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By basil W. yUKE 



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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year eighteen hundred and siztj-siz,'— 
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Eentaoky, at Covington. 

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Wt tUt §9Ht Wontiftt et tUt SfeutU, 





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rpHE writer presents to the reading public the narrative of an arduous 
and adventurous military career, which, commencing at a period but 
little subsequent to the outbreak of the late civil war, continued through 
the four eventful years. 

He has endeavored to make the work a correct and gi-aphic representa- 
tion of the kind of warfare of which Morqak was the author, aivd in 
which his men won so much celebrity. Strict accuracy has been attempt- 
ed in the description of the military operations of which the book is a 
record, and it is hoped that the incidents related of personal daring and 
adventure wili be read with some interest. 

Tlie author regrets that, for reasons easily understood, the book is far 
less complete than he desired to make it. Tlie very activity of the ser- 
vice performed by MorQan's Cavalry prevented the preservation of data 
which would be very valuable, and a full account of many {mporta|t 
operations is therefore Impossible. Limited space, also, forbids the mcn- 
tiou of many brave dee<ld. If many gallant and deserving men were 
noticed as they deserve, the book could not be readily finished. 

To the friends whose contributions assisted the work, the author 
returns his warmest thanks. 

To Mr. Meade Woodson, to whom he is indebted for the maps which so 
perfectly illustrate his narrative, he is especially grateful. 

He regrets, too, that many of his old comrades have altogether failed 
to render hlin aid, confidently expected, and which would have been very 
valuable. B. VV. D. 

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Ilisiory of Morgan's Caraliy— Why writton— Fint •nlistmanta — Populkrity of 
Morgan — MisropresonUtion of tho presc — New um of oaralry 9 

Earlj lifo of General Morgan — His qnalities as a eommander— His personal 
qualities 18 

Political condition of Kentneky in 1801 — Bewilderment of the people— Camp Dick 
Robinson — First entrance of Confederate troops 31 

Military situation in the West — Advance to Bowlinggreen — Scarcity of arms — 
Organisation of the army — Want of discipline— Qualities which compensated 
for its absence 57 

Morgan leaves Lexington — Roger W. Hanson — Service on Green Riror — Scouting 
— Our first skirmish — Narrow esoape^Terry's Rangers..... 88 


Retreat from Bowlinggreen — Bracnation of Nashville — Our Fourth Ohio aoqnaiigt* 

ances — Scouting near Nashville — Morgan holds Murf^eesboro' — Dash on 

Mitchell — Night attack — Capture of Gallatin — Stampede of our pickets — 

Promotion of Morgan — Conoentration at Corinth 110 

Battle of Shiloh — Death of Sidney Johnston— Result of the battle — Expedition 
into Tennessee — Cotton burning and telegraphing — Defeat at Lebanon — Ex- 
pedition to Cave City in Kentucky 138 

Reorganisation at Chattanooga — First raid into Kentucky — Fight at Tompkins- 
ville— Capture of Lebanon — Telegraphic strategy — Morgan master of the sit- 
uation — Fight atCynthiana — Bvade the pursuing troops 169 

Capture of Gallatin — Active service near Nashville — Fights at Gallatin and 
Cairo^Destmction of the railroad — Sojourn at Hartsville — The videttes — 
Kentnekians running from the draft— " !%• VitUtu.** SOS 

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Again on the march for Eentuoky — Bnahwhaoking ezperieno« — The Confederate 

army enters the State — Service in ft-ont of Covington — Efforts to embarrass 

the retreat of the Federal General Morgan — ^Flght at Aagnsta — Retreat of 

the army from Eentacky^-Morgan captures Lexington 229 

Morgan's retreat through Southwestern Kentucky — At Gallatin again — Scouting 
and ambuscades — BriTon firom Gallatin — A week's fighting around Leba- 
non--.Battle of HartsTille 282 

December raid into Kentucky — Capture of Eli&abethtown — Fight at the Rolling 
Fork — Escape from the toils 817 

Service during the winter of '62 and '03 — Cluke's raid into Kentucky — Battle 
of Milton— Defeat at Snow's Hill 344 

Service in Tennessee, and on the Cumberland in Kentucky — Fight at Greasy 
Creek — Active scouting — The division starts for the Ohio — Crossing of the 
Cumberland in the face of the enemy — Fights at Columbia, Green River 
and Lebanon — Crossing the Ohio—The militia objecting — Fight with the 
gunboats — March through Indiana and Ohio— Detour around Cincinnati—- 
Defeat at Buffington 388 

Life in prison — Escape of Morgan from the Ohio Penitentiary — Exchange at 
Charleston 403 


Services of the remnant of Morgan's command while their General was in prison — 
Reception of General Morgan by the people of the South — He is assigned 
to command in Southwestern Virginia — Fight with Averili — Action at Dub- 
lin Depot — Last raid into Kentucky — Capture of Mt. Sterling — Severe en- 
gagement next day— Capture of Lexington— Success at Cynthiana — Defeat 
at Cynthianii— Retreat from Kentucky 607 

Death of Morgan — Grief of his men — Subsequent active service of his old com- 
mand — Hard fight at Bull's Gap — A battle by moonlight, and a night-long 
chase— The Stoneman raid— Disaster at Kingsport — ^Fighting the enemy and 
the elements — Battle of Marion— Winter quarters at Abingdon— March tc 
Charlotte after Lee's surrender — Escort to Jefferson Davis after Johnston's 
surrender— The last Council of War— Surrender at Woodstock 620 

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In nndertftking to write the history of General Morgan's ser- 
yiceSy and of the command which he created, it is hut fair th&t I 
shall acknowledge myself influenced, in a great measorey by the 
feelings of the friend and the follower ; that I desire, if I can do 
so by relating facts, of most of which I am personally cognizant, 
to perpetuate his fame, and, at the same time, establish the true 
character of a body of men, who recruited and inured to war by 
him, served bravely and faithfully to the close of the great 
struggle. It may be that credence will be given with hesitation 
to the statements of one, who thus candidly confesses that per- 
sonal regard for his chief, and esprU-de-eorps mainljr induce him 
to attempt the task I propose to myself. To aU works of this 
nature, nevertheless, the same objection will apply, or the more 
serious one, that they owe their production to the inspiration 
of hatred, and those who have witnessed and participated in the 
events which they describe, must (under this rule), for that vmy 
reason, be denied belief. 

General Morgan's career during the late war was so remarkable, 
that it is not surprising that the public, accustomed to the con- 
tradictory newspaper versions of his exploits, should be disposed 
to receive all accounts of it with some incredulity. 


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10 . HISTORT OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

It wafi BO rapid, so croT^ded with exciting incidents, appealed 
so strongly to the passions and elicited so constantly the com- 
ments of both sides, that contemporary accounts of his opera- 
tions were filled with mistakes and exaggerations, and it is 
natural that fome should be expected in any history of his 
campaigns, although written after the strife is all over. 

Convinced, however, that, if properly understood, his reputa- 
tion will be greater in history than with his contemporaries, 
and believing that the story of his military life will be a contri- 
bution not altogether valueless to that record which the Southern 
people, in justice to themselves and their dead, must yet pub- 
lish, I can permit no minor consideration to deter me from 
furnishing correct, and, I deem, important information, which 
my relations, personal and official, with General Morgan enabled 
me to obtain. A correct representation of a certain series of 
events sometimes leads to a correct understanding of many 
more, and if the vail which prejudice and deliberate unscru- 
pulous falsification have thrown over some features of the contest 
be lifted, a truer appreciation may perhaps be had of others of 
greater moment and interest. I may add that, as no one has 
been more bitterly assailed, not only while living but even after 
death, than General Morgan, so no man's memory should be more 
peculiarly the subject of vindication and protection to his friends. 

But there are also other and cogent reasons why this tribute 
should be rendered him by some one, who, devoted to the in- 
terests of the living chieftain, is sensitive regarding the reputa- 
tion he has left. The cruel ingratitude which embittered the 
* last days of his life, has made his memory all the dearer to the 
many who were true and constant in their love and esteem for 
hiu>, and they feel that he should be justly depicted. The fame 
which he desired will be accorded him ; the reward for which 
he strove is his already, in the affection of the people by whom 
he hoped and deserved that the kindest recollections of him 
sjiould be cherished and the warmest eulogies pronounced. In 
the glory won, in the tremendous and unequal struggle, in the 

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pride with wliich they speak the names of the dead heroes whose 
martyrdom illustrated it, the Southern people possess treasures 
of which no conqueror can deprive them. 

A man who, like General Morgan, uninfluenced by the public 
opinion of the State in which he resided, yet surrendered for- 
T^tune, home and friends to assist the people of the South 
when embarked in the desperate and vital strife which their 
action had provoked, because sharing their blood and their con- 
victions, he thought that they had an imperative claim upon 
his services ; who pledged his all to their cause, and identified 
his name with every phase of the contest, until his death became 
an event of the last and most bitter — such a man can never be 
forgotten by them. It is impossible that the memory of his 
services can ever fade from their minds. 

In the beautiful land for which he fought and died, the tradi* 
tions which will indicate the spots where he struck her foes, will 
also preserve his name in undying affection and honor. The 
men of the generation which knew him can forget him only 
when they forget the fate from which he strove to save them ; 
his name belongs to the history of the race, and it can not die. 

A narrative of the operations of a command composed, in 
great part, of Eeutuckians, must possess some interest for the 
people of their own State. So general and intense was the 
interest which Morgan excited among the young men of the 
State, that he obtained recruits from every county, numbers 
running every risk to join him, when no other leader could en- 
list a man. The whole State was represented in his command. 
Many Eeutuckians who had enlisted in regiments from other 
States procured transfers to his command, and it frequently 
happened that men, the bulk of whose regiments were in prison, 
or who had become irregularly detached from them by some of 
the many accidents of which the volunteer, weary of monotony, 
is prompt to take advantage, would attach themselves to and 
serve temporarily with it| Probably every native citizen of 
Kentucky who will read these lines, will think of some relative 

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or fnead wbo at some time senred with Morgan. Men of even 
the strictest ^^ Union principles/' whose loyalty has always been 
unimpeachable, and whose integrity (as disinterested and as 
well assured as their patriotism) forbids all sospioion that they 
were inclined to serre two masters, haye had to furnish aid in 
this way to the rebellion. Frequently after these gentlemen had 
placed in the Federal army substitutes, white or black, for loyal 
sons of unmilitary temperaments, other sons, rebellious, and 
more enterprising, would elect to represent the family in some 
one of Morgan's regiments. It is not unlikely, then, that a 
record of these men, written by one who has had every oppor- 
tunity of learning the true story of every important and inter- 
esting event which he did not witness, may be favorably received 
by the people of Kentucky. The dass of readers who will be 
gratified by an account of such adventures as will be herein 
related, will readily forgive any lack of embellishment. My 
practical countrymen prefer the recital of substantial facts, and 
the description of scenes which their own experience enables 
them to appreciate, to all the fictions of which the Northern war 
literature has been so prolific. 

The popular taste in Kentucky and the South does not re- 
quire the fabulous and romantic ; less educated and more prim- 
itive than that of the North, it rejects even the beautiful, if also 
. incredible, and is more readily satisfied with plain statements, 
supported by evidence, or intrinsically probable, than with the 
most fascinating legend, although illustrated with sketches by 
special artists. 

There rests, too, upon some one identified with this command, 
the obligation of denying and disproving the frequent and 
grave charges of crime and outrage which have been preferred 
against General Morgan and his soldiers. So persistently have 
these accusations been made, that at one time an avowal of 
<^ belonging to Morgan " was thought, evenr in Kentucky, tan- 
tamount to a confession of murder and highway robbery. To 
this day, doubtless, the same impression prevails in the North, 

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and yet, when it is considered how it was produced, it is sur- 
prising that it should or could last so long. 

The newspapers are of course responsible for it, as for every 
other opinion entertained at any time by the Northern public. * 

It will repay any one who will take the trouble to examine 
the files of these papers printed during the war, if he desires a 
curious entertainment. Among many willful misrepresentations 
of Morgan's as well as of other Confederate commands, many 
statements palpably false, and regarding events of which the 
writers could not possibly have obtained correct information, 
will be found under the most astounding captions, proclaiming 
the commission of " unheard of atrocities '* and " guerrilla out- 
rages," accounts of Morgan having impressed horses or taken for- 
age and provisions from Union men, while highly facetious de- 
scriptions of house-burning, jewelry snatching, and a thorough 
sacking of premises are chronicled, without one word of condem- 
nation, under the heading oC " frolics of the boys in blue." In 
thus referring to the manner in which the Northern newspapers 
mentioned the respective combatants whose deeds their reporters 
pretended to record, I have no wish to provoke a renewal of 
the wordy war. 

The Southern journals were undoubtedly sufficiently denun- 
ciatory, although they did not always seem to consider a bad 
deed sanctified because done by their friends. Nor have I any 
intention of denying that inexcusable excesses were committed 
at various times by men of Morgan's command. I freely admit 
that we had men in our ranks whose talents and achievements 
could have commanded respect even among the " Bummers/* 
There were others, too, whose homes had been destroyed and 
property " confiscated," whose families had been made to " feel 
the war," who were incited by an unholy spirit of revenge to 
commit acts as well worth relation, as any of those for which 
the " weekly " of his native township has duly lauded the most 
industrious Federal raider, actuated by a legitimate desire of 
pleasure or gain. It will not be difficult to prove that such prac- 

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tices met with rebuke from General Morgan and his officers, ^ 

and that they were not oharacteristic of his command. There 
are other impression^about Morgan and ^^ Morgan's men" which 
I shall endeavor to correct, as, although by no means so serious 
as those just mentioned, they are not at all just to the reputa- , 
tion of either leader or followers. It is a prevalent opinion 
that his troops were totally undisciplined and unaccustomed to 
the instruction and restraint which form the soldier. They 
were, to be sure, far below the standard of regular troops in 
these respects, and doubtless they were inferior in many par- 
ticulars of drill and organization to some carefully-trained 
bodies of cavalry, Confederate and Federal, which were less 
constantly and actively engaged in service on the front. 

But these essential requisites to efficiency were by no means 
neglected or in a great degree lacking. The utmost care was 
exercised in the organization of every regiment to place the 
best men in office — General Morgan frequently interfering, for 
that purpose, in a manner warranted neither by the regulations 
nor the acts of congress. No opportunity was neglected to at- 
tain proficiency in the tactics which experience had induced us 
to adopt, and among officers and men there was a perfect ap- 
preciation of the necessity of strict subordination, prompt un- 
questioning obedience to superiors, and an active, vigilant 
discharge of all the duties which devolve upon the soldier in 
the vicinity or presence of the enemy. 

I do not hesitate to say that ^' Morgan's Division," in its best 
days, would have lost nothing (in points of discipline and in- 
struction) by comparison with any of the fine cavalry commands, 
which did constant service, of the Confederate army, and the 
testimony of more than one inspecting officer can be cited to 
that effect. More credit, too, has been given General Morgan 
for qualities and ability which constitute a good spy, or success- 
ful partisan- to lead a handful of men, than for the very decided 
military talents which he possessed. He is most generally 
thought to have been in truth, the ^^ Guerrilla Chief," which the 

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Northern press entitled and strove to prove him. It will not 
be difficult to disabuse the minds of military men (or, indeed, in* 
telligent men of any class) of this impression. It will be only 
necessary to review his campaigns and give the reasons which 
induced his movements, to furnish an authentic and thorough state- 
ment of facts, and, as far as practicable, an explanation of at- 
tendant curcumstances, and it will be seen that he had in an em- 
inent degree many of the highest and most necessary qualities 
of the General. 

An even cursory study of Morgan's record will convince the 
military reader, that the character he bore with those who served 
with him was deserved. 

That while circumspect and neglectful of no precaution to 
insure success or avert disaster, he was extremely bold in 
thought and action. That using every meanT^trdbtstirextensive 
onS^teuiale iiiAiimation (attempting no enterprise of importance 
without it), and careful in the consideration of every contin- 
gency, he was yet marvelously quick to combine and to revolve*, 
and so rapid and sudden in execution, as frequently to confound 
both friends and enemies. 

And above all, once convinced, he never hesitated to act ; he 
would back his judgment against every hazard, and with every 
resource at his command. 

Whatever merit be allowed or denied General Morgan, he is 
beyond all question entitled to the credit of having discovered 
uses for cavalry, or rather mounted infantry, to which that arm 
was never applied before. While other cavalry officers were ad- 
hering to the traditions of former wars, and the systems of the 
schools, however inapplicable to the demands of their day and 
the nature of the struggle, he originated and perfected, not only 
a system of tactics, a method of fighting and handling men in 
the presence of the enemy, but also a strategy as effective as it 
was novel. 
/ Totally Ignorant of the art of war as learned from the books 
and in the academies; an imitator in nothing; self taught in all 

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that he knew and did, his success was not more marked than 
his genius. 

The creator and organizer of his own little army — ^with a 
force which at no time reached four thousand — ^he killed and 
wounded nearly as many of the enemy, and captured more than 
fifteen thousand. The author of the far-reaching ^'xaid/' so 
different from the mere cavalry dash, he accomplished with his 
handful of men results which would otherwise have required 
armies and the costly preparations of regular and extensive 

I shall endeavor to show the intimate connection between his 
operations and those of the main army in eaeh department where 
he served, and the strategic importance of even his apparently 
rashest and most purposeless raids, when considered with refer- 
ence to their bearing upon the grand campaigns of the West. 
When the means at his disposal, the difficulties with which he 
had to contend, and the results he effected are well understood, 
it wilt be conceded that his reputation with the Southern soldiery 
was not undeserved, and that to rank with the best of the many 
active and excellent cavalry officers of the West, to have had, 
confessedly, no equal among them except in Forrest, argues him 
to have possessed no common ability. The design of this work 
may in part fail, because of the inability of one so little accus- 
tomed to the labors of authorship to present his subject in the 
manner that it deserves ; but the theme is one sure to be inter- 
esting and impressive however treated, and materials may, in 
ibis way be preserved for abler pens and more extensive works. 
The apparent egotism in the constant use of the first person 
wiH, I trust, be excused by the explanation that I write of mat- 
ters and events known almost entirely from personal observa- 
iion, reports of subordinate officers to myself, or personal 
knowledge of reports made directly to General Morgan, and that, 
:serving for a considerable period as his second in command, it 
was necessarily my duty to see to the execution of his plans, 
and I enjoyed a large share of his confidence. 

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For the spirit in which it is written, I have only to say that 
I haye striven to be candid and accurate; to that sort of impar- 
tiality which is acquired at the expense of a total divestiture of 
natural feeling, I can lay no claim. 

A Southern man, once a Confederate soldier — always thor- 
oughly Southern in sentiments and feeling, I can, of course, 
write only a Southern account of what I saw in the late war, 
and as such what is herein written must be received. 

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J#tt'1l0irT Morgan was born at Huntsville, Alabama, on the 
first day of June, 1825. His father, Calvin C. Morgan, was a 
native of Virginia, and a distant relative of Daniel Morgan, the 
rebel general of revolutionary fame. In early manhood, Mr, 
Morgan followed the tide of emigration flowing from Virginia 
to the West, and commenced life as a merchant in Alabama, 
In 1828, he married the daughter of John W. Hunt, of Lexing- 
ton, Kentucky, one of the wealthiest and most successful mer- 
chants of the State, and one whose influence did much to de- 
velope the prosperity of that portion of it in which he resided. 

Mr. Morgan is described by all who knew him as a gentleman 
whom it was impossible to know and not to respect and esteem. 
His character was at once firm and attractive, but he possessed 
neither the robust constitution nor the adventurous and im- 
petuous spirit which characterized other members of his family. 
He was quiet and studious in his habits, and although fond of 
the society of his friends, he shunned every species of excite- 
ment. When failing health, and, perhaps, a distaste for mer- 
cantile pursuits induced him to relinquish them, he removed 
with his family to Kentucky (his son John was then four years 
old), and purchased a farm near Lexington, upon which he lived 
until a few years before his death. 

John H. Morgan was reared in Kentucky, and lived in Lex- 
ington from his eighteenth year until the fall of 1861, when he 
joined the Confederate army. There was nothing in his boy- 
hood, of which any record has been preserved, to indicate the 
distinction he was to win, and neither friends nor enemies can 
deduce from anecdotes of his youthful life arguments of any 
value in support of the views which they respectively entertain 
of his character. In this respect, also, he displayed his singular 

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morgan's EABLT HI8T0B7. 19 

originality of character, and he is aboat the only instance in \y/ 
modem times (if biographies are to be believed) of a distin- 
guished man who had not, as a boy, some presentiment of his 
future, and did not conduct himself accordingly. 

When nineteen he enlisted for the ^^ Mexican War^' and was 
elected First Lieutenant of Captain Beard's company, in Colonel 
Marshall's regiment of cavalry. He served in Mexico for 
eighteen months, but did not, he used to say, see much of 
^^ war" during that time. He was, however, at the battle of 
Bnena Yista, in which fight Colonel Marshall's regiment was 
hotly engaged, and his company, which was ably led, suffered 
severely. Soon after his return home he married Miss Bruce, 
of Lexington, a sweet and lovely lady, who, almost from the day 
of her wedding, was a confirmed and patient invalid and sufferer. 
Lnmediately after his marriage, he entered energetically into 
business — ^was industrious, enterprising and prosperous, and at 
the breaking out of the war in 1861, he was conducting in Lex- 
ington two successful manufactories. Every speculation and 
business enterprise in which he engaged succeeded, and he had 
acquired a very handsome property. This he left, when he 
went South, to the mercy of his enemies, making no provision 
whatever for its protection, and apparently caring not at all 
what became of it. As he left some debts unsettled, his loyal 
creditors soon disposed of it with the aid of the catch-rebel 
attachment law. 

When quite a young man he had two or three personal diffi- 
culties in Lexington, in one of which he was severely wounded. , 
To those who recollect the tone of society in Kentucky at that 
day, it will be no matter of astonishment to learn that a young 
man of spirit became engaged in such affairs. His antagonists, 
however, became, subsequently, his warm friends. The stigmas 
upon General Morgan's social standing, so frequent in the 
Northern press, need not be noticed. Their falsity was always 
well known in Kentucky and the South. 

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24 HISTOET |F Mlkl^liUt's OAYALRY. 

The calumnies, so widely circulated regarding his private life, 
must be noticed, or the duty of the biographer would be neg^ 
lected in an important particular. And yet, except to positively 
deny every thing which touched his integrity aa a man and his 
honor as a gentleman, it would seem that there is nothing for 
his biographer to do in this respect. The wealth at the disposal 
of the Federal government attracted into its service all the pur- 
chasable villainy of the press — ^North and South. It was not 
even necessary for the Government to bid for them — they volun- 
teered to perform, gratis, in the hope of future reward. To un- 
dertake a refutation of every slander broached by this gang 
against a man, so constantly a theme for all tongues and pens, 
as was Morgan, would be an impossible, even if it were a neces- 
sary, task. It is enough to say that he was celebrated, and there- 
fore he was belied. General Morgan was certainly no '' saint " — 
his friends may claim that he had no right to that title and not 
the slightest pretension to it. While he respected true piety in 
other men, and, as those who knew him intimately will well re- 
member, evinced on all occasions a profound and unaffected 
veneration for religion, he did not profess, nor did he regulate 
his life by religious convictions. Like the great majority of the 
men of his class — the gentlemen of the South — ^he lived freely, 
and the amusements he permitted himself would, doubtless, have 
shocked a New Englander almost as much as the money he spent 
in obtaining them. Even had the manners of the people among 
whom he lived have made it politic to conceal carefully every 
departure from straight-laced morality, he, of all men, would 
have been the least likely to do so, for he scorned hypocrisy as 
he did every species of meanness. To sum up, General Morgan, 
with the virtues, had some of the faults of his Southern blood 
and country, and he sought so little to extenuate the latter 
himself, that it may be presumed that he cared not the least 
whether or no they were recorded. 

While no censure can, of course, be directed against those 
who slandered him, aa they did others, for hire — and it Tould 

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be as absard in this age and country, to gravely denounce the 
lie-coiners of the press, as to waste time in impeaching the 
false witnesses that figure before military commissions — never- 
theless, as justice ought to be done to all, it should be remarked 
that among the respectable people who furtively gave currency 
to every story to his injury were some who owed their power to 
harm him to the generosity of his grandfather, who loved to 
assist all sorts of merit, but was particularly partial to manual 

The qualities in General Morgan, which would have attracted 
most attention in private life, were an exceedin g gentleness of ^ 
lisposition and unbound^^^ g^pftrna^'f:^. Mis kindness and good- 
ness*'0f heSFt were proverbial. His manner, even after he had 
become accustomed to command, was gentle and kind, and no 
doubt greatly contributed to acquire him the singular popular- 
ity which he enjoyed long before he had made his military rep- 
utation. The strong will and energy which he always displayed 
might not have elicited much notice, had not the circumstances 
in which the war placed him developed and given them scope 
for exercise. But his affeetion for the members of his family 
and his friends, the generosity which prompted him to consult 
their wishes at the expense of any sacrifice of his own, his 
sensitive regard for the feelings of others, even of those in 
whom he felt least interest, and his rare charity for the failings 
of the weak, made up a character which, even without an un- 
common destiny, would have been illustrious. 

His benevolence was so well known in Lexington, that to ^^ go 
to Captain Morgan " was the first thought of every one who 
wished to inaugurate a charitable enterprise, and his business 
house was a rendezvous for all the distressed, and a sort of 
^'intelligence oflSce" for the poor seeking employment. His 
temper was cheerful and frequently gay ; no man more relished 
pleasantry and mirth in the society of his friends, with whom 
his manner was free and even at times jovial; but he never 
himself indulged in personal jests nor familiarities, nor did he 


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22 BISTORT 07 morgan's CAVALRY. 

permit them from his most intimate associates ; to attempt them 
with him gave him certain and lasting offense. There was never 
a more sanguine man ; with him to live was to hope and to dare. 
Yet while rarely feeling despondency and never despair, he did 
not deceive himself with false or impossible expectations. He 
was qaick to perceive the real and the practical, and while enter- 
prising in the extreme he was not in the least visionary. His 
nerve, his powers of discrimination, the readiness with which 
he could surrender schemes found to be impracticable, if by 
chance he became involved in them, and his energy and close 
attention to his affairs, made him very successful in business, 
and undoubtedly the same qualities, intensified by the demand 
that war made upon them, contributed greatly to his military 

But it can not be denied that not only the reputation which 
he won, but the talent which he displayed, astonished none more 
than his old friends. He would, I think, have been regarded as 
a remarkable man under any circumstances, by all who would 
have intimately known him, but he was born to be great in the 
career in which he was so successful. It is true that war fully 
developed many qualities which had been observed in him pre- 
viously, and (surest sign of real capacity) he to the last contin- 
ued to grow with every call that was made upon him. But he 
manifested an aptitude for the peculiar service in which he ac- 
quired so much distinction, an instinctive appreciation of the 
requisites for success, and a genius for command, which made 
themselves immediately recognized, but which no one had ex- 
pected. Nature had certainly endowed him with some gifts 
which she very rarely bestows, and which give the soldier who 
has them vast advantages; a quickness of perception and 
..of thought, amounting almost to intuition, an almost unerring 
sagacity in foreseeing the operations of an adversary and in 
calculating the effect of his own movements upon him, wonder- 
ful control over men, as individuals and in masses, and moral 
courage and energy almost preternatural. 

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He did not seem to reason like other men, at least no one 
could discover the logical process, if there was one, by which 
his conclusions were reached. His mind worked most accurately 
when it worked most rapidly, and sight or sound were scarcely 
80 swift as were its operations in an emergency. 

This peculiar faculty and habit of thought enabled him to 
plan with a rapidity almost inconceivable. Apparently his 
combinations were instantaneously commenced and perfected, 
and, if provided with the necessary information, he matured an 
enterprise almost as soon as he conceived it. His language 
and manner were often very expressive of this peculiar consti- 
tation of mind. In consultation with those whom he admitted 
to his confidence, he never cared to hear arguments, he would 
listen only to opinions. In stating his plans, he entered into no 
explanations, and his expressions of his views and declaration 
of his purposes sounded like predictions. At such times his 
speech would become hurried and vehement, and his manner 
excited but remarkably impressive. 

He evidently felt the most thorough and intense conviction 
himself, and ho seldom failed to convince his hearers. Advice 
volunteered, even by those he most liked and relied on, was 
never well received, and when he asked counsel of them he re- 
quired that it should be concise and definite, and resented hesita* 
tion or evasion. Without being in the ordinary sense of the term 
an excellent judge of character, he possessed, in a greater degree 
than any of his military associates, the faculty of judging how 
various circumstances (especially the events and vicissitudes of 
war) would affect other men, and of anticipating in all contin* 
gencies their thoughts and action. He seemed, if I may use 
such expressions, capable of imagining himself exactly in the 
situations of other men, of identifying his own mind with 
theirs, and thinking what they thought. He could certainly, 
with more accuracy than any one, divine the plans and wishes 
of an enemy. This was universally remarked, and he exhibited 
it, not only in correctly surmising the intentions of his own im- 

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24 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

mediate opponents, but also in the opinions which he gave re- 
garding the movements of the grand armies. He sought all 
the information which could however remotely affect his inter- 
ests and designs with untiring avidity, and the novel and in* 
genious expedients he sometimes resorted to in order to obtain 
it, would perhaps furnish materials for the most interesting 
chapter of his history. It was a common saying among his v 

men, that " no lawyer can cross-examine like General Morgan," \ 

and indeed the skill with which he could elicit intelligence from 
the evasive or treacherous answers of men unwilling to aid, or 
seeking to deceive him, was only less astonishing than the con< 
fidence with which he would act upon information so acquired. 
In army phrase, he was a capital ^^judge of information," that 
is, he could almost infallibly detect the true from the false, and 
determine the precise value of all that he heard. His quickness 
and accuracy, in this respect, amounted almost to another sense; 
reports, which to others appeared meager and unsatisfactory, 
and circumstances devoid of meaning to all but himself, fre- 
quently afforded him a significant and lively understanding of 
the matters which he wished to know. 

He had another faculty which is very essential to military 
success, indispensably necessary, at any rate, to a cavalry com- 
mander who acts independently and at such distances from any 
base or support as he almost constantly did. I believe the Eng< 
lish term it, having " a good eye for a country." It is the fac- 
ulty of rapidly acquiring a correct idea of the nature and pe- 
culiar features of any country in which military operations are 
to be conducted. He i^eglected nothing that a close study of 
maps and careful inquiry could furnish of this sort of knowl- 
edge, but after a brief investigation or experience, he generally 
had a better understanding of the subject than either map- 
makers or natives could give him. 

However imperfect might be his lyBrg t miate tiee with a country, 
it was nearly impossible for a guide to deceive him. What he 
had once learned in this respect he never forgot. A road once 


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traveled was always afterward familiar to him, with distances, 
localities and the adjacent country. Thus, always having in his 
mind a perfect idea of the region where he principally operated, 
he could move with as much facility and confidence (when there) 
without maps and guides as with them. His favorite strategy, 
in his important expeditions or "raids," was to place himself by 
long and swift marches — moving sometimes for days and nights 
without a halt except to feed the horses — ^in the very heart of 
the territory where were the objects of his enterprise. He re- 
lied upon this method to confuse if not to supprise his enemy, 
and prevent a concentration of his forces. He would then strike 
right and left. He rarely declined upon such expeditions to 
fight when advancing, for it was his theory that then, a concen- 
tration of superior forces against him was more difficult, and 
that the vigor of his enemy was to a certain extent paralyzed 
by the celerity of his own movements and the mystery which 
involved them. But after commencing his retreat, he would 
use every effort and stratagem to avoid battle, fearing that while 
fighting one enemy others might also overtake him, and believ- 
ing that at such times the morale of his own troops was some- 
what impaired. No leader could make more skillful use of de- 
tachments. He would throw them out to great distances, even 
when surrounded by superior and active forces, and yet in no 
instance was one of them (commanded by a competent officer 
and who obeyed instructions) overwhelmed or cut off. It very 
rarely happened that they failed to accomplish the purposes for 
which they were dispatched, or to rejoin the main body in time 
to assist in decisive action. He could widely separate and ap- 
parently scatter his forces, and yet maintain such a disposition 
of them as to have all well in hand. When pushing into the 
enemy's lines he would send these detachments in every direc- 
tion, until it was impossible to conjecture his real intentions — 
causing, generally, the shifting of troops from point to point as 
each was fthreatened; until the one he wished to attack was 
weakened, when he would strike at it like lightning. 

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26 ^^STORY OF morgan's gayalrt. 

He was a better strategist than tactician. He excelled in the 
arts which enable a commander to make successful campaigns 
and gain advantages without much fighting, rather than in skill- 
ful maneuvering on the field. 

He knew how to thoroughly confuse and deceive an enemy, 
and induce in him (as he desired) false confidence or undue cau- 
tion ; how to isolate and persuade or compel him to surrender 
without giving battle ; and he could usually manage, although 
inferior to the aggregate of the hostile forces around him, to be 
stronger or as strong at the point and moment of encounter. 

The tactics he preferred, when he chose to fight, were attempts 
at surprise and a concentration of his strength for headlong 
dashing attacks. 

To this latter method there were some objections. These 
attacks were made with a vigor, and inspired in the men a reck- 
less enthusiasm, which generally rendered them successful. 
But if the enemy was too strong, or holding defensible posi- 
tions, was resolute and stubborn in resistance, and the first two 
or three rushes failed to drive him, the attack was apt to fail 
altogether, and the reaction was correspondent to the energy of 
the onset. 

He did not display so much ability when operating immedi- 
ately with the army, as when upon detached service. He 
would not hesitate to remain for days closely confronting the 
main forces of the enemy, keeping his videttes constantly in 
sight of his cantonments, observing his every movement, and 
attacking every detachment and foraging party which he could 
expect to defeat. But when a grand advance of the enemy was 
commenced he preferred making a timely and long retreat, fol- 
lowed by a dash in some quarter where he was not expected, 
rather than to stubbornly contest their progress. 

He could actively and efficiently harass a retreating army, 
multiplying and continuing his assaults until he seemed ubiquit- 
ous ; but he was not equally efficient in covering a retreat or 
retarding an advance in force. Upon one or two occasions, 

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when the emergency was imminent, he performed this sort of 
service cheerfully and well, but he did not like it, nor was he 
eminently fitted for it. He had little of that peculiar skill with 
which Forrest would so wonderfully embarrass an enemy's ad- 
vance, and contesting every inch of his march, and pressing 
upon him if he hesitated or receded, convert every mistake that 
he made into a disaster. 

In attempting a delineation of General Morgan's character, 
mention ought not to be omitted of certain peculiarities, which to 
some extent, affected his military and ofScial conduct. 

Although by no means a capricious or inconsistent man, for 
he entertained profound convictions and adhered to opinions 
with a tenacity that often amounted to prejudice, he frequently 
acted very much like one. 

Not even those who knew him best could calculate how un- 
usual occurrences would affect him, or induce him to act. 

It frequently happened that men for whose understandings 
and characters he had little respect, but who were much about 
his person, obtained a certain sort of influence with him, but 
they could keep it only by a complete acquiescence in his will 
when it became aroused. He sometimes permitted and even 
encouraged suggestions from all around him, listening to the 
most contradictory opinions with an air of thorough acquies- 
cence in all. It was impossible, on such occasions, to determine 
whether this was done to flatter the speakers, to mislead as to 
his real intentions, or if he was in fact undecided. 

He generally ended such moments of doubt by his most orig- 
inal and unexpected resolutions, which he would declare exactly 
as if they were suggestions just made by some one else, almost 
persuading the parties to whom they were attributed that they 
had really advanced them. In his judgment of the men with 
whom he had to deal, he showed a strange mixture of shrewd- 
ness and simplicity. He seldom failed to discern and to take 
advantage of the ruling characteristics of those who approached 
him, and he could subsidize the knowledge and talents of other 

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men T?ith rare^ akill. He especially excelled in judging men 
collectively. He knew exactly how to appeal to the feelings of 
his men, to excite their enthusiasm, and stimulate them to dare 
any danger and endure any fatigue and hardship. But he some- 
times committed the gravest errors in his estimation of individ- 
ual character. He more than once imposed implicit confidence 
in men whom no one else would have trusted, and suffered him- 
self to be deceived by the shallowest imposters. He obtained 
credit for profound insight into character by his possession of 
another and very different quality. The unbounded influence 
he at once acquired over almost every one who approached him, 
enabled him to make men do the most uncharacteristic things, 
and created the impression that he discovered traits of character 
hidden from others. 

General Morgan had more of those, personal qualities which 
make a man's friends devoted to him, than any one I have ever 

He was himself very warm and constant in the friendships 
which he formed. It seemed impossible for him to do enough 
for those to whom he was attached, or to ever give them up. 
His manner when he wished, prepossessed every one in his 
favor. He was generally more courteous and attentive to his 
inferiors than to his equals and superiors. This may have 
proceeded in a great measure from his jealousy of dictation and 
impatience of restraint, but was the result also of warm and 
generous feelings. His greatest faults arose out of his kind- 
ness and easiness of disposition, which rendered it impossible 
for him to say or do unpleasant things, unless when under the 
influence of strong prejudice or resentment. This temperament 
made him a too lax disciplinarian, and caused him to be fre- 
quently imposed upon. He was exceedingly and unfeignedly 
modest. For a long time he sought, in every way, to avoid the 
applause and ovations which met him every where in the South, 
and he never learned to keep a bold countenance when receiving 

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It was distressing to see him called on (as was of course often 
the case) for a speech — ^nature certainly never intended that he 
should win either fame or bread by oratory. 

When complimented for any achievement he always gave the 
credit of it to some favorite officer, or attributed it to the ex- 
cellence of his troops. Nothing seemed to give him more sin- 
cere pleasure than to publicly acknowledge meritorious service 
in a subaltern officer or private, and he would do it in a manner 
that made it a life long remembrance with the recipient of the 

When displeased, he rarely reprimanded, but expressed his 
displeasure by satirically complimenting the offender ; frequently 
the only evidence of dissatisfaction which he would show was a 
peculiar smile, which was exceeding significant, and any thing but 
agreeable to the individual conscious of having offended him. 

His personal appearance and carriage were striking and 
graceful. His features were eminently handsome and adapted 
to the most pleasing expressions. His eyes were small, of a 
grayish blue color, and their glances keen and thoughtful. His 
figure on foot or on horse-back was superb. 

He was exactly six feet in hight, and although not at all 
corpulent, weighed one hundred and eighty-five pounds. 

His form was perfect, and the rarest combination of strength, 
activity and grace. His constitution seemed impervious to the 
effects of privation and exposure, and it was scarcely possible 
to perceive that he suffered from fatigue or lack of sleep. After 
marching for days and nights without intermission, until the 
hardiest men in his division were exhausted, I have known 
him, as soon as a halt was called, and he could safely leave his 
command, ride fifty miles to see his wife. Although a most 
practical man in all of his ideas, he irresistibly reminded one 
of the heroes of romance. He seemed the Fra-Moreale come to 
life again, and, doubtless, was as much feared and as bitterly 
denounced as was that distinguished officer. 

Men are not often born who can wield such an influence as 

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80 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

he exerted, apparendj without an effort — who can so win men's 
hearts and stir their blood. He will, at least, be remembered 
until the Western cavalry-men and their children have all died. 
The bold riders who live in the border-land, whose every acre 
he made historic, will leave many a story of his audacity and 
wily skill. They will name but one man as his equal, ^^The 
wizard of the saddle," the man of revolutionary force and fire, 
strong, sagacious, indomitable Forrest, and the two will go down 
in tradition together, twin-brothers in arms and in fame. 

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Tub position assumed by Kentucky, at the inception of the 
late struggle, and her conduct throughout, excited the surprise, 
and, in no small degree, incurred for her the dislike of both the 
contending sections. 

But while both North and South, at some time, doubted her 
good faith and complained of her action, all such sentiments 
have been entirely forgotten by the latter, and have become in- 
tensified into bitter and undisguised animosity upon the part of 
a large share of the population of the former. 

The reason is patent. It is the same which, during the war, 
influenced the Confederates to hope confidently for large as- 
sistance from Kentucky, if once enabled to obtain a foot-hold 
upon her territory, and caused the Federals, on the other hand, 
to regard even the loudest and most zealous professors of loyalty 
as Secessionists in disguise, or, at best, Unionists only to save 
their property. It is the instinctive feeling that the people of 
Kentucky, on account of kindred blood, common interests, and 
identity of ideas in all that relates to political rights and the 
objects of political institutions, may be supposed likely to sym- 
pathize and to act with the people of the South. But a variety 
of causes and influences combined to prevent Kentucky from 
taking a decided stand with either of the combatants, and pro- 
duced the vacillation and inconsistency which so notably char- 
acterized her councils and paralyzed her efforts in either direc- 
tion, and, alas, it may be added, so seriously affected her fair 

Her geographical situation, presenting a frontier accessible 
for several hundreds of miles to an assailant coming either from 
the North or South, caused her people great apprehension, es- 

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peciallj as it was accounted an absolute certainty that her ter- 
ritory (if she took part with the South) would be made the 
battle-ground and subjected to the last horrors and desolation 
of war. The political education of the Kentuckians, also, dis- 
posed them to enter upon such a contest with extreme reluc- 
tance and hesitation. 

Originally a portion of Virginia, settled chiefly by emigration 
from that State, her population partook of the characteristics 
and were imbued with the feelings which so strongly prevailed 
in the mother commonwealth. 

From Virginia, the first generation of Kentucky statesmen 
derived those opinions which became the political creed of the 
Southern people, and were promulgated in the celebrated 
resolutions of '98, which gave shape and consistency to the 
doctrine of States' Bights, and popular expression to that con- 
struction of the relations of the several States to the General 
Government (under the Federal Constitution), so earnestly in- 
sisted upon by the master-minds of Virginia. The earlier pop- 
ulation of Kentucky was peculiarly inclined to adopt and cher- 
ish such opinions, by the promptings of that nature which seems 
common to all men descended from the stock of the '^ Old Do- 
minion," that craving for the largest individual independence, 
and disposition to assert and maintain in full measure every per- 
gonal right, which has always made the people of the Southern 
and Western States so jealous of outside interference with their 
local affairs. It was natural that a people, animated by such a 
spirit, should push their preference for self-government even to 
extremes ; that they should esteem their most valued franchises 
only safe when under their own entire custody and control ; 
that they should prefer that their peculiar institutions should 
be submitted only to domestic regulation, and that the personal 
liberty, which they prized above all their possessions, should be 
restrained only by laws enacted by legislators chosen from among 
themselves, and executed by magistrates equally identified with 
themselves and appreciative of their instincts. 

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In short, they were strongly attached to their State Govern- 
ments, and were not inclined to regard as beneficient, nor, even 
exactly legitimate, any interference with them, upon the part 
of the General Government, and desired to see the powers of-the 
latter exercised only for the " common defense^ and, ge neral y 

Without presuming to declare them correct or erroneous, it 
may be safely asserted that such were the views which prevailed 
in Kentucky at a period a little subsequent to her settlement. 

This decided and almost universal sentiment was first shaken, 
and the minds of the people began to undergo some change, 
about the time of, and doubtless in consequence of, the detection 
of the Burr conspiracy. Burr had been identified with the 
party which advocated the extreme State Rights doctrines, and 
his principal confederates were men of the same political com- 

The utter uselessness of his scheme, even if successful, and 
the little prospect of any benefit accruing from it, unless to \he 
leading adventurers, had disposed all the more sober minded to 
regard it with distrust. And when it became apparent that 
it had been concocted for the gratification of one man's ambi- 
tion, the very people whom it had been part of the plan to flat- 
ter with hopes of the most brilliant advantages, immediately 
conceived for it the most intense aversion. 

The odium into which Burr and his associates immediately 
fell, became, in some measure, attached to the political school to 
which they had belonged, and men's minds began to be un- 
settled upon the very political tenets, in the propriety and va- 
lidity of which they had previously so implicitly believed. The 
able Federalist leaders in the State, pursued and improved the 
advantage thus offered them, and for the first time in the history 
of Kentucky, that party showed evidence of ability to cope with 
its rival. Doubtless, also, the effect of Mr. Madison's attempt 
to explain away the marrow and substance of the famous resolu- 
tions, which told so injuriously against the State Eights partv 

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every where, contributed, at a still later day, to weaken that 
party in Kentucky; but the vital change in the political faith 
of Kentucky, was wrought by Henry Clay. All previous in- 
terruptions to the opinions which she had acquired as her birth- 
right from Virginia, were but partial, and would have been 
ephemeral, but the spell which the great magician cast over his 
people was like the glamour of mediaeval enchantment. It bound 
them in helpless but delighted acquiescence in the will of the 
master. Their vision informed them, not of objects as they 
were, but as he willed that they should seem, and his patients 
received, at his pleasure and with equal confidence, the true and 
the unreal. In fact, the undoubted patriotism and spotless in- 
tegrity of Mr. Clay, so aided the effect of his haughty will and 
superb genius, that his influence amounted to fascination. . Al- 
though himself, in early life, an advocate of the principles of 
(what has been since styled) the Jeffersonian school of Democ- 
racy, he. became gradually, but thoroughly, weaned from his first 
opinions, and a convert to the dogmas of the school of pol- 
itics which he had once so ably combatted. The author of 
the American System, the advocate of the United States Bank, 
the champion of the. New England manufacturing and com- 
mercial interests, with their appropriate and necessary train of 
protective tariffs, bounties and monopolies, could have little 
sympathy with the ideas that the several States could, and 
should, protect and develope their own interests without Federal 
assistance, that the General Government was the servant of all 
the States and not the guardian and dry nurse of a few — the 
doctrine, in short, of " State Sovereignty and Federal Agency.'* 
Mr. Clay fairly and emphatically announced his political faith 
in word and deed. He declared that he " owed a paramount 
allegiance to the whole Union : a subordinate one to his own 
State," and, throughout the best part of his long political life, 
he wrought faithfully for interests distinct from, if not adverse 
to, those of his own State and section. His influence, however, 
in his own State, has determined, perhaps forever, her destiny. 

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MR. clay's ikflubncb. 35 

If he did not educate the people of Kentucky (as has been so- 
often charged) to' " defer principle |po expediency," he at least 
taught them to study the immediate policy rather than the ul- 
timate effect of every measure that they were called to consider, 
and to seek the material prosperity of the hour at the expense, 
even, of future safety. He taught his generation to love the 
Union, not as an "agency" through vrhich certain benefits 
were to be derived, but as an " end " which was to be adhered 
to, no matter what results flowed from it. 

Mr. Clay sincerely believed that in the union of the States 
resided the surest guarantees of the safety, honor, and prosper- 
ity of each, and he contemplated with horror and aversion any 
thought of disunion. His own lofty and heroic nature could 
harbor no feeling which was not manly and brave, but, in striving 
to stimulate and fortify in his people the same love of union 
which he entertained himself, he taught many Kentuckians to so 
dread the evils of war, as to lose all fear of other and as great 
evils, and to be willing to purchase exemption from civil strife 
by facile and voluntary submission. After the death of Mr. 
Clay, Kentucky, no longer subjected to his personal influence, 
began to forget it. 

In 1851, John C. Breckinridge had been elected to Congress 
from Mr. Clay's district, while the latter still lived, and beating 
one of his warmest friends and supporters. Under the leadership 
of Mr. Breckinridge, the Democratic party in Kentucky rallied 
and rapidly gained ground. During the "Know-nothing" ex- 
citerafent, the old Whigs, who had nearly all joined the Know- 
nothing or American party, seemed about to regain their as- 
cendency, but that excitement ebbing as suddenly as it had 
arisen, left the Democracy in indisputable power. In 1856, 
Kentucky cast her Presidential vote for Buchanan and Breckin- 
ridge by nearly seven thousand majority, Mr. Breckinridge's 
influence had, by this time, become predominant in the State, 
and was felt in every election. The troubles in Kansas and the 
agitation in Congress had rendered the Democratic element in 

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86 HISTOBY OF morgan's OAVALBY. 

Kentucky more determined, and inclined them more strongly to 
take a Southern view of all the debated questions. The John 
Brown affair exasperated her people in common with that of 
every other slaveholding community, and led to the organiza- 
tion of the State-guard. 

Created because of the strong belief that similar attempts 
would be repeated, and upon a larger scale, and that, quite 
likely, Kentucky would be selected as a field of operations, it is 
not surprising that the State-guard should have expected an 
enemy only from the North, whence, alone, would come the ag- 
gressions it was organized to resist, and that it should have 
conceived a feeling of antagonism for the Northern, and an in- 
stinctive sympathy for the Southern, people. 

These sentiments were intensified by the language of the 
Northern press and pulpit, and the commendation and encour- ^ 
agement of such enterprises as the Harper's Ferry raid, which 
were to be heard throughout the North. 

In the Presidential election of 1860, the Kentucky Democracy 
divided on Douglas and Breckinridge, thereby losing the State. 
After the election of Mr. Lincoln and the passage of ordinances 
of secession by several Southern States, when the most im- 
portant question which the people of Kentucky had ever been 
required to determine, was presented for their consideration, 
their sentiments and wishes were so various and conflicting, as 
to render its decision by themselves impossible, and it was 
• finally settled for them by the Federal Government. 

The Breckinridge wing of the Democracy was decidedly 
Southern in feelings and opinions, and anxious to espouse the 
Southern cause. 

The Douglas wing strongly sympathized with the South, but 
opposed secession and disunion. 

The Bell-Everett party, composed chiefly of old Clay Whigs, 
was decidedly in favor of Union. Such was the attitude of par- 
ties, with occasional individual exceptions. The very young men 
of the State were generally intense Southern sympathizers, and 

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were, with few exceptions, connected with the State-guard. 
Indeed, divided as were the people of Kentucky at that time, 
sympathy with the Southern people was prevalent among all 
dasses of them, and the conviction seemed to be strong, even 
in the most determined opponents of secession, that an attack 
upon the Southern people was an attack upon themselves. 
Among the Union men it was common to hear such declarations 
as that ^^ When it becomes a direct conflict between North and 
South, we will take part with the South," "The Northern troops 
shall not march over our soil to invade the South," "When it 
becomes apparent that the war is an abolition crusade, and 
waged for the destruction of slavery, Kentucky will arm against 
the Government," etc.; each man had some saving clause with 
his Unionism. It is no hazardous assertion that the Union 
party, in Kentucky, condemned the secession of the Southern 
States, more because it was undertaken without consultation 
with them, and because they regarded it as a blow at Ken- 
tucky's dignity and comfort, than because it endangered " the 
national life." Certainly not one of the leading politicians of 
that party would have dared, in the winter and spring of 1861, 
to have openly advocated coercion, no matter what were his 
secret views of its propriety. . . . 

Upon the 17th February, 1861, the Legislature met in extra 
session at the summons of Governor Magoffin. Seven Southern 
States had seceded, the Confederate Government had been in- 
augurated, and it was time for the people of Kentucky to un- 
derstand what they were going to do. The Governor addressed 
a message to the Legislature advising the call of a State Conven- 
tion. This the Legislature declined to do, but suggested the pro- 
priety of the assembling of a National Convention to revise and 
correct the Federal Constitution, and recommended the " Peace 
Conference," which was subsequently held at Washington. In 
certain resolutions passed by this Legislature, in reference to 
resolutions passed by the States of Maine, New York and Mas- 
sachusetts, this language occurs : "The Governor of the State 

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of Kentucky is hereby requested to inform the executives of 
said States, that it is the opinion of this General Assembly that 
■whenever the authorities of these States shall send armed forces 
to the South for the purpose indicated in said resolutions, the 
people of Kentucky, uniting with their brethren of the South, 
will as one man, resist such invasion of the soil of the South, 
at all hazards and to the last extremity." Rather strong lan- 
guage for " Union " men and a " loyal " legislature to use. It 
would seem that Kentucky, at that time, supposed herself a 
"sovereign" State addressing other "sovereign" States, and that 
she entirely ignored the " Nation." Her Legislature paid as lit- 
tle attention to the " proper channel of communication " as a 
militia Captain would have done. The Union men who voted 
for the resolutions in which this language was embodied, would 
be justly liable to censure, if it were not positively certain that 
they were insincere; and that they were insincere is abundantly 
proven by their subsequent action, and the fact that many of 
them held commissions in the "armed forces" sent to invade 
the South. On the 11th of sFebruary the Legislature resolved, 
"That we protest against the use of force or coercion by the 
General Government against the seceded States, as unwise and 
inexpedient, and tending to the destruction of our common 

At the Union State Convention, held at Louisville on the 8th 
of January, certain amendments to the Constitution of the United 
States were "recommended," and it was resolved, "that, if the 
disorganization of the present Union is not arrested, that the 
States agreeing to these amendments of the Federal Constitution 
shall form a separate Confederacy^ with power to admit new States 
under our glorious Constitution thus amended;^* it was resolved 
also that it was " expedient to call a convention of the border 
free and slave States," and that " we deplore the existence of a 
Union to be held together by the sword." 

It almost takes a man's breath away to write such things 
about the most loyal men of the loyal State of Kentucky. For 

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a Union Convention to have passed them, and Union men to 

have indorsed them, the resolutions whose substanco has been 

just given, have rather a strange sound. They ring mightily 

like secession. 

"If the disorganization of the present Union is not arrested," 

the Union men of Kentucky would also help it along. A mod- 

fied phrase much in vogue with them, ^' separate State action " 

expressed their " conservative " plan of seceding. Unless the 

proper distinctions are drawn, however, the action of this class 

of politicians will always be misunderstood. They indignantly 

condemned the secession of South Carolina and Georgia. No 

language was strong enough to express their abhorrence and 

condemnation of the wickedness of those who would inaugurate 

'^the disorganization of the present Union." But they did not, 

Tith ordinary consistency, 

*' Compound for sins they were inclined to 
By damning those they had no mind to! *' 

They committed the same sin under another name, and advo- 
»ted the " separate Confederacy " of '^ the border free and slave 
States," under our glorious Constitution thus amended." 

" Orthodoxy," was their "doxy ;" " Heterodoxy," was " another 
man's doxy." Every candid man, who remembers the political 
status of Kentucky at that period, will admit that the Union 
party propounded no definite and positive creed, and that its lead* 
ers frequently gave formal expression to views which strangely 
resembled the " damnable heresies of secession." Indeed, the 
neglect of the seceding States to " consult Kentucky," previously 
to having gone out, seemed to be, in the eyes of these gentle- 
men, not so much an aggravation of the crime of secession, as, 
in itself, a crime infinitely graver. There were many who would 
condemn secession, and in the same breath indicate the propriety 
of " co-operation." These subtle distinctions, satisj^ictory, 
doubtless, to the intellects which generated them, were not nptly 
received by common minds, and their promulgation induced, per- 
haps very unjustly, a very general belief that the Union party 

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40 HISTORY OF morgan's GAYALRJ. 

iras actuated not more by a love of the Union, than by a sal- 
utary regard for personal security and comfort. It seemed that 
the crime was not in " breaking up the Union," but in going 
about it in the wrong way. 

The people of Kentucky heard, it is true, from these leaders 
indignant and patriotic denunciations of '^ secession," and, yet, 
they could listen to suggestions amounting almost to advocacy, 
from the same lips, of " central confederacies " or " co-opera- 

Is it surprising, then, that no very holy horror of disunion ' 
should have prevailed in Kentucky ? 

Sut any inclination to tax these gentlemen with inconsistency 
should be checked by the reflection that they were surrounded 
by peculiar circumstances. It appeared to be by no means cer- 
tain, just then, that an attempt would be made to coerce the se- 
ceding States, or that the Southern Confederacy would not be 
established without a war. In that event, Kentucky would have 
glided naturally and certainly into it, and Kentucky politicians 
who had approved coercion, would have felt uncomfortable as 
Confederate citizens. The leaders of the Union party were men 
of fine ability, but they were not endowed with prescience, nor 
could they in the political chaos then ruling, instinctively de- 
tect the strong side. Let it be remembered that, just so soon 
as they discerned it, they enthusiastically embraced it and clave 
to it, with a few immaterial oscillations, through much tribula- 
tion. As was explained by one of the most distinguished among 
them (in the United States Senate), it was necessary to " edu- 
cate the people of Kentucky to loyalty." It is true that in this 
educational process, which was decidedly novel and peculiar, 
many Kentuckians, not clearly seeing the object in view, were 
made rebels, and even Confederate soldiers, although not orig- 
inally inclined that way. 

But it is seldom that a perfectly new and original system works 
«ttoothly, and the ^' educators " made amends for all their 
cx^KS^r^ by inflexible severity toward the rebels who staid at 

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home, and by '^ expatriating" and confiscating the property of 
those who fled. A "States Rights Convention " was called to 
-assemble at Frankfort on the 22d of March, 1861, bat adjourned, 
having accomplished nothing. 

After the fall of Fort Sumpter and the issuing of the proc- 
lamation of April 15, 1861, Governor Magoffin responded to 
President Lincoln's call for troops from Kentucky in the fol- 
lowing language : 

"Frankfort, April 16, 1861. 
" Eon. Simon Cameron^ Secretary of War : 

" Your dispatch is received. In answer, I say, emphatically, 
that Kentucky will furnish ju) troops for the wicked purpose of 
subduing her sister Southern States. 

" B. Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky J^ 

Governor Magoffin then a second time convened the Legis- 
lature in extra session, to consider means for putting the State 
in a position for defense. When the Legislature met, it re- 

" That the act of the Governor in refusing to furnish troops 
or military force upon the call of the Executive authority of the 
United States, under existing circumstances, is approved." Yeas, 
eighty-nine ; nays, four. 

On the 18th of April a large Union meeting was held at 
Louisville, at which the most prominent and influential Union 
men of the State assisted. Resolutions were adopted, 

" That as the Confederate States have, by overt acts, com- 
menced war against the United States, without eonmUation with 
Kentucky and their sister Southern States, Kentucky reserves to 
—herself the right to choose her own position ; and that while her 
natural sympathies are with those who have a common interest 
in the protection of slavery, she still acknowledges her loyalty 
and fealty to the Government of the United States, which she 
will cheerfully render until that Government becomes aggressive. 

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42 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

tyrannical, and regardless of our rights in slave property ; " 

" That the National Government should be tried by its acts, 
and that the several States, as its peers in their appropriate 
spheres, will hold it to a rigid accountability, and require that 
its acts should be fraternal in their efforts to bring back the 
seceded States, and not sanguinary or coercive." 

The Senate resolved, just before the adjournment of the Leg- 
islature, that " Kentucky will not sever her connection with the 
National Government, nor take up arms for either belligerent 
party ; but arm herself for the preservation of peace within her 

This was the first authoritative declaration of the policy of 
"Neutrality," which, however, had been previously indicated at 
a Union meeting held at Louisville on the 10th of April, in the 
following resolutions : 

" That as we oppose the call of the President for volunteers 
for the purpose of coercing the seceded States, so we oppose 
the raising of troops in this State to co-operate with the South- 
ern Confederacy." 

" That the present duty of Kentucky is to maintain her 
present independent position, taking sides, not with the Admin- 
istration nor with the seceding States, but with the Union 
against them both, declaring her soil to be sacred from the hos- 
tile tread of either, and, if necessary, to make the declaration 
good with her strong right arm." 

In other words, Kentucky would remain in the Union, but . 
would refuse obedience to the Government of the United States, 
and would fight its armies if they came into her territory. Was 
it much less " criminal " and " heretical " to do this than to 
" take sides with the seceding States ? " 

"VWiat is the exact shade of difference between the guilt of a 
State which transfers its fealty from the Union to a Confederacy, 
and that of a State which declares her positive and absolute in- 

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dependence, entering into no new compacts, but setting at de- 
fiance the old one ? Where was the boasted " loyalty " of the 
Union men of Kentucky when they indorsed the above given 
resolutions ? 

In May of that year, the Louisville Journal, the organ of the 
Union party of Kentucky, said, in reference to the reponse 
which it was proper ^or Kentucky to make to the President's 
call for troops : " In our judgment, the people of Kentucky have 
ansVered this question in advance, and the answer expressed in 
every conceivable form of popular expression, and finally, clinched 
by the glorious vote of Saturday, is : arm Kentucky eflBiciently, 
but rightfully, and fairly, with the clear declaration that the 
arming is not for offense against either the Government or the 
seceding States, but purely for defense against whatever power 
sets hostile foot upon the actual soil of the Commonwealth. In 
other words, the Legislature, according to the manifest will of 
the people, should declare the neutrality of Kentucky in this 
unnatural and accursed war of brothers, and equip the State for 
the successful maintenance of her position at all hazards?" 

It is well known that loyalty means unqualified, uncondition- 
al, eternal devotion and adherence to the Union, with a prompt 
and decorous acquiescence in the will and action of the Admin- 
istration. Although a definition of the term has been frequently 
asked, and many have affected not to understand it, it is posi- 
tively settled that every man is a traitor who doubts that this 
definition is the correct one. It is impossible, then, to avoid 
the conviction that in the year 1861, there was really no loyalty 
in the State of Kentucky. A good deal was subsequently con- 
tracted for, and a superior article was furnished the Govern-, 
ment a few months later. 

Had their been during the winter and spring of 1861, a reso- 
lute and definite purpose upon the part of the Southern men 
of Kentucky, to take the State out of the Union ; had those men 
adopted, organized and determined action, at any time previous- 
ly to the adjournment of the Legislature, on the 24th of April, 

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44 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

the Uniou party of Kentucky would have proven no material 

The difficulty which was felt to be insuperable by all who ap- 
proved the secession of Kentucky, was her isolated position. 
Not only did the long hesitation of Virginia and Tennessee ef- 
fectually abate the ardor and resolution of the Kentuckians who 
desired to unite their State to the Southern Confederacy, but 
while it lasted it was an insurmountable, physical barrier in the 
way of such an undertaking. With those States antagonistic to 
the Southern movement, it would have been madness for Ken- 
tucky to have attempted to join it. When at length, Virginia 
and Tennessee passed their ordinances of secession, Kentucky 
had become infatuated with the policy of *' neutrality." With the 
leaders of the Union party, it had already been determined upon 
as part of their system for the " education " of the people. 
The Secessionists, who were without organization and leaders, 
regarded it as something infinitely better than unconditional 
obedience to the orders and coercive policy of the Federal Gov- 
ernment; and the large class of the timid and irresolute of 
men, who are by nature " neutral " in times of trouble and dan- 
ger, accepted it joyfully, as such men always accept a compro- 
mise which promises to relieve them of immediate responsibility 
and the necessity of hazardous decision. Disconnected from the 
views and intentions of those who consented to it, this '^ neu- * 
trality " will scarcely admit of serious discussion. Such a po- 
sition is certainly little else than rebellion, and the principle or 
conditions which will justify it, will also justify secession. If a 
State has the legal and constitutional right to oppose the action, 
and to refuse compliance with the requisitions of the Federal 
Government, to disobey the laws of Congress, and set at defi- 
ance the proclamations of the Executive, to decide for herself 
her proper policy in periods of war and insurrection, and levy 
armed forces to prevent the occupation of her territory by the 
forces of the United States, then she can quit the Union when 
she pleases, and is competent to contract any alliance ^hich 

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accords with her wishes. If, however, it be a revolutionary 
right which she may justly exercise in a certain condition of 
affairs, then the same condition of affairs will justify any other 
phase or manner of revolution. 

The practical effects of such a position, had it been stubborn* 
ly maintained, would have been to involve Kentucky in more 
danger than she would have incurred by secession and admis- 
sion into the Confederacy. A declaration of neutrality in such 
a contest was almost equivalent to a declaration of war against 
both sides ; at any rate it was a proclamation of opposition to 
the Government, while it discarded the friendship of the South, 
and seemed at once to invite every assailant. The Gt>vernment 
of the United States, which was arming to coerce seceded States, 
would certainly not permit its designs to bo firustrated by this 
attitude of Kentucky, and it was not likely that the States, 
about to be attacked, would respect a neutrality, which they 
very well knew would be no hindrance to their adversary. But 
few men reason clearly in periods of great excitement, or, in 
situations of peril, look steadfastly and understandingly at the 
dangers which surround them. Nor, it may be added, do the 
few who possess the presence of mind to study and the faculty 
of appreciating the signs of such a political tempest, always 
honestly interpret them. As has been said, a large class ea- 
gerly welcomed the decision that Kentucky should remain neu- 
tral in the great struggle impending, as a relief, however tem- 
porary, from the harassing consideration of dangers at which 
they shuddered. Nine men out of ten, will shrink from mak- 
ing up their minds upon a difficult question, and yet will accept, 
with joy, a determination of it, however paltry and inconclu- 
sive, from any one who has the nerve to urge it. A great 
many Union men, who would have earnestly opposed -a concur- 
rence of Kentucky in the action of the seceding States, if for 
no other reason than that they regarded it as " a trick of the 
Democratic party,** and yet as obstinately opposed the policy 
and action of the Government, thought they perceived in " neu- 

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46 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

tralLty " a solution of all the difficulties which embarrassed 
them. A few of the more sagacious and resolute of the leaders 
of the Union party, who were perhaps not incommoded with a 
devotion to their State, their section, or to the " flag," but who 
realized that they could get into power only by crushing the 
Democratic party, and knew that in the event of Kentucky's 
going South, the Democratic party would dominate in the State, 
these men saw in this policy of neutrality the means of holding 
Kentucky quiet, until the Government could prepare and pour 
into her midst an overwhelming force. They trusted, and as 
the sequel showed, with reason, that they would be able to de- 
moralize their opponents after having once reduced them to in- 
action. The Kentuckians who wished that their State should 
become a member of the Confederacy, but who saw no imme- 
diate hope of it, consented to neutrality as the best arrangement 
that they could make under the circumstances. They knew 
that if the neutrality of Kentucky were respected — a vital por- 
tion of the Confederacy, a border of four or five hundred miles 
would be safe from attack and invasion — that the forces of the 
Confederacy could be concentrated for the defense of the other 
and threatened lines, and that individual Kentuckians could 
flock to the Southern army. They believed that in such a con- 
dition of affairs, more men would leave Kentucky to take part 
with the South than to enlist in the service of the Govern- 
ment. ' 

Some time in the early part of the summer, General S. B. 
Buckner, commanding the Kentucky State-guard, had an inter- 
view with General Geo. B. McClellan, who commanded a de- 
partment embracing territory contiguous to Kentucky — if, in- 
deed, Kentucky was not included by the commission given him 
in his department. General Buckner obtained, as he supposed, 
a guarantee that the neutrality of Kentucky would be observed 
by the military authorities of the United States. He communi- 
cated the result of this interview to Gt)vernor Magoffin, and, 
immediately, it became a matter oioffidal as well as popular be- 

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lief that the neutrality of Kentucky was safe for all time to 

The dream, however, was a short one, and very soon after- 
ward the Federal Government commenced to recruit in Ken- 
tucky, to establish camps and organize armed forces in the 

" Camp Dick Robinson," some twenty-six miles from Lex- 
ington, was the largest, first formed, and most noted of these 
establishments. For many weeks the Kentuckians were in a 
high state of excitement about " Camp Dick," as it was called. 
They used the name as if it were synonymous with the Federal 
army, and spoke of the rumors that "Camp Dick" was to be 
moved from point to point, as glibly as if the ground it occupied 
had possessed the properties of the flying carpet of the fairy 

The Legislature, notwithstanding its high-sounding resolutions 
about neutrality, stood this very quietly, although many citizens 
(Union men) endeavored to have these camps broken up and 
the troops removed. Others, again, professed to desire that the 
Federal troops should be removed, but clandestinely advised 
President Lincoln to rather increase than withdraw the forces, 
and offered their services to introduce into Kentucky guns for 
the armament of the loyal Home-guards. These men were of 
the class of "Educators." But the game required two to play 
it. On the 4th of September, in anticipation of a Federal 
movement upon that point. General Polk, of the Confederate 
army, occupied Columbus, in Kentucky. 

In the midst of the excitement created by the information of 
the occupation of Columbus, Governor Magoffin sent in the fol 
lowing message : 

"!Ex. Dep't, Fkankfort, Sept. 9, 18G1. 
^^ Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives: 

"I have received the following dispatches by telegraph from 
General Leonidas Polk, which I deem proper' to lay before you. 

«B. Magoffin." 

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48 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

[If anj answer were needed to the outcries of those who so 
strongly condemned his action, General Polk certainly furnished 
it. His first dispatch was a simple intimation to Governor 
MagoflSn of his presence upon the soil of Kentucky, and of the 
authority by which he remained.] 

"Columbus, Kentucky, Sept. 9, 1861. 
^^ Governor B. Magoffin: 

A military necessity having required me to occupy this town, 
I have taken possession of it by the forces under my command. 
The circumstances leading to this act we reported promptly to 
the President of the Confederate States. His reply was, the 
necessity justified the action. A copy of my proclamation I 
have tlie honor to transmit you by mail. . 

"Leonedas Polk, Major- General CommandinffJ^ 

In a letter of the same date, inclosing his proclamation. Gen- 
eral Polk said, after explaining the cause of his delay in writing ; 

" It will be suflScient to inform you, which my short address 
here will do, that I had information, on which I could rely, that 
the Federal forces intended, and were preparing, to seize Co- 
lumbus. I need not describe the danger resulting to West Ten- 
nessee from such success, nor say that I could not permit the 
loss of so important a position, while holding the command in- 
trusted to me by my government. In evidence of the informa- 
tion I possessed, I will state that as the Confederate forces occu- 
pied this place, the Federal troops were formed, in formidable 
numbers, in position upon the opposite bank, with their cannon 
turned upon Columbus. The citizens of the town had fled with 
terror, and not a word of assurance of «afety or protection had 
been addressed to them,'' 

General Polk concluded with this language : 

" I am prepared to say that I will agree to withdraw the Con- 
federate troops from Kentucky, provided that she will agree 

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that the troops of the Federal Qovernment be withdrawn simnl- 
taneouslj ; with a guarantee, which I will give reciprocally for 
the Confederate Government, that the Federals shall not be al- 
lowed to enter, or occupy any point of Kentucky in the future. 
^^I have tbe honor to be 

"Your obedient servant, respectfully, 

"Lkonidas Polk, Majwr-Qen. Com. 

General Polk's proclamation was as follows : 

"Columbus, Sept. 14, 1861. 
•*The Federal Government having in defiance of the wishes 
of the people of Kentucky, disregarded their neutrality, by es- 
tablishing camps and depots of arms, and by organizing military 
companies within their territory, and by constructing a military 
work, on the Missouri shore, immediately opposite, and com- 
manding Columbus, evidently intended to cover the landing of 
troops for the seizure of the town, it has become a military 
necessity, worth the defense of the territory of the Confederate 
States, that the Confederate forces occupy Columbus in advance. 
The Major-General commanding has, therefore, not felt himself 
at liberty to risk the loss of so important a position, but has 
decided to occupy it. In pursuance of this decision, he has 
thrown a suflBcient force into the town and ordered fortifying it. 
It is gratifying to know that the presence of his troops is ac- 
ceptible to the people of Columbus, and on this occasion they 
assure them that every precaution will be taken to insure their 
quiet, the protection of their property, with their personal and 
corporate rights. Leonidas Polk." 

Dispatches, concerning the pj&jculjar manner in which Ken- 
tucky observed her neutrality and permitted it to be observed 
by her Federal friends, began to pour in on the Governor about 
this time. He had already received, on the 7th, a dispatch from 
Lieutenant Governor Reynolds, of Missouri, on the subject. 
Governor Reynolds stated that, " The Mississippi river below 

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50 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

the mouth of the Ohio, is the property of Kentucky and Mis- 
souri conjointly." He then alluded to the ^' presence of United 
States gunboats in the river at Columbus, Kentucky, to protect 
the forces engaged in fortifying the Missouri shore immediately 
opposite." " This," he went on to say, "appears to me to be 
a clear violation of the neutrality Kentucky proposes to observe 
in the present war." And then again on the 14th came a dispatch 
from Knoxville, Tennessee, as follows : 

" To his Excellency JB. Magoffin : 

Sir : The safety of Tennessee requiring, I occupy the moun- 
tain passes at Cumberland, and the three long mountains in 
Kentucky. For weeks I have known that the Federal com- 
mander at Hoskin's Cross Roads was threatening the invasion 
of East Tennessee, and ruthlessly urging our own people to de- 
stroy their own road bridges. I postponed this precaution until 
the despotic Government at Washington, refusing to recognize 
the neutrality of Kentucky, has established formidable camps in 
the center and other parts of the State, with the view first to 
subjugate our gallant sister, then ourselves. Tennessee feels, 
and has ever felt, toward Kentucky as a twin sister; their people, 
are as our people in kindred, sympathy, valor, nnd patriotism ; we 
have felt and still feel a religious respect for Kentucky's neu- 
trality ; we will respect it as along as our safety will pennit. 
If the Federal forces will now withdraw from their menacing 
positions, the forces under my command shall^ be immediately 
withdrawn. Very respectfully, 


Brigadier General CommandingJ^ 

It would seem that each one of these communications put the 
case very clearly, and that, Kentucky having permitted her neu- 
trality to be violated by the one side, after her emphatic and 
definite declaration that it was meant to be good against both, 
could 'consistently take no action, unless it should be such as Gen- 

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erals Polk and Zollicoffer suggested, viz : to provide foi* a simul- 
taneoas withdra;i¥al of both Federal and Confederate forces. 
Certainly Kentackj meant that neither of the combatants 
should occupy her soil — as has been shown, her declarations 
upon that head were clear and vigorous. If she intended that 
troops of the United States should come into her territory, for 
any purpose whatever, while the Confederate forces should be 
excluded, it is unnecessary to say that she selected in ^^ neu- 
trality" a word, which very inaccurately and lamely expressed 
her meaning. The people of Kentucky had long since — two 
months at least, a long time in such a period, before this corres- 
pondence between their Governor and the Confederate Gene- 
rals — ceased to do anything but blindly look to certain leaders, 
and blindly follow their dictation. The Southern men of the 
State, and their peculiar leaders, were sullen and inert ; the 
mass of the people were bewildered, utterly incompetent to ar- 
rive at a decision, and were implicitly led by the Legislature to 
which all the. politicians, who aspired to influence, now resorted. 
In view of the history of this neutrality, of the professions made, 
only a few weeks previously, by the same men who returned an 
answer from th^ Capital of Kentucky to the propositions of the 
Confederate authorities that Kentucky should act fairly, and not 
declare one policy and clandestinely pursue another — in view 
of the facts which are fastened in the record — what sort of men 
does that answer prove them to have been? This was the 

Resolved^ By the General Assembly of the CommonwedUh of 
Kentucky^ thai his Excellency^ Governor Magoffin^ 6e, and he is 
hereby instructed to inform those concerned^ that Kentucky ex^ 
peets the Confederate or Tennessee troops to be withdrawn from 
her soil unconditionally" 

This, after a pledge to their own people, and a proclamation 
to both sections, of neutrality ! After Federal troops, and 
Federal encampments had been for weeks upon the soil of 

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52 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Kentucky, and in response to action (which their own had in- 
vited) from men (to wl^om thej had promised assistance in just 
such a contingency as was then upon them), when they resolved 
the previous January, that Governor Magoffin should inform the 
Governors of New York, Maine and Massachusetts, that when 
Northern troops should march to invade the South, " the people 
of Kentucky, uniting with their brethren of the South, will as 
one man resist such invasion of the soil of the South, at all 
hazards, and to the last extremity!" The Committee on Federal 
Relations, to which was referred the communications addressed 
to Governor Magoffin, exerted itself to outdo the resolutions 
given above, and reported resolutions of which the sub- 
stance was, that as Kentucky had been invaded by the 
Confederate forces, and the commanders of said forces had 
"insolently prescribed the conditions upon which they will 
withdraw ; " " that the invaders must be expelled, inasmuch as 
there are now in Kentucky Federal troops assembled for the pur- 
pose of preserving the tranquillity of the State^ and of defending 
and preserving the people of Kentucky in the peaceful enjoyment 
of their lives and property^ A candid confession, truly, and 
one which it required nerve to make ! Brave, honorable, con- 
sistent men — ^fit to be the guardians of a people's honor ! De- 
clare neutrality, and warn both combatants off the soil of their 
State ! proclaim that Kentucky can and will take care of herself, 
and then coolly resolve, when the issue is made, ^^ that as there 
are now Federal troops in Kentucky, for the purpose," etc., that 
the mask shall be thrown off, and deception no longer practiced. 
But the cup of shame was not yet full ; this unblushing Legis- 
lature passed yet other resolutions, to publish to the world the 
duplicity and dissimulation which had characterized their entire, 
conduct. After going on to set forth the why and wherefore 
Kentucky had assumed neutrality, it was resolved, " that when 
the General Government occupies our soil for its defense, in 
pui'suance of a constitutional right, it neither compromises our 
assumed neutrality ^ nor gives the right to the Confederate forces 

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to invade oar State on the assumption that our neutrality has 
been violated, especially when they first ietfoot upon our $oU upon 
the plea of military necessity/' 

'' That when the General Qovemment occupies our soil for its 
defense, it neither compromises our assumed neutrality," etc. 
Well ! it is useless to attempt comment on this — ^*^it is impossi- 
ble to do the subject justice." We rebels never contended that 
the Government was bound to respect Kentucky's neutrality, if 
it had the right to coerce the seceded States. We denied the 
constitutional right and power of coercion — but if the Govern- 
ment had that power, we conceded that there was the same right 
and reason to employ it against Kentucky's neutrality as against 
South Carolina's secession. But for the neutrality-mongers to 
say this — were they generously striving to fool themselves also ? 
And, then, in hearing, as they had been for weeks, of the morn- 
ing and evening guns of ^' Camp Dick Robinson," to speak of 
the Confederates having ^^fint set foot upon our soiU^ Is it an 
unfair construction of such conduct, to suppose that the men 
guilty of it were, in part, time-servers, who had striven all the 
while to get upon the strong and safe side, and believed that 
they had succeeded, and, in part, politicians unscrupulous, if 
in plan consistent, who had deliberately deceived the people of 
Kentucky, and lulled them into a condition in which they would 
receive the handcuflfs, to be slipped upon them, without resist- 

But now that the men of purpose saw that it was no longer 
necessary to conceal it, and the wavering had become satisfied 
which side it was safe and politic to adopt, there was no more 

The Legislature prepared to finally crush the State-guard and 
« an act tc enlarge the powers of the Military Board of this 
State," was passed. It was enacted, ^^ That the Military Board 
created at the last session of the Legislature, are hereby author- 
ized to order into the custody of said Board any State arms 
which may have been given out under the act creating said 

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54 BISTORT OF moboan's cayalrt. 

Board, or other law of the State, whenever said Board shall 
deem it expedient to do bo ; said Board shall have like power 
over the accouterments, camp equipage, equipments, and ammu- 
nition of the State." Willful failure or refusal " to return any 
of said property for forty-eight hours after the receipt of the 
order of the Board to that eflfect," was made a high misde- 
meanor, and punishable by fine of not less than one nor more 
than five thousand dollars, and imprisonment until the fine was 
paid, and the arms or other property restored. The removal, 
concealment, or disposal of any of the property, mentioned in 
the first section of the act, was made felony and punishable by 
not less than one nor more than two years in the penitentiary. 
A further resolution in the spirit of the same kind of neutrality 
was approved September 23d, " That the Military Board be, 
and they are hereby aruthorized to place any portion of the 
arms, accouterments, equipments, camp equipage, baggage 
trains, ammunition, and military stores of the State, not in use, 
under the control of the commander of the Federal forces in 
Kentucky," etc. 

Having once gotten on the right track (as they were com- 
pelled to believe it, inasmuch as it was clearly the one which 
conducted to immediate profit and safety) these gentlemen 
thought they could not go too fast. " The people were educated 
to loyalty," now, and it was high time to commence the punish- 
ment of those who had shown an inaptness to receive the lessons, 
or a distaste for the method of instruction. The dignity of 
Kentucky had been sacrificed by the avarice and cowardice of 
her own sons, who sat in her councils — this is the way in which 
these legislative-panders sought to assert it again. They passed 
an act entitled " an act to prohibit and prevent rebellion by 
citizens of Kentucky and others in this State." By this act it 
was provided that any citizen of this State, who as a soldier or 
officer of the Confederate army, should, as part of an armed 
force, enter the State to make war upon it, should be punished 
by confinement in the penitentiary. " Making war upon the 

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State," dottbtlesB meant any attack made upon the '^Federal 
soldiers assembled*' (in the State) "for the purpose of preserv- 
ing the tranquillity of the State." And it was farther enacted 
that, " any person who shall, within the limits of this State, 
persuade or induce any person to enlist or take service in the 
army of the so-called Confederate States, and the person so 
persuaded or induced does enlist or take service in the same, 
shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor ; and upon con- 
viction, shall be fined in a sum not exceeding one thousand 
dollars, and imprisonment not exceeding six months." Whether, 
in passing this act, the Legislature of Kentucky was treating a 
question involving belligerent rights, is a matter for lawyers to 
pass upon ; but that it was disgracing the State is patent. Such 
action might have been proper and competent — against both 
belligerents — ^had Kentucky adopted it as a measure necessary 
to the maintenance of her neutrality. It would have been, at 
least, dignified, had she earnestly and unequivocally declared, 
from the beginning, an adherence to the Government, and a 
resolution to support its policy. 

But under all the circumstances, and after the repeated dec- 
larations of its authors that, to resist coercion, the very meas- 
ures ought to be taken (for the punishment of which this act 
was now passed), it is difficult to stigmatize, with appropriate 
emphasis, such conduct. 

The lapse of time has mitigated the hostility of the actual 
combatants, but has only intensified the contempt, and deep- 
ened the distrust which the people of Kentucky feel for these 

The sincere Union men of Kentucky, and the men who sin- 
cerely sympathized with the Southern movement and the South* 
em people, can mutually respect each other. The Kentucky 
soldiers, who fought against each other in the contending armies, 
can appreciate and admire the devotion to the chosen cause, the 
gallantry which each displayed. But for the men who showe^l 
so plainly by that they were attached to no cause and no princi- 

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66 msTcmT of uojigan's oavalbt. 

pie, but were ready to sell and barter each and all, wbo mani- 
fested all through the struggle, that they were moyed bj 
the most groveling ambition, influenced by the meanest thirst 
for self-aggrandisement — for them there is no forgiveness. 

All Kentucky has suffered from their duplicity, cowardice and 
heartless avarice of gold and power — now they have neither, and 
none regret it. 

But, happily, the past political differences, and the animosity 
engendered by the long, bitter strife, are fast being forgotten 
by the Kentuckians who confronted each other under hostile 
banners. The sons of the same Mother Commonwealth (who 
in all sincerity gave their blood for her interests, safety and 
honor, as each believed they could be best conserved), are no 
longer antagonists — and, at no distant day, may find the respect 
they have felt for each other as foes, replaced by the cordial 
friendship and alliance, which the same blood and the same 
views should induce. May Kentucky have learned from her 
lesson in the past few years, and may she remember, that safety 
is never best consulted by giving heed to the suggestions of 
timidity, that the manliest and most consistent course, is also the 
most truly expedient, and that the interest and honor of a people 
go hand-in-hand, and are inseparable. 

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jomrsoH A8B0ia» (hbuuhd. 57 


When Creneral Albert Sidney Johnston came to the command 
of the great Western Department, he fonnd but a few thousand " 
troops at his disposal to defend a territory of immense extent, 
and vulnerable at a hundred points. 

At that time the Trans-Mississippi Confederate States were 
included in the same Department with the States of Tennessee, 
Alabama, and MississippL Missouri on the Western side of 
the Mississippi, and Kentucky on the Eastern — ^respectively the 
Northermost of the Western and Middle Slaveholding States — 
were debateable ground, and were already occupied, the former 
by both, the latter by one of the contending forces. 

General Johnston assumed command about the latter part of 
August, or first of September, 1861, and at once commenced 
his vast labor with a vigor and wisdom which were neither ap« 
preciated 1^ his countrymen, nor were fruitful of happy results 
until after his glorious death. Missouri had become the theater 
of military operations some months previously. The people 
had partially responded to the proclamation of Qovemor Jack- 
son, issued June 12, 1861, which called on them to resist the 
military authorities appointed in the State by President Lincoln. 

Smarting under a sense of the aggressions and the insolence 
of these ofScials, believing that they were the victims of intoler- 
able injustice and flagrant faithlessness, the Missouri rebels 
were eager to take the field, and irregular organizations, par- 
tisan, and ^'State-guard'' were formed in various sections of 
the State. Several skirmishes, the most important of which 
were "Booneville" and ** Carthage," occurred between these or- 
ganizations and the Federal troops, before any troops regularly 
in the Confederate service were sent into the State. After 

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58 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

winning the battle of " Carthage," and forcing Siegel to retreat 
until he affected a junction with Lyon, General Price was com* 
pelled, in his turn, to retreat before the then concentrated 
Federal army of Missouri. 

Onthe 7th of August, Generals Price and McCullough, com- 
manding respectively such portions of the Missouri State-guard 
as could be concentrated at that time, and the Confederate 
troops destined for service in the extreme West, making an ag- 
gregate, between them, of somd six thousand effective men, es- 
tablished themselves in the vicinity of Springfield, a small town 
in Southwestern Missouri, confronting the Federal army which 
had pushed on to that point in pursuit of Price. On the 9th of 
August, the battle, called by the one side ^^ Oak Hill," and by 
the other "Wilson's Creek," was fought. The Federal army 
made the attack, was repulsed and routed (with the exception 
of that portion of it commanded by Sturges, or protected by 
him in the retreat), and its commander, General Lyon, was 
killed. This victory laid open, and placed completely at the 
disposal of the Rebel commanders, the southwestern and middle 
portions of the State. Unhappily Generals Price and McCul- 
lough differed totally in opinion regarding the proper policy to 
be pursued after the battle, and the result of their disagreement 
was a separation of their forces. Price pushed forward into the 
interior of Missouri, where he believed that the fruits of the 
victory just gained were to be gleaned. McCullough remained 
upon the Arkansas border. The campaign which General Price 
then made is well known. He captured Lexington, taking a 
large number of prisoners, and, what was much more valuable 
to him, a considerable quantity of military stores, many stand 
of small arms, and some artillery. He placed himself in a 
position to enable the scattered detachments of his State-guard 
to join him, and, encouraging the people, friendly to the South, 
by his bold advance into the heart of the State immediately 
after they had received the news of the victory he had helped 
to win, he obtained recruits and abundant supplies. He was 

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subsequently compelled to retreat before a vastly superior force, 
but not until, taking into consideration the means at his dis- 
posal, he had accomplished wonders. Not only were his men 
perfectly raw, upon their first campaign, but ifO attempt was 
made to train or form them. Method, administration, dis- 
cipline, drill, were utterly unknown in his camps ; the officers 
knew only how to set a gallant example to their men ; the men 
were rendered almost invincible by their native courage and the 
devotion they felt to their chief and their cause. Upon this 
campaign General Price exhibited, perhaps, more strikingly 
than ever afterward, bis two great qualities as a commander*^ 
the faculty of acquiring the affection and implicit confidence of 
his men, and his own gallant and perfect reliance upon them. 
Without presuming to reflect upon General McCnllough, who 
was a brave, honest, and zealous officer, it may be safely as- 
sumed that had Price, at this period, been backed by the force 
which McCullough commanded (much superior in equipment 
and organization to his own), he could have effected results 
which, in all probability, would have stamped a very different 
character upon the subsequent conduct of the war in the Trans- 
Mississippi States. The consequence of another such victory 
as that of " Oak Hill " gained in the heart of the State, as by 
their combined forces might very readily have been done, at the 
time when Price was forced (o retreat, would have been of in- 
calculable value to the Confederacy. But the fate, which 
throughout the contest, rendered Southern prowess unavailing, 
had already commenced to rule. At the date of the battle of 
'*Oak Hill," General Hardee was advancing through South- 
eastern Missouri with about thirty>five hundred effective 

His base was the little village of Pocahontas, situated, nearly 
upon the Missouri and Arkansas border, and at the head of 
navigation upon the Big Black river. Here General Hardee 
had collected all the Arkansas troops which were available for 
service upon that line, amounting to perhaps six or seven 

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60 HISTO:aT 07 moboah's oayalbt. 

thousand men. Various causes contributed to reduce his effect- 
ive total to about one half of that number. All of the troops 
were indifferently armed, some were entirely unarmed. The 
sickness always incidental to a first experience of camp life, in 
the infantry, had prostrated hundreds. Change of diet and of 
habits, and the monotony of the camp are sufScient of them- 
selves, and rarely fail to induce diseases among raw troops, but 
a scourge broke out among the troops collected at Pocahontas 
which confounded all, at least of the non-medical observers. 
This was nothing more than measles, but in an intensely aggra- 
vated and very dangerous form. It was hard to believe that 
there was such a proportion of adult men who liad escaped a 
malady generally thought one of the affections of childhood. It 
was so virulent, at the time and place of which I write, and in 
80 many instances fatal, that many confidently believed it to be 
a different disease from the ordinary measles, although the Sur- 
geons pronounced it the same. It was called '^ black measles,'^- 
and was certainly a most malignant type of the disease. I have 
been since informed that it raged with equal fury and with the 
same characteristics among the volunteers just called into the 
field in many other localities. Its victims at Pocahontas were 
counted by the scores. 

As the Big Black river is navigable for small craft at all 
seasons. General Hardee had nq difficulty in supplying the 
troops stationed at Pocahontas, but after leaving that point he 
was compelled to depend for supplies upon wheel transportation, 
with which he was very indifferently provided, and upon the 
country, which was sterile and sparsely settled. 

The only line of advance from Pocahontas which gave promise 
of important results, or which, indeed, was practicable, was by 
Greenville, distant some fifty-five or sixty miles from Pocahontas, 
and Frederickton, to Ironton, and thence along the Iron 
Mountain Railroad by the most practicable roads to St. Louis. 
The country between Pocahontas and Ironton is rugged and 
heavily wooded. It is penetrated by few roads, and, in 1861, 

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by no means abounded in supplies. General Hdrdee advanced 
as far as Oreenville, and threatened Ironton. 

This latter place, the terminus of the Iron Mountain Railroad^ 
is ninety-seren miles from St. Louis. It is a place of great 
natural strength, and was already, at the time that Hardee ad* 
vanced toward it, partially fortified. General Hardee expected 
when he moved from Pocahontas to effect a junction with Gen* 
eral Pillow at Frederickton, a small town to the east of north 
of Greenville, twenty miles from Ironton and on the line between 
that place and New Madrid. Pillow's force was six or eight 
thousand strong, and the best armed and accontered of all the 
western Confederate commands. 

