Sunday, April 19, 2009

November, 1863: Secret Tunnels, Escape Attempts, and Turning Out for De Land

Running water sewers and toilets opened at Camp Douglas on November 6, 1863 creating a much more sanitary environment. Yet, no one appeared eager to remain in camp.

“Some of the men of Cluke’s and Johnson’s regiments in another square dug some underground passages for the purpose of escaping, and came near finishing them when some traitor told on them, and the Yanks marched them all out in the public square in front of headquarters and put a guard around them with the orders to shoot any person that sat down. The Yanks were trying to make the men tell who the headmen in the digging were. After standing several hours a guard fired into the crowd without cause, wounding three of Cluke’s regiment severely. I could not learn the truth about the affair. Some fifteen or twenty finally stepped out and acknowledged being the principal diggers and were sent to the dungeon. The rest were sent back to their barracks.”

~Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry[i]

Escapees were not the only source of excitement. A serious fire occurred in Garrison Square the evening of November 11th. Barracks, fences, and sutler’s shops burned down.

“About dinner time the Yankee barracks in the main square took fire and attracted a large crowd of prisoners. The Yanks got scared for fear the prisoners would try to break out and brought out the company of Indians belonging to the first Michigan sharp shooters. They loaded their guns, at the same time ordering the crowd to disperse to their quarters, and we did so on the double quick. The Indians came down and the white officer in command put them on guard around the square. Then [he] came in and notified us that if we left the square we would be shot. I could see the fire from the kitchen. The frame barracks and pitched roof made a heavy cloud of smoke. The fire was stopped by cutting the barracks in two, after burning about three hundred feet of barracks and kitchens. Some of the new fence and Mrs. Finley’s sutler’s store was burned also. Most everything in the building got burned as the fire spread rapidly. The fire was accidental and caught from a stove pipe.”

~Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry[ii]

While, strictly copyrighted by the Chicago Historical Society, the Diary of Private William D. Huff contains a drawing of this fire. It is possible to download Huff’s drawings from the History Lab lesson plans in “The Civil War” Up Close and Personal” section entitled “Who is William Huff? Blueback or Grayback” and “Look Out My Window. What Do You See? [iii] The lesson plans may be accessed at

Prisoners in Camp Douglas[iv]

Unaccustomed to so much leisure time, many of the men fell prey to homesickness.

“Do they miss me at home, do they miss me?
'Twould be an assurance most dear,
To know that this moment some loved one
Were saying, "I wish you were here."
To feel that the group at the fireside
Were thinking of me as I roam
Oh yes, 'twould be joy without measure
To know that they missed me at home.
To know that they missed me at home.”

Their suffering was compounded by cuts to the rations. What little the prisoners still received was hardly fit to eat. Ninian Edwards, husband of Abraham Lincoln’s wife’s eldest sister, supplied the camp with inferior beef.[vi] Likewise, a Chicago baker cheated the prisoners by cutting the weight of a loaf of bread to two ounces.

“We draw fresh beef every other day, but it is not a number one article being mostly neck, flank, bones, and shanks.”

~ Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry[vii]

Colonel Hoffman came to investigate Camp Douglas on November 15th.

“Kentucky cavalrymen know as Morgan’s Raiders, named for Gen. John Hunt Morgan, worked diligently to escape and return to battle. One of Morgan’s Raiders, Samuel G. Grasty of Virginia, simply walked out of Camp Douglas to a friend’s house downtown and boarded a train for Richmond, but his fellow soldiers had to work harder to escape. One group of Morgan’s Raiders dug their way out of the dungeon, which was an extra-security prison, drawing admiration from guards for their ingenuity. Others hid their tools in a haystack at night and by daylight dug tunnels beneath their bunks to the other side of the perimeter fence.”[viii]

De Land became absolutely sadist in his punishment. He began hung prisoners by their thumbs and began shutting down the sutlers so that there was no means of procuring supplies save bribing guards.

“A prisoner of war's first duty is to survive; his second duty is to escape.” [ix]

In a sworn statement, Private Thomas D. Henry reported:

“I saw men punished thus until they would grow so deathly sick that they would vomit all over themselves, their heads fall forward and almost every sign of life become extinct; the ends of their thumbs would burst open; a surgeon standing by would feel their pulse and say he thought they could stand it a little longer. Some times he would say they had better be cut down.”[x]

Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg address. In a few brief words, Lincoln gave dignity and honor to those who had fallen in battle and fostered resolve in the hearts of those destined to carry on.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."

~ Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, The Gettysburg Address.

The same day, Curtis R. Burke recorded:

“Some rain fell. Col. De Land came down and called us all out in line [in] front of our barracks to look for tunnels. The barracks were searched, but no tunnels [were] found, and we were dismissed to return to our barracks.”[xi]

The next day, Colonel De Land returned.

“About dark Col. De Land and Capt Rhines, our commissary of prisoners, came down and made the whole regiment fall out in line in front of the barracks. Then we were marched under guard about a hundred yards out of the square toward the sutlers store. The night was chilly and the most of us had thrown a blanket over us not knowing how long we would have to stand out. The Yanks were looking for some of Duke’s regiment who had dressed up to escape and come down to our square and had been reported by some traitor as being among the fourteenth KY. The Yanks caught Wm. Overton, Chas. Steel, and Tho’s Von [Thomas Vaughn?] dressed in citizens suits and marched them off to the guard house, and we were permitted to return to our barracks having been out about an hour and a half.”[xii]

Colonel De Land was back yet again on the evening of Sunday, November 22nd:

“An hour before dark my regiment was called out in line and marched to the main square in front of headquarters. The most of us did not know what it was for, but Col. De Land soon called for four or five men by name. Three were in ranks and stepped out. The Yankees said that these men had threatened to hang a man by the name of Stovall belonging to my regiment for telling on some of the boys that were trying to escape. The Yankees said that they would protect Stovall, and they tied the three men up by the thumbs to the railing of the stand around the flag pole. Then sent Pa (our Sergeant Major) and Sergeant Wm. Miller back to our quarters to find the other two men called for with the pleasing information that if they did not find the men soon that they would be tied up by the thumbs in their places. The men that were tied stood it over a half an hour in silence and then commenced groaning and howling. It made me almost sick to hear them. Several times the Yankee officers asked them if they were ready to tell what they knew, and they answered that they knew nothing to tell. A Yankee surgeon examined them to see how much they could stand. There were some citizens standing around and they tried to get Col. De Land to take the men down. The men were taken down after having been tied up so [long] that they had to partly tip toe for an hour. One of the boys fainted, and another threw up all over himself. Their names were James Allen, John Sweeny, and Wm. Wason. Col. De Land gave us a lecture about threatening any person that choose to tell of our escaping and told us to return to our quarters and find the other two men or he would surely bring us back and make us stand out all night. We returned to our quarters and the two men, who had just returned from a visit to another square went to headquarters and gave themselves up and received their share of the punishment. They were let down when this traitor Stovall said that he forgave them.”

