commissions for their respective counties, should they deem it advisable to do so. The several railroad compainies of the State are requested to pass companies or squads of men, taking the receipt or voucher of the party in charge. All are requested to repair to the camps of rendezvous heretofore indicated, as early as Saturday night.
Columbus, Ohio, July 11, 1863.
Confiding as I do implicitly in your judgement as to the necessities of the service, I cheerfully assent to the proposition you make to declare martial law in this State. The people of Ohio will submit without a single murmur to every deprivation necessary to preserve our State from invasion, and all capable of bearing arms will promptly respond to any call you may make upon them.
Frankfort, July 11, 1863.
You have my full concurrence in the measure proposed in your last dispatch.
J. F. Robinson,
Governor of Kentucky.”[ii]
Ohio Governor David Tod issued a proclamation, calling out the Ohio militia. The state of Ohio would be far more prepared in the face of the invasion that Indiana had been.
“July 12, 1863 -1 p.m.
Governor Tod, Columbus:
Will you please call for 20,000 militia, 5,000 of them to be from this city? Those from this city should be required to assemble tomorrow, the volunteers at 10 o’clock and the militia at 10:30. If you will order it, I will carry the order into effect. They should be principally from the southern part of the State.
A. E. Burnside,
Proclamation by the Governor.
Whereas this State is in imminent danger of invasion by an armed force: Now, therefore, to prevent the same, I, David Tod, Governor of the State of Ohio, and commander –in-chief of the militia forces thereof, by virtue of the constitution and laws of said State, do hereby call into active service that portion of the milita force which has been organized into companies within the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery, Clermont, Brown, Clinton, Warren, Greene, Fayette, Ross, Monroe, Washington, Morgan, Noble, Athens, Megis, Jackson, Scioto, Adams, Vinton, Hocking, Lawrence, Pickaway, Franklin, Madison, Fairfield,Claarke, Preble, Pike, Gallia, Highland, and Perry. And I do hereby further order all such forces residing within the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Preble, and Clermount to report to Maj. Gen. A. E. Burnside, at his headquarters in the city of Cincinnati, who is hereby authorized and requested to cause said forces to be organized into battalions or regiments, and appoint all necessary officers therefor. And it is further ordered that all such forces residing in the counties of Montgomery, Warren, Clinton, clarke, Greene, Pickaway, and Fairfield report forthwith, at Camp Chase, to Brig. Gen. John S. Mason, who is hereby authorized to organize said forces into battalions or regiments, and appoint temporary officers thereof. And it is further ordered that all such forces residing in the counties of Washington, Monroe, Noble, Megis, Morgan, Prry, Hockings, and others, report to Col. William R. Putnam, at Cmp Marietta, who is who is hereby authorized to organize said forces into battalions or regiments, and appoint temporary officers thereof. And it os further ordered that all such forces residing in the counties of Scioto, Adams, Pike, Jackson, Lawerence, Gallia, and Vinton report forthwith to Col. Peter Kinney, at Camp Portsmouth, who is who is hereby authorized to organize said forces into battalions or regiments, and appoint temporary officers thereof.
Each man is requested to furnish himself with a good serviceable blanket and tin cup. They will reamin on duty, subject to the orders of their commanding officers, until further notice from headquarters.
In organizing the forces into battalions and regiments, the volunteer compainies will, as far as practicable, be organized separtely from the enrolled militia.
The commanders of companies will provide their respective commands with subsistance and transportation to the camps indicated, giving to parties furnishing the same suitable vouchers therefor.
The commanders of the several camps will report, by telegraph, to the adjutant-general of Ohio every morning the number of men in camp.
It is confidently expected that this order will be obeyed with alacrity and cheerfulness. It is issued upon the urgent solicitation of Major-General Burnside, commander-in-chief of the Department of the Ohio.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the great seal of the State of Ohio.
Columbus, July 12, 1863.
Your telegram received.
Have issued proclamation calling on the organized companies in the southern part of the Stare, directing those in the counties of Hamilton, Butler, Preble, and Clermont to report forthwith to you, and requesting you to organize them into regiments and appoint officers, and have directed those from the other counties to report at Camps Dennison, Chase, marietta, and Portsmouth. Expect response of from 20,000 to 25,000.
