This story is one of the most interesting phases of the Civil War and was one of the most well-known Confederate campaigns conducted by General John Hunt Morgan (Morgan’s Raid) through Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana during the summer of 1863. I will share the highlights of this story over the next three weeks with you. I hope you find it as fascinating as I am reading through the history.
This daringly executed foray deep into enemy territory did little for the cause of the Confederate Army but was looked upon as a nuisance. The raid in Indiana lasted for only a few days but it did cause a great deal of excitement and a considerable inconvenience to the people of Southern Indiana. The local interest in his raid lies in the fact that Morgan and his men traversed Scott County from west to east over the route of the old historic Cincinnati Trace, then called the Lexington-Salem State Road, and that he and his men spent one of the four nights they camped in Indiana in Lexington, the county seat for Scott County.
To add further interest in our story, is derived from the fact that General Morgan and the Morgan family of Scott County were related. One of Scott County’s original pioneers, David Morgan, father of Nathan R. Morgan came to the county in 1820 from Bourbon County, Kentucky. Although the exact relationship between the two families, it is believed that that David Morgan, the first cousin of Calvin C. Morgan, was the father of John Hunt Morgan and were both grandsons of Gideon Morgan, who died in 1830, had immigrated from New Jersey to Virginia sometime before the Revolutionary War and was a kinsman to General Daniel Morgan (1736-1802) of Revolutionary War fame.
It is told, that before General Morgan and his Raiders came through Scott County that he had sent word to his Indiana kinfolks that he wished to visit them while in the County, but was prevented from doing so by the constraints of war.
John Hunt Morgan, son of Calvin and Henrietta Hunt, was born June 1, 1825 in Huntsville, Alabama from whence his father and Grandfather, Luther Morgan, had emigrated from Virginia. When he was three (3) years old, his father moved the family to his mother’s hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, where he grew up. IN the war against Mexico he served as a First Lieutenant in a cavalry regiment.
Following his service in the War against Mexico, John Hunt Morgan returned to Lexington, Kentucky and engaged in manufacturing and became quite wealthy. His home can still be seen there in Lexington, Kentucky.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, in 1861, he and his four brothers (Calvin, Charlton, Richard and Thomas) joined the Confederate Army. His two sisters were married to Confederate Generals, sister Ditty was married to A.P. Hill and Henrietta to General Basil W. Duke, who accompanied his brother-in-law on his famous rid and later wrote his authoritative History of Morgan’s Cavalry.
IN 1862, following the Battle of Shiloh, John Hunt Morgan was made a Colonel and later a General. His men, collectively and in detached bands, became famous for partisan warfare throughout Kentucky and Tennessee, raiding towns, robbery trains, destroying railroad property and committing deeds of violence exempt from criminal punishment and excused by the state of war.
It was said that Morgan’s Raid through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio was probably done with deliberate intent of creating a diversion from the movement of General Braxton Bragg and his troops from Tullahoma to Chattanooga, Tennessee. However, Morgan disobeyed Bragg’s (1817-1876) instructions to confine himself to Kentucky and started his forlorn trip which was doomed to failure.
On May 26, 1863 Morgan had 2,460 men, two three-inch Parrott guns and two twelve-inch howitzers. Two brigades under him were principally composed of men from the Second, Third, Fifth, Sixth and Eleventh Kentucky and the Ninth Tennessee Cavalry Regiments. They were commanded by General Basil W. Duke and Bushrod Johnson.
On June 11, 1863 they left their headquarters at Alexandria, Tennessee and on July 2 crossed the Cumberland River at Burkesville, Kentucky. In a battle at Columbus, Kentucky on July 4th, they lost sixty men when they unexpectantly encountered Federal Troops. On July 5th they fought and captured the Federal garrison (military base) in Lebanon, Kentucky. It was during this battle that John Hunt Morgan’s youngest brother, Lieutenant Thomas Morgan, was killed.
On Tuesday, July 7th, Morgan’s advance guard reached Brandenburg, Kentucky on the Ohio River, just a mere forty miles below Louisville. On July 8th, his men captured the steamers “J.T. McCombs” and the “Alice Dean” and were successfully ferried across the river into Indiana. They proceeded to loot the town of Mauckport, two miles down the river from their crossing.
From Mauckport the Confederate cavalry drove to Corydon where stores were raided, the Country treasury was robbed, private homes pillaged, and women were forced to prepare meals for the unwanted guests. General Morgan made his headquarters at the town’s main hotel, Kintner’s. Meanwhile, over 500 horses were taken from their owners in the nearby countryside in exchange for poor worn out horses.
The same day, July 9th, Federal Troops under General Edward Hobson reached Brandenburg, crossed the river, and subsequently began their pursuit of Morgan’s and his raiders.
The stories continuation will be posted on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.