Burke went on to mention that Stovall chose to remain in the protection of headquarters rather than returning to the regimental barracks.

During the Civil War, prisoners, both Northern and the Southern, often attempted escape. It was generally accepted as an obligation of the uniform. Even the United States Christian Committee of Maryland reported:

“It is the duty of the government to keep prisoners as securely as possible, but on the part of the prisoner, it is his right and his duty to escape just as quick as he can…” [xiii]

None of the punishments De Land concocted swayed his prisoners’ determination to escape. Thus, on November 24th, the frustrated colonel issued an order against it!

“A Yankee Sergeant at roll call read a strict order against our escaping.”[xiv]

On November 27th, after four months imprisonment in the Ohio penitentiary, John Hunt Morgan escaped with six of his officers. They too tunneled out, using table knifes to dig their way to freedom. Morgan donned civilian clothing then calmly boarded a train. Alas, it was necessary to seat himself next to a Union major! Only moments later the train glided past the penitentiary.

“‘That's where the rebel General Morgan is now imprisoned,’ said the major. ‘Indeed,’ replied the disguised Morgan, ‘I hope they'll always keep him as safely as they have him now.' "[xv]

Morgan made his way south eventually arriving in Richmond where he was received as a hero with a parade and two days of being lauded over by the Virginia legislature. His imprisoned men were forgotten.

[i] Diary of Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry.
[ii] Diary of Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry.
[iii] Chicago Historical Society, History Lab activities
[iv] Harpers Weekly, April 5, 1862.
[v] Mason, Caroline A. and Grannis, S.M. “Do They Miss Me At Home?”
[vi] Pucci, Kelly. “Camp Douglas: Chicago’s Civil War Prison” 2007.
[vii] Diary of Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry.
[viii] Pucci, Kelly. “Camp Douglas: Chicago’s Civil War Prison” 2007, p. 78.
[ix] Doyle, Robert C. “A Prisoner's Duty: Great Escapes in U.S. Military History”
[x] Alexander, Dee. “Morgan’s Raiders” 1959.
[xi] Diary of Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry.
[xii] Diary of Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry.
[xiii] Report of the United States Christian Committee of Maryland, 1864
[xiv] Diary of Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry.
[xv] Doyle, Robert C. “A Prisoner's Duty: Great Escapes in U.S. Military History”

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Additional Views of Camp Douglas

“Harpers Weekly,” April 5, 1862

The F. Munson sketch.[i]

A copyrighted sketch showing how close Camp Douglas was to the lake may be found at

Superimposed the boundaries of old Camp Douglas.[ii]

Early sketch of Camp Douglas[iii]


[i] Leslie, Frank. “ Famous Leaders and Battle Scenes of the Civil War” 1896.
[ii] Bross, William. "History of Camp Douglas," Paper Read before the Chicago Historial Society, June 18, 1878, in Mabel McIlvaine, ed., “Reminiscences of Chicago during the Civil War”, New York: The Citadel Press, 1967 (originally published in 1914), p. 160.
[iii] Kirke, Edmund ."Three Days at Camp Douglas," “Our Young Folks: An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls”, Vol. 1, No. 4, April 1865, pp. 252-262: p. 253. Drawing from “Our Young Folks” magazine reproduced in Victor Hicken, "Illinois Camps, Posts, and Prisons," Illinois Civil War Sketches, Illinois State Historical Library for the Civil War Centennial Commission of Illinois.

September - October, 1863: Camp Douglas under De Land's Get Tough Policy

Life in Camp Douglas was rather puritanical. Reading material consisted of religious tracts, new testaments, hymn books, and a religious news paper entitled “American Messenger. Occasionally, a local paper made it into the hands of a prisoner. Parson Orr held meetings at the chapel and started a library for prisoners willing to join his religious society. Those who broke camp rules were dealt with in the most humiliating of fashions. At least one thief was punished by being forced to wear a placard emblazoned “THIEF!” as he and a guard walked through the camp. The prisoners slept on bare planks and worked hard making drainage ditches to remove standing pools of water. Mail from home was slow to get through, always inspected before it reached the prisoner. Any money enclosed in the letter was removed and a credit applied at the sutlers store. Alas the prices at these stores were highly inflated.

Another difficulty was finding water. The prisoners were forces to use two certain hydrates with the third being reserved for the guards.. On cold or wind days the trip was quite miserable. Waiting in line could take three to four hours. The trip was made even more dangerous as guard often shot without warning if they felt a prisoner was making an attempt to escape.

The barracks were in poor repair. Prisoners did what they could to mend leaking roofs and crack that allowed the wind to whistle through the thin walls. This was a dangerous undertaking as guards had orders to shoot any prisoner found of the roof of a barracks.

Numerous Raiders attempted escape by donning civilian clothing, bribing guards, and/or attempting to leave the camp under the cover of darkness. Curtis R. Burke recorded such events as “nightly occurrences.”

Religious groups from Kentucky tried to ease the suffering of the men by sending clothing. Alas it was not enough to fill the needs of all the prisoners. Cart loads of boxes and bundles arrived for the prisoners. Food, blankets, money, and clothing were highly prized gifts.

The Autumn rains began on October 2nd . The camp had very poor drainage and became a muddy swamp.

John Curd, a negro, produced a Minstrel show on October 5th which drew hundreds of prisoners in attendance. With the price of admission was 15 cents in Yankee Money or $3.00 in Confederate money, the Minstrels made a tidy profit! However the Camp guards put an end to the show at about half way through despite Curd showing the Lieutenant of the guard a permit from Colonel De Land.