General Pillow could very easily have reached Frederickton 
from New Madrid, as soon as Hardee could have gotten to the 
former place from Pocahontas, had there been a timely and def* 
inite understanding between them to that effect. And the united 
strength of the two Generals, with the addition of some two 
thousand of the State-guard, which were at hand under General 
Jeff. Thompson (as well armed and better organized than those 
which had already done such excellent service under Price), 
would have enabled them, most probably, to take Ironton. At 
any rate, by flanking and threatening to get between that place 
and St. Louis, they would certainly have compelled its evacu- 
ation, and then, either defeating the garrison in the open field, 
or driving it back in disorder and demoralization upon St. Louis, 
they would have become masters of the situation. They would 
have cut off and destroyed the defeated and routed army of 
Lyon, then in full flight for St. Louis. 

General Price would have gladly embraced the opportunity 
of uniting with them — the whole State would have risen to join 
them. It is almost certain, when the number and condition of 
the Federal troops then in Miss6uri are taken into consider- 
ation, and the facts that but few troops were available from the 
neighboring States for the defense of St. Louis, and that the 
city was not fortified — it is almost positively certain, that St. 

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62 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Lonis would have fallen iuto their hands, and that the entire 
State of Missouri, at least all South of the Missouri river, 
would have passed securely into their possession. At all events, 
General Hardee was extremely desirous of attempting just such 
a campaign. 

It was deemed, however, more important, at that time, to 
occupy and fortify Columbus, in Kentucky, situated on the 
Mississippi river, some twenty-two miles below the mouth of the 
Ohio. This measure, it was thought, would protect the States 
lying along the Mississippi from invasion, by enabling the Con- 
federates to hold the river, as it was by the river, only, that 
those States could be conveniently reached. General Pillow's 
forces were consequently ordered to that .point. Finding that 
his plans were rendered impossible of execution, on account of 
the want of General Pillow's co-operation, Hardee returned to 
Pocahontas, and was shortly afterward transferred, with the 
greater portion of the troops under his command, to the eastern 
side of the river, and was ordered to Bowlinggroen as soon as that 
place was occupied. Up to the date of General Johnston's tak- 
ing command, the chief difficulty in the way of action and decisive 
operations in the West (independently of the inferior number and 
miserable equipment of the troops) was the lack of uniform- 
ity and concert in the plans and operations of the various com- 
manders. There was no one in supreme military control from 
whom the subordinate Generals could receive definite instruc- 
tions, and orders which they felt obliged to obey. While an 
immense extent of country was included in one Department, 
and theoretically under one chief, yet practically every officer, 
no matter what was the strength or nature of his command, who 
happened not to be troubled with a senior immediately at his 
elbow, planned and acted for himself and with a perfect indif- 
ference to the operations of every one else. The President and 
Secretary of War were too distant to do any good, if such in- 
terference ever does any good, and a ruling mind was needed at 
the theater of events. It is true that General Polk, whose . 

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headquarters were at Memphis, was senior to the others, he 
being a Major-General. and all the rest but Brigadiers, and he 
was ostensibly in chief command and directed to a certain extent, 
the movements of all. 

But, whether it was that, in a period when nothing was fairly 
organized, his authority was not clearly defined, or that he felt 
some hesitation in vigorously exercising it, it is certain that each 
of the Generals, who have been here mentioned, acted as if he 
knew himself to be, to all intents and purposes, in independent 

This evil was completely remedied by the appointment to the 
chief command in the West of Greneral Johnston, and the prompt 
and decided measures which he instituted. General Johnston's 
whole life had been one of the most thorough military training, 
and no officer of his years in the old army of the United States 
had seen more service; but more than that, he was a soldier 
by instinct, and Nature had intended him for military com- 

He felt the full importance of careful preparation, and the 
establishment by order and system in every branch and depart- 
ment of the service. No martinet of the schools was ever more 
alive to the necessity of rigid method and exact discipline, for 
he knew that without their inauguration and strict observance, 
it would be impossible to even partially discharge the duties of 
his vast commission. But he also saw clearly the vital necessity 
of maintaining in tact the spirit which animated the men of his 
army, and which had summoned them into the field. He knew 
that to impair the ardor which had induced them to become sol- 
diers was to destroy their morale ; that to attempt to make them 
machines would result in making them worthless. 

Although the troops at his disposal seriously needed instruc- 
tion and more perfect organization, he did not waste precious 
moments in seeking to impart them then. He did not permit 
the high spirit of his gallant army to sink into lethargy, nor the 
interest which th^ people felt in the conduct of military affairs 

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to abate by remaining inactive, and in a position which would 
reduce him, under all circumstances, to the defensive. A con- 
centration of bis forces any where upon ^he Tennessee border 
would not only have placed him at great strategic disadvantage, 
but would have been instantly accepted by the soldiery and the 
people as a signal of his intention to await the pleasure and 
movements of his adversary. Almost immediately after his ar- 
rival at Nashville, the troops which had collected at Camp 
Boone, the rendeevous of the Kentucky regiments, and the Ten- 
nessee troops which were available, were pushed into Kentucky. 
Kentucky's neutrality, for a time recogniee'd provisionally, and 
so far as a discreet silence upon the subject amounted to rec- 
ognition by the Federal Government, had already been exploded. 
The Government of the United States, having made the necea* 
sary preparations, was not disposed to abandon a line of inva- 
sion which led right to the vitals of the Confederacy, and prom 
ised a successful reduction of the rebellion in at least three of 
the seceded States, because of the partially rebellious attitude 
assumed by Kentucky. 

Camp Dick Robinson had been organized and put into success- 
ful operation in July. General Anderson took command at 
Louisville on the 20th of September. The other portions of the 
state were occupied, and definite lines were established by the 
opposing forces, nearly about the same time. General Johnson 
advanced as far as Green river, making it his line of defense for 
his center, while his right rested on the Cumberland and the 
rugged ranges of its hills. His line might be said to extend 
from Columbus through Hopkinsville, Munfordsville and Somer- 
set to the Virginia border somewhere in the vicinity of Pound 
Gap. The Federal forces were pushed dowUy almost simulta- 
neously with General Johnson's advance to Green river, to 
Elizabethtown, and in a few days afterward to Nolin creek. 
Their line may be described as running almost directly from 
Paducah in the West, to Prestonburg in the East. This line 
gave them possession of the mouths of the l^nnessee^ Cumber- 

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ji«w Mwind 1 a e 1 , 

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land and Green rivers, of the Blue grass region, and of a greater 
share of the central and eartern portions of the State. 

A single glance at' the map will show the importance of Bow- 
linggreen as a strategic point. It will be seen that it is admir- 
ably adapted for a base of operations, o^ensive or defensive, 
in such a campaign as GeneralJohnston was about to inaugurate 
at the time of its occupation. Situated upon the bank of the 
Barren river, it has that river and the Green river to protect it 
against attack &om the front. The Barren river empties into 
the Green some twenty miles from and northwest of Bow- 
linggreen, and the Green flowing in a northwesterly direction, 
affords an admirable line of defense for many miles to the left. 
There are few fords and^ ferries of Green river after its junction 
with the Barren, and those which it has can be easily held. The 
danger of attack from the extreme left flank was guarded 
against, but as the result showed imperfectly, by Forts Henry 
and Donelson constructed respectively upon the Tennessee 
and Cumberland rivers. The one just upon, the other about ten 
miles from, the Kentucky and Tennessee border. As there was 
little danger to be apprehended in that direction, except from 
forces brought up those rivers and established in the rear of 
Bowlinggreen, these forts, whose strength was overrated, were 
thought to sufficiently protect that flank. The Cumberland 
river rising, in the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky, flows 
nearly due East and West and upon the sahie parallel of latitude 
on which Bowlinggreen is situated, until within sixty or seventy 
miles of that place, when it inclines to the Southwest. The 
Green river affords a line extending eastward, and defensible, 
beyond the point where the Cumberland begins to bend to the 
Southwest. At this point the two rivers are about thirty miles 
apart. The country throughout this section of the State is 
broken but accessible to the march of large bodies of troops. 
It is apparent, however, that an army, with Bowlinggreen for 
its base, unless immensely outnumbered, would have it in its 
power to take advantage of an opponent advancing upon Bow- 

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linggreen by that route. Even if pressed in front, it could hold 
the river with detachments until with the bulk of its strength it 
struck the enemy coming from the East. 

The line of march of the latter would render its communi- 
cations, and concert of action with its friends, very difficult, and 
liable at any time to be entirely destroyed; while the General 
upon the defensive, if vigilant and' active, could know the move- 
ments of both advancing columns, and attack either, with the 
mass of his army, when he pleased. Moreover, in the disposi- 
tion of the Confederate forces. General Zollicoffer with some 
two or three thousand men, was stationed at Monticello, about 
ninety-five miles from Bowlinggreen, and a little to the south of 
east. Monticello is twenty-one miles from the Cumberland ; all 
the neighboring fords were in ZoTlicofFer's possession, and his 
scouts explored the country for some distance beyond the river. 
It is plain that any hostile focce moving upon Bowlinggreen by 
this eastern flank would have exposed itself to attack by Zolli- 

An army strong enough to hold all the approaches to Bowling- 
green might rest in perfect security regarding its communica- 
tions. There is the railroad from Bowlinggreen to Clarksville, 
running through many important points, and affording communi- 
cation with every thing upon that flank. Excellent roads run 
from Bowlinggreen to Monticello upon the south side of the 
Barren, affording secure communication with the right. Were 
both of these lines interrupted, there would remain means of 
certain and speedy communication with both flanks^ in the rail- 
road and turnpike running from Bowlinggreen to Nashville, the 
turnpike from Glasgow to Nashville, and the Cumberland river 
navigable to Fort Donelson on the one side and Burkesville on 
the other. 

The country thus commanded is fertile, and almost exhaust- 
less of supplies. The railroad from Bowlinggreen to Louisville, 
and the two turnpikes, respectively, from Bowlinggreen and 
from Glasgow to Louisville, and with which good roads running 

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in every direction are connected, afford admirable facilities for 
offensive operations. These two turnpikes cross Green river 
within eight miles of each other, but an army, once on the north 
side of the river, and in possession of both roads, could march 
with perfect ease in any direction. It will scarcely be denied 
that if General Johnston had done nothing else to establish Iris 
high reputation as a strategist, his selection of this line would 
be enough to sustain it. In this advance into Kentucky, the 
Kentucky regiments under Buckner, about thirteen hundred 
strong in all, took the lead ; the 2d Kentucky infantry under 
Colonel Roger W. Hanson, to which were temporarily attached 
Byrne's battery of four pieces, and one company of Tennessee 
cavalry, was pushed on to Munfordsville on Green river. The 
rest of the Kentuckians and two or three thousand Tennessee- 
ans (and some odds and ends) were stopped at Bowlinggreen. 

All the cavalry which were available for that purpose, were 
sent to scout the country between the Cumberland and Green 
rivers, and subsequently Forrest's regiment was stationed at 
Hopkinsville, watching the country in that vicinity. Shortly 
after he was sent there, Forrest attacked and defeated at Sacra- 
mento, a little village not far from Hopkinsville, a regiment of 
Federal cavalry. This was the first cavalry fight in the west, 
and the Federals were completely routed. 

ZoUicoffer was sent to take position at Monticello, as has been 
described before, at or nearly ^bout the same time of the ad- 
vance to Bowlinggreen. Thus, it will be seen, that all the im- 
portant points of the line were almost simultaneously occupied. 

Columbus was occupied by General Polk, as has been stated, 
on the 4th, some days earlier. 

It was generally believed that General Buckner, who, as has 
been already stated, led the van, would have had no difficulty 
in capturing Louisville had he pressed on. Very little doubt 
was entertained, then, of the adequacy of his command, small 
as it was, to have taken the place, and, I presume, no one doubts 
it now. An impression prevailed that General Buckner was 

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BtroDgly in favor of oontinuing his advance to Louisville, and 
that he urgently solicited permission to do so. But whether it 
was suggested or not, it found no favor with General Johnston. 
A plan to take and hold Louisville, without any provision for 
the occupation of other portions of Kentucky up to the Ohio 
river, would have been, to say the least, a very rash one, and 
at that time captures with d view only to temporary occupation 
were not in fashion. To hold the State, an army would have 
been required numerous enough to furnish strong garrisons for 
Padacah and Smithland, at the mouths of the Tennessee and 
Cumberland rivers, for the protection of the mouth of Green 
river for GarroIIton, at the mouth of Kentucky river, for Louis- 
ville, Covington, and other points farther eastward. General 
Johnston eould not have held Kentucky two months after he had 
occupied her northern territory (if he had taken possession of 
it) with the forces which he had at his disposal. He would 
either have had to establish the garrisons, which have been in-* 
dicated, and provide the supporting force, or he would have 
been compelled to adopt another plan, perhaps more advisable, 
viz : to have organized three separate corps, one for the west- 
ern, one for the middle, and the third for the eastern portion of 
the State, each charged with the defense of a certain length of 
river line, and so disposed as to be readily concentrated, at 
short notice, at any point upon it. 

To properly carry into effect either plan, many more troops 
would have been required than General Johnston had— it would 
have been folly to have attempted either with his handful of men. 

Another line in advance of that of the Green river, might 
have been taken, which would have secured additional and very 
valuable territory. General Johnson might have established one 
half of his army at Muldraugh's Hill, thirty miles from Louis- 
ville, and upon the Louisville and Nashville railroad, and the 
other half in the country about Lexington and Frankfort, and 
have thus obtained possession of the greater part of central 
Kentucky, and the Bluegrass region. The country between 

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the point indicated upon the Louisville and Nashville railroad, 
and Frankfort, and also in front of the line thus drawn, is ex- 
tremely rugged and difficult of access. The hills of Salt river, 
the Benson and Chaplin Hills, and those of the Kentucky, 
present a barrier not easily forced. Directly in front, too, of 
Frankfort and Lexington, at a distance of from twenty to forty 
miles stretches a belt of broken and defensible ground from the 
Kentucky to the main fork of the Licking river, and on to the 

A thorough tearing-up of the Louisville and Nashville rail- 
road, which would deprive the enemy of the use of the Bards- 
town and Lebanon junctions, and the destruction of the Lex- 
ington and Louisville, and Lexington and Covington railroads, 
would have rendered this line secure against any attack from 
the front, while the excellent roads traversing the region lying 
just south of it, would have made communication easy between 
the salient positions. But the left flank and the main line of re- 
treat and of communication with Nashville, would have been 
constantly and dangerously exposed. 

These were all matters for a military chief to study ; but far 
above all mere strategic considerations, was the moral effect of 
these movements, and that, it is certain, hud been profoundly 
pondered by Gerieral Johnston. The idea of an advance to the 
Ohio, of occupying the entire slaveholding terrftory east of the 
Mississippi, of subsidizing all of its resources, of arousing and 
recruiting from its whole population, was very fascinating then, 
and opens a wide field for speculation now. But then there 
was the reverse of the picture to be considered. The unsettled, 
bewildered condition of the Kentucky mind, has already been 
described. There were many who confidently predicted that the 
Kentuckians would flock to the Confederate standard as soon 
as it waved upon the banks of the Ohio, and innumerable bitter 
objurgations were launched against them, because so few re- 
sorted to it when it was planted upon the bluffs of Green river. 

The patriotism which inspired, alike, the prophesies and the 

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cnrses, can not be called in question. But Albert Sidney John- 
Bton,while he felt the enthusiasm which was the concomitant of his 
perfect courage and high military genius, had trained himself to 
coolly examine, and carefully calculate every influence which 
could affect his plans. He had studied, and, I believe, he rightly 
estimated the popular feeling. 

Revolutions may be inaugurated and accomplished by the 
unsworn, unarmed, unorganized masses ; wars, once fairly com- 
menced, must be won^by soldiers. An entire population is fre- 
quently ripe for revolution, only a portion of it is available for, 
and will enlist for, war. Even had the most favorable accounts 
of the unanimity of the people of Kentucky, and their devotion 
to the Southern cause, reached General Johnston from credible 
sources, he would have been justified in still doubting that he would 
derive immediate benefit from it. There are no braver men than 
vthe Tennesseeans, they were then practically unanimous, except 
in the eastern portion of the State, they were very ardent, 
and yet the Tennesseeans took their time in flocking to the Con- 
federate standard. 

The gallantry and patriotism of the Mississippians are as 
bright as the light of day ; and yet, in September, 1861, thou- 
sands of young Mississippians who afterward bled for the cause, 
were at home dealing out fiery denunciations against slavehold- 
ing States which would not secede. The same history is true 
of every other seceding State — States, unlike Kentucky, already 
embarked in and committed to the war. It was not because 
the men of these States lacked purpose — throngs of them who 
stayed at home until the news of our first disasters came, then 
enlisted, and fought and died with the quenchless valor which 
had descended to them from unconquered sires, and was tra- 
ditional in a race which had believed itself invincible. It 
was because they knew little of war at all, and were utterly 
ignorant of the kind of war that was coming. The mighty 
conviction had not yet forced itself upon them. It is true that 
the Confederate Oovernment had refused regiments raised and 

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72 HISTOET OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

tendered by these States some time previously. Unable to arm 
them, it dismissed them, instead of placing them in camps of in- 
struction until arms could be procured. 

If, among the many errors which have been attributed to the 
great patriot, hero and statesman who was at the head of that 
Government, there was one really grave and fatal in its conse- 
quences, it was that he himself failed to appreciate the danger, 
failed to comprehend the magnitude of the struggle when it 
began, and failed therefore to arouse his people to an early and 
tremendous exertion, which might have triumphed. The abso- 
lute confidence of the Government blinded the people, and its 
policy tended rather to quiet, than to excite their enthusiasm. 
But whatever may have been the causes, it was for General 
Johnston to consider the effect. If, after the war had lasted 
four months, his immense department, composed of seceded 
States, could furnish him only six thousand troops, when he 
advanced to Bowlinggreen, with what show of reason could he 
count on obtaining from Kentucky — Kentucky that had not yet 
seceded, that was divided, distracted by conflicting opinions — 
the vast concourse of recruits, which so many professed to 
expect her to furnish, and which she was so indignantly de- 
nounced for not furnishing ? 

Could GeneralJohnstonhave occupied Northern Kentucky with- 
out opposition, and have held it undisturbed for some months, 
it is highly probable that all dissensions would have been 
allayed, that the revolutionary fever would have spread through 
Kentucky (perhaps it might even have been propagated north 
of the Ohio), and thousands of Kentuckians would have joined 
the Confederate army, many of whom were subsequently its 
most formidable foes. But it must be remembered that the Fed- 
eral Government had not been idle, that the North was on fire 
with the war spirit, that a host of sturdy volunteers had been 
gathered and organized for the special purpose of holding Ken- 
tucky, that, with the abundant means at its command, the Fed- 
eral Government had already efficiently armed its soldiers, and 

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provided all that was necessary for active and immediate 

In forty-eight hours after Louisville had fallen, certainly 
before he could have brought up the forces to dispute its entrance 
at any point, an army from the North, vastly stronger than 
General Johnston's, could have been thrown into Kentucky. 
Could General Johnston have defeated this army 7 If defeated 
himself in such a situation, what would have been the conse- 
quences, not only to his hopes of revolutionising Kentucky, not 
only to the army immediately under his command, but to the 
Confederate cause in the West ? Would he, then, have been 
warranted in risking so much upon this throw ? If General 
Johnston had been constrained to fight at once, and had been 
driven back, he would have sustained a disaster, perhaps fatal. 
The effect it would have had in Kentucky can easily be under- 
stood, and it would have had some and not a very cheering 
effect in more Southern latitudes. The patriotism and integrity 
of the mass of the people is undeniable, but for all that, ^^ there 
is a great deal of human nature in man." Success is the most 
eloquent of arguments. lie who appeals to the suffrages of an 
enlightened community after a victory will be better received 
then he who canvasses after a defeat. Again (it is a truth that 
will bear repetition) in revolutions,- popular convulsions, political 
agitations — a method may be safely attempted which will be 
hazardous and of doubtful policy after actual war has com- 
menced. In the former periods, enthusiasm runs higher, patriot- 
ism is more reckless and demonstrative than when the bayonets 
are about. The danger then is distant, arid with the majority of 
men, when a general excitement is prevailing, the remote dan- 
ger excites no fear. Many a patriot is willing to be Brigadier 
General of the peaceful militia, and to devote himself to a 
cause, from the stump, who would feel a strong and very natu- 
ral reluctance to leave home, wife, children and property, to 
accept the hardships of a soldier's life, and be shot at whenever 
his officers feel enterprising. 

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74 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

If the sentiment of the people be not nnanimons and very 
decided, the secret of success in revolutions is to captivate the 
popular fancy, give the first direction to the popular current. 
It is a struggle between the leaders, and the most audacious, 
not to say the least scrupulous, are apt to win. 

It is unsafe, in such periods, to rely surely upon any sort of 
action from the people — it would be the mistake of supposing 
that every man, unshaken by any influence, had made up his 
mind, and knew what he was going to do, and that the majority 
by some instinct, would be immediately obeyed. A brave, honest, 
intelligent people will be likely, once convinced and committed, 
to abide gallantly by their decision. If their education has 
been wholesome, and their traditions unique, they will be stimu- 
lated by ordinary perils and disasters to increased energy and 

But whether the revolutionary fermentation be in process, or 
the stand has been taken-— it is easier to induce the masses of 
a people to vote for resolutions than to become soldiers. 

It doubtless would have proven a successful policy, to have 
pushed Buckner instantly to Louisville, and Zollicoffer to Lex- 
ington, to stay as long as they were safe, and return with the 
recruits and the supplies that they could have collected, leaving 
behind them the positive assurance that the country was not in- 
accessible to Confederate troops. But to have taken the army 
into Northern Kentucky, upon the supposition that the unarmed 
population would arise and enable it to remain there — in the 
face of the threatening dangers and the almost positive certainty 
of instant battle — would have been a blind, unreasoning daring, 
which had no place among the qualities of Greneral Johnston. 
The wisdom and prescience of the great commander were after- 
ward so abundantly demonstrated, that we may be pardoned 
for believing his judgment right in this instance also. 

In establishing his base at Bowlinggreen, he secured, as has 
been shown, a line well adapted to enable him to assume the 
offensive so soon as his army was sufficiently strong to do so 

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with effect. The very fact of his moving into Kentucky at all 
was a pledge and guarantee to the people of his department, 
that, if sustained by them, he would keep the war out of their 
territory, and encouraged his army to hope for an active, dash- 
ing campaign. He placed himself where the more enterprising 
and determined of the Kentucky rebels could join him, and he 
spared no effort, no appeal, which could stimulate enlistment in 
his army among the young men of Kentucky, or of the States 
of his department. 

That his appeals were neglected was not only his, but the 
Confederacy's deadly misfortune. Numerical weakness frus- 
trated in September 1861, his plan to appear before the people, 
not only of Northern Kentucky, but of the Northwestern States, 
as the victor of a decisive battle, and, in the following February, 
forced him to retreat from Kentucky altogether. The first and 
most golden opportunity was lost ; and the future history of the 
war in the West, was a series of terrible reverses to the Con- 
federate arms, or of victories brilliant indeed, but, in the end, 

The condition of the Confederate troops was far better, in 
many respects, at this time, than at any subsequent period of 
the war. 

There were, then, facilities and means for providing them 
with necessaries and comforts which more latterly did not exist. 
Provisions were abundant everywhere, and were regularly sup- 

The railroads, which were then, all in good repair and well 
provided with rolling stock, afforded sure means of supplying 
the troops which were stationed in those parts of the country 
through which they ran. The numerous navigable streams also 
afforded facilities, and practically shortened the routes of supply. 

In all cases, however, in which neither the railways nor the 
rivers could be used to supply them, troops were compelled to 
depend for subsistence, in a great measure, upon the country 
immediately about their cantonments, and as they exhausted the 

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76 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

surplus provisions in different neighborhoods, they would shift 
their encampments. This was owing to the great lack of wheel 
transportation. It was very difficult to procure wagons, except 
by purchase or impressment from tho citizens, and those so 
gotten were of course inferior. Much less inconvenience was 
subsequently experienced on this score, after they began to be 
manufactured in the Confederacy, and were captured in great 
numbers from the enemy. At this time, many articles such as 
sugar, coffee, etc., indispensable to the comfort and conducive 
to the health of troops in the field, were plentifully furnished — 
after the first year of the war they were known among us only 
by camp*fire traditions. The men rarely suffered, then, from 
the want of clothing, blankets, shoes, etc., even when the 
quartermasters could not furnish them, for they could obtain 
them from home, or purchase them, wherever they happened to 
be quartered, at reasonable prices. There was, perhaps, no 
regiment in the army which had not its full complement of tents ; 
they were manufactured at Memphis, and other points, in num- 
bers adequate to the wants of all the troops. 

Cooking utensils, also, could be had in abundance — ^the 
marching commands suffered, not from the want of them, but 
from the lack of transportation for them. It is true that those 
which were furnished us were not of the kind and pattern which 
experience has prescribed as most fitting for military use, but 
they were capital substitutes for flat stones and forked twigs. 

In the medical department there was an almost total lack of 
the necessary material. The supply of medicines in the South 
at the outbreak of the war was barely sufficient for the wants of 
the population at that time. Some medicines were run through 
the blockade from the North, in small quantities, during the 
spring and summer of 18G1. But the supply thus obtained by 
no means met the demand. The volunteers collected together 
in camps and crowded cantonments, subjected to a sudden 
change of diet and mode of living, sickened in great numbers. 
Diseases which had never before, or but in rare instances, 

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proven dsngerons, now assumed alarming types. The systems 
of the patients may have been relaxed and their vitality 
partially impaired, during the early period of camp life, when 
they were just foregoing their old habits and were not yet 
hardened to the new, or it may be that when men are con- 
gregated in great numbers, certain diseases, by transmission 
from one to another, may be cultivated into extraordinary ma- 
lignancy—at any rate a large proportion of the inmates of every 
camp sickened and many died. At Bowlinggreen in the winter of 
1861 and' 1862, the mortality was dreadful, measles, typhoid fever, 
pneumonia and diseases of the bowels, can*ied oiT a host of vic- 
tims—every sickness, however, seemed fatal at that time. 

There was, consequently, a great and constantly increas- 
ing need of medicines; and, perhaps, some waste of them, 
when they were collected in large quantities and shipped from 
point to point, was unavoidable. But all these problems, all the 
difficulties of properly supplying the army, began to be solved 
and modified, as the genius of adaptation and substitution was 
developed among the troops themselves. If a man could not 
get a blanket, he made an old carpet, cut to the proper sisse and 
lined on one side with a piece of strong cotton cloth, serve him 
instead. The soldier who lacked shoes bid defiance to the rough 
roads, or the weather, in a pair of ox-hide buskins, or with com- 
plicated wrappings of rags about his feet. I have known more 
than one orderly sergeant make out his morning report upon a 
shingle, and the surgeon who lacked a tourniquet used a twisted 
handkerchief. Of the most necessary military material, arms 
and ordnance stores, there was the greatest scarcity. Perhaps 
one half of the entire western army (of all the troops in the de- 
partment) were armed (at the time that Gen eraljohnston came) 
with shot-guns and squirrel rifies, and the majority of the other 
half with scarcely as serviceable flint-lock muskets. 

The troops under General Bragg at Fensacola were perhaps 
better armed, but the rule held good with regard to the others. 
A few companies composed of young men from the cities, and 

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of rich planters, were armed with fancy guns, Maynard rifles, 
etc., altogether unsuitable for the armament of infantry. In 
September of 1861, there were probably not one thousand 
Springfield and Enfield rifles in the army which GeneralJohnston 
was trying to concentrate in Kentucky, and it was several 
months later before these unequaled weapons (the right arms for 
soldiers who mean to fight) could be supplied in numbers at all 
adequate to the need of them. In the advance to Bowlinggreen, 
more than three hundred able-bodied men of the Second Ken- 
tucky, and an equal, if not greater number of the Third Kentucky 
were left in the rear because arms could not be gotten for them. 
In November one or two regiments of the Kentucky brigade 
were given the Belgian in place of the flint-lock musket, and in 
December flint-lock guns, altered to percussion locks, were given 
the other regiments of the brigade. Proper accoutrements were 
as scarce as guns. Cartridge-boxes, knapsacks, canteens, when 
they could be gotten at all, were very inferior. By great in- 
dustry and effort, a considerable quantity of ammunition had 
been prepared and worked up into cartridges, but there was 
such a scarcity of lead and powder in the South, and such in- 
ferior facilities for the manufacture of the latter, that appre- 
hension was felt lest, when the supply on hand was exhausted, 
it could not be replaced. 

There was scarcely a percussion cap to be had (in the early 
part of the war) in the department, with the exception of some 
that were manufactured by an enterprising citizen of Nashville, 
and zealous Confederate, Mr. S. D. Morgan, an uncle of the 
General. But while so few of the Confederate soldiers were 
efficiently armed, almost every man of them, presuming that the 
Yankees were to be whipped in rough and tumble style, had his 
bowie-knife and revolver. The Arkansas and Texas troops, 
especially, carried enormous knives, that might have made a 
Malay's blood run cold, but in the end those huge weapons did 
duty far oftener as cleavers than as bayonets. The organization 
of the troops first pitt in the field was, of course, to some extent, 

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imperfect. A good deal has been said about the evils of the 
system of electing officers, and much just censure has been 
passed upon it. It has been claimed that it gives rise to a 
laxity of discipline, and a disposition on the part of officers, who 
owe their positions to the suffrages of the men they command, 
to wink at irregularities and pardon gross neglect of duty. 

This is undoubtedly true, in a great measure, and what is 
stranger, but equally as true, is the fact that troops which have 
been longest in the service, which know best what qualities are 
necessary to constitute a good officer, which appreciate perfectly 
the necessity of having good officers, not only to their efficiency 
and success in the field, but to their well-being at all times — 
just such troops seem least able to resist the temptation of 
electing some good-natured fellow, whom they will never respect, 
and will, perhaps, grow ashamed of, rather than men who will 
enforce their obidience, but promote alike their efficiency and 
their comfort. At all times they will look to and rely upon the 
good officer, but when they come to elect, the love of doing as 
they please, unchecked by the irksome restraints of discipline, 
is apt to make them vote for the man who will indulge them. 
But I believe that all those who observed these matters care- 
fully will agree, that there was far less of this sort of feeling 
among the men who volunteered at the outbreak of the war 
than there was later. 

The officers elected by the regiments first raised were, gen- 
erally, about the best men that could have been selected. The 
men, at that time, in good faith, chose those they believed best 
qualified for the duties of command, and elected individuals who 
had manifested, or were thought to possess, courage, energy, 
and good sense. Of course some mistakes were made, and ex- 
perience disclosed the fact, now well-established, that many 
men who figured respectably in times of peace, are unfitted for 
military responsibility, and weaken in the ordeal of military 

No opportunity had been afforded then, for testing and dis< 

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80 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

covering those qualified for positions of trust and importance — 
it was all a matter of experiment. Many injudicious selections 
were made^ but it quite as often happened that the appointing 
system (as it was exercised at the beginning of the war) gave 
incompetent officers to the army. The graduates of West Poiiyc 
themselves, and even those officers who had served for years in 
the " Old Army," knew little or nothing of actual war. Their 
studies at the academy, and the' reading appropriate to their 
profession, had instructed them in the theory of war. * 

They had the knowledge which the routine of camp and gar- 
rison duty teaches. Most of them had seen service in expedi- 
tions against the Indians on the Western plains. Some of them 
had served with distinction and benefit to themselves in Mexico, 
but this was an experiepce which they shared with many civil- 
ians. They had soldierly habits. They were well acquainted 
with, and knew the importance of the milityy etiquette and 
ceremonial so conducive to proper subordination and discipline, 
and without which neither can be maintained in an army. But 
beyond the necessity (permanently impressed upon them, and 
rendered a constant influence with them by long training and 
habit) of strictly obeying all the rules of discipline themselves, 
and of exacting the same obedience from others, they knew 
nothing which a quick mind, if endowed with a natural military 
aptitude and appreciation of military essentials, can not readily 
acquire. While the regulations prescribed clear and excellent 
rules of organization, the strictest conformity was not always 
had to them, and it was sometimes difficult to strictly apply 
them. Companies sometimes overran the maximum in a way 
that rendered them as embarrassing to the regiments in which 
they were placed, as they were painfully unwieldy to the un- 
learned Captains and Lieutenants who immediately commanded 

When it was known that a very popular man was recruiting, 
'the number of enlistments in his company was limited only by 
ithe number of able bodied men in his district who were inclined 

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to enlist. As each volanteer had the right to select his Captain 
and company, and generally objected rery decidedly to being 
transferred to any other, it was a delicate and difficult task 
to reduce these orer-grown companies to proper proportions. 
Regiments « frequently, on account of the popularity of their 
Colonels, or from other causes, swelled out of due bounds 
also. I knew one regiment, which in the early part of Septem- 
ber, 1861, had in it seventeen companies and numbered, when 
all answered to roll call, more than two thousand men. There 
was at this time a very favorite, and very anomalous organisa- 
tion, known as the ^' Legion,'' which fortunately in a few months 
entirely disappeared. It was something between a regiment 
and a brigade, with all of a hybrid's vague awkwardness of 
conformation. It was the general supposition, too, for little 
was ever definitely known about it, that it was to be somewhat 
of an independent corps, something like the ^' Partisan Ranger " 
regiment of later date. When the army was in the first process 
of organization, these "Legions" could be heard of every- 

The idea doubtless originated with some officer who felt that 
he deserved a higher grade than that of Colonel, and could not 
obtain a Brigadier's commission. 

As organization went on, and system prevailed, the "Legions," 
perhaps according to the merit of their commanders, or their 
numerical strength, sank into companies, were regularly organ- 
ized as regiments, or were elevated into brigades. The brigades 
were from three to seven or eight thousand strong, and all arms 
of the service were represented in them ; they included regiments 
of infantry and cavalry and batteries of artillery. It was in a 
measure necessary that this organization should be adopted, 
from the fact that for some months, each brigade commander 
was entrusted with supervision and defense of a large tract of 
territory, and it was impossible to dispense with either of the 
three arms. Divisions were not organized until late in the fall 
of 1861 — the strength of the brigades was then, to some extent, 

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equalized by the reduction of the larger ones; Army Corps 
were of still later creation. 

A significant custom prevailed of denoting the companies of 
the first regiments which were raised, not by letter, but by some 
company denomination which they had borne in the militia or- 
ganization, or had assumed as soon as mastered as an indispen- 
sable nom-de-guerre. They seemed to vie with each other in in- 
venting titles of thrilling interest : " The Yellow Jackets,** 
« The Dead Shots," "The Earthquakes," " The Chickasaha Des- 
peradoes," " The Hell-roarers," are a few which made the news- 
papers of that day, in recording their movements, read like the 
pages of popular romance. So fondly did the professors of 
these appellations cling to them, that it was found almost as 
difiScult to compel their exchange for the proper designations, 
as to effect far more harassing and laborious reforms. The 
spirit which prompted these particular organizations to adopt 
this method of distinguishing and identifying themselves, re- 
mained to the last characteristic of the Southern troops. Reg- 
iments, especially in the cavalry service, were quite as often 
styled by the names of their commanders, as by the numbers 
which they properly bore, and, if the commanders were popular, 
the former method was always the most agreeable. 

In the latter part of the war, after every effort had been made 
to do away with this feeling, it was at length adjudged expedient 
to enjoin such a designation of brigades, by the names of their 
commanders, by order from the War Department. This pe- 
culiar affectation was but one form in which the temper of the 
Southern people was manifested — a temper which revolted 
against complete loss of individuality, and was prone to self- 
assertion. It is a temper which ought to be characteristic of a 
free and high spirited people, which, while for prudential reasons 
it will consent to severe restraints, seeks to mark the fact that 
the restraint is self-imposed. F.ew will doubt, upon reflection,' 
that this feeling could have been turned to better account in the 
Southern army ; that to have allowed commands to win distinc- 

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tive and honorable appellations by extraordinary bravery would 
have elevated the standard of morale, as much as did promotion 
for personal gallantry and good conduct. The excellence of a 
command mentioned in general orders might be only partially 
known, but the fame conferred by the title of the " Stonewall 
Brigade" is universal. For the first year, there was, in the 
true sense of the word, no discipline in the Western army at 
all. The good sense and strong feeling of duty which pervaded 
the entire soldiery made them obedient, zealous^ and tolerably 
patient. High courage and natural resolution made them fight 
well from the first, and, long exposure to the storms of battle 
taught them coolness in the midst of danger, and the compara- 
tive indifference to it, which become habitual with the veteran, 
and which are usually confounded with the effects of discipline, 
although they frequently exist where discipline has never ob- 
tained. A spirit of emulation induced them to readily learn the 
drill and all the more ostentatious duties of the soldier. A 
fortitude which, until they were put to the test, they were not 
themselves aware of, enabled them to endure without diminution 
of spirit, great hardship and privation. Pride and patriotism, in 
the midst of -every suffering and temptation, kept them true and 
patient to the last. While all these influences combined to make 
excellent soldiers of the material of which that army was com- 
posed, it will be nearer the truth to say, that there was, in the 
true sense of the word, no discipline in the Western army, not 
only in the first year of the war, but at any time during the 
war. The rigid method introduced by General Bragg un- 
doubtedly told with good effect upon the men of least pride and 
mettle, and kept all such men nearer the mark, but for the rest, 
Bragg's discipline improved the army rather by its operations 
upon the officers than upon the men. 

No man who has intimately known the Southern soldiery can 
escape the conviction, that, while capable of acquiring any de- 
gree of instruction, and, if the word may be used, vderanshipj 
they can not really be disciplined, that is, be converted, by the 

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infliction and fear of punishment, into unreasoning machines. 
If there were no other proof of this, the reflection which was in- 
yariahly shed upon the morale and tone of every command bj 
the personal character, prowess and skill of its particular 
leader, would be sufficient proof of it, and the fact that the 
Southern troops almost always read their chances of success or 
defeat, not in the odds opposed to them, but in the reputation 
and character of their commander — ^it would be as wide of the 
truth to call this discipline, as it would be to speak of the per- 
fect discipline of the Norman knights, who would insult a 
cowardly and indolent Prince upon his throne, and would, yet, 
obey with "proud humility" an heroic adventurer. 

While no practical soldier will underrate the value of disci- 
pline and the marvels it works-7-still the experience of the late 
war will make many officers believe that it is no match for na- 
tive intelligence, zeal, and pride — when those qualities have be- 
come trained and used to the requirements of war. Instruc- 
tion and skill in military duties, are indispensable, although dis- 
cipline is not always so. Give the high strung young soldier 
irho has brains and good blood, some practice and knowledge 
of actual warfare, and the unthinking automaton, formed by 
routine and punishment, can no more stand before him than a 
tree can resist the stroke of the lightning, than the book gene- 
eral and paper tactician can resist the genius which throws his 
plans out of gear, and his mind into convulsions. 

It will be well for those who read Southern histories of the 
war to keep in mind that the writers mean, when they use the 
word " discipline," the pride which stimulated the soldiers to 
learn their duties rather than incur disgrace, and the subordi- 
nation which proceeded from self respect, and respect for an 
officer whom they thought worthy to command them. It was 
not the fault of the Southern men who took the field, that the ef- 
forts of the Southern people failed to establish, for themselves, 
a separate and independent Government. 

Two great mistakes were made at the outset and were never 

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retrieyed. Mistakes wbich have lost battles and campaigns in- 
namerable, and in this instance lost a war. The vigor and ir- 
resistible andacity which is gained by '^ taking the start " was 
lost to us by the defensive policy, and our troops were scattered 
so widely that even an energetic defense could nowhere be made, 
except in Virginia. The Government did not mag^ the troops 
for attack upon vulnerable points in the enemy's territory, nor 
to fall upon some one of his invading columns. Not only was 
the defensive strictly maintained, but an effort was made to de- 
fend every inch of the border. In the face of superior forces 
concentrating for invasion at certain points, a skirmish line, 
which employed all of our forces, was thrown out to hold all 
points from Richmond to the Western prairies. 

But one original and cardinal error gave birth to all the others. 
Thg Confederate Government failed to invoke the only spirit 
which could have done its bidding. It ought, without delay, to 
have stimulated the ardor and turned loose the tremendous en- 
ergies of revolution, and have made the people drunken with 
its inspiration. The time was propitious, the Government was 
just established and was popular, the people were, practically, 
unanimous, and were irretrievably committed to the movement — 
they had never seen hostile troops or been daunted by the sights 
of war. The presence of formidable armed foes might have 
aroused prudence, but when Sumpter fell and war became inev- 
itable, there were no armies in the field on either side. When 
the first gun boomed, the Government ought to have taken ad- 
vantage of the glow of enthusiasm which was as yet unchilled 
by any fear of the yet distant danger. It ought to have asked 
for powers which the people in their, then, thorough confidence 
in their leaders would have readily granted. They felt, that if 
the struggle was really for important principles and vital rights, 
it was better to make rulers of their own choice, omnipotent for 
a short time, than to run the risk of defeat which would cause 
them entire, and, perhaps eternal, loss of liberty. The leaders 
knew that the temper of the people could be relied on — that if 

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frankly told that success could be achieved only by prompt and 
enormous efiForts and sacrifices — the efforts and sacrifices would 
be made. They were made later, when instead of universal 
hope and enthusiasm, there prevailed a feeling of almost des- 
pair. The strategy of revolution is identical, in principle, with 
that of war — the side which masses and marches fast wins. 
If, while it was yet a contest of peoples and not yet a conflict 
of armies, the entire white population of the South had been 
aroused, her territory converted into one vast camp, every male 
citizen between the ages of sixteen and sixty made a soldier, 
leaving to the President the power of exempting certain classes, 
and not regulating by law a matter so essentially discretionary, 
and every dollar's worth of property had been pledged to the 
cause, how different might have been the result ? All this 
could have been done in the then condition of public sentiment ; 
not a dissentient voice would have been heard. It would have 
been far more popular than the " Conscript Act " was a year 
later, and that caused little complaint. 

Let any man think of what might have been done in May, 
1861, with all the men, which were subsequently in the Confed- 
erate army, arrayed and pressed on the front. If unarmed, they 
would have met opponents also unarmed. Men followed the 
armies in Missouri and picked up guns on the battle field, while 
the Government was rejecting regiments because it had not 
arms to give them. Subsequently it found arms easier to be 
gotten than men. 

K Jefferson Davis had possessed one tithe of the unscrupu- 
lous ambition of which he has been accused, he would not now 
be the inmate of a prison. He could have made, with all ease 
his Government a dictatorate— or turning off the useless and 
clamorous Congress, as an incumbrance to a Government which 
(until the war was won) was an experiment, have ruled during 
the war with a " committee of public safety .*' 

To excite the energies of the people to the utmost, and then 
direct and employ them by means of some such machinery, was 

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the way to win. But he preferred to believe that the danger 
was not great. He would have died sooner than assume uncon- 
stitutional power. The ardor of the people was rebuffed, and 
they sank into an apathy, from which they were awakened by 
terrible disasters, to find themselves encompassed by fierce and 
hostile armies. 

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In 1857, the company of volunteer militia called the " Lex- 
ton Rifles" was organized with John H. Morgan as Captain, it 
subsequently, upon the organization of the State-guard, became 
incorporated in that body. It was composed of the finest and 
most spirited young men of Lexington, and soon won a high 
reputation for proficiency in drill, and in all the duties taught 
in the camps of the State-guards, as well as for the intelligence 
and daring of its members. 

From the hour of its organization the men of this company 
seemed to entertain the profoundest love and admiration for their 
-^^"Gaptain, and the influence and control they accorded him was 
not too strongly expressed in the words of their motto, which, 
written in large letters, framed and hung up in their armory, 
caught the eye of every visitor and announced, " Our laws the 
commands of our Captain." 

It was with the forty-five or fifty men of this company who 
unhesitating followed his fortunes when he went to the Southern 
army, and a few other kindred spirits who immediately attached 
themselves to him, before he had won rank or fame, that Morgan 
began his career, and around them as a nucleus he gathered his 
gallant command. Although thoroughly Southern in sentiment, 
and frank to the last degree in its expression, the members of 
the company, with one or two exceptions, made no efibrt to go 
South until Captain Morgan signified his readiness to lead them, 
in this, as in all else, they awaited his decision and directions. 
The extreme illness of his wife, who died in July, 1861, required, 
during the early summer, his constant presence in Lexington, 
and he did not determine to act until after the troops, posted at 
^Camp Dick Bobinson and the Home -guard organizations, began 

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to give unmistakable evidences of hostility to all persons not 

When the order was issued for the disarming of the State- 
guard, Morgan determined to save his guns at all hazards. The 
State-guard was by this time virtually disbanded, many of its 
officers of high rank, elected under the impression that they 
were Southern men, had declared for the other side, and various 
other influences tended to cripple and demoralize it. An officer, 
then, of that body, who decided to resist the edict, disarming 
his men and leaving them defenseless, in the reach of armed 
and bitter political opponents, could look for little backing 
from his comrades. His best chance was to make his way at 
once to the Confederate lines in Southern Kentucky. This 
Morgan resolved to do. 

On Friday night, September 20, 1861, he confided to a few 
of his most reliable and trusted men his determination and 
plans, and taking the guns from the armory, loaded them into 
two wagons and started them out of Lexington on the Versailles 
road under a small guard. The men composing this guard lefl 
on such short notice that few of them had time to prepare and 
carry with them even necessary clothing, scarcely time to take 
leave of their families. They marched out of town with their 
cartridge-boxes belted on, their rifles on their shoulders, loaded, 
and their bayopets fixed. A regiment of Federal troops was 
encamped that night at the fair ground, about a mile from town, 
and many of the officers and men were in town at the time the 
guns were removed. In order to deceive as to his movements 
and lull any suspicion that might exist of his design to move 
the guns. Captain Morgan caused twelve or fifteen men to pa- 
rade and tramp heavily about the armory for an hour or two 
after the wagons had been loaded and started, and so created the 
impression that his company was engaged in drilling. 

The wagons were not stopped in the town, and only one sol- 
dier was encountered who was made prisoner by the escort, car* 
ried off some twenty miles, and then released. 

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90 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Morgan accompanied the wagons for a short distance until it 
was apparent that there was no immediate danger to be appre- 
hended, and returned to Lexington. 

On the next day when it was ascertained that the guns had 
been taken away, and no trace of them could be discovered, a 
great excitement was gotten up. That very day had been ap- 
pointed for their seizure by the authorities, and the authorities 
bad been completely tricked and bafSed. 

The loyal citizens who had calculated upon witnessing the 
discomfiture of the " Rifles," and of all their backers, were dis- 
appointed, and had the farther mortification of learning that the 
wagons containing the coveted prizes had passed the night be- 
fore, in the sight of them all, to a place where they dared not 
follow. Of course many taunts were flung at the fooled spies, 
and disappointed patriots ; and at length the angry discussions 
brought on a shooting affray between some of the *' Rifles," and 
a part of the troops and Home-guards. The regiment stationed 
at the fair grounds, was brought into town to quell this afiair, 
and two pieces of artillery were planted to sweep the principal 
streets — and from that date, for four years, Lexington was un- 
der military rule. 

Captain Morgan, for whose arrest an order was immediately 
issued, communicated during the day with such of his men as 
desired to follow him, and at nightfall left Lexington with them 
and rejoined those who had gone before. He passed through 
Anderson county to Nelson, and halted a few miles from Bards- 
town. Here he was joined by Captain John Cripps Wickliffe, 
subsequently Lieutenant Colonel of the Ninth Kentucky In- 
fantry, and a very gallant officer. Captain Wickliffe had deter- 
mined also to save his guns and take his company, or all that 
would follow him, to the Confederate army. The greater por- 
tion of his company, one of the finest in the State-guards, elected 
to go with him. Desirous, while about it, of doing a brisk busi- 
ness in guns, he confiscated those of a neighboring Home-guard 
company, and brought them to Morgan's camp — they were im- 

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mediately placed in the hands of the unarmed men, who, finding 
an organized force making for the Confederate lines, attached 
themselyes to it. Many such men, anxious to go South, but 
afraid to go without a leader, came to this camp during the four 
or five days that it was maintained. 

On account of the kindness and liberality of the people who 
lived in that neighborhood, and who supplied its inmates with 
provisions of all kinds, this camp was entitled '^ Camp Charity,'^ 
and long will it bo remembered. 

By the common wish and consent, Morgan took command of 
all the forces, and when, on Saturday evening, September 28th, 
he resumed his march, he was at the head of some two hundred 
men. He encountered no enemy. The Home-guards, who mus- 
tered strong in the region through which he passed, thought his 
force too formidable to attack and kept out of his path. When he 
would hear of two bodies of them, likely to give him trouble if 
united, he would pass between them Aid scare both. 

After two days and nights hard marching, he reached Green 
river on Monday evening, September 30th. He received an 
enthusiastic welcome from the Confederate troops stationed 
there, most of whom were Kcntuckians, and many of them knew 
him well. 

Colonel Roger W. Hanson, the officer in command, was 
himself from Lexington, and was a warm personal friend of 

There were, at Green river, encamped on the Southern side 
of the stream, at this date, the Second Kentucky Infantry 
(Hanson's own regiment), six or seven hundred strong, Byrne's 
Battery, and four companies of Tennessee cavalry. 

Colonel Thomas Hunt, an uncle of Captain Morgan, was also 
there with two companies of the regiment he was then organiz- 
ing. Of all the general officers (he was made a General) 
which Kentucky gave to the Confederate service, least justice 
had been done by fame to Boger Hanson, and it is strange that 
such should be the case. Not only was he well known, con- 

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stantly talked of, greatly loved, and ardently admired by the 
Kentuckians, but his name was familiar in all parts of the army. 
It is true that his early death blighted the reputation he was 
rapidly winning, but it is hard for those who knew him to 
understand how such a man could have failed to attract more 
general and more lively interest. While a very young man, he 
served with distinction in Mexico, returning home he indulged 
for a short period in an erratic career which astonished even the 
Kentuckians, and suddenly quitted it to beat all rivals at the 
bar, and become a leading politician. Friends and opponents 
agreed in pronouncing him one of the most effective speakers in 
the State. His youth was too much occupied in more agreea- 
ble pursuits, to admit of his employing profitably the educa- 
tional advantages which were offered him, but his mind, although 
unused to the discipline of study, mastered all that it grappled 
with. He read less and comprehended more law than any 
member of the profession in Kentucky. His vigorous native 
intellect and acute sense, were perhaps more formidable, for this 
reason. Want of science made his method of attack more origi- 
nal and irresistible. In the contests of the bar and the hustings, 
he was a sort of heavy armed partisan, his irregular, rapid 
onslaught crushed opposition. The learning and eloquence 
of his ablest antagonists availed little against his manly 
logic, and often sounded like the merest folly after having 
been subjected to his telling ridicule. All of his ideas 
seemed clearly defined ; his mind was never in a mist. His 
insight into character was extraordinary, and he had the 
most remarkable faculty of accurate observation and life-like 
reproduction, especially of ludicrous traits and scenes. His 
command of humorous, graphic, forcible expression was un- 
equaled. He had very many noble traits of character. He 
was candid and truthful to bluntness. His scorn of dissimula- 
tion and affectation of any sort, gave his manner and speech a 
bluffness, and apparent want of sympathy with the feelings of 
other men, which caused him often to be misunderstood. I be- 

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lieye that he would rather that the whole world should have 
thought him a scoundrel, than have seemed for one moment, in 
his own eyes, a hypocrite. His will was dauntless, his resolution 
inflexible, his courage high. He had little opportunity, during 
his military life, to show the stuff that was in him, and to prove 
that he possessed other qualities befitting an officer beside 
courage and the strictest attention to the instruction, the com- 
fort, and the discipline of his men. Notwithstanding that he 
was a very strict disciplinarian — and Kentucky troops have 
little love of discipline — ^he was very popular with his men. 
They retalliated by nick-naming him "Bench-leg," or " Old flint- 
lock," and admired him all the more intensely, the more fre- 
quently that he showed them that they could never deceive him 
nor attempt it with impunity. Once, thinking that the health 
of his regiment was getting too bad, and that many cases of 
illness, reported as severe, were but ruses to escape doing duty, 
he published an order that from that d^te ^^ there should be but 
two sick men at the same time in each company," and caused it 
to be rigidly enforced. No one who ever saw Hanson can forget 
him. In stature he was a little under the medium hight, and he 
was powerfully but ungracefully built. His bulky and ungOrinly 
form indicated great but awkward strength. His shoulders 
were huge, round, and stooping, and he sat on his horse in the 
attitude in which a sick man bends over the fire. His head 
was large and perfectly round. His complexion was fair and 
florid, and his eyes gray and full of light. His strong and 
marked features, when he became excited, worked strangely 
and apparently without being moved by the same influences, 
and the alert movement of his head, at such moments, was in 
singular contrast to his otherwise heavy inactive manner. His 
face, when he was culm and giving careful attention to any thing 
said to him, wore a look of exceeding sternness, enhanced by a 
peculiar twitch of the muscles of the mouth and eye. He had 
a German face with all the Irish expressions. A wound received 
in a duel had shortened one leg and gave him a singular gait, 

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94 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

something between a jerk and a roll. His voice was deep and 
guttural, and his utterance rapid, decided, abrupt, like that of a 
man who meant all that he said, and knew that it would produce 
an effect. No one could look him in the eye and fail to per- 
ceive that he was every inch a man — a strong, brave, manly 
nature looked out in every lineament of his face. Captain 
Wickliffe attached his company to the regiment which Colonel 
Hunt was organizing. Of the stragglers who had come out with 
Captain Morgan, some went one way and some another — only 
eight or ten remained with him. Although not yet in the Con- 
federate service, he at once commenced the active and daring 
work which laid the foundation of his celebrity and brought him 
at once into general notice. The cavalry which had been 
stationed there previously to his coming, had confined them- 
selves to doing picket duty, and had never sought or been re- 
quired to do other service. This monotonous work, altogether 
devoid of excitement, did not accord with his nature, which de- 
manded the stimulus of adventure ; he, moreover, intuitively 
understood then, and dec lared the fact since so c ompletelv de- 
monstr ated, that' cavalry can be employed to far bette r advan- 
^■^i^T^pf. wp]\ n^ xt upon the fr ont or flanks of the army to 
"which IT belongs, and close upon tne enemy^ than by "exacting 
' ul IC IhtTsort of duty which can just as well be performed by in- 
fantry. The Federal advanced forces were then stationed at 
Elizabethtown, and were soon pushed to Nolin Creek, distant 
about twenty-one or two miles from Munfordsville. Captain 
Morgan had at first not more than twenty mounted men of his 
own company, but with these and with volunteers from the 
other cavalry who were inspired by his example, he made fre- 
quent "scouts," and watched and reported every thing that 
transpired upon the front. These "excursions" were under- 
taken about four or five times in every week, and would usually 
occupy twenty-four hours. The scouting party would set out 
at or a little before dark; before reaching the lines of the 
enemy, some exciting chases would be had after the country- 

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men who were in Federal pay or sympathy, and who, always on 
the look-out for ns, would start at break-neck speed for the camp 
of their friends, pursued by our foremost riders. At first they 
tried to do this courier duty on horse-back, but finding that we 
were better mounted than they were, and that, when hard 
pressed and forced to take to the brush, their horses were 
abandoned for ever, they betook themselves to a less expensive 
mode of conveying information. They were fleet of foot and 
knew the paths through the thickets and hills perfectly, and it 
was difficult to follow and impossible to catch them. We, also, 
had many friends among the country people living near the 
enemy's camp, and as we would prowl all night around and 
among the Federal pickets and outposts, seeking to entrap the 
unwary, many were the secret conferences which we held in the 
shade of the woods with faithful informants, who generally closed 
their reports with emphatic adjurations that, ^' For the love of 
God," we would never breathe their names. 

Once or twice Captain Morgan passed himself as a Federal 
officer, in close vicinity to their camps, but this ruse could not 
be repeated often with success. Once we were guided safely out 
of a very dangerous situation by an intensely "loyal" man 
wh^Lil^o^ght he was assisting some friends who had lost their 
way. ~ When day returned the scouting party would take a posi- 
tion on the "line of retreat" at a convenient but safe distance 
from the enemy, rest and refresh men and horses observe, closely 
if there was any unusual movement in the hostile lines, and as 
the day declined and it became evident that all was likely to re- 
main quiet, it would return to camp. After the first two or three 
weeks of this eort of service, and its advantages had become ap- 
parent, an order was given to turn over to Captain Morgan 
some thirty "condemned " artillery horses. With a little care 
and nursing they were rendered tolerably fit for his purposes, 
and he was thus enabled to mount the better part of his company. 
I knew a scout to be performed, with most of the men liding 
these same rejected horses, of sixty-eight miles in twenty hours. 

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96 BISTORT OF morgan's OAYALRT. 

Although these scouts and expeditions were not nearly so ex- 
citing as were subsequent ones, when the cavalry of both armies 
had become more accustomed to them and more enterprising, 
yet they were very pleasant episodes in the dull tedious life of 
the camp, and excellent preparation for really hard and hazard- 
ous service. Morgan himself derived great benefit from the 
experience they gave him, for he rarely if ever missed them. 
He always knew how to direct and how to estimate the scouting 
duty of his command, one of the most important, by the practi- 
cal knowledge thus acquired. Nor will it injure any man who 
is called upon to exercise the duties of a General to take a few 
lessons in this school. The fatigue and discomfort from want of 
sleep attending these expeditions to those who went constantly 
upon them, was almost as great, as that suffered in later and far 
more difficult service. 

The first skirmish in which Morgan's company or any portion 
of it was engaged, was a very insignificant and bloodless one, and 
served only to illustrate the character of the apprehensions 
which are apt to assail raw troops. 

It was upon the second or third scout that Captain Morgan 
had taken, that we for the first time met the enemy. Contrary 
to the usual practice, the scouting party had started out early in 
the day; it consisted of some fifteen of Morgan's own company, 
twenty-five of the Tennessee cavalry, and ten or fifteen volun- 
teers, about fifty in all. After proceeding some twelve miles in 
the direction of Nolin Creek, the advance of our party suddenly 
discovered a body of Federal infantry moving down the road to- 
ward us. Their bayonets glistening and just perceptible above 
a little rise three or four hundred yards off notified the videttes 
of their vicinity. They did not see us, and we immediately dis- 
mounted and posted ourselves in the thickets on both sides of the 
road, sending the horses to the rear under charge of eight or 
ten men. No plan of battle was adopted, although many were 
proposed — the various suggestions, however, that were thrown 
out, in the inspiration of the moment are lost to history. I 

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ouB urst skibhish. 97 

remember, however, that one man gave it as his decided opinion, 
that we ought to charge them immedintelj on horseback, and 
he then rode rapidly back to Green river to report the situation 
to Colonel Hanson. Enjoining silence on the talkative, Captain 
Morgan went forward on foot to a house, about one hundred and 
forty or fifty yards in front of our position, and looked out from 
a window, which commanded a full view of their approach, upon 
the enemy. He saw a body of sixty or seventy, but this came 
so close upon him that he was compelled to leave the house be- 
fore he could discover whether it was the advance of another 
and larger body, or was unsupported. Fortunately he effected 
his retreat from the house and rejoined his party without dis- 
covery by the enemy. The latter continued to march on, past , 
the house, and toward our position, until, within forty or fifty 
yards of us, something discovered us to them and they halted. 
Captain Morgan immediately stepped out into the road, fired at 
and shot the officer riding at the head of the column. Without 
returning the fire his men fell back to the house before men- 
tioned, situated on a long low knoll, through which, to the left of 
the house as we faced, was a cut of the railroad. This afforded 
a pretty good position and one which we should have taken our- 
selves. Here they deployed and opened a volley upon us, which 
would have been very fatal if we had been in the tops of instead 
of behind the trees. Both sides then continued to load and fire 
rapidly. With us, every man ought to have behaved well, for 
each acted upon his own responsibility. Captain Morgan with a 
few of the more enterprising, and one or two personal followers 
who always kept close to him, worked his way very nigh to the 
enemy, and did the only shooting that was effective. We had 
neither drill nor any understanding among ourselves. The fight 
was much like a camp-meeting, or an election row. After it had 
lasted about ten or twelve minutes, an intelligent horse -holder 
came up from the rear, breathless, and announced that the enemy 
was flanking us, and that he had been largely reinforced. " The 
receipt of this important intelligence necessit-ated the withdrawal 

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of the forces," and every man withdrew after his own fashion 
and in his own time." ./^Our loss," was one man slightly wounded 
and several shot through the clothes. It was as bloody as an 
affair between Austrian and Italian outposts. 

The horscrholder who brought the information which led 
to our retreat, w^as evidently one who had carefully studied 
the military articles in the newspapers, and spoke from the 
influence of a.sudden recollection of the <^ science" he had thus 
acquired, jather than from accurate observation. This may be 
safely asserted, as we were not pursued by the enemy, and next 
day, upon returning, learned that they had commenced retreating 
about the same time that we did, and that they were but a scouting 
party like ourselves, Two or three men who goV first to Green 
river^ before Captain Morgan's report was received there, 
stateil that we^ had encountered a strong Federal column ad- 
vancing to drive our forces away from Woodsonville ; that we 
had attacked, and after a hard fight checked it, but that unless 
Captain Morgan was immediately reinforced it would probably 
resume its march. This statement created much excitement at 
Woodsonville, and was generally credited. But Colonel Hanson 
treated the gentlemen who -brought it rather roughly, and said 
(with an< unnecessary reflection on a gallant arm of the service) 
that it was a "Cavalry Story." 

Several days after this' affair, Morgan made his first narrow 
escape of capture. Hanson determined to send U force to the 
Nolin outposts sufficiently strong to drive them in and create 
serious confusion and alarm in the Federal camps. He accord- 
ingly ordered the Major commanding the battalion of Tennes- 
see cavalry, to take his entire force, about two hundred and 
forty men, and, conducted by Morgan, who went with twenty 
of his men, to make the attack upon the outposts. This force 
started about nightfall. Morgan thinking that there were now 
men enough upon- the road to accomplish some of his most fav- 
orite plans,*wad in high spirits. His own men, who had never 

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in their lives seen so much cavalry on the march, believed the 
column invincible* 

The Tennesseeans who had long murmured at the inaction to 
which they had been condemned, were anxious for a fight. The 
Major arranged the plan with Captain Morgan — the latter was to 
get, with his twenty men, in the rear of the pickets on post, and 
then fire a gun. At this signal, the Major was to dash down 
with his battalion, and, picking up the pickets, charge down 
upon the base and reserve. In the meantime, Morgan ex- 
pected to entertain the latter with an unlooked-for volley. It 
was proposed to push the plan as far as possible, even, if the 
first features were successfully and quickly executed, to an 
attack upon the camps. 

But it happened that some five miles from Nolin, one of the 
country fellows, who was in the habit of running into the Fed- 
eral lines at our approach, was surprised and arrested by Cap- 
tain Morgan who was in the advance. 

The women of whom there wore several in the house where 
he was taken, made a terribly outcry and noise, and would not 
be pacified. 

Captain Morgan moved on, but was shortly afterward in- 
formed by one of the men, that the Tennessee battalion had 
turned back. He rode to the Major and urged, but unsuccess- 
fully, that the plan should not be abandoned. Determined, then, 
to go forward himself, he proceeded to the point where the 
pickets on the extreme front had usually stood, but they were 
gone. He halted his detachment here, and taking with him one of 
his best and most trusted men (private, afterward Captain John 
Sisson), started down the road on foot to reconnoiter. He had 
been gone but a short time, when the rear guard of the Tennes- 
see battalion, about twenty strong, came up ; it was commanded 
by Captain, afterward Colonel, Biffel. It seemed that the 
Major had conceived that the shrieks of the women would notify 
the enemy of his coming, and prevent his plan of surprising 
the picket posts and base from succeeding. 

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100 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Finding that Morgan had still gone on, Biffel took advantage 
of his position in the rear of the returning battalion and came 
to support him. As soon as he got up and learned why we 
were halted, he turned into the thicket with his detachment, on 
the side of the road, opposite to that occupied by Morgan's. 
Just as he was doing this, a Federal column of cavalry came up 
the road, and -hearing the noise of horses forcing they way 
through the brush, halted about one hundred yards from the 
point where we lay. The night was clear, and we could easily 
distinguish them in the moonlight. I had been left in command 
of the detachment, and would not permit the men to fire, lest it 
should endanger Captain Morgan's safety, who, if we were 
driven ofi", would probably be captured. I ordered, therefore, 
that not a shot should be fired, unless they resumed their march 
and came right upon us. 

They remained at the spot where they had halted for perhaps 
twenty minutes, apparently in consultation, when they counter- 
marched and went off rapidly. In a few minutes after they had 
disappeared. Captain Morgan and Sisson returned and gave an 
account of what had happened to them. They had walked 
along the road for fifteen or twenty minutes, when suddenly they 
heard the tramp of cavalry. They were in a stretch of the 
road darkened for some distance by the shade of heavy timber. 
This column came upon them, and they slipped aside some ten 
or fifteen paces into the woods. Captain Morgan estimated it 
at about one hundred and twenty men. After it had passed, it 
occurred to him that his men would be attacked by it, and he 
started back rapidly to rejoin them. The fatigue of running 
through the woods was soon too much for him and he was com- 
pelled to desist. 

As he drew near to the point where he had left us and heard 
no firing, he conceived a true idea of the situation. Stealing 
cautiously along, he came upon the enemy, who, at the halt, had 
gone into the woods also. He was then compelled to lie closely 
concealed and perfectly still until the road was left clear by the 

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retreat of the enemy. Fortunately his proximity was not dis- 
covered by the enemy when in this last situation. 

Captain Morgan continued actively engaged in this sort of 
service until the troops were wiijidrawn from Woodson ville, when 
he was also ordered to Bowlinggreen. There the men were 
sworn into the service, the company regularly organized and 
ofiBcers elected. John H. Morgan was of course elected Cap- 
tain ; I was elected First Lieutenant ; James West, Second Lieu- 
tenant ; Van Buren Sellers, Third, or, more properly. Brevet 
Second Lieutenant. The strength of the company was then a 
little above the ^' minimum^' required for organization, number- 
ing sixty-seven privates. 

Immediately after reaching Bowlinggreen, excellent horses 
were purchased and turned over to the company, by General 
Buckner's order, and saddles, bridles, tents, etc., were issued to 
it. It was already provided with the best guns and accouter- 
ments, and when the fitting up at Bowlinggreen was completed, 
no command in the Confederate service was better equipped, in 
any respect. 

At this period two other companies, one commanded by Cap- 
tain Thomas Allen of Shelbyville, Kentucky, and the other by 
Captain James Bowles of Louisville, but principally recruited 
in the neighborhood of Glasgow, were assigned to Captain Mor- 
gan's command at the earnest request of their officers and 
men. Bowles' company was not full, and was consolidated with 
another fragment of a company commanded by Lieutenant 
Churchill — ^the latter becoming First Lieutenant of the new or- 

The three companies composed '^ Morgan's Squadron," a pop- 
ular misnomer by which, however, the command came, in a short 
time, to be regularly designated. Morgan's company became 
A, of this organization ; Allen's, B ; Bowies', C. The squad- 
ron remained quietly in camp, at Bowlinggreen, for two or three 
weeks after its organization. This time was profitably spent 
in instructing the men in drill and teaching them something of 

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102 BISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

discipline. The first expedition taken after this, was to Grayson 
county, on the north side of Green river, to collect and bring 
to- Bowlinggreen a large drove of cattle -which had been pur- 
chased, but could not be brought out without a guard. 

The " Home-guards " held this county in strong force ; they 
had long expected a Confederate inroad, and had sternly deter- 
mined to punish the invaders when they came. The squadron 
reached the ferry, at which it was directed to cross at night. 
We found the boats sunken, but raised them, filled up the holes 
bored in their bottoms, bailed them out, and by eight o'clock 
next morning we had one company across. The day was spent 
in crossing the cattle to the southern side of the river. 

On the following evening, the entire squadron was transferred 
to the north side of the river and passed the night agreeably 
in chasing the Home-guards, who did not make a hard fight, 
but ran off some twenty or thirty miles to a neighboring county 
to "rally." 

Shortly after his return to ^Bowlinggreen, from this expedi- 
tion. Captain Morgan was ordered to the front again, and 
reported to Brigadier General Hindman, who commanded a 
brigade of infantry and a strong force of cavalry, in all three 
thousand or thirty-five hundred men, upon the extreme front of 
our line. 

General Hindman's headquarters were at Bell's tavern, 
twenty-five miles from Bowlinggreen, and thirteen from Wood- 
sonville, then occupied by the enemy, who had advanced to 
Green river, ten or fifteen days after we left there. 

It would, perhaps, be more correct to say, that the enemy 
held Munfordsville, for although Woodsonville was virtually in 
his possession, and completely at his disposal, there were, at 
that date, none of his regiments encamped on the southern 
side of the river. 

A few days before Morgan's arrival, had occurred the fight, 
in which Colonel Terry, of the Eighth Texas Cavalry (better 
known then as Terry's Rangers), was killed, and of which so 

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many contradictory versions have prevailed. The Northern 
account has often been published, and if the many later and 
more important events have not crowded it out of memory, is 
familiar to all who read the Northern newspapers at that time. 
Without presuming to give a minute account of the fight, for I 
did not witness it, nor have I ever, seen a report of it, I can 
present, in a few words, the idea which I derived from the des- 
cription of men who were presept, and which was generally 
received, just after the fight, in our army. 

General Hindman had received information that a strong 
body of the enemy had crossed the river, and desiring to as- 
certain if this movement was preliminary to an advance of the 
entire army, he moved forward with the greater part of his 
infantry, some artillery and Terry's regiment of cavalry, to 
reconnoiter, and, perhaps, contest an advance, if it were made. 
When he arrived at the ground upon which the fight commenced, 
about three miles from the river, he discovered the enemy, and, 
supposing his force to be not stronger than his own, determined 
to engage him. 

I am not familiar with the plan or details of the fight, bul 
am under the impression that, when first, seen, the enemy was 
slowly advancing, unaware of Hindman's vicinity, and that the 
latter screened the bulk of his force behind a large hill, upon the 
eastern side of the Bowlinggreen road, the summit of which 
he occupied with skirmishers, and posted his artillery some 
distance farther back, where it was partially concealed, and 
could yet sweep the road and the ground over which, the enemy 
was advancing. 

Terry Was instructed to skirmish in the enemy's front, and 
draw him on, until his flank should be exposed to the infantry, 
that was masked behind the hill. It was the intention then, I 
have always understood, to attack vigorously with all the infan- 
try, throw a part of it in the enemy's rear, and between him 
and the river, while Terry charged him on the other flank. One 
part of Terry's regiment, under his own immediate command, 

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was on the right of the road at a considerable distance from 
any support. Another, commanded by one of his Captains, was 
posted nearer the infantry. 

Hindman's plan to bring his whole force into action and cat 
off and capture a part of the enemy's, if such was his plan, was 
frustrated by the impatient ardor of Terry, who, after a very 
brief retreat before WiUich's regiment of infantry, turned and 
charged it furiously. The regiment was deployed in skirmish 
order, and had barely time to "rally by fours," when Terry, of 
whose command they had, up to that moment, seen only a very 
few, came down on them. The Texians rode around the groups 
of four, shooting the men down with their revolvers and shot- 
guns. Seeing his Colonel engaged, the officer commanding the 
other portion of the regiment, charged the enemy nighest him 
with similar success. Teriy and six of his men were killed, and 
perhaps twice that number wounded. All the witnesses on the 
Confederate side concurred in saying that fifteen or twenty of 
the Federals were killed, and as many more, at least, wounded. 
I passed over the ground shortly afterward as bearer of a flag of 
truce, and heard the same account from the citizens living near 
the scene of the fight. Willich's regiment was a very fine one, 
and its commander a very superior officer. 

General Hindman was an officer of great dash and energy, 
and very ambitious — ^he was, therefore, just the man to encourage 
an enterprising subordinate, and give him free rein in that sort 
of service which keeps up the morale of an army at a time when 
it must remain inactive, reflects credit upon the commanding 
officer who directs it, and which rank and duty forbid a com* 
tnanding officer to undertake himself. Although his imperious 
and exacting temper made him many enemies, he had other 
qualities which gained him devoted friends. One was a disposi- 
tion (proceeding either from a desire to attach to himself men 
whose friendship he thought would be valuable, or from a real 
feeling of regard — ^perhaps from both) to go all lengths for a 
friend. He entered heartily into all of Morgan's plans, encour- 

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' QENBRAL fite^KTV 105 

aged and gave him every facility to extenoL his enterprises, and 
seemed to entertain a peculiar pride and pleasure in his success. 
There is no doubt that there was something in his nature which 
made him cordially sympathize with every thing that was daring 
and adventurous. Morgan became very fond of him. and always 
spoke with pleasure of this brief service with him. Although 
almost constantly dose upon the outposts of the enemy, some- 
times in small detachments, and occasionally with every effective 
man, the squadron had no engagement except the picket fights, 
which were of constant occurrence. The reason of this was that 
the Federals never came outside of their lines, except for very 
short distances, and then in bodies so strong that we dared not 
attack them. The practice of firing upon and attacking 
pickets was then much condemned by the Federal oflScers, but 
no valid reason has ever been assigned for this condemnation. 
It is true that killing and annoying pickets does not decide the 
result of campaigns, neither do the minor skirmishes and partial 
battles which so frequently occur in all wars, yet it is the means 
of affecting the general result, and assisting to make it success- 
ful as fuuch as any other method of harassing an enemy. If 
war is to be confined to sieges, pitched battles, etc., then every 
method of wearying, annoying and discouraging an adversary, 
of keeping him in doubt, or goading him to desperation, must 
be equally condemned. All stratagem must be discarded, and 
a return may as well be had to the polite but highly ridiculous 
practice of lines of battle saluting each other and refusing to 
fire first. There are certain rules of war whose observance 
humanity and the spirit of the age demand. Prisoners ought 
not to be killed or maltreated, unless in retalliation ; the terms 
of capitulations and surrenders ought to be honorably fulfilled 
and observed ; war ought not to be made on non-combatants. 
But the soldier ought to be content to take his chance. It is 
more soldierly to teach pickets to fight when attacked, than to 
complain of it, and a picket who will allow himself to be sur- 
prised on his post ought to be shot. At the time of which I 

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TTrite the Federal army at Green river was provided with no 
cavalry, or cavalry that was useless. Its commander, therefore^ 
unless informed by his spies, whose reports were, of course, in- 
frequent, was ignorant of all that transpired even immediately 
outside of his advance videttes, and it was impossible for him to 
know whether an attack on his picket line was made by a scout- 
ing party, or premised a serious affair. He was, then, obliged 
either to prepare for battle every time any thing of the kind 
occurred, greatly harassing his troops, or to take the risk of an 
attack when unprepared. It was an excellent means, too, of 
judging of the strength of an infantry camp and the changes 
made from time to time in it, to attack the picket line at various 
points, hear the 'Mong rolls" beaten, and see the troops turn 
out, as occasionally could be done. 

One or two adventures of Captain Morgan at this period 
attracted a good deal of notice. One of them, the burning of 
Bacon creek bridge, took place before he reported to Hindman. 
This bridge had been destroyed at the time our forces fell back 
from Woodson ville. It was a small structure and easily replaced, 
but its reparation was necessary to the use of the road. The 
Federal army then lay encamped between Bacon and Nolin 
creeks, the advance about three miles from Bacon creek — the 
outposts were scarcely half a mile from the bridge. A few days 
labor served to erect the wood work of the bridge, and it was 
ready to receive the iron rails, when Morgan asked leave to des- 
troy it. It was granted, and he started from Bowlinggreen on 
the same night with his entire command, for he believed that he 
would find the bridge strongly guarded and would have to fight 
for it. Halting at daybreak a short distance from the river, he 
waited until night fell again before resuming his march. He 
crossed the ford at Woodsonville, which was fortunately not 
guarded, and dispersed a party of Home-guards, which, ignorant 
of his vicinity, had assembled at Munfordsville to carry off some 
Southern sympathizers of that place. 

Pressing on vigorously he reached the bridge at midnight, and 

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to his surprise and satisfaciion found it without a guard ; that 
which protected the workmen during the day, having been with- 
drawn at night. The bridge was set on fire and in three hours 
thoroughly destroyed — no interruption to the work was at- 
tempted by the enemy. The damage inflicted was trifling, and 
the delay occasioned of little consequence. The benefit derived 
from it by Morgan was two-fold— itincreas ed the hardihood of 
his men in that species of service, and gavehimself still great ajL- 
confidence in his own tactics. Shortly after Woodsonville had 
been included within the picket lines of the enemy and occupied 
with troops, Captain Morgan with two men went at night to 
Bowlett's station, on the railroad, about two hundred yards from 
the picket line, and found the small building which was used as 
a depot in the possession of five or six stragglers, who were 
pla}'ing cards and making merry, and captured them. He set 
fire to the building, and when the troops had been called out by 
the bright light, he sent in a message by one of his prisoners to 
the effect that in the following week he would come and burn 
them out of Woodsonville. 

On the evening of the 20th or 21st of January, Captain Mor- 
gan with five men left his camp at Bell's tavern, crossed the 
Green river at an unguarded ferry, and on the following day 
rode into Lebanon, some sixty miles from his point of departure. 
Several hundred troops were encamped near this place, and a 
great many stores were in the town and in a large building be- 
tween the town and the nearest camp. The soldiers off or on 
duty were frequently passing to and fro through the town- 
Morgan destroyed the stores, and made all the stragglers pris* 
oners ; some of them he was obliged to release after taking their 
overcoats, with which he disguised his own men and was thus 
enabled to get quietly through some dangerous situations. He 
brought back with him nine prisoners, a large flag aad several 
other tropMes. Two companies of cavalry followed him closely, 
but he gained the river first, crossed and turned the boat adrift, 
just as his pursuers reached the bank. Next day he marched 

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into Glasgow with his five mea and nine prisoners in column, 
and the United States flag flying at the front. He scared the 
citizens of the place and two or three straggling Confederates, 
who were there^ horribly. The flag and blue overcoats demor- 
alized them. 

When he reached his own camp the prisoners were quartered 
with different "messes," but were not placed under regular 
guard. The inmates of each tent, in which prisoners were 
placed, were held responsible for them. On this occasion it 
happened that some of the men (by means in which they were 
learned and adroit) had obtained several bottles of wine — spark- 
ling Catawba — and the prisoners were assured that this sort of 
wine was regularly issued to the Confederate cavalry by their 
commissaries. They approved the wine and the practice of 
including it in soldiers' rations, and five of them next morning 
begged, with tears in their eyes, to be received into the Con- 
federate service. These adventures are not related because it 
is thought that they will excite any especial interest, but be- 
cause they fairly represent the nature of the service in which 
Morgan was constantly engaged during the occupation of South- 
ern Kentucky by the Confederate army, in the fall of 1861, and 
the greater part of the succeeding winter. 

Although greatly inferior in dash and execution to the subse- 
quent cavalry operations of the West, this service of Morgan's 
was much superior, in both, to any thing which had, up to that 
time, been attempted by either side, and it served to educate 
Morgan's men and Morgan himself for the successful conduct of 
more daring and far more important enterprises. 

A strong and mutual feeling of regard and friendship com- 
menced (during the period that we served with General Hind- 
man), between the Eighth Teias (Terry's Rangers), and the 
squadron, which continued to the close of the war, growing 
warmer as Morgan's command grew in numbers, and, doubtless, 
it exists, now, in the hearts of the men, who composed the two 
organizations. This feeling interfered in some degree with 

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discipline, for most of the men of both were young and wild, 
and inclined, when they could evade the vigilance of x;amp 
guards, to rove noctumally and extensively, and neither, when 
on picket, would arrest or stop their friends from the other com- 

The gallant Bangers paid dearly for their proud record, and 
few of those who used to roam and fight so recklessly then, are, 
I fear, living now, to recall the events which we witnessed to- 
gether. The squadron remained with the force* under command 
of General Hindman until the evacuation of Bowlinggreen and 
the retreat from Kentucky. Then we left the scenes and the 
region with which we had become so familiar with sad hearts. 
We had hoped that when the signal for departure was sounded, 
it would be also the order to advance ; that we would press on 
to recover the whole of Kentucky, and win victories that would 
give her to us forever, and the retreat seemed to us like a march 
to our graves. But a feeling of regret at leaving the country 
in which we had passed months of such pleasant and stirring 
service, was natural, even without other reasons for it.* Men 
are apt to become attached to the localities where they have led 
free and active lives, and to connect with them agreeable asso- 
ciations. This country had many such for us, and that part 
especially between Bell's tavern on the one side of Green river, 
and NoHn on the other. For many miles to the right and left 
there was scarcely a foot of the ground which we had not trav- 
ersed, nor a thicket in which we had not hidden ; from almost 
every hill we had watched the enemy, and at almost every turn 
in the road shot at him. These are not precisely the kind of 
reminiscences that the poetical and romantic sigh over, but 
every man has a right to be sentimental after his own fashion, 
and Morgan's men were always mightily so about the Green 
river country. 

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110 BISTORT or morgak's cayalrt. 


In the latter part of January, 1862, it became evidentt-that 
General Johnston, with the inferior force at his disposal, could not 
hold his line in Kentucky. Crittenden, upon the right flank, 
had sustained a serious disaster at Mill Springs, near Somerset, 
and had been forced back across the. Cumberland, which he had 
crossed to attack Thomas. In this battle General ZoUicoffer was 
killed— ^his death was in itself an irreparable loss. Crittenden 
retreated first upon Monticello and subsequently to Gainesville 
in Tennessee. He lost his artillery and trains, and l|is troops 
could be relied on to oppose no effective resistance — for the 
time — ^to the farther advance of the enemy. . The superiority of 
the latter in numbers had been not more marked than their su- 
periority in arms and equipment. The fatigue and privation 
endured by Crittenden's men upon their retreat had contributed 
greatly to impair their efficiency. The expeditions against Forts 
Henry and Donelson were vigorously pressed, and scarcely had 
full confirmation arrived of the defeat of Crittenden, when we 
got the first rumors of the fall of Fort Henry. General John- 
ston had never been able to collect at all the points of defense 
in Kentucky, exclusive of Columbus, more than twenty-four 
thousand men. In this force were included sixty-days' men and 
all the minor garrisons. He had at Bowlinggreen in January 
and the first of February about ten thousand. 

Buell had organized, during the period that the two armies 
lay inactive and confronting each other, fifty or sixty thousand 
men, and they were, at the time when General Johnston com- 
menced his retreat, concentrated, mobilized, and ready to fall 
upon him. Therefore, even before it became evident that Don- 

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elson must fall, before the capture of Nashville w&a /mminent, 
by an enemy moving from either flank, and before his line of 
retreat was endangered, but just so soon as Buell put his army 
in motion General Johnston evacuated Bowlinggreen. Then 
began the campaign, in which more than in any other of the 
war, was displayed the profoundest strategy^ the most heroic 
decision, the highest order of generalship. 

General Johnston had long foreseen the storm of difficulties 
which now assailed him. His resources were scanty .and the 
emergency was terrible, but he did not despair of fighting through 
it to victory. Upon one flank of his line, he had sustained a 
crushing defeat, the forces protecting it had been driven off. 
Nashville might be taken by the victors. One of the forts pro- 
tecting the great water lines which led right into the heart of 
his department, and away to the rear of his army, had been 
taken. If the other fell the fate of Nashville was sealed, but 
far worse, he would be inclosed at Bowlinggreen, should he 
remain there, between three armies each much stronger than his 
own. If he lingered around Nashville, he could not protect the 
city, but gave his enemy the opportunity of cutting him off 
completely from the only territory whence he could hope to 
obtain recruits, and of preventing his junction with the rein- 
forcements which he had ordered to his assistance. He did not 
hesitate a moment. 

Price and Van Dorn were ordered from Arkansas, Bragg 
was ordered from Pensacola, all the available troops at New 
Orleans, and every point in the department where troops were 
stationed, were called into the field, and the concentration of all 
at Corinth, in Northern Mississippi, was arranged. Here he 
would have every thing massed and in hand, and in his rear 
would be no danger, nor indefensible line by which danger could 
menace him. His adversaries on the contrary would be sepa- 
rated from each other ; rivers and all the perils of a hostile 
population would be between them and safety, if they were 
defeated or forced to turn and retreat ; energy and promptness 

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would enable him to strike tbem heary bloTrs before they could 
unite ; if every detail of his plan worked right, he might hope 
to outnumber them at every collision. 

This plan would require the evacuation of Columbus, eyen if 
the occupation of New Madrid did not; but there was no longer 
any use of holding Columbus, after a retreat to Mississippi had 
been decided upon. Its garrison would help to swell the ranks 
of the army for the decisive battle — and if that battle were won, 
territory far North of Columbus would be gained. Therefore, 
braving censure and remonstrance more general, energetic, and 
daring, than was ever encountered by any Confederate officer, 
before or since, GeneralJohnston turned his back upon Kentucky 
and commenced the retreat which culminated in the battle of 
Shiloh. When the dangers from which this retreat extricated 
him, the favorable position in which it placed him for offensive 
operations, the exact calculation of the proper time to turn 
retreat into attack, and the electric rapidity and courage with 
which the latter was done — when all the features are considered, 
is it claiming too much to say that no conception of the war was 
more magnificent? 

The evacuation of Bowlinggreen was commenced on the 14th 
of February, and nothwithstanding the discontent of the troops, 
was accomplished in perfect order. On the day after it was all 
over, the enemy arrived upon the opposite bank of Barren river — 
the bridges had all, of course, been burned — and shelled the 
town which he could not immediately enter. 

The weather for the week following the evacuation, was in- 
tensely cold, and the troops accustomed, for the most part, to 
comfortable quarters during the winter, and exposed for the first 
time to real hardships, suff'ered severely. Still, after the first 
murmuring was over, they were kept in high spirits by the impres- 
sion, assiduously cultivated by their officers, that they were march- 
ing to surprise and attack Thomas, who was supposed to have 
compromised himself by an imprudent pursuit of Crittenden. 

The news from Donelson, where the fight was then raging^ 

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was very fayorable, and the snecessful defense of the fort for 
several days encouraged even General Johnston to hope that it 
-would bo held and the assailants completely beaten off. 

As the army neared NashTille, some doubts of the truth of the 
programme which the men had arranged in their imaginations 
began to intrude, • and they began to believe that the retreat 
meant in good earnest the giving up of Kentucky — ^perhaps 
something more which they were unwilling to contemplate. 
While they were in this state of doubt and anxiety, like a 
thunder-clap came the news of the fall of Donelson— the news 
that seven thousand Confederate were prisoners in the hands of 
the enemy. 

General Johnston, himself, was thoroughly surprised by the 
suddenness of the disaster, for, six hours before he received 
information of the surrender, he had been dispatched that the 
enemy had been signally repulsed, and were drawing off, and 
until the intelligence came of the fate of the garrison, he had 
learned of no new attack. The depression, which this informa- 
tion produced, was deepened by the gloom which hung over 
Nashville when the troops entered. It is impossible to describe 
the scene. Disasters were then new to us, and our people had 
been taught to believe them impossible. No subsequent reverse, 
although fraught with far more real calamity, ever created the 
shame, sorrow, and wild consternation which swept over the South 
with the news of the surrender of Donelson. And in Nashville, 
itself sure to fall next and speedily, an anguish and terror were 
felt and expressed, scarcely to be conceived by those who have 
not witnessed a similar scene. All the worst evils which follow 
in the train of war and subjugation seemed to be anticipated by 
the terrified people, and the feeling was quickly communicated to 
the troops, and grew with every hour until it assumed almost the 
proportions of a panic. The Tennessee troops were naturally 
most influenced by the considerations which affected the citizens, 
but all shared the feeliug. Some wept at the thought of aban- 
doning the city to a fate which they esteemed as dreadful as utter 

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114 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

destruction, and many, infuriated, loudly advocated burning it 
to the ground that the enemy might have nothing of it but its 

During the first night after the army reached Nashville, when 
the excitement and fury were at the highest pitch, and oflSicers 
and privates were alike influenced by it, it seemed as if the 
bonds of discipline would be cast off altogether. Crowds of 
soldiers were mingled with the citizens who thronged the streets 
all night, and yells, curses, shots rang on all sides. In some 
houses the women were pale and sobbing, and in others there 
was even merriment, as if in defiance of the worst. Very soon 
all those who had escaped from Donelson began to arrive. 

Forrest had cut his way through the beleaguering lines and 
brought off his entire regiment. He reached Nashville on the 
day after it was entered by the army. It was impossible for the 
infantry men who escaped to make their way from the scene 
of disaster, except in small detachments. They were neces- 
sarily scattered all over the country, and those who reached 
Nashville in time to accompany the army upon its farther march, 
came in as stragglers and without any organization. Neither 
men nor officers had an idea of how or when they were to do 
duty again. The arrival of these disbanded soldiers, among 
whom it was difficult to establish and enforce order, because no 
immediate disposition could be made of them, increased the con- 
fusion already prevailing. Rumors, too, of the near approach 
of the enemy were circulated, and were believed even by 
officers of high rank. 

Buell's army, which was really not far south of Bowlinggreen, 
was reported to be within a few miles of the city, and xhe Fed- 
eral gunboats, which had not yet reached Glarksville, were 
confidently declared to be within sight of Fort ZoUicoffer, only 
seven miles blow Nashville. 

