Wednesday, December 31, 2008

JUDAH: The North’s Unruly General

Morgan was not the only Civil War general inclined to disobey direct orders. Brigadier-General Boyle struggled with both General Judah and gunboats as he sought to apprehend Morgan.

“Cincinnati, July 9, 1863

General Hartsuff, Stanford, KY:
General Judah refused to obey the order of General Boyle, and consequently is far out of the way, where he can do no one any good. General Boyle must have full authority to move troops until this emergency passes. The rebels are now in Indiana, in rear of Louisville and New Albany, and unless we can concentrate troops rapidly we are liable to lose those two places. I asked you some time ago where Byrd and Sanders were.

A. E. Burnside,

Stanford, July 9, 1863.

General Burnside:
Immediately after my arrival here today, I sent dispatch authorizing Boyle to order two regiments from Munfordville to Louisville and the fragments of Moore’s regiment from Lebanon. I notified Judah and Manson that Boyle was so authorized. The message went after Judah’s refusal to obey Boyle’s order and would correct. I preferred this to issuing the order myself, as Boyle would know what arrangements to make with railroad. Many of my messages have been strangely delayed or misunderstood. I sent you also the whereabouts of Sanders and Byrd. Sanders intended going, via Perryville, to Bardstown, and I gave him nearly the same instructions I gave Colonel David, but before he got off I received a message from you and sent it immediately to him. He is acting on these instructions. I gave him no other. Following is the message:

Have Sanders send forces in direction of Lawrenceburg and Frankfort. Byrd has between 500 and 600 at Lebanon; the remainder at Camp Nelson. If railroad is open to Munfordville, I can see no difficulty in getting troops from there in time; if not, I might force a couple of infantry regiments to Danville or Lebanon, to take rail for Louisville.

Would not advise unless you consider it absolutely necessary. Sanders is occupied with between 100 and 200, who are trying to cross Kentucky River and escape, via Mount Sterling. Heard this eve they had succeeded in crossing. I leave for Danville tomorrow. Think I will leave the infantry here for a little while. All quiet in front.

Geo. L. Hartsuff,

Louisville, July 9, 1863 – 4 p.m.
Major-General Hartsuff:
Morgan was within 4 miles of Corydon, which place is 20 miles from New Albany. Without troops sent here, if Morgan comes, no show of resistance can be offered. He was at Brandenburg, and no means to cross river. I have endeavored to get transports and the gunboats to convoy them. Gunboats are under no one’s orders; never reported to me. I could bring Manson’s troops from Munfordville, if I had authority, and send them back. I brought troops from Nashville and all intermediate points during Morgan’s first raid, and never lost a bridge.

J. T. Boyle,


[i] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, pages 713-714.

BURKE’S JOURNAL: July 9, 1863

The following memories were recorded by Curtis R. Burke, 14th Kentucky Calvary, Co. B. He paints such a compelling picture of the Battle of Corydon, it seemed only fitting to present his work as a whole.

Thursday, July 9th, 1863. Weather pleasant. About sun up we saddled up and moved a few miles and stopped in a lot near a house. We got plenty of corn from the crib. There was a large pond in the center of the lot. Henry Bethods of company A was wounded in the arm accidentally by a shot from a pistol in hands of John Camdon of the same company who was cleaning it at the time. The boys got all of the meat and bread in the house then got into the milk, butter and preserves in the diary. On these I made a good breakfast. We had some bushwhackers at the house prisoners and some boys scared them very much by telling them that General Morgan was going to shoot them. The lady of the house appeared to be in a great stew or fret. I suppose her weight was something near two hundred and fifty. As soon as our horses were done eating we moved on. About ten o’clock the advance guard was fired on by men in the bushes who would fire and run. Our advance guard was from the regiment, each company being represented and were led by Winder Monroe. When we got about three miles from Corydon John Dunn of company D or Capt. Hines Co. was killed from a house. Hutty Hutchison [M. Hutcherson] and several others of my company received orders to burn the house. Hutchison went in and the woman declared that there was no men or arms in the house and begged Hutchison not to burn the house. He paid no attention to her but got fire from the stove and commenced firing the beds and bookcase. In a few minutes the old man and young son came bouncing down stairs and tried to put the fire out. Hutchison attempted to stop the old man and the old fellow the pitched into him and tired to take his carbine from him. In the scuffle Hutchison found that the old man was stronger than he was and determined to use his carbine if he could. He soon managed to get the muzzle of his gun against the old man’s thigh and fired. The old man still contended for the gun. Hutchison called to Huston Garvin to shoot him! Shoot him!! Garvin then cocked his gun and pressed the muzzle against the old man’s side. The old man instantly released his grip on the gun and said, “I give up.” Being weak from his wound he staggered out and laid down in the yard. The flow of blood could not be stopped and the old man soon bled to death. By this time the house was all in flames. The women made a great fuss over it. There seems to have been a good many loaded guns in the upper story of the house for a good many reports were distinctly heard above the roar of the flames. During the above Transaction the regiment was halted in the road. We then received orders to go on a scout to the right of Corydon. A guide was furnished us and we took a road to the right through the woods and went a mile or so when the advance caught sight of some bushwhackers and we all put out after them on a double quick. Turning a corner to the right at a house where some women and children were crying I saw a fine pair of boots on the side of the road that some of the boys ahead had dropped. I thought that I would have time to stop and get them so I rode out, dismounted, and got the. Just then a heavy volley was fired into us from the woods just about [a] stone’s throw ahead. My horse was restless and before I could mount, the rear of my company closed up and dismounted to fight and I could not get to my position in the first section. I was holding my horse and five or six reins was partly forced into my hands. The boys thinking I was a No. 3 or horse holder. Before I could turn around our boys had taken to the trees. The bullets came pretty thick and low but our boys soon made the work too hot for the bushwhackers and they run taking off their wounded and leaving one man dead on the field. The causalities on our side was M. Johnson got his foot shattered, Charles Bess [or Best] got a deep graze on the side of his head, both of the advance guard. R. S. Porter of Co. C got a shot in his hand, L. P. Thorp badly wounded in the shoulder. The wounded and a couple of prisoners we had captured in the skirmish were sent to the rear. Then we all mounted and took a road to the right through the woods on a double quick, the guide keeping in front with the advance and the advance from twenty five to a hundred yards in advance of the regiment. We went about three miles bearing a little to the left when the advance vidette sent word back that the bushwhackers were ahead. We galloped into a large stubble field and formed a line in the center of the field on a double quick. As fast as the companies got into line they dismounted to fight, then we double quicked about fifty yards to the top of a little rise in front of a house which brought us within a hundred yards of a clump of trees where a group of about a dozen mounted men had just ridden up. “There they are! Give it to them boys!” ran along our line. I had a fair shot. They broke without returning the fire leaving one man dead. We followed them about a hundred yards or so loading as we run. Some got two shots. I did not get a second. We could see the bushwhackers and home guards galloping past us on the pike some distance below us into Corydon. We could see Corydon on our left. Our horses came up and we mounted and went to the pike, then took right down the pike about two hundred yards to a house. The regiment formed behind the house in an orchard and company B (my company) dismounted and got in an old log stable on the side of the pike to keep the yanks from escaping from town on that road as our forces were all around town and we felt sure of taking it. We had a clear view of the pike for about two hundred yards and good cracks between the logs of the stable to shoot from both below and in the left. I laid a lot of my cartridge in a trough before me hoping to get a chance to use them soon. We waited for half an hour, one person made his appearance and we captured him and returned to the regiment. There was a dozen or so home guards came up the pike from the country but on seeing us they halted. The boys hollowed to them to come on, that we would whip the robbers and etc. So they took it for granted that we were home guards also, so they came right up and were very much surprised when they were informed that they were prisoners in the hands of Morgan’s men. There was another lot came in sight and halted. The boys had a considerable argument whether they were our men or Yanks. We all looked so much alike. We knew there was other scouts out from command besides ourselves. We tired to call this second lot to us, but they would not come. Some of the boys saw bayonets in their crowd and decided they were Yanks and fired at them and they broke back. One of the first prisoners said that there was a wagon load of provisions cooked just behind the party that we drove back and if we had fired we would have captured the wagon. The boys regretted very much not getting hold of the wagon. The prisoners said that they were going to Corydon in compliance with a general order to help drive the rebels out of the country. They were on foot. Some of the officers paroled them to go back home. Then we mounted and moved towards Corydon falling in with one of our regiments coming from the direction that we had come. We stopped at a place where about two companies of the enemy had surrendered and ground their arms. Several of us tried to trade off our old muskets for better guns, but the guard over them would not let us change. WE received news that Corydon had been surrendered, and moved on. As we passed the toll gate I saw among a scared looking group of women and children the large lady that lived at the house where we fed that morning. She hollowed to us, “Oh please don’t kill anybody or burn the town. Everybody has surrendered.” As we entered Corydon we sung The Bonnie Blue Flag. As we passed through town I noticed that every house was shut up and our men and the prisoners, some seven or eight hundred in number, were crowded in the streets. The houses were mostly white frame buildings. It is not a very large place but a tolerable good looking lace. We took the Salem pike, dismounting to fight five or six times in an hour. At one place my company was thrown out as skirmishers and went to a house looking for some home guards that went in that direction. The lady said that about twenty five men just went in that direction. The lady said that herself and her husband had never openly taken sides on either side, but stood neutral. We went no farther but returned to our regiment. At another place the advance came to a halt on a rise in the road. There was some mounted home guards near a house and stable in a bottom, cleared piece of land. My company was sent around the hillside to the left through the woods to get in the rear. The woods was very thick with undergrowth. We could scarcely keep our seats in the saddle riding single file. WE got into the position we wished but the game had fled with two exceptions. The advanced fired on them and got their horses. We galloped to the next house and halted till all got up, then moved on passing through the village of Palmyra, Ind. And halted to camp two miles beyond, about dusk, at a good looking house. We were all very tired and getting sleepy. Myself, Wm. Gibbons, Henry White, and others was called out on a detail for picket before going into camp. We immediately went down the road to the next house about a quarter of a mile and made it our base. There was a cross road a hundred yards below where the pickets stood. The family at the house were Dutch. We got plenty [of] corn for our horses and meat, bread, milk, cheese, and butter for ourselves, and no charge. One of the boys gave him a pair of ladies slippers as a present. He professed to be a little secesh but had to keep neutral. I and Henry White made a bed near our horses of our extra blankets. There was fifteen of us all together. I and William Gibbons stood together from three o’clock until five o’clock. We could hear bells ringing and cars whistling all through the night. Just before sun up the advance of the command commenced passing and we were relieved, but remained at the picket base.