On October 9, 1863 U. S. Colonel Hoffman sent Dr. A. M. Clark to inspect Camp Douglas. Dr. Clark noted a lack of guards, insufficient water, open sinks (pit toilets), lack of hospital capacity and bedding, poor ventilation, inadequate sewer system, dilapidated barracks, lack of blankets and stoves, and lack of personal hygiene amongst the prisoners. [i]

A businessman erected a wooden tower outside the camp and charged sightseers 10 cents to climb it and get a birds’ eye view of the prison. The sketch on which this engraving is based was likely made from that tower. This view offers a chance to better comprehend the layout of the different squares within the prison.[ii]

Camp Douglas was not a place where any soldier, Union or Confederate, wanted to be. Yet, they tried to make the best of it. The prisoners found a variety of ways to pass the time. Recreation topped the list of favored activities. There were games of cards, checkers, ball, and marbles. Companies challenged each other to contests of jumping and foot races. Kite flying and snowball fights were indulged in as weather allowed. Industrious individuals set up workshops in an effort to earn money which needed to purchase extra food and supplies. They included a silversmith, a pipe maker, a buggy maker, toothpick makers, and nearly 30 ring makers. While few prisoners could afford to buy the items their fellow inmates created, many guards made purchases. Often the guards resold the items in Chicago for a tidy profit.[iii]

Suffering and want among the prisoners was wide spread. Letters pleading for assistance were written to every person a man could recall. Errors in spelling and grammar in the following letter remain uncorrected thus allowing the reader to “hear” the writer’s voice.

“Camp Douglass Ill Oct 16, 1863

Mrs. Joyce


I am a stranger to you but am a member of your sons company Cap E Joyce comp K 2 Ky Reg Voll and was taken prisoner at Chickamauga on Sunday the 20th and I am here in prison at Camp Douglass and I would be very thankful to you if you would send me a couple pare drawers and a couple pare of woolen socks and a blanket for I have none and I would like you to send me two or three dollars in money if you please. I am very bad of for clothes and I do not know how long it will be till we are exchange. You’re son was not very well the last time I seen him. He was not in the fight. He was sick at Mobile but would soon be well a enough for duty. If you should send the things to me, direct your letter and package to Frank Mullen Comp K. 2th. Ky Reg Inf Voll Prisoner of War Camp Douglass Ill in care Comp. C. 3. Ky Cav and than I can get it and will be under many obligations to you.

Yours Frank Mullen” [iv]

On October 24, 1863, Dr. Clarks damning report of the conditions at Camp Douglas became public. Highly offended and on the defensive, Colonel Hoffman proposed that repairs to the camp be made at the prisoners expense and imposed new restrictions. Cooking stoves were removed and replaced with boilers. Now prisoners would no longer be able to bake bread and pies. Their diet would be limited to soups, stews, and boiled suppers. Hoffman further required that all prisoners clean their quarters and police the grounds immediately after roll call.[v] These requirements only heightened tensions within the camp.

Twenty-six of Morgan’s Raiders escaped from the maximum security area of Camp Douglas known as the White Oak dungeon on October 26, 1863. These men cut a hole in the plank floor, and then tunneled into an adjoining garbage pit to make their escape.[vi] It was an extreme embarrassment to camp leadership.

In a classic example of disorganized and faulty Confederate record keeping, a Roll of Company I, First Regiment Cavalry, Kentucky Volunteers, Confederate Army was finally filed on October 31, 1863. This roll was long over due as the first Regiment had long since been reorganized into the 3rd Kentucky Cavalry back in the autumn of 1862! The listing for the First Organization shows that the original Regiment members enlisted for 12 months. No date of enlistment, nor place of enlistment, is recorded for James Evans. Enlistment dates on this roll range from Oct. 17, 1861 to March 1, 1863. The Roll itself is datelined Knoxville, Tenn. Oct. 31, 1863.

“Roll of Company I, First Regiment Cavalry, Kentucky Volunteers, Confederate Army Reorganization – Consolidated First and Third Regiments #27 Evans J., Rank: Private”[vii]

Meanwhile, at Camp Douglas, the escape attempts were driving De Land to distraction. Rather than remaining an unflappable leader, De Land began to take the attempts personally and reacted in fury and disgust.

“De Land’s get-tough policy started with a serious shooting on November 3, 1863. An escape tunnel had been found under the Eight Kentucky Cavalry Barrack. De Land lined up the regiment and told the guards to shoot ‘if any sat down.’ According to T. D. Henry, a guard fired when a sick man fell. Henry claimed, ‘One man was killed, two others wounded, one of them losing an arm, as it was afterwards cut off.’”[viii]

[i] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 9, pages 146 -148.
[ii] Engraving of Camp Douglas made from a sketch by F. Munson
[iii] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 18, pages 303 -305.
[iv] Letter written by Corp. Frank A. Mullen, Co. K, 2nd Ky. Inf.
[v] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 9, pages 150 -151.
[vi] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 9, 151-152.
[vii] McDowell, “The Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Kentucky, Civil War, Confederate,” Vol. I pages 528 -529.
[viii][viii] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 10, p. 157.

Friday, April 10, 2009

August, 1863: Prisoner at Camp Chase and Camp Douglas

“Who but the Soldier knows the true definition of ‘War'?”

~ DeWitt C. Markle, 57th Indiana Volunteer Infantry[i]

Captured in Cheshire, Gallia County, Ohio on July 20, 1863, near the end of Morgan’s Great Raid into Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, James Edward Evans was first sent to Cincinnati, Ohio then moved by steamboat to Camp Chase, near Columbus, Ohio on July 26, 1863.[ii] Camp Chase was originally a prison for civilian political prisoners but began processing military prisoners in preparation for exchange in 1862 under the policy of the Dix-Hill Cartel. After the collapses of the Dix-Hill Cartel on July 13, 1863, the population of Camp Chase rose dramatically. The prisoners were “accommodated” in wood frame buildings and huts. [iii] However, it quickly became apparent that other lodgings had to be found. Union leadership scrambled to find camps having room for prisoners.