Upon the second day matters had arrived at such a state, 
and the excitement and disorder were so extreme, that it became 
necessary to take other precautions to repress the license that 

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was prevailing, besides the establishment of guards and senti- 
nels abont the camps where the troops lay,andGeneralJohnston 
ordered the establishment of a strong military police in Nash- 
ville. The First Missonri infantry, one of the finest and best 
disciplined regiments in the service, was detailed for this duty, 
and Morgan's squadron was sent to assist it. Our duty was to 
patrol the city and suburbs, and we were constantly engaged at 
it until the city was evacuated. General John B. Floyd, of 
Virginia, was appointed commandant of Nashville, and entrusted 
with the enforcement of discipline and with all the details of the 
evacuation. His task was one of no ordinary difficulty. It 
was hard, at such a time, to know how to begin the work. In 
such a chaos, with such passions ruling, it seemed folly to hope 
for the restoration of order. Those who remember the event, 
will recall the feeling of despair which had seized upon the 
soldiery — the entire army seemed, for the time, hopeless of any 
retrieval of our fortunes, and every man was thoroughly reckless. 
Few excesses were committed ; but, with such a temper prevail- 
ing, the worst consequences were to be apprehended, if the 
influence of the officers should be entirely lost and the minds 
of the men should be directed to mischief. General Floyd 
would have found the demoralization and license which had 
grown apace among the troops, and the terrors of the citizens, 
serious impediments to his efforts to remove the valuable stores 
which had %een collected in Nashville, even if he had possessed 
abundant facilities for their removal. But of such facilities he 
was almost entirely destitute. The trains with the army were 
needed for transportation of supplies for immediate use. The 
scanty wheel transportation which belonged to captured and 
disorganized commands, and had been brought to the city, could 
scarcely be made available. When it could be discovered and 
laid hold of, the wagons and teams were usually found to be 
unserviceable. General Floyd's first care (after satisfying 
himself by active scouting, that there was no truth in the 
reports of the proximity of the enemy, and burning the bridge 

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at Edgefield junction), was to make arrangements for saving as 
many of the stores as was possible, giving the preference to 
ordnance stores. For this purpose he ordered an impressment 
of transportation in Nashville and the vicinitj, making a clean 
sweep of every thing that ran on wheels. In this manner some 
eighty or ninety vehicles were gotten together, with teams, and 
as many loads of ordnance stores were saved for the army. He 
issued orders that the citizens should be permitted to help 
themselves to the remaining stores, and a promiscuous scramble 
for clothing, blankets, meat, meal, and all sorts of quarter- 
master and commissary stores, commenced and lasted three 
days. Occasionally, a half- drunken, straggling soldier, would 
walk into the midst of the snatchers, with gun on shoulder and 
pistol at his belt, and the citizens would stand back, jackall like, 
until he had helped himself. Crowds would stand upon the 
pavements underneath the tall buildings upon the Court House 
Square, while out of their fourth and fifth-story windows large 
bales of goods were pitched, which would have crushed any one 
upon whom they had fallen. Yet numbers would rush and 
fasten upon them, while other bales were already in the air 
descending. Excitement and avarice seemed to stimulate the 
people to preternatural strength. I saw an old woman, whose 
appearance indicated the extremest decrepitude, staggering under 
a load of meat which I would have hardly thought a quarter- 
master's mule could carry. Twice during the first d&y of these 
scenes, orders were received by a portion of Forrest's regiment, 
drawn up on the Square, to stop the appropriation of stores by 
the citizens, and they accordingly charged the crowd (deaf to 
any less forcible reason) with drawn sabers ; several men were 
w'ounded and trampled upon, but fortunately none were killed. 
Nothing could have been more admirable than the fortitude, 
patience and good sense which General Floyd displayed in his 
arduous and unenviable task. He had, already, for ten days, 
endured great and uninterrupted excitement and fatigue; without 
respite or rest, he was called to this responsibility and duty, 

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Those who have never witnessed nor been placed in such situa- 
tions, can not understand how they harass the mind and try the ^ 

General Floyd soon found that he could (with no exertion) 
maintain perfect order, or rescue more than a fragment from the 
wreck, and he bent all his energies to the task of repressing 
serious disorders, preventing the worst outrages, and preserving 
all that was most absolutely required for the use of the army, 
and that it was practical to remove. 

It was easy for officers who respectively saw and considered 
but one matter, to advise attention to that in particular, and to 
censure if their advice was not taken. But the very multi- 
plicity of such counsellors, embarrassed rather than assisted, and 
showed the utter impossibility, in the brief time allowed, of at- 
tending to every thing. I saw a great deal of General Floyd, 
while he was commanding in Nashville, and I was remarkably 
impressed by him. I was required to report to him almost 
every hour in the twenty-four, and he was always surrounded 
by a crowd of applicants for all sorts of favors, and couriers 
bringing all sorts of news. It was impossible in the state of 
confusion which prevailed to prohibit or regulate this pressing 
and noisy attendance, or to judge, without examination, of what 
was important to be considered. Many matters which ordinarily 
a general officer would not permit himself to be troubled with, 
might need attention and action from him at such a time. Iras- 
cible and impetuous as General Floyd seemed to be by nature — 
his nerves unstrung, too, by the fatigues of so many busy days 
and sleepless nights — and galled as he must have been by the 
constant annoyances, he yet showed no sign of impatience. I 
saw him give way but once to anger, which was, then, provoked 
by the most stupid and insolent pertinacity. It was interesting 
to watch the struggle which would sometimes occur between his 
naturally violent temper and the restraint he imposed upon it. 
His eye would glow, his face and his lips turn pale, and his 
frame shake with passion ; he would be silent for minutes, as if 

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118 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

not daring to trust himself to speak, looking all the while upon 
^he ground^ and he would then address the man, whose brusque- 
ness or obstinacy had provoked him, in the mildest tone and 
manner. He was evidently endowed with no common nerve, 
will, and judgment. 

At last the evacuation was completed, the army wa^ gotten 
clear of Nashville, the last straggler driven out, all the stores 
which could not be carried off, nor distributed to the citizens, 
burned, and the capitol of Tennessee (although we did not know 
it then) was abandoned finally to the enemy. Morgan's squadron 
was the last to leave, as it was required to remain in the ex- 
treme rear of the army and pick up all the stragglers that 
evaded the rear guards of the infantry. Our scouts left behind, 
when we, in our turn, departed, witnessed the arrival of the 
Federals and their occupation of the city. 

The army was halted at Murfreesboro', thirty miles from 
Nashville, where it remained for nearly a week. Here it was 
joined by the remnant of Crittenden's forces. After a few days 
given to repose, reorganization and the re-establishment of dis- 
cipline, General Johnston resumed his retreat. He concluded it 
with a battle in which he hinfself was the assailant, and which, 
but for his death, would have advanced our banners to the Ohio. 
It was fruitless of apparent and immediate results, but it checked 
for more than a year the career of Federal conquest, infused 
fresh courage into the Southern people, and gave them breathing 
time to rally for farther contest. His death upon the field pre- 
vented vast and triumphant results from following it then — ^the 
incompetency of his successors squandered glorious chances 
(months afterward) which this battle directly gave to the Con- 
federacy. When the line of march was taken up, and the heads 
of the columns were still turned southward, the dissatisfaction 
of the troops broke out into fresh and frequent murmurs. Dis- 
cipline, somewhat restored at Murfreesboro', had been too much 
relaxed by the scenes witnessed at Nashville, to impose much 
restraint upon them. Unjust as it was, officers and men con* 

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ourred in laying the whoFe burden of blame upon General John- 
ston. Many a voice was then raised to denounce him, which has 
since been enthusiastic in his praise, and many joined in the 
clamor, then almost universal against him, who, a few weeks 
later, when he lay dead upon the field he had so gallantly fought, 
would have given their own lives to recall him. 

Grossing the Tennessee river at Decatur, Alabama, and de- 
stroying the immense railroad bridge at that point, General 
Johnston pressed on down through the valley, through Courtland, 
Tuscumbia, and luca, to Corinth. This was for a short time, 
until he could concentrate for battle, the goal of his march. 
Here all the reinforcements at his command could reach him, 
coming from every direction. He only awaited their arrival to 
attack the enemy, which, flushed with the successes at Henry 
and Donelson, lay exposed to his blows, ignorant of his vicinity. 

The force with which he crossed the Tennessee river was a 
little over twenty thousand men. It was composed of the troops 
which had held the lines in Kentucky — those which had been 
stationed at Bowlinggreen, all that was left of Crittenden's 
command, all that were left of the garrisons of Donelson and 
and Henry. The garrisons of minor importance in Tennessee 
contributed, as the State was evacuated, to strengthen the army. 
He was very soon joined by the forces from Pensacola, about 
ten thousand strong, and a splendid body of men^ They were 
superior in arms, equipment, instruction and dress, to all of the 
western troops, and presented an imposing appearance and 
strikingicontrast to their weather-stained, dusty and travel-worn 
comrades. Nothing had ever occurred to them to impair their 
morale; they seemed animated by the stern spirit and discipline 
which characterized their commander, and a fit reserve with which 
to turn the tide of fortune. Beauregard brought with him 
some troops from New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana. 
General Polk came with the troops which had held Columbus. 
Several hurriedly raised and organized regiments came from 
the various States of the department. Price and Van Dorn, 

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120 HISTORT OF morgan's OAVALBY. 

having between them fifteen thousand veterans, did not arrive 
in season to participate in the immediate movements which 
General Johnston had determined upon. A knowledge that the 
retreat had been brought to a close and that a battle was about 
to be fought in which we would attack, did more to inspirit the 
troops and restore to them soldierly feeling and bearing, than 
any efforts in behalf of discipline. The spirit of the men who 
had come from Florida and other points not surrendered to the 
enemy, had a favorable influence upon the remainder, whose 
pride was aroused by the comparison and example. The sudden 
and seemingly magical change from despondency to highest 
hope, from a sullen indifference to duty to the most cheerful 
alacrity and perfect subordination, showed how wonderfully 
susceptible was the material which composed our army to the 
hopes inspired by a daring policy. The same men who had 
dragged themselves reluctantly along, as if careless of reputation 
and forgetful of the cause they had to fight for, were now full 
of zeal, energy and confidence. Those who had almost broken 
out into open mutiny, now rendered the promptest obedience to 
every order. The denunciations they had uttered against Gen- 
eral Johnston, were silenced just so soon as they learned that he 
was about to lead them to instant battle, and his name was 
never mentioned except with becoming respect, and often with 
praise. In short, every trace of demoralization disappeared — 
courage, pride and efficiency, returned; and, from a condition 
not much better than that of an armed mob, the army became 
again disciplined, valiant and reliable. While the masterly 
ability and soldierly vigor and decision of General Johnston 
must excite the profoundest admiration, those who remember him 
may be pardoned for dwelling quite as much upon the grandeur, 
the loftiness, the heroism of his character. In this we may 
look in vain for his peer, except to the great Virginian, his 
immortal comrade, the man whom every former Southern soldier 
must feel it is his religious duty to venerate. Through all that 
period of sickening doubt, amidst all the reverses, in the wide 

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spread demoralization which attacked all ranks, General John- 
ston towered like a being superior to the fears and fate of other 
men. The bitter censure which was cast at him from all sides, 
could move him to nothing weak or unworthy of his high nature. 
He gave way to no anger or scorn — ^he deigned no argument or 
apology. When the President, his devoted friend and warm 
admirer, urged him to supersede the officers who had suffered 
defeat^ he answered that they were brave, although inexperi- 
enced men, and that he preferred to trust them until he could 
find better. 

He defended his unsuccessful generals with generous warmth, 
and reposed in them a confidence, which saved them, but di- 
rected all the clamor against himself. He entertained with 
courtesy and listened with patience, to importunate, censorious 
civilians, while he had in his pocket copies of dispatches which 
they had sent to Richmond furiously denouncing him. Not one 
word was he ever heard to say in comment or rebuke, while cen- 
sure and detraction were most frequent against him, and his 
zealous, paternal care for his army was never relaxed. His ma- 
jestic presence, calm and noble face and superb dignity, might 
themselves — ^it would seem — ^have overawed and hushed the 
cavilers. Surely, there never suffered a nobler, purer, braver 
martyr to senseless prejudice and unjust, inconsiderate reproach. 

While the enemy was retreating through Tennessee, Morgan's 
squadron remained in the neighborhood of Nashville until all 
the detachments which had been left in the rear to protect and 
ship off by rail the stores and 8U|)pIies (which could be hastily 
collected) at Murfreesboro', Shelbyville, and other points, had 
gotten through with their work and departed after the army. 
Morgan encamped his command at La Yevgne, a station upon 
the railroad, about half way between Nashville and Murfrees- 
boro'. This little place became quite famous in the subsequent 
annals of the war. Morgan first brought its name into men's 
mouths, Forrest and Wheeler kept it notorious. 

Here, for the first time, we met the Fourth Ohio Cavalry — our 

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122 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

acquaintance afterward became more intimate, and lasted as 
long as that gallant regiment was in the field. The Fourth was 
encamped at the ^' Lunatic Asylum" — ^I asked one of the officers 
of the regiment (subsequently) why they were sent thersy but he 
did not seem to know — eight miles from NashvilleyOn the Mur- 
freesboro pike, and seven miles from La Vergne. Our respec- 
tive "bases" were consequently pretty close to each other. 
Our pickets used to stand in sight of theirs durii^g the day, and 
in hearing distance at night. The videttes treated each other 
with respect and consideration, but the scouts w^ere continually 
slipping around through the woods and shooting some one. On 
one occasion an officer of the Fourth placed some men in ambush 
in a thicket upon the side of the road, and then with a small 
party rode down near to our pickets, fired, turned and galloped 
away again, hoping that some of us would be induced to follow 
and receive the fire of his ambuscade. The night was dark, and 
by an unaccountable mistake the men in ambush fired into their 
.own friends as they passed — no damage was done, I believe, ex- 
cept to horses. 

One morning our pickets came rushing in with a party of the 
enemy in pursuit (no unusual occurrence), and as we stood to 
arms, we noticed — they were three or four hundred yards off — 
one of the pickets some distance in the rear of the others, and 
almost in the clutches of the enemy, who were peppering away 
at him. It was private Sam Murrill, of Co. C, (afterward 
chief of my couriers, and a first rate soldier to the end of the 
war), his horse was slow and blown, and the foremost pursuer 
had gotten along side of him and presented his pistol at his 
head. Murrill, too quick for him, fired first, and as his enemy 
dropped dead from the saddle, seized pistol and horse, and, al- 
though closely pushed, until the guns of his comrades drove 
back his daring pursuers, brought both in triumph into camp. 
These small afiFairs were of daily occurrence, but at last our op- 
ponents became more wary and circumspect, and to obtain 
decided advantages^ we had to go far into their lines. We 

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noticed finally that they aoopted a practice of withdrawing their 
pickets at night, from the points where they stood during the 
day, some miles to the rear.l Captain Morgan after making this 

. discovery, resolved to anticipate them at the place where they 
made their picket base at night. He remained with a few men 
demonstrating all day in sight of the outpost pickets, and just 
before nightfall made a circuit which carried him far to their 
rear, previously to their withdrawal. He reached the place 
(where he learned that a party of twenty-five or thirty stood 
nightly), about the time that it was fairly dark. 

It was a small house, in a yard some eighty or ninety feet 
square, surrounded by a picket fence of cedar. He had with 

-him nine men, of these he detailed five to hold horses, and with 
the other four; all armed with shot guns loaded with buckshot, 

Jie lay down behind the low fence. The horses were sent back 
some distance into the bushes. Captain Morgan instructed his 
party to hold their fire until he gave the signal. It was his 
intention to permit the party, which was expected, to pass and 
then fire upon the rear — hoping thus to drive it down the road 
toward his own camp and, following rapidly, capture it. When 
it arrived, however, about twenty-five strong, the officer in com- 
mand halted it before it reached the point where we lay, but at a 
distance of not more than thirty feet from us, so that we could 
distinctly hear every word which was uttered. The officer in 
command talked with his guide for some minutes, sending men to 
reconnoiter upon each side of the road in the meantime. At length 
the officer ordered his men to enter the little yard, and they 
came right up to the fence, and just upon the opposite side from 
our position. Captain Morgan shouted the word " Now," and 
each man arose and fired one barrel of his gun. The roar and 
the flash so near, must have been terrible to men taken com- 
pletely by surprise. The officer fell immediately, and his party, 
panic stricken, filed toward their camp. Another volley was 
delivered upon them as they ran. A chain picket was established 
between the point where this happened and the camp at the 

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asylum ; and we could hear shots fired at rapid intervals, for 
minutes, as the fleeing party passed the men on post. Several 
-wounded men fell in the road, after they had fled a short dis- 

A short time before he left La Vergne, Captain Morgan 
selected fifteen men for an expedition to Nashville. Avoiding 
the high roads, he made his way through the woods to the Leb- 
anon pike, which he struck only a mile from the city. 

The vicinity of the city favored rather than endangered him, 
and he rode down into the streets without attracting hostile 
observation. A patrol of twenty or thirty cavalry, were making 
the round of the streets, and he rode in the rear of this party. 
After reconnoitering for a short time, he determined on his plan 
of operations. He sent all but five or six of his men out into the 
thickets, a short distance from the city, and, with those whom he^ 
kept, he made his way, dismounted and leading the horses along 
the river bank, until he came near the reservoir, about opposite 
to which, and a little out in the river, a steamboat was anchored. 
This boat was one which was in the employ of the Federal Gov- 
ernment. * It was Captain Morgan's desire to set her on fire, and 
let her drift down into the midst of a number of other transports, 
which lay a few hundred yards below, and were crowded with 
troops, hoping she might fire them also. Three gallant young 
fellows volunteered to do the work, and boarded the boat in an 
old canoe, which was found, bottom upward, on the shore. 
They fired her, but could not cut her adrift, as she was made 
fast at stem and stern, with chain cables, and thus the best part 
of the plan was frustrated. The work was done in full 
view and notice of the troops on the other transports, and 
the engineer and workmen, on board of the boat, were 
brought to the shore. The names of the young men, or rather 
boys, who did this, were Warfield, Garrett and Buckncr — the 
latter was soon afterward killed at Shiloh. The canoe was so 
unmanageable that its crew came near falling into the hands of 
the enemy — ^but accident favored them at the most perilous 

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moment. A long line of panel fence had drifted out into the 
river, one end still being attached to the bank. When their pad- 
dles failed them in the swift current, they fortunately came in 
reach of this, and they were enabled to pull in by it to the shore. 
As soon as the land was gained, all remounted their horses, 
watched for a while the rising flames and the consternation of 
the fleet, and then, with three cheers for Morgan, rode rapidly to 
rejoin their comrades. 

Cavalry was sent in pursuit, but was left far behind. Cap- 
tain Morgan went straight across the country to the Murfrees- 
boro' pike. As he gained it he encountered a small a small body 
of Federal cavalry, attacked and drove it into town. He lost 
only one man, but he was a capital soldier, Peter Atherton by 

He got back to La Vergne about twelve at night. After the 
thorough and final evacuation of Murfreesboro', Captain Mor- 
gan withdrew to that place with his command. He almost di- 
rectly afterward sent the bulk of it to the Shelbyville and Nash- 
ville road, with instimctions to encamp about twenty miles from 
Nashville, and picket and scout the adjacent country, and all the 
neighboring roads. He retained with him at Murfreesboro', 
about forty of his own men, and some fifty of Colonel Wirt 
Adams' regiment of cavalry, under command of Lieutenant 
Colonel Wood, of that regiment. This bfiicer was exceedingly 
fond of the sort of service which Morgan was performing, and 
had been with him constantly for ten or twelve days. He pre- 
ferred to remain with and report to him, although his superior 
in rank, rather than accompany his own regiment on the retreat 
of the army, and see no active work. 

A day or two after he had made this disposition of this com- 
mand, Captain Morgan taking with him thirty-two of the men 
he had kept at Murfreesboro', penetrated by bridle paths and 
traces through the woods, to the immediate vicinity of the ene- 
my's encampments at the Lunatic Asylum. 

At this time, Mitchell's entire brigade was encamped there. 

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126 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

Stationing his men in the thidkets along the road, at various 
points, Captain Morgan went systematically to work to catch 
every thing that should come into sight. There was, of course, 
a great deal of passing to and from the headquarters of the 
commanding officers and between the various camps. No one 
anticipated danger there, and stragglers, couriers, escorts, and 
guards, went carelessly and unsuspectingly along, into the same 
bag. In the course of an hour or two eighty odd prisoners 
were taken. Colonel Wood went off with twenty-eight of them, 
and, by some oversight, sixty were started to Murfreesboro', 
later, guarded by only ten men. A number of wagons had 
been also captured and burned. The teams were used to mount 
the prisoners. One staff officer was captured and sent off with 
the large batch of prisoners. Captain Morgan remained behind 
with one man, after he hp^d sent off all the others. This sort of 
service always gave him great pleasure, and he was loth to give 
it up. As the number of passengers fell off, he rode down the 
road with his companion, dressed like himself in a blue overcoat, 
to a point where a guard of ten men were stationed under a 
Sergeant for some purpose. He placed himself between them 
and their guns, made his follower put his pistol to the head of 
the Sergeant and began to rate them for neglect of duty. He 
represented himself as a Federal officer of high rank and re- 
minded them sternly and reproachfully that such careless guard 
as they were then keeping had enabled Morgan to play all of his 
tricks. They had been careless and were overwhelmed with just 
shame and mortification at his rebuke. He at length ordered 
them all under arrest, and taking the Sergeant's weapons from 
him and leaving the guns stacked — he could not have carried 
them off without entrusting them to the prisoners — ^he marched 
the whole party away. They were under the impression that 
that they were going to Mitchell's headquarters, but he got them 
mounted and carried them to Murfreesboro'. In the meantime 
the smoke from the wagons which were burned within half a 
mile of Mitchell's headquarters, attracted attention and led to 

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inquiry, and it was not long before what was going on was dis- 
covered. Troops were at once dispatched to put a stop to the 
mischief and beat off or follow the perpetrators. The Fourth 
Ohio got on the track of the party guarding the sixty prisoners, 
and, as its progress was necessarily slow, it was soon overtaken. 
Nothing could be done but release the prisoners and run for it, 
and the whole escort went off in rapid flight. One prisoner had, 
by a strange mistake, been allowed to retain a loaded gun. As 
one of the guard who had been in the extreme rear of the col- 
umn dashed past this man, the latter fired and grazed his face. 
The other turned in his saddle, fired and shot his unexpected 
assailant dead. The pursuers had gotten close before they had 
been perceived, and they pressed the chase vigorously. Over 
fences and gulches, through fields and thickets, as hard as their 
horses could go, fled the one party and followed the other for 
ten miles. One of our men was killed, two or three wounded, 
and as many captured. Thirty-eight prisoners were secured by 
Morgan — twenty-eight brought off by Wood, and ten captured 
and escorted by himself. On the evening of the same day a 
party of eighteen men were dispatched from the camp on the 
Shelbyville road to push as close to Nashville as possible, and 
learn the position of the Federal troops in that quarter. I was 
myself in command of the party, and had an accurate knowledge 
of the points at which guards and pickets had been previously 
stationed. On arriving in the vicinity of these points — around 
which, without creating an alarm, it was desirable to pass, in 
order to get near to the encampments and observe them closely 
— they were found unoccupied. The party moved some three 
miles further down the road without coming upon an enemy, 
although a day or two before the picket posts had been thick 
in this quarter. 

It was apparent that some plan for our benefit had caused 
this change, and unusual caution became necessary. I had 
hoped to find some officers quartered at the houses well in the 
rear of the reserve pickets, where they would believe themselves 

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128 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

secnre, and to capture them, but I now approached the hoaseSi 
not with the expectation of making prisoners, bat of getting in- 
formation. None of the citizens in that neighborhood had ever 
seen any man in my party, and they would tell nothing, but their 
alarm at seeing us, and evident anxiety to get rid of us, showed 
plainly that they knew of the proximity of danger. At length, 
when in about six hundred yards of the Gross-roads near *^Flat 
Rock," I think it is called, four miles from Nashville, and where 
it was confidently reported by our informants that McCook's 
division was encamped, I halted and secreted men and horses 
in the thick brush on the right hand side of the road, and, with 
the guide, went forward on foot about a quarter of a mile, until 
I suddenly heard the challenge of a picket. I judged from the 
words I caught that it was the officer of the day making his 
rounds. Soon a negro came down the road toward us, whom we 
caught and questioned. He answered very glibly, and evinced 
too little fear, not to excite suspicion that he came out to be 
captured with a made-up tale. He said that there were ten 
men on picket at the Gross-roads. As a large encampment was 
only a few hundred yards on the other side of this point, his 
story did not seem credible. However, we had ai last found 
an enemy. 

Leaving five men to take care of the horses, in the thicket 
where they were already concealed, I carried the others through 
a wide meadow on the right of the road which we had traveled 
(the Shelby ville and Nashville pike) to the road which crossed 
it at "Flat Rock," striking the latter about two hundred yards 
from the point of intersection. I was convinced that the with- 
drawal of the pickets was part of a plan to entrap just such 
scouting parties as ours, and that a strong force was in ambush 
at the Cross-roads. There was little hope of accomplishing the 
objects of the expedition, but the trap could, at least, be sprung, 
and there was a chance of surprising the ambuscade. My men 
were armed with shot-guns and pistols, the proper weapons for 
such an affair. I ordered them to follow me in single-file in the 

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direction of the enemy, instructing them to hold their fire until 
we were challenged, and to then discharge their weapons, and, 
without stopping to reload, make their way back to the horses. 
The moon had just gone down as we began to moye slowly down 
the road. We made little noise, and were soon convinced by a 
chorus of coughing, which broke on our ears as we neared them, 
that a pretty good crowd was before us. When we had almost 
reached the point where the roads cross, a Sergeant, with five or 
six men at his back, sprang up, so near to us that I could have 
touched him by making another step, and ordered '^ halt," in a 
low voice, evidently taking us for friends. Our answer was a 
shot, and he fell dead. His comrades returned our fire, and at 
once a line of men rose from the fence corners on the opposite 
side of the road which we had just descended — ^we had passed them 
unseen in the darkness. Many of them must have been asleep 
until alarmed by the firing. The bulk of the force, however, 
was stationed upon the other road, and, as they sprang up at 
the sudden uproar, and aimed at the blaze of the guns, they en- 
dangered their own friends more than us. My men sank at 
once upon their knees, and the enemy firing wildly and high, 
did not touch one of them. They pointed their shot-guns low, 
and every flash was followed by a groan, and, by the quick vivid 
light, we could see the men we hit writhing on the ground. 
The curses and commands of the officers, shouts of the com- 
batants, and yeUs of the wounded were mingled together. The 
breadth of the road, only, separated us, and the blaze from the 
guns met. When our weapons were emptied, we sprang over 
the fence and ran at top speed for our horses. A chain picket 
which had been posted on the left of the Shelbyville road, a 
short distance from it, rushed forward and opened upon us, and 
the enemy we had just bidden farewell redoubled his fire. 
When we regained the horses, we were nearly surrounded. 
Parties had come out from the woods behind us, as we passed 
down the road, and our retreat by the way we had come was 
blocked. Our signals to call in the laggards, as we prepared ta 

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ieaye, were answered from every direction by the enemy. Bat 
the woods befriended as, as they bad often done before, and we 
escaped under its shelter. On that same night a similar adven- 
ture befell some Confederates (I think of Starne's command) on 
the Franklin pike, and some pickets were killed on the side of 
Nashville entirely opposite to that into which all of these roads 
(which have been mentioned) run. Of course every thing was 
attributed to Morgan, and the Federals were puzzled and un- 
certain, whether to believe him really tibiquii4)U9y or the com- 
mander of two or three thousand men. 

A day or two after these occurrences, Morgan went with a flag 
of truce to Mitchell's encampment to endeavor to exchange 
some of his prisoners for his own men who had been captured. 
Colonel Wood, who was with him, was asked confidentially how 
many men Morgan had, and was told that the mischief he 
was doing could only be accounted for upon the supposition that 
he had control of a large force. Wood answered, also in eonfi- 
denety that although he had co-operated with Morgan for two or 
three weeks, he was entirely ignorant of the strength of his com- 
mand. That he knew, only, that Morgan was controlling the 
motions of men whom he (Morgan) rarely saw ; and that, although 
he himself was intimately cognizant of all that occurred under 
Morgan's immediate supervision, he was frequently astonished 
by hearing from the latter, accounts of enterprises which had 
been accomplished by his orders in quarters very remote from 
where he was in person operating. Wood saw the impression 
which prevailed, and shaped his answers to confirm it. In rer 
ality, there were not in the vicinity of Nashville, at that time, 
on all sides, more than three hundred Confederate soldiers. Of 
this number, Morgan could control only his own three companies 
and the fifty men with Wood, although the others, who were 
stragglers, and furloughed men firom the Texas Bangers, Starne's, 
McNairy's and other cavalry regiments, often joined him upon 
his expeditions. 

Many of the Federal soldiers killed around Nashvilici and 

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whose deaths were charged to Morgan's men, were killed by the 
independent partisans, most of them mdn who lived in the neigh- 
boring country, and had obtained leave to linger, for a while, 
about their homes. Great zeal and activity, however, was dis- 
played by all parties. 

When the flag of truce party mentioned above got to the 
picket line, it was met by an expedition consisting of cavalry, ar- 
tillery and infantry, riding in wagons, en ratUe for Murfireesboro', 
with the expectation of capturing Morgan's entire band. Gene- 
ral Mitchell was very angry when the arrival of the flag was 
announced, and complained that Morgan had taken that method 
of defeating his plans, that otherwise would have been assuredly 
successful. This charge created a good deal of amusement, when 
Morgan told the story later to his brother officers of Johnston's 
army. Even if Morgan (as Mitchell thought), had known that 
an expedition was on foot for his capture, he still would have had a 
perfect right to transact at that time — ^if listened to— any matter 
of business which required to be done under flag of truce. It is 
legitimate to send them even while battles are going on. 

During the entire war, both sides used to send flags of truce 
for quite other purposes than the ostensible ones. Morgan was 
the commanding Confederate officer in all that region, and had 
a right to send flags of truce for any purpose whatever, so long 
as he observed the usages which govern them. The flag of truce 
need not have stopped the expedition. 

It was Mitchell's own fault if it was allowed to go far enough to 
see what he wished to conceal. It is the right and positive duty of 
an officer in charge of a flag, to go as far as he is permitted. Gene- 
ral Mitchell could have refused to receive it, and have ordered it 
back. Morgan's friends somewhat doubted whether this expedi- 
tion (even if it had not been met and checked by the flag of 
truce), would have resulted in Morgan's capture. General 
Mitchell was a profound strategist, but he was going to travel 
by daylight through a country foil of Morgan's friends, and 
upon a road constantly watched by his scouts, to surprise Mor- 

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gan. At any rate, it may be safely asserted that the fond hope 
which General Mitchell cherished, could never have been re- 
alized, after Morgan had gotten such timely information of an 
expedition intended for his capture, that he was able to meet it 
with a flag of truce as it was just setting out. 

The country around Nashville, in which Morgan did the ser- 
vice, which I have attempted to describe^ is one admirably 
adapted to it. It is one of the most fertile and wealthy portions 
of Middle Tennessee, a region unsurpassed in productiveness. 
Yet teeming as it is with every crop which the farmer wishes, 
one would think, in riding along the fine turnpikes which 
enter Nashville upon all sides, that a comparatively small pro- 
portion of the land is cultivated. A dense growth of timber, 
principally cedar, stretches, sometimes for miles, along the 
roads, and runs back from them, occasionally, to considerable 
distances. The cedar glades, are, some of them, of great ex- 
tent, and are penetrated in all directions' by roads. Springs, 
and small watercourses, are frequent. It is indeed a beautiful 
country, and the paradise of partisan cavalry, who can find in 
it, every where, supplies for men and horses, shelter to hide them, 
going against and escaping from an enemy, and, stop where 
they will, all that makes a camp happy. 

The people who live in this country are worthy to possess it. 
They are brave, frank, generous and hospitable— true t6 their 
friends, kind to the distressed. They are just and honorable, 
and uphold through all trials and evils, the right, as they under- 
stand it, and their plighted word. Come what will upon this 
country, may God bless the people of Middle Tennessee. 

Two or three days after the flag of truce affair, Morgan de- 
termined upon an expedition to a different quarter from that in 
which he had been hitherto employed. It was high time that, 
in accordance with the instructions he had received, he followed 
and rejoined the army, and he desired to leave an impression 
upon the enemy of his ^'ubiquity," which would be useful, after 
he himself was gone. 

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Cpon the north side of the Cumberland, and about eight 
miles from it in a direct line, is the little town of Gallatin, in 
Sumner County, Tennessee. It is situated on the Louisville and 
Nashville road, about thirty miles from Nashville. This place 
was one of no military importance at that time, but it was right 
upon the line of communication between Louisville and Nash- 
ville — the roads running from Kentucky, as well as the railroad, 
all passing through it — and the line of telegraph. This place is 
about fifty miles from Murfreesboro', by the most direct route. 
Morgan resolved to hold this place for a day or two, and get 
the benefit of'the ^^ communication^^ himself. He left Murfrees- 
boro' about miday, passed through Lebanon that evening, and 
encamped for the night near that place. Crossing the Cumber- 
land next morning at Canoe-branch ferry, he reached Gallatin 
about ten o'clock. He found the town ungarrisoned, two or 
three clerks to take care of unimportant stores, and a telegraph 
operator, constituting all the force there was to oppose him. 
The citizens of this place were always strongly attached to the 
Confbderate cause, and devoted friends of Morgan and his 
command — ^for which they subsequently suffered no little — and 
they received him enthusiastically. This neighborhood was 
always noted for good cheer, and, on this occasion, dainties of all 
kinds appeared as if by magic, and boquets were showered by 
the score. Desiring the latest information from Nashville, 
Morgan, accompanied by Colonel Wood, went straight to the 
telegraph office, where they were kindly received by the opera- 
tor, to whom they introduced themselves as Federal officers just 
from the interior of Kentucky. The operator immediately placed 
himself in communication with Nashville and got the last news 
for their benefit. The conversation then turned on Morgan. 
^^The clerk of the lightning'' said that he had not yet disturbed 
them at Gallatin, but that he might be expected any day: 
" However," he continued, " let him come, I, for one, am ready 
for him." He told the story of Morgan's coming to Mitchell's 
lines with the flag of truce (which, it seems, had raised great 

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excitement), and declared that he ought to have been shot then 
and there. '^Had I been there/^ said he, fiercely, and brandish- 
ing his revolver, " the scoundrel would have never left alive." 

*' Give me that pistol," Morgan said quietly ; and, taking it, 
much to the fellow's surprise, ^' I am Morgan." 

The consternation of the operator was extreme, and his 
apology, when he found his tongue, polite. It was accepted, and 
so was he and placed under guard. He was badly scared, at 
first, but he was treated kindly, and in a few days became 
domesticated and even playful. An engine and a few cars, 
found standing at the depot, were taken possession of — the cars 
were immediately burned. Morgan got on the engine with two 
or three companions, and run some miles up the railroad to visit 
two or three points of interest. He desired especially to ascer- 
tain if the tunnel could readily be destroyed, but found that it 
would be a work of more time than he had to spare. While 
he was absent, several Federal officers and soldiers came into 
the town and were made prisoners. When he returned, the 
engine was run off the track, over a steep bank, and destroyed. 
On the next morning he sent the bulk of his command across 
the river again, with instructions to remain near and guard the 
ferry. He, himself, with ten or fifteen men, remained at Galla- 
tin two days longer with the hope of catching some of the 
trains. He was disappointed, the news got around and none 
came. Twenty or thirty wagons which were coming from 
Scottsville, under a small guard, were also turned back — the 
escort getting the alarm after he had made all his preparations 
to capture them — so that his expedition was more barren of 
the spoils of war than he had hoped. But his main object — ^to 
enemy that they could never safely count upon his 

bemg " gone — was 

ly accomplished. While his men on 

the south side of the river were waiting for him, six transports, 
loaded with troops from Montioello, passed down toward Nash- 
ville. The men on the boats did not know who the cavalry 
were, and our men were afraid to fire upon them, lest they 

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might endanger Captain Morgan and their comrades with him, 
on the other side. Immediately after his return to Murfrees- 
boTo% he set oat to rejoin the army, and met at Shelbyville that 
portion of his command which had been encamped on the 
Bhelbyville and Nashville road, and which, in obedience to his 
orders, had also repaired to the former place. 

Here we remained for two or three days and then marched on 
in the track of the army. While at Shelbyville, the first and 
only causeless stampede of our pickets and false alarm to the 
camps which occurred during our squadron organization, took 
place. Ten or fifteen men were posted on picket some eight 
miles from the town toward Nashville, near a small bridge, at 
the southern end of which the extreme outpost vidette stood. 
From tales told by the citizens, these pickets had conceived the 
idea that the enemy contemplated an attack to surprise and cap- 
ture them, and (perhaps for the very reason that they had so 
often played the same game themselves) they became very nerv- 
ous about it. Late in the night, two men came down the road 
from toward Nashville in a buggy, and drove rapidly upon the 
bridge without heeding the vidette's challenge — he, taking them 
to be the enemy, shot both barrels of his gun at them and fled 
to alarm the other videttes and his comrades at the base. The 
whole party became so alarmed by his representation of the im- 
mense number and headlong advance of the enemy, that, without 
stopping to fight or reconnoiter, they all came in a hand-gallop 
to camp. The officer in charge sent the vidette who had given 
the alarm, in advance, to report to me. I immediately got the 
command under arms and then questioned him. He stated that 
the enemy's cavalry came on, at the charge, in column of fours, 
that they paid no attention to his challenge, and that when he 
fired, they dashed at him, making the air ring with tbeir yells 
and curses. He said that *^ the road seemed perfectly blue for 
more than half a mile," so great was their number. 

It was a moonless night, and a slight rain was falling, making 
the darkness intonse. I asked him if he might not have been 

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186 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

deceived and if he was not scared. " No, sir," said he, " not a 
bit, but I was somewhat arryUdeir 

Leaving Shelbyville, we marched through Fayetteville to 
Huntsville ; every where along the route the people flocked to 
see Morgan, and his progress was one continual ovation. When 
we reached Huntsville, the most beautiful town in Alabama (and 
now that Columbia is in ashes) perhaps in the entire South, we 
were received with the kindness and hospitality which character- 
ize that generous, warm-hearted population. Huntsville, the 
birth-place of Morgan, greeted him like a mother indeed. For 
ten days we remained there ; every man in the command the 
recipient of unwearying .attention. It was very injurious to 
good soldierly habits, but served, as many other such instances 
did, to show the men that they were fighting for a people who 
loved to be grateful, and to prove it — and unavailing as the 
struggle was, it is still a thought of pride and satisfaction, that 
the labors and sacrifices were made for a people worthy of 
them all. 

Crossing the Tennessee river at Decatur and marching just 
in the track of the army, we reached Byrnesville, a few 
miles from Corinth, on the third of April, and found 
there the division of General Breckinridge, to which we 
were attached. The whole army was then astir, and forming 
to march to attack the enemy who lay at Pittsburg Landing on 
the southern bank of the Tennessee some twenty miles from 

Morgan's services were much talked of, and he was compli- 
mented by General Johnson in terms that were very grateful to 
him. He was given the commission of Colonel, to take effect 
from the fourth of April, and he received (what he valued much 
more highly) an assurance, or what he construed to be such, that 
he would be permitted to act independently again, and fol- 
low his favorite service with a stronger force and upon a 
larger scale. 

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None among the many ardent and high-strung men who went 
with so much zeal into that fight, felt more hope and enthusiasm 
than Morgan, for he saw beyond it, a career of excitement, 
success, and glory, that might satisfy the most energetic and 
most daring nature. 

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188 HISTOKT ov moboan'b oavalet. 


On the 3d of April, the army, leaving its cantonments around 
Corinth, commenced its advance, and the heads of the columns 
were directed toward Pittsburg, on the Tennessee river, where, 
unconscious of the gathering storm, lay the Federal host under 
General Grant, which had conquered at Donelson. Flushed 
with that victory and insolent with triumph, the enemy rested 
for the long march of invasion which he believed would lead him 
(unchecked, even if opposed) to easy, speedy and decisive con- 
quest. No thought of danger to himself, disturbed these pleas- 
ant anticipations. 

The suggestion that an attack from the Confederate forces 
at Corinth was imminent, would have been dismissed as the idlest 
and weakest of apprehensions. The different corps moved from 
their respective positions, on the railroads which enter Corinth, 
by the most direct roads to the point indicated for their concen- 

General Johnston had declared, some weeks previously, with 
prophetic judgment, that upon that very spot, '^ the great battle 
of the Southwest would be fought." 

Breckinridge's division, to which Morgan's squadron was now 
attached, moved from Byrnesville. The roads were narrow and 
miry, and were not improved by a heavy rain which fell during 
the march, and by the passage of successive trains of wagons 
and batteries of artillery. The march was slow and toilsome. 
The infantry labored along with mud-clogged feet, casting sour 
looks and candid curses at the cavalry and couriers, who bespat- 
tered them. The artillery often stuck fast, and the struggling 
horses failed to move the pieces, until the cannoniers applied 
themselves and pushed and strained at the heavy wheels. 

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On the 5th, aboat three or four in the afternoon, every thing 
was concentrated upon the ground, where GeneralJohnston pro- 
posed to establish his line, and the disposition of the forces, in 
accordance with the plan of battle, was at once commenced. On 
account of some accident, or mistake, this concentration was 
effected' one day later than had been contemplated, causing a 
corresponding delay in the attack. It has frequently been 
asserted that this was occasioned by the failure of General Polk's 
corps to arrive at the appointed time. 

General Polk's report demonstrates the injustice of this state* 
ment, and it is probable that the condition of the roads was the 
sole cause of the delay. 

A want of promptness upon the part of General Polk, no 
doubt would have produced a suspension of the attack. A 
corps so strong and efficient, could have been ill-spared from an 
army, already inferior in numbers to the antagonist it was about 
to assail, and the absence of the brave old Bishop from the field, 
would have been, of itself, a serious loss. This delay was the 
cause of grave apprehensions to many of the Confederate Gen- 
erals, and, as matters were managed, was really unfortunate. 

It was known that Buell was marching rapidly to the support 
of Grant, and GeneralJohnston wished to crush the latter before 
their junction was effected. 

General Beauregard was of opinion that the attack, having been 
so long delayed, ought to be abandoned altogether ; that it would 
now be extremely hazardous, and that the safety of the army 
would be compromised if it did not retire promptly to Corinth. 

General Johnston listened courteously to every argument, but 
was moved by none to relinquish his plan. His resolution to 
fight, after placing his army in front of the enemy, was fixed. 
He believed, " the offensive once assumed, ought to be main- 
tained at all hazards." He trusted that vigor and audacity 
would enable him to accomplish victory on the first day, before 
the fresh troops came, and his designs were too profoundly con- 
sidered, his gallant faith in his soldiers, too earnest, for his 

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purpose to be shaken. In answer to an anxious inquiry from 
his aide, Colonel William Preston, he said, quietly, " I would 
fight them were they a million." 

The ground selected for battle was that inclosed between Owl 
and Lick creeks, which run nearly parallel with each other, and 
empty into the Tennessee river. The flanks of the two armiea 
rested upon these little streams, and the front of each was just 
the distances, at their respective positions, between the two 
creeks. The Confederate front was, consequently, a little more 
than three miles long. The distance between the creeks widens 
somewhat, as they approach the river, and the Federal army had 
more ground upon which to deploy. The position which the 
enemy occupied next morning, is five or six miles from the 
river, and his advance camp was perhaps a mile southward of 
Shiloh Church. He had, as yet, established no line ; the attack 
next morning took him completely by surprise, and he formed 
after the fight had commenced. 

General Johnson's effective strength, including all the forces 
available for that battle, was about thirty-five thousand menr' 
That of the enemy was, perhaps, forty-five thousand men. The 
advantages of attack and surprise would, General Johnston 
thought, more than counterbalance his numerical inferiority. 
If Buell brought reinforcements to his opponents, by forced 
marches, in advance of his army, he would feel their effect 
only in a stronger line, and more stubborn resistance upon the 
front — his flanks would be safe in any event. The array of 
bis forces evinced a resolution to break through and crush, 
at any cost, whatever should confront him in the narrow space 
where the whole conflict would be crowded. 

The troops were bivouacked that night upon the ground 
which it was intended that they should occupy in line of bat- 
tle. No disposition which could be made that evening was 
delayed; every precaution was taken to guard against a fur- 
ther procrastination of the attack. The men laid down to 
sleep in the order in which they were to rush upon the enemy. 

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General Hardee had command of the first line, General Bragg 
of the second, and General Polk of the third. General Hardee's 
line extended from the one creek to the other, and as his corps 
(fully deployed) could not properly occupy the entire distance, 
he was reinforced by a fine brigade under Brigadier General 
Gladden. To Hardee was given the honor of commencing the 
battle, and he was ordered to push his whole line rapidly for- 
ward, at early dawn. General Bragg's line was. formed similarly 
to General Hardee's, and about a quarter of a mile in its rear. 
Bragg was ordered to advance simultaneously with Hardee, and 
to support him when he needed assistance. Then, at the distance 
of eight hundred yards, came General Polk's corps, not deployed, 
but formed in column of brigades. General Breckinridge's 
division (over six thousand strong) constituted the reserve, and 
was close in the rear of Polk's corps. The cavahry was promis- 
cuously disposed — ^indeed, no one in authority seemed to think 
it could win the battle. Morgan's squadron was formed with 
the Kentucky troops, and occupied the extreme left of Breck- 
' inridge's division. This disposition of the forces and the ener- 
getic conduct of the Confederate commanders, explain the 
striking features of the battle, which have been so often 
remarked — the methodical success of the Confederates, upon 
the first day, the certainty with which they won their way 
forward against the most determined resistance; the "clock- 
like " regularity of their advance, the desperjite struggle, the 
Federal retreat, repeated again and again through the day. 
Taking into consideration the circumstances under which the 
collision occurred, military savants will, some day, demonstrate 
that success ought, with mathematical certainty, to have resulted 
firom the tactics of General Johnston. An army moving to attack 
(an enemy, surprised and unprepared), in three lines, supported 
by a reserve, and with its fianks perfectly protected, ought to 
have delivered crushing and continuous blows. Such a forma- 
tion, directed by consummate skill and the finest nerve in a 

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commander, of troops who believed that to fight would be to 
win, promised an onset well nigh irresistible. 

The afternoon wore away and no sign in the enemy's camps 
indicated that he had discovered our presence. The night fell, 
and, the stern preparations for the morrow, having been aU 
completed, the army sank to rest. The forest was soon almost 
as still as before it had been tenanted with the hosts of war. 
But, before the day broke, the army was astir; the bugles 
sounded the reveille on all sides, and the long lines began to 
form. About five o'clock, tiie first gun rang on the front — 
another and another, succeeding, as our skirmishers pressed on, 
until the musketry grew into the crackling, labored sound, which 
precedes the roar of real battle. The troops seemed excited to 
frenzy by the sound. It was the first fight in which the majority 
of them had ever been engaged, and they had, as yet, seen and 
suffered nothing to abate the ardor with which the high-spirited 
young fellows panted for battle. Every one who witnessed 
that scene — the marshaling of the Confederate army for attack 
upon the morning of the sixth of April — must remember more 
distinctly than any thing else, the glowing enthusiasm of the men, 
their buoyancy and spirited impatience to close with the enemy. 
As each regiment formed upon the ground where it had bivou- 
acked, the voice of its commander might be heard as he spoke 
high words of encouragement to his men, and it would ring 
clearer as he appealed to their regimental pride, and bade them 
think of the fame they might win. When the lines began to 
advance, the wild cheers which arose made the woods stir as if 
with the rush of a mighty wind. No where was there any 
thought of fear— every where were the evidences of impetuous 
and determined valor. 

For some distance the woods were open and clear of under- 
growth, and the troops passed through, preserving their array 
with little difficulty ; but as the point, where the fight between 
the pickets had commenced, was neared, the timber became 
dwarfed into scrubby brush, and at some pliBkces dense thickets 

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impeded the advance. The ground, too, grew rugged and diffi- 
cult of passage in unbroken line. Frequent halts to reform 
and dress the ranks became necessary, and at such times Gen- 
eral Johnson's magnificent battle order was read to the regi« 
ments, and its manly, heroic language was listened to with the 
feeling it was intended to evoke. The gray, clear morning was, 
ere long, enlivened with a radiant sunrise. As the great light 
burst in full splendor above the horizon, sending brilliancy over 
the scene, many a man thought of the great conqueror's augury 
and pointed in exultation and hope to the " Sun of Shiloh." 
Breckinridge's division went into the fight last, and, of course, 
saw or heard a great deal of it, before becoming itself actively 
engaged. Not far off, on the left and center, the fight soon grew 
earnest, as Hardee dashed resolutely on ; the uneasy, broken 
rattle of the skirmishers gave way to the sustained volleys of 
the lines, and the artillery joined in the clamor, while away on 
the right, the voice of the strife swelled hoarser and angrier, 
like the growl of some wounded monster — furious and at bay. 
Hardee's line carried all before it. At the first encampment it 
met not even the semblance of a check. Following close and 
eager upon the fleeing pickets, it burst upon the startled inmates 
as they emerged, half clad, from their tents, giving them no time 
to form, driving them in rapid panic, bayoneting the dilatory — 
on throagh the camp swept, together, pursuers and pursued. 
But now the alarm was thoroughly given, the ^^ long roll " and 
the bugle were calling the Federals to arms ; all through their 
thick encampments they were hastily forming. 

As Hardee, close upon the haunches of the foe he had first 
started, broke into another camp, a long line of steel and flame 
met him, staggering, and for a little while, stopping his advance. 
Buthis gallant corps was still too fresh for an enemy, not yet re- 
covered from the enervating effects of surprise, to hold it back 
long. For a while it writhed and surged before the stern bar- 
rier suddenly erected in its front, and then, gathering itself, 
dashed irresistibly forward. The enemy was beaten back, but 

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144 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

the hardy Westera men who filled his ranks (although raw and 
for the first time under fire) could not be forced to positive 
flight. They had opce formed, and at this stage of the battle, 
they could not be routed. They had little discipline, but plenty 
of staunch courage. Soon they turned for another stand, and 
the Confederates were, at once, upon them. Again they gave 
way, but strewed the path of their stubborn retreat with many 
a corpse in gray as well as in blue. At half past seyen the 
first lines began to give signs of exhaustion, and its march over 
the rough ground while struggling with the enemy, had thinned 
and impaired it. It was time for Bragg's corps to come to the 
relief, and that superb line now moYed up in serried strength. 
The first sign of slackening upon the part of the Confederates 
seemed to add vigor to the enemy's resistance. But bravely as 
they fought, they never recovered from the stun of the surprise. 
Their half of the battle was out of joint at the beginning, and 
it was never gotten right during that day. They were making 
desperate efibrts to retrieve their lost ground when Bragg's dis- 
ciplined tornado burst upon them. The shock was met gallantly 
but in vain. Another bloody grapple was followed by another 
retreat of the Federals, and again our line moved on. 

Those who were in that battle will remember these successive 
contests, followed by short periods of apparent inaction, going 
on all the day. To use the illustration of one well acquainted 
with its plan and incidents: ^^It went on like the regular stroke 
of some tremendous machine." There would be a rapid charge 
and fierce fight — the wild yell would announce a Confederate 
success — then would ensue a comparative lull, broken again in 
a few minutes, and the charge, struggle and horrible din would 

About half past ten Polk's corps prepared to take part in the 
fight. He had previously, by order personally given by General 
Johnston (who was all the time in the front), sent one brigade 
to reinforce General Bragg's right, where the second line had 
been most hotly engaged. He had also sent, by order of Gen- 

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eral Beauregard, one brigade to the left. The fight at this time 
was joined all along the line, and urged with greater far j, than at 
any period of the day. Almost immediately after parting with 
these two brigades, General Polk became engaged with the re- 
mainder of his corps. The enemy had, now, disposed his entire 
force for resistance — the men fought as if determined not to ac- 
cept defeat — and their stern, tenacious leader was not the man 
to relinquish hope, although his lines had been repeatedly broken 
and the ground was piled with his slain. The corps of Hardee, 
Bragg and Polk, were now striving abreast, or mingled with each 

In reading the reports of the Confederate Generals, frequent 
allusion will be found to regiments and brigades fighting without 
"head or orders." One commander would sometimes direct 
the movements of troops belonging to another. At this phase 
of the struggle, the narrative should dwell more upon "the 
biographies of the regimental than the history of the battle." 
But the wise arrangement of the lines and the instructions given 
subordinate commanders, ensured harmonious action and the 
desired result. 

Each brigade commander was ordered (when he became dis- 
engaged), to seek and attack the nearest enemy, to press the 
flank of every stubborn hostile force which his neighbors could 
not move, and at all hazards to press forward. General .Tohn- 
ston seemed to have adopted the spirit of the motto, " When 
fighting in the dark, strike out straight." He more than once 
assumed command of brigades which knew not what to do, and 
led them to where they could fight with effect. Our successes 
were not won without costly sacrifices, and the carnage was lav- 
ish upon both sides. 

While all this was going on in front, Morgan's squadron moved 
along with Breckinridge's division, and we listened to the hid- 
eous noise, and thought how much larger the affair was than the 
skirmishes on Green river and around Nashville. We soon 
learned to distinguish when the fight was sharp and hotly con- 

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tested, and when our lines were triumphantly advancing, and we 
wondered if those before us would finish the business before we 
got in. 

We had not marched far, before we saw bloody indications of 
the fierce work that had been done upon the ground over which 
we were passing. The dead and the wounded were thick in the 
first camp, and, thence, onward. Some of the corpses (of men 
killed by artillery), showed ghastly mutillation. In getting up 
our glowing anticipation of the day's programme, we had left 
these items out of the account, and we mournfully recognized 
the fact, that many who seek military distinction, will obtain it 
posthumously, if they get it at all. The actual sight of a corpse 
immensely chills an abstract love of glory. The impression 
soon wears ofiF, however, and the dead are very little noticed. 
Toward ten or eleven o'clock we wandered away from the in- 
fantry to which we had been attached, and getting no orders or 
instructions, devoted ourselves to* an examination of the many 
interesting scenes of the field, which we viewed with keen 

The camps whence the enemy had been driven, attracted es- 
•pecial and admiring attention. There was a profusion of all 
>the necessaries, and many of the luxuries of military life. How 
we wondered that an army could have ever permitted itself to be 
(driven away from them. 

While we were curiously inspecting the second or third en- 
.campment, and had gotten closer, than at any time previously, 
.to the scene of the fighting, a slight incident interrupted, for a 
moment, the pleasure of the investigation. Some of the enemy's 
.shells were bursting over our heads, and as we were practically 
ignorant of artillery, we were at first puzzled to know what they 
were. In the general thunder of the figlfit, no special reports 
could be heard, to lead to a solution of the particular phenomena. 
Suddenly a short yell of mingled indignation and amazement, 
announced that one of the party had some practical information 
on the subject. He had been struck by a fragment on the 

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shoulder, inflicting a severe gash and brnise. Not knowiftg how 
the missile had reached him, he seemed to think himself a very 
ill-treated man. ** 

Just as Breckinridge's division was going into action, about 
12 M., we came upon the left of it, where the Kentucky troops 
were formed. The bullets were beginning to fly thick about us. 
Simultaneously, the squadron and the regiment nearest to us, 
struck up the favorite song of the Kentuckians, " Cheer Boys, 
Cheer" — the efi^ect was animating beyond all description. 

About this time our advance was receiving its first serious 
check. "While the right and the left were advancing, the left- 
center was repulsed before a strong position which the enemy 
held in force. They were posted upon an eminence, in front 
of which were thickets and underbrush. Plenty of artillery 
strongly supported, crowned this eminence, and Hardee's utmost 
efforts to carry it had been foiled. So furiously played the bat- 
teries of the enemy, that nothing could be seen of the position, but 
sheets of flame and clouds of smoke. When an advance was 
attempted against it, a shower of minnie balls would be felt. It 
was finally taken, after the impetus given the line by the arrival 
of the reserve under Breckinridge, had sent our forces forward 
on both sides so far, that it was completely flanked. While the 
advance, at this point, was thus suspended, the squadron hap- 
pened to approach, and General Hardee sent an aide to know 
" what cavalry that was ?" Upon learning that it was Morgan's, 
he expressed himself much pleased, and said that he would use 
it to *' take that battery." When informed of this truly gratifying 
compliment, the men bore themselves with becoming sobriety, 
and as they formed for the charge, which we were told would be 
immediately ordered, they indulged in no unseemly or extrava- 
gant expressions of joy. Indeed, it is an historical fact, that 
while we were ready enough to go, we were not so sanguine of 
the result as General Hardee seemed to be. The General sat 
on his horse near Schoup's gallant battery which was replying, 
but ineffectually, to the vicious rain of grape and shell which 

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148 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

poured from the hill. He seemed indifferent to the terrible toI- 
lejS; and only anxious to capture the guns. 

The order, we were expecting, was nevw given us. At the 
first slackening of the fire from the hill, some of the infantry 
regiments, which were lying down, dashed forward, but the enemy 
left the position because he was in danger of being surrounded. 
Many of the guns were abandoned. 

The right was now checked, meeting the fiercest resistance. 
The left and center bore rapidly forward. 

From a passage in General Bragg's report, it would seem that 
it had been part of the plan to press more strongly upon our 
right and drive the enemy down the river, ^^ leaving the left 
open for him to escape." But it was already apparent that he 
was being hemmed in and forced from all sides, toward Pitts- 
burg Landing. 

General Hardee, at this time, ordered Colonel Morgan to take 
his command to the extreme left, and ^' charge the first enemy 
he saw." Colonel Morgan immediately proceeded in the direc- 
tion indicated as rapidly as his column could gallop. The left 
of our line was moving so swiftly to the front that, having to go 
some distance by a bridle path in the rear, before turning to over- 
take it, we did not reach it until nearly one o'clock in the afternoon. 
Just as we approached, we saw, on the extreme left, a body of 
men dressed in blue uniforms, going through with some strange 
evolutiods. Their dress was much like that of the enemy, but 
there were troops, evidently Confederate, not far from them that 
were paying them no attention. Colonel Morgan ordered a 
platoon of Company A, to dismount and approach them cau- 
tiously, to fire into them if satisfied that they were the enemy, 
and it was his intention to then charge them. We drew very 
near to them unnoticed. A little man flourishing a portentous 
saber, was directing their movements with off-hand eloquence. 
We forbore to fire, because, although we did not understand 
what he said, we thought from the emphasis of the speaker, his 
volubility, and the imprecatory sound of the language, that it 

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was French, and that his party were Louisianians. This sur- 
mise was correct. They were members of Colonel Mouton's 
fine regiment, the Eighteenth Louisiana. Their uniform cost 
them dearly before the fight was over. They were frequently 
fired into by Confederate regiments, and received, in that way, 
smart loss. At length they retalliated whenever they received 
a volley. This caused some complaint, but it is related that the 
Louisianians gave sound military reasons for their conduct, say- 
ing : " We fire at any body what fire at us — G-d d-m." Shortly 
after we made this discovery, we saw this regiment and a portion 
or the Kentucky brigade, charge across a wide field on the ex- 
treme left of our line. Here a ravine which had protected our 
left flank suddenly terminated, and when the lino had dashed 
across this field and had entered the woods beyond, it was en- 
tirely uncovered. A strong force of the enemy was formed in 
the middle of this field (where one of the camps was situated), 
and the Confederates rushed so closely upon them, that it seemed 
as if the bayonets must cross, before they gave way. The 
volume of musketry in this charge was tremendous, and drowned 
the crash of the artillery. When the Federals turned to retreat 
they still preserved their array, and went off in perfect order. 
They frequently faced about to fire on their pursuers, who 
poured continuous volleys into them, and thus fighting they dis- 
appeared in the woods. Our squadron and the Texian rangers — 
Eighth Texas — were following behind the infantry, and had 
been unable to get past them, or (on account of the ravine) to 
the left of them. Now, however, an opportunity of actively 
participating in the battle occurred, which we had not expected. 
As we were pressing across the fi'eld, some Federal skirmishers 
appeared in the edge of the woods upon the left of the field, not 
more than eighty yards from us. They directed their attention 
principally to Byrnes' battery, which was also crossing the field, 
and prevented the cannoneers from unlimbering the guns. Col- 
onel Morgan at once ordered the charge, and the squadron 
dashed at fuU gallop into the woods. The skirmishers ran back, 

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150 ^ HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

but as we forced our way in a crowded mass (all line lost) 
through the thickets, we came suddenly upon the infantry regi- 
ment to which these skirmishers belonged. Fortunately for us, 
this regiment, in scrambling through the brush, had lost the 
compactness of its formation. We came close upon them before 
the Federals fired — they delivered one stunning volley, the 
blaze almost reaching our faces, and the roar rang in our ears 
like thunder. The next moment we rode right through them — 
some of the men trying to cut them down with the saber, and 
making ridiculous failures, others doing real execution with gun 
and pistol. We lost only three men killed, but they were noble, 
gallant soldiers — Lieutenant James West and privates Samuel 
Buckner and James Gbiselin. We lost several others wounded. 
Twelve of the enemy were killed and a few made prisoners. 
The afiair was over directly, and the Federals retreated. The 
Texians, as we prepared to charge, asked what we were going 
to do. *^To go in," was the answer. "Then we will go in, too," 
they shouted, and galloping down the rear of our line, until 
they reached the right of it, they turned short to the left and 
charged into the woods. They struck the rest of the brigade 
to which the regiment we had met belonged, and drove it back 
for some distance. They were never checked until they reached 
a high fence, which they could not pass. Their loss was then 
severe, and many of their riderless horses came galloping over 
the ground where our wounded lay. 

Our infantry had pressed on beyond this point, and there was 
no Confedera.te force near except this cavalry. It was impos- 
sible to conjecture how strong the enemy was just here, but 
Colonel Morgan, fearing that he might come in force sufficient to 
endanger this flank, disposed his command on foot, to make all 
possible resistance in such an event. Our skirmishers, thrown 
forward, could not find him, and the receding din of the battle 
seemed to promise perfect safety against all such dangers. 
About half-past one or two o'clock, occurred the great calamity 
which rendered unavailing all of the sacrifices and successes 

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of the day. General Johnston was killed. He had exposed him- 
self with almost culpable recklessness. From the commenoe- 
ment of the fight he had been in the van — cheering the straggling 
men — adding fresh spirit to the charge — stimulating to new 
energy the battalions that were checked. His clothing had been 
torn by balls which were unheeded. 

Once he had ridden along the rear of a brave Arkansas Regi- 
ment, which had just recoiled from a terrible fire. " Where 
now," he said, striking some of the men encouragingly upon the 
shoulder, ^^ are the Arkansas boys, who boasted that they would 
fight with their bowie knives ? You have a nobler weapon in 
your grasp — will you dare to use it?" He spoke to men who 
could not hear such words in vain — they rushed forward and 
won the position. 

Statham's magnificent brigade had at length faltered. Gene- 
ralJohnston, bare-headed and with his hand elevated, rode out 
in front of the brigade, and called on it to follow. His dress, 
majestic presence, imposing gesture and large gray horse, made 
him a conspicuous mark. A ball pierced bis leg, severing the 
artery. He paid no notice to the wound, but continued to fol- 
low the troops, who, incited by his example, had charged suc- 
cessfully. Suddenly he grew faint and reeled in his saddle. 
His staff came to his assistance, but too late. They bore him 
into a ravine for shelter, and in a few moments he died. I can- 
not venture to speak of General Johnston in the ordinary terms 
of eulogy — such applied to him would seem frivolous and pro- 
fane. He was too great for it in life— and it would little accord 
with the veneration, silent, but profound, with which we, his peo- 
ple, cherish his memory. If he had lived but a few days more ! 
Shortly after this great disaster the lines were pressed forward 
rapidly again at all points. Our troops were still instinct with 
the spirit of the lost leader. His genius had prepared efi*ects, 
accomplished after he was gone. The left had swept far around 
— the center, where the latest check had been felt, was a little 
behind — the right driving everything before it, when, by hard 

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fighting the resistance opposed to it at noon had been overcome, 
was approaching the river. 

Now the word was passed through the army, "Let every 
order be forward." In the last determined stand which the 
enemy made, Major General Prentice and two thousand of his 
division were captured. His troops stood, until the advancing 
Confederates closed in on two sides, and escape had become im- 

Our army was now near the river, and a victory absolutely 
complete and decisive, was just within its grasp. The fighting 
had been hard and our success blood-bought but brilliant. For 
many miles (through his encampments, piled up with rich spoils) 
we had driven the enemy. His brave resistance had at length 
been completely broken, and after immense losses, he seemed 
ready to yield. It is an indisputable fact, that for an hour, at 
least, before the Confederate advance was checked by order of 
the Commanding General, it was meeting with no sort of check 
from the enemy. The Northern writers, who shortly after the 
battle described it, one and all depicted a scene of utter confu- 
sion and consternation as prevailing in the Federal army, 
crowded upon the bank of the river. Scarcely a semblance of 
resistance (according to these writers), was maintained — ^while 
thousands (all discipline and confidence gone), were prepared to 
surrender. Hundreds, unable to force their way upon the boats, 
plunged into the river and were drowned. 

The head of Buell's column commenced to arrive late in the 
afternoon, and the troops were crossed as rapidly as they came 
up. Nelson's division crossed first. The leading brigade was 
compelled to force its way through the mass of fugitives. On 
that afternoon, the second chance which the Confederacy had 
to win the war, w^as thrown away. 

All night long, the huge pieces upon the gunboats thundered 
at intervals, with a roar which seemed like that of a bursting 
firmament. They had been opened during the afternoon, but, 
on account of the great elevation necessary to enable them to 

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shoot over the bluffs, the shells had gone high in the air. These 
huge missiles came screaming louder than a steam whistle, strik- 
ing off the tops of trees, and filling the air with dense clouds 
of smoke when they burst, but doing no damage. 

During the night little was done to reorganize the Confeder- 
ate soldiery. Only Bragg's corps maintained its discipline. 
Thousands of stragglers (from the other corps) roamed over the 
field to plunder and riot. The Federal Generals strained every 
nerve to repair their disaster. The fugitives were collected and 
placed again in the ranks. ' The boats plied steadily, bringing 
over Buell's fresh and undiscouraged forces, and at six o'clock 
next morning the victors were in their turn assailed by an army 
larger than the one they had confronted on the day before, and 
half of which was fresh and unwearied. General Beauregard 
disposed his tired troops to receive this storm — and although his 
line was thin — ^weakencd (from the superb array of the day be- 
fore) by the dead and wounded and those who had straggled 
from their colors — it could not be driven. 

General Beauregard in his report of the battle, says : 

" On his right and center the enemy was repulsed in every 
effort he made with his heavy columns in that quarter of the 
field. On the left, our line was weakest, and here the enemy 
drove on lino after line of fresh troops with unremitting fury." 
Our troops stood firm, but General Beauregard feared that they 
must eventually break, and at 12 m. (all of his scanty reserves 
having been put in) he ordered a withdrawal of the line. 

After a repulse of a desperate attack the troops began to 
retire, and accomplished the movement without trouble. Gen- 
eral Beauregard says : " The lines of troops established to 
cover this movement had been disposed on a favorable ridge — 
commanding the ground of Shiloh Church, from this position our 
artillery played upon the woods beyond, but upon no visible 
enemy, and without a reply. Soon satisfied that no serious 
pursuit was, or woiJd be attempted, this last line was withdrawn, 
and never did troops leave a battlefield in better order." 

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154 HISTOBT OF morgan's CAYALRT. 

General Breckinridge (whose heroic conduct on both days 
had almost repaid the Kentuckians — ^in their pride in it — for the 
loss of the battle) was left as rear guard, just in front of the 
intersection of the Pittsburg and Hamburg roads — upon the 
ground occupied by the army upon Saturday night. On the 
next day he was withdrawn three miles to Mickey's, and re- 
mained there undisturbed for five or six days. Our cavalry 
occupied the ground several miles further to the north. Mor- 
gan's squadron, and other cavalry commands, were posted for 
more than a week upon a portion of the field won from the 
enemy on the first day, during which time only two or three 
trifling skirmishes occurred. 

The army marched to Corinth on the 7th and 8th. 

It is a point conceded, now, on all sides, that had the Confed* 
erate army pursued its success on the evening of the first day, 
the army under General Grant would have been annihilated, and 
Buell never could have crossed the river. Had General John- 
ston survived, the battle would have been pressed vigorously to 
that consummation. Then, what woul^ have been the situation? 
The army, remaining upon the banks of the Tennessee for a few 
days, would have been reorganized and recovered from the ex- 
hausting effects of the battle. The slightly wounded returning 
to the ranks would have made the muster-roll full thirty thousand 

Price and Van Dorn coming with about fifteen thousand and 
the levies from all quarters, which were hastening to Corinth, 
would have given General Johnston nearly sixty thousand in- 
fantry. Buell, unable to cross the river or to use it for obtain- 
ing supplies, his communications with Nashville in constant 
danger, and hourly interrupted by the five or six thousand cav- 
alry which General Johnston could have thrown upon them, 
would have been suspended without the ability to obtain 
foothold or prop anywhere. If nothing else could have made 
him retreat, a menace to Nashville, from the troops in East 
Tennessee, would have served the purpose. Then General 

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John8t<m eould have crossed the river, and the cavalry have been 
pushed on to operate between Nashville and Louisville. General 
Buell would not have halted to fight. With the odds against 
him, to do that (in the heart of a hostile population and far 
from support) would have been too hazardous. But retreat 
would have been almost as disastrous as defeat, and, closely 
pressed, would have resulted in the partial disintegration of his 
army. Military men, who understand the situation, and the 
topography of the country, will concur in the opinion that Gen* 
eral Buell could not have halted with safety at Nashville, nor, 
indeed, until he had reached Munfordsville. 

Gentlemen who were upon General Johnston's staff, and in hia 
confidence, state that it was his intention to have attempted no 
march into Kentucky, but that if Buell retreated beyond the 
Cumberland river, he designed (while keeping his cavalry on 
the railroad between Nashville and Louisville) to have marched 
his army, rapidly, along the South bank of the Cumberland to 
the Ohio river, and, crossing that stream, to have pushed into 
Illinois, and (destroying the great trunk lines of railroads) have 
marched to Kentucky by way of Ohio. He could have made 
the march in less time than troops could have been organized to 
oppose him. The plan appeared daring to rashness, but where 
were the forces to endanger such a march? The militia could 
not have stopped it a moment. General Johnston believed that 
his army would have increased as it advanced, and that vacil* 
lation and disaffection removed from Kentucky and Missouri, 
would be transferred to the Northwestern States, and that ne- 
gotiations for peace would be entertained by those States sepa- 

But the battle of Shiloh was, after all, a Confederate success. 
The army of invasion was crippled and reduced to a cautious 
offensive, little better than inactivity. The Federal arms were 
stayed and blunted, and the Southern people, reanimated, pre- 
pared for fresh and vigorous resistance. 

When relieved from duty on the field of Shiloh, Colonel Mor- 

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156 BISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

gan sought and obtained permission to dash into Tennessee, 
with a force adequate to important resalts. While the army 
lay in the entrenchments aroand Corinth, which the Federal 
forces under Halleck were tediously approaching, he wished to 
pounce upon the rich prizes in their rear. He assembled the 
troops, with which he was about to make the contemplated ex- 
pedition at Bymesville, on or about the twenty-third of April. 

His own command, Companies A, B and C, respectively com- 
manded by Lieutenants Sellers, Chadburn and Churchill, had 
been augmented by a fourth company, or rather nucleus of a 
company, some twenty-five strong, commanded by Captain 
Brown — a gallant oflBicer. Detachments from Colonel Wirt 
Adams' regiment and McNairy's battalion had, also, been as- 
signed him. These were commanded by his friend, Lieutenant 
Colonel Wood, and Captain Harris. The entire force at his dis- 
posal numbered three hundred and twenty-five effectives. Colo- 
nel Morgan was detained at Bymesville for several days, having 
his horses shod, arms put in order, rations cooked, and other 
necessary arrangements for the expedition perfected. When all 
was ready, the command commenced its march on the 26th. 
Extra ammunition and rations were carried on pack mules — one 
being allowed to each section, or four to a company. 

These mules were led by men, detailed from the section to 
which they were attached, and the "train" was placed under 
charge of private Frank Leathers — called by courteous reminis- 
cence of his former rank in the Kentucky militia, and as ex- 
legislator — Colonel. This gallant gentleman will pardon me for 
complimenting the energy and diligence he displayed, by re- 
cording the grumbling acknowledgment of one of those he "put 
in motion," who declared that "he made a bigger row in 
driving his mules than was necessary to align a division of 
cavalry for action." 

Passing through luka, that day, the command encamped six 
miles from the Tennessee river, and reaching it early next 
morning, immediately commenced to cross. The river was high, 

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and there was nothing with which to effect the crossing, but one 
boat — ^a small horse-ferry, capable of holding ten or twelve. 
Efforts were made (unsuccessfully), to cross a portion of the 
command at other points. Two days and nights of hard work 
were occupied in getting every thing across. One of the men 
who was actively engaged in the work, describes an apprehen- 
sion which rendered it more disagreeable. *^ We had," he says, 
"the gun-boat fever very badly, at that time, and expected every 
minute to see one come in sight, for they were patroling the 
river for some miles above this point." 

Leaving the river on the morning of the 80th, Colonel Morgan 
reached Lawrenceburg, in Lawrence county, Tennessee, on that 
afternoon, and encamped for the night. It was a fertile country, 
settled by hospitable people. Rations and forage in abundance 
were procured, and a good deal more whisky than was good for 
the men. Early on the next morning the march was resumed, 
and about 10 a. m. (not far from Pulaski), Colonel Morgan 
learned that four hundred Federal troops had just passed through 
on the road to Columbia. They were principally convalescents, 
employed in putting up a line of telegraph from Columbia to 
Huntsville, Alabama, and other " light work." Colonel Morgan 
determined to relieve them. The command was pressed on to 
the town in a gallop. Captain Mitchell (son of the Federal 
General of that name), was captured here, and paroled, that he 
might effect 'his exchange for Colonel Morgan's brother — 
Captain Charlton Morgan — who had been wounded at Shiloh, 
and captured at Huntsville — whither he had gone to conva- 
lesce in the smiles of the fair ladies of that beautiful place. 
Moving on rapidly, Colonel Morgan overtook the enemy a short 
distance beyond the town, and at once attacked. Learning his 
approach, the Federals had hastily thrown up some slight 
breastworks in a field on the side of the road (in which a part of 
them were posted) — others occupied a wood on the left of the 
road. Colonel Morgan formed his command, and — the ground 
permitting — charged on horseback, carrying the entire line. 

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158 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Many prisoners were captured, the remnant of the Federal 
force rallied after retreating about a mile, leaving wagons* 
They were flanked by Co. A, and surrendered. 

At this juncture, a body of cavalry appeared, approaching 
from the direction of Columbia. Not knowing their strength. 
Colonel Morgan engaged them with skirmishers. Finding them 
not strong, he ordered Captain Brown to charge them, who 
routed and drove them six or seven miles. They were about 
fifty strong. Colonel Morgan's loss in this affair was slight. A 
few, only, of the enemy were killed. The prisoners (nearly four 
hundred), were taken back to Pulaski. The citizens were en- 
thusiastic in their reception of Colonel Morgan and his soldiers 
— the men were wild with excitement, , and the women were in 
tears. Colonel Morgan's celebrated mare, "Black_Bess" — 
came in for her share of admiration and attention. The ladies 
crowded around to caress and feed her with dainties (for which 
she had a weakness), and her glossy tresses were in great re- 
quest. It is recorded that upon this occasion, for the first and 
only time in his life — Colonel Morgan opposed the wishes of his 
lady friends. Fearing that Bess would be completely shorn, he 
"tore her away," and sent her to the stable. Guards and pickets 
were posted, and the command encamped. Twenty wagons — 
six loaded with cotton — were captured, here, and burned. On 
the next morning — the 2nd — the oflScer commanding pickets on 
the Huntsville road, reported that a train of wagons wa^ ap- 
proaching. The command was drawn up to receive them, but 
learning that they were escorted by a strong regiment, Colonel 
Morgan decided not to attack. Moving on in the direction of 
Murfreesboro', the command encamped that night in a loyal 
neighborhood, and mindful always of a decorous respect for the 
opinions of other people, Colonel Morgan made all of his men 
*'play Union." They were consequently treated with distin- 
guished consideration, and some were furnished with fresh horses, 
for which they gave their kind friends orders (on the disburs- 
ing officers at Nashville), for their back pay. 

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On the 8d the column reached Harrington — ^fifteen miles from 
Shelbyville. Some lots of cotton were burned on that day. 
General Beauregard (in accordance with the instructions of the 
War Department) had issued orders that all cotton (likely to 
fall into the enemy's hands) should be burned. The command 
remained at Harrington during the night. Over one store the 
stars and stripes were floating resplendent. The men were so 
much pleased with this evidence of patriotism that they would 
patronize no other store in the place. Reaching the vicinity of 
Murfreesboro', on the night of the 4th, Colonel Morgan drove 
in all the pickets (next morning) and made a circuit about the 
town, striking the Nashville and Murfreesboro' pike, about five 
miles from Stone river. The advance guard captured a few of 
the enemy's videttes on this road. 

Some cotton was burned, and the> ^legraph wires were cu t^, 
after a dispatch had been sent to Nashville to the effect that 
Morgan had captured Shelbyville, and Murfreesboro' wanted re- 
inforcements. Colonel Morgan (anticipating brilliant feats in 
that line in the future) carried a telegraph operator (provided 
with a pocket instrument) upon this expedition. That night (at 
dark) the column reached Lebanon, in Wilson county. The 
entire command was quartered in the town. Companies A, 
B and C (of the Squadron) were placed at the college. The 
horses were tied in the large yard and the men occupied the 
building. The detachme»ts under Colonel Wood, Captain Har- 
ris and Captain Brown were quartered at the livery stables. 
Colonel Morgan's headquarters were at the hotel. Colonel Wood, 
ifho had been left in the vicinity of Murfreesboro', with a small 
party, to observe if the enemy followed, came in, some hours 
after nightfall, and reported that all was quiet. 

It was Colonel Morgan's intention to have moved at an early 
hour next morning, and to have crossed the Cumberland river 
at Canoe-branch ferry, about ten miles from Lebanon. Orders 
vrere issued that the men should saddle their horses at four 
o'clock, and that the command should form immediately after- 

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160 ; HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. ' 

ward. TRese orders were not communicated to the company 
commanders. The night was rainy and bleak. The enemy, 
advancing upon the Murfreesboro' road, came to the picket 
stands a little before daybreak. 

The pickets were all at a house. This criminal neglect of 
duty was disastrous. Before the videttes discovered the conse- 
quences of their bad conduct, at least one whole regiment had 
passed. Then one of them, named Pleasant Whitlow, a brave 
and (always before) excellent soldier, declared that he would 
retrieve his fault, or die. He was mounted upon a'^eet mai:£^ 
and dashed at full speed along the road, pasfting^ th^Fedcral 
column, unstopped. He reached the hotel where Colonel Mor- 
gan was quartered, just as the foremost Federal approached it 
As Whitlow called loudly to alarm the Colonel, the enemy fired 
and killed him. The men at the college had just commenced to 
saddle, when the enemy approached. They hurriedly formed — 
Company C, which was quartered in the part of the grounds 
nearest where the enemy entered the town, were attacked and 
driven pell-mell through the others, before it was fairly aligned. 
The three companies became mingled together, and fell back 
into the town and upon the road, across which Company A (ex- 
tricating itself from the others) formed, under charge of its cool 
and gallant Orderly Sergeant, Zelah Bowyer. 

Colonel Morgan soon came up, and his presence reinspirited 
the men. He desired to join with ike other detachments, but 
the enemy occupied the intervening space. A strong column 
was approaching Company A. Colonel Morgan ordered the 
men to dismount, reserve their fire, and drive it back when they 
did open. When the enemy was close, the order to fire was 
given. A good many men and horses fell and the column re- 
coiled. Several Federal officers in the confusion of this fight 
rode into the ranks of Colonel Morgan's command. Colonel 
Woolford was made a prisoner in this way. General Dumont, 
commanding the entire force, was very nearly made prisoner. 

A Chaplain, who made this mistake, asked, upon becoming 

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andeceived, that be might be permitted to rejoin his command — 
"to pray for his men." " The h-U you say," responded a mem- 
ber of Co. A; "Don't you think Morgan's men need praying 
for as well as Woolford's?" Tl^e detachments in the center of the 
4pwiiJger fi^ conag letely surrounded. Colonel Morgan made his 
way, with about o^nSSratTdred men, to the Rome and Carthage 
road, upon which he commenced his retreat at a steady gait. 
Suddenly hia rear was attacked. The enemy dashed upon it, 
sabering the men. In the excitement, Colonel Morgan's mare 
broke the curb of her bridle, and he was unable to restrain her, 
or reform his men. Two or three taking hold of the reins 
strove to hold her in, but uselessly. She .^cfint like.^Jopiftdjf. 
No effort was made, then, at concertedTresistance — a few men 
turned^ and fought, and then resumed their flight. A horse 
falling near the center of the column, caused many others to 
fall, and added — if any thing could add — to the wild confused 
rattling hurricane of flight. Colonel Morgan instructed the 
men (by courier, for Black Bess would not let him go in person) 
to take to the woods when their horses gave out. Many escaped 
in this way. The enemy (Kentucky regiments) were mounted 
on fine horses, comparatively fresh, which enabled them to press 
the pursuit so vigorously. One man gives a graphic account 
of his 'part in the race. "I was riding," he says, "a horse cap- 
tured from General Dumont, and kept up with the Colonel until 
my horse threw his shoes, which put me in the rear. The men 
had all passed me with the exception of Ben Drake. When 
Ben went by, he said, * Tom, Dumont will get his horse.' I 
said, 'Yes, catch me a horse, Ben.' About a mile from that 
point, I found Bole Roberts' horse, with the saddle under his 
belly, and the stirrups broken off. As I did not have time to 
change saddles, I fixed Bole's saddle, led the horse to the fence, 
jumped on, used the spurs, and soon passed Ben again, whose 
horse was now played out. I overtook Colonel Morgan, passed 
him, and found another horse with a saddle on. I stopped and 
changed saddles. When we got to Rome, thirteen miles from 

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162 ^ HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Lebanon, I traded horses again, and stayed in the rear with 
Colonel Morgan, who had gotten Black Bess pulled up. A 
short distance from Rome, the Yanks came within about one 
hundred yards of us, and told us to stop. I told them ' to go 
to — — / The Colonel then told me to ride forward and make 
the men push on, as fast as possible. I was the first to reach 
the ferry, twenty-one miles from Lebanon. The boat was luckily 
on our side of the river. We got into it, as quickly as possible, 
and left our horses on the shore. We wanted the Colonel to 
take Black Bess, but he said no, if time was allowed he would 
send for all." This magnificent animal has never been mentioned, 
as I am aware, in any official report, and she was too com- 
pletely identified with Morgan's early career, to be dismissed 
without a description. She was the most perfect beauty I have 
ever beheld — even in Kentucky. Not fifteen hands high, the 
immense power of her short back, broad tilted loins, and thighs 
— all muscle — enabled her to carry Colonel Morgan's one hun- 
dred and eighty-five pounds as if he were a feather-weight 
Her head was as beautiful as a ^^ poet's dream" — is popularly 
supposed to be. Wide between the eyes, it tapered down, until 
her muzzle was small enough to have picked a lady's pocket. 

The way it was set on her matchless throttle, might well 
"haunt the imagination for years." Her straight superbly 
proportioned neck, her shoulder and girth, might have fascinated 
the eye for ever! — ^but for her beautiful hind quarters and the 
speed and power they indicated ! The arch of her back rib, 
her flank, her clean legs, with firm, dry muscle, and tendons 
like steel wires, her hoofs, almost as small as a clenched fist, 
but open and hard as flint, all these utterly baffle description. 
Her hide was glossy black, without a hair of white. From her 
•Canadian sire she had inherited the staunchest constitution, and 
her thoroughbred dam dowered her with speed, game, intelli- 
gence and grace. An anchorite might have coveted such an 
animal. When Colonel Morgan lost her, on this day, he na- 
turally hoped that she would be subjected to no ignoble use. 

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The civilized world will scarcely credit that a Yankee subse- 
quently traveled her about the country, showing her at twenty- 
five cents a sight. Poor Bess — her spirit must have been 
broken, or she would have kicked the brute's brains out. 

Some fifteen -men crossed in the ferry-boat. Sergeant Tom 
Quirk sprang into a canoe and paddled back to bring the mare 
over. When about half way across, the enemy arrived on the 
shore to which he was returning, and fired upon him, riddling 
the canoe with balls. But he escaped uninjured. 

Efibrts were made to obtain Colonel Morgan a horse. A fine 
one was selected, but an old woman (the owner) stood in the 
door-way with an ax, and prevented all attempts "to trade." 
In vain was it represented to her that she should certainly be 
paid — she declared that "unless she were first shot, the horse 
should not be taken," and the " assessors " were compelled to 
beat a retreat. When Colonel Morgan halted that night, he had 
scarcely twenty men with him, and shed tears, as he speculated 
upon the probable fate of the rest. Only six men were killed. 
A number of others were wounded, and some one hundred and 
twenty were captured. The men of the detachments (which 
were surrounded in Lebanon) were nearly all made prisoners. 
Colonel Wood held out for hours, until the enemy threatened to 
burn the town, if he did not surrender. Among the killed was 
Captain Brown. The enemy lost more in killed and wounded 
than did Colonel Morgan. 

On the 6th, Colonel Morgan reached Sparta, Tennessee, and 
remained there until the 9tb. In those three days a good many 
of his men came in. This inspirited and decided him to assume 
the offensive. Shoeing the horses and equipping the men as he 
best could (under the circumstances) he left Sparta on the 9th 
with nearly one hundred and fifty men — for the most part badly 
armed. He directed his march toward the territory of his former 
service, the country about Bowlinggreen. He hoped to find 
points of importance, slenderly guarded, and the garrisons care- 
less, under the impression that his severe defeat — four days 

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164 HISTOBY OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

previously — ^had finished him. His forces were misceUaneoas. 
He had not quite fifty of his own men, bat Captains Bledsoe 
and Hamilton (commanding companies which operated exclus- 
ively in that district) joined him, and Ghampe Ferguson reported 
as guide with four or five men. The men of Hamilton's and 
Bledsoe's companies were, either new recruits or had never been 
subjected to any sort of discipline. Hamilton's ferry, sixty 
miles from Sparta, was reached that night, and the command 
crossing the river, encamped on the northern bank. 

Colonel Morgan had no difficulty in traveling expeditiously, 
for every inch of the ground, for many miles beyond the river, 
was well known to his Tennessee guides, and when their knowl- 
edge failed, he had reached a country familiar to many of his 
own men. Marching by roads unfrequently traversed, and bridle 
paths, he would have kept his motions perfectly secret but for a 
system of communicating intelligence adopted about this time, 
by the Home-guards of Southern Kentucky. Conch shells and 
horns were blown, all along his route, by these fellows, the sound 
of which, transmitted a long distance, traveled faster than his 

On the next day, reaching the vicinity of Glasgow, the com- 
mand was halted, and John Hines, & clever, daring scout and 
native of the place, was sent to Bowlinggreen, to ascertain the 
strength of the garrison and condition of affairs there. 

Colonel Morgan desired to capture the town and bum the 

Hines returned in a few hours with the information that five 
hundred fine troops were in the town, and it was determined not 
to attack. Colonel Morgan immediately determined then, to 
strike the Louisville and Nashville railroad between Bowling- 
green and the river, and attack and capture, at all hazards, the 
first train which passed. He was not likely to encounter one 
with many troops upon it, and the Bowlinggreen garrison would 
not come out to fight him. Traveling all night, he passed 
through Glasgow, and early next day reached Cave City, twelve 

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miles distant — the point elected at which to make his venture. 
Going in advance, himself, with five men, he had the good luck 
to discover a long train approaching, and immediately took 
measures to stop it. It seemed to bo loaded with troops, who 
tnrned out, upon capture, to be employees on the road. His 
entire command soon arrived. Forty freight cars and a fine 
engine were captured in this train, and destroyed. 

Colonel Morgan was especially hopeful that he would be able 
to catch the train conveying his men — captured at Lebanon — to 
prison, but they had been sent off by the river. 

In a short time the passenger train from Louisville was heard 
coming. A cow-gap was filled with upright beams to stop the 
train, and a party was detailed to lie in ambush, some distance 
up the road, and throw obstructions on the road as soon as the 
train had passed, to prevent its return. Some women notified 
the conductor of his danger, but instead of backing, he pressed 
on more rapidly. Suddenly becoming aware of the blockade in 
front, he checked his train and tried to return, but there was 
already a barrier behind him. Some Federal officers were on the 
train, among them Majors Coffee and Helveti, of Woolford's 

" Major Coffee," said an eye witness, " came out upon the 
platform and opened upon us with a battery of Colt's pistols. 
Ben Bigstaff dismounted and took a shot at him with his min- 
nie rifle ; the bullet struck within an inch of the Major's head 
and silenced his battery.'* A great many women were upon the 
train, who were naturally much frightened. Colonel Morgan 
exerted himself to reassure them. The greatest surprise was 
manifested by the passengers when they learned that it was 
Morgan who had captured them. It was generally believed that 
he had been killed, and his command utterly destroyed. 

One officer captured, was accompanied by his wife. The lady 
approached Colonel Morgan, weeping, and implored him to spare 
her husband. " My dear Madam," he replied, bowing debonairly, 
and with the arch smile which none who knew him can forget. 

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166 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

^' I did not know that you had a husband." ^^ Yes, sir/' she 
said, "I have. Here he is. Don't kill him." "He is no 
longer my prisoner," ^said the Colonel, " he is yours," and he 
released the oflScer unconditionally, bidding him console his wife. 
About eight thousand dollars in greenbacks — Government funds 
— were captured. The train was not burned, but Colonel Mor- 
gan begged the ladies to " accept it as a small token," etc. 

After all was over, the men sat down to a fine dinner pre- 
pared at the Cave City Hotel, for the passengers. 

Colonel Morgan now directed his march toward the Cumberland 
again. He had retaliated, in some degree, for the injury he had 
received, and could meet his comrades in the South, fresh from 
a success instead of a disaster. The column marched steadily 
and encamped at twelve o'clock at night, fifteen miles from 
Glasgow. An incident happened at this place well illustrative 
of Colonel Morgan's kindness, and of the manner in which he 
could do things which would have been undignified in other 
oflBcers and destructive of their authority. It was customary 
for each officer of rank, to have his horses attended to by his 
negro, and the men were rarely required to perform such duties. 
Colonel Morgan's groom, however, had been captured. " When 
we dismounted," said the man who related to me the story, 
" Colonel Morgan gave his horse to Ben Drake, requesting him 
to unsaddle and feed him. As Ben had ridden twelve hours 
longer than the rest of us, he thought this very unkind, to say 
the least, in the Colonel. He, however, paid no attention to 
Ben's sour looks, as the latter took the horse and obeyed the 
order. When Ben returned to the house, Colonel Morgan had 
reserved a place by the fire for him to sleep in. The next 
morning Ben was awakened by the Colonel, who told him to 
get up and eat his breakfast, as the command was ready to 
move. "Why did you not have me roused sooner, Colonel ? " 
asked Ben, " my horse has not been fed." " I wished you to 
sleep longer," answered the Colonel, " and fed, curried and 

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saddled your horse, myself." Would any other Colonel in the 
army have done the same for a " poor private ? " 

Major Coffee was paroled, on condition that he would exert 
himself to procure his own exchange for Lieutenant-Colonel 
Wood, and that he would report again as prisoner if he failed. 