The Bonnie Blue Flag
Harry McCarthy

We are a band of brothers and native to the soil,

Fighting for the property we gained by honest toil;
And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far,
"Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star!"

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

As long as the Union was faithful to her trust,
Like friends and like brothers both kind were we and just;
But now, when Northern treachery attempts our rights to mar,
We hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

First gallant South Carolina nobly made the stand,
Then came Alabama, who took her by the hand;
Next quickly Mississippi, Georgia and Florida,
All raised on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Ye men of valor, gather round the banner of the right,
Texas and fair Louisiana join us in the fight;
Davis, our loved president, and Stephens statesman are,
Now rally round the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

And here's to old Virginia, the Old Dominion State,
Who with the young Confederacy at length has linked her fate;
Impelled by her example, now other states prepare,
To hoist on high the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Then cheer, boys, cheer, raise the joyous shout,
For Arkansas and North Carolina now have both gone out;
And let another rousing cheer for Tennessee be given,
The single star of the Bonnie Blue Flag has grown to be eleven.

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Then here's to our Confederacy, strong are we and brave,
Like patriots of old we'll fight our heritage to save;
And rather than submit to shame, to die we would prefer,
So cheer for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Hurrah! Hurrah! For Southern rights hurrah!
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.

Monday, December 29, 2008


“We attacked Corydon this evening, and, after a tolerable severe fight for two hours, took the place and several hundred prisoners. Thence to Salisberry, where we bivouacked for a few hours.”

~ Lt. Col. James B. McCreary, 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA

Early on July 9th, John Hunt Morgan selected his brother Colonel Richard “Dick” Morgan to lead a group of scouts northward over the Mauckport Road. About twelve miles from their crossing point, south of town of Corydon, the Raiders found their way blocked the Harrison County Home Guard who had barricaded themselves behind fallen logs. This small force of 450 men, officially designated as the 6th Regiment, Indiana Legion was under the command of Colonel Lewis Jordan. Jordan had positioned his men to block access to Corydon from the south. While a number of the Home Guard had the advantage of being equipped with Henry rifles which could fire 14 rounds without reloading, the Raiders outnumbered the little Indiana force by four to one. Morgan used his Parrot guns to further his advantage. The Hoosiers were outflanked and captured in under an hour. Having made short work of the battle, the Raiders marched their prisoners into Corydon.

Sketch of the Corydon Battlefield[ii]

Morgan was in his glory in Corydon. He paroled his prisoners and demanded a ransom for the town. The Harrison County treasury was emptied of $690. Unsatisfied, he demanded “contributions” of $1,000 each from the three mills to spare them from being burned. He then demanded $600 each from the town’s two leading stores. These payments however did not prevent the Raiders from “collecting the spoils of victory.” Stores were looted, private homes pillaged and women ordered to empty their pantries and prepare meals. Morgan made his headquarters at the town's main hotel, while his men procured fresh horses. Local reports claimed that over 500 horses were taken.

“On the doubly memorable ninth of July a visit was paid to the citizens of Corydon and vicinity by Morgan and his herd of horse thieves. We heard Tuesday night that they had crossed the river and had disgraced the soil of Indiana with their most unhallowed feet. Our home guards skirmished with the rebs from the river to C. [Corydon] and on one of the hills overlooking the town had a grand battle. The battle raged violently for thirty minutes, just think of it! And on account of the large number of the rebs we were forced to retire which our men did in good earnest every one seemed determined to get out of town first but which succeeded remains undecided to this day. After the general skedaddle, Col. Jordan wisely put up the white Flag--and we were prisoners to a horde of thieves and murderers. I don't want you to think I am making fun of our brave home guards for I am not in the least, but now that all the danger is over, it is real funny to think how our men did run. Gen. Carrington awarded great praise to us and we all think that is something. What could 350 un-drilled home guards and citizens do against 4,000 well drilled and disciplined soldiers We did not even know Hobson was following him. We sent to New Albany time and again for help and not one man or gun did they send us. Though we have found out since that it was the fault of Gen Boyle and not the people of New Albany. It made Morgan so mad to think a few Home guards dared to fight his men I am glad they done it just to spite him. However they captured most of the guards and paroled them and killed three of our men. Father was out fighting with his Henry rifle but they did not get him or his gun. One of Morgan’s spies was in town three or four weeks visiting his relatives and some of his men helped our men to build the entrenchments I guess none of the rebels down south are that accommodating are they? One of our brave boys run three miles from the rebels, and really run himself to death. He stopped at a house and fainted and never came to. Didn’t he deserve a promotion? I think that was the awfullest [sic] day I ever passed in my life. ”

~ Miss Attia Porter[iii]

“I may state here that the numerous papers of Indiana were telling the people that Morgan's men were killing women and children and burning houses and destroying everything. These reports of course were false. But it scared the people almost crazy, consequently, they all or most of them left home. We would often see men, women and children running away across the fields and we would run after them and take the men behind us on our horses to some Capt. or Colonel who would parole them, the women and children would be frightened almost to death. We would tell them to return home that we were not fighting them or private citizen and would not hurt anyone who were not soldiers. Houses were deserted, door left opened, they left in such haste. Of course we had strict orders from General Morgan not to take anything, but we often visited the pantry and such good food, bread and meats, butter, honey, fruits, preserves and such. After passing through Corydon a few miles, as we was passing a large house an old man about 80 years old come out on the porch to our left, shot at the men at the head of the column, as they passed by. I saw him when he fired his gun, but was back in the column 4 or 5 hundred yards. The boys in front of the house shot at him and wounded him slightly in the cheek. They charged the house, took his gun and broke it. He sat down in a chair on the porch and looked at us pass by. The lady of the house could not get him to go into the house. His age saved him: he wounded one man slightly. We all admired his courage and bravery but not his judgment.”

~John Weatherred, 9th Tennessee Cavalry[iv]

While taking a meal at Jacob W. Kintner’s Eagle Hotel, John Hunt Morgan was brought a local newspaper by the innkeeper’s daughter. Morgan’s face filled with gloom as he read of the Confederate defeats at Gettysburg and Vicksburg.[v] Now there was no hope of joining forces with Lees and riding off into the pages of history. Morgan’s scheme of grandeur was undone.

INDIANAPOLIS, July 9. – Morgan’s forces consisting of infantry, artillery and cavalry and numbering between 6,000 and 8,000 crossed into Indiana and captured Corydon. Our forces are falling back. It is supposed the rebels are marching on New Albany and Jeffersonville, where large quanties of supplies are stored. Troops are being organized throughout the State and sent forward as rapidly as possible. Business was entirely suspended here today, and the citizens were forming companies for self defense. One regiment has been raised since last night. It is reported that two citizens were killed at Corydon when the rebels entered the town.

~The Cincinnati Daily Enquirer [vi]

“Morgan’s force was not to exceed two thousand troopers when he invaded the States north of the Ohio River. Now two thousand horsemen make a big showing; and to the excited male citizens, whose horses were being seized right and left, and to the excited female citizens, whose loaves of bread were being seized at the oven doors, this number was easily magnified to ten thousand; and this was the number uniformly reported to us by the excited citizens, though we knew the number did not exceed two thousand.”