Families of the Raiders appealed to government officials seeking the release of their captured loved ones. Unfortunately, while Kentucky had initially adopted a policy of neutrality in the war, the General Assembly now supported the Union. Thomas Bramlette was elected to replace Kentucky Governor James F. Robinson, who had served out Beriah Magoffin's unexpired term. Bramlette had resigned from the Union army in 1862 to accept President Lincoln's appointment as United States district attorney for Kentucky. Bramlette was not inclined to do anything that might assist in gaining the release of any of Morgan’s men.

Prisoners sent dozens of letters home reassuring their families and explaining the events of their capture. Imprisoned Captain Thomas M. Combs, in writing home to his wife Lou, answered my childhood questions of what became of the stolen horses:

“One man would frequently ride five horses down in one day. Mount a fine fresh horse in the morning, start off at a dead run, and before ten o’clock he would hardly be able to put one foot before another, then ride him up to a fine stable, change saddle and bridle, turn the tired horse loose in the lot and go ahead again.”[iv]

Camp Douglas, in Chicago Illinois, was selected as a fit prison for enlisted men. On August 17, 1863 the first group of Morgan’s Raiders arrived at the prison gates. A good number of Chicago citizens and the press turned out to capture a glimpse of the infamous Raiders.

“Generally, they are far better looking men than any of the secesh prisoners we had here before. Those butternut suits and shapeless slouched hats, would make an ugly man of anybody. All the colors of Joseph’s coat were represented in their wearing apparel: the butternut was worn by the careless quiet looking individuals, who had their horse blankets and tin cups strung across their shoulders. But the keen, black eyed out-and-out raiders of the dare devil stripe, had either a suit of black broadcloth, or a portion of our own soldiers’ blue uniform.”

~ The Chicago Tribune[v]

“Butternut” referred to the grey color of the Confederate uniforms. The material used to make Confederate uniforms was dyed in a process using the bark of the Butternut tree. While the Northern affront “secesh” was used to refer to secessionist and members of the Confederate army, “butternut” became the slur used when referring to both Southerners and those with Southern sympathies.

The following day, none other than Colonel Charles V. De Land was ordered to take command of Camp Douglas. Having been one of the officers that pursued and captured the Raiders, it was certain he would not look favorably upon his prisoners.

“Among the units chasing Morgan was the First Michigan Sharpshooters under Col. Charles V. De Land, aged 35. He entered the war as a captain in the Ninth Michigan Infantry in 1861 and saw some hard soldiering. Captured at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, he was the only Camp Douglas commandant to have seen a Southern prison. Perhaps this explains his harsh treatment of prisoners at Camp Douglas.” [vi]

John Hunt Morgan and the few Raiders who escaped capture at Buffington Island continued to move northward through Ohio.

“Morgan’s Raid-Entry of Morgan’s Freebooters into Washington Ohio”[vii]

Those Raiders unfortunate enough to suffer capture and incarceration were being processed and sent to prison camps across the nation as a means to insure there would be no attempt at their rescue and less likelihood of a well organized mass escape attempt.

“As was the custom, the victor of a battle sent officers and enlisted men to separate prisons to prevent them from organizing a revolt. While their enlisted men were incarcerated in Chicago’s Camp Douglas, their commanding officers spent time at Fort Warren in Massachusetts and Johnson’s Island on Lake Erie.”[viii]
Curtis R. Burke arrived at Camp Douglas on Tuesday, August 18, 1863. He recorded his impressions in his journal:
"The guards said that we were going to Camp Douglas near Chicago, Ill. The cars run along the lake shore for some distance before we got to the suburbs of Chicago where we got out. I could see the city and a few sailing boats but no large crafts. We were marched about four hundred yards inland and arrived at the gate of Camp Douglas on Lake Street. I saw two street cars and several carriages of city folks waiting to see us. The gates swung open and in we marched. The camp appeared pretty large, with a high fence running around it. I saw a postoffice, barber shop, picture gallery, two sutler stores, a commissary house, and a chapel. The first square we entered was the Yankees quarters off to the left, with long barracks on the sides and flag pole in the center. Then we marched to another square that was vacant and they called it White Oak square. All of the barracks were long one story buildings. Four of them forming a square with a cook house on the outside of the square to each barrack and the length of the barrack."

On August 20, 1863 James Edward Evans was among a group placed aboard a railway car and transported to Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois. Here he languished for the next a year and a half as the Dix- Hill Cartel general exchange agreement had collapsed in July of 1863.[ix] The only remaining means of leaving the prison camp were death or taking the Oath of Allegiance.

“Prisoners were now stranded at Camp Douglas for the duration of the war. The cartel was dead, and the administration was skeptical about whether prisoners would honor the oath once released. For example, five of Morgan’s men earned jobs in the hospital by applying for the oath, but they promptly dug a tunnel and escaped.”[x]

It would not be impolite to describe Camp Douglas as a Hell Hole. From 1862–1865, more than 6,000 Confederate prisoners died from disease, starvation, and the bitter cold winters.[xi] Camp Douglas had not been not designed as a prison rather, it began as a training grounds for Federal troops. As a prison, it operated much like a minature city behind walls. Prisoners, guards, and sometimes paroled troops awaiting return to the front were all force to reside in appauling conditions. Situated in a biazzare location, Camp Douglas sat on swampy soil next to the University of Chicago. This land had been owned by Stephen Douglas and was donated to the city of Chicago upon his death.

“Survival at Camp Douglas depended upon many factors. Time and place of capture decided how much equipment and clothing a prisoner might save. Finding friends and forming groups for mutual aid, protection, and conversation was important.” [xii]

James Edward Evans was “lucky” enough to be in the company of other Raiders. What equipment and clothing he managed to bring to the camp is unknown. It is known that he was forced to drink from a contamined well upon his arrival.

“Only one water hydrant supplied the entire camp. It was not working when 558 thirsty prisoners arrived on August 20, causing them to use a contaminated well.” [xiii]

Once processed, the Raiders were assigned to crowded wooden bunk houses.

“The barracks were divided into little rooms with from two to ten bunks in each, and doors and windows to match, also one long room with a row of bunks on each side of the room, mostly three bunks deep or high, and making room for about eighty men.”

~ Private Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry[xiv]

Record showing the James Edward Evans as a POW at Camp Douglas.
Curtis R. Burke also recorded that on Thursday, August 20, 1863:
"A good many citizens and ladies came to take a look at Morgan's men. In the evening Parson Orr held forth in the square and a good many of the boys attended, and service was given out for the next day."