Meanwhile, Morgan entered Versailles, Indiana with little time to waste. Hobson’s men were only hours behind them.
“We halted in the suburbs of the town of Versailles, Ind. on Laugherty River [Laughery Creek], and a guard put ahead to keep the boys from going into town till the Gen. and staff were ready for us. The boys wanted to get into town very bad. Some wanted one thing and some another. Everyone wanted something. The stragglers flanked us on the right heavily. I could see them going into town by way of a lane on our right in a gallop. I lead my horse through a gap on the right into a deep grass lot and let him graze. I eat a snack of raw ham and bread. In half an hour we moved into town and halted a few minutes in front of a beer saloon. The women gave us all of the cold meat and bread in the house, also some cheese, crackers, and beer. We then moved on.”
~ Curtis R. Burke, 14th Kentucky Calvary, Co. B [iii]
Quite a few of the Raiders however could not be dissuaded from looting and broke into large stores on whiskey when Morgan allowed a rest period between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a. m.
“From Rexville they marched to Versailles where they were met at the new courthouse by a hurriedly summoned band of the militia and citizens. The raiders seized the guns belonging to the militia and broke them against the corner of the courthouse, which at that time was not completed. The Deputy County Treasurer, B. F. Spencer, had buried the county funds for safety from the raiders. The treasurer's office was looted and it is reported that several thousand dollars was taken by the raiders. Private citizens having funds or valuable jewelry and silverware hid them in a safe place. Many housewives hung their jewelry in the bean vines and other secret hiding places. Horses were hidden as well as possible in advance of the raiders, as they constantly seized fresh horses, leaving worn out nags, occasionally, in their stead. Housewives were ordered to prepare meals for the marauding cavalry and feed was appropriated for their animals, all available supplies were used or carried away.”[iv]
While Morgan was a lax disciplinarian and seemingly taking no heed of the pillaging and looting his men perpetrated, there was one act of robbery committed in Versailles that deeply offended his ethics.
“A group of the freebooters invaded the local Masonic Lodge and took the Lodge’s silver coin jewelry. Morgan, himself a Mason, ordered the jewels returned and punished the thievery of his own men.”[v]
Morgan, a member of Davies Lodge No. 22 Lexington, Kentucky, joined the order in 1846. His father was also a member of the Masonic order. The Masons took no sides in the Civil War as it was a “political matter.” Talk of religion and politics was prohibited within their lodges.
“July 12. We move rapidly through six of seven towns without any resistance, and tonight lie down for a little while with our bridles in our hands.”
~ Lt. Col. James B. McCreary, 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA[vi]
“We got but little sleep riding night and day, would sleep some when we fed our horses, perhaps an hour.”
~ John Weatherred, 9th Tennessee Cavalry[vii]
Many of Morgan’s Men slept in the cemetery at St. Paul Methodist Church on the night of July 12, 1863. Nights were short, with reveille sounding at 3:00 a m and camp being broken at sunrise.
"In His Blanket on the Ground."
By Caroline H. Gervais, Charleston.
Weary, weary lies the soldier,
In his blanket on the ground
With no sweet "Good-night" to cheer him,
And no tender voice's sound,
Making music in the darkness,
Making light his toilsome hours,
Like a sunbeam in the forest,
Or a tomb wreathed o'er with flowers.
Thoughtful, hushed, he lies, and tearful,
As his memories sadly roam
To the "cozy little parlor"
And the loved ones of his home;
And his waking and his dreaming
Softly braid themselves in one,
As the twilight is the mingling
Of the starlight and the sun.
And when sleep descends upon him,
Still his thought within his dream
Is of home, and friends, and loved ones,
And his busy fancies seem
To be real, as they wander
To his mother's cherished form.
As she gently said, in parting
"Thine in sunshine and in storm:
Thine in helpless childhood's morning,
And in boyhood's joyous time,
Thou must leave me now—God watch thee
In thy manhood's ripened prime."
Or, mayhap, amid the phantoms
Teeming thick within his brain,
His dear father's locks, o'er-silvered,
Come to greet his view again;
And he hears his trembling accents,
Like a clarion ringing high,
"Since not mine are youth and strength, boy,
Thou must victor prove, or die."