~ Captain Theodore R. Allen, 7th Ohio Cavalry [vii]

Reports of dead and wounded include four of Jordan’s men killed during the battle and 10 -12 Union men wounded. Civilian fatalities included a toll keeper shot while tending his gate, a Lutheran Minister shot on his farm, and two women who died of “exhaustion.” The Raiders counted eleven dead and forty wounded. The Presbyterian Church on Capitol Avenue was pressed into service as the Confederate hospital where Morgan left his wounded in the care of the townspeople. Ordering his men to remount, Morgan pressed his main column northward toward New Salisbury. A number of details were sent out to search for fresh horses, food, and supplies including replacements for tattered clothes, shoes and hats. Other groups splintered off to plunder as they past small villages. The main column past through New Salisbury and camped south of Palmyra sending only a few hours on sleep. Early in the morning of July 10th, the Raiders regrouped in Salem before continuing their march.

“General Hobson’s pursuing column, of which the Seventh Ohio Cavalry was a part, arrived at Corydon a few hours after Morgan’s departure. The citizens of Indiana received us with the greatest joy and enthusiasm; and from the time of our arrival at Corydon until the end of our march at Buffington Island, Ohio, (a distance of about three hundred miles,) our line of march was between two lines of patriotic people, occupying each side of the road – men, women, and children – laden with good things for us to eat, the principal article being fried chicken. In truth and literally, there were six hundred miles of fired chicken! The reader may be inclined to look upon this statement as a ‘Cavalryman’s yarn’ or an exaggeration, but I trust it will not be so considered. I am surprised at my moderation in thus describing the fried chicken prepared for us on this march. In view of the fact that whichsoever way we turned or whatsoever road we followed, the women of Indiana and Ohio met us promptly with the greatest abundance of fried chicken I am inclined to think that it would be entirely within bounds of truth if I described the same as ‘Six Hundred Square Miles of Fried Chicken.’”

~ Captain Theodore F. Allen, Seventh Ohio Cavalry [viii]


[i] Diary of James B. McCreary
[ii] John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail Project and the Historic Hoosier Hills Organization
[iii] Letter from Attia Porter to John Calvin Andrews 7/30/1863
[iv] The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred
[v] Benton, Leo. Informational Flyer on the history of Corydon
[vi] Daily Cincinnati Enquirer, July 10, 1863
[vii] Allen, Theodore F. “In Pursuit of John Morgan,” Sketches of War History 1861-1865, Papers prepared for the Commandery of the Sate of Ohio, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States 1896 -1903, p. 232
[viii] Allen, Theodore F. “In Pursuit of John Morgan,” Sketches of War History 1861-1865, Papers prepared for the Commandery of the Sate of Ohio, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States 1896 -1903, p. 229.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

CROSSING THE OHIO: Brandenburg, Kentucky

The Alice Dean was used to ferry Morgan’s Men across the Ohio River and then set ablaze so that pursuing Union troops would be unable to use it as well.

The USS Elk was sent to stop Morgan from crossing the Ohio River.

"This rebellion will be the ruination of thousands of men. They have become hardened to everything. Neither cares for God nor man and I among the rest but I still feel for my fellow man. I have not forgotten the kind words and sweet invitation that has been offered to me even from my loving wife. Still I have become hardened more than ever I did in my life. Still I am a believer of everything that is good."

~ William S. Craig, 116th Illinois Infantry

On Tuesday, July 7th, Morgan's advance guard, including Captains H. Clay Meriwether and Samuel Taylor, reached Brandenburg, Kentucky on the Ohio River forty miles below Louisville. They first captured the J. T. McCombs when it docked at Brandenburg to deliver mail. The Raiders took control of the steamer with having to fire a shot and brought it to middle of the river where they halted conspicuously. Hoisting a distress signal above the motionless vessel, the Raiders were able to lure in a second steamboat, a brand new passenger boat, the Alice Dean. The two captured steamers were waiting for Morgan’s main column when they arrived at Brandenburg. Stories abound about the capture of the steamers. Tales abound reporting the excellent treatment of the passengers, and the return of their money and personal belongs.

Yet, if Morgan’s men were behaving as ideal models of the romantic Southern Cavalier, their leader was not. In selecting not to halt his column at the Ohio River, John Hunt Morgan deliberately broke Bragg’s orders.

“Go ahead and raid Kentucky. Capture Louisville if you can. But do not, I repeat do not cross the river. Stay in Kentucky. Go anywhere you want in your home state, but I command you to stay south of the river.”

~ General Braxton Bragg’s communication to Morgan

Bragg, greatly dismayed with Morgan, declared,

“Morgan never returned from a raid without his command broken and dissipated, with more lost than gained from the undertaking.”

Morgan’s insatiable ego drove forward without a moments regard to his duty to the Confederacy. Personal greed clouded his reason. Morgan’s foremost goal was to regain the acclaim and attention which had so lavishly been bestowed upon him earlier in the war. So driven was Morgan, that he completely disregarding his superior’s orders and his own men’s reactions to his increasingly reckless behavior.

“I have no quarrel with those people. I am perfectly willing to fight for my home land and my rights, but making war on civilians in the north, I cannot do so.”

~ Private Patton Troutt

Upon reaching Brandenburg, Confederate officers brought three barrels of whiskey out of E. C. Ashcroft’s hotel. Setting the barrels upon the sidewalk, they drank to their success and then allowed the passing soldiers to fill their canteens.[iv]

“When the column reached Brandenburg, early in the morning of July 8, General Morgan was delighted to find two good steamboats lying at the wharf, the transports having been secured by two of his most adventuresome captains, Sam Taylor and Clay Meriwether, who had been sent in advance for that purpose.” [v]

Just after 9:00 A. M., Morgan ordered the first of his regiments to board the steamboats.

Through the dense morning fog, there came a cry from the opposite shore.

“Shut down the steam on the McCombs and send over the steamer Alice Dean or I will blow you to Hades in five minutes.”

~ Colonel John Timberlake, 81st Indiana, calling out from the Indiana side of the Ohio River

“Oh Hell, old man, come over and take a drink.”

~ Morgan’s Raiders on the Kentucky side, still enjoying their whiskey

Timberlake, true to his word, ordered his men to shell the Raiders. The first shot landed amidst a group of men killing one of them. The second struck the McCombs. Captain E. P. Byrne’s Kentucky Battery turned two parrot guns toward the Indiana shore. Their first shot splashed down into the river. The second and third took out a log cabin and scattered the Indiana militia into the wooded hills.[viii]

“Wednesday July 8th, 1863. Weather Cloudy. We fed our horses early and had a slight shower of rain. The bread detail brought in some bread and meat. A shell from the Indiana side of the river passed over out camp and small arms could be heard at the river. We saddled up to shift our position out of range. The lady living next to us was very much scared by the shell and cried out, ‘Oh is this war? Are you going to have a battle?’ We moved into a woodland hollow and dismounted to rest.”

~Curtis R. Burke, 14th Kentucky Calvary, Co. B

By 5:00 P.M. the 1st Brigade was safely across the Ohio. However, circumstances worsened as the 2nd Brigade embarked.

“July 8. The great Ohio River, the dividing line between the North and the South, is reached. The command is crossing. Here I met Capt. Heady. The enemy are pressing us in the rear, and their gunboats keep up a steady fire on the two stern boats, in which Morgan’s command is crossing. Thoughts, hopes and anxieties chase each other in wild succession through my mind, but my Regiment is again guarding the rear and vigilance is the price of liberty. At 12 o’clock tonight, it being moonrise, the enemy pressed upon us and drove our pickets in, but again fell back.’

~ Lt. Col. James B. McCreary, 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA[x]

Hobson had reached Garrettsville but, for unknown reasons, selected to order his men to make camp rather than pressing onward into Brandenburg.

“Wednesday, July 8
Start toward Elizabethtown. Change direction. Go through Garrettsville. Camp one mile beyond town. Rebs reported to be crossing Ohio river into Indiana. Lot of citizen prisoners taken at Garrettsville.”

~Charles W. Durling, Company G, 45th Ohio Infantry

In a laborious process lasting seventeen hours, Morgan’s 2, 500 men, their horses, equipment, wagons, and artillery were ferried across the Ohio River. To secure their crossing, Morgan ordered one cannon to be placed on East Hill and a second on West Hill above the river in Brandenburg.

“I took a canteen and walked a short distance to town for water, then went down where our artillery was planted. It was planted by the side of the Courthouse, a square brick building and pointed up steam toward a Yankee gunboat which was standing still just around a be[n[d in full view but out of close range. The Courthouse was on very high ground next to the river making a beautiful position for artillery. The artillerymen were sitting around their steel pieces waiting for the gunboat to come closer. The gunboat looked to me like a steamboat boxed up and painted black with portholes. All this time the captured steamboats Alice Dean and Ben McCombs in our hands, were busy ferrying the command across to the Indiana shore. I then returned to the regiment. One of the boys was telling about the home guards that morning planting a steel piece on the Indiana side of the river and trying to recapture the steamboats and prevent our crossing, which caused the firing that first stirred us up. The home guard Colonel mounted a stump and cried out, ‘I demand you to surrender and bring those boats over here in the name of the United States and the State of Indiana!’ Some of our boys on the wharf answered, ‘Oh hell old man come over and take a drink.’ The home guards then let loose with their muskets and fired their steel piece at one of the boats, but the shell struck the water short of their mark, but our artillery then drove them away from their piece before they could fire more than twice. Then two boat loads of our troops crossed and drove them clear off. A couple of our brass pieces was sent up the river on the Kentucky side to watch for Yankee transports. As fast as the regiments got across they went up the river on their side also to look out for transports. When my regiment’s turn came to cross we moved down into town and halted. I tried to get a new pair of boots at a store but failed. We moved down to the boats to go aboard when the gunboat suddenly dropped down stream and commenced shelling us. Our boats dropped down stream out of range and our regiment left town again. The stragglers nearly causing a stampede as they crowded past us. We formed in the woods behind the town out of sight.”