With the influx of Raiders, the number of prisoners at Camp Douglas reached 3,100. Sadly, this was only the beginning of overcrowding at the camp.

“Unfortunately for the hapless De Land, not only were the conditions still very poor, but some of his new prisoners included members of John Hunt Morgan’s infamous raiders. These men proved especially adept at finding ways out of the camp, and under De Land’s command there were more than 150 escapes from Camp Douglas.”[xv]

A group of Morgan’s Men at Camp Douglas in August 1863[xvi]

Ministers were allowed into Camp Douglas to preach sermons and distribute bibles. Some charitable groups, such as the YMCA and churches, took up donations to provide prisoners with blankets, clothing, food, medications, and cleaning supplies. The Chicago Bible Society supplied religious tracts to the prisoners.

“One Sunday Dr. Eddy was reading a verse to them: Show pity, Lord, O Lord, forgive; the next line was, Let a repenting rebel live. He quickly read it, Let a repenting sinner live, but the verse was well known to the prisoners. There was a roar of laughter and all serious attention vanished.”[xvii]

Sutlers (business men who sold goods or services to the prisoners) were also allowed into Camp Douglas. They included a photography studio, a barber shop, two grocery stores, 23 card tables, laundresses, newspaper boys, and peddlers who sold milk, butter, and vegetables.

Raiders at a staged card game[xviii]

“Because music enhanced military morale and musical instruments posed no security threat, Union guards allowed music to ring throughout camp Douglas. Joseph Dunavan of Company D, 2nd Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry, spent his free time as a composer. One of his songs, ‘Twas a Pleasant Home of Ours, Sister,’ is still sold and sung today.”Small ensembles earned extra food, and a group of African American Confederate soldiers who organized a minstrel show played to sell out crowds, earning more than just their salary as Confederate soldiers. One homesick prisoner, Joseph Dunavan of Company D, 2nd Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry, spent his free time as a composer. One of his songs, 'Twas a Pleasant Home of Ours, Sister' is still sold and sung today." [xix]

[i] Markle, DeWitt C. "'...The True Definition of War': The Civil War Diary of DeWitt C. Markle," ed. Erich L. Ewald, Indiana Magazine of History 89, no. 2, June 1993, p.129.
[ii] Compiled Military Service Record of James Edward Evans 1862 – 1865.
[iii] Further information regarding Camp Chase provided by the National Parks Service can be found at:
[iv] Thomas A. Coombs’ letter to his wife Lou dated August 14, 1863.
[v] The Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1863.
[vi] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 9, p. 141.
[vii] Harper’s Weekly Vol. VII No. 346 New York, Saturday, August 15, 1863.
[viii] Pucci, Kelly. “Camp Douglas: Chicago’s Civil War Prison” 2007, p. 37.
[ix] Compiled Military Service Record of James Edward Evans 1862 – 1865.
[x] Levy, George .“To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 9, p. 144.
[xi] Camp Douglas (Chicago)
[xii] Levy, George .“To Die In Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,”1999, Ch. 3, p.59.
[xiii] Levy, George. “To Die in Chicago, Confederate Prisoners at Camp Douglas 1862-65,” 1999, Chap. 9, p. 143.
[xiv] Diary of Private Curtis R. Burke, Co. B 14th Kentucky Cavalry
[xv] Heidler, David Stephen, Heidler, Jeanne T. Coles, David J. .“ Encyclopedia of The American Civil War” p. 345.
[xvi] Photo is accredited with some speculation to D. F. Brandon.
[xvii] Kirkland, Caroline .“Chicago Yesterdays,” 1919, 108 – 109.
[xviii] Photo is accredited with some speculation to D. F. Brandon.
[xix] Pucci, Kelly. “Camp Douglas: Chicago’s Civil War Prison” 2007 p.49.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Great Raid: Success or Failure?

John Hunt Morgan was the one of the Confederacy’s most romantic heroes. In the early years of the American Civil War, he captured the Confederacy’s imagination and became a folk hero immortalized in poetry and song. Dozens of glowing anecdotes illustrated his ability to set the hearts of society Belles racing with acts of compassion and gallantry. Yet, was this dashing military figure in fact a capable leader? Did the actions and character of this single man impact the outcome of the American Civil War? What, if any, lasting impact was created by Morgan’s Great Raid into Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio?

Historian Edward G. Longacre succinctly described the purpose of raiding:

“One of the most important and most taxing assignments that devolved upon Civil War troopers was raiding. Quite often horse soldiers were ordered out in mass either to drive deep into enemy territory on a long, sustained march, or to make a quick stab in the rear of the opponents' lines.”[i]

Morgan has been hailed as an expert raider. Southern news papers reported Morgan’s deeds in the most laudable of tones, while Northern papers, such as the “New York Times” and “Harper’s Weekly,” took delight in vilifying Morgan. Today, modern authors cite Morgan as “the symbol of guerrilla war and primary model for the Confederate Partisan Ranger Act.”[ii] Does Morgan deserve such praise?

Morgan was a civilian prior to the Civil War and lacked military training. While he had created and equipped a group of home guards known as “The Lexington Rifles,” Morgan lacked textbook knowledge of the military arts. Therefore, he developed simple, yet effective, tactics. Raiding was “an inevitable strategic device in the face of the overwhelming material and numerical superiority of the North, and a logical corollary of the essentially defensive strategy of the South, but in the long run, mere raids could not affect the outcome of the war.”[iii] In this light, Morgan was a wily little David fighting a lumbering Goliath.

Morgan wisely selected battlegrounds which were steep, wooded, and difficult terrain to ride in. Thus, no traditional lines could be formed against him. Furthermore, Morgan used his men as both a cavalry and an infantry. Viewing his men as a “mounted infantry,” ala the Kentucky Mounted Rifleman in the War of 1812, the horse became a means of moving into battle. Once upon the battlefield, his men would dismount. The third member of each four man group took charge of the horses. Morgan also selected to bring along artillery. Thus he was, in effect, leading his own little army. Morgan’s Men traveled as lightly as possible, many even abandoning their sabers. Their weapon of preference was the medium Enfield rifle. Attacks were delivered on the double-quick. They were, in today’s terminology, fighting on the “hit and run” as “drive by shooters.”