Or perchance he hears a whisper
Of the faintest, faintest sigh,
Something deeper than word-spoken,
Something breathing of a tie
Near his soul as bounding heart-blood:
It is hers, that patient wife--
And again that parting seemeth
Like the taking leave of life:
And her last kiss he remembers,
And the agonizing thrill,
And the "Must you go?" and answer,
"I but know my Country's will."
Or the little children gather,
Half in wonder, round his knees;
And the faithful dog, mute, watchful,
In the mystic glass he sees;
And the voice of song, and pictures,
And the simplest homestead flowers,
Unforgotten, crowd before him
In the solemn midnight hours.
Then his thoughts in Dreamland wander
To a sister's sweet caress,
And he feels her dear lips quiver
As his own they fondly press;
And he hears her proudly saying,
(Though sad tears are in her eyes),
"Brave men fall, but live in story,
For the Hero never dies!"
Or, perhaps, his brown cheek flushes,
And his heart beats quicker now,
As he thinks of one who gave him,
Him, the loved one, love's sweet vow;
And, ah, fondly he remembers
He is still her dearest care,
Even in his star-watched slumber
That she pleads for him in prayer.
Oh, the soldier will be dreaming,
Dreaming often of us all,
(When the damp earth is his pillow,
And the snow and cold sleet fall),
Of the dear, familiar faces,
Of the cozy, curtained room,
Of the flitting of the shadows
In the twilight's pensive gloom.
Or when summer suns burn o'er him,
Bringing drought and dread disease,
And the throes of wasting fever
Come his weary frame to seize--
In the restless sleep of sickness,
Doomed, perchance, to martyr death,
Hear him whisper "Home"--sweet cadence,
With his quickened, labored breath.
Then God bless him, bless the soldier,
And God nerve him for the fight;
May He lend his arm new prowess
To do battle for the right.
Let him feel that while he's dreaming
In his fitful slumber bound,
That we're praying--God watch o'er him
In his blanket on the ground."
Union leadership continues to play a vexing game of “Blind-Man’s-Bluff” with the wily Morgan.
“July 12, 1863 -3 p.m.
General Boyle, Louisville, KY:
Has Judah arrived yet? Have the gunboats been notified that Morgan may attempt to cross above Madison? It is reported that his advance is at Versailles. Please have the battery that was sent from here loaded and ready to start as soon as you get definite orders. Have you heard anything from Hobson?
A. E. Burnside,
July 12, 1863
General Boyle, Louisville:
There are several rumors in reference to Morgan. The last is that his advance is at Versailles, but I do not credit it. I think he will try to cross above Madison. It is possible he may attempt to pass through Indiana and Ohio and go out above, but I don’t think he will.
A. E. Burnside,
Louisville, KY, July 12, 1863
General Judah has not yet arrived. Part of his command is on train coming up from Elizabethtown. He will be sent up now on transports, if not otherwise ordered, to pursue Morgan. Have not heard of Morgan since yesterday afternoon. He demanded surrender of Vernon, north of Madison. General Love refused, and said he was ready for a fight. Morgan went off south, in the direction of Madison. Four gunboats above. I have sent troops up. Colonel Sanders arrived last night at Westport, on Ohio, 20 miles above here. I sent transports to take him up so as to get near Morgan, to pursue.
J. T. Boyle,
“Vevay, July 12, 1863 – 8 p.m.
Lieutenant-Colonel Richmond, Chief of Staff:
Have received the general’s dispatch, and will move immediately to the point ordered. I have 2,500 men. Enemy last heard from at Versailles, moving in direction of Aurora and Lawrenceburg. Will be at Aurora 4 a. m. tomorrow.
Mahlon D. Manson”[ix]
[i] Diary of Charles W. Durling
[ii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, pages 728 -729.
[iii] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[iv] Ripley County Historical Society http://www.seidata.com/~rchslib/
[v] Student Tour Guide, John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail 1863
[vi] Diary of James B. McCreary
[vii] The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred
[viii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p.734.
[ix] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p.733