~Curtis R. Burke, 14th Kentucky Calvary, Co. B[xii]

After more than half of Morgan’s command had completed the crossing process, U. S. S. Springfield, took action.

“Suddenly checking her way, she tossed her snub nose defiantly like an angry beauty of the coal pits, sidled a little toward the town, and commenced to scold. A bluish-white, funnel-shaped cloud spouted from her left hand bow and a shot flew at the town, and then changing front forward, she snapped a shell at the men on the other side.”

~ Brigadier-General Basil Duke

The gunboats Elk and Grey Eagle also joined the battle for a short period then withdrew toward Louisville as the Captain of the Elk felt his certain that Morgan’s Parrot guns were about to sink his ship.[xiv]

“A short artillery duel occurred, however, when the Indiana Home Guard appeared on the north side of the river and opened fire with a 6-pounder artillery piece. This drew an immediate response from Byrne's Battery on the Kentucky side of the river, which cleared the piece from the opposite shore. When a gunboat, the "U.S.S. Elk", appeared and began shelling Morgan’s men on both sides of the river, it drew another response from Byrne's Battery, which was posted on the bluff overlooking the river. However, the gunboat suddenly and unexpectedly withdrew from combat, allowing the entire command to cross safely to the Indiana shore.”[xv]

The opportunity to halt Morgan’s advance across the Ohio River had been missed.

“Our artillery soon drove the gunboat out of sight around the bend, then we returned to the wharf again. The boats came up and we were crowded on the two boats besides part of the artillery. I expected every minute that the gunboat would come around the bend and shell us again before we could get across, but we landed safely and a barrel of crackers was issued to us. I was put on detail to help pull the artillery up the bank. We pulled the pieces and casons up about twenty-five yards with rope. I saw the home guard steel six pond parrot gun that we captured. It was just like our two steel pieces. It had no cason the ammunition had been brought there in a chest on a wheelbarrow. A house stood near. I was very thirsty and went in to get a drink. I was surprised to find the people gone and everything in complete disorder [as] if a set of men had been paid by the day to scatter bedding cloths, dishes, etc. over the house and yard. They could not have made it much worse. I went to the cistern. The top had been torn off and the cistern dipped dry. It was getting dark and the cannon pulling detail was dismissed. We found our regiment in a wheat field and got our horses. Then the regiment moved to a [corn] crib near by and fed. I learned that when the gunboat run us out of Brandenburg it was done to draw our attention and let two of their transports loaded with infantry have a chance to land a few miles above on the Kentucky shore and get in our rear to attack us, but our brass pieces and men we had hid on the shore kept them from landing and drove them off. I took a short nap on top of the plank fence. Then we were ordered to mount. We went six miles on the Corydon road passing through several of our regiments camped and we camped in a deep grass lot. Col. Dick Morgan camped out with us. Bushwhackers were reported ahead. I made my bed down in the grass and slept very well. The dew fell heavy during the night.”

~Curtis R. Burke, 14th Kentucky Calvary, Co. B[xvi]

Bushwhacking was a commonly acceptable form of guerilla warfare. Civilian men in rural areas would lie in wait amoung the bushes and take aim at passing enemy troops.

“Cincinnati, July 8, 1863.

General Boyle:
The following has just been received from New Albany:
Morgan’s force, from 3,000 to 5,000 strong, have crossed the river at Brandenburg. They captured one gun, 50 Home Guards, and killed 4. A Boat has just come up for re-enforcements. This is reliable.

Thos. W. Fry,
Surgeon, U. S. Army.

I have sent one gunboat and a battery this afternoon. At what point on the river is Hobson? Has he the means of crossing? I can scarcely believe that Morgan has crossed the river with his whole force. Hobsonshould not be deceived. The following has just been received from Cairo:

I have six gunboats on the Ohio, above and below the captured boats, closing in on them. I hope they are taken before this. Will keep a bright lookout.

A. M. Pennock,
Fleet Captain, and Commanding Station.

A. E. Burnside,

“Garnettsville, July 8, 1863 – 5 p.m.
(Via Bardstown Junction, 9:10 p. m.)

Capt. A. C. Semple, Assistant Adjutatnt-General:
Captain: We are at this place with cavalry force. John Morgan has crossed the greater portion of his command into Indiana. Learn from reliable authority that he has captured 2 pickets at Brandenburg. His object may be to use them in that vicinity, after he gets through with the people of Indiana. We have pursued with all haste; have lost no time; and it is evident that he has failed in doing as much damage in Kentucky as he expected. Cannonading at the river. We will advance in a few minutes.

E. H. Hobson,

“The Union forces, under General Hobson, were now massing in the rear of Morgan. Morgan arrived in Brandenburg, and secured two steamboats to transport his men across to Indiana .Once Morgan had crossed, he burned the Alice Dean, and let the McComb go. It took General Hobson’s force twenty hours to cross the river into Indiana, because it took that long to obtain transports for his men. Once Hobson crossed the river, he resumed the chase.”[xix]
“Indianapolis, July 8, 1863

General Boyle:

Dr. Fry telegraphs General Noble that Morgan is at Brandenburg, with 4,000 men and artillery, which the gunboats cannot disperse; and that 400 have crossed into Indiana, making for Corydon. This is probably exaggerated, but demands our prompt attention. Have you troops to send up New Albany and Salem road?

O. B. Willcox,

Cincinnati, July 8, 1863

General Wilcox, Indianapolis:
You will see that all the Home Guards are armed at once, and other preparations made to repel any attack which Morgan may attempt. Communicate with me frequently during the night, and keep me fully informed of any news you may hear.

A. E. Burnside,

The Raiders set fire to the Alice Dean and it sank at the mouth of Buck Creek near the Indiana shore. Why the J. T. McCombs was not burned remains a matter of much speculation. While some historians claim that Colonel Basil Duke knew the captain of the mailboat and thus worked out a deal to save it, others claim that Shackleford “sent her up to Louisville for transports.”[xxi]

“The race is not to them that’s got
The longest legs to run,
Nor the battle to that people
That shoots the biggest gun.”

~ A Texan version of a passage of Scripture. George Dallas Mosgrove reported that Johnson’s Brigade sang it to Hobson’s pursuing cavalry.

Arriving on the opposite shore, the Raiders proceeded to loot the town of Mauckport, which was about two miles down the river from the point of their crossing.

“As we started, a gun boat up the river fired on us which made us think we were not very safe, before we landed. River about 3/4 of mile wide and there was a regiment several hundred strong on the Indiana shore who fired on us as we crossed, we returned the fire all that were in a position to shoot. They fired at us with a cannon, made it hail against the boat, as this boat landed we jumped ashore and forward in line in about 5 minutes and charged them, they ran into the bushes back from the river and got away. We captured a former prisoner. The 2nd Ky reg. was with us. We captured their cannon. Our Parrott gun had by this time or soon after silenced the gun boat and it had steamed toward Louisville. We formed in line of battle 1/2 mile from river on Indiana shore in about 2 hours our horses were with us. The two regiments remained on guard until near night then we all went into camp 3 or 4 miles on the road to Corydon, Indiana said town being about 15 miles from Brandenburg. This was first nights sleep we had had for sometime. We had plenty of feed for our horses and ourselves. The command all got across the river by a little while after dark.”

~John Weatherred, 9th Tennessee Cavalry[xxii]

“Elizabethtown, July 8, 1863

Brigadier-General Boyle:

I arrived here half an hour ago, only twenty hours behind Morgan, notwithstanding my detention at Green River. My force is 1,200 cavalry, including some little attached artillery. My horses are about broken down. I am replacing the worst from the citizens, but it is slow work, and delays me. I have not a pound of rations, but will continue the pursuit if you will send me at once by a special train subsistence and supplies for six days for 1,200 men and four 8-mule teams. Please reply if it can be done, and when I may expect the train. Can you inform me where Hobson and Shackelford are, and inform them, if possible, of my intention to follow Morgan? Please send this also to General Hartsuff. I have directed my infantry and artillery to be shifted from points east of railroad to Cave City and Bowling Green, fearing Morgan’s return in that direction. Manson will remain at Munfordville, if still there.

H. M. Judah,

Morgan’s column stopped for the night. A good portion of his men spent the night encamped at Frakes Mill, about seven miles north of the Ohio River.

“Thursday, July 9
Resume march. Feed and get breakfast. Get to Brandenburg 11 A.M. Last of rebs only ten minutes ahead of our advance guard. Ferry guarded by six gun boats. Get over a little after dark. Camp.”