Near the beginning of the Civil War, Morgan had several advantages over the Union Army which occupied Kentucky. As Lexington, Kentucky had been Morgan’s home and place of business, he knew both the terrain and the people of the areas he set about raiding. This knowledge allowed Morgan to travel directly and with speed, slip away down little known back roads, and find assistance from the citizenry when it was needed. More importantly, during this early period of the American Civil War, the South had a superior cavalry. Due to both the poor infrastructure and agrarian lifestyle of the Confederate States, Southerners had greater experience on horse back and access to stronger, more intelligent horses. Cavalry service carried an aura of glamour that attracted many young men. It was commonly accepted that "the best blood of the South rode in the cavalry." As the War ground on, the tides of fortune turned. Northerners gained experience in the saddle and were supplied with superior fire arms. Morgan’s Raider were quite surprised to find that they no longer no longer held the edge. These “brave knights” of the Confederacy were no longer invincible.

Morgan’s Men were accustomed to making foray’s from Tennessee into central Kentucky, an area many of the men had known since childhood. However, Morgan’s Great Raid through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio was no “quick stab.” While long-distance raiding against enemy lines of communications, supply depots, and railroads was recognized during this period as a legitimate cavalry tactic, this long sustained march caused Morgan’s men to become so exhausted and demoralized that they were no longer battle ready. Conversely, the morale of the forces perusing Morgan was on the rise. It was now the turn of the Union troopers to ride past their own doors with their wives and children running down the road to greet them. Rather than obtaining the goal of bringing the horror of war to the citizens of the North, Morgan’s Great Raid inspired scores of “stay at homes” to take up arms and defend their homes and loved ones. Likewise, the women of Indian and Ohio gladly supported the Union troops by preparing meals, singing, and cheering as they passed. Patriotism was never dimmed.

In the same essay referenced above, Mr. Longacre outlined the objectives of a cavalry raid:

“Basically, the objectives of cavalry raiders, whether on full- or limited-scale, long- or short-range expeditions, were to strike unexpectedly and decisively at assigned targets, to avoid battle with enemy forces of equal or larger size when at all possible, to gather intelligence about opponents' positions or campaign plans, to create maximum damage to enemy re- sources in minimal time, and to return to home base while suffering as few casualties as possible.

Favorite targets of Civil War raiders included enemy communication lines (particularly railroads), supply bases, garrisons, wagon trains, and loosely defended cities of military value. Raids were conducted either as ends in themselves or as diversionary maneuvers designed to distract the enemy's attention from larger movements by the main army.

Several conditions had to exist if a mounted raid were to be conducted successfully. First of all, the officer in charge had to be bold and aggressive but also prudent, capable of exercising strict authority when necessary and allowing subordinates the discretion to launch secondary operations when desirable.

He had to be adept at meeting unexpected turns of events, at implementing contingency tactics, and at fighting on the defensive as well as on the offensive, as conditions warranted.

Likewise, his subordinate officers had to be enterprising and imaginative, as well as deeply committed to serving their commander faithfully in moments calling for unity of purpose and action.

Then, too, the common soldiers had to be adaptable and resourceful, willing to endure the hardships of a long march in any sort of weather, capable of acting with individual initiative but also as members as a unified team, and able to wield axes and crowbars with vigorous precision.

Finally, the scouts and guides needed a full, accurate comprehension of the country to be traversed, a knowledge of nearby enemy troops and hostile citizens, and a wealth of detail about back trails and blind roads to be used in event of emergency.”[iv]

Morgan was a master of time management. During his Great Raid, he established the world’s record for moving cavalry as his men skirted the city of Cincinnati traveling nearly 100 miles in about 30 hours. He was also an expert at evasive maneuvering. Rarely was Union leadership able to pinpoint the exact city of Morgan’s aim. Following the old Napoleonic methods, the raiders were responsible for providing themselves with food and horses. They became as destructive as a plague of locust adeptly depleting the path of the raid of food, horses and fodder. Furthermore, Morgan allowed his men to “take the spoils of war” from Northern citizens. This often included “opening” stores and saloons. Toward the end of the Great Raid, reports of drunkenness and theft abounded. The once cunning unit was now more akin to a mob of drunken Fraternity brother armed with loaded shot guns. These raiders broke the code of traveling lightly and became weighted down with bolts of cloth, extra clothing, and unusual trinkets such as bird cages and ice skates. By turning a blind eye to this behavior Morgan betrayed his own departure from the actions of a gallant military hero. He grew notoriously lack in exercising authority over the irresponsible actions of his men. Northern newspapers mockingly rechristened the Great Raid as “The Calico Raid.” Only once did Morgan object to his men’s conduct, adamantly ordering stolen Masonic jewels be immediately returned. Regardless of it’s shamefulness, this wide spread theft was not the sort of damage capable of turning the tides of the war. Even the bridges, railroad tracks, locomotives, and flour mills destroyed by the Raiders were mere drops in the bucket. During the Great Raid, Morgan failed to capture or destroy any major targets.

Morgan’s imprudent manner in selecting to ignore General Wheeler’s orders is key to understanding his rapidly deteriorating state of mind. Wheeler had extended Morgan the right to move as he desired within the state of Kentucky, but commanded that he halt at the Ohio River. Nevertheless, Morgan could not reign in of his emotions and personal desire to recapture his former prestige. Many Cavalry men viewed long-distance raids as their best change at winning lasting fame. Yet, such raids were often of little practical strategic value. Morgan’s caprice resulted in dooming his entire command.

With the exception of his new wife Hattie, Morgan showed callous indifference. Gone was the benevalent figure of Southern folktale who protected women, bestowed gifts on children, and always looked after his men. This new self-centereed Morgan showed little thoughtfulness toward his subordinate officers and men. Morgan had been blessed with the good fortune to hand select the roughly 2, 400 men who accompanied him on the Great Raid. He surrounded himself with familiar subordinate officers including his brother Dick Morgan, his brother-in-law Basil Duke, and old cronies from his Lexington Rifles Days. This nepotism insured him unquestioning loyalty and adherence to his plans rather than to Wheeler’s orders. Morgan showed heartless insensitivity toward the troops he commanded. Morgan’s men spent the winter prior to the Great Raid in Tennessee where they were forced to make their camp in open fields building pitiful lean-tos out of fence rails and their raincoats. Each night as they slept, ice formed on their blankets. These men starved on rations of parched corn supplemented with whatever they could scrounge from the surrounding countryside. While there were a few deserters, most of the men continued to ardently follow their well heeled General who slept comfortable in elegant homes, dined at the finest tables, attended lavish balls, and married a young society belle. The devotion of these Confederate Volunteers stemmed from their desire to defend their homes, their families, and their agricultural life style. Their patriotic zeal for the Confederate States of America was so abundant; it blinded them to the flaws in their commanding officer. Morgan’s men were guilty of hero worship.