Passing through Burkesville on county- court day, capturing 
a few Federals, and making many horse trades, the command 
passed on to a ford of the Cumberland, twelve miles from the 
little town, and crossed. Sparta was reached on the next day, 
where the Tennessee companies were left — and Colonel Morgan 
inarched on toward Chattanooga, which place he reached by 
easy marches. Some twenty or thirty more refugees and sur- 
vivors of the " Lebanon races'* soon joined him here. Leaving 
these men at Chattanooga — to recruit and refit as well as was 
possible there, he immediately set out for Corinth to see what 
could be effected in the way of obtaining guns and the necessary 
equipment for his men, and to obtain permission to make 
another expedition into Kentucky — that he might recruit his re- 
giment. About the middle of May two fine companies of Texas 
cavalry, commanded by Captains R. M. Gano and Jno. Huffman, 
both native Kentuckians, arrived at Corinth, and requested to 
be assigned to Morgan, that they might see service in Ken- 
tucky. Their application was granted, and they at once marched 
for Chattanooga. 

I had been severely wounded at Shiloh, and left behind when 
the command started upon the expedition just described. Upon 
my return to Corinth, I collected some thirty men of the squad- 
ron (who for various reasons had not accompanied Colonel 
Morgan into Tennessee), and marched with Captaia Gano to 
Chattanooga. We marched through a country, where the people 
were friendly and hospitable, and had no difficulty in supplying 
the men and horses. We had a few skirmishes with Federal 
troops posted along the Tennessee river, in one of which Captain 
Gano took some prisoners, and burned a good deal of cotton, 
collected by the Federals for transportation to Huntsville. The 

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last two days of our march showed us the grandest and most 
beautiful scenery. We traversed the ridgy summit of the moun- 
tain range, which runs just along the southern bank of the Ten- 
nessee and connects with the group of bold mountains around 
Chattanooga. At one point the view is exceedingly striking. 
From the immense hight we occupied, we could see a vast and 
varied expanse of country. In our front and to the right, the 
mountains rose like blue domes, piled closely together — a tre- 
mendous gulf — the bottom of which eyesight could not fathom 
— spread between the range (where we were), and their hazy, 
azure sides. Directly before us " Lookout" — giant chief of all 
— loomed high toward heaven. 

Sheer down, hundreds of feet beneath us, flowed the Ten- 
nessee — I could almost believe that my horse could leap from 
the top of the precipice to the opposite bank of the river. On 
the other side the land was low and nearly level. The green 
fields ran back from the river's brink, in a gentle imperceptible 
ascent, until miles away, the eye lost them in the horizon. The 
noisy cavalrymen were hushed by the scene, and the grand si- 
lence was not disturbed. 

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At Chattanooga we found and were welcomed by Colonel 
Morgan and our gallant comrades, and never did brothers meet 
after separation and danger, with more hearty joy. For the 
first time, then, we learned who had been lost, and as we talked 
it over, the pleasure and congratulation, so natural at our reunion, 
gave way to sadness as we named the dead and counted up the 
captives. Although much reduced in numbers, the squadron 
was unbroken in spirit and courage ; the men who had safely 
gone through the dangers of the late expedition, were more 
eager than ever for another, and burned to wipe out any stain 
that might dim their reputation and to avenge their comrades. 
They had completely recovered from the fatigue of the raid, and 
their first thought (when they welcomed the accession to the 
command that we brought), was of instant march to Kentucky. 

Gano and his Texians were greeted with enthusiasm, and were 
delighted with the choice they had made of a leader and 
brothers- in-arms. The work of re-organization was immediately 
commenced. The three companies of the squadron, much de- 
pleted, were filled nearly to the maximum by recruits who came 
in rapidly — and became (of course), the three first companies of 
the regiment which was now formed. 

Some three hundred men of the First Kentucky infantry (which 
had been just disbanded in Virginia, their term of service hav- 
ing expired), came to Chattanooga to join Morgan. A good 
many of them went into the old companies, and the remainder 
formed companies under officers known to them in their origi- 
nal regimental organization. Captain Jacob Cassel was ap- 
pointed by Colonel Morgan (who now began to exercise in good 
earnest the appointing power), to the command of Company A. 

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Captain Thomas Allen resigned (on account of extreme ill health), 
the Captaincy of Company B. and his brother, John Allen (once 
Colonel in Nicarauga under Walker), was appointed to command 
it. Captain Bowles remained in command of Company C. John 
B. Castleman, who had just come out of Kentucky (fighting as 
he came) with a number of recruits, was made Captain of com- 
pany D. John Hutchinson, formerly Lieutenant in the First 
Kentucky infantry, was made Captain of Company E. Captain 
Thomas B. Webber, who had served at Pensacola, under Gen- 
eral Bragg, during the past year, brought with him from Mis- 
sissippi, a company of most gallant soldiers, many of them his 
former comrades. This company was admitted into the regi- 
ment as Company F., and glad was Colonel Morgan to welcome 
it. Captain McFarland, of Alabama, brought with him a few 
men, and was promised that so soon as his company was re- 
cruited to the proper standard, it should take its place in the 
regiment as Company G. 

Thus it will be seen that Morgan's old regiment was composed 
of the men of his old squadron, of veterans from Virginia, and 
men (from nearly all the Southern States) who had, with few ex- 
ceptions, seen service. These six companies, and the fragment 
of the seventh, numbered in all not quite four hundred men. 
The field and staff, were immediately organized. I became 
Lieutenant Colonel ; G. W. Morgan, formerly of the Third Ten- 
nessee infantry, better known as Major Wash, was appointed 
Major. Gordon E. Niles once editor of a New York paper, and 
a private of Company A., was appointed Adjutant. He was a 
gallant soldier, and died, not long afterward, a soldier's death. 
Captain Thomas Allen, formerly of Company B., was appointed 
Surgeon — Doctor Edelin, the Assistant Surgeon, performed for 
many months the duties of both offices, on account of the illness 
of the former. D. H. Llewellyn and Hiram Reese, both mem- 
bers of the old squadron, were appointed respectively. Quarter- 
master and Commissary. 

While we were at Chattanooga, General Mitchell came to the 

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Other side of the river and shelled and sharp-shot at the town. 
The commandant of the place General Leadbctter, had two or 
three guns in battery, and replied — when the gunners, who were 
the most independent fellows I ever saw, chose to work the 
guns. The defense of the place was left entirely to the individ- 
ual efforts of those who chose to defend it ; nothing prevented 
its capture but the fact that the enemy could not cross the river. 
Very little loss was sustained, and the damage done the town 
by the shells was immaterial. We tried to keep our men in 
camp, but some joined in the fight; one only was hurt. He 
volunteered to assist in working one of the guns and had part 
of his tongue shot off by a rifleman upon the opposite bank. 
About five, p. M., the enemy seemed to be withdrawing. The 
artillery was still playing on both sides, and the enemy occupied 
the bights where their battery was planted, but the infantry and 
sharpshooters had disappeared from the low land, just opposite 
to the city. Colonel Morgan (desirous to ascertain certainly if 
they had gone) crossed the river in a canoe. I was unwilling to 
see him go alone, and, after trying in vain to dissuade him, very 
regretfully accompanied him. Several shells flew over the canoe 
and one burst just above it, some of the fragments falling in it. 
We landed just opposite the wharf, and stole cautiously through 
a straggling thicket to the position which the enemy had occu- 
pied. We stood upon the very ground which they had held only 
a short time before, and as nothing could be seen of them, we 
concluded that they had drawn off entirely. I was very much 
relieved by this reflection. Such a situation — without a horse — 
and with no' means of escape but a canoe, if indeed we could 
have gotten back to the river at all — was not to my taste, and I 
devoutly thanked Providence that the enemy had left. 

As we returned, we met Jack Wilson (the trustiest soldier that 
ever shouldered a rifle) who had paddled us over, on his way to 
look for us ; unable to endure the suspense, he had left the canoe^ 
over which he had been posted as guard. 

After a week or ten days sojourn at Chattanooga, we set out 

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for Knoxville. The better part of the men were mounted, and 
those, who were not, had great hopes. When we reached Knox- 
ville, the Second Kentucky (as our regiment was designated in 
the rolls of the War Department) and the Texas squadron were 
encamped in close vicinity, and for two or three weeks both were 
drilled strictly, twice a day, and mightily distressed by guard- 
mounting and dress-parades. These dress-parades presented a 
graceful and pleasing spectacle on account of the variegated ap- 
pearance of the ranks. 

The men were all comfortably clad, but their clothing was 
uniform, only, in its variety. Strange as it may seem to the 
unexperienced, dress has a good deal to do with the spirit of 
soldiers. The morale of troops depends, in a great measure, 
upon pride, and personal appearance has something to do with 
pride. How awful, for instance, must it be to a sensitive young 
fellow, accustomed at home to wear good clothes and appear con- 
fidently before the ladies, when he is marching through a town 
and the girls come out to wave their handkerchiefs, to feel that 
the rear of his pantaloons has given way in complete disorder. 
The cavalryman, in such cases, finds protection in his saddle, 
but the soldier on foot is defenseless : and thus the very recog- 
nition, which, if he has a stout pair of breeches, would be his 
dearest recompense for all his toils, becomes his most terrible 
affliction. Many a time, have I seen a gallant infantryman, 
who would have faced a battery double-shotted with grape and 
canister with comparative indifference, groan and turn pale in 
this fearful ordeal. It was a touching sight to see them seek to 
dispose their knapsacks in such a manner that they should serve 
as fortifications. 

The ideas which the experience of the past eight months had 
suggested, regarding the peculiar tactics best adapted to the 
service and the kind of fighting we had to do, were now put into 
practical shape. A specific drill, different in almost every re- 
spect from every other employed for cavalry, was adopted. It 
was based upon a drill taught in the old army for Indian fight- 

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OEisr, 3Swi o i^ G^ A. rr 

In hf* Fini Hai^ into fh^ 

or Ken tacit J, J^lf, 18fla. 
- — — iiidLc«t«i (3a tt. Iforfma"!! 

80AX.B 30 mi-M TO TUB nfOB. 


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174 HisTOEY oF^iRmcom's cavalry, 

ing, called " Maury's skirmish tactics for cavalry," I believe ; 
but as that drill contemplated the employment of but a very few 
men, and ours had to provide for the evolutions of regiments, 
and eventually brigades, the latter was necessarily much more 
comprehensive. The formation of the company, the method of 
counting off in sets, and of dismounting and deploying to the 
front, flanks, or rear, for battle, was the same as in Maury's 
tactics ; but a great many movements necessary to the change 
of front, as the kind of ground or other circumstances required 
it to be made in various ways, to the formations from column 
into line, and from line into column, the methods of taking 
ground to the front, or rear, in establishing or changing line, 
the various methods of providing, as circumstances might re- 
quire, for the employment of all, or only part of a regiment or 
brigade, or for the employment of supports and reserves, all 
these evolutions had to be added. It would be uninteresting to 
all but the practical military reader, and unnecessary, as well, 
to enter into a minute explanation of these matters. 

If the reader will only imagine a regiment drawn up in single 
rank, the flank companies skirmishing, sometimes on horse-back, 
and then thrown out as skirmishers on foot, and so deployed as 
SS to cover the whole front of the regiment, the rest of the men 
dismounted (one out of each set of four and the corporals, re- 
maining to hold horses) and deployed as circumstances required, 
and the command indicated, to the front of, on either flank, or 
to the rear of the line of horses — the files two yards apart — and 
then imagine this line moved forward at a double-quick, or 
oftener a half run, he will have an idea of Morgan's style of 

Exactly the same evolutions were applicable for horse-back, 
or foot fighting, but the latter method was much oftener prac- 
ticed — we were, in fact, not cavalry, but mounted riflemen. A 
small body of mounted men was usually kept in reserve to act 
on the flanks, cover a retreat, or press a victory, but otherwise 
our men fought very little on horse-back, except on scouting 

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expeditions. Oar men were all admirable riders, trained from 
childhood to manage the wildest horses with perfect ease ; bat 
the nature of the ground on which we generally fought, covered 
with dense woods, or crossed by high fences, and the impossi- 
bility of dcToting sufficient time to the training of the horses, 
rendered the employment of large bodies of mounted men to 
any good purpose, very difficult. It was very easy to charge 
down a road in column of fours, but very hard to charge across 
the country in extended line, and keep any sort of formation. 
Then we never used sabers, and long guns were not exactly the 
weapons for cavalry evolutions. We found the method of fight- 
ing on foot more effective — we could maneuver with more cer- 
tainty, and sustain less and inflict more loss. ^^The long flexi- 
ble line curving forward at each extremity," as an excellent 
writer described it, was very hard to break ; if forced back at 
one point, a withering fire from every other would be poured in 
on the assailant. It admitted, too, of such facility of maneuver- 
ing, it could be thrown about like a rope, and by simply facing 
to the right or left, and double-quicking in the same direction, 
every man could be quickly concentrated at any point where it 
was desirable to mass them. 

It must be remembered that Morgan very rarely fought with 
the army ; he had to make his command a self-sustaining one. If 
repulsed, he could not fall back and reform behind the infantry. 
He had to fight infantry, cavalry, artillery; take towns when 
every house was a garrison, and attack fortifications with noth- 
ing to depend on but his own immediate command. He was 
obliged, therefore, to adopt a method which enabled him to do a 
great deal in a short time, and to keep his men always in hand, 
whether successful or repulsed. With his support from forty to 
five hundred miles distant, an officer had better learn to rely on 

If General Morgan had ever been enabled to develope his plan 
of organization as he wished, he would have made his division 
of mounted riflemen a miniature army. With his regiments 

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176 HISTORY OF morgan's OAYALBT. 

armed as he wished them — ^a battalion of two or three hundred 
men, appropriately armed, and attached to each brigade, to be 
used only as cavalry, and with his battery of three-inch Parrots, 
and train of mountain howitzers, he could have met any contin- 
gency. The ease and rapidity with which this simple drill was 
learned^ and the expedition with which it enabled all movements 
to be accomplished, chiefly recommended it to Morgan, I have 
seen his division, when numbering over three thousand men, and 
stretched out in column, put into line of battle in thirty min- 
utes. Regular cavalry can no doubt form with much more dis- 
patch, but this was quicker than it is often done in this country. 
The weapon which was always preferred by the officers and 
men of the command, was the rifle known as the ^^ medium En- 
field." The short Enfield was very convenient to carry, but 
was deficient both in length of range and accuracy. The long 
Enfield, without any exception the best of all rifles, was unwieldy 
either to carry or to use, as sometimes became necessary, on 
horseback. The Springfield rifle, nearly equal to the long En- 
field, was liable to the same objections, although in a less degree. 
Now that the military world has finally decided in favor of 
breech-loading guns, it may seem presumptuous to condemn 
them ; but, so far as my own experience goes, they are decidedly 
inferior. When I say inferior, I mean not so much uiat they 
will not carry far, nor accurately, although a fair trial of every 
sort I could lay my hands upon with the Enfield and Springfield, 
convinced me of the superiority, in these respects, of the two 
latter ; but that for other reasons they are not so efi'ective as the 
muzzle-loading guns. Of the two best patterns, the Sharp and 
the Spencer — ^for the Maynard is a pop-gun, and the others are 
BO contrived that, generally, after one shot, the shell of the car- 
tridge sticks in the chamber— of these two, I have seen the Sharp 
do the most execution. It has been the verdict of every officer 
of the Western Confederate cavalry with whom I have talked 
upon the subject, and it certainly has been my experience, that 
those Federal cavalry regiments which were armed with breech- 

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loading guns did least execution. The difference in the rapidity " 
with which men dropped when exposed to the fire of an infantry 
regiment, and the loss from that of a cavalry regiment of equal 
strength, even when the latter fought well, ought of itself to go far 
to settle the question, for the Federal infantry were all armed 
with muzzle-loading guns. 

A close study of the subject will convince any man that the 
very fact of having to load his gun will make a soldier compar- 
atively cool and steady. If he will stay to load at all, and will fix 
his mind upon what he is doing, he will become cool enough to 
take aim. While if he has only to stick in a cartridge and shoot, 
or turn a crank and pull trigger, he will fire fast, but he will fire 
wildly. I have seen some of the steadiest soldiers I evei: knew, 
men who were dead shots with an Enfield, shoot as if they were 
aiming at the sun with a Spencer. The Spencer rifle would 
doubtless be an excellent weapon for a weak line to hold works 
with, where the men were accustomed to note the ground ac- 
curately, and would, therefore, be apt to aim low, and it is de- 
sirable to pour in a rapid, continuous fire to stagger an attack- 
ing line. 

It is perhaps a first-rate gun for small skirmishes on horse- 
back, although for those, our cavalry decidedly preferred the 
revolver. But in battle, when lines and numbers are engaged, 
accurate and not rapid firing is desirable. If one fiftieth of the 
shots from either side were to take effect in battle, the other 
would be annihilated. If rapid firing is so desirable, why do the 
same critics who advocate it, also recommend that troops shall 
hold their fire until they can pour in deadly volleys ? Why do 
they deprecate so much firing, and recommend the use of the 
bayonet ? 

It is folly to talk to men who have seen battles, about the 
moral eff^ect of rapid firing, and of " bullets raining around 
men's heads like hail stones.'* That is like the straggler's ex- 
cuse to General Lee that he was "stung by a* bomb." Any 
man who has ever heard lines of battle engaged, knows that, let 

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the men fire fast or slow, tbe nicest ear can detect no interval 
between the shots ; the musketry sounds like the incessant, un- 
intermitted crash of a gong — even cannonading, when one or two 
hundred guns are working, sounds like the long roll of a drum 
— and the hiss of bullets is perfectly ceaseless. Good troops 
will fight well with almost any sort of guns. Mean troops will 
not win, no matter how they are armed. If the matter were in- 
vestigated, it would probably be found that the regiments which 
won most distinction, in the late war on this continent, on both 
sides, fired the fewest number of rounds. 

At one time — when Morgan's command was somewhat de- 
moralized — the men were loud in describing the terrific efiect of 
the Spencer rifle, when it was notorious that, at that time, it was 
an unusual occurrence to lose a man — they subsequently became 
ashamed of their panic, and met the troops carrying Spencer 
rifles, with more confidence than those armed in any other way. 
It would be very convenient to attribute every whipping we ever 
got to the use of breach-loading rifles by our antagonists, 
but it would be very wide of the truth. It was impossible, how- 
ever, to obtain, when we were organizing at Knoxville, the ex- 
act description of guns we wished. One company was armed 
with the long Enfield, another had the medium, and Company A 
got the short Enfield. Company C was furnished with Missis- 
sippi rifles and Company B retained the shot-guns which they 
had used for nearly a year. Company E was provided with a 
gun, called from the stamp upon the barrel, the ** Tower gun;" 
it was of English make, and was a sort of Enfield carbine. Ita 
barrel was rather short and bore immense; it carried a ball 
larger than the Belgian. Its range and accuracy were first rate. 
The roar of this gun was almost as loud as that of a field piece 
and the tremenduus bullet it carried would almost shatter an 
ordinary wall. 

It was some months before each company of the regiment was 
armed with the same or similar guns. Nearly every man had a 
pistol, and some two. Shortly afterward, when they were cap- 

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tared in sufficient numbers, each man was provided with 
The pistol preferred and usually worn by the men, was i 
Colt furnished to the Federal cavalry regiments — this patent is 
far the best and most effective of any I have ever seen. At this 
time two mountain howitzers were sent from Richmond for Mor- 
gan's use. It is unnecessary to describe a piece so well known, 
but it may be as well to say, that no gun is so well adapted in 
all respects to the wants of cavalry, as these little guns. With 
a large command, it is always well enough to have two or four 
pieces of longer range and yet of light draught, such as the 
three-inch Parrot — but if I were required to dispense with one or 
the other, I would choose to retain the former. They can be 
drawn (with a good supply of ammunition in the limbers), by 
two horses over any kind of road. They can go over ravines, 
up hills, through thickets, almost ttnj where, in short, that a 
horseman can go ; they can be taken, without attracting atten- 
tion, in as close proximity to the enemy as two horsemen can 
go— they throw shell with accuracy eight hundred yards, quite 
as far as there is any necessity for, generally in cavalry fighting 
— they throw canister and grape, two and three hundred yards, 
as effectively as a twelve pounder — they can be carried by hand 
right along with the line, and as close to the enemy as the line 
goes — and they make a great deal more noise than one would 
suppose from their size and appearance. If the carriages are 
well made, they can stand very hard service, and they are easily 
repaired, if injured. These little guns were attached to the Se- 
cond Kentucky, and the men of that regiment became much 
attached to them. They called them familiarly and affection- 
ately, the "bull pups,*' and cheered them whenever they were 
taken into a fight. They remained with us, doing excellent ser- 
vice, until just before the Ohio raid ; and, then, when General 
Bragg's ordnance officer arbitrarily took them away from us, it 
came near raising a mutiny in the regiment. I would, myself, 
have gladly seen him tied to the muzzle of one of them and shot 

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off. They were captured by the enemy in two weeks after they 
were taken from us. 

Just before Morgan left Knoxville to go on the expedition 
known as " the First Kentucky raid," he was joined by a gen- 
tleman " from abroad," whose history had been a curious and 
extraordinary series of exciting adventures, and who now came 
to see something of our war. This was Lieutenant Colonel St. 
Leger Greenfel, of the English service, and of all the very re- 
markable characters who have figured (outside of popular novels) 
in this age, he will receive the suffrages of our Western cavalry- 
men, for pre-eminence in devil-may-care eccentricity. He 
had commenced life (I believe) by running away from his father, 
because the latter would not permit him to enter the army, and 
in doing so, he showed the good sense that he really possessed, 
for the army was the proper place for him — provided they went 
to war often enough. He served five years in some French reg- 
iment in Algeria, and then quitting the service, lived for a num- 
ber of years in Tangiers, where he did a little business with the 
Moorish batteries, when the French bombarded the place. He 
served four years with Abd-El Kader, of whom he always spoke 
in the highest terms, as having been every thing that he ought 
to have been, except a member of the Church of England. 
Having exhausted life in Africa, he looked elsewhere for excite- 
ment, and passed many years of his subsequent life in great hap- 
piness and contentment, amid the pleasant scenes of the Crimean 
war, the Sepoy rebellion, and Garibaldi's South American ser- 

When the war broke out over here he came of course — and 
taking a fancy to Morgan, from what he had heard of him, came 
to join him. He was very fond of discussing military matters, 
but did not like to talk about himself, and although I talked 
with him daily, it was months before he told any thing of his 
history. He was a thorough and very accomplished soMier — 
and may have encountered something in ei^rly life that he feared, 
but if so, it had ceased to exist. 

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He became Morgan's Adjutant General and was of great as- 
sistance to him, but sometimes gave trouble by his impracticable 
temper — ^he persisted, among other things, in making out all 
papers in the style he had learned in the English service, the 
regulations and orders of the War Department " to the con- 
trary notwithstanding," 

He was always in a good temper when matters were active — 
I never saw him hilarious but once — and that was the day after 
the battle of Hartsville ; he had just thrashed his landlord, and 
doubled up a brother Englishman, in a " set-to " about a mule, 
and was contemplating an expedition on the morrow, with Gen- 
eral Morgan to Nashville. He was the only gentleman, I ever 
knew, who liked to fight with his fists, and he was always cheer- 
ful and contented when he could shoot and be shot at. 

After he left Morgan he was made Chief Inspector of Cav- 
alry, and became the terror of the entire " front." He would 
have been invaluable as commander of a brigade of cavalry, 
composed of men who (unlike our volunteers) a|)preciated the 
" military necessity " of occasionally having an officer to knock 
them in the head. If permitted to form, discipline, and drill 
such a brigade of regular cavalry after his own fashion, he would 
have made gaps in many lines of battle, or have gotten his 
** blackguards well peppered " in trying. 

Sometime in the latter part of June, Colonel Hunt of Geor- 
gia arrived at Knoxville with a "Partisan Ranger" regiment 
between three and four hundred strong, to accompany Morgan 
upon his contemplated raid. 

When the entire force of able bodied and mounted men was 
estimated, it was found eight hundred and seventy-six strong. 
Hunt's regiment numbering about three hundred and fifty; mine, 
the Second Kentucky, about three hundred and seventy, and 
Gano's squadron making up the balance. 

Fifty or sixty men, from all the commands, were left at Knox- 
ville for lack of horses. Perhaps two hundred men of t^is force, 
with which Morgan commenced the expedition, were unarmed, 

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and a much larger number were badly mounted and provided 
with the most indifferent saddles and equipments. 

The command set out from Knoxville on the morning of the 
4th of July, 1862, and took the road to Sparta (a little place 
on the confines of the rugged mountainous country which sep- 
arates Middle Tennessee from the rich valley of East Tennessee) 
in which Knoxville is situated. Sparta in one hundred and four 
miles from Knoxville. We reached it, after tolerably hard march- 
ing, for the road was terribly rough, on the evening of the third 
day, and encamped five miles beyond it on the road to Living- 

While traversing the region between Knoxville and Sparta; we 
were repeatedly fired upon by bush-whackers, but had only one 
man killed by them — a Texian of Gano's squadron. We made 
many unsuccessful attempts to capture them, but they always 
chose the most inaccessible points to fire from and we could 
never get to them. Frequently they would shoot at us from a 
ledge of rocks not forty feet above our heads, and yet to get to 
it we would have had to go hundreds of yards — rtiey consequently 
always escaped. 

At Sparta, Champe Ferguson reported himself as a guide, and 
I, for the first time, saw him, although I had often heard of him 
before. He had the reputation of never giving quarter, and, no 
doubt, deserved it (when upon his own private expeditions), al- 
though when with Morgan he attempted no interference with 
prisoners. This redoubted personage was a native of Clinton 
county, Kentucky, and was a fair specimen of the kind of char- 
acters which the wild mountain country produces. He was a 
man of strong sense, although totally uneducated, and of the 
intense will and energy, which, in men of his stamp and mode 
of life, have such a tendency to develope into ferocity, when 
they are in the least injured or opposed. He was grateful for 
kindness, and instinctively attached to friends, and vindictive to 
his enemies. He was known as a desperate man before the 
war, and ill-treatment of his wife and daughter, by some soldiers 

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and Home-guards enlisted in his own neighborhood, made him 
relentless in his hatred of all Union men ; he killed all the par- 
ties concerned in the outrage upon his family, and/ becoming 
then an outlaw, kept up that style of warfare. It is probable 
that, at the close of the war, he did not himself know how many 
men he had killed. He had a brother, of the same character as 
liimself, in the Union army, and they sought each other persist- 
ently, mutually bent on fratricide. Ghampe became more widely 
known than any of them, but the mountains of Kentucky and 
Tennessee were filled with such men, who murdered every pri- 
soner that they took, and they took part, as their politics in- 
clined them, with either side. For a long time Ferguson hunted, 
or was hunted by, a man of his own order and nearly as notorious 
on the other side, namely, "Tinker Dave Beattie." On the 
evening of the 7th, we encamped in the vicinity of Livingston. 
Leaving early next morning, by midday we reached the Cumber- 
land river at the ford near the small village of Selina. . Here 
Colonel Morgan received positive information of the strength 
and position of the enemy at Tompkinsville, eighteen miles from 
Selina. He had learned at Knoxville that a Federal garrison 
was at this place, and had determined to attack it. One bat- 
talion of the 9th Pennsylvania, under command of Major Jordan, 
about three hundred and fifty strong, constituted the entire force. 
It was Morgan's object to surprise and capture the whole of it. 
He accordingly sent forward scouts to watch and report every 
thing going on at their camp, while he halted the bulk of the 
command until night-fall. The men employed the interval of 
rest in attention to their horses, and in bathing in the river. At 
eleven o'clock the March was resumed; the road was rough and 
incumbered at some points with fallen timber, so that the column 
made slow progress. When within four or five miles of Tom- 
kinsville, Gano's squadron and Hamilton's company of Tennessee 
Partisan Rangers, which had joined us the evening before, were 
sent by a road which led to the right to get in the rear of the 
enemy and upon his line of retreat toward Glasgow. The rest of 

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the command reached Tomkinsville at five o'clock. It was con- 
sequently broad daylight, and the enemy had information of our 
approach in time to form to receive us. Colonel Hunt was 
formed upon the left, aAd my regiment upon the right, with the 
howitzers in the center. It was altogether unnecessary to form 
any reserve, and as our numbers were so superior, our only 
care was to ^^lap around" far enough on the flanks to encircle 
the game. 

The enemy were posted on a thickly wooded hill, to reach 
which we had to cross open fields. They fired, therefore, three 
or four volleys while we were closing on them. The Second 
Kentucky did not fire until within about sixty yards of them, 
and one volley was then enough. The fight did not last ten 
minutes. The enemy lost about twenty killed and twenty or 
thirty wounded. Thirty prisoners, only, were taken on the 
ground, but Gano and Hamilton intercepted and captured a 
good many more, including the commander, Major Jordan. Our 
force was too much superior in strength for them to have made 
much resistance, as we outnumbered them more than two to one. 

Our loss was only in wounded, we had none killed. But a 
severe loss was sustained in Colonel Hunt, whose leg was shat- 
tered and it was necessary to leave him ; he died in a few days 
of the wound. Three of the Texians also were wounded in 
their chase after the fugitives. The tents, stores, and camp 
equipage were destroyed. A wagon train of twenty wagons 
and fifty mules were captured and a number of cavalry horses. 
Abundant supplies of cofi*ee, sugar, etc., etc., were found in the 
camp. The guns captured were useless breech-loading car- 
bines, which were thrown away. 

Leaving Tompkinsville at three o'clock in the afternoon, after 
paroling the prisoners, we reached Glasgow about one o'clock 
that night. This town was unoccupied by any garrison, and its 
people were very friendly to us. Company C, of the old squad- 
ron had been principally recruited here. The command rested 
at Glasgow until 9 A. M. next day ; during the time, the ladies 

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busied themselyes in preparing breakfast for us, and before we 
left, every man had taken in a three days' supply. A straggler 
captured at Glasgow gave us some " grape vine " intelligence 
which annoyed us no little. He stated that McCiellan had 
taken Richmond. When we left Knoxville, the battle of the 
seven days was going on, and we had, of course, heard nothing 
after we started. Our prisoner, however, was gravely assured, 
just before he was paroled, that a courier had just reached us 
with the information that McCiellan was in Richmond, but as a 
prisoner, and with half his army in the same condition. This fel- 
low, who represented himself to be an oflScer, turned out to be one 
of the buglers of the Ninth Pennsylvania, and all the information 
he gave was as reliable as the McCiellan story. A halt of two or 
three hours was made at Bear Wallow, to enable Mr. Ellsworth 
(popularly known as " Lightning " ), the telegraphic operator on 
Colonel Morgan's staff, to tap the line between Louisville and 
Nashville, and obtain the necessary information regarding the po- 
sition of the Federal forces in Kentucky. Connecting his own in- 
strument and wire with the line, Ellsworth began to take off the 
dispatches. Finding the news come slow he entered into a con- 
versation with Louisville and obtained much of what was wanted. 
He in return communicated such information as Colonel Morgan 
desired to have the enemy act upon. One statement, made at 
hap hazard, and with no other knowledge to support it, except 
that Forrest was in Middle Tennessee, was singularly verified. 
Morgan caused Ellsworth to telegraph that Forrest had taken 
Murfreesboro' and had captured the entire garrison. Forrest 
did exactly what was attributed to him on that or the next day. 
A heavy storm coming on caused them, after several fruitless 
efforts to continue, to desist telegraphing. 

The column was put in motion again immediately upon Colonel 
Morgan's return, and marching all night got within about fifteen 
miles of Lebanon by 11 a. m. next morning. Here Company 
B was detached, to push rapidly to the railroad between Leb- 
anon and Lebanon junction, and ordered to destroy it, so that 

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186 BISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

troops might not be thrown into Lebanon in time to oppose us. 
The march was not resumed until three or four in the afternoon, 
so that when we reached Boiling Fork river, six miles from 
Lebanon, it was dark. Colonel Morgan, who was riding with 
his staff in front of the advance guard, was fired upon as he 
entered the small covered bridge across the stream, by a party 
of the enemy stationed at the other end of it. His hat was 
shot from his head, but neither he nor any of his staff were 
touched. One of the howitzers was immediately run up and a 
shell was thrown into the bridge. A platoon of the leading 
company was dismounted and carried at a double quick to clear 
it. When they reached it, the enemy, alarmed by the shell, 
which had killed one man, had retreated, the bottom of the 
bridge was found to have been torn up, and a short time was 
spent in repairing it. This was a strong position and one 
which the enemy ought, by all means, to have occupied with his 
entire force. 

There was no ford for six or eight miles above or below ; the 
bridge was the only means of crossing without a wide detour; 
and not twenty yards from the mouth of the bridge (on the side 
held by the enemy), and perfectly commanding it, was a steep 
bluff (not too high) covered with timber, and affording an ad- 
mirable natural fortification. As soon as the bridge was re- 
paired, the column crossed and pressed on to Lebanon. Within 
a mile of the town, skirmishing commenced with the force which 
held it. Two companies (E and C of the Second Kentucky) 
were thrown out on foot, and advanced at a brisk pace, driving 
the enemy before them. Two or three of the enemy were killed; 
our loss was nothing. The town was surrendered by its com- 
mandant about ten o'clock ; some two hundred prisoners were 

Pickets were immediately posted on every road, and the whole 
command encamped in such a manner that it could be immedi- 
ately established in line. It was necessary to remain at Leb- 
anon until the large quantity of stores of all kinds, which were 

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there, ^ere disposed of, and, as we were now in the midst of 
enemies, no precaution could be omitted. Captain Allen, who, 
as has been mentioned, was detached with Company B of the 
Second Kentucky to prevent the train from bringing reinforce- 
ments to Lebanon, struck the railroad at New Hope Church and 
had just commenced to destroy it, when a train came with a 
large number of troops on board for Lebanon. He attacked it, 
and a skirmish of a few minutes resulted in the train going 
back. The night was very dark, and little loss, if any, was in- 
flicted on either side. 

On the next day, an examination of the . stores showed an 
abundance of every description. A su£Scient number of excel- 
lent guns were gotten to arm every man efficiently, and some 
thousands were destroyed. A large building was found to be 
filled with cartridges and fixed ammunition. An abundant sup- 
ply of ammunition for small arms was thus obtained, and a fresh 
supply of ammunition was also gotten for the howitzers. After 
taking what was needed, all this was destroyed. There was 
also a stone magazine not far from the depot, which was full of 
powder. The powder was all taken out of it, and thrown into 
the stream near by. 

Very large supplies of provisions were found — meat, flour, 
sugar, coffee, etc. — which were turned over to the citizens, and 
when they had helped themselves, the remainder was burned. 
A great deal of clothing had also been collected here, and the 
men were enabled to provide themselves with every thing which 
they needed in the way of under-clothing. While at Lebanon, 
copies of a flaming proclamation, written and published at Glas- 
gow, were circulated. 

After the destruction of the stores had been completed, and 
Ellsworth had closed his business at the telegraph office, the 
command was again put in motion. It left the town about two 
P. M., on the Springfield road. Before leaving Knoxville, Cclonel 
Morgan, appreciating the necessity of having an advance-guard 
which could be thoroughly relied on, and disinclined to trust to 

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188 nisTORY OF morgan's cavalry. 

details, changed every day, for that duty, had organized a body 
of twenty-five men, selected with great care from the entire 
force under his command, to constitute an advance-guard for the 
expedition. So well did this body perform the service assigned 
it, that the men composing it, with some additions to make iip 
the tale as others were taken out, were permanently detailed for 
that duty, and it became an hbnor eagerly sought, and a reward 
for gallantry and good conduct second only to promotion, to be 
enrolled in "the advance." The non-commissioned officers 
were chosen with the same care, and First Lieutenant Charles 
W. Rogers of Company E, formerly of the First Kentucky In- 
fantry, was appointed to command it. This officer possessed in" 
an eminent degree the cool judgment, perfect fearlessness, com- 
mand of men, and shrewdness of perception requisite for such 
an office. 

This guard habitually marched at a distance of four hundred 
yards in front of the column; three videttes were posted at in- 
tervals of one hundred yards between it and the column. Their 
duties were to transmit information and orders between the col- 
umn and the guard, and to regulate the gait of the former, so 
that it would not press too close on the latter, and, also, to pre- 
vent any straggling between the two. Six videttes were thrown 
out in front of the guard — four at intervals of fifty yards, and 
with another interval of the same distance from tho fourth of 
these, two rode together in the extreme front. These two were 
consequently at a distance of two hundred and fifty yards in 
front of the body of the guard. At first these videttes were 
regularly relieved, but it was afterward judged best to keep the 
same men always on the same duty. The advance videttes were 
required to examine carefully on all sides, and report to the of- 
ficer of the guard the slightest indication which seemed suspi- 
cious. When they came to by-roads or cross-roads one or both, 
as the case might require, immediately galloped some two or 
three hundred yards down them, and remained until relieved by 

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men sent for that purpose from the head of the column, when 
they returned to their posts. 

As soon as they notified the officer of the guard (by calling to 
the videttes next behind them), that they were about to leave their 
posts, he took measures to supply their places. The two videttes 
next to them in the chain galloped to the front, the other two, 
alsa moved up, respectively, fifty yards, and two men were sent 
from the guard to fill the places of the last. 

When the videttes, regularly in advance, returned, the original 
disposition was resumed. If an enemy was encountered, men 
were dispatched from the guard to the assistance of the videttes, 
or the latter fell back on the guard, as circumstances dictated. 
If the enemy was too strong to be driven by the advance, the 
latter endeavored to hold him in check (and was reinforced if ne- 
cessary), until the command could be formed for attack or de- 
fense. Scouting parties were of course thrown out on the front 
and flanks, as well as to the rear, but as these parties were often 
miles away in search of information, a vigilant advance guard 
was always necessary. During an engagement, the advance was 
generally kept mounted and held in reserve. 

Passing through Springfield without a halt, the column 
marched in the direction of Harrodsburg. Late in the evening, 
some of the scouts had an engagement at a little place called 
Macksville, with a Home-guard organization, in which two or 
three were wounded and two captured. During the night, find- 
ing that it would be impossible to ferret out the captors, we ne- 
gotiated an exchange of prisoners. On the next morning, about 
nine o'clock we entered Harrodsburg, another stronghold of our 
friends, and were warmly welcomed. 

It was Sunday, and a large concourse of people were in town. 
We found that the ladies, in anticipation of our coming, had 
prepared the most inviting rations, and the men after attending 
to their horses and supplying them with forage, a "super- 
abundance of which," to use the old forage-master's expression, 
was stacked close by, fell to themselves, and most of them were 

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190 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY, 

eating, with short intervals employed in sleeping, until the hour 
of departure. Harrodsburg is twenty-eight miles from Lexing- 
ton, the head-qnarters then of the Federal forces of the region. 
Gano, with his squadron, was detached at Harrodsburg to go 
around Lexington and burn the bridges on the Kentucky Cen- 
tral Railroad, in order to prevent troops from being thrown into 
Lexington from Cincinnati. Captain Allen was sent to destroy 
the bridges over Benson and other small streams on the Louis- 
ville and Lexington road, to prevent the transmission of troops 
by that road, and also to induce the impression that the com- 
mand was making for Louisville. About dark the column 
moved from Harrodsburg on the Frankfort pike. It was Mor- 
gan's wish to induce the belief that he intended to attack Frank- 
fort, but to suddenly turn to the right and make for Lexington, 
capture that place if he could, and if he could not, at least 
enjoy the fine country in its vicinity. . 

At one P. M. that night we encamped at Lawrenceburg, the 
county seat of Anderson county, twenty miles from Harrodsburg 
and about fifteen from Frankfort. A scouting party was sent 
immediately on in the direction of Frankfort, with instructions 
to drive in the pickets after daybreak, and to rejoin us at Ver- 
sailles. The command had now marched three hundred and odd 
miles in eight days, but the men, despite the fatigue usually re- 
sulting from night marching, were comparatively fresh, and in 
the most exultant spirits. So far, every thing had gone well ; 
although encompassed by superior forces, celerity of movement, 
and skillful selection of route, had enabled us to elude them ; a 
good many little affairs had occurred with the Home-guards, 
which I have not mentioned, but they had been expected, and 
the damage from them was trifling. Leaving Lawrenceburg next 
morning at daybreak, the column took the road to Versailles, but 
was compelled to halt at Shryock's ferry, seven miles from Ver- 
sailles. On account of the ferry-boat having been sunk, it was 
necessary to raise and repair it, so that the howitzers might be 
crossed. This delay prevented us from reaching Versailles 

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before night fell. It was now deemed good policy to march more 
elowly, obtain perfectly accurate information, and in trease the 
confasion already prevailing by threatening all points of impor- 
tance. This policy was not a hazardous one, under the circum- 
stances, for although the forces surrounding the point where we 
now were, were each a superior to our own, yet by getting be- 
tween them and preventing their concentration, and industriously 
creating the impression to which the people were, at any rate 
disposed, that our force was four or five thousand strong, Mor- 
gan had demoralized them, and they were afraid to come out 
and meet him. The ease with which he had, hitherto, pressed 
right on, without a momentary check, confirmed the belief that 
he was very strong. 

The command remained encamped at Versailles during the 
night. Scouts were sent in every direction, and upon their re- 
turn next day reported that a very general consternation pre- 
vailed, as well as uncertainty regarding our movements. The 
Home-guards and little detachments of troops were running, on 
the one side for Lexington, and on the other for Frankfort. 
Leaving Versailles next day about 10 A. M., the column moved 
toward Georgetown. 

Before leaving Versailles, the scouting parties which had been 
dispatched to Frankfort rejoined the command. Frankfort was 
by this time relieved of all fear of immediate attack, and Colonel 
Morgan became apprehensive that the troops there might be 
marched out after him, or that communication might be opened 
with Lexington which might lead to a simultaneous attack upon 
him by the forces of the two points. He hoped that the detach- 
ment under Captain Allen returning, after the destruction of the 
bridge between Frankfort and Louisville, and necessarily march- 
ing close to the former (in doing so), would produce the impres- 
sion there, that an attack was again imminent. We reached 
Midway (about 12 M.), a little town on the railroad, and 
equi-distant from Lexington and Frankfort. What took place 
at Midway is best described in Ellsworth's language. He says, 

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192 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY, 

" At this place I surprised the operator, who was quietly sitting 
on the platform in front of his office, enjoying himself hugely. 
Little did he suspect that the much-dreaded Morgan was in his 
vicinity. I demanded of him to call Lexington and fnquire the 
time of day, which he did. This I did for the purpose of getting 
his style of handling the 'key' in writing dispatches. My first 
impression of his style, from noting the paper in the instrument, 
was confirmed. He was, to use a telegraphic term, a ^plug' 
operator. I adopted his style of telegraphing, and commenced 
operations. In this office I found a signal book, which proved 
very useful. It contained the calls of all the offices. Dispatch 
after dispatch was going to and from Lexington, Georgetown, 
Paris and Frankfort, all containing something in reference to 
Morgan. On commencing operations, I discovered that there 
were two wires on the line along this railroad. One was what 
we term a ' through wire,' running direct from Lexington to 
Frankfort, and not entering any of the way offices. I found 
that all military messages were sent over that line. As it did 
not enter Midway office I ordered it to be cut, thus forcing Lex- 
ington on to the wire that did run through the office. I tested 
the line and found, by applying the ground wire, it made no 
difierence with the circuit; and, as Lexington was Head-Quar- 
ters, I cut Frankfort ofi*. Midway was called, I answered, and 
received the following : 

* Lexington, July 15, 18G2. . 
* To J, W. Woolums^ operator ^ Midway : 

* Will there be any danger in coming to Midway ? Is every 
thing right? * Taylor — Conductor.^ 

" I inquired of my prisoner (the operator) if he knew a man 
by the name of Taylor. He said Taylor was the conductor. I 
immediately gave Taylor the following reply : 

^Midway, JttZylS, 1862. 
' To Taylor J Lexington : 

* All right ; come on. No sign of any rebels here. 


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^^The operator in Cincinnati then called Frankfort. I an- 
swered and received about a dozen unimportant dispatches. He 
had no sooner finished than Lexington called Frankfort. Again 
I answered, and received the following message : 

* Lexington, July 15, 1862. 
* To OenercU Finnetly Frankfort : 

' I wish you to move the forces at Frankfort, on the line of the 
Lexington railroad, immediately, and have the cars follow and 
take them up as soon as possible. Further orders will await 
them at Midway. 1 will, in three or four hours, move forward 
on the Georgetown pike ; will have most of my men mounted. 
Morgan left Versailles this morning with eight hundred and 
fifty men, on the Midway road, moving in the direction of 
Georgetown. 'Brigadier- General Ward.' 

''This being our position and intention exactly, it was thought 
proper to throw General Ward on some other track. So, in the 
course of half an hour, I manufactured and sent the following 
dispatch, which was approved by General Morgan : 

'Midway, July 15, 1862. 
' To Brigadier- General Ward^ Lexington: 

'Morgan, with upward of one thousand men, came within a 
mile of here, and took the old Frankfort road, marching, we 
suppose, for Frankfort. This is reliable. 

' WooLUMS — Operator.' 

"In about ten minutes Lexington again called Frankfort, 
when I received the following : 

' Lexington, Juig 15, 1862. 
' To General Finnell^- Frankfort : 

' Morgan, uith more than one thousand men, came within a 
mile of here, and took the old Frankfort road. This dispatch 
received from Midway, and is reliable. The regiment from 
Frankfort had better be recalled. 

' Brigadier-General Ward.' 

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194 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

^'I receipted for this message, and again manufactured a 
message to confirm the information General Ward received from 
Midway, and not knowing the tariflF from Frankfort to Lexing- 
ton, I could not send a formal message ; so, appearing greatly 
agitated, I waited until the circuit was occupied, and broke in, 
telling them to wait a minute, and commenced calling Lexington. 
He answered with as much gusto as I called him. I telegraphed 
as follows : 

^Frankfort to Lexington: 

* Tell General Ward our pickets are just driven in. Great 
excitement. Pickets say the force of enemy must be two thou- 
sand. * Operator.' 

It was now two P. M., and General Morgan wished to be off 
for Georgetown. I ran a secret ground connection, and opened 
the circuit on the Lexington end. This was to leave the impres- 
-sion that the Frankfort operator was skedaddling, or that Mor- 
gan's men had destroyed the telegraph." 

While at Midway, dispositions were made for the capture of 
the trains coming from both ends of the road ; but they were 
not sent. The command reached Georgetown just at sundown. 
A small force of Home-guards had mustered there to oppose us. 
Morgan sent them word to surrender, and they should not be 
hurt. The leader of this band is said to have made his men a 
speech of singular eloquence and stirring effect. If he was re- 
ported correctly, he told them that "Morgan, the marauder and 
murderer — the accursed of the Union men of Kentucky," was 
coming upon them. That, in " his track every where prevailed 
terror and desolation. In his rear, the smoke of burning towns 
was ascending, the blood of martyred patriots was streaming, 
the wails of widowed women and orphan children were resound- 
ing. In his front, Home-guards and soldiers were flying." That 
"Tom Long reported him just outside of town, with ten or 
twelve thousand men, armed with long beards and butcher- 
knives ;" and the orator thought that they " had better scatter 

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and take care of themselves." They accordingly "scattered" at 
full speed. Several prisoners (Southern sympathizers) were con- 
fined in the court-house; among them, a man whom many Ken- 
tuckians have a lively recollection of — poor Will Webb. He, 
upon seeing the Home-guards flee, thrust his body half out of a 
window, and pointing to the stars and stripes still flying, apos- 
trophized the fugitives in terms that ought to have made a sutler 
fight. "Are you going to desert your flag ?" he said. " Remain, 
and perform the pleasing duty of dying under its glorious folds, 
and afford us the agreeable spectacle that you will thus pre- 
sent." This touching appeal was of no avail. 

The geographical situation of Georgetown with relation to the 
towns of that portion of Kentucky — especially those occupied 
by Federal troops — made it an excellent point for Colonel Mor- 
gan's purposes. He was in a central position here, nearly equi- 
distant from all points of importance, and could observe and 
checkmate movements made from any of them. Georgetown is 
twelve miles from Lexington, and eighteen from Frankfort, the 
two points from which he had chiefly to anticipate attacks. Al- 
though not directly between these two places, Georgetown is so 
nearly on a line with them, that its possession enabled him to 
prevent communication of any kind between the troops occupy- 
ing them. 

As the command greatly needed rest, Colonel Morgan re- 
mained here (where he felt more secure, for the reasons I have 
mentioned) during two days. He was not entirely idle, however, 
during that time. He sent Captain Hamilton, with one com- 
pany, to disperse a Home-guard organization at the Stamping 
Ground, thirteen miles from Georgetown. Hamilton accom- 
plished his mission, and burned the tents, and destroyed the 
guns. Detachments were kept constantly at or near Midway, 
to prevent any communication by the railroad between Lexing- 
ton and Frankfort. Captain Castleman was sent to destroy the 
bridges on the Kentucky Central Railroad between Lexington 
and Paris — ^which he did ; and was instructed to rejoin the com- 

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196 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

mand in three or four days at Winchester, in Clark county. 
For other than strategic reasons, Georgetown was an admirable 
selection as a resting point. The large majority of the people 
throughout this region were, even at that time, strongly South- 
ern in sentiment and sympathy, and their native inclination to 
hospitality was much enhanced by the knowledge that they 
were feeding their friends, when we would suddenly descend 
upon them. There was a drawback in the apprehension of a 
visit from some provost-guards, to investigate the circumstances 
of this profuse and practical sympathy with armed rebels. But 
they hit upon an expedient which they thought would obviate 
all the unpleasant after-claps. They would give nothing of their 
own free mil and accord; but forced us to "impress" every 
thing that we needed. Many a time have I seen an old farmer 
unlock all the closets and presses in his house — press the keys 
of his meat-house into the hands of the Commissary, point out 
to the Quartermaster where forage could be obtained, muster his 
negroes to cook and make themselves generally useful, protesting 
all the time that he was acting under the cruelcst compulsion, 
and then stand by, rubbing his hands and chuckling to think 
how well he had reconciled the indulgence of his private sympa- 
thies with his public repute for loyalty. The old ladies, how- 
ever, were serious obstacles to the establishment of these deco- 
rous records. They wished not only to give but to talk freely, 
and the more the husband wisely preached "policy" and an 
astute prudence, the more certainly were his cob- webs of cau- 
tion torn into shreds by the trenchant tongue of his wife. 

Of all the points which we could have reached just at that 
time, Georgetown was the one where this sympathy for us was 
strongest. There were only a very few Union men living in the 
town, and these had run away ; and the county (Scott) was the 
very hot-bed of Southern feeling. To Owen and Boone we did 
not contemplate paying a visit. We had not yet reached Har- 
rison; but in halting in Scott county and at Georgetown, we 
felt that our situation would not need to be improved. A good 

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many recruits had been obtained at various points in the State, 
and at Georgetown a full company was raised, of which W. C. P. 
Breckinridge, a young lawyer of Lexington, was elected Cap- 
tain. He had just rup the blockade established around the lat- 
ter town. 

While lying at Georgetown the command was encamped in 
line of battle, day and night, and scouting parties were sent 
three or four times a day toward Lexington — which were in- 
structed to clear the road of the enemy's pickets and reconnoi- 
tering parties. While here, Gano and Allen rejoined the col- 
umn, having accomplished thL^ir respective missions. 

Gano (in making a detour around Lexington) had driven in. 
tlie pickets on every road — creating a fearful amount of confusion 
in the place among its gallant defenders, and causing the order 
that all rebel sympathizers, seen on the streets should bo shot, 
to be emphatically reiterated. As Gano had approached George- 
town, after leaving Lexington and on his way to burn the bridges 
below Paris, an assemblage of a strange character occurred. He 
had formerly lived near Georgetown and knew nearly every man 
in the county. He stopped at the house of an intimate personal 
friend, who was also a notorious '* sympathizer," who lived four 
or five miles from Georgetown, and "forced" him to feed his 
men and horses. ^Vhile there, two or three of the Southern 
citizens of Scott, among them Stoddard Johnston (afterward 
Lieutenant Colonel on General Breckinridge's staff) came to the 
house, and were immediately and with great solemnity, placed 
under arrest. 

Shortly afterward the assistant provost marshal of George- 
town (who was a very clever fellow), came out to protect the 
house and grounds from any disorder tliat the troops might be 
inclined to indulge in — thinking (in his simplicity) when he heard 
that troops were quartered there, that they must be ** L^iion." 
The owner of the house (of cour.^e) interceded for him, and 
Gano pleased with the motive which had actuated him, promised 
to detain him, onl}' until he himself moved again. In a short 

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198 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

time another arrival ^as announced. The most determined, 
deeply-pitted, high-colored and uncompromising Union man in 
Georgetown, came galloping up the road to the house, and asked 
in a loud and authorative tone for the commander of the detach- 
ment. Gano walked forth and greeted him. " Why how are 
you, Dick," said the new comer. " I did 'nt know that you were 
in the Union army ; I 've got something for you to do, old fellow." 
Gano assured hitn that he was delighted to hear it. " Where is 
the commander of these men," continued the '* dauntless pa- 
triot." "I am their commander," said Gano. "Well then 
here's an order for you," said the bearer of dispatches handing 
him a communication from the Ilome-guard headquarters, in 
Georgetown. Gano read it. " Oliver," he then said, slowly and 
very impressively, " I should be truly sorry to see you injured, 
we Avere school mates, and I remember our early friendship." 
Oliver's jaw fell, and his intelligent eye grew glassy with a 
" wild and maddening " apprehension, but his feelings would not 
permit him to speak. '' Oliver," continued Gano after a pause 
(and keeping his countenance remarkably) " is n't it possible that 
you may be mistaken in these troops. To which army do you 
think they belong?" ''Why," gasped Oliver; "ain't they 
Union ? " " Union ! " echoed Gano with a groan of horror, " do n't 
let them hear you say so, I might n*t be able to control them. 
They are Morgan's Texas Rangers." He then led the half 
fainting Oliver, who under the influence of this last speech had 
become " even as a little child," to the house, and placed him 
with the other prisoners. 

Saddest and most inconsolable of these were the sympathizers 
who had come purposely to be -captured. When the hour drew 
near for Gano's departure, he held a brief conference with the 
"secesh," and then paroled the whole batch, including his host, 
binding them not to divulge any thing which they had seen or 
heard. All were impressed with the solemn nature of this ob- 
ligation, but the melancholy gravity of Johnston (who had sug- 
gested it ) was even awful. 

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Colonel Morgan finding how strongly Lexington was garri- 
soned, gave up all thought of attacking it, but it was high time 
that he made his arrangements to return to Dixie. He deter- 
mined to make a dash at Gynthi'ana, the county seat of Harrison 
county, situated on the Kentucky Central Eailroad, thirty-two 
miles from Lexington, and about twenty-two by turnpike from 
Georgetown. By moving in this direction, and striking a blow 
at this point, he hoped to induce the impression that he was 
aiming at Cincinnati, and at the same time thoroughly bewilder 
the officer in command at Lexington regarding his real intentions. 
When he reached Cynthiana he would be masfer of three or four 
routes, by either of which he could leave Kentucky, completely 
eluding his pursuers, and he did not doubt that he could defeat 
whatever force might be collected there. 

He left Georgetown on the morning of the 18th, having first 
dispatched parts of two companies to drive all scouts and de- 
tachments of every kind into Lexington. While moving rapidly 
with the bulk of his command toward Cynthiana, these detach- 
ments protected his march and prevented it from being discov- 
ered too soon. Cynthiana was occupied by three or four hundred 
men of Metcalfe's regiment of cavalry, and about the same 
number of Home-guards, all under command of Lieutenant- 
Colonel Landrum, of Metcalfe's regiment. There was but one 
piece of artillery in the. town, a brass twelve-pound howitzer. 
This was under charge of a company of firemen from Cincinnati, 
under command of " Captain Billy Glass of the Fourth Ward," 
and they went to work when the fight opened as if they were 
" putting out a fire." We struck the pickets a mile or two from 
the town, and the advance guard chased them in, capturing 
three or four. General Morgan had previously determined upon 
his dispositions for the attack, well knowing the country, and 
they were made immediately after the alarm to the pickets. 
Between us and the town was the Licking river, crossed at the 
Georgetown pike, which we were traveling, by a narrow, covered 
bridge. Just by the side of the bridge, there was a ford about 

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200 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

waist-deep. Nowhere else, in the then stage of water, was the 
river fordable in that immediate vicinity. But above and below 
about a mile, respectively, from the bridge, were fords, and to 
these were sent, Gano above, and the Georgians below, with in- 
structions to cross and attack the town upon the respective 
quarters by which they approached it. The Second Kentucky 
was ordered to attack upon the road by which we had advanced. 

The enemy held all the houses upon the opposite bank of the 
river, which runs close to the town, and opened a smart fire of 
musketry upon the regiment as it advanced. Companies A and 
B were deployed upon the right of the road, E and F upon the 
left, and C was held in reserve, mounted ; the advance-guard 
had been sent with Gano. The recruits, most of whom were 
unarmed, were also, of course, kept in the rear. The howitzers 
were planted near the road, about three hundred and fifty yards 
from the bridge, and were opened at once upon the houses, evi- 
dently filled with the enemy. 

The enemy's single piece of artillery swept the bridge and 
road, and commanded the position where the howitzers were 
stationed. Companies E and F advanced to the river's edge 
and poured such a fire across the narrow stream that they com- 
pelled the troops exposed to it to throw down their guns and 
surrender. They were then made to swim the river in order to 
join their captors. In the meantime. Company A, after having 
been repulsed two or three times in attempting to rush across 
the bridge, plunged into the river and, holding their guns and 
ammunition above their heads, crossed at the ford above-men- 
tioned, and effected a lodgment on the other side. For awhile 
those first over were compelled to take shelter behind a long 
warehouse near the bridge, and even when the entire company 
had gotten over, and assistance had been sent to it, it seemed 
that the enemy, who concentrated to oppose us here, and re- 
doubled his fire, would drive all back. The adjacent houses and 
yards were filled with sharpshooters, who poured in telling vol- 
leys as the men sought to close with them. 

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The lines were at this point not more than forty yards apart, 
and most of our loss was sustained here, and by Company A, 

The howitzers were brought up, and posted on the corner, but 
the close fire drove the gunners away from them. One gunner 
named TalboJ loaded and fired his piece two or three times by 
himself, while the balls were actually striking it. He was after- 
ward made a Lieutenant. The team of one of the pieces, smart-* 
ing with wounds, ran away with the limber, and carried it into 
the midst of the enemy. This check did not last more than 
three or four minutes. Company C charged across the bridge 
and up the principal street, on horseback, losing three or four 
men only, and distracting the enemy's attention. Company B 
got a position on the other bank where they could shoot right 
into the party which was holding Company A in check. The 
latter made a determined rush, at the head of which were Ser- 
geants Drake and Quirk and private James Moore, of Louis- 
iana, a little fellow, not yet sixteen years old, who fell with two 
severe wounds, but recovered, to make one of the most gallant 
officers of our command. In this dash. Sergeant Quirk, out of 
ammunition, and seeing his friend, Drake, in imminent peril, 
knocked down his assailant with a stone. The enemy then gave 
way ; the other companies were, in the mean time, brought up 
to press them. 

Gano came in on the one side, and the Georgians on the 
other, each driving all opponents before them. The Texians, 
Georgians, and Kentuckians arrived simultaneously at the piece 
of artillery, which the enemy had kept busily employed all the 
time. It was immediately taken, each claiming its capture. 

The enemy immediately evacuated the town, and retreated 
'eastwardly, but were closely pressed, and the better part cap- 
tured. Greenfell headed a charge upon the depot, in which 
some of them took refuge. He received eleven bullets through 
his horse, person, and clothes, but was only slightly hurt. A 
curious little scarlet skull cap, which he used to wear, was per- 
forated. It fitted so tight upon his head that I previously 

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202 HISTORY OP morgan's cavalry. 

thought a ball could not go through it without blowing his brains 

Colonel Landrum was chased eight or ten miles. Little Billy 
Peyton, a mere boy (Colonel Morgan's Orderly), but perfectly 
fearless, followed him closely, and exhausted two pistols with- 
out hitting him. The Colonel was riding a superb horse, which 
attracted attention to him, but which saved him. The enemy's 
loss was about ninety in killed and wounded; ours was about 
forty. Four hundred and twenty prisoners were taken. 

It would be an unfair description of this fight if mention were 
omitted of the gallant conduct of the recruits. Although the 
most of them, as has been stated, were unarmed, they all " went 
in" like game cocks. Plenty of fine guns, with ammunition, 
were captured ; also a large quantity of stores, and two or thr^e 
hundred horses. 

Cynthiana, like Georgetown and Versailles, was full of our 
devoted friends, and we felt satisfied that the wounded we were 
obliged to leave behind us would be well taken care of. Two 
men who subsequently died of their wounds, privates George 
Arnold and Clarke, behaved with such conspicuous gal- 
lantry, and were always so noted for good conduct, that their 
loss caused universal regret. Arnold was a member of the ad- 
vance-guard, and volunteered to accompany Company C in the 
charge through the town. He fell with an arm and a thigh 
broken. Clarke undertook to carry an order through the ene- 
my's line to Gano, who was in their rear, and fell pierced 
through the body with five balls. The best men were among 
the killed. Private Wm. Craig, of Company A, first to cross 
the river, was killed as he mounted the bank. All of the other 
ofiicers having been wounded, the command of Company A de- * 
volved upon the Third Lieutenant,S. D. Morgan. 

Leaving Cynthiana at one or two p. M., the command marched 
for Paris. About five miles from that place, we encountered a 
deput^ation of citizens, coming out to surrender the town. We 
reached Paris about sundown, and rested there during the night. 

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I have omitted to mention that at Georgetown, Lieutenant Niles 
was appointed by Colonel Morgan upon his staff, and P. H. 
Thorpe, formerly Captain in the First Kentucky Infantry, was 
made Adjutant in his stead. I mention these appointments as 
if they were regular and valid, because they were ail so in the 
end. The Wdr Department made some trouble about them, as 
was expected, and perfectly proper, but as the appointees were 
borne on the muster and pay rolls as officers, there was nothing 
to be done but recognize them. 

R. A, Alston, formerly a member of a South Carolina ^regi- 
ment of cavalry, but a member and private at the time of Com- 
pany A, Second Kentucky, had been selected at Kuoxville by 
Colonel Morgan to perform the duties of Adjutant-Geneuul, on 
account of his superior fitness for that position. He ^^vas per- 
mitted to recruit a company during the raid, in order that he 
might obtain the rank of Captain. He got his commission, and 
his company was divided between some others, and he was con- 
tinued upon staff duty, although G-reenfell, immediately after the 
conclusion of this raid became Adjutant-GeneraL 

The next morning after our arrival at Paris, a large force 
came down the Lexington road, and about eight a. m. gave us 
strong reasons for resuming our march. This force, about 
twenty-five hundred or three thousand men, was commanded by 
General G. Clay Smith. Our scouts had notified us of its ap- 
proach the previous night, and as the command was encamped 
on the Winchester road, the one which we wished to travel, 
there was no danger of its cutting us off. It came on very 
slowly, and there was at no time any determined effort made to 
engage us. If a dash had been made at us when we prepured 
to leave, we could have been compelled to fight, for although the 
prisoners had all been paroled, we were very much incumbered 
^^carriages containing wounded men, brought offjromj^yn- 

Morgan always made it a point to carry off every wounded 
man who could be safely moved ; in this way he prevented much 

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204 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

of the demoralization attending the fear the men felt of 
falling, when wounded, into the hands of the enemy. I was 
once seriously told that a belief prevailed with some people, that 
Morgan killed his own wounded to prevent the enemy from 
making thorn prisoners. 

The command reached Winchester about 12 M. and remained 
there until 4 p. m., when the march was taken up again and we 
crossed the Kentucky river just before dark. Marching on, we 
reached Richmond at 4 the next morning. Here we met with 
another very kind reception, and were joined by a company of 
recruits under Captain Jennings. It was admitted into the 
Second Kentucky as Company K. Leaving Richmond at 4 p. 
M. that day we marched toward Crab Orchard, and reached that 
place about day break next morning. 

It had, at first, been Colonel Morgan's intention to make a 
stand at Richmond, as the whole population seemed inclined to 
join him, but his real strength was now known to the enemy, 
and they were collecting to attack him in such numbers, that 
he concluded that it was too hazardous. He would have had 
to have fought three battles at least, against superior forces, and 
have won all before he would have been safe. 

Clay Smith was following him, Woolford was collecting forces 
to the southward to intercept him, and troops were coming from 
Louisville and other points to push after him. In the march 
fram Paris to Crab Orchard, a good many wagons and a large 
number of guns were captured, and all — wagons and guns — that 
were not needed were burned. The horses captured with the 
twelve pounder at Cynthiana gave out and died before we 
reached the Kentucky river. 

Leaving Crab Orchard at 11 A. M., the command moved to- 
ward Somerset and reached that place about sundown. The tel- 
egraph was again taken possession of, and Colonel Morgan in- 
structed Ellsworth to countermand all of General Boyle's orders 
for pursuit. At Crab Orchard and Somerset one hundred and 
thirty Government wagons were captured and burned. At Som- 

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erset a great many stores of all kinds, blankets, shoes, etc., 
were found. Several wagons were loaded with as much as could 
be conveniently carried away, and the rest were destroyed. 
Arms, and ammunition for small arms and artillery, were also 
found in abundance, and were destroyed. 

From Somerset the column marched to Stagall's ferry on the 
Cumberland river, and crossed there. We reached Monticello 
twenty-one miles from the river that night, but all danger was 
over when we had gotten safely across the river. The next day we 
proceeded leisurely toward Livingston, having a little excitement 
with the bushwhackers, but suflfering no loss. 

For several days after leaving Somerset, and indeed after 
reaching Livingston, we suffered greatly for want of rations, as 
this country was almost bare of provisions. Colonel Morgan's 
objects in making this raid, viz : to obtain recruits and horses, 
to thoroughly equip and arm his men, to reconnoiter for the grand 
invasion in the fall, and to teach the enemy that we could recip- 
rocate the compliment of invasion, were pretty w^ell accom- 
plished. Enough of spare horses and more than enough of extra 
guns, saddles, etc., were brought out, to supply all the men who 
had been left behind. A great many prisoners were taken, of 
whom I have made no mention. But the results of the expedi- 
tion are best summed up in the words of Colonel Morgan's re- 
port — 

'' I left Knoxville on the 4th day of this month, with about 
nine hundred men, and returned to Livingston on the 28th inst. 
with nearly twelve hundred, having been absent just twenty-four 
days, during which time I have traveled over a thousand miles, 
captured seventeen towns, destroyed all the Government supplies 
and arms in them, dispersed about fifteen hundred Home-guards 
and paroled nearly twelve hundred regular troops. I lost in 
killed, wounded and missing of the number that I carried into 
Kentucky, about ninety." 

One practice was habitually pursued, on this raid, that may 
be remembered by some of our friends in the state for whose 

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benefit it was done. Great pains were always taken to capture 
the most bitter Union man in each town and neighborhood — the 
one who was most inclined to bear down on Southern men — es- 
pecially if he were provost marshal. He would be kept, some- 
times a day or two, and thoroughly frightened. Colonel Mor- 
gan, who derived infinite amusement from such scenes, would 
gravely assure each one, when brought into his presence, that 
one of the chief objects of his raid was to catch him. It was 
a curious sight to ^ee the mixed terror and vanity this declara- 
tion would generally excite — even in the agonies of anticipated 
death, the prisoner would be sensibly touched by the compliment. 
After awhile, however, a compromise would be effected; the 
prisoner would be released upon the implied condition that he 
was, in the future, to exert himself to protect Southern pfeople. 
It was thought better to turn all the captured provost marshals 
loose and let them resume their functions, than to carry them 
off, and let new men be appointed, with whom no understand- 
ing could be had. 

Ellsworth wound up his operations at Somerset, with compli- 
mentary dispatches from Colonel Morgan to General Jerry 
Boyle, Prentice, and others, and concluded ^ith the following 
general order on his own part to the Kentucky telegraphic 
operators : 

* Headquarters, Telegraph Dept. op Ky., 

Confederate States of America. 
^General Order No. 1. 

"When an operator is positively informed that the enemy is 
marching on his station, he will immediately proceed to destroy 
the telegraphic instruments and all material in his charge. Such 
instances of carelessness, as were exhibited on the part of the 
operators at Lebanon, Midway, and Georgetown, will be severely 
dealt with. By order of G. A. Ellsworth, 

General Military Supt C. S. Telegraphic DepC 

At Livingston Colonel Morgan left the Second Kentucky and 
proceeded to Knoxville, taking with him the Georgians, Gano's 

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squadron, and the howitzers — which needed some repairs. After 
remaining at Livingston three days, I marched the regiment to 
Sparta^ where more abundant supplies could be obtained, and 
facilities for shoeing horses could be had. While at Livingston, 
the men suffered extremely with hunger, and one man declared 
his wish to quit a service in which he was subjected to such 
privations. He was deprived of his horse, arms, and equipments, 
and " blown out" of the regiment ; that is, upon dress parade, 
he was marched down the front of the regiment (after his offense 
and the nature of the punishment had been read by the Adjutant), 
with the bugler blowing the ^' Skedaddle" behind him amid the 
hisses of the men, who were thoroughly disgusted with him ; he 
was then driven away from the camp. At Sparta we found a 
better country and the kindest and most hospitably people. 

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208 HISTORY OP morgan's cavalry. 


As soon as the Second Kentucky was placed in camp at 
Sparta, a much stricter system was adopted than had ever pre- 
vailed before. Camp-guards were regularly posted in order to 
keep the men in camp; and as ataying in camp closely was 
something they particularly disliked, the guard had to be 
doubled, until finally nearly one half of the regiment had to be 
put on to watch the rest. Guard-mounting, dress-parades, and 
drills (compqpy and regimental, on foot and on horseback), were 
had daily, much to the edification and improvement of the re- 
cruits, who rapidly acquired instruction, and quite as much to 
the disgust of the old hands, who thought that they " knew it all." 
In one respect, however, they were all equally assiduous and dili- 
gent that was in the care of their horses and attention to their 
arms and accouterments — no man had ever to be. reproved or 
punished for neglect of these duties. The regiment now num- 
bered about seven hundred men, nearly all of the recruits 
obtained in Kentucky having joined it. 

It was then in the flush of hope and confidence, composed of 
the best material Kentucky could afford, and looked forward to 
a career of certain success and of glory. The oflScers were (with 
scarcely an exception), very young men ; almost every one of 
them had won his promotion by energy and gallantry, and all 
aspired to yet further preferment. The men were of just such 
stuff as the oflScers, and all relied upon (in their turn), winning 

The character of Kentucky troops was never better illustrated 
than in this regiment and at that time. Give them oflScors that 
they love, respect, and rely on, and any thing can be accom- 
plished with them. While almost irrepressibly fond of whisky, 

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and incorrigible, when not on actiye service, about straggling 
through the country and running out of camp, they, nevertheless, 
stick to work at the time when it is necessary, and answer to the 
roll-call in an emergency unfailingly, no matter what may be the 
prospect before them. Aware too that (in quiet times), they 
are always behaving badly, they will cheerfully submit to the 
severest punishment — ^provided, always, that it is not of a 
degrading nature. They can not endure harsh and insulting 
language, or any thing that is humiliating. In this respect they 
show the traits which characterize all of their Southern brethren 
— the Irish are of a similar disposition. I have frequently 
known the efficiency of fine ^companies greatly impaired by 
officers who were offensive in their language to them, and yet 
rarely punished, while other officers, who never indulged in such 
language, but were accustomed to punish severely, were not only 
more promptly obeyed, but were infinitely more liked. While 
the regiment was at Sparta, Colonel Jno. Scott also came with 
his own fine regiment the First Louisiana, and a portion of our 
old friends, the Eighth Texas. 

Colonel Scott was ono of the most active, efficient, and 
daring cavalry officers in the Western Confederate army. He 
bad performed very successful and brilliant service, during the 
spring, in North Alabama, and had lately served with Forrest in 
the hitter's dashing operations in Middle Tennessee. While wo 
were all at Sparta together, Buell's army began to commence to 
concentrate, and a large part of it under Nelson came to 

McMinnville is twenty-eight miles from Sparta, and a force 
of infixntry, preceded by two or three hundred cavalry, came 
one day to the bridge over Calf Killer creek, on the McMinn- 
ville road, within five miles of Sparta. Colonel Scott sent 
Major Harrison (afterward Brigadier General), of the Eighth 
Texas, with two or three companies of the First Louisiana, and 
as many of the Eighth Texas, to driv^ them back. Harrison 
fell on them in his usual style, and they went back immediately. 

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210 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

One or two of them were killed, and a few prisoners were taken. 
I sent Lieutenant Manly, of my regiment, about this time, to 
ascertain the disposition of Buell's forces. He reported, in a 
few days, that there were three thousand and six hundred men 
at Nashville, a great many of them convalescents, four thousand 
at Columbia, three thousand at Pulaski, and three thousand at 
Shelbyville. At McMinnville twelve thousand. At points on 
the Tennessee river, in Alabama, about two thousand. Generals 
Bragg and Smith were then preparing for the invasion of Ken- 
tucky. Bragg lay at Chattanooga with about thirty thousand 
men. We confidently expected that he would dash across the 
river, while BuelFs army was thus scattered, break through it 
and take Nashville, and pick up the fragments at his leisure. 
He gave Buell a little time, and the latter concentrated with a 
quickness that seemed magical, protected Nashville, and was 
ready for the race into Kentucky. Buell's own friends have 
damned him pretty thoroughly, but that one exhibition of energy 
and skill, satisfied his enemies (that is, the Confederates) of his 
caliber, and we welcomed his removal with gratification. Manly 
also reported, that rolling stock was being collected, from all 
the roads, at Nashville, and that wagon trains were being got- 
ten together at convenient points. This indicated pretty clearly 
that a concentration was contemplated for some purpose. After 
remaining a few days at Sparta, Colonel Scott received orders to 
report with his command to General Kirby Smith, whose Head- 
quarters were at Knoxville. Shortly afterward. Colonel Morgan 
reached Sparta, bringing with him Gano's squadron and Company 
G. Gano's two companies, numbered now, however, only one hun- 
dred and ten effectives ; he had left a good many sick at Knox- 
ville, who did not rejoin us for some time. The howitzers, to our 
great regret, were left behind. A day or two after Colonel 
Morgan's arrival, we set out to surprise the Federal garrison at 
Gallatin, distant about seventy or eighty miles, Morgan had 
received instructions to break the railroad between Louisville 
and Nashville, in order to retard Buell's retreat to Louisville as 

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greatly as possible, also to occupy the Federal cavalry, and pre- 
vent them from paying attention to what was going on in other 
quarters. Gallatin seemed to him an excellent point at which 
to commence operations with all these views. On the way, he 
was joined by Captain Joseph Desha (formerly of the First 
Kentucky infantry), with twenty or thirty men. Captain 
Desha's small detachment was received into the Second Ken- 
tucky, and he was promised recruits enough to make him a full 
company. He soon got them, and his company was duly let- 
tered L of the regiment. Crossing the Cumberland at Sand 
Shoals ford, three miles from Carthage, on the day after we 
left Sparta, we reached Dixon Springs, about eight miles from 
Gallatin, about 2 or 3 P. M., and, as our coming had been an- 
nounced by couriers sent on in advance, we found that the 
friendly and hospitable citizens had provided abundant supplies 
for men and horses. Crowds of them met to welcome us, bring- 
ing every delicacy. It was a convincing proof of the unanimity 
of sentiment in that region, that while hundreds knew of our 
march and destination, not one was found to carry the informa- 
tion to the enemy. Just before dark the march was resumed, 
and we reached Harts ville, sixteen miles from Gallatin, about 11 
o'clock at night. Pressing on through Hartsville without halt- 
ing, the column turned off from the turnpike a few miles from 
Gallatin, entirely avoiding the pickets, which were captured by 
scouts sent after we had gained their rear. As we entered 
Gallatin, Captain Desha was sent forward with a small party to 
capture Colonel Boone, the Federal commander, who, as we had 
learned, was in the habit of sleeping in town. Desha reached 
the house where he was quartered, and found him dressed and 
just about to start to camp. It was now about day-break. 
Colonel Morgan immediately saw Boone and represented to him 
that he had better write to the officer in command at the camp, 
advising him to surrender, in order to spare the " effusion of 
blood," etc. This Boone consented to do, and his letter was at 
once dispatched to the camp under flag of truce. It had the 

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212 HISTORY OF morgan's OAYALRY. 

desired effect, and the garrison fell into our hands without firing 
a shot. Two companies had been sent off for some purpose > 
and escaped capturd. About two hundred prisoners were taken, 
including a good many officers. As these troops were infantry, 
no horses were captured with them, but during the forenoon, a 
train arrived with some eighty very fine ones, en route for 
Nashville. Two or three hundred excellent Springfield rifles 
were captured, with which all the inferior guns were replaced. 
Some valuable stores were also captured, -and wagoned off to 

The prisoners were paroled and sent off Northward, during 
that and the following day. The Government freight train 
seized, numbered nineteen cars, laden with forage for the cavalry 
at Nashville. Efforts were made to decoy the train from Nash- 
ville into our possession, but unsuccessfully. Ellsworth was im- 
mediately put in possession of the telegraph office, and went to 
work with even more than his ordinary ingenuity. It was the 
peculiarity of this " great man " to be successful only in his own 
department; if he attempted any thing else he was almost sure 
to fail. At Crab Orchard, for instance, on the late raid, he had 
taken it into his head to go after a notorious and desperate bush- 
whacker, whom our best scouts had tried in vain to capture. 

Telling no one of his intention, he took Colonel Green fell's 
horse, upon which was strapped a saddle that the owner valued 
very highly, and behind the saddle was tied a buff coat equally 
as much prized, and in the coat was all the gold the Colonel had 
brought from Richmond, when he came to join us — and thus 
equipped he sallied out with one companion, to take the formid- 
able ** Captain King." 

He went boldly to that worthy's house, who, seeing only two 
men coming, scorned to take to the brush. To Ellsworth's de- 
mand to surrender, he answered With volleys from shot gun and 
revolver, severely wounding the friend and putting ElLsworth 
himself to flight. King pressed the retreat, and Ellsworth, al- 
though he brought off his wounded companion, lost horse, sad- 

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die, coat and gold. St. Leger was like an excited volcano, and 
sought Ellsworth to slay him instantly. 

Three days were required to pacify him, during which time, 
the great " operator '* had to be carefully kept out of his sight. 
But when Ellsworth was seated in the telegraph office he was 
always " master of the situation." No man could watch him 
at work, see him catch, without a boggle, " signals," " tariff," 
and all the rest, fool the regular operators, baffle with calm con- 
fidence their efforts to detect him, and turn to his own advantage 
their very suspicions,- and not unhesitatingly pronounce him a 
genius. As if to demonstrate incontestably his own superiority, 
he has (since the war closed) invented a plan to prevent just 
such tricks, as he used to practice at way stations, from being 

When he " took the chair " at Gallatin, he first, in accordance 
with Colonel Morgan's instructions, telegraphed in Colonel 
Boone's name, to the commandant at Bowlinggreen to send him 
reinforcements, as he expected to be attacked. But this gene- 
rous plan to capture and parole soldiers, who wished to go home 
and see their friends, miscarried. Then he turned his attention 
to Nashville. The operator there was suspicious and put a good 
many questions, all of which were successfully answered. 

At length the train he wished sent, was started, but when it 
got within six miles of Gallatin, a negro signaled it and gave 
the alarm. A railroad bridge between Gallatin and Nashville, 
was then at once destroyed, and the fine tunnel, six miles above, 
was rendered impassable for months. The roof of the tunnel 
was of a peculiar rock which was liable at all times to disinte- 
grate and tumble down ; to remedy this, huge beams, supported 
by strong uprights, had been stretched horizontally across the 
tunnel, and a sort of scaffolding have been built upon these 
beams. A good deal of wood work was consequently put up. 
Some of the freight cars were also run into the tunnel and set 
on fire when the wood work was kindled. This fire smouldered 
on, after it had ceased to burn fiercely, for a long time, and it 

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214 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

was weeks before any repairs could be attempted^ on account 
of the intense heat and the huge masses of rock which were 
constantly falling. This tunnel is eight hundred feet long. 

In the ^* History of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad 
during the war," the Superintendent, Mr. Albert Fink, whose 
energy to repair, was equal to Morgan's to destroy, says of the 
year commencing July 1, 1862, and ending July, 1, 1863, 
^^ the road has been operated for its entire length only 
seven months and twelve days." He says, moreover, " All the 
bridges and trestlework on the main stem and branches, with 
the exception of the bridge over Barren river and four small 
bridges, were destroyed and rebuilt during the year ; dome of 
the structures were destroyed twice, and some three times. In 
addition to this, most of the water stations, several depots, and 
a large number of cars were burnt, a number of engines badly 
damaged, and a tunnel in Tennessee nearly filled up for a dis- 
tance of eight hundred feet." This shows a great activity to 
destroy, but wonderful patience and industry to repair. It was 
by this road that the Federal army in Tennessee got its supplies 
and reinforcements, almost altogether, during the greater part 
of the year. In the same report the writer goes on to say : 
^' General Morgan took possession of the Louisville and Nash- 
ville road at Gallatin, in August^ 1862, and this, with other 
causes, forced General Buell's retreat to Louisville." 

Before giving up the wires, and after Colonel Morgan permitted 
him to reveal himself, Ellsworth told some first-class romances. 
He made Morgan's force out about four thousand, and did it with 
a skill that carried conviction. He would speak, in dispatches to 
various well-known Federals, of certain imaginary commands, 
under men whom they well knew. He telegraphed Prentice that 
Wash. Morgan was at Gallatin, with four hundred Indians, 
raised especially to seek for his (Prentice's) scalp. 

Lieutenant Manly, and a few men, were left at Gallatin to 
burn the amphitheater at the fair* grounds, where Boone's regi- 
ment had been quartered. The command left Gallatin about 12 

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o'clock at night, and returned to Hartsville. Gallatin was taken 
on the 12th of August. We remained encamped at Hartsville 
until the 19th. Duning that time, men and horses were entirely 
recruited. The citizens supplied all the rations and forage that 
we needed, and frequently we would have whole stacks of hams, 
turkeys, chickens, etc. (all cooked) piled up in our camps. 

On the 18th of August, the day after we left Gallatin, a !^ed- 
eral force of about twelve hundred men, with four pieces of ar- 
tillery, came there, and drove Lieutenant Manly and his party 
away. Manly was killed, and, we learned, after he had surren- 
dered. Sergeant Quirk, of Company A, was sent, with fifteen 
men, on a scout to Gallatin, next day. He found, when he got 
there, that this force had left, on the way to Nashville again. 
He followed, and overtook it, about three miles from Gallatin, 
as it was preparing to get on the cars. He attacked it immedi- 
ately, and killed two or three, and captured a few prisoners. 
The artillery was opened upon him, with canister, but did him 
no damage. He brought his fifteen men upon them through a 
corn field, and got close before he fired. John Donnellan, a sol- 
dier who was always in the extreme front in every fight, exerted 
a powerful voice, in issuing orders to the " Texians" to go one 
way, the "Indians" another, and " Duke's regiment" to fall on 
their rear, until he had ostensibly and vociferously disposed in 
line enough troops to have frightened the " heroes of Marengo." 

On the 19th, Colonel Morgan received information that a force 
of some three hundred infantry had come to Gallatin, and on 
that evening he started out in pursuit He had hoped to sur- 
prise them in the town, but learned, on the road, that they had 
left at midnight, and were on their way back to Nashville. Cap- 
tain Hutchinson, of Company E, of the Second Kentucky, was 
sent, with his company, to intercept them, if possible, at a point 
seven miles below Gallatin, where a bridge had been burned, on 
the railroad, and where it was thought that, probably, a train 
would be waiting to take them back. The rest of the commai>ii 
pushed on to Gallatin, and reached that place about 8 o'clock on 

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216 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

the morning of the 20th. We found that the enemy had taken 
off nearly every male inhabitant of the place above the age of 
twelve, and the women were all in terrible distress when we came 
in. This had been done on account of the kind reception which 
had been given us in the place, on the 12th. We also found the 
corpse of one of our men, killed the night before, and the citi- 
zens told us that he had been kicked and cuffed after he was 
shot. As we passed out of town, on the Nashville pike, we saw 
on the bridge the stain of Manly's blood. The men became 
very much excited, and could scarcely be kept in the ranks. As 
we pressed on down the road, we reached the point where Hutch* 
inson had been directed to intercept the party which had been 
to Gallatin. He had failed to do this, but had captured a stock- 
ade, garrisoned by forty or fifty men. He came upon the party 
after which he started, but they had passed the point at which 
he could have checked them. 

Another garrison of fifty men was captured at a stockade still 
lower down, and we came soon after upon the men we were 
looking for. We could not prevent the escape of the greater 
portion, who got on hand cars and ran down the road, but we 
killed some forty, and released all the prisoners. At Edgefield 
junction. First Lieutenant Jas. Smith who reached that point firsts 
with a part of his Company (A of the Second Kentucky), 
attacked the stockade, there, supported by Captain Breckinridge 
who shortly afterward arrived. The inmates of the stockade 
made fight, and Smith lost three of his men, and was himself shot 
through the head, of which wound he soon died. Lieutenant 
Niles, of Morgan's staff, was also killed at this point, shot 
through the body with five or six balls. I came up at the time 
that these officers were shot and ordered the men back. I saw 
no chance of reducing the work, even with great loss, in the 
time that would be allowed us. 

These stockades were built with heavy upright timber, ten or 
twelve feet high. They were sorrounded by ditches and pierced 
ifor musketry. Assailants when right at this bases, were as far 

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from taking them as ever. There was a plan, which I am 
satisfied would have been successful against them, but I never 
saw it tried, viz. : to construct bundles of bushwood large enough 
to shelter a man and compact enough to stop a musket ball, and 
place a su£Bcient number of them in the hands of the men, who 
holding them in front, should advance and press them against 
the loop-holes — of course riflemen would have to be posted in 
range, to prevent a sally on the bundle-carriers. The firfe from 
the stockade having been thus stopped, the walls could be 
chopped down with axes, or brush, in large quantities, could be 
set on fire and tossed over among the defenders, until they con- 
cluded to surrender. This plan, however, would require plenty 
of time, and that is just what partisan cavalry have least of on 
such occasions. 

Colonel Morgan was much attached to both Smith and Niles, 
and it was with great difficulty that he could be dissuaded from 
continuing to attack until the stockade was taken. Lieutenant 
Smith had been one of the best soldiers in the squadron, and had 
given universal satisfaction by his conduct as an officer. He 
was more than ordinarily brave, intelligent and zealous, and 
would certainly have been made a field officer if he had lived a 
few months longer. His men were devotedly attached to him. 
The repulse at this stockade made us more than ever regret the 
absence of the howitzers. With them we could have battered it 
down directly. It was lucky that Hutchinson had caught the 
garrison of the first one captured, outside of its walls, and as 
they attempted to enter, his men rushed in with them. The 
other stockade taken, surrendered without firing a shot. This 
was a very exciting day ; the chase and succession of skirmishes 
made the whole affair very interesting. 

Returning to Gallatin, we met the people of the adjacent 
couutry coming with vehicles of every description to convey 
their re-captured friends back home. The latter weary and foot- 
sore, were plodding along as best they might, except when our 
men would take them behind them or dismount and let them 

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ride their horses. There was a scene of wild congratulation in 
town, that evening, when they all got in. That night the entire 
command encamped in the fair grounds. About 12 o'clock, 
Oolonel Morgan received information that a formidable Federal 
force had passed through Hartsville on the previous afternoon, 
and was encamped at Gastilian Springs, ten miles from Gallatin. 
lie ordered the pickets to be strengthened in that direction, and 
shrewd scouts were put out to watch their movements closely, 
but he did npt disturb the command, wishing that it should be 
rested for the next day's work. He had been informed that in- 
fantry and artillery composed this force, as well as cavalry, and 
he knew that if the latter waited on the former, he was in no 
danger of being forced into a fight that it might be imprudent 
to make. In the morning the scouts came in, saying thit the 
enemy were rapidly advancing. The column was immediately 
put in motion, moving toward the enemy, but it was Colonel 
Morgan's intention to decline battle until more positively in- 
formed of the enemy's strength, and when he reached the junc- 
tion of the Hartsville and Scottsville turnpikes, at the eastern 
edge of the town, he turned oflF on the Scottsville pike, which 
runs nearly at right angles to the other, and northeast. 