~ Charles W. Durling, Company G, 45th Ohio Infantry[xxiv]

“Following his trail, we reached Brandenburg just in time to see Morgan’s rear guard disappear over the river bank, going north into Indiana. His rear guard stopped long enough to wave their hats to us and bid us good-bye. The steamboats they had used in crossing were at that moment bursting into flames, and burned to the water’s edge, tied fast to the Indiana shore.”

~ Captain Theodore F. Allen, Seventh Ohio Cavalry [xxv]

Governor Oliver P. Morton, receiving word of the Raiders arrival, ordered all able-bodied male citizens in the counties south of the National Road to form into companies and arm themselves with such arms as best they could to repel the invasion.[xxvi] Across the verdant country side, nearly every man, whether young or old, responded to the call. Colonel Lewis Jordan of the Sixth Regiment, Indiana Legion found himself in command of the 450 inadequately trained civilians brandishing an astonishingly dissimilar assortment of arms and proudly bearing the title of the Harrison County Home Guard. Still, Jordan hoped to delay Morgan until Union reinforcements could arrive.

"It was not expected at the start that so small a force could whip Morgan, but it was expected we could punish him some and impede his progress so that somebody else more nearly equal his strength could catch him and do him justice."

~ Simeon K. Wolfe, Harrison County, Indiana [xxvii]

Adding an eerie, almost surreal glow to these bizarre scenes were several plumes of flame shooting thirty to fifty into the air. Men had been drilling for oil on bottom land near Brandenburg but found instead a great supply of natural gas which they then set aflame.[xxviii]

“July 9. This morning I am left with half of the Regiment one mile from the river as a rear guard, and at daylight the Yankees moved down upon me. It was a critical and trying moment. By the interposition of Divine Providence, a heavy fog suddenly, and whilst hot skirmishing was going on, enveloped friends and foes, and the Yankees halted.

Under this fog, I crossed my command over the river. As I moved up the hills of Indiana, the enemy moved down the hills of Kentucky. We are now fairly into Yankee Land. What the result will be God only knows.”

~ Lt. Col. James B. McCreary, 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA[xxix]


[i] Letter from William S. Craig to his wife. William was born in Nicholas Co., KY but moved to Illinois at age 15.
[ii] Starr, Stephen “Colonel Grenfell’s War” 1971, p. 44.
[iii] Horwitz, Lester V. “The Longest Raid of the Civil War,” Chap. 9, p.43.
[iv] Brandenburg Methodist Church, “The Brandenburg Story,” 1963, p. 18.
[v] Mosgrove, George Dallas. Southern Historical Society Papers. Vol. XXXV, Richmond, Va., January-December. 1907.
[vi] Ford, Mark. “The Brandenburg Story” July 13, 1963, p. 13.
[vii] Taylor, David L. “ Bowie Knives & Pistols” 1993, p. 38.
[viii] Ryan, Corp. W. B. Account, Corydon Republican, July 15, 1909.
[ix] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[x] Diary of James B. McCreary.
[xi] Diary of Charles W. Durling.
[xii] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[xiii] Duke, Basil W. “History of Morgan’s Cavalry,” 1867, pages 432 -433.
[xiv] Funk, Arville L. “Morgan Raid in Indiana and Ohio” 1971, p. 5.
[xv] Lexington Rifles, “1863: crossing the ohio river: Brandenburg, Kentucky – Mauckport, Indiana, July 8, 1863”
[xvi] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[xvii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 705.
[xviii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 707.
[xix] Bush, Bryan S. “The Civil War Battles of the Western Theatre”, 2000, p. 172.
[xx] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 708.
[xxi] Dunn, Jacob Piatt “ Indiana and Indianans” 1919 p.620.
[xxii] The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred.
[xxiii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, pages 708-709.
[xxiv] Diary of Charles W. Durling.
[xxv] Allen, Theodore F. “In Pursuit of John Morgan,” Sketches of War History 1861-1865, Papers prepared for the Commandery of the Sate of Ohio, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States 1896 -1903, pages 227-228.
[xxvi] The American Civil War: The Battle of Corydon,
[xxvii] Wolfe, Simeon K. and Porter, Attia. "The Battle of Corydon," Indiana Magazine of History 54, no. 2 ,June 1958 p. 138.
[xxviii] Conway, W. Fred. “Corydon – The Forgotten Battle Of The Civil War,” 1991, p. 151.
[xxix] Diary of James B. McCreary.

Friday, December 26, 2008

From Bardstown to Brandenburg

At 10:00 a. m., Morgan’s main column left Bardstown following the Shepherdsville Road and passing through Lebanon Junction.

Departing Bardstown, Morgan had first directed the column west. He then turned his column northward, feinting an attack on Louisville. Morgan had planed to attack the Salt River stockade but when the Raiders arrived, they found it abandoned. After crossing the Salt River Bridge, Morgan halted and granted his men a rest of a little more than two hours.

Meanwhile, Union Generals Hobson and Shackelford arrived in Lebanon with their forces.

Louisville, July 7, 1863 – 3:40 p. m.

Major- General Burnside:
Operator at Lebanon Junction telegraphs me as follows:
The repair man on the railroad told me that Morgan was encamped 2 ½ miles from Long Lick last night, and up to about 9 o’clock this morning. Small gangs were scouting the country and stealing horses. Morgan had a force of between 3,000 and 4, 000 cavalry and three brass pieces of artillery. A late arrival says that some of Morgan’s men were seen this p. m. at Rolling Fork, about 2 ½ miles south, at Lacefield Still-house, drinking whiskey and stealing horses. Our informant thinks there is about 80 of them.


I believe Morgan will go out by Elizabethtown, but will destroy all bridges first. The infamous domestic rebels, I fear, mislead Hobson as to course Morgan takes, and that he will miss him. My operator detected Morgan’s operator. He is still on line, taking off communications.

J. T. Boyle,

As Morgan’s main column reached Bardstown Junction, George A. “Lighting” Ellsworth, Morgan’s infamous telegrapher, calmly walked into the telegraph office disguised in a Union telegrapher’s uniform. With dusk falling outside the office door, James Forker, an actual Union Telegraph operator, found himself staring down the barrel of Ellsworth’s pistol.

“Hello sonny. Move one inch except as I tell you, and you’ll be buried in that fancy rig.”

~ George Ellsworth to James Forker

For several minutes Ellsworth listened to messages gaining information for General Morgan. Finally, when the superintendent in Louisville inquired if a passenger train from Nashville had past on it way north to Louisville, Ellsworth ordered Forker to say yes.

“Morgan's tactics were to stop the train and put the locomotive out of commission. Then they would set fire to the freight cars and; if near a water house, destroy it too. The rails did not fare any better either. Dismantling several of them, the men would proceed to twist them around a tree in what became known as Morgan's neckties.”[iii]

Morgan’s Raiders set fire to a trestle and surrounded the train. After a brief skirmish in which one Union soldier aboard the train was killed, the remaining soldiers, along with 30 passengers were ordered off the train and lined up along the track. Raiders took their boots, hats, money, and jewelry and then took the money in the train’s safe. Finally, they opened all the mail bags carried on the train searching for cash. Some of the Raiders opened and burned letters immediately. Others, like Cutis Burke, were too excited to stop and stuffed handfuls of letters into their shirts. These letters were opened when the Raiders stopped for the night.

The frightened women passengers begged John Hunt Morgan to allow the train to return southward to Elizabethtown. Morgan agreed and the women later praised him as a gentleman.[iv]

“Louisville, July 7, 1863 – 3:50.

General Burnside:
Morgan captured the train this side of Lebanon Junction. He robbed all the passengers, including 25 Jews. He placed all passengers in front car and his soldiers in hind cars, and started down the road for Elizabeth town. The wires are up, but Morgan’s operator is on the road. He decoyed train by dispatches to superintendent, and when it came up captured it. Several officers were captured on train.

J. T. Boyle,

At Shepardsville, Morgan again turned west and stopped in the area that is now Otter Creek State Park.

“Weather clear. I opened all my letters by sun up and had been very successful having sixty six dollars and seventy five cents in all in greenbacks which I stuffed in my pocketbook with eighty dollars in Confederate money. I found about a dozen different pictures of Yankee officers and soldiers in the letters and kept them, also I did not read a single letter. A good many of the boys had found something, most of them less and some of them more than I did. We fed our horses from the crib [corn storage building] and saddled up and moved off in the direction of Brandenburg.”

~ Curtis R. Burke, 14th Kentucky Calvary, Co. B[vi]

As Morgan’s main column bivouacked near Garrettsville, the advanced scouts, a few miles ahead, captured two steam boats near Brandenburg.

“We heard that our scouts had captured two steamboats on the Ohio river at Brandenburg. At dusk we halted and dismounted to rest. I learned that we were in sight of the Ohio River. A good many of us hitched our horses and laid down by them in the fence corners. I was very sleepy and took a short nap. I woke up and found that all of the boys expect horse holders had marched down into the town of Brandenburg to skirmish with some home guards across the river. They had overlooked me in waking the boys up. They all soon came back without any fighting and we mounted and went into camp in a lot near by. A detail was sent out to get something for us to eat. A corn detail brought in a little corn and I got a few ears for my horse. We made no camp fires for fear of drawing the attention of the yanks. I made my bed down in a fence corner and was soon asleep. The night air was chilly.”

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

Morgan designated the third man in each group of four as “the Horse Holder.” Horse Holders each took four horses behind the battle for safe keeping as the other three men dismounted and fought. Cavalry tactics were changing. Guns and cannons were now favored over sabers. It was much easier to shoot on foot rather than in the saddle. Thus horses had primarily become instruments of swift travel from one battle field to the next.

Raiders were desperate for strong, fast horses that showed enough native intelligence to fall in with the column. Speed was of the essence and Morgan was setting an incredibly rapid pace. Obtaining a horse capable of maintaining that pace was a constant challenge.

“About ten o’clock I went out with our horse detail in hopes of getting a fresh horse as my old C. S. horse began to show signs of giving out. We went about five miles crossing the Louisville pike and stopping at every stable, but with little success. We turned back. I and one of the men rode up to a house and asked where their horses were, they said that they had nothing but colts and old mares in the field. This did not satisfy us so I went to the stable and examined it, but found nothing in it. We asked if they had anything cold to eat in the house, they said yes, and invited us in. We went in and eat a piece of meat and bread, drank a glass or two of milk then caught up with our party of eight or ten. We all stopped at a spring house [underground stone building cooled by a spring and used as cold storage] and got as much milk as we could drink. We had four or five horses but none that I would swap my tired C. S. Tennessee horse for. We soon fell in with the command. I took one of the fresh horses to the lead. We got separated in our attempts to push ahead of our regiment. The road was very dusty. I succeeded in passing several regiments when I found myself in a little town called Meadville. The rear guard of the next regiment did not want to let me pass so I had to flank them and go ahead. Just after leaving town I received the benefit of a hard shower of rain. I came up with the General and staff. Not wishing to crowd past I rode leisurely along and soon came up with my regiment dismounted to rest in the woods. I had hardly dismounted and tied my horses when the regiment moved forward again. I led the horse awhile and gave it to Henry [Harrison] White who gave his tired horse to Robert Reeves Negro boy to ride.”

~ Curtis R. Burke, 14th Kentucky Calvary, Co. B [viii]

That evening Union General Hobson arrived in Bardstown Junction. When he sent his men out to look for food and provision, they discovered that the Raiders had taken all supplies in the area. Hobson was forced to request that a train loaded with food and supplies be sent from Louisville. John Hunt Morgan’s tactics had purchased the Raiders valuable time.

“Shepherdsville, KY., July 7, 1863 – 5:45 p. m.

Colonel Drake:
My command, eight regiments of cavalry and mounted infantry, numbering 2,500, are at Bardstown Junction, Louisville and Nashville road. I am in pursuit of Morgan, who will either move toward Brandenburg or Elizabethtown. My advance are picking up his stragglers. I will do my best to engage him. He is hard pressed. He has been damaged more this trip than either of his former raids. He lost 10 to 15 of his officers and a number of men in the fights at Marrowbone, Green River Bridge, and Lebanon. I am here for rations; cannot find any. My men are considerably exhausted, but in fine spirits. I am moving without wagons. Railroad all safe; but one small bridge burned; can be repaired in two days. I will remain at this place half hour. Have you instructions?

E. [H.] Hobson,

Lines all down between this point and Louisville. We received Hobson’s message via Indianapolis and Cincinnati, which caused its delay so much.


While waiting for the train to arrive, Hobson wired Brigadier-General Jeremiah T. Boyle, and informed him that Morgan was moving north toward the Ohio River. Hobson wisely suggested that a gunboat be at the ready to prevent the Raiders from crossing the River.[x]

“Morgan and Duke were exceedingly fertile in producing false impressions regarding their movements, but our pursuing force ignored all the alluring temptations thrown out by these skilled and artful raiders, and we stuck close behind them on their broad trail day and night.”

~ Captain Theodore F. Allen, Seventh Ohio Cavalry [xi]

Hoping to confuse the Union Generals on his trail, Morgan created a diversion by sending Captain William J. Davis and 130 men north to Falls City[xii] to further the hoax, Morgan ordered Davis cut telegraph wires and burn railroad bridges as he went along. These men reached the Ohio in the area of Twelve Mile Island. They then stole boats and rejoined the rest of the Raiders at Salem, Indiana.

“Cavalry Crossing a Ford”
Walt Whitman

A Line in long array, where they wind betwixt green islands;
They take a serpentine course – their arms flash in the sun – Hark to the musical clank;
Behold the silvery river – in it the splashing horses, loitering, stop to drink;
Behold the brown-faced men – each group, each person, a picture – the negligent rest on the saddles;
Some emerge on the opposite bank – others are just entering the ford – while,
Scarlet, and blue, and snowy white,
The guidon flags flutter gaily in the wind.

On the evening of July 7th, Morgan ordered his men to strike camp and prepare for a night march into Brandenburg.

General Hobson’s pursuing troops were a distant fifty miles behind Morgan’s main column.


[i] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Part –I, Reports” p. 702
[ii] Brown, Dee Alexander. “Morgan’s Raiders” 1959 pages 185-186.
[iii] Thomas, Edison H. "John Hunt Morgan and His Raiders" chapter 5, 46-54.
[iv] Ramage, James A. “Rebel Raider” p. 166.
[v] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Part –I, Reports” p. 702.
[vi] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[vii] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[viii] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[ix] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Part –I, Reports” p. 703.
[x] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies Part –I, Reports” p. 659.
[xi] Allen, Theodore F. “In Pursuit of John Morgan,” Sketches of War History 1861-1865, Papers prepared for the Commandery of the Sate of Ohio, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States 1896 -1903, p.226.
[xii] Duke, Basil W. “ History of Morgan’s Cavalry,” 1865, p. 428

Into Lebanon and Bardstown

Departing the disaster at Green River/Tebb’s Bend, Morgan drove his brigade deep into the heart of Kentucky.

July 5, 1863

July 5 1863. From Green River we passed on to Campbellsville and New Market, at which place we bivouacked for a short time.

~ Lt. Col. James B. McCreary, 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA

Buoyed by return to his home state, Morgan pressed his men to move quickly and granted little time for rest or sleep.

By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame
Walt Whitman

By the bivouac's fitful flame,
A procession winding around me,
solemn and sweet and slow--but
first I note,
The tents of the sleeping army, the fields' and woods' dim outline,
The darkness lit by spots of kindled fire, the silence,
Like a phantom far or near an occasional figure moving,
The shrubs and trees, (as I lift my eyes they seem to be stealthily
watching me,)
While wind in procession thoughts,
O tender and wondrous thoughts,
Of life and death, of home and the past and loved, and of those that
are far away;
A solemn and slow procession there as I sit on the ground,
By the bivouac's fitful flame.

As the demands of warfare and results of Morgan’s notoriously lax discipline began to erode the civility of his men, that which is the darkest, the worst and most repressed aspects of men’s souls, furtively arose. Morgan, always desirous of his men’s adulation, rarely enforced adequate regulations or punishments upon those who committed infringements.

“We passed through Campbellsville, Taylor County, to within 10 or 12 miles of Lebanon and camped for the night or part of it. There was one Capt. Murphy of one of our regiments was accused of taking a watch from a store keeper in Campbellsville and Morgan's Assistant Adjutant General has Murphy arrested and his trial was to have taken place before a court-martial. The day before we crossed the Ohio River, in the afternoon: Capt. Murphy not being under guard came up to Capt. Magenis and with cursing him for his arrest shot Capt. Magenis dead and rode out of camp and got away.”

~ John Weatherred, 9th Tennessee Cavalry[ii]

Morgan’s drove his men toward Lebanon, his next target. Lebanon was under Union control and occupied by the Union 20th Kentucky Infantry under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Charles S. Hanson. Warned of Morgan’s approach, the vastly outnumbered Hanson grew desperate for more time to prepare. He ordered his men to over turn wagons and create obstacles in the streets while he, himself, set up fall back defensive positions in the strongest brick buildings of the town which includeded the L & N Railway depot.

“On July 5, Morgan fought a six-hour battle in Lebanon against Union forces under Col. C. S. Hanson. Morgan's men burned buildings in the center of town, where the Union soldiers were holding out, and eventually forced their surrender.”[iii]

“Jul 5

Fought at Lebanon, KY. Captrd. Col. Hanson Regt.”

~Captain Thomas Monroe Coombs, Co. C, 5th KY Cavalry, Morgan’s Division, CSA[iv]

Despite being outnumbered almost ten to one, Hanson’s Union forces in Lebanon refused to surrender without a fight. Calmly following his usual strategy, Morgan felt that a show of his cannons and parrot guns would frighten the pitifully small Union force into surrender. However, before the telegraph lines had been cut, Hanson had been ordered to resist and assured that the 8th and 9th Michigan Cavalry and 11th Michigan battery would arrive shortly. Thus, the men of the 20th prepared to defend Lebanon.

Morgan ordered his 6th Kentucky and 9th Tennessee regiments to attack on the right. These men fought house to house, driving the 20th back toward the depot. Morgan sent a second demand for surrender. Hanson, finding his forces overwhelmed and nearly out of ammunition, received reports that Morgan was burning the town around them. Even the roof of the depot was ablaze. Sensing his impending doom, Hanson surrendered putting an end to nearly seven hours of fighting.