"General Morgan and his 2,460 handpicked Confederate cavalrymen, along with a battery of light artillery, departed from Sparta, Tennessee, on June 11, 1863, intending to divert the attention of the Union Army of the Ohio from Southern forces in the state."[v]

Morgan’s Men did an excellent job of downing telegram lines and intercepting Union intelligence sent in telegraph messages. They also excelled in planting counterintelligence. Upon entering Indiana, the Raiders spread false rumors that Morgan intended to attack Indianapolis. Morgan furthered this ruse by repeatedly having his telegraph operator, George “Lightning” Ellsworth, tap into the Union lines and, pretending to be a local operator, join any “conversations.” In this manner Morgan was able to spread disinformation regarding the size of his force, their direction of travel, and the number of artillery pieces with which they were equipped.[vi]

Tacitly, Morgan excelled at misdirection. He often broke his forces into small units, allowing one or two units to backtrack, zigzag, or act as decoys. These maneuvers purchased the main column valuable time. However cunning he was at tactics, during the Great Raid Morgan lacked a long term strategy that could bring military triumph to the Confederacy. After his younger brother Tom was killed in battle at Lebanon, Kentucky, Morgan seemed to lose his taste for warfare and avoided battle whenever possible. If a show of artillery did not bring immediate surrender, Morgan simply “vanished.” Almost every town that stood to confront him with a force of armed men discovered that Morgan led his men around the town on back roads as they evacuated their women and children.

While in Kentucky and Indiana, Morgan avoided “battle with enemy forces of equal or larger size.” In Ohio, as Morgan lost time facing road blocks and home guards, large numbers of Union troops amassed. By the time of the Battle of Buffington Island, Morgan was out numbered. Not only was this a result of meticulous planning by Burnside, Morgan’s own growing overconfidence and lack of willingness to view the situation as it was rather than as he wished it to be, led to his undoing. To his great shame, Morgan lost over 2,100 of his men at a time when every Confederate soldier was desperately needed.

While the timing of the Great Raid coincided with Vicksburg, Gettysburg, and Brigadier-General John Imboden’s raid upon the B & O railway in Bedford County, Pennsylvania; the only correlation to these campaigns lay within Morgan’s mind. It is rumored that Morgan hoped to join forces with Lee in Pennsylvania. As Lee suffered defeat and was forced to retreat, we shall never know if this was Morgan’s true intent. The Great Raid proved to be just another disheartening defeat for the Confederacy during the summer of 1863.

Morgan’s overconfidence led to poor planning. Morgan had attempted to conduct reconnaissance of Southern Indiana in June. He selected Thomas Hines to lead a small party of twenty five men to posing as a Union patrol. These men attempted to contact Southern sympathizers, commonly referred to as Copperheads, in the hope of to swaying them into joining the raid or providing support. Ominously, the reconnaissance attempt failed miserably. Not only was no such support found among the Northerners, the true identity of Hines’ party was discovered. During a skirmish near Leavenworth, Indiana, Hines abandoned his men and swam across the Ohio River. After weeks of wandering about in Northern Kentucky, Hines rejoined Morgan’s forces at Brandenburg, Kentucky. Apparently, Morgan was not shaken by anything Hines reported. Morgan heedlessly forged ahead. Once Morgan left Kentucky, he was out of his element and completely without aid. He no longer knew the lay of the land, which were the most direct roads, or which families could be counted on for assistance. Forced to press local citizens into guiding his columns, Morgan often lost valuable time. Another blow to Morgan’s intelligence gathering capability was the lost Captain Thomas Quirk, who was shot in the reign arm at Marrow Bone Creek. Quirk had led an elite group of scouts consisting mainly of former “Lexington Rifles.” Reconnaissance was the key to effective cavalry operations. Once Quirk was gone, intelligence gathering crumbled. The ultimate blunder came when Morgan’s scouts failed to note that Home Guards, rather than Union soldier, guarded the earthworks at Buffington Island. If the Raiders had attacked before the gunboats arrived, a greater number might have been able to escape.

Mr. Longacre concluded his essay by illuminating the criteria used to determine the relative success or failure of a raid:

“Military strategists have drawn up some informal rules that, if followed, would have led to a successful raid. One of the most important of these concerns the degree of value a raid might reach.

To be considered a complete and enduring success, a raid had to be linked in some way with a larger operation. Damage to enemy property, however extensive, was not deemed a sufficient feat unless it materially aided the greater designs of the general-in-chief of the army. In other words, a raid could be pronounced a full success only when it made strategic as well as tactical contributions to the fortunes of the army.

Another informal rule stated that a raiding force had to be small enough to facilitate speed and mobility (the key features of mounted campaigning) but at the same time sufficiently large to handle all of its assigned duties and, if necessary, follow contingency planning. Hence, the amount of work to be done in large part dictated the size of the force sent to accomplish it.”[vii]

The Great Raid was of very little value. Rather than confining his movements to Kentucky as he had been ordered, Morgan invaded Indiana in the hope of creating a spectacular, everlasting impression. While Morgan did recapture headlines and managed to act as a diversion allowing Bragg to withdraw toward Chattanooga, he did not achieve the glory for which he was striving. His greatest aims were unfulfilled. Politically, Confederates dreamt of bringing Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois into the fold. Yet not one of those states succeeded from the Union or brought aide to the Confederate cause. Likewise, there was no military value in Morgan’s Great Raid. Raiders captured and paroled nearly 6,000 Union soldiers and militia. These men were immediately released with little more impact than a bruise to their honor. Some Union supply lines were disrupted and infrastructure was somewhat disrupted when thirty four bridges were destroyed and railroad tracks were torn up at some sixty locations. Union troops were diverted from other duties to chase Morgan however; it was not enough of a drain on Northern man power to prevent Union victories Vicksburg and Gettysburg. Monetarily, 4,375 claims were filed which resulted in awarded damages totaling $576,225.[viii] In Ohio alone, approximately 2,500 horses were stolen and nearly 4,375 homes and businesses were raided. Morgan's Raid cost Ohio taxpayers nearly $600,000 in damages and over $200,000 in wages paid to the 49,357 Ohioans called up to man 587 companies of local militia.[ix] Intrinsic rewards included a renewed hope among Southners that the Confederacy might yet rally after the devastating losses at Gettysburg and Vicksburg and the perverted thrill of creating panic among the citizens of Southern Indiana and Ohio. On the balance, the Great Raid was a fruitless exercise.