The enemy, in the meantime, were pressing on vigorously, 
driving in the scouts and pickets. Colonel Morgan and my- 
self had taken position at the junction of the two roads, as the 
column filed past, and fearing that we would be taken in flank, 
or that our rear would be attacked after the entire command 
had taken the Scottsville road, I advised him to form and 
fight, saying that I believed we could whip them. He answered 
that he could ''get fights enough, but could not easily get such 
a command again, if he lost this one." Immediately afterward, 
seeing the enemy come galloping down the road, he added, with 
a half smile, "We will have to whip these fellows, sure enough. 
Form your men, and, as soon as you check them, attack." 
Gano, who was in the extreme rear, was ordered, as soon as his 
squadron arrived at the junction of the roads, to charge and 

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driYO back the enemy's advance. He did so in his usual dash- 
ing, impetuous style. The enemy's advance guard was strong 
and determined, and met Gano's charge gallantly. As he led 
on his men, the enemy directed their fire principally at him, but 
with the good fortune which attended him during four years of 
dangerous and incessant service, he escaped unhurt, losing, by 
the shots aimed at him, only his hat and a few locks of hair, 
which latter was a loss he could well stand, although the other 
was a serious matter. After a brief struggle, Qano drove back 
the advance, killing and wounding several. Our entire force, 
deducting one hundred men used as a guard for the prisoners 
taken the day before, and other details, was about seven hundred 
strong. That of the enemy was about the same. On the right 
of the Hartsville road, as our line faced, was a cornfield. This 
was immediately occupied by Companies I and K. On the left 
of the Hartsville pike, and just east of the Scottsville road, was 
a woodland of some twenty acres. Company D was deployed in 
this, and immediately cleared it of the enemy, who had entered 
it, and kept it until the line advanced. To the left of this wood- 
land was a long meadow, five or six hundred yards in extent, 
and some three hundred broad ; to the left of this, again, was 
another cornfield. The column had gotten some distance upon 
the Scottsville pike before the command to halt and face toward 
the enemy had been transmitted to its head, and when these 
companies mentioned had been formed, there was a gap of nearly 
two hundred yards opened between them and the others that 
were further to the front. Toward this gap the enemy im- 
mediately darted. Believing that we were seeking to escape 
upon the Scottsville road, he had thrown the bulk of his force in 
that direction, at any rate, and it was formed and advanced 
rapidly and gallantly. Throwing down the eastern fence of the 
meadow, some three hundred poured into it, formed a long line, 
and dashed across it, with sabers drawn, toward the line of 
horses which they saw in the road beyond. Companies B, C, E 
and F were by this time dismounted, and had dropped on their 

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220 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

knees behind the low fence on the road- side, as the enemy came 
rashing on. They held their fire until the enemy were within 
thirty yards, when they opened. Then was seen the effect of a 
volley from that long thin line, which looked so easy to break, 
and, yet, whose fire was so deadly. Every man had elbow-room 
and took dead aim at an individual foe, and, as the blaze left the 
guns, two thirds of the riders and horses seemed to go down. 
The cavalry was at once broken, and recoiled. Our men sprang 
over the fence and ran close up to them, as they endeavored to 
retreat rapidly through the gaps in the fence, by which they had 
entered, and poured in such another volley that the rout was 
completed. However, they reformed and came back, but only 
to be repulsed again. By this time the companies on the right 
had driven off their opponents in that direction, and had gotten 
a position where they could enfilade the enemy's line as it 
strove to advance, and in a little while it was forced back at all 
points. Grano charged again, and pressed them closely. After 
retreating about half a mile, the enemy halted and reformed 
upon a hill which ran for some hundreds of yards parallel with 
their former line, and on the crest of which were high fences 
and timber. 

As we had repulsed them the last time, some interesting in- 
cidents occurred. Captain Leabo, of the Second Indiana, dashed 
down upon our line, and, coming on himself after his men turned 
back, was made prisoner. Another individual was made prisoner 
in the same way, although he did not come with the same intent 
which inspired the gallant Captain. The wildest looking fellSw 
perhaps in the Federal army came rattling down the pike on a 
big sorrel horse, which he could not hold, his hair standing on 
end, his mouth wide open, his shirt collar flying by one end like 
a flag of truce, and his eyes glazed. He was caught by the 
greatest wag in the command, and perhaps in the Western 
Army — the celebrated Jeff. Sterritt. With a look of appalling 
ferocity, the captor exclaimed: "I don't know whether to kill 
you now, or to wait until the fight's over." " For God's sake," 

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said the captive, '' do n't kill me at all. I'm a dissipated char- 
acter, and not prepared to die." 

Company A and the advance-guard had been held until this 
time in reserve on the extreme left. When our whole line was 
pressed forward after the retreating enemy, I carried them 
rapidly in advance of the rest of the line, and through a woods 
which concealed the movement upon the flank of the enemy's 
new line just as it was formed. The effect of their fire, tlien 
delivered at short range, was decisive, and the enemy instantly 
broke again, and this time made, at full speed, for the road, and 
went off in full retreat. The bulk of the command was too far 
from the line of horses to mount and pursue promptly, but Gano 
pressed them closely again. Adjutant Wyncoop, son of the 
Colonel of that name, was killed in this retreat, as he was trying 
to rally his men. His body was removed to the side of the road, 
and lay there as we passed, with a coat thrown over his face as 
if he w^ere unwilling to look upon the rout of his command. 

The enemy fell back about three miles, and halted again. 
Their loss had been very heavy, and perhaps two hundred horses 
had been killed for them. Nearly all of the men thus dis- 
mounted were made prisoners. Colonel Morgan now learned 
that the oflScer in command of the troops he had been fighting, 
was Brigadier-General Johnson, and became satisfied that the 
infantry and artillery with which the force had been at first pro- 
vided was not in supporting distance. We subsequently learned 
that it had been sent back to McMinnville a day or two before. 

Just as the horses were brought up and the men were mounted, 
a flag of truce came from General Johnson proposing an armis- 
tice in order that ho might bury his dead. Colonel Morgan 
answered that he could entertain no proposition except uncon- 
ditional surrender, but shortly afterward sent offering to parole 
ofiicers and men if a surrender were made. General Johnson 
replied that " catching came before hanging." Colonel Morgan 
resolved upon immediate and vigorous pursuit, and believing 
that in the broken and demoralized condition of the enemy he 

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222 HISTORY OF morgan's cavalrt. 

oonld safely attempt such a plan, he divided his force into three 
columns, directing each in a special direction, in order to more 
certainly encounter the enemy, who had now more than three 
miles the start of us. Five companies were placed upon the 
left of the road under Major Morgan. Colonel Morgan him- 
self kept the road with Gano's squadron, while I had the right, 
with Companies A, B^ and E, and the advance-guard, in all 
about two hundred and twenty-five men. The road bends to the 
left at about the point where General Johnson had last halted, 
and as he turned off just there, in order to make for the river, 
the other two columns missed him altogether, and mine, pressing 
on rapidly in the direction indicated, was so fortunate as to soon 
overtake him. 

The three companies were formed in parallel columns of fours, 
with full distance between them, and the advance-guard thrown 
out as skirmishers in front. When the enemy was neared, the 
whole force was thrown into line, and advanced at a gallop. 
We were not more than fifty yards from the enemy when this 
was done, but there was a high stone wall between us, which our 
horses could not leap. This prevented us from closing with 
them, and enabled them to get some distance ahead of us. As 
we passed the wall, the original formation was resumed, and we 
followed at good speed. Soon the advance guard, sent on again 
in front, reported that the enemy had halted and formed for a 

A short reconnoisance showed that they were dismounted and 
drawn up under a long hill, and about forty yards from its crest, 
but their formation was defective, in that, instead of present- 
ing a straight, uniform line, so that their numbers could tell, 
they were formed in the shape of a V, perhaps to meet any 
movement to flank them. The hill was one of those gentle un- 
dulations of the blue-grass pastures, which present perfectly 
smooth surfaces on either side, and yet rise enough to conceal 
from those on the one side what is being done on the other. 

The three companies and the advance were immediately 

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brought into line and dismounted under cover of the brow of 
the hill, and moved to i^ position which would bring the apex of 
the enemy's formation about opposite the center of our line. 
When we, then, charged over the hill, although the enemy had 
some advantage in firing upward, it was more than counterbal- 
anced by the fact that the men upon their flanks could not fire 
at us at all, while our whole line could fire without difficulty upon 
any portion of their formation. After a short but sharp fight 
they gave way again. Our loss in this skirmish was two killed. 
We captured General Johnson, his Adjutant General, Major 
Winfrey and several other officers and twenty or thirty privates. 
In the two engagements the enemy left sixty-four dead on the 
field, and a number of wounded. About two hundred prisoners 
were taken. 

This force had been selected with great care from all the cav- 
alry of Buell's army, and placed under General Johnson, re- 
garded as one of their best and most dashing officers, for the 
express purpose of hunting Morgan. It was completely disor- 
ganized and shattered by this defeat. A great deal of censure 
was cast at the time upon these men, and they were accused of 
arrant cowardice by the Northern press. Nothing could have 
been more unjust, and many who joined in denouncing them^ 
afterward behaved much more badly. They attacked with spirit 
and without hesitation, and were unable to close with us on ac- 
count of their heavy loss in men and horses. They returned 
two or three times to the attack until they found their efibrts 
unavailing. They could not use their sabers, and they found 
their breech-loading carbines only incumbrances. They may 
have shown trepidation and panic toward the last, but, to an 
enemy (while they were evidently trying to get away) they ap- 
peared resolute although dispirited. I have seen troops much 
more highly boasted than these were before their defeat, behave 
not nearly so well. Johnson had been very confident. He had 
boasted as he passed through Hartsville, that he would ^' catch 
Morgan and bring him back in a band-box.'' 

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224 BISTORT OF morgan's cayalrt. 

Hearing the day before the fight that Forrest was in his rear, 
he had, very properly, pressed on to fight Morgan before the 
former came up. His attack was made promptly and in splen- 
did style, his dispositions throughout the first fight were good, 
and he exhibited fine personal courage and energy. I could 
never understand his reason for giving battle the second time, 
without fresh troops, when his men were already dispirited by 
defeat, and pressed by an enemy flushed with recent victory. 
He could have gotten off without a fight by a prompt retreat, 
immediately after his last message to Morgan, and protected, by 
a judicious use of detachments composed of his best men as 
rear guards. He was evidently a fine officer, but seemed not to 
comprehend the " new style of cavalry," at all. 

Our loss, in both engagements, was seven killed and eighteen 
wounded. The conduct of men apd officers was unexceptiona- 
ble. Captains Gassell and Hutchinson and Lieutenant White, 
of the Second Kentucky, and Lieutenant Rogers of the advance 
guard, were especially mentioned. Nothing could have exceeded 
the dash and gallantry of the officers and men of Gano's squad- 
ron. The junior Captain Hufi'man had his arm shattered early 
in the action, but went through it all, despite the suffering he 
endured, at the head of his men. 

Colonel Morgan in his address to his men, thus summed up 
the results of the last two days : 

"All communications cut off between Gallatin and Nashville ; 
a body of infantry, three hundred strong, totally cut to pieces or 
taken prisoners the liberation of those kind friends arrested by 
our revengeful foes, for no other reason than their compassionate 
care of our sick and wounded, would have been laurels sufficient 
for your brows. But fcoldiers, the utter annihilation of General 
Johnson's brigade composed of twenty-four picked companies, 
sent on purpose to take us, raises your reputation a^ soldiers, 
and strikes fear into the craven hearts of your enemies. Gene- 
ral Johnson and his staff, with two hundred men taken prisoners. 

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sixty-four killed, and one hundred wounded, attests the resistance 
made, and bears testimony to your valur." 

Having burned all the bridges the day before that were under 
his then immediate supervision, and preferring Hartsville as a 
place for a somewhat lengthened encampment, he returned to 
that place on the evening of the 2l8t. A good writer and 
excellent officer of Morgan's old command very truly says, in re- 
ference to the choice of Hartsville in this respect : 

" The selection of this little unknown village was a proof of 
Morgan's consummate strnitegia ability." It was a point where 
it was literally impossible to entrap him. While here, a deserter 
taken in arms and fighting, was tried by court-martial, sentenced 
and shot in presence of the command. Forrest reached Harts- 
ville on the 22nd with a portion of his command. He had hur- 
ried on to reinforce Morgan before the latter fought Johnson, fear- 
ing that the entire original force of infantry, artillery and cavalry, 
which had left McMinnville with Johnson, would be too much 
for us. Learning that he was no longer needed in Sumner 
county, he crossed the river without delay, and in a day or two 
we heard of his sweeping every thing clean around Nashville. 
So demoralizing was the effect of the system of immediately 
paroling prisoners, and sending them off by routes which pre- 
vented them from meeting troops of their own army, which had 
been instituted and practiced, for some time previously to this 
date, that General Buell found it necessary to issue an order on 
the subject. 

Morgan and Forrest inaugurated the system, and hundreds of 
prisoners were induced to fall into their hands, by the facilities 
thus offered them of getting home, who, otherwise, would never 
have been captured. A man, thus paroled, was lost to the Fede 
ral army for months at least, for, even if not inclined to respect 
his parole, it was hard for the authorities to find him. His gun 
and equipments, also, became ours. In his order. General Buell 
said : " The system of paroles as practiced in this army has run 
into an intolerable abuse. Hereafter no officer or soldier belong- 

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226 HisToar op morgas's oavalry. 

ing to the forces in this district will give his parole not to take 
up arms, for the purpose of leaving the enemy's lines, without 
the sanction of the General commanding this army, except when 
by reason of wounds or disease, he could not be removed without 
endangering his life. Any par#le given in violation of this 
order will not be recognized, and the person giving it will be re- 
quired to perform military duty, and take the risks prescribed by 
the laws of war," etc. 

This order was issued on the 8th of August, before the sur- 
render of Boone. While we were at Hartsville a case of types 
and printing press had been found in the deserted room onoe 
occupied as a printing office, and were immediately put to use. 
Poor Niles, who had once been an editor, went to work and or- 
ganized a corps of assistants from among the practical printers, 
of whom there were several in the Second Kentucky, and issued 
a small sheet which he called the Vidette, It was printed on 
any sort of paper that could be procured, and consequently, al- 
though perfectly consistent in its politics, it appeared at different 
times in different colors. Sometimes it would be a drab, some- 
times a pale rose color, and, my recollection is, that Boone's 
surrender was recorded upon a page of delicate pea-green. 
Colonel Morgan finding the pleasure that it gave the men, 
took great pains to promote the enterprise. The Vidette was 
expected with as much interest by the soldiers of the command 
and country people, as the Tribune or NewB, by the reading 
people of New York. General orders were published in it, 
promotions announced, and complimentary notices made by 
Colonel Morgan of the deserving. Full accounts of all our 
operations were published, and the reports of the various 
scouting parties filled up the column devoted to " local news." 
The editors indulged in the most profound and brilliant specula- 
tions on the political future, and got off the ablest critiques upon 
the conduct of the war. As every thing "good" was pub- 
lished, some tremendous and overwhelmingly decisive Confederate 
victories, of which the official records make no mention, even by 

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name, wore described in the Videtiey and the horrors of Federal 
invasion were depicted in terms which made the citizen reaaer^s 
blood freeze in his veins. 

Ootemporary papers were encouraged, or rebuked, as the case 
might require, with becoming zeal, and the ^^ pestilent opposition 
sheets'' were attacked with that felicitous but inexorable sar- 
casm which distinguishes editorial contests. The rhetorical ex- 
pression of contempt or indignation, and the large share which 
these passions had in the leading articles, justly entitled the 
^^VideUe" to an eminent place among the journals of the period. 

About this time there had recently been another call for some 
hundreds of thousands of men by the Federal Government, and 
Morgan hoped to avail himself of the disinclination of the Ken- 
tuckians to be drafted, to increaBe his own force. He had dis- 
patched many recruiting agents into the counties of Southern 
Kentucky, and had instructed them to inform all young men 
who wished to avoid, the draft, that the best way to do it effec- 
tually, was to join him. As a great many preferred (of the two 
armies) the Confederate, they came, when forced to a decision, 
to the latter. Many, too, had long hesitatingly contemplated 
^^joining Morgan,", and the imminent danger of being placed, 
forcibly, in the other army, quickened their wits and resolution, 
and they came. 

Adam R. Johnson and Woodward, who were at this time ope- 
rating very successfully in Southwestern Kentucky ,(got a large 
number of recruits seeking to avoid the draft. ' A great many 
came to Morgan— enough to fill up Desha's company, and, be- 
sides increasing all the old companies, to add another company 
to the regiment. This one was lettered M, and was commanded 
by Captain W. H. Jones, who became a fine officer, although he 
had then seen no service. To remedy all trouble from the in- 
experience of the Captain, Colonel Morgan, in accordance with 
his usual policy, appointed, as First and Second Lieutenants, 
Sergeants Thomas Quirk and Ben Drake of Company A. Both 
bad previously distinguished tkanaelTes^ and boih made their 

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228 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

mark as officers. Henry Hukill, another Sergeant of Company 
A, and an excellent soldier, was appointed First Lieutenant of 
Company L. Gano, also, recruited another company for his 
squadron at this time. It was a large and fine one, and was 
commanded by Captain Theophilus Steele, formerly Surgeon of 
the Second Kentucky infantry, but he was one of that kind of 
Surgeons, who, in war, prefer inflicting wounds to curing them. 

A short repose at Hartsville was interrupted by the most 
welcome and stirring summons we had ever received. This was 
an order from General Earby Smith to Colonel Morgan, to meet 
him at Lexington, Kentucky, on the 2d of the coming month 

It will be impossible for the men, whose history I am writing, 
to ever forget this period of their lives. The beautiful country 
in which it was passed, the blue-grass pastures and the noble 
trees, the encampments in the shady forests, through which ran 
the clear cool Tennessee waters, the lazy enjoyments of the 
green bivouacks, changing abruptly to the excitement of the 
chase and the action, the midnight moonlit rides amidst the 
lovely scenery, cause the recollections which crowd our minds, 
when we think of Gallatin and Hartsville, to mingle almost in- 
separably with the descriptions of romance. In this country 
live a people worthy of it. In all the qualities which win re- 
spect and love, in generosity, honesty, devoted friendship, zealous 
adherence to what they deem the right, unflinching support of 
those who labor for it, in hospitality and kindliness, the Creator 
never made a people to excel them. May God bless and prosper 
them, and may they and their children, only, at the judgment 
day, "arise from that corner of the earth, to answer for the 
sins of -the brave." 

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OFF TO KByfUG iaUiQirW. 229 


BnDDlNa oar friends at Hartsville farewell, we set oat for the 
heart of Kentucky on the morning of the 29th. Never were 
men in higher and more exultant spirits, and cheer after cheer 
rang from the front to the rear of the column, and when these 
eyidences of enthusiastic joy at length ceased, the way was en- 
livened with laugh, jest, and song. Passing by the Red Sul- 
phur Springs, we reached Scottsville, in Allen county, Kentucky, 
on that night and encamped at 12 o'clock a few miles beyond. 
Stokes' and Haggard's regiments of Federal cavalry were re- 
ported to be in that section of the country, and the necessity 
for somewhat careful scouting could not be ignored. We saw 
nothing of them, however, and resuming our march early the 
next morning, reached Glasgow about 10 A. M. 

At Glasgow we found rumors prevailing, as yet undefined and 
crude, of Kirby Smith's advance through Southeastern Kentucky. 
Our friends in Glasgow welcomed us with their usual kindness 
and after enjoying their hospitality for some hours, we marched 
off on the Columbia road. Encamping that night at Green river, 
we reached Columbia, in Adair county, on the next day about 
12 M., and remained there until the next morning. 

The reason for the slow marching of the last two days, had 
been Colonel Morgan's anxiety to obtain some information of 
the two howitzers, which wore being escorted from Knoxville, 
under charge of his brother and Aide-de-Campe Captain C. H. Mor- 
gan, with an escort of seventy-five men. This escort was composed 
of men who had been granted furloughs, and of convalescent 
sick and wounded men, returning to the command. These men 
were all well armed, and were under the immediate command 
of Captain Allen, who was assisted by several excellent officers. 

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280 HISTORY OF morgan's CAYALRT. 

When this party reached Sparta, it marched, in accordance with 
instructions sent there for its guidance, to Carthage, and thence 
to Red Sulphur Springs, following, then, directly in the track 
of the column. Stokes' cavalry heard of them, and pursued. 
Once, this regiment came very near falling foul of them. The 
party had encamped late at night, and as a measure of precau- 
tion, the horses were taken back some distance into the woods, 
and the men were made to lie down in line, concealed by the 
brush — the howitzers were planted to sweep the road. No fires 
were lighted. Shortly afterward, tho regiment in pursuit of 
them passed by, moving not more than twenty yards from the 
line, without discovering it; whether a discovery would have 
benefited the said regiment, will never be known, although 
there are many private opinions about the matter. 

When the party reached Glasgow — it was in the middle of the 
night — Captain Morgan could get no information aboftt the 
whereabouts of the command for some time. He was supposed 
to be a Federal officer. At last he was recognized and, at once, 
got the necessary information. 

On the same occasion, an incident occurred, which illustrated 
well the coolness and self-possession which characterized the men 
of Morgan's command, in the peculiar service to which they 
were inured. A party of some twenty men had been sent, be- 
fore Colonel Morgan left Hartsville, to carry dispatches to John- 
son and Woodward, inviting them to co-operate with Morgan. 
In returning, this party learned that Colonel Morgan was on the 
march for Central Kentucky, and immediately changed route to 
join him the more speedily, and this change brought them to 
Glasgow at this time. Neither of these parties knew of the 
other's presence, or anticipated any such meeting, until they sud- 
denly encountered in the streets of Glasgow. Fortunately, the 
party coming from the West was under the command of a young 
officer of more than ordinary coolness and shrewdness, as well 
as daring — Lieutenant Houston Hopkins. Each of these de- 
tachments had every reason to believe that the other was an 

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enemy. The bulk of the command had long passed this point, 
80 long that the rear-guard, scouts, every thing of the kind, 
ought to have been gone, and the enemy in considerable nnm« 
bers Tif as not far off. Yet, with a sort of instinct, each forbore to 
fire, until more positively assured of what the other was. They 
came within twenty yards of each other — so close that the oiBScers 
of each, could hear the muttered speculations of the others as 
to their probable character. 

The larger detachment, under Captain Allen, immediately 
formed across the road, and advanced slowly, with guns at a 
" ready." The other wheeled rapidly, and fell back about two 
hundred yards, halted, and also formed. Lieutenant Hopkins 
then rode back to within a short distance of Captain Allen, and 
entered into a parley with him, which, of course, soon ended in 
recognition. When it is remembered that the first wish and 
impulse of both parties, when two hostile detachments meet, is, 
generally, to get the first fire, and make the quickest dash, it 
will be conceded that on this ocoason there was exhibited rare 
coolness and discretion. 

Captain Morgan had dispatched a courier to his brother, in- 
forming him of his line of march, which courier reached Col- 
umbia soon after the command had gone into camp there. Gano's 
squadron was immediately sent back to reinforce the escort, and 
met it shortly after it had left 9I&8gow. The necessary delay 
for the arrival of the guns caused us to remain at Columbia for 
two days. Resuming the march on the day after they came, at 
an early hour the command moved in the direction of Liberty, 
in Casey County. In the vicinity of this place, we saw, in the 
brief time that we remained, more active and business-like busly- 
whacking than ever before in our entire service. The hills along 
the road seemed alive with them, and from behind every fourth 
or fifth tree apparently, they were blazing away at us. Every 
Southern reader will understand at once what sort of individual 
is meant by a ^' bushwhacker " — that he is a gentleman of leisure, 
who lives in a wild and, generally, a mountainous country^ does 

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not join the army, but shoots, from the tops of hills, or from be- 
hind trees and rocks, ivt those who are so unfortanate as to differ 
with him in politics. It is his way of expressing his opinions. 
His style of fighting is very similar to that of the oatlying scouts 
of partisan cavalry, except that he esteems it a weakness and 
an unnecessary inconvenience to take prisoners, and generally 
kills his captives. Sometimes, and especially toward the latter 
part of the war, these fellows would band together in consider- 
able numbers, make certain portions of the country impassable, 
except to strong detachments, and even undertake expeditions 
into neighboring sections. 

There were "Union bushwhackers" and "Southern bush- 
whackers ;" in Kentucky, the former were more numerous. "It 
is a gratifying reflection," to use the language of one of Colonel 
Clarence Prentice's official reports, " that many of them will 
* whack ' no more." In the Northern mind, bushwhackers and 
guerrillas are confounded together, an eggregious error in clas- 
sification, yit is probable that the bushwhacker of this country 
would answer exactly to the guerrilla of European warfare 1 but 
the guerrilla of North America is, or rather was (for happily 
he is almost, if not quite extinct) , an animal entirely distinct 
from either. Formerly the Northern press styled all the South- 
ern cavalry guerrillas, because they traveled about the country 
freely, and gave their enemies some trouble. This, however, 
was when the Federal cavalry used to still ride with pillows .on 
their saddles, were put to bed carefully every night by the General 
commanding, and encamped on the march in the midst of infantry 
regiments, who were instructed to see that their horses did not 
hurt them, etc. When the hardy, dashing regiments of the lat- 
ter part of the war — after, indeed, the first eighteen months — 
began to do real service, the Northern writers found that they 
would be called on to record as cavalry operations the very kind 
of affairs which they had been accustomed to chronicle as guer- 
rilla irregularities. 

A guerrilla was, properly speaking, a man who had belonged 

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to some army, and had deserted and gone to making war on his 
private accoant. He was necessarily a marauder, sometimes 
spared his former friend, and was mach admired by weak yoang 
women who were afflicted with a tendency toward shoddy ro- 

On this march through Casey county, the bushwhackers were 
unusually officious. The advance-guard, which for some reason 
had gone on some distance in front, reached Liberty about two 
hours before the column, and during that time were fairly be- 
sieged in the place. Colonel Morgan himself made a narrow 
escape. One fellow, more daring than the others, had come 
down from the hills, and had approached within seventy yards 
of the road. He fired at Morgan, missing him, but wounded a 
little negro boy, his servant, who was riding by his side, re- 
ceiving some order. The man, who fired, at once ran back to the 
hill, followed by one or two of our fellows from the head of the 
column. He was killed by private, afterward Captain Thomas 
Franks, who made an excellent shot, hitting the bushwhacker 
in the head while he was running at top speed, and Franks him- 
self was going at a rapid gallop. 

That night we reached Houstonville, about fourteen miles 
from Danville, and learned there of General Smith's complete 
victory at Richmond, and of the probability that he was already 
at Lexington. This news. excited the men very much, and sleep 
was banished fi*om the camp that night. Early on the next 
morning ire started for a good day's march, and reached Dan- 
ville about ten A. M., halted there some three hours, and, re- 
suming the march, reached Nicholasville, twenty-three miles 
distant, and twelve from Lexington, at dusk. 

On the next day, the 4th of September, the command entered 
Lexington about 10 a. m., amid the most enthusiastic shouts, 
plaudits, and congratulations. Colonel Morgan (as has been 
said) and many of his officers and men, were formerly citizens 
of Lexington, and many others came from the vicinity of the 

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place; relations and friends, therefore, by the score, were in 
the crowd which thronged the streets of the town. 

The people of this particular section of Kentuokj, known as 
the Blue-grass region, had always been strongly Southern in 
their views and sympathies, and this occasion, except that of 
General Smith's entrance a day or two before, was the first 
chance they had ever had to manifest their political proclivities. 
Some of them shortly afterward were very sorry, doubtless, that 
they had been so candid. The command, at this time, numbered 
about eleven hundred men. The Second Kentucky had been 
greatly increased, and, after deductiug all losses, was nearly, if 
not quite nine hundred strong. Gtino's squadron numbered 
about two hundred effectives. The rapidity with which recruits 
came to Morgan was astonishing. Captain Breckinridge was 
immediately granted authority, by General Smith, to raise a 
battalion of four companies, to serve in Morgan's brigade. He 
was permitted to take his own company (I) out of the Second 
Kentucky, as a nucleus for his battalion organization, and in a 
very short time he had gotten three other large and fine com- 
panies, and he could (if he had been permitted) have recruited a 
regiment with as little trouble. 

Gano was granted authority to raise a regiment, and in a very 
short time had recruited three companies. Active service, 
which necessitated rapid and continuous marching, interfered 
for a time with the organization of his regiment, but it was 
eventually completed. Second Lieutenant Alexander, of Com- 
pany E, Second Kentucky, was given permission to raise a 
company, in the vicinity of Harrodsburg, Mercer county, and 
in four or five days returned with a company of over sixty men, 
which was admitted into the Second Kentucky, and lettered H, 
a letter which had been in disuse in the regiment, since the par- 
tition of the company which bore Alston into a Captaincy. 
Lieutenant S. D. Morgan, of Company A, was also authorized 
to recruit a company, and soon did it. It was admitted into 

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COMMAND moBBAsma. 235 

the Second Eentncky as Company I, in place of Breckinridge's. 
The Second Kentucky now nambered twelve companies, and 
nearly eleven hundred effective men. Almost immediately^ 
upon arriving at Lexington^ Captain Desha resigned the Cap- 
taincy of Company L. He was a very fine ofiScer, and we all 
regretted to part with him. He received authority to recruit a 
regiment of infantry, and had partially succeeded, when the re- 
treat from Kentucky commenced. He then entered Colonel • 
Thomas Hunt's regiment, the Fifth Kentucky infantry. In the 
last year of the war he was offered a Brigadier's commission, 
but declined it upon the ground that ill-health would not permit 
him to exercise the duties required of him, in such a station, 
without delay. Private John Cooper, of Company A, was ap- 
pointed Captain in his stead-^he had previously been elected 
color-bearer of the regiment, when Colonel Morgan had directed 
the officers to choose the best man in the regiment to bear a 
flag presented to him by the ladies of the State. 

Every company of the Second Kentucky was increased by 
recruits, during the first week after our arrival. Two gentle- 
men, Colonels Cluke and Chenaults, were authorized to recruit 
regiments for Morgan's brigade, and immediately went to work 
to do so. 

As soon as the first greetings had been passed with our 
friends, every man was curious to learn the particulars of Gen- 
eral Smith's march through Southeastern Kentucky, and of the 
fight at Richmond. General Smith had collected at Knoxville, 
and other points in East Tennessee, some twenty thousand 
men, and leaving eight thousand, under General Stephenson, in 
front of Cumberland Gap, then occupied by the Federal General 
G. W. Morgan, with eight or nine thousand men, he, with twelve 
thousand men, and thirty or forty pieces of artillery, pressed 
through the Big Creek and Rogers gaps (of the Cumberland 
mountains), and marched rapidly for the Blue-grass country. 
Master of Lexington, he would have the terminus of the two 
railroads, and, indeed, one half of the State of Kentucky. A 

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complete defeat of the forces, then in that region, would clear 
his path to Louisville, in the one direction, and to Covington in 
the other. He would be in no danger, until forces were col- 
lected and organized in sufficient strength at Cincinnati, to 
march against and push him away. As for Buell's army, it was 
General Bragg's duty to take care of that. General Smith had 
with his army about one thousand cavalry. This force, under 
Colonel John Scott, advancing some distance in his front, fell 
upon Metcalfe 's regiment, eleven or twelve hundred strong, on 
the Bighill, fifteen miles from Richmond, and thoroughly de* 
feated and dispersed it. Even after this affair, the Federal 
commander remained in ignorance of any force, besides the 
cavalry under Scott, having approached in that direction, until 
General Smith, having pressed on with wonderful celerity and 
secresy, had gotten within a few miles of Richmond. 

Then every available man was concentrated at Richmond and 
pushed out to meet the invading column. The collision occurred 
on the 29th of August. General Smith had marched so rapidly, 
his men had fared so badly (having subsisted for ten days on 
green corn), and their badly shod feet were so cut by the rough 
stony way, that his column was necessarily somewhat prolonged, 
although there was little of what might be called straggling. 
Consequently, he could put into the fight only about six thousand 
men. Heath was some distance in the rear. He attacked as 
Bopn as he came upon the enemy, drove them, and although 
three several stands were made, his advance was never seriously 
obecked. The last stand, and hardest fight, was made in the 
outskirts of the little town of Richmond itself, and when the 
enemy was driven from the town, his route was complete. The 
Federal commander General Nelson was wounded. The enemy's 
loss was over x)ne thousand in fulled and wounded, and six thou- 
sand prisoners were taken and paroled. General Smith's loss 
was nine hundred in killed and wounded. 

Scott with the cavalry, pressed the fugitives for many miles. 
The route and disintegration of the Federal army was such, that 

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perhaps not a single command maintained its organization, and 
the stream of fugitives ponred through Lexington all Saturday 
night and Sunday, toward Louisville and Cincinnati, This de- 
cisive victory finished General Smith's part of the programme, 
and closed his campaign, for the time, with the possession of all 
that part of Kentucky. On the Ist of September, General 
Smith took possession of Lexington, and on the 2nd or 3rd he 
dispatched General Heath with five or six thousand men toward 
Covington. General Smith issued the strictest orders for the 
maintainance of order and discipline, and the prevention of ex- 
cesses or mal-conduct among his troops, of any description. • 
Such was the state of discipline that he had brought his army to 
before, that these orders were little needed. He also went ener- 
getically to work to encourage enlistments in his ranks, to or- 
ganize every department, necessary to the subsistence and 
equipment of his army, and to collect supplies. 

Notwithstanding the efforts that were made to induce the Ken- 
tuckians to enlist as infantry, very few would do so, and those 
who did, joined regiments which came in with General Smith ; 
not a single infantry regiment was raised during the time that 
the Confederate army was in the State. All of the Kentuckians 
who joined at that time, wanted to ride. As a people, they are 
fond of horses, and if they went to war at all, they thought it a 
too great tax^upon them to make them walk. 

A brigadier's commission was given to Captain Abram Buford 
(formerly of the regular army), a man well known and very popular 
in this portion of Kentucky, and he was authorized to recruit a 
mixed brigade of infantry and cavalry. He got three fine regi- 
ments of cavalry, under Colonels Butler, Smith and Grigsby, 
without any trouble, but not an infantryman. The two last of 
the above named regiments, were subsequently assigned to Mor- 
gan. One reason why so many enlisted in cavalry (inde- 
pendently of the decided preference of the Kentuckians for that 
brancff of the service), was the fact, that companies and regiments 
had, in many instances, their men bespoken and ready to enlist with 

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them as soon as a favorable opportunity sheald occur. Many 
(also), had made up their minds to join Morgan when he next 
came through the country. Men who expected to become sol- 
diers (under such circumstances), would of course wish to join 
the cayalry, and made all their preparations to enlist in that 
arm of the service. 

Had a decisive battle been fought and won by General Bragg, 
there is little doubt but that the majority of that class of men, 
who were waiting for that event before they enlisted, would then 
have enlisted as infantry. Two or three days after we reached 
Lexington, four companies of the Second Kentucky were sent 
with the two howitzers, to capture the stockade at the bridge 
over Salt river, on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, and 
burn the bridge. The expedition was under command of Cap- 
tain Hutchinson. This officer had some days previously been 
made, at my request. Acting Lieutenant Colonel of my regiment 
(the Second Kentucky), and he was always afterward addressed 
by that title, and was subsequently given the position. Hutch- 
inson was a singularly active and energetic officer, and possessed 
the shrewdness as well as daring which eminently qualified him 
for the command of detachments. He made a tremendous march, 
and arrived at his destination, before any Federal force, which 
could have intercepted him or have marched to prevent his pur- 
pose, heard of his coming. « 

The garrison of the stockade was some one hundred and fifty . 
strong. He placed his men in position around it, and planted 
his howitzers to command it. Ho then sent Captain Bowles to 
demand the surrender of the garrison, telling him that he would 
allow but twenty minutes for the negotiation. * 

Captain Bowles approached under flag of truce' and entered 
into a parley with the enemy. They were quite willing to sur- 
render in less than twenty minutes, provided that one strange 
stipulation should be conceded, viz : that the bridge would not 
be burned. While Bowles was endeavoring to prove t9 them 
the folly of such a proposition, the twenty minutes expired* 

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flatchioson, who va8 very literal in observing all that he said, 
immediately caused his artillery to open without waiting for the 
return of his envoy, and two shells were bursted just above the 
stockade, wounding one of the inmates. This might have caused 
the death of the bearer of the flag, as the garrison had, then, a 
perfect right to shoot him. The effect of it on Bowles, however, 
who was one of the very few men I have known, who, I believe, 
never felt fear, was to render him indignant that his embassy 
should be interrupted, just as he thought that it was about to be 
successful, and he came galloping back at full speed, waving his 
flag at his own friends, and shouting at the top of his voicOf 
" don't shoot any more, they'll be all right directly." 

The inmates of the stockade at the same time poured out, 
without regard to rank, waiving pocket handkerchi#r8, portions 
of their nether garments hastily torn off, and whatever else, they 
could lay hold of, that would serve the purpose. As soon, how- 
ever, as the howitzers opened, the skirmishers advanced, in ac- 
cordance with Hutchinson's previous instructions, firing also^ 
and their fire drove the enemy back into the stockade. 

Soon, however, all mistakes were rectified and an amicable 
adjustment of the di£Sculty arrived at. The prisoners were im^* 
mediately paroled, the bridge thoroughly destroyed, and the de- 
tachment returned. It was absent only a few days. The bridge 
destroyed was four hundred and fifty feet long, and forty-six feet 

Almost immediately after Colonel Hutchinson returned to 
Lexington, he was sent 'with Companies B, C, D, E, L and M, 
to report to General Heath, who had advanced to within five 
miles of Covington, and withdrawing, needed cavalry. The ut- 
most consteriiation prevailed in Cincinnati during the time that 
Qf^ath was in the vicinity of Covington ; the city was placed 
mider martial law, and every citizen was required to report him- 
self for military duty. So persistent were the detectives in 
their search for .tcfiftspn, that all the business houses in the town 
had to ^e shut up, and it became so frequent a matter to con* 

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240 HISTORY OP morgan's cavalry. 

strue thoughtless words into expressions of di^Iojal saatiment, 
that it was unsafe to speak any other language than Dutch. 
Thousands of respectable citizens, nightly left their comfortable 
homes, to cross the river, and. shiver and ache with apprehension 
and fatigue, in the ditches around Covington. Many a trades- 
man torn from his shop, got the manual mixed up with his ac- 
counts, and lost the run of both ; and as he sat in a rifle-pit, 
with only one pontoon bridge (and that narrow) connecting him 
with Cincinnati, he had to console him — the reflection that he 
was performing a patriotic duty, and letting his husiness go to 
the devil. 

The most telling maneuvre against such an army, would have 
been to send emissaries to stir up the street boys in Cincinnati 
to an attacft on the ungarrisoned shops ; in such an event ^a pre- 
cipitate retreat would most probably have occurred from the 
Kentucky side of the river. 

For several days after Heath was close enough to have made 
a dash at Covington, at any hour, there were no other defenders 
in the works around the place than these extempore soldiers. A 
very few only of their guns mounted were in a condition to be 
worked, and the ammunition first provided was not of the proper 
caliber. On the first. Gen. Ueath came within sight of the works, 
that he had prepared to attack, and just before he moved upon 
them, received dispatches from Gen. Smith, instructing him not to 
do so, but to be prepared to return at short notice. General 
Smith expected to be soon called, to re-inforce General Bragg, 
with his whole force to fight Buell's army before it reached 
Louisville ; he therefore wished every thing kept well in hand, 
and esteemed the maintenance of the mobility of the troops 
under Heath as of more importance than the capture of Cincin- 
nati. In the course of a few days, however, regular troops 
began to arrive at Cincinnati, and they came in rapidly. When 
Heath fell back, there was a formidable veteran force, there, of 
perhaps twelve or fifteen thousand men. Hutchinson reported 
to him at Walton twenty-five miles from Covington, and was at 

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once ordered to duty on the front For some days he was very 
actively engaged immediately upon the ground which Heath had 
just left. He was engaged in scouting for some distance above 
and below Covington, to ascertain if there was any movement 
by the river, as well as having to carefully watch all roads lead- 
ing out of the place. His various detachments had several 
skirmishes, the most successful of which was made by a party 
under command of Lieutenant Allensworth, who routed a much 
larger body of the enemy and captured a number of prisoners. 

Just before General Heath came down into that country, fif- 
teen young men of Boone county who had long wished to join 
Morgan, hearing that Confederate troops might shortly be ex- 
pected in their neighborhood, banded together and attacked a 
train of twenty-seven wagons guarded by fifty-one Federal sol- 
diers, dispersed the guard and bur^gd the wagons. This party 
with some twenty-five of their friends then equipped themselves 
and set out to join us. 

They were placed in the new Company I. In the service done * 
at this time, Hutchinson's loss was slight, and he inflicted a good 
deal upon the enemy. He took a number of prisoners. The 
railroad was destroyed — track torn up and bridges burned — for 
a good many miles. General Heath continued to fall baok to- 
ward Georgetown. After Hutchinson had been in command 
upon the Covington front six or seven days, I sent him Company 
A, and the next day followed myself with Company I. Colonel 
Morgan was ordered to go to Eastern Kentucky and intercept 
the Federal General Geo. W. Morgan on his march from Cum- 
berland Gap to the Ohio river. General Morgan had evacuated 
the gap and gained two days march on the force watching it on 
the other side. It was General Smith's desire that Colonel Mor- 
gan should blockade the roads in his front, and use every exer- 
tion to retard his progress. By uniting with General Marshall's 
forces, it was hoped that Colonel Morgan, in the rugged, almost 
impassable country, through which the Federal column had to 
march, might stop it altogether, until another body of troops 

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could be thrown upon its rear, and thus literally starve it into 
surrender. As it was, Marshall remained inactive, and Morgan 
after felling trees across the road, climbing up and down moun- 
tains, and sticking close to the front of the column for six days, 
was compelled to suffer the mortification of seeing it get away 

While Colonel Morgan was employed in the mountains, Gene- 
ral Smith directed me to annoy the enemy as much as possible 
in the direction of Covington. On the evening that I arrived at 
Walton, where Hutchinson had been encamped, I found him in 
retreat, pressed by a superior force of the enemy. We soon 
found that we could not efficiently check the enemy's ad- 
vance, and accordingly fell back to Crittenden, a little place 
seven miles from Walton. The enemy encamped five miles from 
the place. On the next morning we were driven out of Critten- 
den, and as the enemy continued to advance, I dispatched 
General Heath that I believed it was an advance upon Lexington. 
The enemy's force consisted, as we afterward ascertained, of 
about seven thousand infantry, one thousand cavalry, or, per- 
haps a little more, and eight pieces of artillery* Skirmishers 
were thrown out, in strong lines, for a mile or more on each side 
of Ihe road. The country was open and easily traversed by troops, 
enabling them to strengthen any part of the line that might need 
it. We could therefore hope to effect little, and after carefully 
reconnoitering, without finding a convenient opening, we recon- 
tented to move slowly in their front, forcing them to keep up 
their troublesome precautions. 

About 1 or 2 p. M., leaving scouts to observe them, I marched 
rapidly to Williamstown. This place is just upon the northern 
edge of the rugged Eagle hills. Thence I moved eastwardly to 
Falmouth, a small town on the Central Kentucky Railroad, 
about forty miles from Covington, and twenty miles from Wil- 
liamstown — indeed nearly equi-distant from the Dry-ridge road, 
or Cincinnati and Lexington pike (upon which the enemy were 
moving), and the Maysville and Lexington pike, which also 

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needed some watching. I was then in a position to observe 
every movement upon the entire front, and was, so to speak, in 
the center of the web commanding all the avenues which should 
be guarded. If the enemy continued upon the road upon which 
he was then advancing, he would have to force his way through 
General Heath's forces, advantageously posted amid the hills of 
the Eagle creek. If he turned to the left to seek a road not so 
well defended, he would have to come by Falmouth, and there- 
fore Falmouth was the point where the cavalry watching him 
should be. 

On the road, however, and before I reached Falmouth, scouts 
brought the information that the enemy had fallen back to Wal- 
ton, and also informed me of what his strength apparently was. 
It was plain that no force of that size would attempt to march 
on Lexington. Shortly afterward, other scouts, which had been 
sent to watch the Ohio river, came from Warsaw, a little town 
on its banks, and reported that a number of boats laden with 
troops had gone down the river foward Louisville. This infor- 
mation explained every thing. Finding that Heath had with- 
drawn, and Cincinnati was no longer threatened, this force, 
which had driven us away from Walton, had been sent £o .clear 
the country of troublesome detachments, and also to attract 
attention in that direction, and conceal the concentration of 
troops at Louisville. Walton is twenty-five miles from Falmouth. 
On the day after reaching the latter, I sent a flag of truce to 
Walton, with dispatches, which General Smith had instructed 
me to forward to Cincinnati. The flag was borne by Captain S. 
D. Morgan, who betted with the Aide of the commanding Gene- 
ral, that he (Morgan), would drive in his pickets within forty- 
eight hours — ^he won the wager. The entire strength of the six 
companies, which Colonel Hutchinson had taken to this country, 
was not quite five hundred men — the two additional companies 
A and I, did not swell the total efiective to six hundred men. 
All of these were large ones, but many men (from four or five 
of them) were on furlough. When the flag of truce returned, 

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244 HISTOBT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Captain Morgan gave me such an account of the enemy that a 
desire, previously conceived, to visit him was greatly increased. 
Morgan could, of course, see but little ; he was, however, vigi- 
lant and shrewd, and drew accurate inferences from what he saw. 
He was satisfied that, while careful and systematic guard was 
kept, the troops were all green and could be easily surprised. 
He said that so far as he could learn, there was no attempt made 
at scouting, and that a total ignorance prevailed among them of 
what was going on, a few hundred yards even, beyond the outposts. 
This latter information was confirmed by the reports of all my 
scouts, and was in accordance with the habits of raw men and 
officers. He thought, moreover, from something he had heard, 
that cavalry were encamped a mile or two from the infantry, 
and the country people, some of whom from that neighborhood 
visited us, stated that the cavalry were encamped a mile and a 
half from the main body, and nearer Walton. We had tried in 
vain to get hold of the cavalry on the day we were driven away 
from Walton ; it kept carefully behind the infantry. 

Moving from Falmouth late in the afternoon, with nearly the 
entire command, I marched until about twelve o'clock at night, 
and halted at a point on the Independence road, about ten miles 
from the enemy's encampment. Scouts were immediately sent 
out to ascertain as nearly as possible the exact location of the 
pickets, and the condition of every thing about the encampments. 
They were instructed not to fire upon, or in anywise alarm the 
pickets, or do anything which might make them suspect our 

The scouts observed their instructions closely, and did not 
see the pickets at all, but inquired of the people who lived 
near the encampment, and were told that no change had oc- 
curred in the last day or two, in any respect, in the posts on the 
different roads. After this information I was satisfied that I 
would be able to get upon the Georgetown and CoYiugtQtt4iike, 
upon which the enemy was encamped, by a country road which 
runs into it from the Independence pike, without alarming 

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the maiii body. I could then move rapidly to the poiat where 
the cavalry was encamped, and defeat it before the infantry 
came to the rescue. The infantry encampment was about two 
miles north of Walton, and this by-road comes into the pike 
about one thousand yards from the site of the encampment, and 
between it and Walton. 

The column was accordingly put in motion again at daybreak, 
and marched rapidly. . Just at sunrise we reached the George- 
town and Covington pike, and saw standing, in sight of the 
point where we would enter, te^ cavalry pickets. The column 
was at once halted, and arrangements made to capture them. 
They had not yet seen us. A brief reconnoisance showed an 
infantry regiment on post, some three hundred yards further 
down the road. There was now no hope of passing this point 
without discovery by the main body, and it only remained to 
make the most out of the situation. 

Lieutenant Messick, of Company A, was sent with ten men to 
tike in the cavalry videttes, and Lieutenant Roberts, command- 
ing the advance-guard, was sent with a portion of it to try the 
same game with the infantry. He went right into the midst of 
it. The column was moved forward at a gallop, as soon as the 
pickets were disturbed, and turned in the direction of Walton ; 
the rear company, however, being carried at full speed to the 
assistance of Lieutenant Roberts. One of the howitzers which 
had been brought along, was planted at the point where we en- 
tered the pike, to cover our retreat, if it were pressed. When 
I reached the little squad of Lieutenant Roberts with the com- 
pany which I took to assist it, I found it, or rather a fragment 
of it, in a situation which perhaps was never paralleled during 
the war. 

Lieutenant Roberts was still further down the road, and to- 
ward the encampment, with a portion of the detachment, picking 
up stragglers. Sergeant Will Hays stood with six men in the 
midst of a company of sixty-nine Federal infantry. The infan- 
try seemed sullen and bewildered, and stood with their. rifles 

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cocked and at a ready. Hays had his rifle at the head of the 
Lieutenant commanding, demanding that he should order his 
men to surrender, and threatening to blow his brains out if he 
encouraged them to resist. Hays' six men were grouped around 
him, ready to shoot down any man who should raise a gun 
against him. I thought it the finest sight I had ever seen. The 
arrival of the company decided the infantry to surrender, and 
the caps and bayonets having been taken off of their guns, they 
were sent off, guarded by the men which had been brought up 
to complete their capture. Lieutenant Roberts had gone, with 
his mere corporal's guard, into the infantry regiment, had cap- 
tured one company, and run the balance back into camp. 

The men of this regiment were very riajar and green. Hays 
had persuaded them for some time, that he was an officer of their 
own cavalry, and it was only when he peremptorily ordered them 
to follow him to Walton, that they suspected him. After sending 
off the prisoners, four or five of us rode on down the road to 
join Lieutenant Roberts, and soon found him, bringing back 
more prisoners. We were now farther in toward the encamp- 
ment, than the regiment on picket had stood, and had a fair view 
of it. We saw the whole force form, and it was a very pretty 
sight. The regiments first formed on their respective camp- 
grounds, and then took their positions in line of battle, at a 
double quick. They were finely drilled, although very raw. 
The artillery was run into position, and behind every thing, 
peeping over the shoulders of the infantry, were our friends the 
cavalry, that we had taken so much pains to see. 

While we were looking on, a staff officer came galloping to- 
ward us, evidently not knowing who wo were, and taking us for 
some of his pickets not yet driven in. He came right up to us ; 
thinking his capture certain. Captain Moi'gan, who thought that 
he recognized in him, the officer with whom he had made the bet 
two days previously, rode forward, saluted him, and told him 
he was a prisoner. He, however, did not seem to be of that 
opinion for he wheeled his horse, coming so close to us in doing 

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SO as to almost brash the foremost man, and dashed back at full 
speed, despite the shots that were fired at him. 

The skirmishers, who were not more than two hundred yards 
off, soon induced us to leAve, and we galloped after the column. 
'■' Eighty or ninety prisoners were taken, and were sent on to Lex- 
ington, as soon as we got back to Falmouth. The enemy did 
not know for some hours, that we were entirely gone, and indeed 
rather expected during that time to be attacked in force. I 
perhaps ought to have attacked, but the disparity of forces, and 
the knowledge that the enemy Cbuld detect it as I advanced, de- 
terred me. 

On tKe next day I sent Captain Oastleman with Company D, 
-no Foster's landing on the Ohio river. He fired i^on a Govern- 
ment transport loaded with troops, but could not bring her to 
with his rifles. He captured the regular packet, and was shelled 
by one of the river gun boats, suffering no loss. 

At this period the liome-guard organizations were disband- 
ing, or being incorporated into the Federal army. At Augusta, 
a town in Bracken county, about twenty-five miles from Fal- 
mouth, and situated on the river, forty odd miles above Cincin- 
nati, there was a regiment being formed out of some Home- 
guard companies. This organization had already begun to give 
trouble, and one or two of its scouting parties had even* ven- 
tured within a short distance of Falmouth. I was also informed 
that all sorts of men, whether willing or not, were being placed 
in its ranks. I determined therefore to break it up, before it 
became formidable. There was a ford, moreover, just below 
Augusta, by which the river could be crossed at that season 
without difficulty. I wished to take the town, if possible, with 
little loss, and cross into Ohio, and marching toward Cincin- 
nati, so threaten the city that the troops at Walton would be 
hurried back to protect it. 

Leaving Falmouth in the morping of one day, I could (if al- 
lowed to cross the river without . opposition) have been in the 
vicinity of Cincinnati at day -light of the next day. Two days, 

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248 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

therefore, after the expedition to Walton, I started from Fal- 
mouth with about four hundred and fifty men — leaving Company 
17 and some details behind to observe the enemy at Walton and 
for other purposes. 

On the Avay to Augusta, I came upon a large scouting party 
from that place but it dispersed before I could attack — ^it was 
cut oiF, however, from Augusta and prevented from taking part 
in the fight there. We marched through Brooks ville and about 
7 A. M. reached the high ground in the rear of Augusta and 
which perfectly commanded the* town. Two small ^ter^ wheel 
boats lay at the wharf, to assist in the defense of the place. A 
twelve pounder was mounted on each of them ; their sides were 
protected by nay bales and they were manned by sharp-shooters 
in addition to the gunners. These boats commanded the turn- 
pike which led into the town from Brookville (by which road we 
were advancing) but about a mile from the town I turned the 
column from the road and approached the hill (upon which I 
took position) through the fields. The crest of this hill is per- 
haps two hundred feet above the level of the river (at low water) 
and about six hundred yards from its bank. The town runs 
back to the foot of the hill. From our position on the summit 
of this hill we could distinctly see tho Home-guards going into 
the houses and preparing for fight, but a portion of them were 
already ensconced in the houses near the head of the street by 
which we entered the town a little while afterward. These lat- 
ter kept themselves concealed while we remained on the hill and 
our ignorance of their location cost us dearly. Seeing that the 
boats commanded the street by which I wished to enter the town, 
I determined to drive them away before moving the bulk of the 
command from the hill. 

Accordingly, having dismounted and formed Companies B, 0, 
E, I and M, and planted the howitzers on the highest point I 
could find, where they could probably chuck every shell into the 
boats, I ordered Company A-, and the advance-guard to cross 
the Germantown pike and take position near the bank of tho 

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river in the eastern end of the town. Here they would be en- 
abled to annoy the troops on the boats very greatly \Vith their 
rifles and would also be in position to assist in reducing the gar- 
risoned houses, when the fight in town commenced. In jthat 
part of the town there were no houses occupied by the enemy. 
Captain Oassell of Company A, was instructed to dispose of his 
own company and the advance-guard in accordance w^ith these 
views and to take command of both. I especially charged him 
to let no man approach that part of the town where I expected 
to have to fight on horseback, but to bring the men on foot when 
he heard firing. 

As soon as Cassell had gotten into position, the howitzers 
were opened upon the boats. Several shells burst near them 
and one penetrated the hull of the " Flag Ship," as I suppose I 
may term the boat upon which the Captain commanding both 
of them had his quarters, Cassell's riflemen, also made them- 
selves very disagreeable, and after firing only three shots, the 
" fleet '^ withdrew. As long as the boats were in range the "Bull 
pups " kept after them and they steam6d up the river and out 
of sight. Having driven off" these gun boats, upon which I 
knew the officer commanding in the town chiefly relied for the 
defense of the place, I believed that I would have no more 
trouble and that the garrison would surrender without more 
fighting. I immediately entered by the principal street with 
Companies B and C. After these two companies had gotten well 
into the town and in front of the houses into which the defend- 
ers of the place had gone unseen by us, a sharp fire was sud- 
denly opened upon them, killing and wounding several. I at 
once ordered the men to gather on the right hand side of the 
street, although the fire came from both sides, and to take shelter 
as they best could. 

A fierce fight at once began. I sent for Companies E, I, and 
portions of L and M, leaving throe sections of each to guard the 
road in our rear. I made the men force their way into the 
houses, whence they were fired upon. Captain Cassell came to 

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join me as soon as he beard the firing, bat unfortunately Lieu- 
tenant Roberts forgot, in his ardor, the order that no men should 
enter the town mfijuited, and he dashed up to the scene of the 
fight with his men on horsebar.V, greatly increasing the coofasion. 
The Sergeant, who had charge of the howitzers, opened upon 
the town, when he heard the firing, and his shots did us as much 
harm as they did the enemy. Lieutenant Roberts was killed 
almost instantly, two or three men and several horses of his 
guard were also shot, and the crowding of horses into the street 
added to the disorder. In a few minutes, however, some method 
was restored. Details of men were posted in the middle of the 
street in front of every house, to fire at the inmates when they 
showed themselves, and prevent them from maintaining an ac- 
curate and effective fire. Other details were made to break in 
the doors of the houses and enter them. The artillery was 
brought into the town and turned upon the houses in which the 
most stubborn resistance was kept up. Planted about ten paces 
from a house, aimed to strike about a yard below the sills of the 
windows, beneath which the defenders were crouched (except 
when taking aim), and double-shotted with grape and canister, 
the howitzers tore great gaps in the walls. Two or three houses 
from which sharp volleys were kept up were set on fire. Flags 
of truce, about this time, were hung out from several windows, 
and believing that a general surrender was meant, I ordered the 
fires to be extinguished. But only those who shook the white 
flags meant to give up, and the others continued to fight. One 
or two men putting out the fires were shot. I immediately 
ordered that every house from which shots came should be 
burned. A good many were soon in flames, and even then the 
fighting continued in some of them. My men were infuriated 
by what they esteemed bad faith, in a continuance of the fight 
after the flags of truce were displayed, and by the loss of their 
comrades and of some favorite officers. I never saw them fight 
with such ferocity. Few lives were spared in the houses into 
which they forced their way. Several savage hand-to-hand 

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fights occurred. As, private James March^ of Company A, was '' 
about to enter a house after battering down the door with the 
butt of his rifle, a Home-guard, armed with musket and bayonet, 
sprang out and lunged at him. March avoided his thrust, 
knocked him down with his clubbed gun, and then seizing the 
other's musket, pinned him to the ground with the bayonet. A 
somewhat similar affair happened to a private of Company B.. 
whose name I have forgotten. As he, also, was forcing his way 
into a house, a strong, active fellow bounded out and cut at him 
with a large heavy knife, made from a blacksmith's file, such as 
were formerly often seen in Kentucky. He closed quickly with 
his assailant, whose blow consequently missed ^m, and in a 
moment they were locked in each other's arms. The Home- 
guard could not use his knife, for his right arm was stretched 
over the other's shoulder in the position in which it had fallen 
with the blow. The other wore one of the largest sized, heaviest, 
army pistols. He had dropped his gun, and as he drew his 
pistol, his enemy clasped the lock with his left hand, and he 
could not cock it. Both were powerful men, and fighting for 
life, because quarter was not thought of by either. At length 
the Confederate raised the pistol to a level with the other's 
head, and although ho could strike only by the inflection of the 
wrist, inflicted blows with the heavy barrel upon his enemy's 
temple, which stunned him. Then dashing him to the ground, 
the Confederate beat in his skull with the butt of his pistol. 
The fighting lasted about fifteen or twenty minutes, when Colonel 
Bradford, the commander of the organization, surrendered. It 
was with great difiiculty that his life, or the lives of his men, 
could bo saved. Fighting in narrow streets, close to their op- 
ponents, the loss in my command was, of course, severe, and a 
great many wounds proved mortal, on account of the balls com- 
ing from above, ranging downward. 

'^My loss was twenty-one killed, and eighteen wounded. I had 
about three hundred and fifty men engaged. Among the killed 
were some matchless officers. Captain Samuel D. Morgan (a 

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252 BISTORT OF morgan's gavalrt. 

cousin of Colonel Morgan) killed several men with his own hand 
before he fell. He had been a good soldier, and gave promise 
of unusual merit as an officer. His gallantry and devotion were 
superb, and he was always urgent to be placed on perilous ser- 
vice. He was a mere boy. Lieutenant Greenberry Roberts had 
been made First Lieutenant of Company A after Lieutenant 
Smith's death. He much resembled his predecessor. He had 
been placed in command of the advance-guard when Lieutenant 
Rogers was compelled to return to his company (E) upon the 
promotion of Captain Hutchinson. He was nineteen years old 
when killed; gay, handsome, and a universal favorite. His 
courage was un tempered by any discretion or calculation, and 
unless bound by positive instructions, he would go at any thing. 
Lieutenant Rogers was a model officer and gentleman. He was 
killed while exerting himself to save the inmates of a house from 
which the shot which killed him came. 

Lieutenant Eang, a gallant boy, brevet Second Lieutenant of 
Company E, fell dead the moment afterward across Rogers' 
body, and, a rather singular circumstance, an old man of that 
company, devotedly attached to both these officers, private 
Puckett (one of the few old men in the regiment) rushed to 
raise them and was instantaneously killed, falling upon them. 
Captain Kennett, of Company B, just made Captain in the place 
of Captain Allen, who was elected Lieutenant-Colonel of Butler's 
regiment, and Lieutenant George White, of the same company, 
were mortally wounded, and died very soon. Both were veter- 
ans of the old squadron, and very 'brave men. 

Most of the casualties occurred in the first few minutes of the 
street fight, before proper dispositions were made to reduce the 
garrisons of the houses, and while the latter were taking deadly 

Captain Cassell's bold attack on the gunboats saved us much 
greater loss. Some of the women came (while the fight was 
raging) from the part of the town where they had retired for 
safety, to the most dangerous positions, and waited upon the 

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wounded, while the balls weild striking around them. The ma- 
jority of the people of this town, or a large proportion at least, 
were Southern sympathizers. The regular members of the 
Home-guard regiment were collected from the country for miles 
around. A number of the Southern men were also pressed into 
the service. 

The last house set on fire was that of James Armstrong. 
After the garrison in it were disposed of, efforts were made to 
save it. The owner bade me ''let it burn," but urged me to col- 
lect and destroy all the arms of the Home-guards, that they 
might not give trouble again. During the fight a boat, coming 
•^rom Cincinnati, hove in sight of the town, but did not come on. 
It was reported, but incorrectly, that she carried troops. 

This fight prevented the excursion into Ohio. All of the 
ammunition for the howitzers was shot away. I was anxious to 
-remove my wounded and dead, and had two hundred prisoners 
whom I wanted to carry off. About four P. M., employing all 
the carriages and light wagons that could find about the town 
and neighborhood to carry the wounded, who could stand trans- 
portation, and the dead bodies, which were not too much mutila- 
ted, I went back toward Falmouth. That night we reached 
- Brookville after dark, and passed the night there, the gloomiest 
and saddest that any man among us had ever known. 

Brookville is a little hamlet, nine miles from Augusta, and 
eighteen from Maysville. This latter place had been taken by 
Gano, a week or two before, without a shot. He left next day, 
and the Union men there became belligerent, sent for regular 
troops, collected Home-guards, "resolved" that they would 
fight, bleed, and die, if they got another chance, and distinguished 
themselves very much in that way. News reached Maysville of 
the fight at Augusta on the same evening that it occurred, and 
about four o'clock next morning troops left there to march to 
the relief of Augusta. At seven A. M. of that morning, I sent 
off the train of dead and wounded, and all of the prisoners, ex- 
cept about eighty, whom I intended to parole. As soon as they 

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were fairly started, I ordered Colonel Hutchinson to follow with 
the command. I retained Sergeant Hays and ten men of the 
advance-guard with me. Most of the prisoners left were South- 
ern men, who had heen forced to fight, and a few others were 
men paroled at Armstrong's request. 

About 9 or 10 A. M., while engaged in writing out paroles, I 
was informed by my orderly that a force of Federals was coming 
into town on the Maysville pike. I had placed no pickets after 
the regular detail had been withdrawn upon the march of the 
column, and nearly all of the ten men left with me were in the 
court-house at the time by my side. We immediately passed 
out and mounted our horses. Sargeant Hays formed seven men 
and we dashed through the enemy. There were perhaps fifty 
or sixty cavalry in the town — ^they were scattered about, and 
had no chance to stop us. Several shots were fired upon both 
sides. None of my party were hurt. One of the enemy was 
killed and three seized by the bridle reins, as we went through 
them, and carried off prisoners. A few men were still unparoled 
when the alarm was given. Private Conrade remained and pa* 
roled them all, then followed us through the enemy. He was 
subsequently promoted for other instances of the coolest daring. 
A recruiting officer had been captured that morning and placed 
in charge of Privates Franks and McVae. They were eating 
breakfast when the enemy entered the town and were nearly 
captured. They placed their prisoner on a bare-backed horse 
and carried him off across the country, taking fences and every 
thing else at a gallop. 

We lost one man taken prisoner, he could not get to his horse. 
The enemy's force was composed of the cavalry which first en- 
tered and about four hundred infantry, with two pieces of 
artillery. After we had gotten out of the town, we turned and 
galloped back to it again, to create, if possible, a diversion in 
favor of the three men I supposed to be still there. The infantry, 
however, immediately drove us off. As we then moved rapidly 
after the command, we met the rear-guard, which always 

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marched a good distance in the rear of the column, coining back 
at a gallop to reinforce us. The officer in charge of it, one of 
the very best in the regiment — ^Lieutenant Ash Welsh, had re- 
turned as soon as he heard the firing. His men and himself 
-were dressed in dark clothing, and I thought when they first 
came in sight, that they were a part of the enemy which had cut, 
us off. They also mistook us for the enemy, and we charged 
each other at full speed. When within about fifty yards of each 
other and just about to fire, a mutual recognition fortunately 
prevented it. 

Soon afterward, I met Hutchinson coming with the command, 
but I turned him again. The enemy shelled the road after we 
were all gone. Learning that Captain Castleman had fallen 
back from Falmouth (in anticipation of an advance from Walton), 
to Gynthiana, I went to that place also. It turned out that the 
rumor of the intended attack upon Falmouth was altogether un- 
founded. I placed the command in camp at Cynthiana, and 
sent the prisoners and all of the wounded who were not too 
much exhausted to travel, to Lexington. 

On the next day the funeral of Lieutenant Rogers was cele- 
brated. He was a native of Cynthiana, and the citizens of that 
place had loved him and were proud of his record. They came, 
the true, warm-hearted yeomanry, to witness his soldier-burial, 
and sympathize in the sorrow of his aged and heart-broken 
father. The men remained in camp at Cynthiana from the 30th 
of September until the night of the 4th of October. During that 
time I made several promotions which were confirmed by an ex- 
ercise of General Morgan'^ appointing power. 

Thomas Franks, private in the Mississippi company and 
^^ member in high standing'' of the advance guard, was made 
Captain of Company L He was a worthy successor of Captain 
Morgan. By a series of gallant acts and uniform good conduct 
and assiduous and thorough discharge of his duty, he had well 
won his preferment. Brevet Second Lieutenant William Mes^ 
sick (of whom a great deal remains to be said), was made First 

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256 HISTOBT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Lieutenant of Company A. Privates Parks and Ashbrook were 
made respectively First and Second Lieutenants of Company £• 
They were gallant, and had fought in the front of every fight 
since the organization of the regiment. Sergeant Wm. Hays was 
offered his choice of Captaincy of Company B, or the First Lieu- 
tenancy of the same company, with the privilege of commanding 
the advance-guard. He choose the latter — ^like the gallant man 
that he was, loving danger honestly encountered and honor 
fairly won. 

General Morgan unhesitatingly approved all of these ap- 
pointments — complimenting the appointees and declared that he 
had contemplated their promotion earlier, s In pure, unflinching 
courage, soldierly desire for personal distinction, devotion to 
the interests of the service, pride in the reputation of their own 
corps, respect for and zealous obedience to their own commanders, 
energy and intelligence — these officers had no superiors. 

I have already said that Colonel Morgan had been sent to 
Eastern Kentucky, to intercept the Federal General Morgan on 
his march to the Ohio river — ^I can not do better than copy tw- 
bdUim a description, given of his operations by an excellent 
writer. ^^ Succeeded in collecting about a thousand cavalrymen, 
all recruits except Ghino's Texians, Company F, of Duke's reg- 
iment, and such of our battalion (Breckinridge's) as had seen 
service — many insufficiently armed and not well organized. We 
reached Bichmond on the morning of the 20th, and received in- 
formation that the Federals were moving from Manchester, via 
Booneville to Mt. Sterling, so as to strike the Ohio at Maysville. 
Morgan concentrated at Irvine on the 21st and moved toward 
Proctor, turned to the right, and, the head of his column was 
at Campton, Wolfe county. It became necessary to make a 
detour, and by rapid marches head them near Hazel Green. 
Colonel Ashby and General Stephenson were to press them in 
rear ; General Humphrey Marshall was to move to Mt. Ster- 
ling, and either stop their march or strike them in flank. Our 
part was merely to delay them until Stephenson or Marshall 

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could strike. The enemy beat us to Hazel Green ; another de- 
tour and night march and we headed them near West Liberty. 

" On the afternoon of the 26th, Morgan sent two companies 
under Captain Will Jones to strike the flank of the marching 
column. He knew that the column must be stretched out, for 
some miles ; that a yigorous attack would cause the halt of the 
leading command, so that the column might close ; this delay 
would help us. Jones attacked on foot, striking the rear-guard 
of the second advance brigade, and utterly surprising them ; 
killed several, captured some dozen prisoners, scattered a drove 
of cattle through the woods, and gave warning of our presence. 
Morgan and his staff and Major Breckinridge had ridden along 
to see Jones' fight, though Jones had complete command, and ia 
entitled to the credit 

" After this little brush was over, Morgan rode with some 
others, to the main road to get some information. Doctor Tom 
Allen had the wounded (all Federals) moved to a church near 
by, to dress their wounds. Morgan, Breckinridge, Alston, and 
others, rode a , few hundred yards forward to where a beautiful 
creek crossed the road, and beyond the creek was a short, steep^ 
wooded hill. With culpable carelessness the whole party stop^ 
ped to water the horses, and one or two dismounted, and kneel- 
ing upon rocks were drinking, when suddenly a regiment in line 
of battle, made its appearance upon the crest of the hill, not a 
hundred yards distant, and fired a full volley at us. Fortunately 
the hill was so steep they overshot us. Behind was a long 
lane with high fences and clearec^ fields on each side. Death or 
capture seemed inevitable. But with perfect coolness Morgan 
shouted. ' Tell Colonel Breckinridge to advance; Major Jones, 
open your guns.' The regiment fell back over the hill, and we 
in greater hurry evacuated those premises. The country being 
Union, it was very difficult to get reliable information, which 
General Morgan said must be had. 

*^ While we were talking we saw some mountaineers with guns 
approaching: Morgan said instantly, 'I'll pass for Colonel De 

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258 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Oourcey ' (a Federal Colonel about Morgan's size). When the 
men came up they asked who we were ; Alston said ' That 's 
Colonel De Courcey.' ' Why, the boys told us De Courcey's 
brigade was behind, and we were mighty glad to see you.' It 
had been raining, and we had on gum cloths, which assisted the 
^lan. Morgan asked, * Would n't you like to join us?' * Oh 
no,' answered one of the scoundrels, ^ We can do you more 

good at home, killing the d d secesh.' With a sweet ap- 

proYing smile, Morgan said, * Oh, have you killed many secesh ? ' 

I reckon we have. You 'd have laughed if you had seen us 
make Bill (I have forgotten the last name) kill his brother.' 
<What did you do it for?' * Why you see Bill went South, 
and we burned his house, and he deserted ; we arrested him, and 
said we were going to hang him as a spy : he said he 'd do any 
thing if we let him off, that his family would starve if we hung 
him. Last Wednesday we took him, and made him kill hig 
brother Jack. He didn't want to do it, but we told him we'd 
ikill them both if he did n't, and we made him do it.' 

*^ Morgan kept his face unchanged, and drew from these mur- 
derers full accounts of other crimes; and from one of them, 
who had watched our column, a pretty fair account of our own 
strength. They gave us all they knew of the Federal strength, 
of the politics of the citizens on the road, and of the roads and 
oountry. After getting from them all he wanted, he said, ' I 
am John Morgan, and I 'm going to have you hung.' Unfor- 
tunately, however, Qeneral Morgan's leniency, which always 
got the better of him when he^paused to think, induced him to 
spare them." 

The writer goes on — ^^ Upon the 27th, another skirmish, and 
captured a few prisoners ; the enemy evidently waiting for the 
column to close up. On the 28th, through the treachery of a 
guide, we were led into an ambush, out of which we extricated 
ourselves with small loss. Upon the 29th, Company A, Breck- 
inridge's battalion, and Company F, Duke's regiment, under 

Major Breckinridge, ambushed the enemy from the side of a 

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semicircular bluff, around which the road runs. The column 
came to within twenty yards of the line of ambush, and its head 
was nearly beyond the extreme flank of the two companies ; in 
advatice were seventeen cavalrymen, some sitting with their legs 
thrown over the pommels of the saddle, some eating pawpaws ; 
the insignia of rank upon their shoulders could be easily dis- 
tinguished. Suddenly over a hundred rifles belched forth death 
and fire — again their volley echoed through the mountains; 
when the smoke cleared away, the bead of the column had dis- 
appeared like a wave broken upon a rock, and before a line 
could be formed or a gun unlimbered, we were gone, and laughed 
as we marched to the music of their guns shelling the innocent 
woods over the mountain from us. 

"After thR they changed their tactics, and marched with a 
heavy line of skirmishers in front and upon both flanks. After 
shelling the woods for hours, we fought vigorously with the ax 
and torch, felling trees, barricading the road, destroying bridges, 
and making every barricade cost a skirmish and time, for with 
us time was every thing. The country was not fit for cavalry 
operations. The 30th passed away; the 1st of October was 
half gone. From the morning of the 26th to noon of the 1st, 
over five days, the Federals had marched not over thirty miles, 
less than six miles a day. We had done our work, but where 
was Marshall or Stephenson ? Since the morning of the 29th, 
we had been anxiously looking for news from them. Couriers 
had been constantly sent to both, and to. General Smith. We 
knew that the enemy were living on meat alone, for we, in their 
front, went without bread for over three days, living on fresh 
beef, without salt, half-ripo corn, and the luscious pawpaws. If 
Marshall or Stephenson had attacked, the army of the gap 
would hj^ve been prisoners. Whoever was to blame, let him be 
censured. Morgan, with raw recruits, badly armed, accomplished 
his part of the task. About noon, October 1st, Morgan received 
an order from General Smith to withdraw from George Morgan's 
front, not to attempt further to impede his progress, but rather 

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260 HISTORY OP morgan's cavalry. 

assist him to leave the State, and rejoin the mun army at Lex- 
ington, or wherever it might be" 

This writer tells well the story of the campaign in the moun- 
tains, and the reader can derive from it a vivid idea of what it 
was like. . Toward the latter part of the expedition, the bush- 
whackers became very troublesome, and wounded several men. 
Little Billy Peyton, the Colonel's orderly, once rode down on 
one of them and tried to scare him into surrender with an empty 
pistol. The fellow had two guns — he had just fired one at Pey- 
ton, and the other was loaded. He answered Peyton's demand 
to surrender with a shot from the latter. Throwing himself 
along his horse's side, Billy escaped being killed, but was 
slightly wounded. His chief regret, however, was that his as- 
sailant escaped. • 

On the afternoon of the 4th, Colonel Morgan reached Lex- 
ington. Before he got in, he became satisfied that an immediate 
evacuation was imminent, and he was induced to believe that 
the enemy were nearer than was actually the case. Anxious to 
get his command together again, and learning where I was, he, 
with characteristic promptitude, dispatched me a courier, bidding 
me keep a careful lookout, and if " cut off, come by way of 
Richmond and Lancaster." He knew that I would be mightily 
exercised by such a dispatch. I had heard nothing of the 
meditated evacuation of Lexington, and without waiting for 
orders from General Smith, I at once moved with my command, 
and marched all night. When I reached Lexington, I found 
that preparations were being made for its evacuation. I hoped, 
as did thousands of others, that it would be only a temporary 
one, and that we could return after a decisive victory, which 
should give us ^st possession of Kentucky. I mentioned this 
hope to Colonel Morgan, and I shall never forget his laugh, and 
the bitter sarcasm with which he spoke of the retreat, which he 
seemed to certainly expect. As he rapidly mentioned the in- 
dications which convinced him that we were going to give up 
the stakes without an effort to win them, my faith, too, gave 

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way, and my heart sank. He generously defended General 
Bragg, however, saying, that his course wag perfectly consistent, 
inasmuch as he had come into Kentucky to escape a fight, and 
was now about to go out for the same reason, and that, more- 
over, a commander-in-chief always did well to avoid battle, no 
matter what was the spirit of his troops, when he felt demoral- 
ized himself. 

On the 6th of October, Colonel Morgan left Lexington on the 
track of General Smith's infantry forces, with Cluke, Gano and 
the Second Kentucky. It was thought probable that the enemy 
would advance from the direction of Frankfort, and an engage- 
ment in the vicinity of Versailles, where a portion of General 
Smith's infantry were stationed, was anticipated. Morgan, 
whose entire force amounted to some fifteen hundred effective 
men, was ordered to take position between Yersailles and 
Frankfort, and attack the enemy if he made his appearance. 
The bulk of General Smith's command was eight or ten miles 
farther to the southwest, in the vicinity of Lawrcnceburg. 

Breckinridge's battalion had been detached on the 4th, and 
was ordered to report first to Buford, then to Wharton, and 
finally to Ashby. It was engaged in the skirmishing which the 
two latter officers successfully conducted with the enemy, on the 
road between Lawrenceburg and Harrodsburg, and Harrodsburg 
and Perryville, The movements of Buell had completely mysti- 
fied General Bragg, and the latter was not only reduced to the 
defensive, but to a state of mind pitiable in the extreme. He 
acted like a man whose nerves by some accident or disorder, 
had been crazed ; he was the victim of every rumor; he was al- 
ternately exhilarated and dejected. If the enemy dallied, or the 
distance between them happened to be increased, he became bold 
and confident ; when a collision was imminent, he could contem- 
plate nothing but defeat and disaster. Of that kind of fear 
which induces provision against dangers which are far in the 
future, he knew nothing, and he was equally as ignorant of the 
courage which kindles highest when the hour of final issue has 

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262 HISTORY OF morgan's cavalrt. 

arrived. General Bragg, had, as a subordinate, no superior in 
bravery — ^he hid, as a commander, no bravery at all. While I 
shall make no sort of comment upon General Bragg's character 
or his conduct, which I do not thoroughly believe to be correct, 
and just and warranted by the record and by the circumstances 
of that time and of this — ^I yet deem it my duty to candidly 
warn my readers to receive with due allowance every line writ- 
ten about Bragg by a Kentuckian. 

The wrongs he did Kentucky and Eentuckians, the malignity 
with which he bore down on his Kentucky troops, his hatred and 
bitter active antagonism to all prominent Kentucky officers, 
have made an abhorrence of him part of a Kentuckian's creed. 
There is no reason why any expression of natural feeling 
toward him should be now suppressed — ^he is not dead, nor a 
prisoner, nor an exile. 

General Bragg came to the western army with a most enviable 
reputation. He had already displayed those qualities as an 
organizer, a disciplinarian, and a military administrator, in 
which he was unrivaled. His dashing conduct at Shiloh, and 
the courage and ability (there exhibited in perfection), in which 
(as a corps commander), no man excelled him, had made him a 
great and universal favorite. The admirable method which 
(when second in command at Corinth, and really at the head of 
affairs), he introduced into all departments; the marvelous skill 
in discipline, with which he made of the '^ mob" at Corinth a 
splendidly ordered, formidable army, and his masterly evacuation 
of the place (totally deceiving Halleck in doing so), caused him 
to be regarded, almost universally, as the fit successor of Albert 
Sydney Johnston, and the coming man of the West. 

The plan of retiring altogether from Mississippi, and of sud- 
denly moving the army, by the Southern railroads, away around 
into Tennessee again — losing the slow, dull-scented Halleck — ^if 
conceived by a subordinate, was, at least, attributed to him. It 
was brilliant in itself, and was successfully executed. Men 
waited, in breathless interest, the consummation of such a career. 

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But right there he began to fail, and soon he gave way entirely. 
It i3 almost impossible now to realize that the Bragg of the 
spring and the Bragg of the autumn of 1862, are identical. 
When he reached Chattanooga, he showed for the fi^st time va- 
cillation and a disposition to delay. He crossed the river on the 
28th of August with twenty-five thousand infantry, beside artil- 
lery and cavalry. He moved over Waldron'a ridge, up the 
Sequatchy valley, through Sparta, into Kentucky, seeking to 
beat Buell to Munfordsville. The disposition of Buell's forces 
has already been given in a former chapter. His army, about 
forty or forty-five thousand strong, was scattered over a wid^ 
extent of territory, in small detachments (with the exception of 
the forces at Battle creek and at McMinnville — each about 
twelve or fourteen thousand strong. 

This disposition was rendered necessary by the difficulty of 
obtaining supplies — ^it was also requisite to a thorough garrison- 
ing of the country. Had General Bragg, as soon as he crossed 
the river, marched straight on Nashville, General Buell could 
%iot possibly have met him with more than twenty thousand men. 
General Buell did not issue orders for the concentration of his 
troops until the 30th of August, although preparations had been 
made for it before. This concentration was efiected at Mur- 
freesboro'. It then became apparent to him that General Bragg 
was pushing for central Kentucky, and it became necessary that 
Buell, to save his communication, should march into Kentucky 
also. General Bragg had the start and the short route, and 
reached Glasgow on the 13th of September ; then taking position 
on the main roads at Gave City, while BueU, with all the expi- 
dition he could use, had gotten only so far as Bowlinggreen, he 
cut the latter off from Louisville and the reinforcements await- 
ing him there. 

General Buell's army had been decreased by the detachment 
of a garrison for Nashville. After an unsuccessful attack (with 
the loss of two or three hundred men), by a small Confederate 
force upon Munfordsville — the garrison of that place, over four 

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264 HISTOBT OF moroak's cavalbt. 

thoasand strong, subsequently surrendered on the 17th. What 
now was to hinder General Bragg, holding the strong position of 
Munfordsville, from stopping Buell, calling Kirby Smith, with 
his whole force, to his assistance, and outnumbering, crush his 
adversary ? This question has been asked very often. How 
long would the raw troops at Louisville have withstood the attack 
of Bragg's veterans when their turn came? General Bragg 
discovered that the country was barren of supplies — that one 
of the richest, most fertile regions of Kentucky, could not 
support his army for a week, and he withdrew to Bardstown. 
Buell finding the road clear, marched on to Louisville. His im- 
mense wagon train, more than twenty miles long and the flank 
of his army were exposed, and with impunity by this movement. 

It was certainly not expecting too much of General Bragg, as 
oommander-in*chief of the Confederate forces in Kentucky, to 
expect that he would (after this was done) make up his mind 
whether he was going to fight or not, without farther delay. If 
he did not intend to fight, would it not have been wiser to have 
marched back on Nashville, while Buell was marching on Louis' 
ville, to have taken that place and to have established himself 
on the banks of the Cumberland with less of loss, fatigue, ^ud 
discontent among his troops, than existed when after his long, 
harassing, wearying marches through the mountains, he halted 
at Murfreesboro' much later? Kirby Smith could have re- 
mained in Kentucky long enough to collect and secure all the 
supplies — he had demonstrated that he could take care of him* 
self, and if he had been hard-pressed, he could have retreated 
more rapidly than any pursuer could follow. If General Bragg 
did intend to fight, why did he not concentrate his army and 
fight hard ? 

After Buell marched to Louisville (which he reached on the 
29th of September), Bragg took position at and about Bards- 
town. Our line, including General Smith's forces, may be de- 
scribed as running from Bardstown, on the extreme left, thriiugfe 
Frankfort and Lexington^ to Mount Sterling on the right flank. 

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It was an admirable one. However threatened on front or 
flanks, the troops could be marched to the threatened points, by 
excellent roads. The base at Bryantsville was perfectly secure 
— ^roads ran from it in every direction — and it was a place of 
immense natural strength. The fbrce available, for the defense 
of this line, was quite forty-nine thousand infantry. General 
Bragg's staff officers represent the force of infantry (which 
entered the State with General Bragg) to have been twenty-five 
thousand. General Smith's infantry forces (including Marshall) 
numbered twenty-four thousand [so estimated by General Smith 
himself]. There were perhaps one hundred and thirty pieces 
of artillery in all. The cavalry, all told, was about six thousand 
strong (including Morgan and Buford), making a grand total 
of about fifty-six thousand men. 

Buell moved out from Louisville on the Ist of October. His 
advance was made just as might have been anticipated, and as 
many had predicted. Not caring to involve his whole army in 
the rough Chaplin and Benson hills, he sent detachments toward 
Fritnkfort and Lawrenceburg, to guard against any movement 
on Louisville, and to distract Bragg's attention from his (Buell's) 
main design, and make him divide his army. In this latter in- 
tention he perfectly succeeded. The bulk of his army marched 
through Bardstown and Springfield to Perryville, to get in 
Bragg's rear and upon his line of retreat. The force sent to 
Frankfort, five or six thousand strong, under Dumont, broke up 
the inaugural ceremonies of the Provisional Government, which 
General Bragg, as if in mockery of the promises he had so 
lavishly and so confidently made to his own Government, and to 
the people of Kentucky, and of the hopes he had excited, had 
instituted. He made one of the first and best men of the State, 
a man of venerable years and character, held in universal re- 
spect for a long life of unblemished integrity, beloved for his 
kind, open, manly nature, and especially honored by the Southern 
people of Kentucky for his devotion to the cause — General 
Bragg made this old man, who had been unanimously indicated 

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as the proper man for Provisional Governor of Kentucky, tell 
the people, who crowded to listen to his inaugural address, that 
the State would bo held by the Confederate army, cost what it 
might. At the very time that General Bragg so deceived Gov. 
ernor Hawes, and made him unwillingly deceive his people, the 
Confederate army had already commenced to retreat. 

This force, which came to Frankfort, was the same which 
General Smith was prepared to fight at Versailles, its real 
strength not being at first known. A day or two afterward it 
came out upon the Versailles road, and was ambushed by Colo- 
nel John Scott, and driven back with smart loss. General 
Smith, hearing that the enemy were advancing in force to Law- 
renceburg, and that they had occupied that place with an ad- 
vance guard, ordered Buford to drive them out with his cavalry, 
and followed with his whole force. The establishment of the 
enemy at Lawrenceburg, and upon the road thence to Harrods- 
burg, would have completely cut off General Sjnith from General 
^^'^gg» The force advancing toward Lawrenceburg, was Sjll's 
division, perhaps six or seven thousand strong in effectives. 
This division had diverged from the main army at the same 
time with Dumont's. 

General Smith's forces were arranged at Lawrenceburg (which 
was not occupied by the enemy) and on the road thence to Har- 
rodsburg on the 6th. Sill's division fell back across Salt river 
and into the rugged Chaplin hills, pressed by a portion of Gen- 
eral Smith's infantry. Colonel Thomas Taylor's brigade in ad- 
vance. Several hundred prisoners were taken. The position 
of General Smith's forces was not materially changed during 
that day and the next, although they continued to draw nearer 
to Harrodsburg. The main body of the enemy had in the mean 
time concentrated its marching columns and moved to the vicinity 
of Perry ville, 58,000 strong, on the evening of the 7th, 

The detachments which advanced to Frankfort and toward 
Lawrenceburg, were not more than 12,000 strong in all. So 
rugged and difficult of passage is the country through which 

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these detachments had to pass, that a comparatively small force 
could have prevented their junction at Lawrenceburg and held 
both at bay, leaving the bulk of the Confederate army free to con- 
centrate at Perry ville. Even had their junction been permitted^ 
three thousand such cavalry as Bragg had at his disposal could 
have retarded their march to Harrodsburg for several days. 
They could not have forced their way along the road in less than 
two or three days, and as many would have been required to 
make a detour and join Buell. In that time the battle of Per- 
ry ville could have been decided. But so completely was General 
Bragg in the dark about Buell's movements that, when he first 
heard of the advance from Louisville, he supposed it was a move- 
ment of the whole Federal army upon Frankfort, and he ordered 
General Polk " to move from Bardstown, by way of Bloomfieldt 
toward Frankfort, to strike the enemy in flank and rear," while 
General Smith should take him in front. This order was evi- 
dently issued under an unaccountable and entire misapprehen- 
sion of the true state of affairs, but showed a nerve and purpose 
which promised well. General Bragg must certainly, when he 
issued it, have supposed that General Buell's whole army was 
coming from that direction. How strange is it that a com- 
mander who could thus resolve to fight his foes, when he believed 
them to be united, should fear to encounter them separately. 
Whatever may be the verdict upon General Polk's disobedience 
of orders, whether it was one of those cases in which a subordi- 
nate can rightfully exercise this discretion or not, the fact of 
General Bragg' s incompetency looms up in unmistakable pro- 

The most remarkable feature of General Bragg's conduct was 
this strange, unexampled vacillation. There was perhaps never 
afforded such an instance of perfect infirmity and flickleness of 
purpose. He had, there can be little doubt, resolved to retreat 
without delivering battle before the 1st of October. He never- 
theless sought to fight at Frankfort (as has been seen) a few 
days afterward. Again, immediately afterward, he did his best 

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to avoid battle when it could have been delivered (as all but 
himself thought) under far more favorable circumstances. No 
one now doubts, I presume, that General Bragg fought at Per- 
ryville with a fragment of his army, not to win a victory, but to 
check the enemy and cover his retreat. 

After General Polk moved to Perryville, General Bragg, of 
course, learned of the advance of the enemy in that direction, 
and must have known that it was in strong column, or he would 
not have permitted sixteen thousand troops to collect there to. 
oppose it. He was still in error regarding the other movements, 
and left the larger part of his army to confront the forces man» 
euvering about Lawrenceburg^ and Fraiikfort. One glance at 
the map will show the reader that, if the enemy was really ad- 
vancing in heavy columns by these different routes, it was clearly 
General Bragg's best policy to have struck and crushed (if he 
could) that body threatening him from the south. If he crushed 
that his line of retreat would be safe, and he could have fought 
the other at his leisure, or not at all, as he chose. He could 
have fought (if it had continued to advance) at Bryantsville, or 
gone after and attacked it If, on the contrary, he had concen- 
trated to fight at Frankfort or Lawrenceburg, defeat, with this 
other force on his line of retreat, would have been ruinous. 
Even complete and decisive victory would have left him still in 
danger, haying still another army to defeat or drive away. He 
would have been, in either case, between his foes, preventing 
their junction, and in a situation to strike them in succession ; 
but in the one case his rear was safe, and in the other it was 

With the true trimming instinct, he elected to take a middle 
course ; he divided his army, and sought to meet both dangerg 
at the same time. Is it saying too much that he was saved 
from utter destruction by the heroic courage, against vast odds, 
of that fragment of his army which fought at Perryville? It is 
the popular idea that a commander is out-generaled when he is 
deceived. Military phraseology can mystify the popular mind, 

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bat it can not eradicate from it this idea. Buell certainly de- 
ceived Braggy and by sending detachments^ numbering in all 
not more than twelve thousand, through a country from which a 
mere handful of men could have prevented them from debouch- 
ing, he kept thixtjUiLauflai^d men, the bulk of General Bragg's 
army, idle, and rendered them useless until the game was de- 

After the battle of Perry ville (where he certainly got the bet- 
ter of the forces opposed to him — an earnest of what might 
have been done if the whole army had been concentrated — and 
after an accurate knowledge had been obtained, of how Sill's 
and Dumont's detachments had deceived him into the belief 
' that they were the whole Federal army — General Bragg had his 
entire army concentrated at Harrodsburg, The two armies then 
fairly confronted each other, neither had any strategic experi- 
ments to fear, on flank or rear, for Sill's division was making a 
wide and prudent circuit to get to Buell, and I)unionl.wa£L£tikr 
tionary at Frankfort. It would have been a fair, square, stand 
up fight. It is, now, well knbwn that there was not the dispar- 
ity in numbers which General Bragg and his friends claimed to 
have existed. There was less numerical inequality, between the 
armies, than there has been on many battle-fields — where the 
Confederate arms have been indisputably victorious. Buell's 
strength was less than at any other period of the eig}it_or_tei| 
days that a battle was imminent. Sill had not gotten up — the 
Federal army was fifty-eight thousand strong — minus the four 
thousand killed and wounded at Perryville, and the stragglers. 
Buell had in his army, regiments and brigades, of raw troops, 
thirty-three thousand in all. Bragg had not more than five 
thousand; most of them distributed among veteran regiments. 
There were no full regiments, nor even full companies of re- 
cruits in Bragg's army, except in the Kentucky cavalry com- 
mands. The two armies faced each other, not more than three 
miles apart. The belief was almost universal, in each army, 
that next morning we would fight. The troops thought so, and. 