“Colonel Charles Hanson, who commanded the Kentucky Federal Infantry, had prepared to make the best defense possible at Lebanon. He placed his men in the brick depot and in the houses surrounding it. General Morgan disliked to leave anything behind, and so he resolved to capture this force. It was captured, but the cost did not justify the losses. It was there that we saw General Morgan's youngest brother, “Tom," as they familiarly called him, go down in the storm. He was a first lieutenant in the 2nd Kentucky and was then serving on General Duke's staff. With the fiery courage of youth, backed by a fearless heart, in the excitement of battle he exposed his person and was struck down by a shot from the depot. War allows no time for partings. It permits no preparation for the great beyond. Standing close to his brother, he could only exclaim, ‘Brother, I am killed. I am killed,’ and then fell into the grief-stricken brother's arms. He was a mere lad, but he died like a hero. The taking of the brick depot with several hundred men inside, in war, is not an easy job. It was to cost ten killed and thirty wounded. Here I witnessed what appeared to be one of the bravest things I have ever observed. The 8th Kentucky-Cluke's- with which I was connected, was ordered to charge the front of the depot. The men were advancing through a field where the weeds were waist-high. It was difficult marching. The thermometer stood over a hundred in the shade, and the foliage of the weeds made the heat still more intense. It was this regiment's fortune to face the larger door of the depot. It was said that somebody had blundered, but the charge was ordered and the men enthusiastically and bravely obeyed. When within a few hundred feet of the door, the order was passed along to ‘lie down.’ The time in which the ‘lying down’ was done seemed many hours. The regiment was subject to the stinging fire of the Federals in the depot. A number of the men were hit by shots which struck the front of the body and ranged downward through the limbs of the soldiers. Such wounds produced excruciating tortures.”[v]

John Hunt Morgan was the eldest of six brothers, five of whom fought for the Confederacy, the sixth being too young to bear arms. Tragically, Morgan’s younger brother Thomas Morgan was killed shortly before the surrender of Lebanon. Morgan had ordered his nineteen year old brother to the rear in an effort to keep him from danger but Tom, wishing to impress his elder brothers, refused to stay put. During the battle Tom Morgan was shot and killed. With inconsolable heartache, the Raider’s went wild with rage and demanded revenge in the form of executing Union prisoners.

“Marching to Lebanon, the raiders captured the garrison, about three hundred men, but not without the loss of fifty of their comrades, among the killed being Lieutenant Tom Morgan, the general’s brother, the idol of the command.”

~ George Dallas Mosgrove[vi]

While it is commonly understood that the Civil War saw brother fighting brother and that families were torn asunder, it is sometimes forgotten that many long standing friendships were also destroyed. Union Lieutenant-Colonel Hanson’s brother was Confederate General Roger W. Hanson. General Hanson had been a guest at the wedding of John Hunt Morgan to his new young bride Mattie. Lieutenant-Colonel Hanson, himself, lived in Lexington, Kentucky and was well acquainted with John Hunt Morgan. [vii]

Morgan, both livid and anguished, literally spat his words into Hanson’s face.

“Charlie the next time you see mother, you be damn sure to tell her you killed brother Tom.”

~ John Hunt Morgan to Lt. Col. Charles Hanson[viii]

Morgan’s brother Charlton had to be restrained from murdering Hanson on the spot.

“I’ll blow your brains out, you damned rascal.”

~ Charlton Morgan as he shook Lt. Col. Charles Hanson by the beard.[ix]

Thomas Morgan was shot and killed during the battle at Lebanon

Here in the mist of this chaos, while grief-stricken and guilt ridden over the death of his young sibling, Morgan showed remarkable restraint and humanity.

“I’ll shoot the first one who molests a prisoner.”

~ John Hunt Morgan to his men who suggested they should kill Hanson’s men in revenge for the killing of Thomas Morgan.[x]

This was a display of the noble gallantry for which Morgan had gained international notoriety.

“Cincinnati, July 5, 1863

General Hartsuff:
Following just received:
Rebels attacked this post about 7 a. m. Colonel Hanson, commanding post, fought them six hours. Most of his command taken prisoners; 5 killed on our side. Reinforcements arrived about 2 o’clock, and rebels left as soon as they arrived, taking road to Springfield. Colonel Hanson was paroled. Rebels destroyed depot, telegraph office, and about 10 private dwellings, robbed stores, and killed one woman; Morgan’s command consisting of two brigades and two full batteries. Have sent word to Colonel David, commanding, that telegraph communication was opened.


A. E. Burnside,
Lebanon, KY., July 5, 1863

General Burnside:

I was attacked about 7 o’clock this morning by General Morgan, with 4,000 men and six pieces of artillery. I had only 350 men. I held out until 1 o’clock, when our ammunition became exhausted, and the rebels commenced burning the town, and my men wearied, quite a number wounded , and despairing of receiving re-enforcements, I deemed it wise to give up. ‘Tis regarded as a good fight on my part.

Charles S. Hanson

Clearly, the raid was not going well. Yet, even the death of his own brother could not sway Morgan from his single minded purpose. The dream was already beginning to control the dreamer. John Hunt Morgan was driven by his need to dominate the headlines. Gripped by a fanatically desired to one more be enshrined as the hero of poems and folk songs, Morgan was becoming a legend in his own mind.

General Bragg had granted Morgan permission to move as he pleased in his home state of Kentucky. Thus, Morgan could have slowed the pace of raid, turned back to the safety of Tennessee, or have chosen to base his operations from an area rich in Southern sympathy. Nevertheless, Morgan ignored these options in favor of progressing northward. So obsessively desirous was Morgan of a place in Confederate history, his sole focus lay in committing a deed so grand, a deed so splendid and impressive, it would never be forgotten. All history would resound with his name. Morgan’s need for acclaim had become pathological. No matter the cost of lives, no matter the number of wounded, Morgan would invade the North. He would become the equal, if not the superior of Lee. If necessary, Morgan would win this war by himself!

“On the 5th of July, at 8 or 9 A.M. we made an attack on Lebanon Ky. The Federal regiment was commanded by Charley Hanson. Morgan demanded his surrender, he refused, my regiment, under 9th Tenn. and Col. Wigsby reg. were in close quarters for a time. We had to charge the building they were in. 3 of my company were killed, Johnson of Wilson County, Tenn. and two others who's names I have forgotten. Several wounded. The command lost 12 or 14 killed and 25 or 30 wounded. Hanson surrendered about 11 A.M. We destroyed government property, wagons and guns and got plenty to eat. Crackers, sardines, bacon and meat. General Morgan's brother Thomas was killed here about the time the fight was over. We marched the prisoners 8 miles to Springfield where we paroled them.”

~ John Weatherred, 9th Tennessee Cavalry [xii]

Morgan then led a rapid ten mile forced march of his prisoners to Springfield. Several prisoners who could not keep up were killed. Those that survived were paroled.

The Court House in Springfield, Kentucky,despite having been burned, perserves many orginal documents.

“We knew that Morgan and his men were coming to Springfield. Rumors were flying on every side and Main Street was in the wildest confusion. I was seized with an uncontrollable desire to see Morgan and his men. I went to Cross Street where I could see up the pike towards Lebanon. Morgan’s Cavalry was coming down the hill into Springfield. My mind was made up; not to run from the rebels but to run toward them- regardless of the consequences. I drew myself up to my full height and gave the leader [Colonel Basil Duke] a military salute. With all the grace of a valiant knight he returned my salute and extended his hand, which I eagerly grasped.”

~ William McCord was only eleven years old when he met Colonel Duke[xiii]
The Raiders then prepared for a night march to Bardstown.
Leaving Springfield, Morgan showed his guile by divided his forces. The main body moved toward Bardstown while other parties were sent off toward Columbia, Frankfort, and Lexington.

“Leaving Springfield, Morgan deflected from the straight northward route, hitherto pursued, and marched westward to Bardstown, threatening Louisville. By this time the ‘rough riders’ had become weary and sleepy. While the column was making the night march from Springfield to Bardstown, the brilliant Colonel Alston, Chief of Staff, sought ‘nature’s sweet restorer’ on the veranda of a roadside residence, and awoke to find himself in the hand of the pursing Federal cavalry.”

~ George Dallas Mosgrove [xiv]

Morgan’s plan was effective in confusing the Union leadership.

“Louisville, July 5, 1863

Major-General Burnside:
Morgan left Lebanon for Springfield. He will move to Bardstown, and if he does not venture here he will go out by Elizabethtown, keeping west of the railroad, or he may go out by New Haven and the road toward Glasgow, pushing behind our forces. Troops at Lebanon are not pursuing him. It seems to me they ought to pursue.

J. T. Boyle

“Lebanon, July 5, 1863 – 5 p. m.

General Burnside:

I have just arrived with three regiments cavalry and section artillery. Colonel Wolford has five regiments cavalry. Morgan has gone in direction of Bardstown; the cavalry will pursue. General Judah is on his way with 1,200 cavalry, which I think should return down Lexington road or go in direction of Elizabethtown and Hodgensville.

E. H. Hobson

Company C of the 2nd KY Cavalry, CSA, led by Captain Ralph Sheldon, was broken into advance groups and sent to attack Bardstown from three directions. Lt. Thomas W. Sullivan of the 4th U. S. Cavalry and a group of twenty-five of his men chased the Raiders.

“Lieutenant, did I fall like a soldier?”

~ The last words of Private Bartholomew Burke as fell dying during the attack on Bardstown.[xvii]

Sheldon sent a demand for surrender to Lieutenant Sullivan who had taken cover in a livery stable. While Sullivan’s men managed to build a defensive breastwork of planks and manure and bring in provisions to last as long as their ammunition would hold out, one must question why Sheldon chose the stable. Would it not have been wiser to have selected one of the brick homes or public structures less vulnerable to fire and bullets? A two story structure would have allowed his men both a high vantage point and a chance to rain a hail of bullets down upon the Raiders. Nonetheless, Sullivan must have liked his odds as he rejected the demmand for surrender.

“I hope to gain the esteem of General Morgan by a gallant defense.”

~ Lieutenant Thomas W. Sullivan, 4th U. S. Cavalry[xviii]

Sheldon resumed his attack on Sullivan’s position. As darkness fell, Sheldon ordered the Raiders to stretch ropes across the streets to prevent Sullivan and his men from escaping on horseback. The Raiders then attempted to set fire to the livery stable but were unsuccessful.[xix]
Meanwhile, the main body of Morgan’s column was advancing toward Bardstown.

Jul 6. This morning we attacked Lebanon. After five hours of fighting, Lt. Charles Hanson surrendered his Regiment. Then we double quicked to Springfield and, at their request, paroled them. From Springfield we traveled all night and reached Bardstown early in the morning.

~ Lt. Col. James B. McCreary, 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA[xx]

The Raiders took the spoils of war from 20th KY Infantry. They equipped themselves with ammunition, rifles, medicines, field ambulances and wagons.[xxi]

“We marched all night and reached Bardstown Ky. about 4 A.M. the 6th of July. Capt. Sheldon's company attacked some troops on a train and demanded their surrender. They fired a volley into Sheldon's company killing four, the little garrison of soldiers soon surrendered. We moved on and the night of the 6th we captured a train and government stores at Lebanon Junction not far from Louisville Ky. and threatened to attack the city. Remained several hours.”

~ John Weatherred, 9th Tennessee Cavalry[xxii]

“Around 4 a.m. on July 6, Morgan arrived in Bardstown. By 10 that morning, his men reached the tracks of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, 25 miles south of Louisville, where they burned a trestle, robbed a train and dispatched a company of 130 men under Capt. William J. Davis to threaten Louisville.”[xxiii]

Arriving at Bardstown, Morgan sent Captain Sheldon and Company C of the 2nd KY Cavalry on to Muldraugh’s Hill.[xxiv] Sheldon again demanded Lieutenant. Sullivan to surrender.

“If you refuse, we will blow you to hell with our artillery.”

~ Captain Sheldon

Captain Ralph Sheldon[xxv]

“I am obliged to the General’s kind intentions, but it is our duty to trouble him a little longer.”

~ Lieutenant Sullivan

One of Sullivan’s men reported that cannons were being set in place and that the streets teamed with Raiders. Sullivan approached Colonel Richard Morgan under a flag of truce to discuss terms of surrender.

“Go back! You have already refused these terms twice. You have no right to demand them now."

~ Colonel Richard Morgan

Poor Sullivan returned to the livery stable to prepare for what must have seemed his last stand.

“On his return under a flag of truce, he was fired upon several times. Residents of Bardstown, sympathizers of the Confederates, had been observing the conversation between Col. Morgan and Lt. Sullivan. When the lieutenant, carrying the flag of truce, was fired upon, they cried out, ‘Shame!’ ‘Shame!’” [xxviii]

Perhaps the people of Bardstown momentarily shook Richard Morgan out of his grief at the death of his brother Tom and brought him back to his senses. Something rekindled his feelings of chivalry. The Colonel quickly sent in a demand for surrender to which Sullivan agreed.

“General Morgan can treat me as a prisoner of war or satisfy his thirst for slaughter. Whatever he chooses.”

~ Lieutenant Sullivan

Alas, the Colonel’s civil demeanor had dissipated once more.

Colonel Richard Morgan[xxix]

“You don’t deserve it because of your foolishness and stubborn resistance.”

~ Colonel Richard Morgan

His brother, the General, was also in foul temper.

John Hunt Morgan In Military Dress [xxx]

“You twenty-five damned Yankees have cost me twenty-four hours.”
~ General John Hunt Morgan

“Monday, July 6 and Tuesday, July 7
Start towards Brad.fd.v. morning; quite rainy. Pass there. Get to Lebanon near 3 P.M. Yesterday 300 of our men fought all of Morgan's force for six hours here, were captured and shamefully treated. Go 7 miles beyond Springfield. Camp one A.M. Start again. Pass Bardstown 7 A.M. Camp near Shepherdsville. Co. G & K advance guards today. Capture several prisoners.”

~ Charles W. Durling, Company G, 45th Ohio Infantry[xxxii]

“Camp Nelson, July 6, 1863

General Hartsuff:
Just received the following dispatch per courier:

Danville, 6th, - 6 a. m.

Colonel Mott:
John Morgan is within 15 miles of this place. He has taken the pike from Lebanon to Springfield this morning with eleven regiments, numbering about 4,000 men. The Twentieth Kentucky surrendered about 3 p. m. yesterday. Prisoners think that he is making for Lexington or Louisville. I think he is making for Harrodsburg. The Eighth and Ninth Michigan and Colonel Byrd’s forces are coming into town now.

S. Mills
S. R. Mott”

“July 7. The regiment halted about four miles from Bardstown, fed and rested a little. Meanwhile I called at Col. Brown’s, a hospitable gentleman, near Bardstown, and wrote a letter to Dr. Chenault, informing him of the sad death of his brother. At this house I met the Misses Eddie and Sue Brown, who were as kind and hospitable to me as the noblest of their sex could be. When the great account of humanity shall be closed at the bright throne of Heaven, the fairest, noblest, purest best records will be of such ladies as these I have alluded to above. On the evening of this lovely day we captured a train of cars on the L& N road. It was the grandest, most imposing scene of the sort I have ever witnessed. From this point we moved on towards Garrettsville, across Salt River, and camped for four hours near Garrettsville.”

~ Lt. Col. James B. McCreary, 11th Kentucky Cavalry CSA[xxxiv]

Side view of Joseph Brown’s home where Col. James B. McCreary was entertained by Eddie and Sue Brown on July 7, 1863.


[i] Diary of James D. McCreary.
[ii] The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred.
[iii] Moon, Henry. “ ‘Reckless’ raid had a lasting effect”;topic+715.0
[iv] Diary of Thomas M. Coombs.
[v] Young, Bennett H. “Confederate Wizards of the Saddle,” 1999. pages 367-390.
[vi] Mosgrove, George Dallas. “Following Morgan’s Plume Through Indiana And Ohio” Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol. XXXV, January- December 1907.
[vii] Horwitz, Lester V. “ The Longest Raid of the Civil War,” Chap. 5, p.27.
[viii] Trails-R-Us – John Hunt Morgan
[ix] Rampage, James A.“ Rebel Raider,” 1986, p. 164.
[x] Horwitz, Lester V. “The longest Raid of the Civil War,” Chap. 6, p. 30.
[xi] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 692.
[xii] The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred.
[xiii] “Trails-R-Us – John Hunt Morgan – Bardstown”
[xiv] Mosgrove, George Dallas. “Following Morgan’s Plume Through Indiana And Ohio” Southern Historical Society Papers, Vol XXXV, January- December 1907.
[xv] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 692.
[xvi] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 693.
[xvii] Horwitz, Lester V. “The Longest Raid of the Civil War.” Chap. 6, p. 29.
[xviii] Horwitz, Lester V. “The Longest Raid of the Civil War.” Chap. 6, p. 29.
[xix] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, Lt. T. W. Sullivan’s Report, pages 652 – 653.
[xx] Diary of James B. McCreary.
[xxi] Senour, Rev. F. “Morgan and his Captors,” 1865, p. 113.
[xxii] The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred.
[xxiii] Moon, Henry. “ ‘Reckless’ raid had a lasting effect”;topic+715.0
[xxiv] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 652.
[xxv] “Trails-R-Us – John Hunt Morgan – Bardstown”
[xxvi] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 652.
[xxvii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 652.
[xxviii] Horwitz, Lester V. “ The Longest Raid of the Civil War,” Chap. 6, p. 31.
[xxix] “Trails-R-Us – John Hunt Morgan – Bardstown”

[xxx]Hanson, David C. ‘HIS 269 - Civil War and Reconstruction,” Virginia W. Community College
[xxxi] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 653.
[xxxii] Diary of Charles W. Durling.
[xxxiii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p. 694.
[xxxiv] Diary of James B. McCreary.