“It is therefore doubtful on balance, these hit-and-run raids were ever worth the price the Confederates paid for them in dispersion of effort and in the absence, at critical times, of large bodies of cavalry from their proper place with the armies.”[x]

Southern historians such as Colonel Basil Duke have attempted to paint the Great Raid in glowing terms:

"The objects of the raid were accomplished. General Bragg's retreat was unmolested by any flanking forces of the enemy, and I think that military men, who will review all the facts, will pronounce that this expedition delayed for weeks the fall of East Tennessee, and prevented the timely reinforcement of Rosecrans by troops that would otherwise have participated in the Battle of Chickamauga."[xi]

While Morgan managed to cover Bragg’s retreat, the Great Raid brought about the utter destruction of Morgan's command. Only 300 men managed to escape across the Ohio River. Thus, all of the remaining 2,160 were among the died, the wounded who were left behind on the battle at the mercy of Union Troops or Northern civilian, or those captured and sent to Union prisons.

In the final years of the war, Union leadership came to view cavalry raids on lines of communication as calculable risk. Sherman blatantly ignored raiders. In the ultimate insult to Southern pride, raiders, once viewed as daring and glamorous cavalry men, were now considered little more than a pesky nuisance.

"After their capture, the enlisted men of Morgan’s command were transferred to military prisons as prisoners of war. The officers, however, were treated as civil criminals and imprisoned at the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. This brought about cries of outrage from Southerners but it really worked to the officers’ advantage. If they had been treated as prisoners of war, they would have been taken to the Confederate Officers’ Prison at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. This was an island in Lake Erie from which there was little chance of escape. The Ohio penitentiary was not escape-proof, however, and on 27 November 1863, seven men including John Morgan tunneled out of the prison and escaped south."[xii]

John Hunt Morgan’s Great Raid was an abject failure. Not only was Morgan guilty of open defiance of orders, disgraceful vanity, rampant egotism bordering on mental illness, and a scandalously reckless lack of command; his twisted scheme to regain acclaim sacrificed his men upon his self-constructed alter of narcissism. John Hunt Morgan was no hero. He was, in the central Kentucky vernacular, “a damned fool!”

“Morgan's Raid netted few positive results for the Southern military. It did provide some hope to Confederate civilians that their military could still succeed following the Northern victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg in early July 1863. It also caused a great deal of fear among Indiana and Ohio residents and cost several of these people some personal property that the raiders had seized. Almost 4,400 Ohioans filed claims for compensation with the federal government for items that they lost to the Confederates during the raid. The claims amounted to 678,915 dollars, with the government authorizing compensation in the amount of 576,225 dollars. While the Confederates succeeded in instilling fear in the civilian population, the raid inspired many of these people to fight even harder to defeat the Confederacy. In addition, the Confederate military lost an entire division of veteran cavalrymen. Morgan also failed to destroy any railroad tracks, bridges, or supply depots. The raid caused no significant harm to the transportation and communication infrastructure of the North. The raid had as many negative effects as positive ones for the Confederacy.”[xiii]

“He was not a brilliant military mind, but was instead a brash commander whose bravado often resulted in military failure, especially in 1863 and 1864.”[xiv]

“I will say this. That General Morgan could have got out of Ohio with his command had he have managed different. A day or two before we reached the Ohio River, he stopped the two last nights, before reaching the river and we slept the most of the night, when we should have been moving to the place where we expected to cross. We arrived at Portland on the Ohio at 8 P.M. the 18th when we should have got there or might have arrived early in the forenoon. We also had an ambulance and carriage train two miles or more long with sick and wounded who were able to travel. This ought to have been abandoned. We also had four pieces of artillery. All of this we brought up to this point. We should have plunged into the river as soon as we got to the river, abandoning our carriage and artillery. About 60 yards in middle of river was swimming. We could have built bonfires on each side of the river for light and got across and not many would have been drowned, not as many as was killed next morning in the fight. Yet, we remained until the sun must have been one hour high, before we made a move to cross and all night long every one of us that I heard express themselves said we would be captured, many of us if we remained all night. So it was as all seemed to this of course General Morgan's desire was to take everything over the river. But he should have known with the thousands after us, it was impossible.”

~John Weatherred, Bennett's Regiment or 9th Tennessee Cavalry [xv]


iLongacre, Edward G. “Mounted Raids of the Civil War”
[ii] Ramage, James A. “Gray Ghost: The Life of Col. John Singleton Mosby”
ii Starr, Stephen Z. “ Cavalry Tactics in the Civil War” Cincinnati CWRT, April 26, 1959
iii Longacre, Edward G. “Mounted Raids of the Civil War”
iv U.S. War Department, “The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies”, 70 volumes in 4 series. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1880-1901.
v Mosgrove, George Dallas, "Following Morgan's Plume in Indiana and Ohio," Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXV. January-December, 1907.
vi Longacre, Edward G. “Mounted Raids of the Civil War”
vii Figures supplied by the Ohio Historical Society
viii Harper, Robert S., “Ohio Handbook of the Civil War”. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio Historical Society, 1961. page 23.
ix Starr, Stephen Z. “ Cavalry Tactics in the Civil War” Cincinnati CWRT, April 26, 1959
x Duke, Basil Wilson, “A History of Morgan's Cavalry.” Cincinnati, Ohio: Miami Printing and Pub. Co., 1867. page 460.
xi Barret, Frank. “”John Hunt Morgan”
xii Ohio History Central “Morgan’s Raiders.”
xiii H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Science. “ John Hunt Morgan and the Civil War in South Central Kentucky.”
[xv] The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred