Monday, January 5, 2009

Canton and Vienna

“We passed on to the village of Canton, Ind. about three miles distant and halted on a side street. We fed our horses from a crib which the boys soon cleared on a double quick. Whenever we stop to feed, the boys all break for the corn or whatever we intend feeding on and each get as much as he can carry notwithstanding he may know at the time that his horse will not eat half of his load, but in Tennessee or Kentucky the forage is mostly issued to us and we get twelve ears of corn or two bundles of oats. Tap Carpenter got two pair of new boots and gave me one pair of No. sixes. The boys took six or seven pair of boots from a shoemaker shop and when the lady of the place found it out she took on like a lunatic, screaming and beating her head with her fists. Two stores were opened and some things were sold to us, but most of the tricks we got we did not pay for. When one got more of anything than he needed he divided it with the rest of the boys. Part of the boys eat dinner at houses in town, but I was not so fortunate. We had captured buttercrackers and cheese issued to us.

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

Union leadership continued to persist in the belief that Morgan would attack the city of Louisville, Kentucky. Furthermore, Boyle still could not get Judah to obey his orders.

“Louisville, July 10, 1863 – 8:30 p. m.

Major-General Hartsuff, Stanford:
At 5 o’clock Morgan was at Canton, 34 miles from New Albany Railroad. He will move from there to Charlestown, near Ohio River, to cross, or he may go to Vienna, on Jeffersonville railroad, and thence 35 miles to Madison Shoalwater, just below. Colonel Pennebaker telegraphs General Judah is at Litchfield, waiting orders from you. If he was at the river, where transport could be sent, or at railroad, he might be brought up in time to intercept Morgan. I gave him orders, by General Burnside’s direction, but he would not receive them. Hobson is in pursuit; where he is I do not know.

J. T. Boyle,

Poor Boyle! Judah continued to be his uncooperative self. Was Judah bent out of shape at receiving an order from an officer he considered his junior or was this resistance simply a reflection of his difficult alcoholic personality?

“Munfordville, July 10,1863

General Boyle, Louisville:
I sent your dispatch of yesterday to General Judah by special courier, who has not returned. Will send your dispatch, just received, by courier on every road that can be traveled between here and Litchfield and Big Spring. Will start six couriers, with orders to find him and report.

C. D. Pennebaker,
Colonel, Commanding Post.”

While the Union General squabbled, Morgan turned his columns to the east. By six o'clock, both of Morgan’s columns had reached the railroad in Vienna. The Raiders set to work burning a railroad bridge and depot, and tapping the telegraph lines.

“As soon as our horses were done eating we mounted and left on the Vienna road. Jack Curd was my partner. He was the life of the first section and in fact the whole company. I was generally sleepy and Curd would always wake me up with his nonsense. My pony proved to be too hard a rider for the service, so I gave him up and took Sergeant Tuggle’s Tennessee horse. He was thin and pretty well broken down but a good fast riding horse. Late in the evening we were riding along a high ridge road. The country in sight was hilly. As we were going down hill at the end of the ridge we could see some mounted home guards raising a dust a half mile ahead in the road on the next hill. The advance guard pitched out after them under spur and we followed at a lively gate. A little beyond the top of the hill we captured a spring wagon and a fine pair of horses. A little farther on a dead home guard lay in a fence corner. The advance guard had charged into a home guard company here and scattered them. We rode a few miles farther picking up some men with axes going to appointed places to blockade the road to stop our onward progress. They were sent to the rear to be paroled. Then the regiment halted and my company was ordered to take Vienna, Ind. where we were expected to capture a train of cars. It was five miles to Vienna. We started off at a gallop. At every half mile or less we met from two to ten men with axes. We did not stop but sent them to the rear. We captured two more wagons. Our speed enabled us to take everybody by surprise. The people did not know we were in the neighborhood till they saw us. We charged into Vienna. The citizens and a lot of the ax squad were completely surprised and made no resistance. All of the roads were immediately picketed and the stables searched before more than a dozen companies had come up. A large Yankee flag hung over the street. We soon tore it down. We went around inquiring for arms and ammunition. Several of us got into a little grocery, but took nothing. I and Ed Lonney came across two home guard horses saddled, bridled, and hitched to the fence. We tried them and found them unfit for the service, so we left them hitched. I hitched my horse and went to the nearest house to get something to eat. I knocked at the door and found the lady and children crying. They said that we would burn the house. Of course, I went to work contradicting the opinion of our men. I told them that the prisoners we had in town would be immediately paroled and set at liberty. I had cause to suspicion that the head of the family was among the prisoners. They set out a couple of crocks of milk, some bread, butter, and preserves. I eat a hearty supper and left the family in amore tranquil state of mind. It was dusk by this time. I rode down to the railroad and found my company dismounted and deployed along the railroad expecting a train of cars. Myself, William Sloan and three others was detailed to tear up the railroad track a mile from town. We dismounted and gave our horses in charge of the horseholders. Then got a couple of crow bars and set out on foot across the rail road bridge down the railroad. The bushes on both sides was high and thick, just the place for bushwhackers. We went about half a mile and went to work, keeping our guns within arms reach. We took up two rails, one on each side, in two places, then laid them down putting the ends against the track in the direction that the train was expected and the other ends about eight inches off, throwing the rails away to prevent the break from being detected by the engineer. The track was perfectly straight for a mile and the smallest objects could be plainly seen by any light strong as those carried on the front of locomotives for a long distance. We worked hard, expecting the train every minute. One of the rails fell on my foot in bursting them up which did not feel very pleasant. We started back and saw a fire on the railroad at the crossing of the town. At first we did not know what to make of it. We knew that the train would not come into our trap when they saw the fire, but on approaching nearer we saw that our boys were burning the bridge. The hour for the train was passed and it had been given out. They had taken alarm and stopped. We mounted our horses then fell in line. The command had just caught up. We moved off and as we went through town I fell out and took one of the home guard horses that I had tired that evening, and mounted him intending to lead my tired horse till we camped for the night, then give it to some dismounted man. It moved so slow and led so bad that I soon found I was getting behind in spite of my vigorous spurring and whipping. I got mixed up with one of the regiments. I then rode out to one side and mounted my old horse again and lead the other, but the change did not facilitate my progress much as if would not lead well. It came near pulling me off my horse several times, but I determined to hold to it."

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

“Lighting” Ellsworth was set to work tapping the telegraph lines for information regarding the Union movements.

“At Vienna the railroad station and the telegraph operator were captured before the operator could give the alarm. General Morgan put one of his own men, Lieutenant Ellsworth who knew how to operate the telegraph, in charge of the office. He listened on the wires until he had learned all the news to be obtained from Louisville and Indianapolis, including the fact that orders had been issued to the Militia to fell timber and blockade the principal roads which the invaders would be likely to travel to the East. According to Duke "our rapid marching had, hitherto, saved us this annoyance." They also learned in this manner that the Union forces under Hobson had crossed the Ohio River and were only a few miles behind them.They learned that the state was virtually swarming with soldiers and that every train entering Indiana was bringing additional forces. The Raiders did all they possibly could to hamper the pursuit of the Union Cavalry, such as burning all the bridges. Their system of horse stealing was almost perfect. They would dispatch men from the head of each brigade to go five miles into the country on each side of the road. They would then seize every available horse and fall in at the rear of the column. In this way the Confederates swept the countryside of all horses for ten miles, leaving their own worn-out animals for the use of the Union forces.

According to Goodrich in his Illustrated History of Indiana (1875), a Scott County farmer ruefully said, "Many are the farmers through this county who have bewailed the day when they 'swapped' their fine, fat, sleek horses for the worn-out, sore-backed jades of the Rebels!" The fine blooded Kentucky horses, however, which were left behind in Indiana, though worn-out, were of such good stock that the breed of Indiana horses was greatly improved.At both Henryville and Vienna the railroad depots were burned, the tracks torn up and the telegraph wires cut. At Vienna they also burnt the water station, the turntable and a railroad bridge which spanned Pigeon Roost Creek. All of these structures were built of wood, as was the custom then. In Vienna they also robbed the stores and private houses.”

Through a defector, the Union was given a glimpse into Morgan’s mind. Yet, they failed to believe the information and continued a hurried effort to prevent Morgan from crossing the Ohio River near Madison.

“Indianapolis, July 10, 1863 – 1 p.m.

Major-General Burnside:
The following dispatches just received:
First Dispatch
Have just examined a reliable employee of the Jeffersonville Railroad, who left Vienna at 6 o’clock this morning. He says it was agreed in Vienna that Morgan himself with 11,000 men and from six to twelve pieces of artillery, passed through Vienna, toward Lexington, this morning. From this I judge Morgan’s whole force (say 4,000) are trying to cross the river.
Second Dispatch
A prisoner from Duke’s regiment left Morgan at Vienna this morning; deserted. He says the rebels were in great haste, and says all he could gather of the intention of the raid it was to pass through Indiana and Ohio and join Lee in the East; that the programme was carried out up to his leaving. I have no doubt they are hurrying to cross the river.

John Love,
O. B. Willcox,

“Memphis, Ind., July 11, 1863.

General Boyle, Louisville, KY:
Send all the cavalry force and artillery you can to Vienna this evening. General Hobson is in the advance.

J. M. Shackleford.”

[i] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[ii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p.719
[iii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p.719
[iv] Journal of Curtis R. Burke.
[v] Wilson, Mary and Asher, Sharon Y. “ Lexington” Morgan’s Raid
[vi] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p.722.
[vii] “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies,” Part I –Reports, p.725

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