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270 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

despite the pouring rain, and their uncomfortable bivouacs, were 
in high and exultant spirits. I know, for I saw them late in 
the night, that some oflScers of high rank confidently looked for 
battle, and were cheerful, and sanguine of victory. 

What General Bragg really intended to do that night — perhaps 
he himself only knows — and it is quite as probable that even he 
does not know. He retreated on the next morning to Bryanta- 
ville. There was no undignified haste about thiiS movement — 
the troops moved off deliberately, and in such order, that they 
could have been thrown quickly, if it had become necessary, 
into line of battle. Greneral Bragg manifested no great anxiety 
to get away from the vicinity of his enemy, and Buell certainly 
manifested no strong desire to detain him. 

On the next day (the 12th), the army remained at Bryan ts- 
ville, and took up its march for Lancaster about ten o'clock of 
that night It reached Lancaster on the morning of the 13th, 
and divided. General Smith going to Richmond, and over the 
Big hill, to Cumberland Gap, General Bragg with the troops 
which had come into Kentucky, under his immediate command, 
passing through Crab Orchard. 

It was hoped, and thought probable, that Buell would over- 
take and force Bragg to fight at Crab Orchard. He did, indeed, 
come very near doing so. Sending one division to Lancaster, 
he moved with the bulk of his army toward Crab Orchard. He 
failed, however, to intercept Bragg, and the latter moved on out 
^of Kentucky. 

Thus ended a campaign from which so much was expected, 
and which, had it been successful, would have incalculably ben- 
efited the Confederate cause. Able writers have exerted all 
their skill in apologies for this campaign, but time has developed 
into a certainty, that opinion then instinctively held by so many, 
that with the failure to hold Kentucky, our best and last chance 
to win the war was thrown away. 

Let the historian recall the situation, and reflect upon the in- 
fluences which in the, then, condition of affairs were likely to 

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control the doBtinies at stake, and he will declare, that with this 
retreat the pall fell upon the fortan£s of the Confederacy. 

All the sabsequent tremendous struggle, was but the dying 
agony of a great cause, and a gallant people. At that period 
the veteran Federal army of the West was numerically much 
inferior to what it ever was again ; and even after the accession 
of the recruits hastily collected at Louisville, it was much less 
formidable than it subsequently became. 

The Confederate army was composed of the veterans of 
Shiloh, and the soldiers formed in the ordeal of Corinth. It 
was as nearly equal to the Federal army, in numerical strength, 
as there was any chance of it ever being, and the character of 
its material more than made up for any inequality in this re- 
spect. No man, who- saw it in Kentucky, will doubt that it 
would have fought up to its full capacity. Never was there a 
more fiery ardor, a more intense resolution pervading an 
army, than that one felt, when expecting a battle which should 
decide whether they were to hold Kentucky, or march back 
again, carrying the war once more with them to their homes and 
firesides. Not even on the first day of Shiloh, when it seeme<l 
that they could have charged the rooted hills from their bases, 
were those troops in a temper to make so desperate a fight. 
But a doting ^olus held the keys which confined the storm. It 
will be difficult for any one who will carefully study the history 
of this period, to avoid the conclusion that it was the crisis of 
the war. First let the military situation be considered. While 
at almost every point of subordinate importance the Confede- 
rates were holding their own, they were at those points, where 
the war assumed its grand proportions, and the issue was vital, 
carrying every thing before them. 

The Confederate Government had at length adopted the policy 
of massing its troops, and the effect was instantly seen. In 
Virginia, General Lee's onset was irresistible. His army burst 
from the entrenchments around Richmond, like the lava from 
the volcano, and the host of McClellan, shrank withered, from 

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272 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY, 

its path. Driving McOlellan to his new base, and leaving him 
to make explanations to his soldiery, " Uncle Robert " fell 
headlong upon Pope, and Pope boasted no more. Forcing the 
immense Federal masses disintegrated and demoralized back to 
Washington, General Lee crossed the Potomac and pushed into 
Maryland. Jackson took Harper's Ferry, while General Lee 
fought the battle of Antietam with forty thousand men, and 
again crippled McClellan. 

Although the Confederate army recrossed the Potomac on the 
18th of September, McClellan did not follow, but remained in- 
active and by no means certain (as his dispatches show) that his 
great adversary would not return to attack him. It was nol 
until late in October, that the Federal army again advanced, and 
its march was then slow and irresolute. It will be Seen then, 
that on the 17th, the day on which Bragg took Mun fords villa, 
General Lee was fighting in Maryland. Ought not General 
Bragg to have risked a battle (with his superior force) in Ken- 
tucky, which (if successful), would have ruined the army op- 
posed to him and have laid the whole Northwest open to him, 
unless McCh^Uan had furnished the troops to oppose him, and 
have placed himself at the mercy of Leo ? 

General Bragg did not (of course) know, on the 17th of Sep- 
tember, 1862, that the battle of Antietam was being fought, but 
he knew that General Lee had achieved great successes, and 
that he was marching into Maryland. Again, what efiect are 
we at liberty to suppose that a decisive victory won by General 
Bragg, at Perryville, on the 6th of October, would have had 
upon the general result. General Buell, pressed by Bragg's 
entire army, would have had some trouble to cross the Ohio 
river, after reaching Louisville ; and the defense of the Western 
States would have been then intrusted with many misgivings to 
hJb shattered army. And yet the West would have been left 
with no other defense, unless the army of the Potomac had (in 
the event of such a necessity) been weakened and endangered, 
that reinforcements might go to Buell. It may be said that all 

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this is hypothetical. Of course it is. But what General ever 
yet inaugurated and conducted a campaign, or planned and 
fought a battle, and banished such hypotheses altogether from 
his calculations ? Why then should they be forbidden in the 
criticism of campaigns and battles ? It is not infallibly certain 
that General Bragg could have defeated Buell. Nothing is 
positively certain in a military sense, not even the impregna- 
bility of a work built by a West Pointer, and pronounced so by 
a committee of his classmates. War is a game of various and 
varying chances. What I mean to urge, is, that General Bragg 
should, under all the circumstances, have, by all the rules of the 
game, risked the chances of a battle. But if there were strong 
military reasons why an effort should have been made to accom- 
plish decisive results in this campaign, there were other and 
oven stronger reasons for it, to be found in the political condi- 
tion, North and South. The Confederacy, alarmed by the re- 
verses of the winter and spring, had just put forth tremendous 
and almost incredible efforts. The South had done all that she 
could be made to do by the stimulus of fear. Increased, aye, 
even sustained exertion could have been elicited from her peo- 
ple, only by the intoxication of unwonted and dazzling success. 
No additional inducement could have been offered to the sol- 
diers, whom pride and patriotism had sent into the field, to re- 
main with their colors, but the attraction of brilliant victories 
and popular campaigns. No incentive could have lured into the 
ranks the young men who had evaded the conscription and held 
out against the sentiment of their people, but the prospect of a 
speedy and successful termination of the war. But there are 
few among those who were acquainted with the people of Ten- 
nessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, and their temper at that time, 
who will not agree with me, that a great victory in Kentucky, 
and the prospect of holding the State, perhaps of crossing the 
Ohio, would have brought to Bragg's army more Tennesseans, 
Alabamians and Mississippians, than were ever gotten into the 
Confederate service, during the remaining two years and a 

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274 HISTOBY OF morgan's CAVAIiRY* 

half of the war. Such a victory would have undoubtedly added 
more than twenty thousand Kentuckians to the army, for accu- 
rate computation has been made of that many who were ready 
to enlist, as soon as Bragg had won his fight. Five thousand 
did enlist while it was still uncertain whether the Confederate 
army would remain in the State. It is not perfectly certain 
that more than five thousand volunteers were ever obtained, in 
the same length of time, in any seceded State. All of these 
men, too, followed the army away from Kentucky. Some of 
General Bragg's friends have assigned, as one reason, why he 
left Kentucky without an effort to hold her, that he was disap- 
pointed in not receiving more recruits from the State. It is 
highly probable that such was the case. If an able General 
had marched into his enemy's territory, depending upon fight- 
ing an early and hardly contested battle against a veteran 
army, with the assistance of recruits just obtained, and whom 
he could not have yet armed, his friends would have concealed 
(if possible) his design, or if unable to do so, would have con- 
fessed it a weakness unworthy of their chief, for which they 
blushed. But it is not difficult to believe that General Bragg 
entertained just such a plan.. The Kentuckians had not the 
confidence in the ultimate success of the Confederate cause, to 
' induce them to enlist in the Confederate service, risking every 
thing, immediately sacrificing much, as they did so, when they 
saw a magnificent Confederate army decline battle with a Federal 
force, certainly not its superior. General Bragg was not only a 
very shrewd judge of human nature, but even he might have 
known that the irresolution and timidity he showed from the 
first day he put foot in Kentucky, was not the way to inspire 
confidence in any people — it certainly was the worst method he 
could have adopted to win the people of Kentucky. 

And now, to consider the effect which such a Confederate 
success would have in the North : I do not allude to the effect 
it would have had upon the wishes and plans of President and 
Cabinet, upon the views of the Congress, nor upon the arrange- 

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ments of politicians and the patch work of their conventions, 
but to the direction it might have given the popular mind and 
the popular feeling. Men who were then serving in the Con- 
federate army, know little, of course, of the temper of the 
Northern people, at that time, but many were impressed with 
the idea, then, strengthened by conversation with Northern men 
since, that, if ever the Northern people doubted of subjugating 
the South, it was at that period. 

Immense efforts had been made, immense sums had been ex- 
pended, immense armies had been sent against them, and still 
the Southern people were unconquered, defiant, and apparently 
stronger than ever. Would it have been possible to strengthen 
this doubt into a conviction that the attempt to subdue the 
Southern people was hopeless, and the war had better be stopped? 
Volunteering was no longer fiUing the Federal armies. Now, 
if the Confederate arms had been incontestably triumphant from 
the Potomac to the Ohio, if Northern territory had been in turn 
threatened with general invasion, and if the option of continuing 
a war, thus going against them, or making peace, had been sub- 
mitted at the critical moment to the Northern people, how would 
they have decided? Would they have encouraged their Gov- 
ernment to draft them — or would they have forced the Govern- 
ment to make peace ? The matter was, at any rate, suflSciently 
doubtful to niake it worth while to try the experiment. When 
that scare passed off, it is the firm conviction of more than one 
man who " saw the war out " that the last chance of Confederate 
independence passed away. 

Tho Northern people then learned, for the first time, their 
real strength ; they found that bounties, and the draft, and the 
freedmen, and importations from the recruiting markets of the 
whole world, would keep their armies full, and nothing could 
have made them despond again. The war then became merely 
' a comparison of national resources. Something was undoubtedly 
gained by the march into Kentucky, but how little in compari- 
son with the golden opportunity which was thrown away. Had 

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276 BISTORT OF morgan's oayalrt. 

the combatants been equally matched, the result of this cam- 
paign might have been a matter for congratuation ; but when 
the Confederacy was compelled, in order to cope with its for- 
midable antagonist, to deal mortal blows in every encounter, or 
come out of each one the loser, the prisoners, artillery, and 
small arms taken, the recovery of Cumberland Gap and a por- 
tion of Tennessee, and the supplies secured for the army, 
scarcely repaid for the loss of prestige to Confederate general- 
ship, and the renewal of confidence in the war party of the 

When Bragg moved out of Kentucky, he left behind him, un- 
crippled, a Federal army which soon (having become more for- 
midable than ever before) bore down upon him in Tennessee. 
The inquest of history will cause a verdict to be rendered, that 
-^A^ Confederacy " came to its death " from too much technical 
science. It is singular, too, that the maxims which were al- 
ways on the lips of the military savants^ were often neglected 
hj themselves and applied by the unlettered "irregulars." The 
academic magnates declared in sonorous phrase that struck ad- 
miration into the very popular marrow, the propriety of a Gen- 
eral "marching by interior lines, and striking the fragments of 
his enemy's forces with the masses of his own ;" while Forrest^ 
perhaps, after doing that very thing, would make it appear a 
very ordinary performance, by describing it as " taking the short 
cut, and getting there first with the most men." 

It was a great misfortune to the Confederacy, too, that Fabius 
ever lived, or, at least, that his strategy ever became famous. 
Every Confederate General who retreated, when he might have 
fought successfully, and who failed to improve an opportunity 
to punish the enemy, had only to compare his policy to that of 
Fabius, and criticism was silenced. Perhaps, if history had 
preserved the reports of Hannibal, the " Fabian policy " would 
not have become so reputable. At any rate, it is safe to as- 
sume that, had Rome been situated on the same side of the 
Mediterranean as Carthage, and had she been a seceded state^ 

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inferior in wealth, numbers, and resources, which the latter was 
trying to " coerce," Fabius would have been a most injudicious 
selection as commander-in-chief. Historians are agreed, I be- 
lieve, that if the advice of this classic ^^ Micawber," to the con- 
suls Livius and Nero, had been followed by them, the battle of 
" The Metaurus" would not have been fought, the two sons of the 
"Thunder-bolt" would have effected their junction, and would, 
in all probability, have forced the legions to another and final 
** change of base." 

This campaign demonstrated conclusively the immense im- 
portance to the Confederacy of the possession of East Ten- 
nessee, and the strategic advantage (especially for offenso-de- 
fensive operations) which that vast natural fortress afforded us. 
While that region was firmly in the Confederate grasp, one half 
of the South was safe, and the conquests of the Federal armies 
of the rest were insecure. It is apparent at a glance that so 
long as we held it, communication between the armies of North- 
em Virginia and of Tennessee would be rapid and direct ; co- 
operation, therefore, between them would be secure whenever 
necessary. While these two armies could thus practically be 
handled almost as if they were one and the same, communication 
between the Federal army of the Potomac and that of the Ohio 
was circuitous, dilatory, and public. No advance of the enemy 
through Tennessee into Georgia or Alabama could permanently 
endanger the integrity of the Confederate territory, while the 
flank and rear of his army was constantly exposed to sudden 
attack by formidable forces poured upon it from this citadel of 
the Confederacy. 

Not only would the safety of invading armies be compromised, 
and their communications (even if confined to the Tennessee 
rivers), be liable at any time to be destroyed, but a sudden irrup- 
tion from East Tennessee might (unless an army was always 
ready to meet it), place the most fertile portions of Kentucky, 
perhaps, even a portion of the territory of Ohio, in the hands of 
the Confederates. The success clearly attending the Con- 

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278 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

federate strategy in the first part of this campaign, would seem, 
too, to establish the fact, that, until the concentration for decisive 
battle becomes necessary, an army may (under certain circum* 
stances), be moved in two or more columns, upon lines entirely 
independent of each other, and even widely apart, but which lead 
to a common goal — ^and its operations will be more efficient — 
than if it be marched en maaae^ by one route. 

The advantages to be derived from such a disposition (as re- 
gards freedom, and rapidity of movement, and facility of obtain- 
ing supplies), are at once apparent, but certain strategic 
advantages besides, may, in some cases, be thus secured. To 
attempt it, in moving against a strong enemy, already posted at 
the objective point, would be to give him the opportunity of at- 
tacking and crushing the columns separately. But when, as 
was the case in this campaign of General Bragg, two armies 
make a race for the occupation of a certain territory which is 
to be fought for, the army which is divided, while on the march, 
if the columns are all kept on the same flank of the enemy, can 
be worked most actively and as safely. More can be accom- 
plished by such a disposition of forces, in the partial engage- 
ments and lighter work of the campaign, and the morale of the 
troops will be all the better when the detachments are again 
combined. Such campaigns might be made more frequently 
than they are, and with success. 

When the army was concentrated at Harrodsburg, on the 
night of the lOth of October, Colonel Morgan was ordered to 
take position about six miles from the town, on the Danville 
pike, and picket the extreme left flank. Desirous of ascertain- 
ing what was before him — as he could see the camp-fires of the 
enemy stretching in a great semi-circle, in front of Harrodsburg 
— Colonel Morgan during the night, sent Captain Cassell to rccon- 
noiter the ground in his front. The night was rainy and very 
dark. The position of both armies, of the main body of each, 
at least, was distinctly marked by the long lines of fires which 
glared through the gloom, but we had not lighted fires, and 

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Morgan thought that any body of the enemy which might be i 

confronting him, and detailed upon similar duty, would exercise | 

the same prudence. Cassell returned about daylight, and reported i 

that he had discovered, exactly in front of our position, and 
about a mile and a quarter from it, a small body of cavalry on i 

picket, and a few hundred yards to their rear, a force of j 

infantry, perhaps of one regiment. He stated positively, also, 
that one piece of artillery had passed along a narrow lane, which 
connected the point where the cavalry was stationed with the 
position of the infantry. The intense darkness prevented his 
seeing the tracks made by the wheels, but he had satisfied him- 
self, by feeling, that, from the width of the tire, and the depth 
to which the wheels had sunk into the soft earth, they could 
only have been made by artillery. This report was verified on 
the next day, in every particular. 

Colonel Morgan, at an early hour, attacked the cavalry, with 
a portion of his command, drove them back to the point indi- 
cated by Captain Cassell, as that one where he had seen the 
infantry, and sure enough, as he rode down upon it, he received 
a volley from a regiment of infantry posted behind a stone fence, 
and was opened upon by a single piece of artillery. The perfect 
accuracy with which Captain Cassell, under circuilistances pecu- 
liarly unfavorable, noted every detail of the enemy's strength, 
position, etc., elicited the admiration of all of his comrades, 
and among them, were perhaps, as shrewd, practiced, and daring 
scouts as ever lived. 

About 1 or 2 p. M., learning that General Bragg was falling 
back to Bryantsville, Colonel Morgan sent pickets to Ilarrods- 
burg ; these soon sent word that the enemy had entered that 
place. About the same time our scouts brought us informatiou 
that the enemy were in Danville also — about four miles from 
our position. Having an enemy, now, upon three sides of him, 
and finding that General Bragg's rear was unmolested, Colonel 
Morgan concluded, in the absence of instructions to fiill bnck 
also. He accordingly struck across the country to Shakertown, . 

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reaching that place, about 4 p. H. Colonel Morgan had always '• 
respected the peaceful and hospitable " Shakers/' and had af- | 
forded them, whenever it became necessary, protection, strictly 
forbidding all members of his command to trespass upon them 
in any way. We were consequently great favorites in Shaker- 
town, and on this occasion derived great benefit from the per- 
fect rectitude of conduct which we had always observed — ^^ in 
that part of the country." The entire community resolved it- 
self into a culinary committee, and cooked the most magnifi- 
cent meal for the command.. It was with deep regret that we 
tore ourselves away on the next morning. 

Colonel Morgan received orders, on the 12th, to proceed to 
Nicholasville and remain there until the next day. On the 13th 
we follow the army and reached Lancaster about mid-day. In 
the afternoon th^ enemy, with whom General Wheeler had been 
skirmishing all day, advanced upon Lancaster, and opened upon 
the troops, collected about the place, with artillery. A little 
sharpshooting was also done upon both sides. Two guns be- 
longing to Rain's brigade of infantry, which was General Smith's 
rear-guard, were brought back and replied to the enemy's fire. 
One man of this section killed, was the only loss sustained upon 
our side. The cannonading was kept up until dark. We held 
the town during the night. Only one division of Buell's army 
{fis has already been stated), was sent to Lancaster. 

On the morning of the 14th, we moved slowly away from 
Lancaster, our command forming (with Colonel Ashby's) the ex- 
treme rear-guard of General Smith's corps. We were not at 
all pressed by the enemy, and on the 15th halted at Gum Springs 
twenty-five miles from Richmond. Colonel Morgan obtained 
permission from General Smith to select his own •' line of re- 
treat from Kentucky, with the understanding, however, that he 
should protect the rear of the infantry uutil all danger was 
manifestly over. He represented to General Smith that he could 
feed his men and horses, and have them in good condition at the 
end of the retreat, by taking a different route from that pursued 

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by the army, which would consume every thing. He explained, 
moreover, how in the route he proposed to take, he would cross 
Buell's rear, taking prisoners, capturing trains, and seriously 
annoying the enemy, and that establishing himself in the vicin- 
ity of Gallatin again, he could, before he was driven away, so 
tear up the railroad, once more, as to greatly retard the concen- 
tration of the Federal army at Nashville. It was perfectly ap- 
parent to General Smith, that all this could be done, and that, 
when Morgen reached the portion of Tennessee which he indi- 
cated, he would be in exactly the proper position to guard one 
flank of the line, which Bragg's army would probably establish. 
He accorded him, therefore, the desired permission, and on the 
17th, when the infantry had gotten beyond Big Hill and were 
more than thirty miles from an enemy, Colonel Morgan turned 
over to Colonel Ashby the care of "the rear" and prepared to 
leave Kentucky in his own way. Colonel Ashby had proven 
himself competent to the successful discharge of even more 
important duty. 

Colonel Morgan's force consisted at this time, counting troops 
actually with him, of the Second Kentucky (with the exception 
of one company), Gano's regiment (the Third Kentucky), and 
Breckinridge's battalion which had rejoined us at Lancaster — 
in all about eighteen hundred men. Cluke's and Chenault'a 
regiments had gone with General Smith. The time and situa- 
tion were both propitious to such an expedition as he con tern- I 
plated. No such dash was looked for by the enemy who ' be- I 
lieved that every Confederate was anxious to get away as rap- | 
idly as possible by the shortest route. The interior of Ken- 
tucky and the route Morgan proposed to take were clear of 
Federal troops, excepting detachments not strong enough or 
sufficiently enterprising to give him much cause for apprehen- 

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282 HISTORY OP morgan's cavalry. 





/ On the 17th of October, Colonel Morgan inarched from Gum 
/ Springs in the direction of Lexington. The command was pnt 
/ in motion about 1 P. M. Gano and Breckinridge were sent to 
/ the Richmond pike, by which it was intended that they should 
/ approach the town, and full instructions regarding the time and 
/ manner of attack, were given them. Information had been re- 
\ ceived that a body of Federal cavalry had occupied Lexington 

a day or two previously, and Lieutenant Tom Quirk had beoa 
sent to ascertain some thing about them ; he returned on the 
evening of the 17th, bringing accurate information of the 
strength and position of the enemy. Colonel Morgan accompa- 
nied my regiment (the Second Kentucky), which crossed the 
river below Clay's ferry, and moved by country roads toward 

The immediate region was not familiar to any man in the 
regiment, nor to Morgan himself, and, as it was strongly 
Union, some difficulty was at first anticipated about getting 
guides or information regarding the routes. This was obviated 
by Colonel Morgan's address. It was quite dark by the time 
the column was fairly across the river, and he rode to the nearest 
house, where, representing himself as Colonel Frank Woolford, 
of the Federal service, a great favorite in that neigborhood, he 
expressed his wish to procure a guide to Lexington. The man 
of the house declared his joy at seeing Colonel Woolford, and 
expressed his perfect willingness to act as guide himself. His 
loyal spirit was warmly applauded, and his oflfer cordially 
accepted. Under his guidance we threaded the country safely^ 
and reached the Tates-creek pike, at a point about ten miles 
from Lexington, a little after mid-night. About two o'clock we had 

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gotten Tvlthin three miles of the town, and were not much more 
than a mile from the enemy's encampment. We halted hero, for, 
in accordance with the plan previously arranged, a simultaneous 
attack was to be made just at day-light, and Gano and Breckin- 
ridge had been instructed to that effect. 

The guide, now, for the first time, learned the mistake 
under which he had been laboring, and his amazement was only 
equaled by his horror. All during the night he had been say- 
ing many hard things (to Woolford as he thought), about Mor- 
gan, at which the so-called Woolford had seemed greatly 
amused, and had encouraged him to indulge himself in that Avay. 
All at once, the merry, good-humored " Woolford " turned out 
to be Morgan, and Morgan, seemed for a few moments, to be in 
a temper which made the guide's flesh creep. He expected to 
be shot, and scalped perhaps, without delay. Soon finding, 
however, that he was not going to be hurt, he grew bolder, and 
actually assumed the offensive. "General Morgan," he said, "I 
hope you wont take ray horse under the circumstances, although 
I did make this here little mistake ?" He was turned loose, 
horse and all, after having been strongly advised to be careful 
in future how he confided in soldiers. 

The force encamped near Lexington, which we were about to 
attack, was the Fourth Ohio cavalry — our old friends. The main 
body was at Ashland, about two miles from the town, encamped 
in the eastern extremity of the woods, in which the Clay mansion 
stands, on the southern side of the Richmond pike. One or two 
companies were in town, quartered at the court-house. As day- 
light approached, I put my regiment in motion again, detaching 
two companies to enter the town, under command of Captain 
Cassell, and capture the provost-guard, and to also picket the 
road toward Paris. Two other companies, under Captain Bowles, 
were sent to take position on the Kichmond pike, at a point be- 
tween the town and the camp, and about equidistant from them. 
This detachment was intended to intercept the enemy if they 
attempted to retreat from Ashland to the town before we could 

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284 BISTORT OF morgan's oavalrt. 

surround the encampment, also to maintain communication be- 
tween the detachment sent into town and the bulk of the regi* 
ment, in the event of our having to engage other forces than 
those we had bargained for. 

Quirk had furnished very full and positive information, as has 
already been mentioned, but he had also stated that the Federal 
General Granger was at Paris (eighteen miles from Lexington) 
and it was not impossible that he might have been marching to 
Lexington within the past fifteen hours. Colonel Morgan 
instructed me to move with the remainder of my regiment, upon 
the enemy's encampment. Just as we entered the woods, and 
were within some five hundred yards of the enemy, a smart 
firing was heard upon the Richmond pike. It turned out to be a 
volley let off at a picket, whom Gano had failed to capture, and 
who ran into the camp. We thought, however, that the fight 
had begun, and instantly advanced at a gallop. In accordance 
with the plan previously arranged, Breckinridge was to attack 
on foot, and Gano was to support him^ mounted, keeping his 
column on the pike. Breckinridge was in line and advancing 
(when this firing occurred), directly upon the enemy's front, and 
he opened fire just as my men formed in column of platoonS) 
came charging upon the rear. I was upon elavated ground, 
about one hundred yards from the enemy's position on one side; 
Breckinridge was about the same distance off on the other side, 
and the enemy were in a slight depression between us. Conse- 
quently. I got the benefit of Breckinridge's fire — in great part 
at least. I saw a great cloud of white smoke suddenly puff out 
and rise like a wall pierced by flashes of flame, and the next 
instant the balls came whizzing through my column, fortunately 
killing no one. This volley settled the enemy and repulsed me! 

Not caring to fight both Yankees and Rebels, I wheeled and 
took position further back, contenting myself with catching the 
stragglers who sought to escape. Breckinridge, however, did 
not enjoy his double triumph long. The howitzers had been 
sent to take position on the right of the enemy — to be used 

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oaly in case of a stubborn resistance ; they happened, on that 
occasion, to be under command of Sergeant, afterward First 
Lieutenant Corbett, a capital officer, but one constitutionally 
unable to avoid taking part in every fight that he was in hearing 
,of. About the time that Breckinridge's men were taking victo- 
rious possession of the encampment, Gorbett opened upon it, 
and shelled them away. The chapter of accidents wa^ not yet 
concluded. While my regiment was watching a lot of prisoners, 
and was drawn up in line parallel to the pike, the men sitting 
carelessly on their horses, it was suddenly and unaccountably 
fired into by Gano's, which moved down and confronted it. 
Again, and this time almost miraculously, we escaped without loss. 
Unfortunately, however, one prisoner was shot. Colonel Mor- 
gan rushed in front of the prisoners, and narrowly escaped being 
killed in trying to stop the firing. His coat was pierced by sev- 
eral balls. 

The Second Kentucky began to think that their friends were 
tired of them, and were plotting to put. them out of the way. 
Gano's men stated, however, that shots were first fired at them 
from some quarter. My Adjutant, Captain Pat Thorpe, as gal- 
lant a man as ever breathed, came to me after this affair was 
over, with a serious complaint against Gano. Thorpe always 
dressed with some taste, and great brilliancy, and on this occa- 
sion ho was wearing a beautiful Zouave jacket, thickly studded, 
upon the sleeves, with red coral buttons. He justly believed 
that every man in the brigade was well acquainted with that 
jacket. He stated with considerable heat that, while he was 
standing in front of the regiment calling, gesticulating, and 
trying in every way to stop the firing, Colonel Gano, " an of- 
ficer for whom he entertained the most profound respect and 
the warmest friendship," had deliberately shot twice at him. I 
bade him not to think hard of it — that it was barely light at the 
time, and that, of course, Gano did not know him. ^' Ah, Col- 
onel," he answered, " I held up my arms full in his sight, and 
although he might not have recogniased my face, he couldn't 

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286 t HisTOKY OP morgan's cavalry. 

have failed to know these buttons." Jlist before this occurred. 
Major Wash Morgan was mortally wounded by the last shot fired 
by the enemy. The man who hit him, was galloping toward 
town, and fired When within a few paces of him. This man was 
killed by one of the Second Kentucky, immediately afterward. 
All of the enemy who made their escape from the camp were 
intercepted by Bowles. The provost-guard made some show of 
fight, but were soon induced to surrender. Our force was too 
superior, and our attack, on all sides, too sudden, for much re- 
sistance to be offered, either at the camp or in the town. Be- 
tween five and six hundred prisoners were taken, very few were 
killed or wounded. The most • valuable capture was of army 
Colt's pistols, of which a large supply was obtained. Our horses 
were so much better than those which were captured, that few 
of the latter were carried off. Such of the men who had not 
good saddles, and blankets, provided themselves with both, in 
the camp. 

Lexington was thrown by this affair into a state of extreme 
excitement and equal bewilderment; no one could exactly un- 
derstand what it meant. The Union people feared, and our 
people hoped that it portended the return of the Confederate 
army. There lived (and still lives) in Lexington, an old gen- 
tleman, who was Union and loyal in his politics, but who, to 
use his own expression, "never saw any use in quarreling with 
either side which held the town." His kindness and benevo- 
lence made him very popular with people of both sides. As 
Colonel Morgan rode into town, this old gentleman stopped 
him, and said, with the strong lisp which those who know him 
can supply, " Well, John, you are a curious fellow ! How ^e 
Kirby Smith and Gracie? Well, John, when we don't look 
for you, it's the very time you come." 

The previous evening, the loyal people had decorated their 
houses with flags and many pretty ornaments, in honor of the 
arrival of the Federal troops; and had met them as gayly as 
the mythological young women used to dance before Bacchus. 

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On the morning of the 18th, all of these symbols of joy were 
taken in. The Southern people, in their turn, were jubilant — 
" which they afterward wished they had n't." 

Resuming our march at 1 p. m., on that day, the brigade 
passed through Versailles, and went into camp at Shryock's 
ferry. Gano and Breckinridge crossed the river and encamped 
on the southern side ; my regiment remained on the other side. 
About 1 o'clock at night we were awakened by the bursting of 
two or three shells in my camp. IJumont had learned that we 
had passed through Versailles, and had started out in pursuit. 
He sent his cavalry on the road which we had taken, and 
pressed his infantry out from Frankfor t to Lawrenceburg. 
fihryock's ferry is four miles from Lawrenceburg; the country 
between the two points is very broken and diflScult of passage. 

Had every thing been kept (j[uiet until the infantry had occu- 
pied Lawrenceburg, our situation would have been critical in- 
deed. With this disposition in our front, and the road closed 
behind us, we would have been forced to take across the coun- 
try, and that would have been something like climbing over the 
houses to get out of a street. Colonel Morgan had hesitated to 
halt there in the first instance, and was induced to do so only by 
the fatigue of men and horses after a march of over siity miles, and 
the knowledge that no fit ground for camping was within some 
miles. It was a generous act of the ofScer, who came in our 
rear, to shell us, and it saved us a vast deal of trouble, if nothing 
worse. He had not even disturbed our pickets, but turning oflf 
of the road, planted his guns on the high cliff which overlooks 
the ferry on that side, ami sent us an intimation that we had 
better leave. Colonel Morgan comprehended his danger at 
once, and as he sprang to his feet, instructed one of the little 
orderlies, who always slept near him, to gallop to Colonel Gano 
and Major Breckinridge, and direct them to move at once to 
Lawrenceburg ; the one, who formed first, taking the front, and 
picketing and holding the road to Frankfort, as soon as the 
town was reached. The boys, who were his orderlies, were in- 

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288 HisTORT OF morgan's cavalrt. 

telligent little fellows, well known, and it was our habit to obey 
orders brought by them, as promptly as if delivered by a staff 
officer. The officers to whom the orders were sent, were the 
promptest of men, and although my regiment formed rapidly, 
the others were marching by the time that it was ready to 
move. The howitzers were sent across the river first (fortu- 
nately it was shallow fording at that season), and the regiment 
immediately followed. The pickets on the road to Versailles 
were withdrawn as soon as the regiment was fairly across, and 
the officer in charge of them was instructed to make a rear-guard 
of his detail. The entire brigade was hurrying to Lawrenceburg, 
in less than twenty minutes after the first shell awakened us. 
We reached Lawrenceburg a little after 2 o'clock, and passed 
through without halting, taking the Bloomfield road. I have 
heard since, but do not know if it be true, that General Dumont 
reached Lawrenceburg about half an hour after our rear-guard 
quitted it. Marching on steadily until 12 or 1 o'clock of the 
next day, we reached Bloomfield, a little place whose every 
citizen was a warm friend of "Morgan's men." They met us 
with the utmost kindness, and at once provided supplies of forage 
and provisions. We halted only about an hour to enjoy their 
hospitality, and then moved on toward Bardstown. 

Colonel Morgan, at this time, received information that there 
was at Bardstown a force of infantry strong enough to give a 
good deal of trouble, if they chose to ensconce themselves in the 
houses. They were stationed there to protect sick and wounded 
men, and hospital stores. As there was nothing in prospect of 
their capture to repay for the delay, and probable loss it would 
cost, he determined to make a circuit around the town. This 
was done, the column moving within about a mile of the town 
(the pickets having been previously driven in), and crossing the 
Louisville road, two miles from the town. 

We encamped that night not far from the Elizabethtown road, 
and some five or six miles from Bardstown. During the night 
Lieutenant Sales, with Company E, of the 2d Kentucky, waa 

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sent some miles down the Louisville road, and captured one 
hundred and fifty wagons, the escort and many stragglers. The 
wagons were laden with supplies for BuelFs army. , They were 
burned, with the exception of two sutlers' wagons, which Sales 
brought in next morning. These wagons contained every thing 
to gladden a rebel's heart, from cavalry boots to ginger-bread. 
The brigade moved again at 10 a. m., the next day, the 20th, 
and reached Elizabethtown that evening. Here the prisoners 
picked up around Bardstown, and upon the march, who had not 
been paroled during the day, were given their free papers. The 
command went into camp on the Litchfield road, two miles &om 
Elizabethtown. About 3 o'clock of the next morning a train 
of cars came down the railroad, and troops were disembarked 
from them. A culvert, three miles from town, had been burned 
the night before, in anticipation of such a visit, and the train 
necessarily stopped at that spot. Our pickets were stationed 
there, an4 the troops were furnished a lively greeting as they 
got off of the cars. After a good deal of fussing with the- 
pickets, these troops entered the town about 5 a. m., and at 6> 
A. M., we moved off on the Litchfield road. 

The brigade encamped at Litchfield on the night of the 21st^ 
and on the next day "crossed Green river at Morganton and 
Woodbury, almost in the face of the garrison of Bowlinggreen, 
" who pretended to try to catch us, and who would have been 
very much grieved if they had," as has been truthfully written. 
My regiment was in the rear on the morning of the 23d, when 
we marched away from Morganton, and I placed it in ambush 
on the western side of the road, upon which the enemy were 
"figuring," for they could not be said to be advancing. 

The road which the rest of the brigade had taken ran at right 
angles to this one, and my left flank rested upon it. To my 
astonishment, about half an hour afterward, the enemy, also, 
went into ambush on the same side of the road, and a few hun- 
died yards from the right of my line. After they had gotten 
snug and warm, I moved off quietly after the column, leaving 

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them ^' still vigilant" We crossed Mad river that night at Ro- 
chester, on a bridge constructed of three flat boats, laid endwise, 
tightly bound together, and propped, where the water was deep, 
by beams passing under the bottoms of each one and resting 
on the end of the next ; each receiving this sort of support thej 
mutually braced each other. A planking, some five feet wide, was 
then laid, and the horses, wagons, and artillery were crossed 
without trouble. The bridge was built in about two hours. 

On the 24th we reached Greenville ; that night a tremendoos 
snow fell — ^tremendous, at least, for the latitude and season. 
After crossing Mud river, there was no longer cause for appre- 
hension, and we marched leisurely. Colonel Morgan had found 
the country through which he had just passed filled, as he had 
expected, with detachments which he could master or evade, 
and with trains which it was pleasant and profitable to catch. 
He and his followers felt that they had acquitted themselves 
well, and had wittingly leffc nothing undone. If thercf was any 
thing which they could have " gone for " and had not " gone for,'^ 
they did not know it. A very strong disposition was felt, there- 
fore, to halt for a few days at Hopkinsville, situated in a rich 
and beautiful country, the people of which were nearly all friendlj 
.to us. We knew that we would receive a hospitality which our 
tmouths watered to think of. Colonel Morgan felt the more in- 
4dined to hunger his command in this wish, because he himself 
-figMj appreciated how agreeable as well as beneficial this rest 
would be. 

Before commencing the long and rapid march from €hun 
Spring to Hopkinsville, we had all been engaged in very ardu- 
ous and constant service. This last mentioned march was by 
BO means an easy one, and both men and horses began to show 
that fatigue was telling upon them. Many of the men were 
then comparatively young soldiers, and were not able to endure 
fatigue, want of sleep, and exposure, as they could do subse- 
quently, when they had become as hardy and untiring as wild 
beasts. On this march I saw more ingenious culinary expedi- 

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ents devised than I had ever witnessed before. Soldiers, it is 
well known, never have any trouble about cooking meat; they can 
broil it on the coals, or, fixing it on a forked stick, roast it be- 
fore a camp fire with perfect ease. So, no matter whether the 
meat issued them be bacon, or beef, or pork freshly slaughtered, 
they can speedily prepare it. An old campaigner will always 
contend that meat cooked in this way is the most palatable. 
Indeed it is hard to conceive of how to impart a more delicious 
flavor to fresh beef than, after a hard day's ride, by broiling it 
on a long stick before the right kind of a fire, taking care to pin 
pieces of fat upon it to make gravy ; then with pepper and salt, 
which can be easily carried, a magnificent meal can be made, if 
enoagh is issued to keep a man cooking and eating half the 
night. Four or five pounds of fresh beef, thus prepared, will 
be mightily relished by a hungry man, but as it is easily digested 
he will soon become hungry again. It is the bread about which 
there is the trouble. Cavalry, doing such service as Morgan's 
did, can not carry hard tack about with them very well, nor was 
bread ready cooked generally found in any neighborhood (south 
of the Ohio) in sufficient quantities to supply a brigade of sol- 
diers. Houses were not always conveniently near to the camps 
where they could have bread cooked, and as they would have it, 
or would not do without it many days in succession, they were 
thrown upon their own resources, and compelled to make it 
themselves, notwithstanding their lack of proper utensils. I had 
often seen bread baked upon a flat rock, or a board, or by 
twisting it around a ramrod or stick, and holding it to the fire, 
but one method of baking corn bread was practiced successfully 
upon this march which I had never witnessed before. It was 
invented, I believe, in Breckinridge's battalion. The men would 
take meal dough and fit it into a corn-shuck, tying the shucks 
tightly. It would then be placed among the hot embers, and in 
a short time would come out beautifully browned. This method 
was something like the Old Virginia way of making *^ ash cake," 
but was far preferable, and the bread so made was much sweeter. 

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292 HISTORY OF morqak's cavalrt. 

The trouble of making up bread (without a tray) waa very readily 
gotten over. Every man carried an oil-doth (as they were 
issued to all of the Federal cavalry), and wheaten bread tras 
. made up on one of these. Corn meal was worked up into dough 
in the half of a pumpkin, thoroughly scooped out. When we 
were in a country where meat, meal, and flour were readily ob- 
tained, and we were not compelled to march at night, but could 
go regularly into camp, we never had trouble in feeding the 
men, although on our long marches and raids we never carried 
cooking utensils. 

At Hopkinsville, Colonel Woodward came to see Morgan; his 
command was encamped not far off. He had been doing excel- 
lent service in this section of the State for several months, and 
Colonel Morgan was very anxious to have him. attached to his 
brigade. We remained' at Hopkinsville three days, and then re- 
sumed our march. 

At " Camp Coleman *' we were the guests of Woodward's reg* 
iment, and their friends, in that neighborhood, brought in whole 
wagon loads of provisions, ready cooked — ^hams, turkeys, saddles- 
of-mutton were too common to excite remark — we realized that 
we were returning to " Dixie,*' and were not far off from Sumner 
county, Tennessee. We reached Springfield, Robertson county, ' 
Tennessee, on the 1st or 2nd of November. 

We remained here two days. During this stay, a printing 
press, type, etc., having been found in the town, the ^^ VxdeUe^' \ 
made its appearance again. A full account of the Kentucky 
campaign was published, telling what everybody did, and hint- I 
ing what was going to be done next time. Prentice and Horace i 
Greely were properly reprimanded, and the ^^ London Times" I 
was commended and encouraged. A heavy mail had been cap- I 
tured, on the march through Kentucky, containing many letters 
denunciatory of Buell — all these were published. We were 
glad to do any thing which might push out of the way, the man 
we thought the ablest General in the Federal service. 

While at Springfield, Gano's regiment was increased by the 

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accessions of two fall companies under Captains Dorch and 
Page. Captain Walter McLean, of Logan county, Kentucky, 
also joined us with some thirty or forty men. This fragment 
was consolidated with Company B, of the Second Kentucky, and 
McLean was made Captain. He was junior Captain of the reg- 
iment until Lieutenant Ralph Sheldon was promoted to the Cap- 
taincy of Company C, vice Captain Bowles promoted to the 
Majority, after Major Morgan's death. 

On the 4th of November, we arnved at Gallatin, and were re- 
ceived by our friends there with the warmest welcome. We 
had been absent two months and a half, and we were now to 
perform the same work to retard the return of the Federal army 
into Tennessee, as we had previously done to embarrass its 
march into Kentucky. While at Hopkinsville, Colonel Gano 
had been sent with his regiment to destroy the railroad between 
Louisville and Nashville, and also on the Russell ville branch. 
The bridges over Whippoorwill and Elk Fork, and the bridge 
between RussellviUe and Bowlinggreen, three miles and a half 
from RussellviUe, were burned. Captain Garth of Woodward's 
command joined Gano and was of great assistance to him. 
Some portion of the road between Bowlinggreen and Gallatin 
was destroyed. Lieutenant Colonel Hutchinson burned the 
trestle near Springfield, and the two long trestles between 
Springfield and Clarksville which finished the work on that end 
of the road. On the Slst the trestle at the ridge, and the 
three small bridges between the ridge and Goodletsville were de- 
stroyed. So it will be seen that the road was scarcely in run- 
ning condition when Morgan got through with it. I have thus 
far neglected to mention a circumstance, which should by no 
means be omitted from the narration of this period of Morgan's 

A courier came from General Smith, while we were at Lex- 
ington, on the 18th of October, countermanding his permission 
previously given Colonel Morgan to go out of Kentucky by the 
Western route, on account of an order received from General 

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Bragg inBtracting him to send Morgan to guard the salt works 
in Virginia. General Smith regretted it, but he ordered Col- 
onel Morgan to proceed at onoe to that point. A staff officer 
who saw the order before the courier could deliver it to Colonel 
Morgan, pocketed it and dismissed the courier. The officer rea- 
soned that the salt works were in no danger, that if they were, 
it was Marshall's peculiar province to guard them. That it was 
more important to operate upon the railroads, in front of Nash- 
ville, than to look after salt works, and that therefore it was bet- 
ter not to mention the matter. 

Whether it was General Bragg's intention or not, it is certain 
that if we had gotten into Western Virginia, at that time, there 
would have been an end to all enterprise upon our part and no 
more reputation would have been won by us. We got there soon 
enough as it was. No evil consequences followed this breach 
of discipline. The salt works were undisturbed until a much 
later period. 

Colonel Morgan captured nearly five hundred prisoners after 
he left Lexington. The railroads were destroyed, as I have re- 
lated, and when he reached Gallatin, he was in a position to 
picket the right flank of Bragg's army, then slowly creeping 
around to Murfreesboro'. 

When we left Hartsville the previous summer, a regiment was 
organizing there for Morgan's brigade, composed principally of 
men from Sumner county. This regiment, the Ninth Tennessee 
cavalry, became subsequently one of the very best in Morgan's 
command, and won a high reputation, but it met with many mis- 
haps in the process of organization. It had few arms, and the 
enemy would come sometimes and '^ practice " on it. It was 
several times chased all over that country; When we reached 
Gallatin, this regiment joined the brigade ; it was still in an in- 
choate state, but it was anxious to revenge the trouble it had been 
occasioned. It was organized with James Bennett as Colonel, 
W. W. Ward, Lieutenant Colonel, and R. A. Alston, formerly 
Morgan's Adjutant General, as Major. The senior captain — 

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the famous Dick McGaon — ^was scoating around Nashville, hold- 
ing high caruivaly and behaving himself much as Morgan had 
fonnerly done on the same ground. 

Captain McCann had served for some time in infantry, but 
found it too slow for him. He accompanied our command in our 
first raid into Kentucky, and served with distinction as a volun- 
teer in our advance-guard, ija the operations around Gallatin, of 
the summer of 1862. It would be impossible to recount all of his 
numerous adventures. He kept himself so busy prowling around 
night and day, and so rarely permitted an enemy to venture be- 
yond the fortifications of Nashville, without some token of his 
thoughtful attention, that, in all probability he could not remem- 
ber his own history. Just before we arrived at Gallatin, how- 
ever, his useful (if not innocent), existence had come very near 
being terminated. He had gone on a scout one night with two 
men, and Dr. Robert Williams (who frequently accompanied him 
upon those ^^ visits," as he used to term his raids around Nash- 
ville, ^'to the scenes of his happy childhood)," also went with 
him. Not far from the city, they came upon a picket stand, and 
McCann sent his two men around to get between the two out- 
post videttes and the base, intending then to charge down on 
them, with the Doctor, and capture them, as he had taken many 
such before. The moon was shining brightly, and, as he stole 
closer than was prudent upon the videttes, they discovered him 
and fired. One ball struck him upon the brass buckle of his sa- 
ber belt, which happened to be stout enough to save his life by 
glancing the ball, but the blow brought him from his horse and 
convinced him that a mortal wound was inflicted. 

" Dick," said the Doctor, " are you hurt?" " Yes," groaned 
Dick, "kiUed — deader than a corpse — shot right through the 
bowels — Quick, Bob — ^pass me the bottle before I die." 

Although the men had been accustomed to look forward to 
the time of their arrival at Gallatin, as a period when they would 
enjoy profound rest, they were not long left quiet after quitting 
there. General John G. Breckinridge had just gotten to Mur- 

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296 msTORT or MoaaAiv's cayalbt. 

freesboro' with a small force. He was desirous of impressing 
the enemy at Nashville with an exaggerated idea of his strength, 
so that the army of Buell (or of Rosecrans it was then), might 
not be in any too great haste to drive him away from Murfrees- 
boro', when it reached Nashville. General Bragg was limping 
on so slowly, that it was by no means certain that a swinging 
march would not put the enemy in possession of the whole of 
Middle Tennessee (with scarcely a skirmish), and shut Bragg 
up in East Tennessee. With the instinct, too, which he felt in 
common with all men who are born generals, Breckinridge 
wished to press upon the enemy and strike him if he discovered 
a vulnerable point. 

He learned that a large lot of rolling-stock (of the Louisville 
and Nashville Railroad), had been collected in Edgefield. There 
were, perhaps, three hundred cars in all. If these were burned, 
the damage done the enemy, and the delay occasioned him, 
would be very great. The cars were collected at a locality com- 
manded by the batteries on the Capitol hill, and so near the 
river, that all the forces in the city could be readily used to pro^ 
tect them. Breckinridge depended upon Morgan to burn them, 
but planned a diversion on the south side of the river, which he 
hoped would attract the enemy's attention strongly, and long 
enough, to enable Morgan to do his work. 

The day after we arrived at Gallatin, a dispatch was received 
from General Breckinridge, communicating his plan. Forrest 
was to move on the south-eastern side of Nashville, supported 
by the Kentucky infantry brigade, and Morgan was instructed 
to dash into Edgefield and burn the cars, while Forrest was 
making all the racket he could. There was one flaw in this 
plan, which no one perceived until all was over. Morgan could 
not hope to succeed, unless, by moving all night, he got close 
enough to Edgefield, to dash in early in the morning, before his 
presence was even suspected. If he marched in the day time, 
or remained after daylight in the vicinity of the place, his 
presence would certainly be discovered, and preparations would 

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be made to receive him. But if he attacked at daylight, he 
scarcely allowed time for the troops on the other side to com- 
xnoDce their work, or at any rate, was likely to attack eimulta- 
neously with them; when their attack, ronsing every thing, 
would, perhaps, do more harm than good. It so tarned out. 

Onr brigade moved all night (of the 5th), and striking 
through the woods came upon the northern side of Edgefield. 
Just as we struck the pickets, we heard Forrest's guns on the 
other side ot the river. The Second Kentucky was in advance, 
and as the head of the column was struggling over a very 
rough place in the railroad, it was opened upon by a company 
of infantry pickets, who came out from behind a small house, 
about, sixty yards off. I never saw men fight better than theses- 
fellows did. They were forty or fifty strong, and had to re- 
treat about half a mile, to reach their lines. The timber of the 
ground over which they had to retreat had been cut down to 
leave the way clear for the play of artillery and we could not 
charge them. Few men beside those in the advance guard got 
a chance at them. They turned and fought at every step. At 
least eight or ten were killed, and only three captured. 

I lost three of my advance guard. Conrad of the guard was 
riding a large gray horse, which saved his life. He rode close up- 
on the enemy, and one of them, presenting his gun within a few feet 
of his breast, fired ; Conrad reined his horse tightly, making 
him rear and r^ceiva the ball in his chest. The horse fell dead, 
pinning his rider to the ground. We pressed on to within a 
hundred yards of the railroad embankment, in the bottom near 
the river, and quite through Edgefield. Some little time was 
required to get all the regiment up, and Hutchinson and I had 
just formed it, and the line was advancing, when Colonel Mor<^ 
gan ordered us back. He had reconnoitered, and had seen a 
strong force of infantry behind the embankment ; and the fire 
slackening on the other side, induced him to suppose that more 
infantry, which we could see double quicking across the pontoon 
bridge, was die entire garrison of that side coming to oppose 

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298 HI6T0ET or uoboan's cavalet. 

him. It tamed oat that this force coming oyer the bridge, was 
small ; but the Sixteenth Illinois End part of another regiment, 
were stationed behind the embankment, and among the cars W€ 
wished to bam. We saceeeded in burning a few — Lieutenaats 
Drake and Quirk (who generally hunted together) superintended 
the work. A good deal of firing was kept up by the enemy 
upon the detail engaged in the work of destractiony but withoat 
effect. So little attention was paid to what Forrest was doing, 
that when we drew off altogether, the enemy followed us a nule 
or two. As the column filed off from the by-road (by which it 
had approached Edgefield) on the Gallatin pike, the enemy drove 
back the pickets which had been sent down the pike. 

The point at which we entered the pike is about a mile and 
a q^uartepiriMn Nashville. For awhile there seemed to be great 
danger that the enemy would take us in flank, but the column 
got fairly out upon the pike before the blue-coats hove in sight. 
A few of us remained behind after the rear guard possed to as- 
certain the truth of a report the pickets brought, that the ene- 
my were moving up artillery. The head of an infantry column 
had made its appearance on the pike, but halted about three hun- 
dred yards from where we were, and no firing had as yet oc- 
curred on either side. They seemed disposed to rcconnoiter, 
and we were not anxious to draw their fire. 

Hutchinson soon determined to see them closer, and called to 
one of the advance guard, whom he had kept with him, to ac- 
company him. This man was celebrated, not only for his cool, 
unflinching courage, but also as the best shot in the Second Ken- 
tacky. Every old ^^ Morgan man " will remember, if he has 
not already recognized, Billy Cooper. Breckinridge and I re- 
monstrated with Hutchinson, and urged that his action would 
only precipitate the enemy's attack and our retreat — ^that we 
would be driven away before we had witnessed all that we 
wished to see. There were only seven or eight men in our 
party ; Gano encouraged him to go — and he declared that he 
would go — unless I positively ordered him to remain. He ac- 

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cordingly 8tarted-«-0ooper with hxoL There was a considerable 
depression in the pike between our position and that of the en- 
emy. Just as our enterprising friends got down into this hol- 
low, and about half of the dhtance they were going, the enemy, 
having completed the necessary dispositions, commenced mov- 
ing forward. I shouted to Hutchinson, informing him of it, 
bat the noise of his horse's hoofs drowned my voice ; before 
he discovered the enemy, he was in thirty paces of their col- 
amn. He fired his pistol and Cooper, rising in his stirrups, 
discharged his gun killing a man; both then wheeled and j 
spurred away at full speed. They got back into the hollow in 
time to save themselves, but while we were admiring their rapid 
retreat and particularly noticing Hutchinson, who came back ' 
in great glee, whipping his horse with his hat as was his custom 
when in a tight place, a volley, intended for them, came rattling 
into us. Two or three citiaens who had collected to see the fun 
fled like deer, although one of them was a cripple — ^and, to tell 
the truth, we left as rapidly. 

I shall never forget this occasion, because it was the first and 
only time that I ever saw Colonel Richard M. Gano frightened. 
He was sitting on his horse, complacently eyeing Hutchinson's 
brisk retreat, and, a{>parently, not even remotely supposing 
that the enemy were likely to fire. One ball pierced a Mexican 
blanket which was wrapped around^ him, sending the red stuff 
with which it was lined flying about his head. I thought, and 
so did he, that it was his blood. If I had been mortally 
wounded, I could not l^ave helped laughing at the injured look 
he at once drew on ; it was the look of a man who had confided, 
and had been deceived. "Why, Duke," he said, "they're 
shooting at us." Some one told Major Alston that something 
was going on in the rear, " that would do to go in the papers," 
and he joined us, as the enemy fired a second volley, just in 
time to get his best horse shot. Although we burned a few 
cars, the expedition was a failure — we went to burn all. Re- 
turning to Gallatin that night (the 6th), we found that we were 

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not yet to be permitted rest Oar scouts soon began to bring 
in news of the approach of Boaeoran9' armj, which was 
marching by the Loaisville and Kashville pike, and the Scotts- 
viUe and Gallatin pike, to Nashville. Crittenden's corps was in 
advance, a portion on each road. Colonel Morgan determined 
to ambuscade the division marching on the Louisville and Nash- 
ville road, at a point near Tyree Springs. He selected two 
hundred men for the expedition. So much excitement was an- 
ticipated upon it, that all of his field officers begged to go. 
After a good deal of solicitation, he permitted Gano and myself 
to accompany him, leaving Hutchinson in command of the re- 
mainder of the brigade at Gallatin. The party detailed for this 
expedition, reached the neighborhood of the proposed scene of 
ambush late at night, and on the next morning (the 8th), at 
daybreak, took position. 

The Federal troops had encamped at Tyree Springs the night 
before. First one or two sutlers' wagons passed, which were 
not molested, although when we saw one fellow stop, and de- 
liberately kill and skin a sheep and throw it into his wagon, a 
general desire was felt to rob him in his turn. After a little 
while, an advance guard of cavalry came, and then the infantry 
rolled along in steady column, laughing and singing in the fresh 
morning air. As soon as the head of the column approached 
our position, our line arose sAd fired. We were within seventy- 
five yards of the road, on a hill, which told against our chances 
of doing execution, but the men had been cautioned to aim low. 
The column, unprepared for such an entertainment, recoiled, 
but soon rallied and charged the hill. Artillery was brought 
up and opened upon us* We did not stay long. Our loss was 
one man killed. I have never been able to learn satisfactorily 
what was the enemy's loss. Many reports were received about 
it, some of which must have been greatly exaggerated. Colonel 
Morgan immediately moved rapidly to get in the rear of this 
column. He accordingly struck the road again, some three 
miles north of Tyree Springs. Posting the bulk of his force in 

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a woods on the side of the road, he, himself, with Lieutenant 
Quirk and two or three others, went some distance up the pike, 
and occupied themselves in picking up stragglers, which he 
would send back to the main body, where they would be placed 
under guard. In this way some forty or fifty prisoners were 
taken. Suddenly Stoke's regiment came up the road from 
toward Tyree Springs, and drove the detachment immediately 
upon the road, consisting of about fifty men, back to the main 
body, thus cutting off Colonel Morgan and his party. Courieiis 
were immediately sent to Colonel Morgan to warn him of his 
danger, but they did not reach him. He was returning, how* 
ever, about that^ time, and quickened his pace when he heard a 
few shots fired. He was bringing back some ten or twelve 
prisoners. He, Lieutenant Quirk, and one or two men, forming 
the head of a column, of which the prisoners composed the 
body. Suddenly he rode right into this Federal regiment. He 
was, of course, halted and questioned. He stated that he was a 
Federal Colonel, that his regiment was only a short distance off, 
and that the prisoners with him were men he had arrested for 
straggling. His questioners strongly doubted his story, and 
said that his dreJs was a very strange one for a Federal Colonel, 
that rebels often wore blue clothes, but they had never heard 
of their officers wearing gray. The prisoners, who knew him, 
and never doubted that he would be now captured in his turn, 
listened, grinning, to the conversation, but said nothing. He 
suddenly pretended to grow angry, said that he would bring his 
regiment to convince them who he was, and galloped away. 
Quirk followed him. Before an effort could be made to stop 
them, they leaped their horses over the fence, and struck,, at 
full speed, across the country. Li the course of an hour they 
rejoined the rest of us, and relieved our minds of very grave 

It is probable that no other man than Colonel Morgan would 
have escaped (in such a situation) death or capture. But his 
presence of mind and address, in the midst of a great and im- 

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-802^ BISTORT Mr horqiitb cavalry. 

minent danger, were literally perfeet. I have known many 
similar escapes, where the chances were not so desperate ; but 
in each case but this, there was some circumstance to intimidate, 
or to contribute to mystify the enemy. On this occasion every 
circumstance was adverse to him. He could expect no rescue 
from his friends, for we had managed so badly, that the enemy 
had gotten between him and us. He was dressed in full Con- 
federate uniform. The enemy knew that the Confederate forces 
were near by, and it was reasonable to suppose that he was at- 
tached to them. The prisoners were there to tell on him. He 
had nothing to depend upon but the audacity and address which 
never failed him, and a quality even higher than courage — ^I can 
describe it only as the faculty of subjecting every one to his 
will, whom he tried to influence ; it was almost me3meric. The 
prisoners fifty or sixty in number, were paroled in the course 
of the day and started back to Kentucky by a route which would 
enable them to avoid meeting detachments of their own army. 
Our party encamped that night about seven miles from Grallatin. 
Colonel Morgan when he started upon this expedition, knew 
that Wood's and Van Clove's divisions were marching toward 
Gallatin, and he cautioned Hutchinson not t<fmakea fight, if 
during his absence the enemy approached the town, simulta- 
neously, upon more than two roads. He knew that Hutchinson 
would be vigilant, but he feared that his indisposition to avoid 
fighting would induce him to engage a larger force of the enemy 
than he could repulse. Early in the morning of the day succeed- 
ing that on which the events I have just described occurred, the 
enemy marched into Gkllatin. They had threatened the place on 
Aree sides during the night, but Hutchinson hoping to repulse 
them, would not retire. 

In the morning, however, they demonstrated in such strength, 
as to convince him that he had better not fight — and so, sending 
the brigade on the Lebanon road to cross the Cumberland, he 
retained only the advance-guard of the Second Kentucky, and 
the howitzers, to salute the enemy as they entered. His guns 

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were planted upon the eminenoe on the Lebanon road, jnst 
ontside of town, and, as the head of a colnmn of infantry turned 
into that road, they were opened, oaueing it to recoil. Several 
good shots were made, but as the little pieces were limbered up 
to move off) a line of infantry was discovered drawn np across 
the road in the rear of the party — ^it had taken position very 
quietly, while they were amusing themselves cannonading the 
troops in town. 

Hutchinson, Breckinridge, Alston, and nearly every field and 
staff officer of the brigade, were in tiie trap. They tried to es- 
cape upon another road, and found that also blockaded. Finally, 
sending the howitzers and the advance-guard across a pasture 
into the Springfield road, Hutchinson, with the numerous 
'^officials'*' in his train, made the best of his way across the 
country, and rejoined the brigade. The advance-guard and the 
howitzers dashed gallantly past a large body of the enemy, but 
were neither 'checked nor injured. The retreat of the others, 
diverted (as was intended) attention from them to some extent, 
and they rattled on down the piko at a brisk canter, confident, 
now (that they were not surrounded), that they could whip a 
moderate sized brigade. 

About three miles from town, they met our detachment of 
two hundred men j at first (thinking us a party of the enemy 
sent to enter the town by that road), they prepared to attack 
and route us, but finding out who we were, let us off with the 
scare. We had already learned that the enemy had entered 
Gkllatin, and I was especially rejoiced to find the ^^buU pups," 
and my advance-guard — the flower of my regiment — ^all safe. 
CSolonel Morgan learned directly firom the officer in command of 
this party, the particulars of the affair, and was satisfied that all 
had gotten away. We at once turned toward the river, and 
marching, until we reached it, through the woods and fields, 
crossed at a ford, some miles lower down than that which the 
brigade had crossed. We reached Lebanon on the same after* 
noon, and found our fugitive friends there. Colonel Morgan 

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formally congratulated Hutchinson upon his " improved method 
of holding a town." 

This was the 9th, and the hulk of the brigade went into camp, 
four miles from Lebanon, on the Murfreesboro' pike. As Rose* 

. crans' armj came pouring into Nashville, the commandant there 
manifested a strong disposition to learn how matters stood out- 
side. On the night of the 9th, a force of the enemy came down 
the Nashville and Lebanon pike to Silver Springs, seven miles 
from Lebanon. Scouts were sent to examine this force, and 
returned, reporting that it manifested no disposition to move. 
Almost immediately after the scouts came back to Lebanon, the 
enemy came, too, having moved just behind the scouts. There 
was no force in Lebanon to meet them, and they held the place 
until Hine's company, of Breckinridge's battalion, was sent to 
drive them out. That night Breckinridge's entire battalion was 
sent to the town, supported by Bennett's regiment. On the 
evening of the 11th, they were both driven away, by a heavy 

■ 'fSrce of infantry and cavalry, but, reinforced by Grano, checked 
the enemy a short distance from the town. When the enemy 
retreated, Gano pressed them, taking one hundred and fifty- 
eight prisoners, and a number of guns. On the 13th or 14th, 
the enemy returned, and Breckinridge drove them away, follow- 
ing them eleven miles on the Hartsville pike. On this occasion 
a very handsome feat was performed by a scouting party under 
command of Sergeant McCormick, of . Breckinridge's battalion. 
Billy Peyton, who had killed an officer and brought off his horse 
and pistol, a day or two before, went with him as ^^ military ad- 
viser." Major Breckinridge sent this scouting party to find 
where the enemy halted. It went through the woods and found 
the enemy encamped on the river bank, fifteen miles from 
Lebanon. Returning by the road, the party stumbled upon a 
videite, stationed about a half mile from the camp, and between 
it and a picket base, which he said was a short distance off. 
He also informed them that all the pickets had been notified 
that a scouting party would shortly leave camp, and pass 

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through them on that road. The idea at once occurred to 
McCormick to represent that scouting party with his ; so, car- 
rying the prisoner with him, he rode through the pickets at the 
head of his men, receiving and returning their salutes. John 
Haps, of Company F, Second Kentucky, tightly gripping the 
prisoner's throat, meanwhile, to prevent inopportune disclosures. 
Just as the party got clear of the base, they were discovered, 
and one man's horse falling, he was made prisoner. On the 
15th, Breckinridge and Bennett were sent to Baird's mill, eight 
miles from Lebanon, and eleven from Murfreesboro', where the 
Second Kentucky had been encamped since the 10th. During 
that time it had been operating in the direction of Nashville, 
the most successful expedition having been made by Major 
Bowles, who defeated a body of the enemy superior in numbers 
to his own detachment, killing several and taking some pri- 
Boners. About this time a large force of the enemy took posi- 
tion at Jefferson, seven miles from Baird's mill. This force 
required constant watching, and scouts were kept in sight of 
the encampment at all hours of the twenty-four, with instructions 
to fire upon the pickets as often as each detail was relieved. 
Spence's battery was sent from Murfreesboro' to Baird's mill, 
to reinforce us. On the 16th, Ghino, who had remained at 
Lebanon, was driven away by a large force of cavalry and two 
brigades of infantry. One of the latter got in his rear, and 
gave him a good deal of trouble. After making a gallant fight, 
he fell back to Baird's mill; and then carried Breckinridge, 
Bennett, and the Second Kentucky, back to Lebanon to attack 
the enemy there. Colonel Morgan had been at Black's shop, 
four miles nearer to Murfreesboro', for several days, and I had 
gone to Murfreesboro' on that day, the 16th. When I returned 
to Baird's mill, I found every thing gone, but a few pickets, and 
the scouts reported indications of an advance from Jefferson.. 
^Vhen I reached Gano, I found him just taking position to fight 
(he thought), and planting his battery (Spence's) to shell the 
camp, the fires of which we could plainly see. I dissuaded him 
20 . 

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. 806 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

from opening with artillery, for I did not wish to fight at Leb- 
anon, when there seemed sach an imminent prospect of an at- 
tack upon Baird's mill. Gano was not satisfied to return until 
an examination showed the camp deserted. The enemy had 
moved ofi", leaving their fires burning. Gano had hurried from 
Baird's mill, with his reinforcements, so rapidly, that he had 
not given his scouts time to reconnoiter. I immediately carried 
the brigade back to Baird's mill. The saddles were kept upon 
the horses all night, and the men lay down in line of battle, but 
the enemy did not attack. Two or three days after this, 
Hutchinson was sent, with a portion of the Second Kentucky, 
to watch the Nashville and Lebanon pike, between Stone river 
and Silver Springs, at which latter place a strong force of the 
enemy was encamped. Information had been received that 
foraging parties of the enemy had been habitually resorting to 
' that particular neighborhood, and it was thought that some of 
them could be caught. Hutchinson missed the foragers, but 
'Captured a picket detail thirty or forty strong, at Stone river, 
.and brought his prisoners and their horses into camp. A little 
later Major Steele, with a detachment from his regiment, went 
on an expedition to Hartsville. Just as his column had crossed I 
the river, and ascended the bank, it was attacked by a portion 
of Woolford's regiment. Major Steele was forced to recross 
the river and return, but before doing so, beat off his first as- 
sailants. On the 23d, Hutchinson, with Company A, of Breck- 
inridge's battalion, and a detail from the Second Kentucky, in 
all, two hundred men, and the howitzers, attacked the enemy 
encamped at Gallatin, landing on the southern side^ and drove 
them out of their encampment and across the river. A good 
many other scouts and expeditions were made, replete with 
personal adventures, the details of which have escaped my 

It was a Very busy season, and a good many prisoners were 
taken; they were brought in from some quarter every day. 
Our own loss was slight. Colonel Morgan believed that, with 

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enemies so near him, in so many quarter$, he could defend him- 
self only by assuming the offensive. 

General Bragg's aimy did not get to Murfreesboro* until the 
20tTl or 21st. During that time, General Breckinridge had some 
four thousand infantry. Rosecrans' army must have been con- 
centrated in Nashville by the 12th. Two days' marching would 
have brought them to Murfreesboro'. General Breckinridge 
could not have repulsed it ; of course it could have been sub- 
sisted for a week off of the country, or its foragers had lost 
their cunning. In that time General Bragg would have been 
forced, in all probability, to return to East Tennessee, with- 
out a chance to deliver battle with a rational hope of success. 
His army was footsore, weary, and could not have been readily 
concentrated. Buell was removed because he was thought to 
be " slow," and dull to perceive and seize favorable opportuni- 
ties. There will always be a difference of opinion about which 
opportunities were the safest to seize. A very prevalent opin- 
ion obtained in " Morgan's cavalry " (who thought that they ap- 
preciated Buell), that had he been in command at Nashville, on 
the 12th of November, 1862, he would have marched without de- 
lay on Murfreesboro^. It is not too much to claim that Mor- 
gan's destruction of the railroads delayed, not only the concen- 
tration at^ashville, but the movement thence to Murfreesboro'. 
The activity of Morgan, Forrest and the other Confederate 
cavalry commanders, in November, and the firm attitude of 
Breckinridge, als({ contributed to prevent it. 

In the latter part of November, Colonels Cluke and Chenault 
rejoined the brigade. Their regiments were not improved by the . 
trip through-the mountains, and the list of absentees from each 
was large. Major Stoner also brought a battalion to Morgan, 
transferred from Marshall's brigade. About the same time, the 
men of the " Old Squadron,*' who had been captured at Leba- 
non, came to us. They had been exchanged a month or two 
previously, but WW been unable to get to the brigade sooner. 
We were glad to welcome them back. They had been only 

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seven months away, and they returned to find the command 
they had last seen as less than half a regiment, now grown to 
a brigade of five regiments and two battalions. 

These men were organized by Colonel Morgan, into a dbm- 
pany of sconts, to be attached to no regiment. Lieutenant 
Thomas Quirk was appointed to command them, and Lieutenant 
Owens, who had been captured and exchanged with them, was 
made their First Lieutenant. Lieutenant Sellers, who had been 
also captured at Lebanon, was assigned to one of Bennett's 
companies; the scouts were at once armed, equipped and 
mounted — the company numbered about sixty, total effective, 
and was a very fine one. On the 24th, the Second Kentucky, 
under command of Hutchinson, and Breckinridge*s battalion, 
were sent to Fayetteville, Lincoln county, Tennessee, to rest 
men and horses ; and the other regiments of the brigade were 
less severely worked than during the past two or three weeks. 

Bosecrans seemed extremely anxious to shut us out from the 
country around Gallatin and Hartsville — perhaps on account of 
the supplies of meat which could be obtained there, and which 
the sympathy of the people enabled us to obtain, if we could 
readily communicate with them. Strong garrisons were estab- 
lished at Gallatin and Castalian Springs, about six or eight 
miles from Hartsville, and at the latter place. The. fact that 
any force of Confederates marching to attack these garrisons, 
unless they made a wide detour eastward, would expose its 
flank and rear to attack from Nashville — not to consider the re- 
sistance of the garrisons themselves — seemed to insure that 
country from Confederate intrusion. 

But it was right hard to keep Morgan out of Sumner county 
— ^he had a great affection for it. He persistently applied for 
permission to attack the force stationed at Hartsville, and it 
was at length granted him. He was allowed to select two 
regiments from the Kentucky infantry brigade, and to take 
also Cobb's battery, a very fine one, attached to that brigade. 
The ^' Kentucky brigade " was commanded by Colonel Roger 

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W. Hanson, who had been only a short time before exchanged, 
with his gallant regiment, the Second Kentucky infantry, which 
had been captured at Donelson. One of the colonels of the 
brigade, was Thomas H. Hunt, a very superior officer, who, with 
his regiment, the Ninth Kentucky, one of the best in the Confed- 
erate service, had seen arduous and hazardous service at Shiloh, 
Corinth and Baton Rouge. Colonel Morgan asked that this of- 
ficer (his uncle) should command the infantry regiments, which 
were to form part of his force for the expedition ; and Colonel 
Hunt selected his own regiment and the Second Kentucky (in- 

On the morning of the 7th of December, Colonel Morgan set 
out on this expedition. The cavalry force was placed under 
my command, and consisted of ^Gano's, Bennett^s, Cluke's and 
Chenault's regiments, and Stoner's battalion — in all numbering 
about fifteen hundred men. Hanson's brigade was encamped 
at Baird's mill. Here the infantry detachment joined us, seven 
hundred strong ; the full strength of neither regiment was taken. 
Quirk's ^' scouts " and other scouting parties were sent to re- 
connoiter in the direction of HartsviUe, to watch the enemy at 
Castalian Springs, and the fords of the river, and to picket the 
Nashville and Lebanon pike. The '^ combined forces" left 
Baird's mill about 11 A. M., and passed through Lebanon about 
2 P. M., taking the Lebanon and HartsviUe pike. The snow lay 
upon the ground and the cold was intense. 

The infantry had been promised that they should ride part of 
the way, and, accordingly, a few miles beyond Lebanon a por- 
tion of the cavalry gave up the horses to them. This, however, 
was an injudicious measure. The infantry had gotten their feet 
wet in trudging through the snow, and, after riding a short 
time, were nearly frozen and clamored to dismount. The cav- 
alrymen had now gotten their feet saturated with moisture, and 
when they remounted, suflfered greatly in their turn. There 
was some trouble, too, in returning the horses to the proper 
parties (as this last exchange was effected after dark), and the 

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810 HISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

infautry-men damned the cayalry seryice with all the resources 
of a soldier's vocabulary. 

The infantry and Cobb's battery reached the ferry where it 
was intended that they should cross, about ten o'clock at night, 
and were put across in two small leaky boats, a difficult and 
tedious job. When the cavalry reached the ford, where Colonel 
Morgan had directed me to cross, I found that the river had 
risen so much since the last reconnoisance that it was past 
fording at that point, and I had to seek a crossing further 
down. The ford (where I decided to cross) was so difficult to 
come at, that the operation of crossing was made very slow. 
The men could reach the river bank only by a narrow bridle 
path which admitted only one man at a time. They were then 
compelled to gather their horses and leap into the river, over 
the bluff about four feet high. Horse and man would generally 
be submerged by the plunge — a cold bath very unpleasant iu 
such weather. The ascent on the other side was nearly as diffi*" 
cult. In a little while the passage of the horses rendered the 
approach to the river even more difficult. The ford was not 
often used, and the unbeaten path became cut up and muddy. 
It grew worse and worse. The cold (after the ducking in the 
river) affected the men horribly ; those who got across first built 
fires, at which they partially warmed themselves while the others 
were crossing. Only fifteen, however, were frozen so^tiff that 
they had to be left. 

Finding, as the night wore on, that day would appear before 
all got across, and fearing that I would detain Colonel Morgan, 
I moved (with those already on the northern bank) about three 
o'clock, leaving a great part of my column still on the southern 
side of the river. I posted pickets to watch the roads by which 
they could be attacked, and instructed the officers to harry on 
to IIai*tsville as soon as practicable. I had about five miles to 
march to rejoin Colonel Morgan, and found him at the point he 
had designated, some three miles from Hartsville. He decided 
not to wait for the remainder of the cavalry, fearing that infor- 

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mation would be taken to Gastalian Springs (where six thousand 
Federal troops were encamped), and he would be himself at- 
tacked. He, therefore, moved forward at once. Just at day- 
light the cavalry, who were marching in front, came upon a 
strong picket force, about half a mile from the encampment, 
who fired and retreated. We were thus prevented from sur- 
prising the enemy before they formed. Colonel Morgan did 
not, however, expect to do so, for he had no certain plan of 
capturing the pickets without giving the alarm. 

Bennett's regiment was immediately sent around the encamp- 
ment, and into the town of Hartsville. Colonel Morgan ordered 
me to form Cluke's and Chenault's regiments opposite the right 
flank of the line the enemy were establishing, and partially out- 
flanking it. The enemy was encamped in wooded ground, 
slightly elevated above the surrounding fields. The left flank 
of the line they formed rested upon open ground near the 
river. Opposite their right flank and center was a large meadow, 
between which and the woods was a slight depression, which 
gradually deepened toward the southward, until from a valley it 
became a ravine, and when it approached the river was perhaps 
ten feet deep, and its banks were almost precipitous. Colonel 
Morgan had intended to let the infantry of his command form 
in this ravine and attack from it, but the enemy's line was es- 
tablished so near to it that this was not attempted. 

When we came in sight of the enemy and saw them forming, 
it was at once plain that the force there was much stronger than 
it had been represented to be. Instead of fifteen hundred men, 
as Colonel Morgan had estimated it to be from the reports of 
his spies, it was more than twenty-five hundred strong. I said 
to him, " You have more work cut out for you, than you bar- 
gained for." " Yes," he answered, "you gentlemen must whip- 
and catch these fellows, and cross the river in two hours and a ' 
half, or we '11 have six thousand more on our backs." Cluke's and 
Chenault's regiments after deducting horse-holders, numbered 
four hundred and fifty men, between them. I formed Cluke 

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812 HISTOBT OV morgan's CAVALRY. 

opposite the One Hundred apud Fourth Ohio Infantry^ eight 
hundred strong, and formed Ghenault obtusely to Oluke (on the 
latter's left), with his (Chenault's) left flank inclining toward the 
enemy, and outflanking him. The infantry were shortly after- 
ward formed opposite the center of the enemy — Cobb's battery 
confronted the enemy's left flank. Our entire force in the fight 
(Bennett having been sent to Hartsville to prevent the escape 
of the enemy in that direction) was twelve hundred and fifty 
men. I have neglected to state that Stoner's battalion had 
been sent, with the ^^ Bull pups," down the Hartsville and Lob- 
anon pike to take position opposite the enemy's encampment 
Stoner was instructed to maneuver in sight of the enemy, and 
shell away at them briskly. Colonel Morgan knew that the 
little pieces could not reach the encampment, but he wished the 
enemy's attention attracted to that quarter. 

Stoner succeeded so well that the two Parrot guns which the 
enemy had were engaged with him, when we took position, and 
we were spared the annoyance they could have inflicted while 
we were forming. As I have said we failed to surprise the 
Federal force in its camp — and the only advantage which our 
sudden appearance gave us, was the partial demoralization which 
is apt to assail all troops, when unexpectedly and promptly at- 
tacked. The enemy naturally thought that we were in over- 
whelmning force, or that we would not have incurred such risks. 

One good sign was, that, as we formed in sight of each other, 
our ringing shouts were answered by the feeblest of cheers. 
Cluke and Chenault having formed at a gallop, immediately dis- 
mounted their men and advanced. The enemy's line was about 
four hundred yards distant A line of skirmishers occupied the 
hollow, posted behind a fence, whose flre did us some little dam- 
age. These two regiments had never been under fire before 
(with the exception of a slight skirmish which Cluke's had wit- 
nessed in Kentucky) and I was not at first certain that they 
would drive their part of the line. But they moved on with 
perfect steadiness, halting (after having advanced about a hun* 

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dred y&rds) to discharge a volley which dislodged the skirmish- 
ers, and then, after reloading, pressed on at a swift run. The 
enemy fired by rank, each yoUey passing over oar heads, for the 
men had reached the hollow. Ko time was given them to re- 
load. When within sixty yards our fellows opened, Cluke 
pressing right upon the front, and Chenault having swept so far 
round, and then closed in, that the two regiments were firing 
almost into each other's faces. 

The open cavalry formation not only enabled ua with a smaller 
force, to cover the entire front of the enemy opposed to us, but 
while exposing us to less loss, made our fire more deadly. The 
One Hundred and Fourth Ohio backed about twenty steps, the 
men striving to reload their guns, and it then broke and ran in 
perfect disorder. Cluke and Chenault moved on, swinging 
around to the right, until they Were formed at right angles to 
the original direction of their line, and the force confronting 
them was lapped back upon the rest of the enemy's line. This 
lasted about twenty minutes. By that time Colonel Hunt had 
formed his infantry, and he sent them in, in echelon, the Second 
Kentucky in advance. Cobb's battery had not been idle, and 
had gotten one caisson blotrn up by a shell from one of the en- 
emy's Parrots. 

The infantry had marched quite thirty miles, over slippery 
roads, and through the chilling cold, and I saw some of them 
stumble (as they charged), with fatigue and numbness, but the 
brave boys rushed in as if they were going to a frolic. The Se- 
cond Kentucky dashed over the ravine, and as they emerged in 
some disorder, an unfortunate order was given them, to halt and 
^ dress." There was no necessity for it — ^the regiment was 
within fifty yards of the enemy, who were recoiling and drop- 
ping before their fire. Several officers sprang to the front and 
countermanded the order — it was a matter of doubt who gave it 
— and Captain Joyes, seizing the colors, shouted to the men to 
follow him. 

The regiment rushed on again, but in that brief halt, sus- 

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tained nearly all of its loss. Just then, the Ninth Kentucky 
came to its support — ^the men yelling and gliding over the 
ground like panthers. The enemy gave way in confusion, and 
were pressed again on their right and rear by duke and Chen- 
iiult, who were at this juncture reinforced by seventy-five men 
of Gano's regiment, who came up under Lieutenant Colonel Huff- 
man, commanding the regiment in Gano's absence, and Major 
Steele, and at once went into the fight. A few minutes then suf* 
ficed to finish the affair. The enemy were crowded together in 
a narrow space, and were dropping like sheep. The white flag 
was hoisted in an hour after the first shot was fired. Our loss 
in killed and wounded was one hundred and twenty-five, of 
which the Second Kentucky lost sixty -five, the Ninth, eighteen ; 
the cavalry thirty-two, and Cobb's battery, ten. Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Coleman, a gallant and accomplished ofiBcer, was seriously 
wounded. His regiment, the Eighth Kentucky (Cluke's), was 
devotedly attached to him, and could ill afford to lose his valuable 
services. Some fine officers were lost by the infantry regiments. 
A loss which was deeply regretted by Morgan's entire command, 
was that of little Craven Peyton. Colonel Morgan invariably se- 
lected as his orderlies bright, intelligent, gentlemanly little 
fellows from among the boys of his command. They were not 
required to perform the ordinary services of an orderly, but 
were treated more like staff officers, and were assigned such du- 
ties, as are usually required of an aidjs. 

This was an excellent method of spoiling young soldiers — ^but 
-Golonel Morgan permitted himself such luxuries. Of all these, 
Graven Peyton was the most celebrated and popular. His integ- 
rity and sense were such, that officers of the command would not 
hesitate to act upon an order which he bore, although uxumUeiif' 
and he possessed the most remarkable daring and determination. 
Exposing himself in this fight with his usual recklessness, he re- 
ceived a wound, which disabled him so much that he could not 
be removed. He was made prisoner, and in a few days fidtted- 
himself to death. The enemy's loss, in killed and wounded, was 

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Over four hundred, and two thousand and four prisoners were 
carried off to Murfreesboro'. If there ever was a fight to which 
tiie time honored phrase, so frequent in official reports, was ap- 
plicable, viz.: "That where all behaved so well," etc., — ^it was 
this one. It would indeed be difficult to assign the palm. 
Every officer and man seemed inspired with the most perfect 
confidence and the most dauntless resolution. Every regiment 
and company rushed recklessly and irresistibly upon every 
thing confronting it, and the sudden discovery, at the begin- 
ning of the fight, that the enemy were so much stronger than we 
had supposed them to be, seemed only to increase their courage. 
They had literally made up their minds not to be beaten, and I 
firmly believe, that five thousand more could not have beaten 
them* The tents, and every thing which could not be carried 
ofiT, were burned; a number of captured wagons were loaded 
with arms and portable stores, and hurried over the river — ^four 
or five wagons which did not cross the river, were driven into 
the woods and their contents secreted. Some of the most 
valuable captures, were in boots and shoes — for many of the 
men (especially of Cluke's and Chenault's regiments) had no 
other covering for their feet than old rags. 

The prisoners were gotten across the river as rapidly as pos- 
sible — and the infantry were taken over behind the cavalrymen. 
Some of the prisoners were made to wade the river, as the en- 
emy from Castalian Springs began to press upon us so closely 
that we could not " stand upon the order of transportation." 
Cluke's regiment was posted upon the Gallatin road to hold 
the enemy in check — Quirk's scouts having already retarded 
their advance. Gano's regiment was sent as soon as it got up 
to support Cluke. Nothing but the rapid style in which the 
fight had been conducted and finished saved us. We had no 
sooner evacuated the ground than the enemy occupied it, and 
our guns which opened upon them from the southern shore, 
were answered by their batteries. 

No pursuit was attempted, and we marched leisurely back 

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through Lebanon, regaining our camps late in the night. Two 
splendid pieces of artillery were among the trophies — ^which did 
good service in our hands, until they were recaptured upon the 
^^ QhkLj:aid." This expedition was justly esteemed the most 
brilliant thing that Morgan had ever done, and was referred to 
with pride by every man who was in it 

General Bragg in his congratulatory order issued to the army 
o& account of it, spoke in the highest terms of the conduct of 
the troops — especially of the remarkable march of the infantry, 
and he says : *^ To Brigadier General Morgan and to Colonel 
Hunt the General tenders his thanks, and assures them of the 
admiration of his army. The intelligence, seal and gallantry 
displayed by them will serve as an example and an incentive to 
still more honorable deeds. To the other brave officers and men 
composing the expedition the General tenders his cordial thanks 
and congratulations. He is proud of them and hails the suc- 
cess achieved by their valor as but the precursor of still greater 
victories. Each corps engaged in the action will in future bear 
upon its colors the name of the memorable field." 

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The victory of Hartsville brought Colonel Morgan his long- 
expected and long-delayed commission of Brigadier-General. 
He had long been styled General by his men, and had been of 
late habitually so addressed in official communications from army 
headquarters. Many and urgent applications had been made 
by influential parties and officers of high rank for his promotion. 
General Smith had strongly urged it, General Bragg concurring, 
but while Brigadiers were being uttered as rapidly almost as 
Confederate money, he remained a simple Colonel. President 
Dajis happened to visit Murfreesboro' a few days after the Harts- 
ville affair, and gave him his commission, making Hanson, also, 
a Brigadier of even date. This promotion of my chief made 
me a Colonel, and Hutchinson a Lieutenant-Colonel, thus illus* 
trating that many felicitous consequences will sometimes flow 
from one good act. The latter had occupied a very anamolous 
position ; while really a Captain, he had acted as, and been styled 
Lieutenant-Colonel. Being a most excellent officer, who had 
seen a great deal of service, and acting as second in command 
of an unusually large regiment, he was placed frequently upon 
detached service, and in very responsible situations, and fre- 
quently commanded Lieutenant-Colonels of legitimate manufac- 
ture, just as Morgan, while only a General " by courtesy," com- 
manded floating Brigadiers who came within his vortex. It 
proved more agreeable to men, who were really modest, to take 
rank by the virtue of commissions rather than by the force of 
impudence, and the example was better. General Hardee urged 
that the commission should be made out as Major-General, but 
Mr. Davis said> " I do not wish to give my boys all of their sugar 
plums at once." 

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818 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

At Bryan tsville, in Kentucky, Colonel Joseph Wheeler had been 
appointed Chief of Cavalry, and Morgan, Scott, Ashby — all of 
the cavalry commanders had been ordered to report to him. 
Colonel Wheeler was a very dashing officer, and had done ex- 
cellent service, but he had neither the experience nor the record 
of Morgan, and the latter did not fancy having to serve under 
him. He was with Wheeler so little, however, in Kentucky, 
that he found not much inconvenience from having a " Chief of 
cavalry " to superintend him. Morgan was, of course, perfectly 
independent upon his retreat out of Kentucky, and in his opera- 
tions afterward in North Middle Tennessee — indeed, with the 
exception of having to report to General Breckinridge, while 
the latter was in command at Murfreesboro', and afterward to 
the Commander-in-chief, he was perfectly independent until a 
period even later than that of his promotion. But this is a sub- 
ject for a later chapter. A great many injudicious friends of 
Morgan were inclined to attribute the delay of his promotion to 
prejudice upon the part of Mr. Davis, against him in particular, 
and Kentuckians in general. 

There is no doubt but that General Morgan's free and easy 
way of appointing his own officers and of conducting all of his 
military affairs, as well as his intense aversion to subordinate 
positions, had excited much official disapprobation and some in- 
dignation against him at Richmond. He had been careless and 
dilatory, too, in making out and forwarding the muster-rolls of 
his regiment, an omission which was undoubtedly censurable, 
and unpardonable in the eyes of the Pundits of the War Depart- 
ment, with whom such papers were the gospels of military gov- 
ernment. General Morgan paid too little attention to matters 
of this kind, essential to the transaction of military business, 
and the proper conduct of tho affairs of the army, and the au- 
thorities resented a neglect that looked a good deal like contu- 
macious disrespect. He was, however, unlucky in this respect, 
to some extent, for when he appreciated, which was not imtil 
after he had raised the greater portion of his brigade, the ne- 

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cessity and the propriety of making full, formal, and prompt 
returns, he met with delays and accidents in transmitting them 
to Richmond, which were frequent and extraordinary. The 
officers, who acted as his Adjutant Generals at different periods 
previously to his promotion, will remember and can affirm, that 
returns and rolls of his regiments and battalions composing his 
brigade, were sent into them, and forwarded by them to Rich- 
mond. Officers were especially detailed to go to Richmond 
and look after these papers. And, yet, to every application 
made for the appointment of bonded officers (or rather for their 
commissions, for Morgan could manage appointments), by com- 
manders of the oldest regiments in his brigade, the Secretary 
of War would politely inform the Colonel that his regiment was 
unknown "in the records of this office." Judging from the 
frequency of this reply, and the nature of some promotions that 
were made for that quarter, it would appear that the War De- 
partment at Richmond, and the cavalry on the western front, 
had no acquaintance in common. That all the evil might be 
cured, papers of formidable size and appearance, nearly square 
(I should say an acre by an arpent), were carefully made out, and 
forwarded to Richmond, showing the date of the organization 
of each regiment, the officers originally upon its rolls, all 
changes, and how they occurred, up to the date of the making 
out of the compendious document, the names of the officers 
serving in it at the time, and the manner in which they obtained 
their rank, whether by appointment, election, or promotion, and 
by whom appointed, when such was their .status. 

Notwithstanding the work expended upon the accursed things, 
and the perspiration, and, I regret to say, blasphemy, which 
they elicited from some of our officers, they did no good in the 
world ; and after more labor and tribulation, ten to one, than 
an advance of the whole Federal army would have cost us, we 
found ourselves as much ojitsiders as ever. It must be 
distinctly understood, that nothing here written is intended 
as an insinuation against Mr. Davis ; I will not do that 

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which I would join in condemning in another man, whose 
antecedents are like my own. The profonnd respect I feel for 
him, prevents any attempt, upon my part, at even such criticism 
of his action as may seem legUimate ; and nnkind and carping 
reflections upon him are more becoming in the mouths of non- 
combatant rebels, than from ex-confederate soldiers, whom self- 
respect should restrain from any thing of the kind. But there 
were certain officers at Richmond, who, if their souls had been 
tied up with red tape, indorsed in accordance with the latest 
orders, and stuffed into pigeon holes, would have preferred it to 
a guarantee of salvation. I honestly believe that these gentle- 
men thought, that when an officer made out a muster-roll, and 
forwarded it to them, he had done his full duty to his country, 
had gotten through with his part of the war, and might go to 
sleep without putting out pickets. It was said of a certain 
Confederate General, of high rank, that he would rather have 
from his subordinates ^^a neat and formal report of a defeat, 
than a slovenly account of a victory.'' It might have been said 
of the war office gentry, with equal propriety, that they would 
have preferred an army composed of Fallstaffian regiments, all 
duly recorded, to a magnificent soldiery unticketed at Rich- 

With this class Morgan was always unpojjular ; not that a 
stronger personal dislike was felt for him, in the official bosom, 
than for other men of the same stamp and style, but all such 
men were gtavely disliked by this class. Such men were de- 
veloping new ideas, not to be found in the books which the 
others had studied, and were in the habit of consulting. (Jlhej 
were managing cavalry and winning fights in a thoroughly ir- 
regular and revolutionary manner ; there was grave cause for 
apprehension that, if they were given high rank and correspond- 
ing command, they would innovate upon established infantry 
tactiqiiey in the same unprecedented and demoralizing style. 
Mr. Davis did not dislike Morgan, but simply entertained no 
particular fancy for him, and did not believe that he was really 

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morgan's MABRIAaS. 821 

a superior, although a successful officer ; in fact, he knew very 
little about him. 

To say Mr. Davis disliked Kentuckians, is absurd. The 
Kentucky vanity is as irritable, although not as r^tdioal, as the 
Virginian, and sees a slight in every thing short of a cai-ess. 
He appointed some fifteen general officers from Kentucky, and 
he permitted the Kentucky loafers to secure their full share of 
"soft ^places.'' General Bragg, doubtless, was entirely free 
from any blinding affection for Keiftuckians, and few of them 
felt a tenderness fdr him. Despite the terrors of his stern rule, 
they let few occasions escape of evincing their feeling toward 
him. It was said, I know not how truly, that at a later date 
General Bragg told Mr. Davis that " General Morgan was an 
officer who had few superiors, none, perhaps, in his own line, 
but that he was a dangerous man^ on account of his intense de- 
sire to act independently." 

When Morgan received this rank, his brigade was quite 
strong, and composed of seven regiments. Breckinridge's and 
Stoner's battalions were consolidated, and formed a regiment 
above the minimum strength. Breckinridge became Colonel, 
and Stoner Lieutenant Colonel. Shortly after the Hartsville 
fight, Colonel Adam R. Johnson reached Murfreesboro' with his 
regiment. It had been raised in Western Kentucky, and was 
very strong upon the rolls, but from losses by capture, and 
other causes, had been reduced to less than four hundred effective 
men. It was a fine body of men, and splendidly officered. 
Martin, the Lieutenant Colonel, was a man of extraordinary 
dash and resolution, and very shrewd in partisan warfare* 
Owens, the Major, was a very gallant man, and the disciplinariaa 
of the regiment. 

On the 14th of December, an event occurred which was 
thought by many to have m^erially affected General Morgan's 
temper, and subsequent fortunes. He was married to Miss 
£eady, of Murfreesboro', a lady to whom he was devotedly at-^ 
tached, and who certainly deserved to exercise over him the 

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great influence which she waa thought to have possessed. The 
marriage ceremony was performed by General Polk, by virtue of 
his commission as Sighop, but in full Lieutenant General's 
uniform. The residence of the Honorable Charles Ready, father 
of the bride, held a happy assembly that night — it was one of a 
very few scenes of happiness which that house was destined to 
witness, before its olden memories of joy and gayety were to 
give place to heavy sorrow and the harsh insolence of the invader. 
The bridegroom's friends and brothers-in-arms, and the Com* 
mander-in-Chief, and Generals Hardee, Cheatham and Breckin- 
ridge felt called upon to stand by him on this occasion. 

Greenfell was in a high state of delight ; although he had 
regretted General Morgan's marriage — ^thinking that it would 
render him less enterprising — he declared, that a wedding, at 
which an Episcopal bishop-militant, clad in general's uniform, 
officiated, and the chief of an army and his corps commanders 
were guests, certainly ought not to spften a soldier's temper. 
On his way home that night he sang Moorish songs, with a 
French accent, to English airs, and was as mild and agreeable as 
if some one was going to be killed. 

The seven regiments which composed the brigade, represented 
an aggregate force of over four thousand in camp — when they 
were gotten together, which was about the 18th, the Second 
Kentucky returning then from Fayetteville. Several hundred 
men, however, were dismounted, and totally unarmed and un- 
equipped. This force was so unwieldy, as one brigade, that 
General Morgan determined to divide it into two parts, which 
. should be organized in all respects as two brigades, and should 
Jack but the sanction of the General commanding (which he 
.hoped to obtain), to be such in reality. He accordingly in- 
.dusated as the commanders of the two brigades (as I shall call 
^them for the sake of convenience). Colonel Breckinridge and my- 
jBclf. There was no doubt of Colonel A. B. Johnson's seniority 
to^ the other colonels, but, for some reason, he positively de- 

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clined to accept the command of either brigade, and signified 
his willingness to serre in a subordinate capacity. 

Instances of senior officers waiving rank, and consenting to 
serve under their juniors, wf re not unfrequent at that period, and 
continued to occur in Morgan's command. Such conduct was 
generous, and prompted by the manliest and most patriotic mo- 
tives ; but I can not help thinking that it is an unsafe practice, 
and one that may lead to very great injuries to the service in 
which it commonly obtains. The spirit which prompted many 
officers (for instance, who outranked General Morgan), to serve 
snbordinately to him, because of the influence upon the troops 
of his high reputution, and because of his recognised skill, was 
perhaps, k proper as well as a chivalric one. But, except where 
the talent, character and influence of the junior, are as rare as 
acknowledged, and as commanding as in the case of Morgan or 
of Forrest, it is better for the senior to assume his legal positios. 
No bad effects ever resulted from this practice in our command, 
partly, because it was one which had a '^ genius and constitu- 
tion" of its own, but, chiefly because (I do not think I am 
spiking too highly of my old comrades), it was officered by a 
class of men of remarkable intelligence, and singular directness 
as well as strength of character. But, supposing this custom 
to prevail, generally, how apparent are the results prejudicial to 
discipline and efficiency, which may be naturally, expected to. 
flow from it 

The senior officer who "waives his rank," may do it in perfect 
good faith, and believing that the junior whom he consents to 
serve under, is, for certain reasons, the most proper man to com- 
mand-^and yet, if things go wrong, he may not unnaturally 
complain or advise with an emphasis and a freedom that may 
embarrass the commander to whom it is addressed, and create 
the most improper feeling among other subordinates and the 
men. Or if matters do not go so far as this, there may yet 
arise a regret, in the mind of the officer who has relinquished 
bis right to command, when hesees^or thinks he sees, evidences 

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824 HisTOBT OF morgan's cayalrt. 

of incompetency in the conduct of the other — and a correspond- 
ing jealousy may be thus awakened in the mind of the junior com- 
manding — and that harmony which is so necessary to efficiency 
may become impaired. Independently of these considerations, 
there is the fact that this condition is abnormal q,nd highly irre- 
gular. The men and subaltern officers will recognize it to be so, 
and it may become more difficult to maintain the reo^uisite subor- 
dination and respect for rank. It is a great deal better than to 
follow this practice — ^to adopt and run almost to extremes, the 
system of rapid promotion for merit and distinguished conduct. 
The probable evils of the one practice, which have been indicated, 
can prevail under no system where every man fills his legitimate 
place. There was some discussion as to whether Gluke or Breck* 
inridge should command one of the brigades, after Johnson de> 
clined. It was a mooted question, whether Gluke's rank as 
Colonel dated &om the period at which he received his commis- 
sion to raise a regiment, or from the period at which his regi- 
ment became filled. In the former case, he would rank 
Breckinridge ; in the latter, he would not. None of us, then, 
(with the exception of Johnson), had received our commissions, 
although our rank was recognized. 

There was no wrangle for the position, however, between 
these officers, as might be inferred from my language. On the 
contrary, each at first declined, and urged the appointment of 
the other. General Morgan settled the matter by appointing 

The first brigade (mine) was composed of the Second Ken- 
tucky, Lieut.-Colonel Hutchinson, commanding; Gano's regi- 
ment, the Third Kentucky, Lieut.-Colonel Huffman commanding 
(Gano was absent on furlough) ; Cluke's regiment, the Eighth 
Kentucky, Colonel Leroy S. Cluke commanding ; Palmer's battery 
of four pieces (two twelve-pounder howitzers, and two six-pounder 
guns,) was attached to this brigade. The second brigade (Breck- 
inridge's) was composed of his own regiment, the Ninth Kentucky, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Stoner commanding; Johnson's regiment, 

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itte Tenth Kentucky, Colonel Johnson commanding ; Chenault's 
regiment, the Eleventh Kentucky, Colonel Chenault command- 
. ing ; and Bennett's regiment, the Fourteenth Tennessee, Colonel 
Bennett commanding. To this brigade was attached one three- 
inch Parrot, commanded by Captain White, and the two moun- 
tain howitzers under Lieutenant Corbett. 

On the 2l8t of December, the division was in camp at and 
around Alexandria. The first brigade was reviewed on that 
day, and numbered, of cavalry, eighteen hundred effective men. 
There were in its ranks more men than that number. The 
Second Kentucky mustered seven hundred and forty, and the 
other two regiments about six hundred each. There were in this 
brigade, however, nearly two hundred men unarmed but mounted. 
The entire strength of the brigade,, of armed and unarmed men, 
including Palmer's battery, was very little short of two thousand 
and one hundred men. The second brigade was, including ar- 
tillerists, about eighteen hundred strong, but it, too, had some 
unarmed men in its ranks. These fellows without guns were 
not so useless as might be imagined, for (when it was satisfac- 
torily ascertained that it was not their own fault that they were 
unarmed, and that they could be trusted) they were employed 
as horse-holders. The division, therefore, including Quirk's 
"scouts," reporting to division headquarters, numbered quite 
three thousand and nine hundred. In General Morgan's report 
of the expedition undertaken into Kentucky immediately after this 
organization, the strength of the division is estimated at thirty- 
one hundred armed men. This was a mistake upon the part of 
his Adjutant-General, which I sought to correct at the time. 
The proportion of men without guns was nothing like so large. 
Just before the march was taken up for Kentucky from Alex- 
andria, Colonel Greenfell, still acting as General Morgan's Ad- 
jutant-General up to that date, resigned his position and declined 
to accompany him upon the expedition. The cause of his dis- 
satis^iction was the appointmetM; of Breckinridge to the com- 
mand of the second brigade. A great many believed and said that 

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826 BISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

he was disappointed at not obtaining command of the brigade him- 
self, but I am satisfied that sach was not the case. It is difficult to 
understand how a practical man can behave as he did on that 
occasion, unless his own interests, or those of a friend, are in- 
volved, and there is, consequently, a general disposition to at- 
tribute such conduct to interested motives. I talked to Greenfell, 
and believe that he had, from some cause, conceived a violent 
dislike for Breckinridge, and, moreover, he had come to regard 
an interference in the affairs of the command as his right. At 
any rate when General Morgan declined to accept his suggestions 
upon the subject, and requested him to desist from agitating it, 
he became so thoroughly disgusted that he declined to act longer 
with the command. As he was not regularly in the Confederate 
service, there was nothing to be done but let him go when and 
where he pleased. 

Captain W. M. Maginis, Acting Assistant Adjutant- General 
of the second brigade, was immediately appointed in his stead. 
This officer was very young, but had seen a great deal of arduous 
service. He had served in the infantry for more than a year ; 
he had seen Belmont, Shiloh, Farmington, and Perry ville, had 
behaved with the greatest gallantry, and had won the enco- 
miums of his chiefs. He had been assigned to staff duty just 
before he came to us, and had acted in the capacity of ordnance 
officer, I believe, for General Walthall, an officer who, of the first 
class himself, would have only the same sort about him. He 
had been assigned upon General Morgan's application (at my 
urgent request) to his command, and, as has been stated, was 
on duty with the first brigade, when General Morgan suddenly 
stood in need of an Assistant Adjutant- General, and took him, 
intending to keep him temporarily. He was so much pleased 
with him that, upon his return from this expedition, he procured 
his commission in the Adjutant and Inspector General's Depart- 
ment, and his assignment to him. He remained with General 
Morgan until his death. 

On the morning of December 22d, the division took up its 

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marcli for Kentucky. General Bragg desired that the roads 
^hich Rosecrans had repaired in rear should again be broken, 
and the latter's communications with Louisville destroyed. The 
service was an important one ; it was meet that, for many rea- 
Bons, the expedition, the first Confederate movement into Ken- 
tucky since Bragg's retreat, should be a brilliant one. General 
Morgan had under his command at that time the largest force 
he ever handled, previously or afterward, and he Vould not have 
permitted them to have stopped him. A writer from whom I have 
frequenly had occasion to quote, gives a description of the com- 
mencement of the march, so spirited and so graphic, that it will 
serve my purpose better than any that I can write myself. He 

" The regiments had been carefully inspected by the Surgeons 
and Inspectors, and every sick soldier and disabled horse had 
been taken from their regiments, and the stout men and servicea- 
ble horses only were permitted to accompany the expedition. 
The men were never in higher spirits or more joyous humor; 
well armed, well mounted, in good discipline, with perfect confi- 
dence in their commander, and with hearts longing for the hills 
— tmd valleys, the blue-grass and woods of dear old Kentucky ; 
they made the air vocal with their cheers and laughter and songs 
and sallies of wit. The division had never operated together 
before the brigades had first been organized, therefore every 
regiment was filled with the spirit of emulation, and every man 
was determined to make his the crack regiment of Morgan's 
cavalry. It was a magnificent body of men — the pick of the 
youth of Kentucky. No commander ever led a nobler corps — 
no corps was ever more nobly led. It was splendidly officered 
by gallant, dashing, skillful men in the flush of early manhood ; 
for of the seven Colonels who commanded those seven regiments, 
five became brigade commanders — the other two gave their livefs 
to the cause — Colonel Bennett dying early in January, 1868, 
of a disease contracted while in the army, and Colonel Chenault 
being killed on July 4, 1863, gallantly leading his men in a 

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fruitless charge upon breastworks at Green river bridge. This 
December morning was a mild, beautiful fall day; clear, cloud- 
less sky ; bright sun ; the camps in cedar evergreens, where the 
birds chirped and twittered; it felt and looked like spring. The 
reveille sounded before day -break; the horses were fed, break- 
fast gotten. Very early came the orders from General Morgan 
announcing the organization of the brigades, intimating the ob-^ 
jccts of the expedition, and ordering the <;olumn to move at 
nine o'clock. Duke in advance. As the order was read to a 
regiment the utmost deathless silence of disciplined soldiers 
standing at attention was broken only by the clear voice of the 
Adjutant reading the precise but stirring words of the beloved 
hero -chieftain ; then came the sharp word of command dismiss- 
ing the parade ; and the woods trembled with the wild hurrahs . 
of the half crazy men, and regiment answered regiment, cheer 
re-echoed cheer, over the wide encampment. Soon came Duke, 
and his staff, and his column — his own old gallant regiment at 
the head — and slowly regiment after regiment filed out of the 
woods into the road, lengthening the long column. 

^^ After some two hours march, a cheer began in the extreme 
rear and rapidly came forward, increasing in volume and enthu- 
siasm, and soon General Morgan dashed by, with his hat in his 
hand, bowing and smiling his thanks for these flattering cheers, 
followed by a large and well mounted staff. Did you ever see 
Morgan on horseback ? If not^ you missed one of the most im- 
pressive figures of the war. Perhaps no General in either army 
surpassed him in the striking proportion and grace of his per- 
son, and the ease and grace of his horsemanship. Over six feet, 
in hight, straight as an Indian, exquisitely proportioned, with 
the air and manner of a cultivated and polished gentleman, and 
the bearing of a soldier, always handsomely and tastefully 
dressed, and elegantly mounted, he was the picture of the su- 
perb cavalry officer. Just now he was in the hight of his fame 
and happiness ; married only ten days before to an accomplished 
lady, made Brigadier justly but very tardily ; in command of 

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the finest cavalry division in the Southern army ; beloved almost 
to idolatry by his men, and returning their devotion by an ex- 
travagant confidence in their valor and prowess ; conscious of 
his own great powers, yet wearing .his honors with the most ad- 
mirable modesty, and just starting upon a carefully conceived 
but daring expedition, he was perhaps in the zenith of his fame,. 
and though he added many a green leaf to his chaplet, many a 
bright page to his history, yet his future was eijibktered by the 
■•envy, jealously, and hatred that then were not heard." 

Marching all day the column reached Sand Shoals ford on the 
Cumberland just before dark. The first brigade crossed, and 
encamped for the night on the northern bank of the river. The 
second brigade encamped between the Ganey fork and the Cum- 

On the next day, moving at daylight, a march of some thirty 
miles was accomplished; it was impossible to march faster than 
this, and keep the guns up. On the 24th, the division went into 
camp within five miles of Glasgow. Breckinridge sent Captain 
Jones of Company A, Ninth Kentucky to discover if all was 
clear in Glasgow, and I received instructions to support him 
with two companies under Major Steele of the Third Kentucky 
who was given one of the little howitzers. Jones reached the 
town after dark, and just as he entered it a Michigan battalion 
came into it also from the other side. Captain Jones encoun- 
tered this battalion in the center of the town, and in the skir- 
mish which ensued he was mortally wounded. He was an ex- 
cellent officer and as brave as steel. Poor Will Webb was 
also mortally wounded — only a private soldier, but a cultivated 
and a thorough gentleman ; brave, and kindly, and genial. A 
truer heart never beat in a soldier's bosom, and a nobler soul 
was never released by a soldier's death. First Lieutenant Sam- 
uel 0. Peyton was severely wounded — shot in the arm and in 
the thigh. He was surrounded by foes who pressed him hard, 
after he was wounded, to capture him. He shot one assailant, 
and grappling w^ith another, brought him to the ground and cut 

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830 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

hi8 throat with a piickfit knife. Lieutenant Peyton was by birth, 
education, and character a thorough gentleman. Perfectly 
good natured and inoffensive — except when provoked or at- 
tacked — and then — he dispatched his affair and his man in a 
quiet, expeditious and thorough manner. The Federal cavalry 
retreated from the town by the Louisville pike. 

On the next morning — Qtristaas — the^division moved by the 
Louisville pike. Captain Quirk, supported by Lieutenant Hays 
with the advance-guard of the first brigade, fifty strong, cleared the 
road of some Federal cavalry, which tried to contest our advance, 
driving it so rapidly, that the column had neither to delay its 
march, nor make any formation for fight. In the course of the 
day, Quirk charged a battalion, dismounted, and formed across 
the road. He went through them, and as he dashed back again, 
with his head bent low, he caught two balls on the top of it, 
which, singularly (coming from different directions), traced a neat 
and accurate aiigle upon his scalp. 

Although the wounds were not serious at all, they would have 
stunned most men ; but a head built in County Kerry, with es- 
pecial reference to shillelagh practice, scorned to be affected by 
such trifles. Breckinridge sent Johnson's regiment during the 
day toward Munfordsville, to induce the belief that we were 
going to attack that place. Colonel Johnson executed his mis* 
sion with perfect success. That night we crossed Green river. 
The first brigade being in advance had little trouble compara^ 
tively, although Captain Palmer had to exert energy and skill to 
get his battery promptly across ; but the second brigade reaching 
the bank of the river late at night had great diflSculty in get^ 
ting across. 

The division encamped in the latter part of the night at Ham- 
mondsville. A day before, just upon the bank of the river, the 
most enormous w^agon, perhaps, ever seen in the State of Ken- 
tucky, was captured. It was loaded with an almost fabulous 
amount and variety of Christmas nicknacks; some enterpris- 
ing settler had prepared it for the Glasgow market, intending 

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to make his fortune with it. It was emptied at an earlier date, 
in shorter time, and by customers who proposed to themselves a 
much longer credit than he anticipated. There was enough in 
it to furnish every mess in the division something to eke out a 
Christmas supper with. 

On the next day the column resumed its mar6h amid the 
steadily pouring rain, and moved through mud which threatened 
to ingulf every thing, toward the Louisville and Nashville rail- 
road. Hutchinson was sent, with several companies of the 
Second Kentucky, and the Third Kentucky, to destroy the 
bridge at Bacon creek. There was not more than one hundred 
men, at the most, in the stockade which protected the bridges, 
and he^as expected to reduce the stockade with the two pieces 
of artillery, which he carried with him, but there was a large 
force at Munfordsville, only eight miles from Bacon creek, 
and General Morgan gave him troops enough to repulse any 
movement of the enemy from Munfordsville to save the bridge. 
A battalion of cavalry came out from Munfordsville, but was 
easily driven back by Companies B and D, of the Second Ken- 
tucky, under Captain Gastleman. Although severely shelled, 
the garrison held out stubbornly, rejecting every demand for 
Aeir surrender. Hutchinson became impatient, which was his 
only fault as an officer, and ordered the bridge to be fired at all 
hazards — it was within less than a hundred yards of the stockade, 
and commanded by the rifles of the garrison. It was partially 
set on fire, but the rain would extinguish it unless constantly 
supplied with fuel. Several were wounded in the attempt, and 
Captain Wolfe, of the Third Kentucky, who boldly mounted the 
bridge, was shot in the head, and lay unconscious for two hours^ 
every one thinking him dead, until the beating rain reviving 
him, he returned to duty, suffering no further inconvenience. 
Some of the men got behind the abutment of the bridge, and 
thrust lighted pieces of wood upon it, which the men in the 
stockade frequently shot away. At length General Morgan ar- 
rived upon the ground, and sent a message to the garrison in 

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882 HisTolhr of morqan's cavalry. 

his own name, offering them liberal terms if they woald sur- 
render. As soon as they were satisfied that it was indeed 
Morgan who confronted them, they surrendered. This was a 
very obstinate defense. A number of shells burst within the 
stockade. Some shots penetrated the walls and an old baniy 
which had been foolishly included within the work, was knocked 
to pieces, the falling timbers stunning some of the men. 

The stockade at Nolin surrendered to me without a fight. 
The commandant agreed to surrender if I would show him a 
certain number of pieces of artillery. They were shown him, 
but when I pressed him to comply with his part of the bargain, 
he hesitated, and said he would return and consult his officers. 
I think that (as two of the pieces shown him were tk^ little 
howitzers, which I happened to have temporarily) he thought he 
could hold out for a while, and gild his surrender with a fight. 
He was permitted to return, but not until, in his presence, the 
artillery was planted olose to the work, and the riflemen posted 
to command, as well as possible, the loop-holes. He came to 
us again, in a few minutes, with a surrender. The Nolin bridge 
was at once destroyed, and also several culverts and cow-gaps 
within three or four miles of that point. 

The division encamped that night within six miles of Eliza- 
bethtown. On the morning of the 27th, the division moved 
upon Elizabethtown* This place was held by about six hundred 
men, under a Lieutenant Colonel Smith. As we ncared the 
town, a note was brought to General Morgan, from Colonel 
Smith, who stated that he accurately knew his (Morgan's) 
strength, had him surrounded, and could compel his surrender, 
and that he (Smith) trusted that a prompt capitulation would 
spare him the disagreeable necessity of using force. The mis- 
sive containing this proposal — the most sublimely audacious I 
ever knew to emanate fr^m a Federal officer, who,' as a class, 
rarely trusted to audacity and bluff, but to odds and the eon- 
eours of force — this admirable document was brought by a 
Dutch Corporal, who spoke very uncertain English, but was 

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poiitive on the point of surrender. General Morgan admired 
the spirit which dictated this bold effort at bluffing, but returned 
for answer an assurance that he knew exactly the strength of 
the Federal force in the town, and that Lieutenant Colonel 
Smith was in error, in supposing that he (Smith) had him 
(Morgan) surrounded ; that, on the contrary, he had the honor 
to state, the position of the respective forces was exactly the 
reverse. He concluded by demanding him to surrender. Colo- 
nel Smith replied that it was ^^ the business of an United States 
officer to fight, and not to surrender." During the parley, the 
troops had been placed in position. Breckinridge was given 
the left of the road, and the first brigade the right. I dis- 
mounted Cluke's regiment, and moved it upon the town, with its 
left flank keeping close to the road. I threw several companies, 
mounted, to the extreme right of my line, and the rear of the 
town. Breckinridge deployed his own regiment, under Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Stoner, immediately on the left of the road, 
stretching mounted companies also to his left, and around the 

The bulk of both brigades was held in reserve. The Parrot 
gun was placed in the pike; it was opened as soon as the last 
message from Colonel Smith was received; and, as suddenly as 
if its flash had ignited them, Palmer's four guns roared out 
from the hill on the left of the road, about six hundred yards 
from the town, where General Morgan himself was superintend- 
ing their fire. Cluke moved warily, as two or three stockades 
were just in his front, which were thought to be occupied. When 
he entered the town, he had little fighting to do, and that on the 
extreme right. Stoner dashed in on the left with the Ninth 
Kentucky, at a swift run. He burst into the houses occupied by 
the enemy at the edge of the town, and with slight loss, com- 
pelled the inmates to surrender. The enemy had no artillery, 
and ours was battering the bricks about their heads in fine style. 
Palmer, who was a capital officer — cool and clearheaded — con- 
centrated his fire upon the building where the flag floated, and 

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884 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

the enemy seemed thickest, and moved his six pounders into the 
very edge of the town. I sent for one of the howitzers, and 
when it came under Lieutenant Corbett, it was posted upon the 
railroad embankment, where it crossed the road. Here it played 
like a fire engine upon the headquarters building. Breckinridge 
posted Company A, of his regiment, to protect the howitzer, 
making the men lie down behind the embankment. 

The enemy could not well fire upon the gunners from the win- 
dows, on account of the situation of the piece, but after each dis- 
charge would rush out into the street and open upon them. 
Then the company lying behind the embankment would 
retaliate on the enemy in a style which took away their appetite 
for the game. It happened, however, that a staff officer of Gen- 
eral Morgan, passed that way, and conceiving that this company 
was doing no good, ordered it, with more zeal than discretion, to 
charge. The men instinctively obeyed. As they ran forward, 
they came within fair view of the windows, and a heavy volley 
was opened upon them, fortunately doing little damage. Their 
officers, knowing that the man who gave the order, had no right 
to give it, called them back, and they returned in some confu- 
sion, the enemy seized the moment, and flocking out of the 
houses^ poured a sweeping fire down the street. The gunners 
were driven away from the howitzers, and two or three hit 
Lieutenant Corbett, however, maintained his place, seated on the 
carriage, while the bullets were actually hopping from the rein- 
force of the piece. He soon called his men back, and resumed 
his fire. 

It was as fine an exhibition of courage as I ever saw. Shortly 
after this, there seemed to be a commotion among the garrison, 
and the white flag was shown from on# of the houses. Major 
Llewellyn, Division Quartermaster, immediately galloped into 
the town, reckless of the firing, waving a white handkerchief. 
Colonel Smith was not ready to surrender, but his men did not 
wait on him and poured out of the houses and threw down their 
arms. Among the fruits of this victory, were, six hundred fine 

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rifles, more than enough to arm all of oar men who were with- 
out guns. .The entire garrison was captured. Some valuable 
stores were also taken, 'On the next day, the 28th, the command 
moved leisurely along the railroad, destroying it thoroughly. The 
principal objects of the expedition, were the great trestle works 
at Muldraugh's hill, only a short distance apart. The second bri- 
gade captured the garrison defending the lower trestle six hundred 
strong; the first brigade captured the garrison of the upper tres- 
tle two hundred strong. Both of the immense structures were 
destroyed and hours were required to thoroughly burn them. 
These trestles were, respectively, eighty or ninety feet high 
— ^and each, five hundred feet long. 

Cane Bun bridge, within twenty-eight miles of Louisville, was 
destroyed by a scouting party. Two bridges on the Lebanon 
branch, recently reconstructed, were also burned. Altogether, 
General Morgan destroyed on this expedition, two thousand two 
hundred and fifty feet of bridging, three depots, three water sta- 
tions, and a number of culverts and cattle-guards. The impres- 
sion which prevails in some quarters, that General Morgan left 
the road on account of the pursuit of Colonel Harlan, is entirely 
erroneous. With the destruction of the great trestles at Mul- 
draugh's bill, his contract with the road expired and he prepared 
to return. He would have liked to have paid the region about 
Lexington another visit, but General Bragg had urged him not 
to delay his return. Harlan was moving slowly after us ; but for 
the delay consequent upon the destruction ot the road, he would 
never have gotten near us and, but for an accident, he would / , 

never have caught up with any portion of the column, after we / "" 

had quitted work on the railroad. 
I On the night of the 28th, the division had encamped on the 
southeru bank of the Boiling fork. On the morning of the [ 
29th, it commenced crossing that stream, which was much \ 

swollen. The bulk of the troops and the artillery were crossed I 

at a ford a mile or two above the point at which the road from i 

Elizabethtown to Bardstown along which we had been encamped, ^ 

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336 HISTORY OP morgan's cavalry. 

crosses the Rolling fork. The pickets, rear-guard, and some de- 
tachments, left in the rear for various purposes, in all about 
tliree hundred men, were collected to cross at two fords— deep 
and difficult \o approach and to emerge from. Oluke's regiment, 
with two pieces of artillery, had been sent under Major Bullock 
to burn the railroad bridge over the Rolling fork, five miles be- 
low the point where we were. A court-martial had been in 
session for several days, trying Lieutenant Coldnel Huffman, for 
alleged violations of the terms granted by General Morgan to 
the prisoners at the surrender of the Bacon creek stockade. 

Both brigade commanders, and three regimental commanders, 
Gluke, Hutchinson, and Stoner, were officers or members of this 
court. Just after the court had finally adjourned, acquitting 
Colonel Huffman, and we were leaving a brick house, on the 
southern side of the river and about six hundred yards from 
its bank, where our last session had been held, the bursting 
of a shell a mile or two in the rear caught our ears. A few 
videttes had been left there until every thing should have 
gotten fairly across. Some of them were captured; others 
brought the information that the enemy was approaching. 
This was about eleven A. M. We knew that a force of infantry 
and cavalry was cautiously following us, but did not know that 
it was so near. It was at once decided to throw into line the 
men who had not yet crossed, and hold the fords, if possible, 
until Cluke's regiment could be brought back. If we crossed 
the river leaving that regiment on the southern side, and it did 
not succeed in crossing, or if it crossed immediately and yet 
the enemy pressed on vigorously after us, beating it to Bards- 
town — in either event it would be cut off from us, and its cap- 
ture even would be probable. No one knew whether there was 
a ford lower down at which it could cross, and all feared that if 
we retreated promptly the enemy would closely follow us. I, 
therefore, sent a message to General Morgan, informing him of 
what was decided upon, and also sent a courier to Major Bullock, 
directing him to return with the regiment as soon as possible. 

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The ground on which we were posted was favorable to the kind 
of game we were going to play. Upon each flank were thick 
woods extending for more than a mile back from the riyer. Be- 
tween these woods was a large meadow, some three hundred 
yards wide, and stretching from the river bank for six or eight 
hundred yards to a woods again in the back ground, and which 
almost united the other two. In this meadow and some two 
hundred yards from tSie river was a singular and sudden depres- 
sion like a terrace, running straight across it. Behind this the 
men who were posted in the meadow were as well protected as 
if they had been behind an earthwork. On the left the ground 
was so rugged as well as so wooded that the position there was 
almost impregnable. There was, however, no adequate protec* 
tion for the horses afforded at any point of the line except the 
extreme left. 

The Federal force advancing upon us consisted of nearly five 
thousand infantry, two thousand cavalry, and several pieces of 
artillery. This force, which, if handled vigorously and skillfully, 
if its march had even been steadily kept up, would have, in spite 
of every effort we could have made, swept us into the turbid 
river at our backs, approached cautiously and very slowly. 
Fortunate as this was for us — ^indeed, it was all that saved us-— 
the suspense yet became so sickening, as their long line tediously 
crept upon us and all around us, that I would almost have pre- 
' ferred, after an hour of it had elapsed, that Harlan had made a 
fierce attack. 

We were not idle during this advance, but the skirmisheri) 
were keeping busy in the edges of the woods on our flanks, and 
the men in the meadow were showing themselves with the most 
careful regard to an exaggerated idea being formed of their 
numbers. When the enemy reached the edge of the woods which 
fringed the southern extremity of the meadow, and had pressed 
our skirmishers out of it and away from the brick-house and its 
out-buildings, the artillery was brought up and four or five guns 
were opened upon us. Just after this fire commenced, the six- 

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SS8 nisTOET OF hobaak's oavalrt. 

pounders sent with Bollock galloped upon the ground, and a 
defiant yell a short distance to the right told that Oluke's regi- 
ment, ^^ The war-dogs/' were near at hand, I was disinclined to 
use the eix-pounders after thej came, because I knew that they 
could not effectively answer the fire of the enemy's Parrots, 
ane I wished to avoid every thing which might warm the affair 
up into a hot fight, feeling pretty certain that when that oc- 
curred, we would all, guns and men, '^go up " together. Major 
Austin, Oaptain Logan, and Captain Pendleton, commanding 
respectively detachments from the Ninth, Third, and Eighth 
Kentucky, had conducted the operations of our line up to this 
time with admirable coolness and method. 

The guns were sent across the meadow rapidly, purposely 
attracting the attention of the enemy as much as possible, to 
the upper ford. A road was cut through the rough ground for 
them, and they were crossed with all possible expedition. Cluke 
threw five companies of his regiment into line ; the rest were 
sent over the river. We now wished to cross with the entire 
fbrce that was on the southern side, but this was likely to prove 
a haaardous undertaking with an enemy so greatly out-number- 
ing us lying just in our front. A courier arrived just about this 
time from General Morgan with an order to me to withdraw. In 
common with quite a number of others, I devoutly wished I could. 
The enemy's guns — the best served of any, I think, that I ever 
saw in action — were playing havoc with the horses (four were 
killed by one shell), and actually bursting shells in the lower 
ford with such frequency as to render the crossing at it by a 
column out of the question. 

Our line was strengthened by Cluke's five companies to nearly 
eight hundred men, but when the enemy moved upon us again, 
his infantry deployed in a long line, strongly supported, with a 
skirmish line in front, all coming on with bayonets glistening, the 
guns, redoubling their fire, and the cavalry column on the right 
flank (of their line) apparently ready to pounce on us too, and 
then the river surging at our backs, my bloody I donfess, ran cold. 

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The final moment fieemed at hand when that gallant rear- 
guard mast give way and be driven into the stream, or be 
bayoneted on its banks. But not one tetix or doubt seemed to 
trouble for a moment our splendid fellows. They welcomed the 
coming attack With a glad and defiant cheer and could scarcely 
be restrained from rushing to meet it But we were saved by 
the action of the enemy. 

The advancing line was withdrawn (nnaccountably to ns) as 
soon as it had come under our fire. It did not recoil — it per- 
haps had not lost a nian. It was at once decided that a show 
of attack, upon ottf part, should be made on the center, and I 
ordered Captain Pendleton to charge upon our left, with three 
companies, and silence a battery which was annoying us very 
greatly ; under coVer of these demonstrations we had determ- 
ined to withdraw. Just after this arrangement was made, I 
was wounded in the head by the explosion of a sheU, which 
burst in a group of us true to its aim. The hiorse of my acting 
Aide-de-camp, Lieutenant Mo^eland, Was kilted by a fragment 
of it Colonel Breckinridge ftd once asstfcmed command, and 
energetically and skillfully effected the safe withdrawal of the 
entire force. Pendleton accomplished by his charge all that 
was expected. He killed several cannoneers and drove all from 
the guns, silencing them for a quarter of an hour. He, himself, 
was badly wounded by the fragment of a shell which burst 

Aided by this diversion and the ohe made upon the front, 
every thing was suddenly thrown into columns and dashed 
across the river, leaving the army on the other side cheated of 
its prey which it ought to have secured. The troops were 
gotten across the more readily because of the discovery of i- 
third ford in the rear of Cluke's position. It was accidentally 
found at the last moment. Our loss Was very slight, except in 
horses. The enemy ^d not attempt pursuit No eulogiom 
could do justice to the conduct of the men engaged in this affair 
—nothing but their perfect steadiness would have enabled any 

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840 BISTORT ov morgan's cayalrt. 

skill to hay« rescued them from the danger. Captains Pendleton, 
Logan, Page, and Hines, and Major Austin, deserved the warm* 
est praise. Cluke acted, as he did always where courage and 
soldierly conduct were required, in a manner that added to his 
reputation. Breckinridge's skill and vigor, however, were the 
chief themes of conversation and praise. 

On that night the division encamped at Bardstown. Colonel 
Chenault, on the same day, destroyed the stockade at Boston, 
and marched on after the division at Bardstown. 

Leaving that place on the 80th, the column reached Spring- 
field at 3 p. M. ^^Adam Johnson had been ordered to movB 
rapidly in advance, and attack the pickets in front of Lebanon ; 
which he had executed with such vigor as to make Colonel 
Hoskins believe he intended to attack him, and he called in a 
regiment of cavalry stationed near New Market, thereby open- 
ing the way for us to get out without a fight." 

At Springfield General Morgan learned that his situation was 
hazardous, and one that would elicit all of his great powers of 
strategy and audacity. The enemy had withdrawn the bulk of 
his troops from the Southern part of the State, and had concen- 
trated them at Lebanon, only eight miles distant from his then 
position, and right in his path. This force was nearly eight 
thousand strong and well supplied with artillery. He had also 
received intelligence that a large force was marching from Glas- 
gow to intercept him at Columbia, should he succeed in evading 
the force at Lebanon. Harlan was not so far in his rear that 
he could afford to dally. "In this emergency," ho said, "I de- 
termined to make a detour to the right of Lebanon, and by a 
night march to conceal my movements from the enemy, outstrip 
the column moving from Glasgow to Columbia, and cross the 
Cumberland before it came within striking distance." Shortly 
before midnight, therefore, on the night of the 30th, the column 
moved from Springfield, turning off from the pike on to a little, 
rarely traveled, bye-road, which passes between Lebanon and 
St. Mary's. Numerous fires were built in front of Lebanon, 

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and kept up all night to induce the belief that the division iras 
encamped there and woald attack in the morning. The night 
was intensely dark and bitterly cold, the guides were inefiScient, 
and the column floundered along blindly ; the men worn out and 
half frozen, the horses stumbling at every step — ^nothing pre- 
served organization and carried the column along but the will 
of the great Captain in the front and the unerring sagacity 
which guided him. It is common to hear men who served in 
Morgan's cavalry through all of its career of trial and hardship, 
refer to the night march around Lebanon as the most trying 
scene of their entire experience. 

Morning found the column only eight miles from Springfield, 
and two and a half from Lebanon. At that place, however, the 
garrison were drawn up, confidently expecting attack from 
another direction. By 1 P. M., of the 31st, the column reached 
the top of Muldraugh's hill, on the Lebanon and Columbia road, 
and soon after nightfall was in Campbellsville. 

Just after the column had crossed the hill, a hand-to-hand 
fight occurred between Captain Alexander Treble and Lieutenant 
George Eastin, on the one side, and Colonel Halisey, of the 
Federal cavalry, and one of the latter's Lieutenants, on the 
other. Treble and Eastin had, for some purpose, fallen behind 
the rear-guard and were chased by Halisey's regiment, which 
was following us to pick up stragglers. Being both well 
mounted, they easily kept ahead of their pursuers, until, looking 
back as they cantered down a long straight stretch in the road, 
they saw within three hundred yards, perhaps, of them, four 
men who were far in advance of the rest of the pursuers. 

Treble and Eastin were both high-strung men and they did 
not like to continue to run from that number of enemies. So 
as soon as they reached a point in the road where it suddenly 
turned, they halted a few yards from the turn. They expected 
to shoot two of the enemy as soon as they came in sight and 
thought that they would then have little trouble with the others. 
But it so happened that only two, Halisey and his Lieutenant, 

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842 HISTOBY 07 hobqan's oayalbt, 

made their appearance ; tbe ol^er two, for some reason, halted ; 
and what was stranger, Treble aad Ei^tin, although both 
practiced shots, missed their men. Their antagonists dashed 
at them and several shots were fired without effect. The 
combatants soon grappled, man to man, and fell from their 
horses. Treble forced the 'head of his man into a pool of 
water just by the side of the road and, having half drowned 
him^ accepted his surrender. Eastin mastered Halisey amd, 
putting his pistol to his head, bade him surrender. Halisey did 
so, but, still retaining his pistol, as Sastin let him arise, he fired^ 
grazing the latter's cheek, who immediately killed him. Eastiii 
brought off his saber, which he kept as a trophy. 

In Campbellsville, luckily, there was a large supply of com- 
missary stores, which were immediately issued to the division. 
Leaving early on the next morning, the 1st of January, 1863, 
the column reached Columbia at three p. H. All that day the 
roaring of artillery was distinctly heard by many men in the 
column. There was no cannonading going on — at least, in the 
volume which they declared that they heard — except at Murfreea- 
boro, far distant, where the battle between the armies of Bragg 
and Bosecrans was raging ; but it seems incredible that evea 
heavy guns could have been heard at that distance. 

Just before night fall, the column moved from Columbia aad 
marched all night — a dark, bitter night and a terrible march — 
to Burkesville. The Cumberland was crossed on the 2ad and 
the danger was over. The division then moved leisurely along, 
through Livingston, crossing Caney Fork at Sligo Ferry, and 
reached Smithville on the oth. Here it halted for several days 
to rest and recruit men and horses, both terribly used up by the 

The results of this expedition were the destruction of the 
railroads which has been described, the capture of eighteen hun* 
dred and seventy-seven prisoners, of a large number of stores^ 
arms, and government property of every description. Our lose 

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was only twenty-six in killed and wounded (only two killed), 
and sixty-four missing. 

During our absence, the sanguinary battle of Murfreesboro' 
was fought, ending in the withdrawal of Bragg to TuIIahoma, 
much, it is claimed, to the surprise of his adversary. General 
Bragg had sent officers to Morgan (who neyer reached him until 
it was too late) with instructions to him to hasten back, and at- 
tack the enemy in the rear. It was unfortunate that tlxese orders 
were not received. To do General Bragg justice, he managed 
better than almost any commander of the Confederate armies to 
usefully employ his cavalry, both in campaigns and battles. In 
the battle of Murfreesboro', he made excellent use of the cavalry 
on the field. Wharton and Buford, under command of Wheeler, 
three times made the circuit of the Federal army and were 
splendidly efficient ; at one time Wheeler was master of all be- 
tween the immediate rear of Bosecrans and Nashville. 

Perhaps Morgan's raid was delayed a little too long, as well 
as that of Forrest into Western Tennessee (undertaken about the 
same time, and in prisoners, captures of all sorts, and interrup* 
tion of the enemy's communications, as successful as Morgan's) ; 
but these expeditions drew off and kept employed a large num* 
ber of troops whose presence in the great battle would have 
vastly aided Rosecrans. 

The Confederate Congress thought this expedition worthy of 
recognition and compliment, and passed a joint resolution of 
thanks, as follows : 

^^Besolved hy the C(mgre%% of the Confederate Statee of America : 
That the thanks of Congress are due, and are hereby tendered to 
Gen. John H. Morgan, and the officers and men of his command, 
for their varied, heroic, and invaluable services in Tennessee 
and Kentucky, immediately preceding the battle before Mur- 
freesboro' — services which have conferred upon their authors 
fame as enduring as the records of the struggle which they have 
so .brilliantly illustrated. Approved May 17, 18B3." 

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After the battle of Murfrcesboro » and the retreat of the 
army to Tullahoma, at which place General Bragg's headquar- 
ters were established, the infantry went into winter quarters, 
and General Bragg protected the front and flanks of his army 
with the fine cavalry corps of Van Dom and Wheeler. The 
former was assigned to the left, making headquarters at Col- 
umbia, and guarding the lines far to the west, while Wheeler 
had the right. This latter corps was composed of the divisions 
of Morgan, Wharton, and Martin. 

Although the armies were idle for months after this disposi- 
tion was made, the cavalry was never so. General Wheeler 
had been placed in command of his corps by General Bragg, 
probably more on account of the dislike entertained by the lat- 
ter to certain other officers, than because of the partiality he felt 
for him. The reputation of this officer, although deservedly 
high, hardly entitled him to command some of the men who 
were ordered to report to him. He became subsequently a 
much abler commander than he was at the time of his prefer- 
ment, but he always exhibited some very high qualities. He 
was vigilant and energetic, thoroughly instructed in the duties 
of his profession, and perfectly conversant with the elaborate 
details of organization and military business. While he did not 
display the originality and the instinctive strategical sagacity 
which characterized Morgan and Forrest, he was perhaps bet- 
ter fitted than either for the duties which devolve upon the com- 
mander of large bodies of cavalry, permanently attached to the 
army and required to conform, in all respects, to its move- 
ments and necessities. 

Thus, it was often said of him, that ^'he is not a good raider, 

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but there is no better man to watch the front of the army." 
General Wheeler possessed in an eminent degree, all of the at- 
tributes of the gentleman. He was brave as a Paladin, just, high* 
toned, and exceedingly courteous. He was full of fire and 
enterprise, but, while thoroughly impressed with the necessity 
of order and discipline, was singularly unfortunate in maintain- 
ing them — perhaps, because he did not keep strict enough role 
with his officers immediately next him in rank. He labored 
under great disadvantages, on account of the violent and unjust 
prejudices excited against him by General Bragg's preference 
for him and his rapid promotion. General Morgan said to him, 
when first ordered to report to him, that he (Morgan), had 
wished to be left free, acting independently of all orders except 
from the Commander-in-Chief, but that since he was to be subor- 
dinate to a corps commander, he would prefer him to any other. 
General Morgan always entertained this opinion, and I hare 
reason to believe that General Wheeler reluctantly assumed 
command of his division. 

The history of the command, for the winter of 1868, properly 
commences at the date of the return from the raid into Eea* 
tucky, described in the last chapter. The entire division reached 
Smith ville upon the 4th of January, and remained in the vicinity 
of that little town and at Sligo ferry until the 14th. Upon the 
14th, the division was marched to McMinnville, and encamped 
around that place — where General Morgan's headquarters were 
then established. The first brigade lay between McMinnville 
and Woodbury, at which latter point Lieutenant Colonel Hutchin- 
son was stationed with the Second Kentucky. The weather was 
intensely cold, and all of the men who were unprovided with the 
means of adequately sheltering themselves, suffered severely^ 
Their ingenuity was taxed to the utmost to supply the lack of 
cooking utensils, and it frequently happened that they had very 
little to cook. 

Fortunately, a great many blankets had been obtained upon 
the last raid, and almost every man had gotten a gum cloth- 

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Tliese latter vere stretched over the rail shanties which each 
meas would put up; aud thus covered the slopiog^ shed- like 
structures (built of the fence rails), made very tolerable substi- 
tutes for tents, and with the help of the rousing fires, which were 
built at the front of them, were by. no means uncomfortable. 
Very little system was observed in the '^ laying out" of the en- 
campment — men and horses were all huddled together, for the 
men did not fancy any arrangement which separated them by the 
slightest distance from their horses, and the latter were always 
tied close to the lairs of their masters. 

Notwithstanding the lack of method and the apparently inex- 
tricable confusion of these camps, their inmates could be gotten 
under arms and formed in line of battle, with a celerity that 
would have appeared marvelous to the uninitiated. 

Colonel Ghenault was ordered, in the latter part of January, 
to Clinton county, Kentucky, to picket against a dash of the 
enemy from that direction. On the 23rd of January, Colonel 
Breckinridge was ordered to move to Liberty, eleven miles from 
Smithville and about thirty from McMinnville, with three regi- 
ments — ^the Third Kentucky, under Lieutenant Colonel Huffman, 
the Ninth Kentucky, under Lieutenant Colonel Stoncr, and the 
Ninth Tennessee, under Colonel Ward, who had come to the 
command of it after Colonel Bennett's death. Colonel Adam 
B. Johnson was already in the vicinity of that place with his re- 
giment, the Tenth Kentucky. Captain Quirk preceded these 
regiments with his company, and shortly after his arrival at 
Liberty and before he could be supported, he was driven away 
by the enemy. He returned next mornjng, the enemy having 
retreated. The three regiments, under Colonel Breckinridge, 
occupied the country immediately in front of Liberly, picketing 
all of the roads thoroughly. The enemy were in the. habit of 
sending out strong foraging parties from Beadyville toward 
Woodbury, and frequent skirmishes occurred between them and 
Hutchinson's scouts. 

Upon one occasion, Hutchinson, with less than one hundred 

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men, attacked one of these parties, defeating it with smart loss, 
and taking nearly two hundred prisoners and forty or fiftj 
wagons. For this he was complimented in general orders from 
army headquarters. It led, however, in all probability, to dis- 
astrous consequences, by inducing the enemy to employ many 
more troops in that quai-ter than he would otherwise have sent 
there. This affair occurred a short time previously to the occu- 
pation of Liberty by the force under Colonel Breckinridge, and 
a much brisker condition of affairs began to prevail all along the 
line. Rosecrans was determined to make his superior numbers 
tell, at least, in the immediate vicinity of his army. He inaugu- 
rated a system, about this time, which resulfed in the decided 
improvement of his cavalry. He would send out a. body of 
cavalry, stronger. than any thing it was likely to encounter, and 
that it might never be demoralized by a complete whipping, he 
would back it by an infantry force, never far in die rear, and 
always ready to finish the fight which the cavalry began. This 
method benefited the latter greatly. On the 24th, the Second 
Kentucky was attacked at Woodbury by a heavy force of the 
enemy, and a gallant fight ensued, ending by an unhappy loss for 
us, in the death of Lieutenant Colonel Hutchinson. 

From various causes the regiment had become much depicted, 
and on this day it was reduced (by the sending off of detach- 
ments for necessary duties), to less than four hundred men. 
The enemy advanced, over three thousand strong, principally 
infantry, but Hutchinson determined not to give up his position 
without a hard fight. He posted his men advantageously upon 
the brow of a hill in front of the village, sheltering a portion of 
his line behind a stone wall. The enemy preceded his attack 
with a smart fire of artillery, to which Hutchinson could make 
no reply, but was forced to take it patiently. But when the 
infantry moved up and came within range of our riflemen, the 
tables were (for a little while) completely turned, and they fell 
fast under a fire that rarely failed to do deadly execution. The 
unequal contest lasted more than an hour ; during that time the 

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Stone wall was carried by the enemy, but was retaken by Cap- 
tain Treble and Lieutenant Lea, charging at the head of their 
gallant companies. Much as he needed men, Hutchinson kept 
one of his companies idle and out of the fight, but, nevertheless, 
producing an effect upon the enemy. He caused Captain Cooper 
to show the head of his company, just upon the brow of the bill, 
so that the enemy could see it but could not judge correctly of 
its strength, and might possibly think it a strong reserve. 

Constantly exposed to the fire of artillery and small arms 
throughout the fight, this company never flinched, nor moved 
from its position until it was ordered to cover the retrjcat. Then 
it filed to the left, as if moving to take the enemy in flank, and 
when the column had passed, wheeled into the rear, under cover 
of the hill. Colonel Hutchinson, at length, yielded to the con- 
Tiotion that he could not hold his ground against such odds. 
The arrival of a fresh company enabled him to retreat with 
greater security, and he ordered the line to retire. A portion 
of it was pressed hard as it did so, and he rode to the point of 
danger to encourage the men by his presence. He had exposed 
himself during the action with even more than his usual reckless- 
ness, but with impunity. Just as all seemed over, however, and 
he was laughing gleefully at his successful withdrawal, a ball 
struck him upon the temple, and he fell dead from his horse. 
Lieutenant Charles Allen, the gallant acting Adjutant of the re- 
giment, and Charles Haddox (his orderly), threw his body upon 
his horse and carried it off(under the hot fire. 

Captain Castleman at once assumed command, and successfully 
conducted the retreat. The supply of ammunition entirely gave 
out just after the retreat was commenced. 

Lieutenant Colonel Hutchinson was, beyond all comparison, 
the best field officer in Morgan's division, and indeed that I ever 
saw. Had he lived and been placed in situations favorable to 
the development of his talent, he would, I firmly believe, have 
become competent to any command. He had more natural mil- 
itary aptitude, was more instinctively the soldier, than any man 

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850 BISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

I have ever known. He did not exhibit a marked partiality and 
gift for a particular class of military duties, so much as a cft* 
pacity and fitness for all. He could make himself thorough in 
every thing which the seryice required. AH that a soldier ought 
to know, he seemed to learn easily— all the proper feelings of a 
soldier seemed his natural impulses. General Morgan felt a 
warm and manly admiration for him, and reposed an implicit 
confidence in his character and ability. His brother officers 
loved to enhance his reputation, his men idolised him. Hutch- 
inson had the frank generous temper, and straight forward, al- 
though shrewd, disposition which wins popularity with soldiers. 
While watchful and strict in his discipline, he was kind to his 
men, careful of their wants, and invariably shared their fare, 
whatever it might be. He was bom to be a soldier and to 
rank high among soldiers. He loved the excitement of the game 
of war. He loved honor, as a western man loves the free air 
of the prairies — it was his natural element. It may seem to the 
general reader that I have extravagantly eulogised him, but his 
old comrades will, perhaps, think that I have said too little. 
When killed he was barely twenty-four, but the effects of ex- 
posure and the thoughtful expression of his eye made him ap- 
pear several years older. His great sise and erect, soldierly 
bearing made him a conspicuous figure at all times, and in battle 
he was superb. Taller than all around him, his form, of im* 
mense muscular power, dilated with stern excitement — ^always 
in the van — he looked, as he sat upon his colossal grayx)harger, 
like some champion of an age when one man could stay the 
march of armies. There was some thing in his look which told 
his daring nature. His aquiline features, dark glittering eye, 
dose cropped black hair, and head like a hawk's, erect and alert, 
indicated intense energy and invincible courage. Hutchinson's 
death cast a deep gloom over his regiment and (as Major Bowles, 
who then became Lieutenant Colonel, was absent when it oc- 
curred) an unfortunate quarrel broke out between two of the 
officers respecting seniority and the right to command it. This 

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qoarrel was espoused bj their respective friends, and a state 
of feeling was induced which greatly impaired the efficiency of 
the regiment, until it was settled by the appointment of Captain 
Webber to the Majority. Webber had nothing to do with the 
dispute, but a committee appointed by Greneral Morgan to inves- 
tigate and decide the claims of all the Captains to seniority, pro- 
nounced him senior to both the contestants. 

On the Mthof February, Colonel Cluke was sent into Eastern 
and Central Kentucky, for purposes which will be explained in 
the account which will be given of his operations. He took 
with him his own regiment, two companies under Major Steele — 
Company A, of the Second, and Companies C and I of the Third 
Kentucky — and about seventy men of the Ninth Kentucky 
under Lieutenant Colonel Stoner. 

These detachments weakened the effective strength of the 
command at a time when it was engaged in service which tasked 
its energies to the utmost That portion of ^^ the front " which 
General Morgan was expected to protect, may be described 'as 
extending from Woodbury, in Tennessee, to Wayne county, in 
Kentucky, in an irregular curved line more than one hundred 
and twenty miles in length. It was exceedingly important that 
this entire line should be well picketed and closely watched, but 
it was necessary to give especial attention to that section of it 
in Tennessee (which was immediately confronted by formidable 
numbers of the enemy) and here, consequently, the greater part 
of the division was employed. 

While it was necessary to keep strict ward at Woodbury, upon 
the left flank of this line, and a force adequate to the thorough 
picketing and scouting of that region was always kept there-— 
the chief interest centered at Liberty, for here the efforts of the 
enemy to break the line and drive back the forces guarding it, 
were most frequently and energetically directed. / This little 
hamlet is situated twenty-nine miles from Murfreesboro', by the 
turnpike, and almost due Northeast of it. A line drawn from 
Carthage to Woodbury would pass through Liberty, and the 

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latter is distant some eighteen miles from each. Carthage is a 
little east of north, Woodbarj a little west of south, from 
Liberty. About twenty-one or two miles from Liberty, and 
west of south, is Ready ville — where was stationed at the time 
of which I write, a strong Federal force. Beadyville is ten 
miles from Murfreesboro', and about the same distance north- 
west of Woodbury. Lebanon, twenty-six miles from Liberty 
by the turnpike which runs through Alexandria, and northwest 
of it, was at this time, permanently occupied by neither side, 
but both Federal and Confederate troops occasionally held it. 
Oairthage, far upon the flank and virtually in the rear of the 
forces at Liberty, was occupied by a Federal garrison, which 
varied in strength, as the plans of the Federal Generals required. 
It could be reinforced and supplied from Nashville by the river, 
upon which it is situated, and it was well fortified. 

A direct advance upon Liberty from Murfreesboro' promised 
nothing to the attacking party but a fight in which superior 
numbers might enable it to dislodge the Confederates, and force 
them to retreat to Smithville; thence, if pressed, to McMinn- 
ville or Sparta. If such a movement were seconded by a co- 
operative one from Carthage, the efiect would be only to hasten 
the retreat, for the country between Carthage and Smithville is 
too rugged for troops to traverse it with ease and dispatch, and 
they would necessarily have to march directly to Liberty, or to 
a point but a very short distance to the east of it. It may be 
stated generally that the result would be the same were an ad- 
vance made upon Liberty by any or all of the routes coming m 
upon the front, and the enemy at Carthage was dangerous only 
when the Confederates exposed their rear by an imprudent ad- 
vance. A rapid march through Woodbury upon McMinnville 
might bring the enemy at any time entirely between Liberty 
I and the army at Tullahoma, or if he turned and marched through 
Mechanicsville, dash and celerity might enable him to cut off 
the force at Liberty entirely. 

When ili is remembered that about the only point of import- 

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anoe outside of Murfreesboro' and Nashville, and short of the 
line I have described (with the exception of , Lebanon), whether 
north or south of the river, was oecupied by a Federal garrison 
large enough to undertake the offensive, and that the country 
was traced in every direction by innumerable practicable roads, 
it will be clear that sleepless vigilance and the soundest judg- 
ment were necessary to the protection of the Confederate forces 
stationed in it. The three regiments encamped in the vicinity 
of Liberty numbered about one thousand effectives, and the other 
regiments under Colonel Gano, including all which were not de- 
tached in Kentucky, under Colonels Cluke and Chenault, were 
posted in the neighborhood of Woodbury and McMinnville, and 
were about the same aggregate strength. 

During the latter part of January tfnd in February and March, 
the entire command was kept constantly and busily employed. 
Scouts and expeditions of aJl kinds — dashes at the enemy and 
fights between reconnoitering parties were of almost daily oc* 
purrence, and when Colonels Gano and Breckinridge were not 
harassing the enemy, they were recipients of like attention, from 
him. Perhaps no period in the history of Morgan's cavalry of 
equal duration can be cited, in which more exciting and ar- 
doous service was performed. I regret that my absence from 
it at that time, and consequent want of familiarity with these 
events, renders it impossible that I shall describe them with the 
minuteness and accuracy which belong only to the personal ob- 
server. It has been said, in allusion to this period and the ac- 
tion then of Morgan's command, ^^ If all the events of that winter 
could be told, it would form a book of daring personal adven- 
tures, of patient endurance, of great and continued hardship, 
and heroic resistance against fearful odds." The narration of 
these scenes in the simple language of the men who were actors 
in them, the description by the private soldiers of what they 
dared then, and endured, the recital of men (unconsciously tell- 
ing their own heroism) would be the proper record of these stir- 
ring and memorable months. They conld tell how, worn out 

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with dajs and nights of toil, the brief repose was at length wel- 
come with so much joj. Frequently the rain and sleet would 
beat in their faces as they slept, and the ice would thicken in 
their very beds. Happy were the men who had blankets in 
which to wrap their limbs, other than those which protected 
their horses' backs from the saddle. Thrice lucky those who 
could find something to eat when they lay down, and another 
meid when they arose. It oftenest happened that before the 
chill, bleak winter's day had broken, the bugle aroused them 
from comfortless bivouacs, to mount, half frozen and shivering, 
'upon their stiff and tired horses and, faint and hungry, ride 
miles to attack a foe, or contest against ten-fold odds every foot 
of his advance. 

Some of the personal adventures, so frequent at that time, 
will perhaps be found interesting. An expedition undertaken 
by Greneral Morgan himself, but, unlike most of those in which 
he personally commanded, unsuccessful, is thus related : '^ Upon 
January 29th, General Morgan, accompanied by Major Steele, 
Captain Gassell, and a few men, came to Liberty to execute a dan- 
gerous plan. It was to take fifty picked men, dressed in blue 
coats, into Nashville, burn the eommissary stores there, and in the 
confusion of the fire, make their escape. He had an order written, 
purporting to be from General Eosecrans, to Captain Johnson, 
Fifth Kentucky cavalry, to proceed from Murfreesboro' to Leb- 
•anon, thence to Nashville, arrest all stragglers, make all discov- 
eries, etc. I can not recollect now from what commands the 
fifty men were selected, but know that Steele, Cassell, and Qairk 
w«nt along. The plan was frustrated by an accident. As Gen- 
jcral Morgan rode up to Stewart's ferry, over Stone river, a 
Captain of a Michigan regiment, with some twenty men, rode 
up to the other side. Morgan immediately advanced a few feet 
in front of his command, touched his hat, and said, ^^ Captain, 
what is the news in Nashville ?" 

Federal Captain — "Who are you?" 

^^ Captain Johnson, Fifth Kentucky Cavalry, just from Mur- 

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freesboro'y ma Lebanon, going to NaBhville by General Rose- 

crans' order — what is your regiment?" " Michigan/* 

Morgan then asked: "Are you going farther?" — "No." 
"Have you any news of Morgan ?" With perfect self posses- 
sion Morgan answered: "His cavalry are at Liberty — none 
closer." He then said to Quirk : " Sergeant, carry as many 
men over at a load as possible, and we will swim the horses. It 
is too late to attempt to ferry them over." 

" The Michigan Captain started to move on when Ikforgan asked 
him to wait and they would ride to Nashville together. When 
he consented, most of his men got down and tried to warm 
themselves by walking, jumping, etc. Quirk pushed across with 
about a dozen men, reached the bank, and started the boat back; 
unfortunately, as his men climbed the bank, their gray pants 
showed, the Michiganders became alarmed, and Quirk had to 
attack forthwith. The Captain and some fifteen men surren- 
rendered immediately ; the remainder escaped and ran to Nash- 
ville, giving the alarm. Morgan declared that if he had succeeded 
in capturing them all, he would have gone immediately into 
Nashville. Those who knew him best, will most readily believe 
it." A short time after the fight at Woodbury, Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Bowles, with the greater part of the Second Kentucky, and 
supported by a battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Malone 
(Alabama), engaged a large force of the enemy at Brady ville. 
Attacking the advance-guard of this force (before he became 
aware of the strength of the main body). Colonel Bowles drove 
it in confusion and rout, into the town, and even forced back 
for some distance (so impetuous was his charge), the regiments 
sent to its support. 

In reckless, crushing attack. Colonel Bowles had no superior 
among the officers of the division. His dauntless and rash 
bravery gave great weight to a charge, but, unludcily, he was 
perfectly indifi'erent about the strength of the enemy whom he 
charged. On this occasion greatly superior forces closed in on 
hotik flanks of his command, and a part of the enemy driving 

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away Malone's battalion, gained his rear before he could diaen^ 
tangle himself. Quick fighting and fast running alone aayed the 
regiment, but it was a " hard party" to capture, and it got away 
with a very slight loss in prisoners. Several men in the extreme 
rear were sabered, but, of course, not killed. One man of Com- 
pany K, who had an axe strapped on his back, was collared by 
a Federal Captain, who struck him on the head with his saber. 
The ^'old regular" deliberately unstrapped his axe, and with 
one fierce Uqw shivered his assailant's skull. 

The sloughs and mud holes were frequent and deep. Some 
of the men declared that they would ^ dive out of sight at One 
end of them and come up at the othter.'' Lieutenant Colonels 
Huffman and Martin were especially enterprising during the 
early part of February, in the favorite feat of wagon catching, 
aAd each attacked with success and profit large foraging parties 
of the enemy. They some times ran into more difficult situa* 
tions than they had bargained for, and it must be recorded that 
each had, on more than one occasion, to beat a hasty and not al- 
together orderly retreat. But these mishaps, invariably repaired 
by increased vigor and daring, served only to show that officers 
and men possessed one of the rarest of soldierly qualities, the 
capacity to receive a beating and suffer no demoralization from 
it I have heard an incident of one of these dashes of Martin, 
related and vouched for by reliable men who witnessed it, which 
ought to be preserved. Martin had penetrated with a small 
force into the neighborhood of Murfreesboro', and upon his re* 
turn was forced to cut his way through a body of the enemy's 
cavalry. He charged vigorously, and a melee ensued, in which 
the combatants were mixed all together. In this confused hand- 
to-hand fight, Captain Bennett (a dashing young officer, whose 
coolness, great strength and quickness had made him very suo- 
oessful and celebrated in such encounters), was confronted by 
an opponent who leveled a pistol at his head, and at the same 
time Bennett saw one of the men of his company just about to 
be shot or sabered by another one of the enemy. Bending low 

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in hiB saddle to avoid the shot aimed at himself, Captain Bennett 
fini shot the assailant of his follower and then killed his own 
foe. Upon one occasion, Captain Quirk in* one of his many 
daring scouts got into a "tight place,'' which is thus briefly nar- 
rated by one familiar with the affair : 

** On the same day, Captains Quirk and Davis (the latter of 
South Carolina), Colonel Breckinridge's aide, started for a sort 
of fancy trip toward Black*s shop. Below Auburn they met 
Federal cavalry and charged ; the enemy had prepared an am* 
buscade, which Quirk's men saw in time to avoid — ^but not so 
Quirk, Davis and Tom Murphy, who being splendidly mounted, 
were ahead. Into it, through it they went. Quirk unhurt- 
Davis wounded and captured, and Tom Murphy escaping with 
what he described *a hell of a jolt,* with the butt of a nmsket in 
the stomach. Davis some how managed to escape, and reached 
our lines in safety, but with a severe flesh wound in the thigh.'* 
Captain Davis became afterward Assistant Adjutant General of 
the first brigade. 

The following report of what was justly entitled "one of the 
most dashing and brillant sc(5uts of the war,'* will give an idea 
of how^ this force, so small and so constantly pressed, yet 
managed to assume the offensive, and of how far it would strike : 


lAberiyj Tennesseey March 8, 1868. 
Colonel William C. P. Breckinridge, commanding 2nd Brig- 
ade, General Morgan's Division, Sir : Having been detailed 
with a detachment of thirteen men and one Lieutenant, J. M. 
Porter, of xny company, to proceed to Kentucky, south of Bar- 
ren river, for the purpose of destroying the Federal transports 
from plying between Bowlinggreen, Kentucky, and Evansville, 
Indiana, I have the honor of submitting my report. The de- 
tachment left this point at twelve o'clock, February 7th; on 
the evening of the 8th, crossed the Cumberland river at Gran- 

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858 BISTORT ov morqan's cavalry. 

ville, Tennessee. The night of the 11th, reached the yicinity 
of Bowlinggreen, but unfortunately our presence, force and de- 
sign becoming kncyvrn to the Federal authorities by the capture 
of Doctor Samuel Garvin, who had volunteered to accompany 
us, we were under the necessity of altering materially the plaa 
of operations. We disbanded to meet on the night of the 20th, 
twelve miles south of Bowlinggreen. On the morning of the 
2l8t, we burned the depot and three oars at South Union, on 
the Louisville and Memphis railroad, all stored with Federal 
property. At 12 o'clock, M., on the 25th, captured the steamer 
^^ Hettie Gilmore," in the employ of the Federal Government, 
and heavily laden with stores for the Army of the Cumberland, 
all of which we destroyed, paroling the boat. Made a circuit 
of forty miles, destroyed a train of twenty-one cars and an en- 
gine at Woodburn, on the Louisville and Nashville railroad, at 
6 o'clock, P. M., February 26th^ The whole amount of Federal 
property destroyed on the 21st, 25th and 26th, inclusive, can 
not fall short of half a million of dollars. In conclusion, Col- 
onel, we have been twenty-one days, one hundred and fifty miles 
within the enemy's lines, traveled in thirty-six hours one hun- 
dred miles, injured the Federal Government half a million dol- 
lars, caused him to collect troops at points heretofore unprotected, 
thereby weakening his force in front of our army. After de- 
stroying the train at Woodburn, and being closely pursue^ by 
the enemy, we swam an angry little stream known as Drake's 
creek, in which attempt Corporal L. H. McKinney was washed 
from his horse and drowned. He was indeed a gallant soldier 
and much beloved by his comrades. Too much praise can not 
be given to Lieutenant Porter and the brave, true men who ac- 
companied me on this trip, bearing all the fatigue alid danger 
incident to such a scout without a murmur. I have the honor 
to be with great respect. Your obedient servant, 

T. Henry Hikes, Capt. Comd'g Scouts. 

Sometime during February two fine regiments, the Fifth and 

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Sixth Eentncky were added to the division. These regiments 
were commanded respectively, by Colonels D. H. Smith and 
Warren Grigsby. They had been recruited while General 
Bragg occupied Kentucky, for Buford's brigade, but upon the 
dissolution of that organization they were assigned at the request 
of their Colonels, to General Morgan's command. The material 
composing them was of the first order and their officers were 
aealous and efficient. 

Sometime in the same month an order was issued from army 
headquarters, regularly brigading Morgan's command. The 
Second, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Kentucky and Ninth Tennessee, 
were placed in one brigade, the first. The Third, Eighth, Elev- 
enth and Tenth Kentucky, composed the second brigade. Col- 
onels Smith and Grigsby were both the seniors of the other 
Colonels of the first brigade, but each refused to take command^ 
on account of their recent attachment to the command, and 
Colonel Breckinridge was assigned to the temporary command 
of it. Colonel Adam Johnson was senior Colonel of the division, 
but was absent during the greater part of the winter, and Col- 
onel Gano took command of the second brigade. The regi- 
ments, however, were so disposed and scattered, that the brig- 
ades were not practically organized for some time after the order 
was issued. 

The history of the Ninth Tennessee regiment illustrates 
how much can be done by the efibrts of an intelligent, zealous 
and firm officer, however discouraging may appear the prospect 
when he undertakes reforms. The men of this regiment, re- 
cruited principally in Sumner and Smith counties of Middle 
Tennessee, were capable, as the result showed, of being made 
excellent soldiers, but their training had commenced under the 
most inauspicious circumstances. They were collected together 
(as has been previously related) in August, 1862, in a camp at 
Hartsville, and their organization was partially effected in the 
neighborhood of a strong enemy, while they were entirely with- 
out arms or any support and protecting force. Several times 

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daring this period, they were attacked by the enemy and scat* 
tered in all directions — the fact that they always reassembled 
promptly demonstrating their excellent character. 

When General Morgan retomed from Kentucky, this regiment 
joined him at Gallatin. Its commander^ Colonel Bennett, was 
deservedly popular for many genial and noble qualities. He 
was high minded, brave and generous, but neglected to enforce 
discipline among his men, and his regiment was utterly without 
it. Upon his death, Colonel William Ward succeeded to the 
command, and a marked change and improvement was at once 
perceptible. He instituted a far stricter discipline, and enforced 
it rigidly ; he constantly drilled and instructed his men, and re- 
quiring a higher standard of efficiency in the officers, greatly 
improved them. At the same time he exercised the utmost care 
and industry in providing for all the wants of his regiment. In 
a very short time, the Ninth became, in all respects, the equal 
of any regiment in Morgan's division. 

Colonel Ward's first exploit, with his regiment thus reformed, 
was to attack and completely defeat a foraging party, capturing 
several wagons and seventy-five prisoners. He then performed, 
with great ability, a very important duty, that of harassing 
General Crook's command, which had been stationed opposite 
Carthage, on the south side of the Cumberland. Colonel Ward, 
avoiding close battle, annoyed and skirmished with this force 
80 constantly, that it never did any damage, and finally recrossed 
the river. From this time, the Ninth Tennessee did its fair 
share of dashing and successful service. 

But some account should be given of the operations of Colonel 
Chenault, in Clinton and Wayne counties, Kentucky, and of 
Colonel Clnke, in the interior of the State. I can best describe 
the service of the first named of these commands by copying, 
verbatim^ from the diary of a gallant field officer of the regiment 
He says : ^^The regiment started" (January 15th) ^^in a pelting 
rain for Albany, Kentucky — we marched through mud, rain 
and snow for five days, swimming both Collins and Obie rivers, 

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and reached Albany on the morning of the 22d of Januarj, 
186 , all much exhausted, and many men dismounted. We find 
Albany a deserted village. It was once a flourishing village of 
five hundred inhabitants, and is the county seat of Clinton 
county. It is now tenantless and deserted, store houses, hotel, 
lawyers' offices, churches, dwelling houses and court house un- 
occupied and going to decay. Where was once joy, peace, 
prosperity and busy bustling trade, wicked war has left nought 
but desolation, ruin and solitude. We camped in the town, and 
were surrounded with a country teeming with good rations and 
abundance of forage. 

^^January 24th. With one hundred men I went on a scout to 
Monticello, distant twenty-five miles from Albany, drove a 
Yankee company, commanded by Captain Hare, out of Monti- 
cello and across the Cumberland river — captured two prisoners. 
From this date until the 15th February, we scouted and picketed 
the roads in every direction, and had good rations and forage, 
with comfortable quarters, but heavy duty, the whole regiment 
being on duty every two days. ^Tinker Dave' annoyed us so 
much that we had to establish a chain picket every night around 
the entire town. Colonel Jacob's Yankee regiment is at Creels- 
boro', twelve miles distant, and Woolford's brigade is at Burkes- 
viUe, fourteen miles distant. Our little regiment is one hun- 
dred and twenty miles from support, and it is only by vigilance 
and activity that we can save ourselves. An order was received 
yesterday from the War Department forever fixing our destiny 
with Morgan. 

^* Learning from newspapers, that our scouts brought in, that 
Woolford would make a speech in Burkesville on the 12th day 
of February, I started from Albany, with two companies, early 
that morning, and forming my men behind a hill, I watched 
from the bushes near the riven ike assembling of the crowd at 
the court house. At 1 o'clock the bell rang. A short time 
before that, the guard at the ferry, in four hundred yards of the 
court house, composed almost entirely of soldiers, and after 

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862 HISTORY OF morgan's cayalbt. 

speaking oommenced I charged on foot to a school house im- 
mediately on the banks of the rirer, and from there drove the 
pickets, that had dismounted, away from their horses, and also 
broke up the speaking in tremendous disorder. We killed a 
number of horses, and the killed and wounded among the Yankees 
were seven. The boys christened the school house Fort 
McCreary, but it did not last long, for the night after we left 
the Yankees crossed the riyer and burned it. 

" February 19th. Colonel Cluke passed within a few miles of 
us, and sent an order from General Morgan for two companies. 
Companies D and E, Captains Dickens and Terrill, were sent 

^' March 4th. By order of General Morgan I moved with three 
companies from Albany to Monticello to-day ; am camping in 
the town. The citizens are hospitable and polite. Woolford, 
with a very large force, is around Somerset. I am kept very 
busy picketing and scouting ; it is General Morgan's object to 
occupy all the country this side of the Cumberland until Cluke's 
return from Kentucky. 

*' March 10th. To-day the balance of the regiment under 
Colonel Chenault arrived at Monticello. We have raised one 
company of new recruits since coming to Kentucky. 

^ March 20th. I crossed Cumberland river with twenty*az 
men last night in a horse trough, and then marched on foot two 
miles to capture a Yankee picket. The force at the picket base 
fled, but I captured two videUes stationed at the river. The 
trip was very severe. I lost one man. I 

*^ April 1st. General Pegram's brigade arrived to-day en j 
route for Kentucky on a raid. The brain fever has killed seven- I 

teen of our regiment up to this date, among them Captain 
Sparr and Lieutenant Covington. 

^April 11th. Pegram captured Somerset, and moved on to 
Danville, and thence commenced his retreat ; was compelled to 
fight at Somerset and was defeated ; Colonel Chenault moved 

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oar regiment to the river and helped him to cross. His forces 
were mnch scattered, and many were captured. 

"April 8th. Oluke returned to-day from Kentucky ; the two 
companies that went from this regiment were much injured. 
What is left reported to-day. Captain Terrill and Lieutenant 
Maupin both severely wounded at the Mt. Sterling fight, and left 

^' April 29th. River being fordable, the enemy crossed in 
heavy force both at Mill Springs and mouth of Greasy Creek. 
Tucker met them on Mill Spring road, and I met them on Greasy 
Greek road ; Chenault with part of the regiment remained at 
Monticello. The enemy was in large force, and we were com- 
pelled to evacuate Monticello at eleven o'clock to-night, and fell 
back in the direction of Travisville. Finding on the Ist day of 
May that the enemy was not pressing us, we returned to Mon- 
ticello, and skirmished heavily with him ; reinforcements to the 
enemy having arrived, we were compelled to fall back to the 
Obie River." 

The " brain fever," to which the writer alluded, was a very 
singular disease. The patient attacked with it sufiered with a 
terrible pain in the back of the head and along the spine ; the 
extremities soon became cold, and the patient sank into torpor. 
It was generally fatal in a few hours. I recollect to have heard 
of no recovery from it. 

As has already been mentioned, Colonel Clnke was dispatched 
to Central Kentucky on the 4th of February. The force under 
his command, in all seven hundred and fifty effectives, was his 
own regiment, the Bighth Kentucky, under the immediate com- 
mand of Major Robert S. Bullock, seventy-eight men of the 
Ninth Kentucky and two companies of the Eleventh, under com* 
mand of Lieut. -Colonel Robert G. Stoner— entitled the First Bat- 
t^ion ; and two Companies C and I, of the Third Kentucky, and 
Company A, of the Second Kentucky, under command of Major 
Theophilus Steele— styled the Second Battaliof. The two 
mountain howitzers ('' Bull Pups ") were also attached to his 

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commandy.under charge of Lieatenant C. 0. Gorbett. This force 
was ably officered, every company having excellent commanders. 
Colonel Glake was supplied also with an efficient staff, Captains 
C. G. and C. H. Morgan (of the General's own staff) accompanied 
him. Lieutenant Moreland (a staff officer of the first brigade) 
attended him as aide, and was eminently fitted (on account 
of his earnest and serious turn of mind) to act as adviser in 
an expedition wherein so many delicate and difficult questions 
might arise for solution, although his extreme gravity of temper 
and taciturn manner made the younger and more mercurial 
officers of the staff somewhat impatient of his society. 

Colonel Cluke had no officer regularly detailed as A. A. A. 
General. Sergeant Lawrence Diokerson, clerk of the Adjutant's 
office of the first brigade, and thoroughly competent, performed 
all the duties of one. 

The advance guard was commanded by Lieutenant Shuck of 
the Eighth Kentucky, and the scouts were commanded by 
Lieutenant Hopkins, of the Second, and Lieutenant S. P. Cun- 
ningham, of the Eighth. One hundred rounds of ammunition 
and six days' rations were issued to the men upon the morning 
that the command marched. The weather was inclement and 
intensely cold, when this expedition was commenced. A maach 
through sleet, rain, and snow, and over terrible roads, brought 
Colonel Cluke to the Cumberland river on the evening of the 
18th. Lieut.-Golonel Stoner and Lieutenant Hopkins crossed 
the river, with a few men, in a canoe, surprised and captured 
the Federal pickets posted to guard the ferry, at which Colonel 
Cluke wished to cross, and brought over flatboats and a coal 
barge, by means of which the entire command was crossed, the 
horses being made to swim. So bitter was the cold that eight 
horses chilled to death immediately upon emerging from the 

On the 19th the column reached Somerset. A strong force 
of the eneroy^ad been stationed there, but fell back to Danville 
on learning of Colonel Clnke's approach. The greater part of 

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the stores collected there fell into duke's hands. Pressing on, 
Olttke compelled the surrender of a detachment of Federal troops 
at Mt. Vernon, and did not halt until within fifteen miles of 
Riohmond. Wretched roads and a blinding snow storm ren- 
dered this march harassing and tedious. The scouts moved to 
within ten miles of Richmond, and Lieutenant Hopkins halting 
with a portion of them, Lieutenant Cunningham went on three 
miles further with eight men. He found a picket post of the 
enemy, where four videttes were stationed. He answered their 
challenge by declaring himself and party friends, and, advancing 
to the post, pursuaded the Federals that they were an advance 
party of Woolford's regiment, which they represented to be re* 
taming from Tennessee to Kentucky to assist in repelling an 
anticipated raid. Lieutenant Cunningham stated that all the 
Tarious Federal forces in that region were to be immediately 
concentrated at Lexington, as certain information had been ob« 
tained that General Breckinridge had entered the State at the 
head of ten thousand infSEtntry. The sergeant of the post then 
gare Lieutenant Cunningham a statement of the location and 
strength of all the Federal commands in the vicinity, and in- 
vited him to go to a house a short distance off, where the picket 
detail to which he belonged made base. Cunningham, finding 
this detail twenty-four strong, made an excuse to send back two 
of his own men and one of the Federals, thus calling Hopkins 
te his aid, who, in an hour or two, arrived with the other eight 
men of the scouts. 

A skirmish immediately ensued between the parties. One 
Federal was killed and two wounded — ^the rest were made pris- ^ 
oners. They were oompletely deceived and surprised. The 
whole affair was as clever a piece of strategy as can be found 
in the annals of partisan 'service. Learning that two hundred 
and fifty of the enemy were at Richmond, Cluke broke camp at 
an early hour and marched rapidly in hopes to capture them. 
They started to Lexington, however, before he got to Richmond* 
The rumor (which had been industriously circulated) that Breck- 

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366 HI8T0BT ov hobgan's cavalrt. 

inridge had entered the State, 'was accomplUking its work. 
Major Steele was immediately dispatched, with three companiee 
under liis command. He overtook the rear-guard at Comb's 
ferry, and drove it in upon the column — ^a brisk skirmish and 
chase ensuing — Steele driving them into Lexington. He came 
very near being killed shortly afterward. Leaving his command 
halted, he rode to a picket post some distance off, with one or 
two men, and essayed to capture the videttes. One of them 
(after signifying that he would surrender) suddenly placed his 
rifle to the Major's breast and fired. A thick Mexican blanket 
wrapped tightly in many folds about his body, saved his life ; 
yet the bullet pierced the blanket and entered his breast, break- 
ing a rib. This wound disabled him, at a time when his services 
were most needed, for several days. 

On the same night. Captain O. H. Morgan and Lieutenant 
Corbett, while reconnoitering near Lexington and seeking highly 
important information, were captured. Colonel Cluke moved 
on the night of the 22d (crossing the Kentucky river at Boons- 
boro') to Winchester, reaching that place on the 23rd. He then 
sent detachments in various directions to excite and bewilder 
the enemy as thoroughly as possible. Major Bullock advancing 
toward Lexington, Lieutenant Colonel Stoner was sent to Mt 
Sterling, and Lieutenant Cunningham was sent toward Paris. 
The most intense excitement prevailed and reports were rife and 
believed that rebels were flocking into the State from all direc- 
tions. Cluke finding that he had reduced the enemy to inac- 
tion, and could do so safely, permitted men who lived in the 
^neighboring counties to visit their homes and thus gave greater 
currency to these rumors. This had been one of the objects 
of the expedition. The other ends had in view, in undertaking 
it, to-wit : to obtain and keep a thorough understanding of the 
condition of affairs in Kentucky during the winter, and to enable 
the men to procure horses and clothing, were perfectly accom- 
plished. Lieutenant Cunningham demonstrated successfully in 
the direction of Paris, confining the troops there to the town. 

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clukb's stratbqt. 867 

liieut. Colonel Stoner moved rapidly on Mt. Sterling and found 
the enemy, which had been stationed there under Colonel Wads- 
worth, just evacuating the town. Stoner immediately attacked 
and completely routed his enemy. The road by which the latter 
retreated, was strewn for miles with overcoats, guns, wrecked 
wagons, and all the debris of routed and fleeing troops. Stoner 
captured many prisoners and several wagons. 

On the 24th, the entire command was concentrated at Mt. 
Sterling, and the day was spent in collecting and distributing 
horses, equipments, etc. The enemy at Lexington having re- 
covered by this time from the fright given them on the 21st, by 
Major Steele, and learning the falsity of the rumors of a heavy 
Confederate advance, now came out in search of Cluke. On 
the morning of the 25th, a brigade dashed into Mt. Sterling. 
The command was much weakened, not only by the detachments 
which had again been sent out, but by furloughs allowed men 
who lived in the immediate vicinity. It was at once driven out 
of the town but retreated, unpufsued, only a short distance. It 
has been said that the men came in so quickly, that the command 
was increased from two hundred to six hundred, before '*• the 
echoes of the enemy's artillery had died away." This brigade 
which had driven out Cluke, established itself at Mt. Sterling. 
Cluke now successfully inaugurated a strategy which has been 
greatly and justly admired by his comrades. Lieutenant Cun- 
ningham was sent with a few picked men to the vicinity of Lex- 
ington and directed to spy thoroughly upon the ofScials there. 
Ascertaining enough to make the project feasible, the Lieuten- 
ant sent a shrewd fellow (disguised in Federal uniform) to the 
headquarters of the officer commanding, upon some pretended 
business which enabled him to hang about the office. While 
tiiere this man purloined some printed blanks and brought them 
out with him. One of these was filled up with an order (pur- 
porting to come from Lexington to the officer in command at 
Mt. Sterling, instructing him to march at once to Paris to repel 
a raid threatening the Kentucky Central railroad. He was di- 

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rected to leave his baggage under a small garriaoD at Mt. Ster- 
ling. A courier properly dressed bore this order to, Mt. Ster* 
ling, and dashed in with horse reeking with sweat and every in- 
dication of excited haste. He played his part so well that the 
order was not criticized and induced no suspicion. This courier's 
name was Clark Lyle-^an excellent and daring scout. 

As soon as the necessary preparations were made, the Fed- 
erals marched to Paris and Gluke re-entered the town, capturing 
the garrison and stores. He remained until the 8th of March, 
his scouts harassing the enemy and keeping him informed of 
their every movement. 

Another heavy advance of the enemy induced Colonel Cloke 
to retreat beyond Slate into the hills about Howard's mill. 

Three companies were Uh in the vicinity of Mount Sterling, 
under Captain Cassell. One stationed upon the North Middle- 
town pike, was so closely pressed by the enemy, that it was 
forced to cross Slate, below Howard's mill. The other two were 
alscf hotly attacked and driven back to Colonel Cluke's encamp- 
ment, sustaining, however, but slight loss. Falling back to 
Ficklin's tan yard, where it was posted in ambush, and failing 
to entice the enemy into the snare. Colonel Cluke marched to 
Hazelgreen, determining to await there the arrival of General 
Humphrey Marshall, who was reported to be approaching (from 
Abingdon), with three thousand men. 

Captain Calvin Morgan volunteered to carry a message to 
Marshall, and traveled (alone), the wild country between Hasel- 
green and Pound Gap, a country infested with a crowd of fero- 
cious bushwhackers. About this time^ Cluke's whole force most 
have been badly off^ if the language of one of his officers be not 
exaggerated, who (in an account of the encampment at Hazel- 
green) declares that, '' the entire command was postrated by a 
severe attack of erisipelas.'' 

After the effects of this ^^ attack" had somewhat worn off, 
Lieutenant Colonel Stoner was sent back to Montgomery, and 
maintained himself there for several days, with skill and gallantly. 

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Threatening demonstrations &om the enemy induced Gluke to 
retreat from Hazelgreen and still further into the mountains. 
He ^established himself on the middle fork of Licking, near 
Saliersville. On the 19th, he found himself completely sur- 
rounded. Fifteen hundred of the enemy had gained his rear, 
ten hundred advancing from Louisa, were on his right, and 
eight hundred were at Proctor, on his left. Li his front was the 
garrison of Mt. Sterling, fiye hundred strong, but likely at any 
time to be reinforced by the forces then in Central Kentucky. 
The roads in all directions were so well ob3eryed that he could 
not hope to escape without a fight. 

His command was reduced to about three hundred effectives 
— the rest were suffering from the erisipelas. Li this emer- 
gency, Colonel duke conceived a determination at once bold, 
and exceedingly judicious. He resolved to march straight on 
Mount Sterling and attack it, at any hazard. He trusted that 
the enemy would send no more troops there, but would rather 
(anticipating that he would seek to escape southward), send all 
that could be collected to intercept him in that quarter. 

A tremendous march of sixty miles in twenty-four hours, over 
mountains and across swollen streams, brought him to McLityre's 
ferry of the Licking, thirty miles from Mt. Sterling. Cross- 
ing on the night of the 20th and morning of the 21st, Major 
Steele was sent with his battalion via Owingsville (in Bath 
county), to take position on the Winchester pike, beyond Mount 
Sterling, that he might give timely information of the approach 
of reinforcements to the garrison. Colonel Cluke moved with 
the rest of his command through Mud Lick Spring, directly to 
Mount Sterling. Colonel Cluke at the head of a body of men 
entered the town from the east, while Lieutenant Colonel Stoner 
with the two companies from the Eleventh Kentucky, the men 
of the Ninth under Captain McCormick, and Hopkins' scouts, 
charged in from the northwest. 

The enemy fell back and shut themselves up in the court- 
house. Stoner charged them, but was driven back by a terrible 

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fire from the windows — the garrison was stronger than the force 
he led against them. A detachment of thirty men were then 
ordered to advance on the street into which the Winchester pike 
leads, and burn the houses in which the Federals had ensconced 
themselves. With torch, axe and sledge hammer these mem 
under McGormick and Cunningham forced their way into the 
heart of the town. As they reached the "Old Hotel," which 
was occupied by a body of the Federals, and used also as a hos- 
pital, a flag of truce was displayed. McOormick, Cunningham, 
and six others entered, and were coolly informed by some forty 
or fifty soldiers that the sick had surrendered, but they (the sol- 
dier) had not, and threatened to fire upon them, from the upper 
rooms, if they tried to escape from the building. At the sugges- 
tion of Lieutenant Saunders, the eight Confederates forced the sick 
men to leave the house with them, in a mingled crowd, thus ren- 
dering it impossible for the Federals to fire without endangeriug 
the lives of their comrades. Before quitting the house, they set 
it on fire. In a short time the entire Federal force in the town 
surrendered, and victors and vanquished went to work together 
to extinguish the flames. 

Colonel Cluke took four hundred and twenty-eight prisoners, 
two hundred and twenty wagons laden with valuable stores, five 
hundred mules, and nearly one thousand stand of arms. Captain 
Yirgil Pendleton, a most gallant and valuable officer was killed 
in this affair. Captain Ferrill and Lieutenant Maupin were se- 
riously wounded. Cluke's loss was three killed, anci a few 
wounded. The enemy's but little greater. 

The Union men of Mount Sterling were much mortified by 
this last capture of their town. The previous evening bets were 
running high that Cluke would be made prisoner. Cluke imme- 
diately evacuated the town, and was attacked some five miles to 
the eastward of it, by a force of Federal cavalry, preceding a 
body of infantry which were approaching to relieve the place. 
An insignificant skirmish resulted, and Cluke marched to 
Owingsville ui^pursned. On the next day he encamped at Mc- 

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Intjre's ferry, and collected his entire command, now convales- 
cent. Marshall marching from Pound Gap, about this time, 
dispersed the forces which had gone to capture Oluke at Saliers- 
ville. On the 25th, Major Steele was sent across the Kentucky 
river to join General Pegram, who had advanced with a brigade 
of Confederate cavalry to Danville. Major Steele reached him 
much further south. As he was retreating from the State, Gen- 
eral Pegram halted near Somerset to fight a strong force of the 
enemy which was following him and was defeated. Major 
Steele's battalion was highly complimented for the part it took 
in the action, and in covering the subsequent retreat. On the 
26th, Colonel Cluke again advanced, and encamped in the vi- 
cinity of Mount Sterling. He received orders soon after from 
General Morgan to return, and marched southward accordingly. 
Colonel Cluke had good right to be proud of this expedition. He 
had penetrated into the heart of Kentucky, and maintained him- 
self, for more than a month, with inferior forces — always fight- 
ing and never defeated, the enemy at last did not drive him out. 
He recrossed the Cumberland at the same point, and was sta- 
tioned with Colonel Chenault, in the vicinity of Albany. 
Colonel Cluke*s command was stronger by eighteen men when 
he returned than when he set out upon his raid. 

In order to trace properly the histo?*y of the division, during 
this period, it is necessary that I disregard chronological ar- 
rangement, and return to the winter in Tennessee. In the latter 
part of February a new regiment was formed of Major Hamil- 
ton's battalion and some loose companies which had long been 
unattached, and some which had recently been recruited for 
General Morgan. Colonel R. C. Morgan (brother of the. Gene- 
ral), was assigned to the command of this regiment, and Major 
Hamilton became Lieutenant Colonel. A month or two later, a 
valuable addition was made to it in Quirk's scouts. Colonel 
Morgan was an excellent officer and had acted as Assistant Ad- 
jutant General to Lieutenant General A. P. Hill through all the 
stem battles and glorious campaigns, in which his chief had 

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figured so conspicuoosly. Becoming tired of staff dnty, and 
anxious to exchange the infantry service for the less monoto- 
nious life in the cavalry, he naturally chose his brother's com- 
mand, and obtained a transfer to it. He became a dashing 
cavalry officer, and as an essential preliminary relaxed the 
rigidity of some of his military notions acquired Trhile serving 
on the staff. He soon gave in to the prevalent cavalry opinion 
that horses were, or at least ought to be, ^^common carriers." 
During this winter, more prisoners were taken than there were 
effective men in the division, or men actively at work. The loss 
in killed and wounded which it inflicted was also severe, and the 
captures of stores, munitions, etc., were valuable and heavy. 

The exertions made to equip and supply the command, by 
the division Quartermaster and Commissary of Subsistence, 
Majors Llewellyn and Elliot, ought to be mentioned, if for no 
other reason than the injustice which has been done them and 
the unmerited censures which have been showered upon them. 
Bven now, there are, doubtless, few officers or men of the former 
Confederate army who can so far overcome the prejudice deeply 
rooted against men who served in those departments, that they 
can speak with any sort of commendation of Quartermasters 
and Commissaries. It has rarely happened that even the most 
industrious, efficient and honest of these officers have escaped 
the severest denunciation. I can testify that both of these gen- 
tlemen strove hard to provide for the wants of the division, al- 
though the tender attention they paid to their own, prevented 
them getting credit for it. They might have done better it is 
true, and the same can be said of all of us — ^but they certainly 
did a great deal. Major Elliott was never himself except when 
encompassed by difficulties — when there was really some excuse 
for failure, when supplies were really hard to obtain, then he 
became great The avalanche of curses which invariably de- 
scend upon a Commissary, at all times, never disturbed hifa equa- 
nimity, except when he was in a barren country — then he would 
display Napoleonic resources. 

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Once a large lot of meat stored at Smithville took fire. He 
issned cooked hams to the troops, and the loss Tvas scarcely felt. 
Once he lost all of his papers, accounts, receipts ; vouchers, mem- 
oranda all went down on abstract, L.^ as the Quartermaster 
said of himself, who was picked off by a sharpshooter. The 
loss did not disturb him for a moment. He declared he could 
supply every paper from memory, and produced an entirely new 
set, which he claimed to be identical in substance with the orig- 
inals. Of course every one laughed at him, but in the course 
of time, the old papers turned up, and, sure enough, there was 
not a dollar's difference between them and the new. 

The great lack of supplies necessary to the comfort of troops, 
required to do constant and severe duty in such weather, told 
bjuriously upon the discipline of the command. It was impos- 
sible to obtain clothing, shoes, etc., in quantities at all adequate 
to the demand and the greatest efforts of energy and enterprise 
upon the part of the subaltern officers, never make up for the 
deficiency in the regular supply of these articles from the proper 

Pay was something the men scarcely expected, and it benefited 
them very little when they received it. If the Confederate Gov- 
ernment could have made some provision, by which its soldiers 
would have been regularly paid, the men would have been far 
better satisfied, for there is something gratifying to human na- 
ture in the receipt of money even when it is smartly deprecia- 
ted. Certainly, if comfortable clothing and good serviceable 
boots and shoes had been issued, as they were needed, and the 
rations had been occasionally improved by the issue of coffee, or 
something which would have been esteemed 'a delicacy, the dis- 
cipline and efficiency of all the troops would have been vastly 
promoted. It is hard to maintain discipline, when men are re- 
quired to perform the most arduous and harassing duties without 
being clothed, shod, paid or fed. 1$ they work and fight they 
will have little time to provide for themselves. But they cer- 
tainly will not starve, and they object, decidedly, to doing with- 

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874 HISTORY OP- morgan's cavalry. 

out clothing if bj any means and exertions they can obtain it 
Then the converse of the proposition becomes equally true, and 
if they provide for themselves, they will have little time to work 
and fight. With cavalry, for instance, the trouble of keeping 
men in camp who were hungry and half frozen, and who fdt 
that they had done good service, was very great. The infantry- 
man, even if equally destitute, could not well straggle, but the 
cavalry soldier had his horse to take him, although the distance 
was great and the road was rough. 

When men once commenced running about, they became in- 
corrigible in the habit. Hunger might draw them out at first, 
but whisky would then become an allurement, and a multitude 
of seductive inducements would cause them to persist in the 
practice. In nine cases out of ten, when a man became an invet- 
erate straggler, he was no loss if he were shot. These seem 
truisms, too palpable to need mention, but for three years they 
were dinned into the ears of certain officials, and not the slight- 
est ' impression was made. These gentlemen preferred to at- 
tribute all evils, of the peculiar class which have just been men- 
tioned, to the inherent and wicked antipathy to discipline, which 
the cavalry (they declared) entertained. They declared, more- 
over, that these articles could not be procured. This excuse 
passed current until the latter part of the war, when Federal 
raids and dashes disclosed the fact (by destroying or cutting 
them off from our use) unknown to all but the officials and em- 
ployees, that hoarded and stored them away, at the very time that 
the Confederate armies were melting away for the lack of them. 

It is no answer to the charge of incompetency or malfeasance 
upon the part of men charged with their distribution to say, that 
there was not enough to supply the demand. They should have 
been made to go as far as they would. It is difficult for one 
unfamiliar with the workings of these departments and the ob- 
stacles in the way of procuring supplies, to suggest a remedy 
for these shortcomings, but it is certain that the Confederacy 
owned cotton and tobacco and could have gotten more ; that 

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blockade ranning was active and could have been stimulated. 
An abstinence from certain luxurious but costly experiments 
might have enabled the Confederacy to buy more clothing, shoes, 
and meat. The opinion is hazarded with diffidence, and is 
that of one who was naturally prone to attach more importance 
to the sustenance of the military than of the naval power of the 
Confederacy, but would it not have been better to have ex- 
pended upon the army the money paid for the construction of 
those fine and high-priced iron-clads, which steamed sportively 
about for a day or two after they left the stocks^ and were then 
inevitably scuttled 7 

The winter wore away, and the condition of affairs in Ten- 
nessee, as described in the first part of this chapter, continued 
unchanged. Three times the enemy advanced in heavy force 
(cavalry, infantry, and artillery) to Liberty. Upon each oc- 
casion, the regiments stationed there under Colonel Breckin- 
ridge, after skillfully and courageously contesting his advance 
for many miles to the front of Liberty, fell back to Snow's Hill, 
three miles to the east of it, and returned to press hard upon 
the enemy's rear when he retired. At length, uppn the 19th 
of March, when Colonel Ward was absent with his regiment re- 
connoitering in the direction of Carthage, and the force at Lib - 
erty was weakened by other detachments, until it was scarcely 
more than six hundred strong, information was received that 
the enemy were advancing and were near Milton, a small vil- 
lage about eighteen miles from Liberty. General Morgan had, 
the day before, notified Colonel Breckinridge of his intention to 
be at Liberty on the 19th. Colonel Breckinridge, when it became 
dear that the enemy was certainly pressing, posted his command 
in a good position upon the Murfreesboro' pike, and sent a 
courier to Gano with a request that the latter would promptly 
join him with his entire effective force. Colonel Breckinridge 
says of this disposition of his command : *' To delay^he enemy 
and give Gano time to come up, the pickets were strengthened 
and tlirown forward. The enemy, being infantry, came on 

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376 BISTORT OF morgan's cavalby. 

bIoi^Ij but gradually drove our pickets nearly in. The peculiar 
formation of the ground gave the brigade great advantage, and 
admirably concealed its weakness. The enemy made demonstra- 
ations, but made no attack, and before nightfall bivouacked in 
line in sight of our skirmishers. Just at dark Morgan rode 
upon the ground, and was received with deafening cheers ; and 
soon afterward Colonel Gano came up. Under cover of night 
the enemy withdrew to Auburn.^' 

General Morgan, in his ofiScial report of the fight which en- 
sued on the nef t day at Milton, says : '' On the evening of the 
19th inst. I reached Liberty, Tenn., and learned that the Federals 
were moving upon that place from Murfreesboro', their numbers 
being variously reported at from two thousand to four thousand 
infantry, and two hundred cavalry, with one section of artillery. 
At the time I reached my videttes on the Milton road, the enemy 
was within five miles of Liberty; it being near night, they fell 
back to Auburn, and encamped. Determining to attack them 
next morning, I ordered Colonels Breckinridge and Gano, who 
were in command of brigades, to move within four miles of the 
enemy, and hold themselves in readiness to move at any mo- 
ment. In the meantime, I sent the ' scouts ' to watch the move- 
ments of the enemy and to report, and to see if any reinforce- 
ments came up ; also, to send me information when the enemy 
moved, for I was determined not to make the attack at Auburn, as 
they held a very strong position, and I was desirous they should 
move beyond a gorge in the mountains before the attack was 
commenced; for, if they had been permitted to take position 
there, it would have been impossible to dislodge them. After 
daylight, one of the scouts returned, bringing intelligence that the 
enemy was moving. Captain Quirk was ordered to move for- 
ward with his company, and attack the enemy's rear when they 
passed the mountain, and retard their progress until the main 
column arrived. When within a mile of Milton, Captain Quirk 
came up with their rear guard and commenced a vigorous attack 
upon them. The enemy immediately halted, deploying their 

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skirmishers to the rear, and, bringing their pieces into position, 
commenced shelling Captain Quirk's men and the road upon 
which they had advanced. In a short time I arrived upon the 
ground. Finding that the main column of the enemy was still 
falling back, and their artillery was unsupported by any troops 
(with the exception of their skirmishers) I determined, if pos- 
sible, to capture it I, therefore, ordered Lieutenant Colonel 
Martin to move to the left with his regiment, and Colonel 
Breckinridge to send one to the right — to go forward rapidly 
and wben within striking distance, to move in and cut off the 
pieces. Having two pieces of artillery, I ordered them to go 
forward on the road, supported by Colonel Ward's regiment, 
dismounted, and the remainder of the command to move in col- 
umn in supporting distance. 

^^Just before the two regiments which had moved to the right 
and left reached the proper place to move upon the artillery, the 
enemy's skirmishers and artillery fell back rapidly upon their 
main column, which occupied a steep hill covered with cedars. 
They placed their battery on a line, with their column on the 
road immediately upon their right. To reach this position we 
would have to pass through a cedar brake, the ground being very 
rough and broken. A few of the enemy's skirmishers were 
thrown forward to that point. I ordered my two pieces of 
artillery to move upon the left of the road until they reached a 
point within four hundred yards of the enemy's artillery and 
then to silence their guns. 

" They went forward gallantly, supported by a part of Ward's 
regiment. Lieutenant Colonel Martin who still occupied his posi- 
tion on the left was ordered forward to threaten the right of the 
enemy. At the same time, I ordered the command under Colonel 
Gano to move np, dismount and attack the enemy, vigorously, 
immediately in the front. Colonel Breckinridge was ordered to 
move to the right with his command and attack their extreme 
left. Captain Quirk, in the meantime, had been ordered to get 
upon the pike, immediately in the rear of the enemy, which he 

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878 BISTORT OF morgan's cavalrt. 

did in .a most satisfactory manner, capturing fifteen or twenty 

'^ He remained in the rear of the enemy until reinforcements 
came to them from Murfreesboro' (being only thirteen miles dis- 
tant), -when he was driven back. When our artillery opened, 
the whole command moved forward. Colonel Martin charged up 
in most gallant style, and had a number of his horses killed with 
canister, as the guns of the enemy were turned upon him. The 
remainder of the command was moved up to within one hundred 
yards of the main column of the Federills and dismounted. 
Moving rapidly to the front, they drove in the enemy's skir- 
mishers, and pushed forward in the most gallant manner upon 
the hill occupied by the enemy, which was about sixty yards 
from the cedar brake alluded to. Colonel Breckinridge who 
commanded our extreme right, had his men dismounted, and went 
boldly up, the enemy's artillery being at this time moved from 
the pike to a position upon the top of the hill immediately in 
their oenter ; but this was not accomplished until it came near 
being captured by Colonel Grigsby, who was within fifty yards 
of it and moving rapidly upon it, when his ammunition giving 
completely out, he was forced to halt, and the battery was saved. 
It was near this point that Colonel Napier was severely 
wounded while cheering and leading his men up. Colonel 
Grigsby was also wounded while in front of his command and 
encouraging his men. At the same time the firing from the 
center of the line nearly ceased ; a few scattering shots, now 
and then, gave evidence that nearly all of the ammunition was 
exhausted. Two more rounds would have made our victory 
complete, and two thousand Federals would have been the result 
of the day's fighting." 

Finding his ammunition completely gone. General Morgan 
ordered a withdrawal, and his forces fell back to Milton, the 
enemy neither firing upon nor pursuing them. Here he found an 
ordnance train and four pieces of artillery which had been sent 
from McMinnville. He was encouraged to renew the attack^ 

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hoping to capture the entire opposing force. ^' Martin was placed 
in the same position which he had previously occupied, and 
Gano, whose entire command had by this time arrived, was sent to 
the right. 

The artillery took position in about eight hundred yards of 
the enemy's battery, and commenced a rapid and severe fire 
upon them. They had again taken position upon the pike, from 
which they were soon driven by Lieutenant Lawrence, who was 
in command of my battery. Our pieces were served with the 
greatest precision and coolness, and the men stood by their guns 
like veterans. Although they had but few men in the fight, 
the casualties were two killed and eighteen wounded, showing 
the determination with which they held their position. Too 
much praise can not be awarded to Lieutenant Lawrence. Three 
times the enemy had to change the position of their battery, and 
were silenced until reinforced by additional guns. While this 
artillery duel was progressing, my men were moving to the front 
and were about dismounting, when Captain Quirk was driven 
from the rear by a large force of the enemy which had just ar- 
rived in time to save the force in our front. I immediately 
ordered my entire command to fall back to Milton, and from 
thence to Liberty. The enemy did not follow." 

General Morgan expressed his perfect satisfaction with the 
conduct of the o£Eicers and men in this fight, and complimented 
his brigade commanders and his personal staJOf. 

One reason of the want of success in the first onset was the 
fatigue of men and horses by the long and rapid ride to Auburn, 
and thence to the position taken by the enemy. In the stretch- 
ing gallop down the road, which General Morgan ordered in his 
impatience to overtake the enemy, and apprehensive lest they 
should get away, the column necessarily became prolonged, the 
men scattered, and many (their horses falling) dropped out en- 
tirely. But few men, consequently, were available when the 
attack commenced. As the detached portions of regiments, 
divided by this speedy march, came up, there was, necessarily, 

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380 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

some confusion, and some difficulty in putting them, at once, 
promptly and smoothly into the fight 

For these reasons, and on account of the usual details for 
horse holders, perhaps not more than one thousand men were 
engaged on our side, and these (as has been just explained) 
could not be handled as effectively as was necessary to force 
a strong position, held by superior numbers. Colonel Ward's 
regiment is frequently alluded to in General Morgan's report, 
but it should be stated that the bulk of that regiment was absent, 
only sixty men (one of its companies), under Captain Cates, 
were present. The scanty supply of ammunition, howeyer, 
and its failure at the critical moment, was the principal cause 
of the repulse, or rather withdrawal of our troops. All who 
have given any account of this battle concur in praising the 
conduct of the combatants. It was fought with the utmost de- 
termination, and with no flinching on either side. 

One incident is thus described by an eye-witness : 

^'Jrnst here Martin performed one of those acts of heroic, but 
useless courage, too common among our officers. When his 
regiment wavered and commenced to fall back, he halted until 
he was left alone ; then at a slow walk, rode to the pike, and 
with his hat off rode slowly out of fire. He was splendidly 
mounted, wore in his hat a long black plume, was himself a 
large and striking figure, and I have often thought that it was 
the handsomest picture of cool and desperate courage I saw in 
the war." 

Our loss in this fight was very heavy, especially in officers. 
The list of wounded officers was large. Captains Sale, Marr, 
Cooper and Cossett, and a number of other officers, were killed. 
Captain Sale was the third Captain of Company E, Second 
Kentucky, who was killed. Captain Cossett, of the Ninth Ten- 
nessee, was under arrest at the time, for charges of which he 
was acquitted after death. He was killed, fighting ^vith his 
musket, as a volunteer. General Morgan's clothing was torn 
with balls. 

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About this time an impression prevailed at General Bragg's 
Headquarters, that the enemy was about to evacuate Murfrees- 
boro' and, perhaps, Nashville. General Morgan had come to 
Liberty on the ISth, in order to reconnoiter with reference to 
ascertaining the truth of this rumor. 

Upon the day before, Colonel Breckinridge had been ordered 
to move to Lebanon with his brigade, and a section of 
Byrne's battery, and was informed that he would be supported 
by Gano. In the order he was told: *^The object of these 
demonstrations is to discover, if possible, whether the rumored 
evacuation of Murfreesboro' by the Federals is true, and if so, 
to what point they are moving their forces. In the event that 
they are falling back to Nashville, the command will move from 
Lebanon, cross the river and attack and harass them. At Leb- 
anon, or within twenty-four hours after your arrival at that 
point, certain information can be obtained as to what is taking 
place on the enemy's lines. In the event your pickets or scouts 
report an advance from Beadyville or Murfreesboro', you will 
not leave your present position." 

Upon the 19th the following dispatch came from General 
Bragg's Headquarters to Wheeler : 

"2\> Major GeneralJaTnes Wheeler j McMinnvUhj Tennessee: 
^^ Ascertain what direction the enemy takes after leaving 

[Signed] "Gbo. Wm. Bbbkt, A. A. GenT' 

This proved conclusively that General Bragg believed that 
Nashville and the whole of Middle Tennessee was about to be 
evacuated by the Federal army. 

General Morgan did not believe so, nor did Colonel Breckin- 
ridge, who was charged with the scouting of all the extreme 
right flank. The latter officer says: "It is true, that, at this 
time, General Rosecrans ordered back his sick, his surplus 
baggage, camp followers, increased his guard at every station 
in his rear, displayed greater vigilance at his pickets, vailed his 

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882 HisxoBY OF morgan's cavalrt. 

movements in greater Becrecy, and became stringent in his rules 
about passes to and from his camps and lines. All oar scoats 
reported these movements, and oar Generals concluded he 
meant a retreat. Morgan believed otherwise,'^ etc. 

General Morgan, in reality, believed that these were all the 
indications of an advance rather than of retreat, and he confi- 
dently anticipated the former in the early part of April. On 
the 3d of April there wom an advance, which, although not of 
the entire Federal army, yet comprehended so large a part of 
it, as to completely rid the country, in which our command had 
been wintering, of their presence for a short time. 

This force approached Liberty on the 2d of April, causing the 
concentration there of both brigades, with the exception of the 
detachments necessarily sent to observe different important 
points. The entire command, after some skirmishing, took 
position near Liberty, but to the east of it, and encamped in 
line of battle, on the night of the 2d. 

The enemy retreated about a mile and bivouacked. Scouts 
were sent through his camp that night and discovered that be- 
hind the cavalry, was a heavy infantry force. Other scouts also 
reported that Hazen was advancing from Readyville and Crook 
from Carthage. Colonel Ward was sent to watch the Carthage 
roads, and all the rest were disposed to resist the advance of the 
enemy directly in front. Colonel Gano was senior officer and 
leaving Breckinridge to conduct the retreat to " Snow's hill,'* 
he took charge of the preparations for defense there. 

"Snow's hill" was regarded by the majority of the officers 
(who had served about Liberty) as a very strong position, but, I 
believe, that they all agreed subsequently that the opinion 
was a mistaken one. As a defensive- position against attack 
from an enemy who came through Liberty, it possessed no strong 
features at all — in reality the advantages were all on the side 
of the attacking party if he possessed a numerical strength 
which would enable him to occupy all the approaches to the po- 
sition and maintain a connected line. It is a long slope, or 

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snow's hill battle-field. 888 

rather collection of sloping ridges, which, beginning at the table 
land eastward of the valley in which Liberty is sitaated, point 
due westward. 

The road from Liberty to Smithville rons through the center 
of the position upon Snow's hill, which was selected for defense, 
but bends and auryes according to the necessities of the grade. 
The ridges all point toward Liberty and are parallel to the gen- 
eral direction of the road. They can not be called rugged and 
inaccessible, for although their northern and southern sides are 
somewhat precipitous, the back-bone of each is comparatively 
smooth and the ascent is by no means abrupt or difficult from the 
points where they subside into the valley to their summit at the 
eastern ends. The ravines between these ridges can be readily 
traversed by troops and the bluflfs at the eastern extremity of 
each, or where they '' head/' can be easily climbed. It is true, 
that the conformation of the ground presents at one side, a se- 
rious obstacle to an attacking force. The base of these ridges, 
which have been described, or the pwrent hill, of which they 
seem to be offshoots, is separated from the level ground to the 
eastward by a singular and deep gulf, some two or three hundred 
yards wide and I know not how long. This abyss (it may be 
called) is crossed by a sort of natural wall, or what would be 
termed in railroad parlance, " fill," the sides of which are very 
abrupt and steep. It is not more than thirty or forty feet wide, 
and the road runs along it. To the southward of this deep, 
long chasm, is a gap in the hill through which ran a road by 
which the rear of the entire position could be gained. If this 
gap had been occupied and the narrow road across the wide, 
deep chasm had been adequately commanded by earthworks 
which could protect the defenders from artillery planted on the 
tops of the hills, the position would have been impregnable, per- 
haps, from attack against its front, and the enemy could have 
carried it only by marching far around upon one or the other 
flank. But the position always selected by our forces, stationed 
there, for fight, was about half way down the ridges toward 

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884 HisTORT' OF morgan's oatalrt. 

Liberty. Here the enemy's artillery had fall phiy at them, his 
infantry marching up the ravines and ridges had an equal chance 
with them, for there was no cover and all were equally exposed; 
the regiments defending the position -were necessarily separated 
from each other and could not act in concert, their horses em- 
barrassed them, unless carried a long distance to the rear, and 
their every movement was completely apparent to the enemy. 
The left flank was, also, always in danger, and if turned by cav- 
alry, the retreat would be necessarily compromised. 

During the night of the 2nd, the Sixth Kentucky and Quirk's 
scouts were posted to watch the enemy, and the rest of the com- 
mand was withdrawn to the eastward of Liberty and took posi* 
tion upon the hill. Two guns of Byrne's battery were planted, 
to sweep the road, a few hundred yards from the town. At 
daylight the enemy's cavalry charged the force in front of the 
town and drove it back. Major Bullitt, commanding Sixth Ken- 
tucky, held them back for a while, but their numbers and the 
dash with which they came told, and they forced him to rapid 
retreat. Soon their close pursuit brought the eiiemy within the 
range of the guns, and their fire made them call a halt, and 
Bullitt and Quirk charged in their turn. The Confederates^ 
however, were borne steadily backward. 

To the eastward of Liberty the enemy met with another check 
at the long covered bridge over Dry creek about a mile from the 
town. The guns were planted to command the bridge and 
masked ; when the enemy had crowded it full, Byrnes opened 
and burst his shells right in their midst. In a short time an- 
swering artillery drove the Confederates away. 

Established on Snow's hill, the line was not able to remain 
long in position under the heavy fire of artillery and the attack 
of the infantry. A long column of cavalry moved up Dry creek, 
and turning upon the left flank, came through the gap which 
has been mentioned. Lieutenant Colonel Huffman was sent 
with the Third Kentucky, to check them, but, unluckily, did not 
reach the gap in time. He prevented, however, their further 

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adyance until the troops under Colonel Breckinridge (which 
about the same time began to retreat) had passed the point 
where this force could haye cut them ojBT. 

I came up to die rear, about this time, in company with 
Colonel Smith — ^we had ridden from McMinnyille together and 
had heard cannonading, and learned that there was a fight going 
on. We saw nothing of it, howeyer, but its effects upon the 
stragglers and "bummers,'' who seemed to have unaccountably 
increased. I had been absent from the command for more than 
two months, but knew of the gallant service it had done, and 
took for granted that its morale was unimpaired. Colonel 
Smith, who had left Liberty only two or three days before, was 
more surprised than myself at the stream of stragglers which we 
met The moral condition of the men was the most singular I 
ever witnessed. There was no panic, no running, jostling, wild 
fear. They rode along quietly, talked rationally, seemed utterly 
free from any lively and immediate apprehension, but "just 
couldn't be made to fight," and yet quiet and "serene" as 
seemed to be their timidity, it made some of them go clear off, 
swim unfordable streams, and stay away for days. We were 
unprovided with a guard, and although we could stop these 
fellows, until the road was packed and jammed with them, it 
was utterly impossible to make them turn back. At length, in 
disgust, we gave, up the attempt, and rode on to see what was 
the condition of affairs nearer the scene of actual fighting. 
Colonel Smith hastened to his regiment, and I went in quest of 
Colonels Gano and Breckinridge, and kept a watch for the 
Second Kentucky. 

I met the column of Colonel Breckinridge retreating, but in 
excellent order ; the ranks were depleted by the stragglers, but 
the men who were left were as firm and cool as ever. The 
same was true of that portion of Colonel Gano's brigade which 
I saw. The men were occasionally cheering, and seemed per- 
fectly ready to return, if necessary, to fight. When Lieutenant 
Colonel Huffman, in accordance with orders sent him by Colonel 

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886 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

Gano, undertook to withdraw from his position upon the left, 
his men became crowded and confused, on account of the peca- 
liar conformation of the ground. The enemy, taking advantage 
of this confusion, charged him. The Fourth Regulars came 
vigorously upon his rear, and did smart damage. The regiment 
recoiled in disorder for some distance. At length, Gano, with 
some thirty or forty men, charged the Fourth Regulars, and 
checked them. Quirk dashed to his assistance with about the 
same number of men, and the enemy was driven completely 
away. No further pursuit was attempted, and the column re* 
treated toward Smithville. On the way Lieutenant Oolonel 
Martin was sent with a few men to watch the roads leading from 
the ground in possession of the enemy, to the Smithville and 
McMinnville road, in order to prevent any effort of the enemy 
to surprise us upon that road. The wagon train had been pre- 
viously ordered to move through Smithville to McMinnville by 
this same road. Some of Martin's men (dressed in blue over- 
coats) came out upon the road, suddenly, in front of the train« 
The teamsters took them to be Yankees, and the wildest stam- 
pede ensued. The teamsters and wagon attachees ran in every 
direction, crazy with fright. Some turned their teams and put 
back to Smithville, others floundered off of the road and tried to 
drive through thickets that a child's toy cart could scarcely have 
been hauled through. Many wagons were, consequently, 
smashed up before the panic could be abated. 

That night we encamped some fourteen miles from McMinn- 
ville. At this date Colonel Gano's connection with the com- 
mand ceased, and we lost the benefit of his character as an 
officer and man. No officer had won more and better merited 
distinction, and his popularity was justly very great. Func- 
tional disease of the heart, brought about by exposure, hard 
work and intense excitement, compelled him to withdraw, for a 
time, from active service, and when he returned, with re-estab- 
lished health, to the field, it was to win new laurels and accom- 
plish brilliant work in the Trans-Mississippi. 

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The division received more injury from this affair than I 
would have supposed a hard fight and serious defeat would haye 
done it. Nearly two weeks were required to collect the fugi- 

General Morgan, on his way to join ns on the night of the 
3d, met a straggler, wandering loosely about, and demanded 
sternly why he was absent from his regiment. "Well, General," 
answered the fellow^ ingenuously, ^^I'm scattered.'^ 

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On the 6th, the command under General Morgan, in person, 
moved to Libertj, which the enemj had bj this time evacaated. 
Scouts and pickets were thrown out, but although the enemy 
were reported to be still at Alexandria in large force, there was 
no collision even with his videttes. After remaining at Libertj 
a few hours, General Morgan withdrew, moving about ten o'clock 
at night, to Smithville again. He had no desire to attack the 
enemy, if in any such force as he was represented to be, nor 
was he willing to await an attack in the then condition of his 
command. A report, too, had reached him, which turned oat 
to be unfounded, that McMinnville had been taken, that after- 
noon, by another expedition from Murfreesboro'. 

We remained at Smithville until the 7th, and then returned 
to Liberty, in accordance with orders from General Wheeler, who 
had reached Alexandria on the same evening, with Wharton's 
division. Two or three days subsequently. General Wheeler 
proceeded to Lebanon with all of the troops at his disposal, and 
sending, thence, five hundred men to La Vergne, under Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Ferril, of the Eighth Texas, to intercept and 
capture railroad trains, he moved with the remainder of his 
forces to the ^' Hermitage," on the Nashville and Lebanon pike, 
twelve miles from Nashville. Here he left all of his command, 
except one regiment, to repel any advance from Nashville — and 
proceeded with that regiment and two or three pieces of artillery 
to the river — distant about four miles — and fired across it with 
artillery at a train of cars, knocking the engine off the track. 
No movement was made by the enemy from Nashville, and on 
the same evening General Wheeler returned to Lebanon. The 
next day, the party sent to La Vergne returned also. Colonel 

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Ferril had captured a train, taking a number of prisoners, re- 
leased some men of our division captured at Snow's hill and on 
their way to Nashville, and he had gotten, besides, nearly forty 
thousand dollars in greenbacks — Quartermaster's funds. This 
money, General Wheeler appropriated to buying fresh horses 
for the men who had captured it. 

General Wheeler remained at Lebanon three days. During 
that time,'the enemy advanced once from Murfreesboro', but re- 
treated before reaching our pickets. Upon our return from 
Lebanon, a portion of the forces, only, were sent to Alexandria ; 
more than half, under command of General Wheeler, passed 
through Rome, to the immediate vicinity of Carthage. Remain- 
ing here during the night, General Wheeler, just at day-light, fell 
back toward Alexandria, reaching that place about 1 or 2 p. M. 
Wharton's division was again encamped here, and Morgan's di- 
vision, under my command, was sent to Liberty, except Smith's 
regiment which was stationed near Alexandria. 

General Morgan on the night of the 5th, had returned to 
McMinnville, and had not since rejoined us. Two or three days 
after this, the enemy moved out from Carthage, so far as New 
Middleton, ten miles from Alexandria, where General Wheeler 
attacked them and drove them back to Carthage. On the 19 th or 
20th, the enemy advanced upon McMinnville with a strong force 
of infantiy, cavalry and artillery. There was no cavalry force 
at the place at all, except General Morgan's escort (forty or 
fifty strong), but there was some ninety infantry, under com- 
mand of Major Wickliffe of the Ninth Kentucky infantry, sta- 
tioned there. After a good deal of preliminary reconnoitering 
and some skirmishing with the men of the escort, the enemy's 
cavalry dashed into the town, eight abreast, driving out General 
Morgan and several officers, who happened to be collected at 
McMinville upon sick leave, or on special duty of some sort. 
Among them were Colonel Cluke, Lieutenant Colonel Martin, 
:ind Major McCann. Exchanging a few shots with the cavalry, 
this party retreated upon the Sparta road — McCann's horse was 

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shot in the melee and fell, bringing him to the ground. He sprang 
to his feet and standing in front of the charging column, shouted 
" You have got the old chief at last," seeking to produce the 
impression that he was General Morgan and so favor the latter's 
escape. He was ridden over, severely sabred, and captured ; 
but having been placed in an old stable, and allowed a canteen 
of apple brandy, he got the guard drunk and dug out under the 
logs, during the night, effecting his escape. Lieutenant Colonel 
Martin received a bad wound through the lungs, but sat on his 
horse and escaped. All of the others escaped uninjured. The 
infantry retreated, in perfect order, to the mountains two or three 
miles distant. The enemy pursued, but were driven back by 
the volleys given them whenever they pressed closely. 

When the news of this affair reached General Wheeler's 
headquarters, Greneral Wharton urged that the entire force 
should be withdrawn from Alexandria and Liberty, and concen- 
trated at Smithville. He believed that the enemy, in withdraw- 
ing from McMinnville, would come by Liberty — ^the infantry 
moving through Mechanicsville, and the cavalry through Smith- 
ville. This route, they might calculate, would remove them from 
all danger of molestation by any infantry force sent after them 
from our army, and would bring them right upon the flank of 
our cavalry, which could annoy their rear if they retreated 
through Woodbury, but would, pA*haps, be driven off by the 
movement upon Liberty. Then, a good pike conducted them to 
Murfreesboro', and their cavalry, coming on from Smithville^ 
protected their rear. 

A concentration of our whole force at Smithville, would not 
only make us secure, but would enable us to punish the cavalry 
severely, if the movement was made as Wharton anticipated. 
We remained, however, in the* same positions, picketing and 
scouting vigilantly. The enemy moved exactly as Wharton had 
forseen that they would do, and the troops at Liberty fell back 
to Alexandria, whence, both divisions retreated across Caney 
fork, to Buffalo valley. 

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The road bj which we moved was a rough and bad one, and 
the ford at which we crossed, execrable, making it a tedious af- 
fair. A demonstration was made, on the same day, from Car- 
thage, bat too late to interfere with our retreat. Morgan's di- 
vision, during these operations, on account of heavy detach* 
ments having been made from it, and pretty heavy straggling, 
was very much reduced. 

During a week or ten days' stay in Buffalo valley, the strag- 
glers were collected and the regiment& were gotten into pretty 
good order again. Oluke's, Chenault's, and Morgan's regiments 
were still stationed upon the Cumberland, in Wayne, Clinton 
and Cumberland counties. The latter regiment was driven away 
from Celina, some time in the early part of May; it had been 
posted there to protect the collection of commissary stores for 
Wheeler's corps. After taking the town of Celina, the Federal 
forces burned it and took position along the Cumberland, on the 
northern side, confronting our forces on the southern. Pegram's 
brigade was also stationed at Monticello, in Wayne county, Ken- 
tucky. It was attacked and driven away on the 28th of May. 
General Morgan afber these affairs occurred, was ordered to 
move with his division to Wayne county, and drive the enemy 
from the region south of the Cumberland ; or if he found him 
coo strong to be driven, and he manifested an intention (which v ^ 
was somewhat feared) of ^pressing into East Tennessee, to at ^ 
least retard his advance. 

When General Morgan reached Monticello, which the enemy 
had evacuated shortly after the affair with Pegram, he found 
Cluke, with his own regiment and Chenault's, lying in front of 
a superior Federal force in Horseshoe bottom on Greasy creek, 
in the western end of Wayne county. Cluke had been skir- 
mishing with them for two or three days. General Morgan sent 
couriers to* hasten the march of his other regiments — the Second, 
Third, Fifth and Sixth Kentucky, and Ninth Tennessee, and of 
his artillery. 

Notwithstanding that the utmost expedition was used, we did 

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not arrive upon the groand until after S P. M., although the 
order arrived at 9 or lb a. m. Daring the day, Giuke and 
Ghenault were fighting with the enemy, at intervals, neither 
losing nor gaining ground. When we arrived, these regiments 
had almost entirely expended their ammunition, and averaged 
but two cartridges per man. The rough road over which we had 
marched, and the rapidity with which the march was made, had 
not only caused the artillery to be left far in the rear, but had 
told severely on the column. Several horses dropped dead. 
Many gave out so completely that they had to be left. The 
strength of the five regiments was reduced to eight hundred 
men, when they arrived upon the field. 

One instance of uncommon gallantry, upon the part of ft 
private soldier — Theodore Bybee of Company C, Second Ken- 
tucky — ought to be related. His horse fell dead beneath him, 
and he caught the stirup of a comrade, and ran thus eight or 
ten miles to the scene of the fighting. As soon as we arrived, 
General Morgan ordered us to form for attack. Ko one in the 
command was familiar with the ground, and the disposition of 
the line was made with reference only to what could be seen. 

On the left of our position, was a deep ravine, with which the 
road ran parallel, and about one hundred yards distant. The 
whole ground was covered, in every direction, with thick tim- 
ber, except for perhaps ten or fifteen acres directly in front 
of the line formed by Cluke's and Chenault's regiments. In 
this open space, which was an old field and orchard, and nearly 
square, was situated a small house. Just on the other side of 
it, and in the edge of the woods, the enemy were posted. The 
road ran through the center of it, and, immediately after enter- 
ing the woods at the northern extremity, turned to tiie left, 
crossing the ravine. 

The mistake General Morgan made in supposing that the road 
continued to run straight, and thus inducing him to make no in- 
flection of his line on the right of the road, toward the enemy's 
left flank, prevented his capturing a good many prisoners, and 

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perhaps the enemy's artillery. Olake's and Ohenault's regi* 
meats were, together, not more than three hundred and fiffcy 
itrong, upon the field. The Fifth Kentucky, and Ninth Tonnes* 
see were formed about one hundred yards in the rear of Gluke 
and Ghenault, and were placed under command of Colonel 
Smith. The Third and Sixth Kentucky, were formed about 
two hundred yards in the rear of Colonel Smith's line and a 
little farther to the right The Second Kentucky, and Colonel 
Morgan's regiment, which had also arrived, were held in reserve, 
the former on foot, the latter mounted. All of the horses were 
placed on the left of the road. Just as these dispositions were 
completed, the enemy opened upon us with two pieces of artil- 
lery, which did no damage, except to the horses, several of which 
were killed. As no artillery had been used previously. General 
Morgan thought that its appearance upon the field betokened 
the arrival of reinforcements to the enemy, perhaps in consid- 
erable numbers, and he thought, for a moment, of withdrawing 
his troops. In this view, every ofiScer about him at the time, 
concurred, except Colonel Morgan. 

A few seconds of time elapsing, it was demonstrated that be* 
fore we could retreat, we would be forced to repulse the enemy. 
At the roar of the gunsj they came charging across the open 
ground, yelling like devils, or rebels. The crash of musketry, 
for a minute, in the limited space, was quite heavy. Cluke's 
line quickly discharged all of its ammunition, and then gave 
back before the enemy's determined rush, without, however, 
losing its formation, or any of the men turning their faces from 
the enemy. These two regiments were exceedingly reliable in 

After this line had backed some twenty-five paces, Smith's 
line came to its support, and the men in the latter, passing 
through the intervals between the files of the former, poured 
into the faces of the Federals, at that time almost mingled with 
the men of Gluke's and Ghenault's regiments, a volley which 
amazed and sent them back. As our line pressed after them 

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894 BISTORT OF moboak's cavalkt. 

across the open ground, the artillery, only a short distance off, 
told severely on it and continued its fire until our foremost were 
close upon the guns. 

The enemy made a stand at the point where the road crosses 
the ravine, to enable the guns to escape, but the Third and Sixth 
Kentucky coming up, they were again driven. So dense was 
the woods, that pursuit was almost impossible. Colonel Morgan 
dashed down the road, but secured only a few prisoners. The 
enemy conducted the retreat with the most' perfect coolness. 
About three hundred yards from the point where the last stand 
was made, one company halted and picketed the road, while all 
the rest (as we afterward ascertained) continued to rapidly re- 
treat to the river. Our loss in this skirmish, which lasted about 
half an hour, was, in the first brigade, ten killed and sixteen 
wounded, and in the second five or six killed and wounded. 
The enemy lost, I believe, twenty-one killed, and a smaller 
number of wounded. His loss was in all, as nearly as I re- 
member, thirty-one or two. Very few prisoners were taken. 
General Morgan, despairing of being able to surround or rush 
over the enemy, in the rugged, wooded country, sent a flag of 
truce, proposing a surrender. Captain Davis, Assistant Adju* 
tant General of the first brigade (who bore the flag), was de- 
tained until communication could be had with Colonel Jacobs, 
who commanded all the United States forces in that immediate 
region. Colonel Jacobs was some distance off, on the other side 
of the river, and it was growing dark. General Morgan sent 
another message, demanding the release of Captain Davis, and 
declaring his intention of advancing as soon as that was done. 
Immediately upon the return of Captain Davis, the column was 
moved forward. The pickets saluted the advance guard with a 
.volley, and gracefully fell back, and although' we pressed on 
close to the river, we saw nothing more of them. As late as 
the, close of the war, no answer had been received frpm Colonel 
Jacobs, although that officer was distinguished for his courtesy 
as ^ell as gallantry. 

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The division remained on the line of the Cumberland, picket- 
ing from Stagairs ferry to Celina for nearly three weeks. The 
headquarters of the first brigade was at Albany, county seat of 
Clinton county, that of the second at Monticello, county seat of 
Wayne. In that time the ranks filled up again, nearly all ab- 
sentees, with or without leave, returning. The horses were 
grazed on the rich grass and carefully attended to, and got in 
excellent condition again. Several scouting expeditions were 
undertaken, during this period, against the enemy on the north 
side of the river, the most successful of which were under com- 
mand of Captain Davis and Captain Thomas Franks, of the 
Second Kentucky. Each of these oflicers, with two companies, 
penetrated far into the enemy's lines, and attacking and routing 
the forces that they met, with small loss to themselves, brought 
off prisoners, horses, and captured property of various kinds. 
These expeditions were not only of essential use in annoying 
the enemy, but were absolutely necessary to the maintenance 
of a proper spirit and energy among our men, whose morale and 
discipline were, invariably, sensibly impaired by an indolent 
and monotonous life. 

This period of the history of Morgan's cavalry has been gen- 
erally esteemed one of entire inaction, upon the part of both 
leader and men. *It is true that nothing was done in all this 
period, which would at all compare with the dashing, enterpris- 
ing career of the previous year. But a great deal of useful, if 
not brilliant service, was performed, and a vast deal of hard 
work was cheerfully gone through with. The public had be- 
come so accustomed to expect "raids" and "dashes" from 
Morgan, that they thought his command idle and useless, when 
engaged in the performance of regular routine duty. It should 
be remembered that, at the very time when Morgan's division 
was thought to be so inactive, it was constantly occupied with 
exactly the kind of service at which the other cavalry, except 
Forrest's, were always engaged. 

During the winter and spring of 1868, and until nearly the 

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896 HI8T0BT ov morgan's oavalrt. 

middle of the sununer, our command was guarding and picketing 
a long front, and scouting thoroughly a great extent of country 
besides. For six months the country about Liberty, Alexandria 
and Lebanon, and that about Monticello and Albany, was in a 
great, measure committed to Morgan's care. This gave him a 
front of quite one hundred and fifty miles to watch and guard, 
and at least half of the time he had to do it single-handed. 
Then there was a great portion of Middle Tennessee, and of 
Southern, Central and Eastern Kentucky, which his scouts con- 
stantly traversed. It is fair to say that from January to July, 
1863, inclusi?e, the period of the supposed inaction, during 
which time Morgan made no ^^raid/ nor achieved any very 
brilliant success, that in all that time, our division was as con- 
stantly serving, fought mid won as many skirmishes, guarded 
and scouted as great an extent of country, captured as many 
prisoners, and gave the Confederate Government as little trouble 
on the subject of supplies, as any other cavalry division in the 
Confederate army. 

But, in this year, the glory and the pre9tige began to pass 
away from the Southern cavalry. It was not that their oppo* 
nents became their superiors in soldiership, any more than in 
individual prowess. Although the Federal cavalry had greatly 
improved, had become formidable for its enterprise and fighting 
capacity, it can yet be said that the Confederate cavalry, when 
in proper condition, still asserted its superiority upon every 
field where there was an equality of forces. But it was daily 
becoming more and more difficult to keep the Confederate cav- 
alry in good condition. An impression prevailed, no doubt a 
correct one, that as for the great efforts of war, the infantry 
was so much more useful and necessary^ a far g^reater care ought 
to be taken of it than of the cavalry ; and, then, an idea ob- 
tained that, inasmuch as our cavalry supplied itself so often, and 
occasionally so well, by its own captures, it ought to do so all 
the time. A corollary resulted from these two propositions, 
which played the wild with the cavalry, via : that it was highly 

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improper to issue anything which the Government had to fnr- 
nish to that arm of the service. So it happened that, while to the 
eavalry were entrusted the most responsible and important du- 
ties, Bcarcelj any encouragement or assistance was afforded 
it ; and, on the contrary, a tone and conduct were adopted toward 
it apparently expressly intended to disgust it. I speak in refer* 
ence to Western cavalry and Western affairs altogether, for I 
served at no time with the Army of Northern Virginia, and know 
nothing of it but the bare outline of its glorious and unequaled 
record. Cavalry officers, after long and arduous service, and a 
thorough initiation into all the mysteries of their craft, were re- 
warded and encouraged by having some staff officer, or officer 
educated to shoot heavy artillery, run steamships, or mix chem- 
ical preparations, promoted over their heads; and were expected 
to be delighted with him, although he might not practicaUy know 
whether a horse-shoe was put on with nails or with hooks and 
eyes, and whether pickets were posted to look out for an enemy, 
or to show Brigadier-Generals the way to their headquarters 
when they were lost. 

Cavalry which was expected to be constantly engaging the 
enemy, and upon whose efficiency and success a vast deal de- 
pended, were grudgingly provided with or altogether denied 
arms and ammunition, unless they could be captured from the 
enemy. Hard and constant as was the service the cavalryman 
performed, exposed as he was to the severity of all sorts of 
climate, without shelter, and often without the means of building 
the fire which stood him in stead of tent, and sometimes had to 
furnish him the strength and cheer of the food he lacked, he was 
yet snubbed mercilessly, and Generals commanding stared aghast 
if he presumed to ask for anything. The infantryman, lying 
snug and idle in camp, was given his blanket and his tent, good 
clothing (if it could possibly be had) and stout shoes (I speak, 
of course, in a Confederate sense) ; all was done for him to get 
him in condition for the day of battle ; they fattened him for 
the. sacrifice. But the cavalryman, had it not been for his own 

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898 BISTORT OF morgan's gayalkt. 

exertions, and the energy with which he indemnified himself for 
his Government's neglect of him, would not haye been worth 
killing. When I reflect upon the privations I have seen the 
men endure, and remember that they well knew that th&re was no 
escape from them, except by taking what they wanted wherever 
they found it ; and remember, further, the chances that were of- 
fered, I am lost in astonishment at their honeaty and forbeaiaxMe. 
I am aware that our ^^ distant brethren " of the North, or those, 
rather, who will be our brethren, it is inferred, when an amend- 
ment to the Constitution decides who and what we are — it is a 
matter perfectly well understood that they will concede no such 
honesty to us, and naturally enough. It is a stale, but all the 
more certain-on-that-account fact, that they have discovered 
that " the earth belongs to the saints," and that they ^* are the 
saints." Therefore, to take anything (upon tins continent, at , 
least), in any manner, is to rob the ^^saints ;" and, while a man may 
pardon a fellow who robs his neighbor, it is not in reason that 
he should forgive the rogue who robs him. 

One special cause of the degeneracy or the Southern cavalry, 
in the latter part of the war, was the great scarcity of horses and 
the great difficulty of obtaining forage within the Oonfederate 
lines, and consequently, of keeping the horses which we had in 
good condition. Morgan's men had the reputation, and not un- 
justly, of procuring horses with great facility and economy. 
Adepts as we were, in the art of ** horse-preasing," there was 
this fact nevertheless to be said in favor of the system which we 
adopted: while making very free with the horse-flesh of the 
country into which we would raid, there was never any wanton 
waste of the article. We did not kill our tired stockj as did the 
Federal commanders on their "raids," when we got fresh ones. 
The men of our command were not permitted to impress horses 
in a friendly country. It is true that horses were sometimes 
stolen from people who were most devoted to our cause, and who 
lived within our lines, but such thefts did not often occur, and 
the perpetrators were severely punished. The witty editors .of 

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Yankee-land would doubtless have explained our rebuke of this 
practice, by an application of the old saying that ^^thei-e is honor 
among thieves/' which would have been very just and apposite. 
The difference between our thieves and those on the other side 
was, that the latter were entirely destitute of every sort of honor. 
General Morgan took fresh horses to enable his command to 
make the tremendous marches which ensured so much of his suc- 
cess, and to prevent his men from falling into the hands of the 
enemy, but he hedged around the practice with limitations which 
somewhat protected the citizen. He reauired that, in every in- 
stance where a man desired to exchange his tired horse for a 
fresh one, he should have his horse inspected by his company 
commander, who should certify to the condition of the horse and 
the necessity of the exchange. If the company commander cei; 
tified that his horse was unfit for service, the man obtained from 
his regimental commander permission to obtain a fresh one, 
which had also, before it was valid, to be approved by the 
brigade commander. Whenever it was practicable, the ex- 
change was required to be made in the presence of a commis- 
sioned officer, and, in every case, a horse, if the soldier had it, 
was ordered to be left in the place of the one impressed. When 
a man was without a horse, altogether, his company commander 
could impress one for him. No doubt, this seems to the unmili- 
tary reader, only systematic robbery — ^but is not thai going on 
all the time, all over the world? Is it not, too, a great comfort 
to the citizen, to know that (when he is robbed), there are laws 
and the "proper papers" for it ! 

When men or officers were detected with led horses, they 
were puig^^hed, and the horses were taken away from them, un- 
less they could prove that they were entitled to them. Morgan's 
men Were habitually styled " horse-thieves" by their enemies, 
and they did not disclaim the title — ^I should like to see a sta- 
tistical report showing the number of horses stolen in Ken- 
tucky by the respective belligerents — we would lose some 
laurels. The Confederate Government could not, and did not 

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attempt to supply the cavalrj of its armies with horses. The 
cavalry soldier furnished his owu horse, and (if he lost him), had 
to make the best shift he could for another. The caralryman 
was not subjected to the rigid discipline of the infantryman, for 
the reason that he was harder to catch. It is more difficult to 
regulate six legs than two. For the very reason that it 
was outside of the pale of regular discipline and the highest 
military civilization, it was more necessary to give to the 
cavalry officers who practically understood that sort of service, 
as well as were men of controlling character. Such men could 
make of the cavalryman, a soldier — with an inferior officer or 
one who was awkward at cavalry business over him, he became 
an Islimael. 

There existed among the infantry, not exactly a prejudice 
against cavalry (for they all wanted to join it), but that sort of 
feeling against it, which is perhaps natural upon th^ part of the 
man who walks against the man who rides. When the '^web- 
feet" called us "buttermilk rangers," we did not get angry with 
them, for we knew that they were gallant fellows and that much 
walking tries the temper — ^but we did not admire the official 
prejudice against us, and thought an affected contempt of our 
arm in very bad taste, upon the part of Generals who not only 
never won battles but who never tried to win them. 

In the spring and summer of 1863, supplies could be obtained 
for neither men nor horses of the cavalry of Bragg's army, with- 
out the greatest difficulty and great oppression of the citizens. 
It was not the custom to issue (out of army supplies), rations to 
the men, or forage to the horses of the cavalry commands — they 
were required to provide for themselves in these respects. It 
was impracticable, too, to supply them from the stores collected 
for array use. Certain regions, therefore, in which, for the proper 
protection of the lines, it was absolutely necessary to keep large 
bodies of cavalry — sections of country not fertile and at no time 
abounding in supplies— were literally stripped of meat, grain and 
every thing edible. All that would feed man or horse disap- 

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peared, as if a cloud of Titanic and omnivorous locusts had set- 
tled upon the land — and after the citizens were reduced to the 
extremity of destitution and distress, the soldiers and their 
horses suffered, also, with slow famine. 

One instance of the kind will serve to show how destructive 
of the efficiency of cavalry was service under such circumstances. 
When the division was ordered to Wayne and Clinton counties, 
Kentucky, the Ninth Kentucky, one of the best regiments in 
the cavalry of the West, was sent to Woodbury to picket that 
immediate section of country. For m^ny miles around this 
little place, the country had been exhausted of provisions and 
forage by the constant requisition upon it during the winter and 
spring. The men of the Ninth Kentucky suffered severely for 
want of rations, but they esteemed their own sufferings lightly, 
compared with those of their horses. Long forage (oats, fodder, 
etc.) could not be procured at all; and corn had to be hauled a 
distance of over thirty miles, from a region whence other cavalry 
commands were also drawing supplies of forage, or else it 
could only be gotten from Tullahoma out of the forage stored 
there for army consumption. Consequently, corn was rare at that 
time at Woodbury ; two or three ears per day to each horse was 
the usual issue. Upon some days none was issued. Every 
blade of grass in the vicinity of the camp was eaten, and the 
trees were barked by the poor animals as high as they could 

The men stood picket on foot ; all of the stock was rendered. 
-bitterly unserviceable, and one fourth of it died. By such usage 
(necessary, however,) this regiment was made unfit for active 
and efficient service for months, and its discipline and morale 
were seriously, although only temporarily, impaired. More 
than half — at any rate, a large proportion of the cavalry of 
General Bragg's army were suffering, at that time, precisely ae 
this regiment was. In this condition of things is to be found the 
explanation of the apparent degeneracy of the Confederate eav>- 
iJry, in the latter part of the wan 
• 26 

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Another fact, too, should not be lost sight of. In common 
with every other arm of the service, our cavalry became very 
greatly reduced in numbers as the war wore on. We could not 
fill up our regiments as easily as the Federals could fill their 
wasted organizations. Those who wonder why well known Con- 
federate regiments, brigades, and divisions did not accomplish 
as much in the latter as in the early part of the war, do not 
know, or do not reflect, that it was because they were reduced 
to a fourth or a fifth of their original strength. This, however, 
was not the case at the period of which I write. It was, too, 
in the summer of 1868 that serious doubt of the successful es- 
tablishment of Southern independence began to gain groand 
among the masses of the Southern people; and a lukewarmness 
first, and next a feeling almost of disaffection to the Confederate 
Government and cause widely prevailed. This indifference was 
very unlike the strange absence of anxiety and solicitude about the 
result of the war, which characterized its early stages. The latter 
feeling proceeded from a blind and overweening confidence, and 
those who entertained it were not the less intensely patriotic 
and devoted to the cause. Nor was this species of disaffiection, 
which began to influence so many, characterized by the slightest 
tendency toward treachery or r enegadeism. Hundreds of ci tizens, 
^ho were fiercely opposed to the administration, and cordially dis- 
lliked Mr. Davis, who had even lost much of their interest in the 
tConfederate army and its fortunes, nevertheless hated the North- 
tern people, the Federal GEOveuupent, and the invading army, with 
a hatred immeasurably more thorough, rabid, and incradiciible, 
ithan at the beginning of the war, ere they knew practically what 
invasion was like. With a strange inconsistency, these men 
would have done any thing to have injured the enemy, even 
when adverse to making further sacrifices for the benefit of the 
•Confederacy. So far from renegading and pandering the Fed- 
eral rule and success, the large majority of this class would have 
pawned their souls for power to crush the Federal arms. This is 
why the Southern renegade is regarded by the Southern people 

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irith loathing, scorn, and hatred, burning and inextinguishable. 
Although destitution and suflfering were not general, at this 
time, in the South, they had prevailed, and to a fearful extent, in 
many sections ; and everywhere a solemn and well-founded ap- 
prehension was felt upon the subject. Still it took two years 
more of djsaster— of an invasion which probed every nook and 
corner of the South, and a condition of almost famine, to finally 
break the spirit of the Southern people, and make them^ ilL.tb.<^ 
abjectness of their agony, actually welcome a peace which her- 
alded subjugation as a relief from the horrors of war. It was 
the submission of the people which took the steel out of the 

It is the fashion, with a cwtain class of Southern writers, to 
denounce Mr. Davis as the author of this condition of things, 
and to revile the Southern people because of their ultimate de- 
spair and surrender. Many and great blunders were committed 
in the conduct of the civil and military affairs of the Confed- 
feracy, and doubtless Mr. Davis was responsible for some of 

In an affair of snch magnitude, as was the Southern move^ 
meat and the consequent war, errors would have characterized, 
in all probability, the administration of the most practiced and 
skillful military and political chiefs — ^how then could the ad- 
ministration of men, unschooled in the practical arts of managing 
revolutions and wars, be free from them ? The wonder is, not 
that blunders were made, but that the bad effect of so many 
was partially r^pMred. The faults, which marred our fortunes, 
were the natural concomitants of a state of prolonged and con- 
stant warfare, and the latter weakening of our people was the 
inevitable result of a struggle against adverse circumstances and 
superior numbers and resources. The only way to have lessened 
the number of the former, and to have prevented the latter, 
would have been to.fight, not a waitings but a quick war. 

On the 26th, the division was ordered back to Liberty and 
Alexandria. That country had been occupied and picketed, 

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juBt before onr return from Albany and Monticello, by a brigade 
of Wharton's division, commanded by Colonel (afterward Briga- 
dier General) Harrison, of the Eighth Texas, a gallant and 
highly esteemed oflScer. Breckinridge's regiment (the Ninth 
Kentucky) was still kept at Woodbury. About this time Oolo- 
nel A. R. Johnson returned from Texas, and was immediately 
assigned, by General Morgan, to the command of the second 
brigade — his rank entitled him to be second in command. This 
brigade had been ably commanded, since Gano's absence, by 
Gluke. Colonel Johnson retained none of the former brigade 
staff, except Lieutenant Sidney Cunningham, a brave and effi- 
cient ofScer, who was afterward Lieutenant Colonel of the Fif- 
teenth Kentucky. The effective strength of the division, at this 
time, was twenty -eight hundred men. The horses were in better 
condition, and the men were better provided for in every re- 
spect, than at any period since the '^December raid." Hew and 
excellent clothing had been issued them while on the Cumber- 
land — a thing unprecedented in the history of the command — 
and their general equipment was much superior to what it had 
been at the close of the winter. All were well armed, and with 
the kind of guns which were always preferred in Morgan's 
cavalry. The Sec#«d £eatucky had managed to get rid of a 
great many guns, during the latter part of the winter and early 
part of the spring. The men of this regiment were styled by 
General Morgan his ^'Regulars," on account of their veteranship 
and proficiency in drill, etc., and, yet, notwithstanding its ex- 
cellent reputation, this unsoldierly practice of losiifg and throw- _ 
ing away guns, had prevailed to such an extent in the regiment, 
that, at one time, nearly one half of its members were unarmed. 
The men did not seem to do it, to escape duty, or going into 
battle, for they all. remained in camp and answered to the bugle 
— it seemed to be a fashion which they had suddenly adopted. 
This practice is one of the few, for which officers, inclined to be 
lenient in most particulars, may well be willing to have their 
men shot. Except that I have seen it prevail, at times, among 

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troops of anqaestionablo brayery and fidelity^ I would say that 
the most cowardly and treacherous spirit induces it. The Second 
Kentucky was a regiment which never h&d its superior — ^it pos- 
sessed, not only courage and steadiness, but the highest ''dash" 
and inflexible constancy, and yet, at one period, the practice 
which has been mentioned, prevailed in it to an extraordinary 
extent Major Webber, commanding it at the time, made every 
man lacking a gun, after punishment in other ways, carry a 
heavy fence rail upon his shoulder, until he procured an Enfield 
or Springfield rifle. The facility with which the men found the 
required arms at the country houses, induced a suspicion that 
many of them had previously deposited the same guns where 
they subsequently got them. They were also threatened with 
being left liiehind on the next expedition to Kentucky, and with 
being sent to the infantry, if they did not speedily i^rm them- 
selves, both of which intimations had an excellent effect. 

The first brigade made headquarters at Alexandria. The 
regiments composing it, and Morgan's regiment (ordered to 
temporarily report to it) were encamped on the Lebanon pike, 
and the roads to Carthage and Statesville. The second brigade, 
with its headquarters at Auburn, was disposed upon the road to 
Murfreesboro', and between Auburn and Statesville. One regi- 
ment was posted at Statesville, which little place was nearly 
equi-distant from Auburn and Alexandria. The country around 
was picketed and scouted thoroughly in every direction, and the 
disposition of the regiments gave us such command of all the 
roads, that we could have concentrated without difficulty, and as 
the exigency might require, at Auburn, Alexandria, or Liberty. 
The period that we remained here was passed in assiduous and 
diligent instruction of the troops. Drills, dress-parades, in- 
spections, 6tc., were constantly had — we had never before had 
so much time for those duties, when the division was so nearly 
concentrated. The strictest vigilance was maintained in our 
oamps, to prevent the passage through them of Federal spies, 
who, at this period and at this quarter of our lines, were un- 

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406 HISTORY ov morqan's cavalry. 

usually DumerouSy cunning, and audacious. The strict guard 
and watch maintained to frustrate and detect these parties, 
operated favorably upon our own men, who were necessirilj 
restricted, by the unusual precautions adopted, of much of the 
liberty they had previously enjoyed. The division was, per- 
haps, never in as high and salutary a state of discipline as at 
this time. 

The enemy came near us but once during this, our last so. 
journ in this country. Colonel Morgan had been sent to Baird's 
mill, and returning, halted all night at Lebanon. The enemy 
advanced upon him at Lebanon, and as he fell back slowly to- 
ward Alexandria, followed him. I reinforced him with the 
Second Kentucky, and believing that it was a large force, 
formed my brigade in front of Alexandria, and requested Colo- 
nel Johnson to reinforce me with his brigade. He immediately 
set out to do so, leaving pickets to watch the Murfreesboro' 
pike. While we were awaiting his arrival. Colonel Morgan, 
Major Brent, (whom I should have stated was with him, in com- 
mand of a small detachment of the Fifth Kentucky), and a por- 
tion of the Second Kentucky under Captain Franks, were skir- 
mishing with the enemy, who continued slowly but steadily to 
advance, until reaching a locality called Watertown, he halted. 
Nothing had been learned definitely of his strength, but we be- 
lieved it to be large, simply because every force previously sent 
against us, in this quarter, had gready outnumbered us. When 
Colonel Johnson arrived (about 1 p. M.,) we at once moved for- 
ward to attack, but had proceeded only a short distance, when 
Colonel Morgan reported that the enemy were again in motion, 
pressing briskly upon him, and apparently determined to fight. 
This information induced me to return to the position I had just 
left — an admirable one, both to receive and return an attack — 
it was about three quarters of a mile to the rear of Uie head of 
the column, which had not yet gotten clear of it. This was a 
mistake greatly to be regretted, and prevented the fight. The 
enemy came within a mile of the position, maneuvered a little 

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while, and fell back. By this time it was getting late. We 
fallowed him with two companies and two pieces of artillery, 
skirmished with and shelled him. 

That night, while we still doubted their strength and intentions 
' — they went off- entirely. I learned, then, that they were not 
more than eighteen hundred strong, while we were at least 
twenty-five hundred. This affair would not be worth mentioning, 
except that it illustrated how a lack of enterprise, and a too 
great fancy for "good positions" will sometimes prevent excel- 
lent opportunities from being improved. If I had attacked 
promptly, the whole force, in all likelihood, would have been 
captured. The enemy for some reason conceived a very exag- 
gerated idea of our strength. Shortly after this, it was reported 
in Murfreesboro', if the papers we captured spoke truth, that 
Wheeler's entire corps and some infantry were stationed at 
Alexandria and Liberty, harvesting the magnificent wheat crop, 
with which the adjacent country teemed. 

On the 10th of June, General Morgan arrived at Alexandria, 
and orders were at once issued to prepare the division to march 
on the next day. It soon became known to all the officers at 
least, that he was about to undertake an expedition which he had 
long contemplated, and which he had often solicited periinissioQ 
to make. This was the greatest of all his "raids," the one 
known as the "Ol^oxaid." Although it resulted disastrously to 
his own command, it had a great influouce upon the pending 
campaign between Bragg and Rosecrans, and greatly assisted 
the former. It was beyond all comparison the grandest enter- 
prise he ever planned, and the one which did most honor to his 

The military situation in Tennessee, at that time, may be 
briefly described : 

General Bra^g's army lay around TuUahoma, his cavalry 
covering his front and stretching far out upon both wings. 
General Buckner'was in East Tennessee, with a force entirely 
inadequate to the defense of that important region. General 

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Bragg, confronted by Rosecrans with a vastly superior force, 
dared not detach troops to strengthen Buckner. The latter 
could not still further weaken his small force by sending aid to 
General Bragg — if the latter should need it. General Bumside 
was preparing (in Kentucky), a force, variously estimated, at 
from fifteen to more than thirty thousand men, for the invasion 
of East Tennessee. With this force he could easily drive out 
Buckner. It was estimated that at various points in Southern 
Kentucky, Bowlinggreen, Glasgow, and along the Cumberland 
river — and at Carthage in Tennessee, and other points in that 
vicinity, there were from eight to twelve thousand Federal troops 
— the greater part of them under th^ command of a General 
Judah, whose headquarters were at Glasgow. Of these forces, 
some five thousand were excellent cavalry. General JudaVs 
official papers (captured on the Ohio raid), gave the exact 
strength of his forces, but I have forgotten it. 

There was perfect unanimity of opinion (among the Confed- 
erate officers), about the plan and method of the anticipated 
Federal movement. Rosecrans (all believed), would press hard 
upon General Bragg — Burnside, simultaneously, or as soon af- 
terward as was practicable, would move against Buckner. 
Judah's force could be used to keep open direct communication 
between these two armies, and also as a reserve. When the ad- 
vance was fairly inaugurated, Judah, who in the meantime might 
guard against the raids of our cavalry, could be concentrated 
and moved through Burkesville, Livingston and Sparta — turning 
then, if General Bragg staid to fight, upon the right flank of 
the army at Tallahoma— or, if General Bragg retreated, pressing 
down through the Sequatchie valley to Chattanooga. A junc- 
tion of all these forces, it was thought, would be made, and the 
Confederate army would then confront a host too formidable to 
be beaten. 

This was the belief which prevailed in our army regarding the 
intentions of the enemy. It may have been incorrect — the 
feature, which we of Morgan's cavalry especially dwelt upon, to- 

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wity the part, in the supposed programme, to be played by Ju- 
dah, may hav^ been altogether uncoDtemplated — perhaps he was 
not a man capable of having executed it. But whatever may 
have been the Federal plan of the campaign, it is certain that 
terrible dangers menaced the army of General Bragg, and all 
the salient points of his department. 

General Bragg regarded the peril with just apprehension — 
he took in its full proportions. He decided and (as was conceded 
by all who understood the situation), with good and sufficient 
reasons, to retreat beyond the Tennessee river, and then some- 
where near Chattanooga, turning upon his foes, fight the battle 
which had to be delivered for the protection of his department. 
But that retreat would be very hazardous. He was right in the 
path of the avalanche, and the least movement upon his part 
might precipitate it upon him. The difficulty and danger of 
crossing the Tennessee, with Bosecrans hard upon his rear, would 
be greatly augmented, if these other Federal forces were poured 
down upon his flank. 

General Bragg, it may be repeated, knew how to use, and in- 
variably used, his cavalry to good purpose, and in this emer- 
gency he resolved to employ some of it to divert from his own 
hazardous movement, and fasten upon some other quarter, the 
attention of a portion of the opposing forces.^ He hoped, not 
only to give them enough to do, to prevent them from an- 
noying and endangering his retreat, but, also, to draw off a part 
of their forces from the great battle which he expected to fight. 
He selected Morgan as the officer who should accomplish this 

In the conference between them. General Morgan expressed 
a perfect confidence in his ability to effect all that was desired 
of him, but dissented from General Bragg in one important par- 
ticular. The latter wished him to confine himself to Kentucky — 
giving him carte hlaneJte to go wherever he pleased in that State, 
and urging him to attempt the capture of Louisville. General Mor- 
gan declared, that, while he could by a dash into Kentucky and 

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a march through that State, protect General Bragg's withdrawal 
from the position his armj then held, he could not thus accom- 
plish the other equally important feature of the plan, and draw 
off troops which vould otherwise strengthen Rosecrans for the 
decisive battle. 

A raid into Kentucky would keep Judah busy, and hold Bum- 
sides fast until it was decided, but, he contended it would be 
decided very soon, and he would be driven out or cut to pieces 
in a few days, leaving the Federal forces so disposed that they 
could readily commence their previously determined operations. 
A raid into Indiana and Ohio, on the contrary, he contended, 
would draw all the troops in Kentucky after him, and keep them 
employed for weeks. Although there might be sound military 
\ reasons why Judah and Burnsides should not follow him, but 
should stick to what the Confederate officers deemed the original 
programme of Rosecrans, General Morgan urged, that the sc^re 
and the clamor in the States he proposed to invade, would be so 
great, that the military leaders and the administration would be 
compelled to furnish the troops that would be called for. He 
thought that, even if he lost his command, he could greatly 
benefit General Bragg by crossing the Ohio river and only in 
that way. 

General Bragg refused him permission to make tho raid as he 
desired to make it and ordered him to confine himself to Ken- 
tucky. I was not present at the interview between them, but 
General Morgan told me that General Bragg had ordered him 
to operate in Kentucky, and further stated that he intended, not- 
withstanding his orders, to cross the Ohio. I do not moan to 
justify his disobedience of orders, but simply to narrate tho 
facts as I learned them, and to explain General Morgan's ideas 
regarding the movement, which were definite and fixed. This 
expedition into the Northwestern States had long been a favorite 
idea with him and was but the practical development of his the- 
ory of the proper way to make war, to-wit: by going deep into 
the country of the enemy. He had for several weeks foreseen 

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rfTARTnfffr-OJrrilB RAID. 

the necessity of some such diversion in General Bragg's behalf, \ 
and believed that the period for the accomplishment of his great \ 
desire was at hand. 

He had ordered me, three weeks previously, to send intelli- 
gent men to examine the . fords of the upper Ohio — that at Buf- 
fington among them — and it is a fact, of which others, as well 
as myself, are cognizant, that he intended — ^long before he 
crossed the Ohio — to make no effort to recross it, except at 
some of these fords, unless he found it more expedient, when 
he reached that region, to join General Lee, if the latter should 
still be in Pennsylvania. 

Never had I been so impressed with General Morgan*s re- 
markable genius — ^his wonderful faculty of anticipating the exact 
effect his action would have upon all other men and of calculating 
their action — ^his singular power of arriving at a correct estimate 
of the nature and capacities of a country, which he knew only by 
maps and the most general description — and the perfect accu- 
racy with which he could foretell the main incidents of a march 
and campaign — %3 when he would briefly sketch his plan of that 
raid. All who heard him felt that he was right in the. main, 
and although some of us were filled with a grave apprehension, 
from the first, we felt an inconsistent confidence when listening 
to him. He did not disguise from himself the great dangers he 
encountered, but was sanguine of success. As it turned out, 
only the unprecedented rise in the Ohio caused his capture — he 
had avoided or had cut his way through all other dangers. 

On the 11th of June, the division marched from Alexandria 
to the Cumberland, and crossed the river not far from the little 
town of Rome. General Morgan desired to attack the Federal 
force stationed at Carthage, and strongly fortified. General 
Bragg had authorized him to do so. 

The division encamped two or three miles from the northern 
bank of the river, and not far from the turnpike which runs from 
Carthage to Hartsville. Information had been received that the 
mail passed on this road twice or three times a week, guarded 

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by a small escort, and that comfortably lined sutlers' wagons 
sometimes accompanied the cavalcade for the benefit of the pro- 
tection the escort afforded. Colonel Ward was sent, with two 
or three companies of his regiment, to a point on the pike some 
eight miles from Carthage, and two or three from onr encamp- 
ment He reached it just before sundown, and shortly after- 
ward the mail train, accompanied by several sutlers' wagons, 
and under charge of an escort eighty or a hundred strong, came 
by, no one apparently suspecting the slightest danger, and all 
keeping careless watch. When the procession came opposite to 
where Colonel Ward had posted his men (some seventy yards from 
the road), the Colonel gave the order to fire in a loud voice. 
At the unexpected command, which so suddenly indicated dan- 
ger, mail-carriers, sutlers, and guard halted in amazement, and 
when the answering volley broke upon them, they went in every 
direction in the wildest confusion. Not a shot was fired in re- 
turn, but the escort manifested plainly that it felt a very inferior 
degree of interest in the integrity of postal affairs. 

Few prisoners were taken, but the mail and the wagons were 
secured. In one of the latter, a corpulent sutler was found,^ 
wedged in a corner, and much alarmed. He was past speaking 
when drawn out, but faintly signed that a bottle he had in his 
pocket should be placed to his lips. 

That evening a staff officer arrived from Qeneral Bragg with 
orders to General Morgan. He was instructed to make no at- 
tack upon Carthage, but to march as rapidly as possible to Mon- 
ticello, and strive to intercept a Federal raiding party which 
had broken into East Tennessee, under Brigadier General Saun- 
ders, and was threatening Knoxville. Upon the next morning, 
consequently, we recrossed the Cumberland and marched in the 
direction ordered. After passing through Gainesboro', we got 
into a very rugged country and upon the very worst roads. At 
Livingston we were overtaken by a tremendous rain, which 
lasted for two or three days, and rendered the road almost im- 
passable for artillery. This retarded our march very greatly. 

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9o*i.» VI 1ni,ES TO T«« tltatl ^9, 


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414 BISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

and we arrived at Albany three days later than we would other- 
wise have done, to learn that the enemy had already passed out 
of East Tennessee by way of Jamestown. 

The second brigade was encamped in Turkey-neck Bend of 
the Cumberland river, some fifteen miles in direct line from 
Burkes ville. The first brigade was encamped along the river, 
from a point opposite Burkesville to Irish Bottom. The division 
remained here for three or four days, awaiting the return of 
General Morgan, who had left us at the recrossing of the Cum- 
berland to go to McMinnville and hurry forward some supplies 
and ammunition. These stores were hauled to our camp in six 
wagons, which had nearly not gotten to us at all. The heavy 
rains which had so retarded the march of the division to Albany, 
had made the roads which these wagons had traveled perfect 
quagmires. When they reached the Obie and Wolf rivers, 
which are six miles apart at the points where the road from 
Sparta, to Monticello crosses them, they met with a very dis- 
couraging sight. These little rushing mountain streams were 
much swollen and too deep for any kind of fording. General 
Morgan instructed his Acting Inspector, Captain D. R Wil- 
liams, an officer of great energy, to have the wagons taken to 
pieces, and stowed, with their contents, in canoes, and so ferried 
across. In this manner, all were crossed in a single night. The 
mules were made to swim. 

On the 2nd of July, the crossing of the Cumberland began, 
the first brigade crossing at Burkesville and Scott's ferry, two 
miles above, and the second crossing at Turkey-neck Bend. 
The river was out of its banks, and running like a mill-race. 
The first brigade had, with which to cross the men and their ac- 
couterments, and artillery, only two crazy little flats, that seemed 
ready to sink under the weight of a single man, and two or three 
canoes. Colonel Johnson was not even so well provided. The 
horses were made to swim. 

Just twelve miles distant upon the other side, at Marrowbone, 
lay Judah's cavalry, which had moved to that point from Glas- 

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gow, in anticipation of some such movement opon Morgan's 
part as be was now making. Oar entire strength was twenty- 
four hundred and sixty effective men — the first brigade number- 
ing fourteen hundred and sixty, the second one thousand. This, 
however, was exclusive of artillery, of which we had four pieces 
— a section of three-inch Parrots attached to the first brigade, 
and a section of twelve-pound howitzers attached to the second. 
Videttes, posted at intervals along the river b/mk, would have 
given General Judah timely information of this bold crossing, 
and he would have been enabled to strike and crush or capture 
the whole force. But he depended on the swollen river to deter 
Morgan, forgetting that Morgan invariably did that which was 
least expected of him. As soon as the latter learned of the strange 
supineness and lack of vigilance of his foe, he commenced and 
hastened the work of crossing the river. About two or three 
P. M., the enemy began to threaten both brigades, but did not 
advance with determination. The Sixth Kentucky and Ninth 
Tennessee had all been gotten across at Burkesville by this 
time, and portions of the other regiments were also across, as 
well as two pieces of artillery. General Morgan formed this 
entire force, and led it to attack the enemy threatening Burkes- 
ville. He placed a portion of it in ambush at a point about a 
mile from the town, and, when the head of the enemy's column 
approached, fired such a volley into it as made it at once recoil. 
Then charging, he drove the enemy back in confusion and at 
full speed, never letting them halt until they reached the en- 
campment at Marrowbone. He pursued the force which he had /' 
routed into the camp, but was repulsed in an attack upon the 
latter by the artillery and reserve forces there. 

The effect of this bold dash, was to draw back the force 
threatening Johnson, also, and allow him to cross without mo- 
lestation. Our loss was very slight — among other gallant fel- 
lows who were hurt, Captain Quirk wac^so severely wounded in 
the arm that he could go no further upon the expedition. 
Several prisoners were taken. The enemy, after this hint not 

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416 HISTORY OF morgan's OAYALRT. 

to interfere, remained shut up in his encampment until we were 
no longer in any danger. 

The division encamped that night about ten miles from the 
river, on the road to Columbia. A large party of Commissaries 
of Subsistence were with us, sent by General Bragg to collect 
supplies north of the Cumberland and bring them to Tullahoma, 
escorted by one of Morgan's regiments. A variety of causes 
conspired to prevent these gentlemen from returning at the 
time, and in the manner contemplated by General Bragg. In 
the first place, we learned, immediately after we had crossed 
the Cumberland, by men who came from the rear, that General 
Bragg had already commenced his retreat — this would consider- 
ably lengthen the distance which the Commissaries would have 
to drive their cattle. Secondly, General Morgan came to the 
conclusion that he had use for all of his troops, and that he 
would not detach the regiment which was to have guarded the 
cattle. This resolution not only prevented the cattle from being 
driven to General Bragg, but also decided the Commissaries not 
to return immediately. The country through which they would 
have had to pass, was infested by a set of bush-whackers, in 
comparison with whose relentless ferocity, that of Bluebeard 
and the Welch giants sinks into insignificance. Chief among 
them was "Tinker Dave Beattie," the great opponent of Champ 
Ferguson. This patriarchal old man lived in a cove, or valley 
surrounded by high hills, at the back of which was a narrow 
path leading to the mountain. Here, surrounded by his clan, 
he led a pastoral, simple life, which must have been very fascin- 
ating, for many who ventured into the cove never came away 
again. Sometimes Champ Ferguson, with his band, would enter 
the cove, harry old Dave's stock and goods, and drive him to his re- 
treat in the mountain, to which no man ever followed him. Then, 
again, when he was strong enough, he would lead his henchmen 
against Champ, and slay aU who did not escape. But it must not 
be understood that he confined his hostility to Captain Ferguson 
and the latter's men : on the contrary, ho could have had, had 

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he 60 chosen, as many scalps drying in his cabin as ever rattled 
in the lodge of a Camanche war-chief, and taken with promis- 
cuous impartiality. There were not related of Beattie so many 
stories, illastratiye of his personal strength and bull-dog courage, 
as of Champ Ferguson. I have heard of the latter having gone, 
on one occasion, into a room where two of his bitter enemies 
lay before the fire, both strong men and armed, and, throwing 
himself upon them, he killed both (after a hard struggle) with 
his knife. But Beattie possessed a cunning and subtlety which 
the other, in great measure, lacked. Perhaps he was more 
nearly civilized. Both of these men were known to have spared 
life on some rare occasions, and perhaps none were so much 
astonished, thereat, as themselves. On one occasion, Ferguson 
was called upon to express an opinion regarding the character 
of a man who had been arrested near a spot where bush-whack- 
ers had just fired upon the party he (Ferguson) was with, and, 
from several suspicious indications, this man was thought to be 
one of them. By way of giving him a chance, it was decided 
that Ferguson, who knew every man in that country, should de- 
clare his doom, influenced by his previous knowledge of him. 
Ferguson, somewhat to the astonishment of the tribunal, begged 
that he should be released, saying, that he knew he was a Union 
man, but did nqt believe that he was a bush-whacker. The man 
was released. Subsequently, Ferguson said, after a long fit of 
silence, '^ I have a great notion to go back and hunt that man. 
I am afraid I have done wrong, for he is the best shot in this 
part of the State, and, if he does turn bush-whacker, he will kill 
a man at every shot." Such extreme nicety of conscience was 
not attributed to Beattie, nor was he said to be as faithful to his 
friends as was Ferguson. 

Such were the kind of men whom our friends, of the Sub- 
sistence Department, would have had to encounter, if they had 
gone back. There were, at the time, no Confederate troops in 
that country, and Champ Ferguson was resting in inglorious 
ease^at Sparta. Dave Beattie had broken out of his cove, and 

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418 HISTORY OP morgan's CAVALRY. 

was ready to hold ^'bloodj assizes" as soon as he secured his 
victims. Oar friends were not accustomed to ^' raiding " and to 
cavalry habits, but, after thorough reflection, they resolved, with 
a heroism that would have done honor to the heavy artillery 
service, not to return, but to face all the hardships and dangers 
of the expedition. They were gallant men, and endured the 
tremendous fatigue, and shared the hardships as cheerfully as if 
they had come legitimately by them. 

The chief of this party. Major Highley (from Mobile), was as 
full of dash and as fond of adventure, as a man could be. He 
sought the front on all occasions, and soon became a thorough 
cavalryman in all respects. General Morgan placed him upon 
his staff and he proved a very efficient officer, and seemed much 
gratified that his commissaries had been cut off. 

There was one case of almost abduction, however, which ex- 
cited universal regret and commisseration : 

An old gentleman, from Sparta, had come with the division to 
Burkesville to get a barrel of salt — ^as there was none to be had 
at Sparta. His benevolent virtues had endeared him to all who 
knew him, and, so, when it became apparent that he must go 
J>ack, leaving behind him his purchase, and at the risk of fearfiil 
'dangers, or follow us through the whole raid, he received much 
and unaffected condolence. He perfectly realized his situation. 
fie knew that, if he fell into " Tinker Dave's" hands, he would 
be pickled without s&lt, jind he had not the slightest idea of try- 
•ing it on. And yet he felt a natural sorrow at going so far 
away from home. Some two weeks later, when w^e were in 
Ohio, and being peppered by the militia, he said to an officer of 
the first brigade with tears in his eyes, and a touching pathos in 
his voice : " Captain, I would give my farm in White county, 
Tennessee, and all the salt in Kentucky (if I had it), to stand 
once more — safe and sound — on the banks of the Calf-killer 

On the morning of the Sd, the division resumed its march, 
pushing on to Columbia. Colonel Morgan's regiment, although 

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included in tbe field return of the first brigade, Tf as detached and 
used as an advance-guard for the column. In the afternoon, as 
wG neared Columbia, this regiment came upon the enemy 
moving out from the town. In the skirmish which ensued. Col* 
onel Morgan lost a few wounded — among the number Captain J. 
T. Cassell, who was shot in the thigh as he was charging with 
bis accustomed gallantry. He was placed in an ambulance and 
went, in that way, through the raid, and escaped capture. Cap- 
tain Cassell had been ordered to report to Colonel Morgan with 
his company, a few weeks previously, and was acting as second 
in command of the advance-guard. Captain Franks of the 
Second Kentucky was ordered to report to Colonel Morgan, to 
fill the position left vacant by the disabling of Captain CasselL 
After this skirmish had lasted a short time, the Second Ken* 
tucky was ordered up to support Colonel Morgan. Major Webber 
dismounted his men and attacked with great vigor. The enemy 
did not stand a moment — were driven back into the town, fought 
a short time from the houses, and were soon dislodged and 
driven pell-mell out of the town. Major Webber lost two men 
killed. The enemy's loss was also slight. It was a detachment 
of Woolford's regiment, and retreated toward Jimtown. Some 
disgraceful scenes occurred in Columbia as the troops were 
passing through. One or two stores were broken into and plun- 
dered. General Morgan immediately went to the spot, arrested 
the marauders, punished them, and compelled the restitution of 
the goods. 

On that evening the division encamped six or eight miles 
from Columbia. A regiment of Federal infantry was stationed 
at Green river bridge, where the road from Columbia to Camp- 
bellsville and Lebanon crosses the Green river. General Mor- 
gan sent Captain Franks to watch them, who reported that, 
during the entire night, he heard the ringing of axes and the 
crash of falling timber. The next morning we learned what it 
meant. Early on the 4th the column was put in motion, and the 
second brigade (marching in front), soon came upon tbe enemy 

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Colonel Moore, the officer commanding the Federal force (a 
Michigan regiment), had selected the strongest natural position, 
I ever saw, and had fortified it with a skill equal to his judgment 
in the selection. The Green river makes here a tremendous and 
sweeping bend, not unlike in its shape to the bowl of an immense 
spoon. The bridge is located at the tip of the bowl, and about 
a mile and a half to the southward, where the river returns so 
nearly to itself that the peninsula (at this point) is not more 
than one hundred yards wide— at what, in short, may be termed 
the insertion of the handle — Colonel Moore had constructed an 
earthwork, crossing the narrow neck of land, and protected in 
front by an abattis. The road upon which we were advancing, 
runs through this position. The peninsula widens again, ab- 
ruptly, to the southward of this extremely narrow neck, and just 
in front of the skirt of woods, in which the work and abattia 
was situated, is an open glade, about two hundred yards in ex- 
tent in every direction. Just in front of, or south of this plat 
of cleared ground, runs a ravine deep and rugged, rendering 
access to it difficult, except by the road. The road runs not di- 
rectly through, but to the left of this cleared place. All around 
it are thick woods, and upon the east and west the river banks 
are as steep and impassable as precipices. At the southern ex- 
tremity of the open ground, and facing and commanding the 
road, a rifle-pit had been dug, about one hundred and twenty 
feet long — capable of containing fifty or sixty men, and about 
that number were posted in it. When Colonel Johnson's brig- 
ade neared the enemy, he sent Cluke with his own regiment 
and the Tenth Kentucky, then greatly reduced in numbers, to 
cross the river at a ford upon the left of the road, and take posi- 
tion on the northern side of the river, and commanding the 

This was intended to prevent the retreat of the enemy and 
keep off reinforcements that might approach from the northward. 
A flag of truce wail then sent to Colonel Moore, demanding the 
surrender of his command. He answered, *^ It is a bad day for 

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surrenders, and I would rather not." Captain Byrnes had planted 
one of the Parrots, about six hundred yards from the rifle-pU, 
and skirmishers had been thrown out in front of it. As soon 
as the bearer of the flag returned, Byrnes opened with the gun. 
He fired a round shot into the parapet thrown up in front of the 
trench, knocking the fence rails, with which it was riveted, into 
splinters, and probing the work. One man in the trench was 
killed, by this shot, and the rest ran (just as our skirmishers 
dashed forward) and retreated across the open ground to the 
work in the woods beyond. Now the serious business com- 
menced. Artillery could not be used to dislodge them from the 
position which was meant to be defended in earnest This open 
ground, between the points where were constructed the rifle-pit 
(which was only a blind) and the strong work where Moore in- 
tended to fight, is the flat summit (for crest, properly speaking, 
it has none) of a hill, or rather swell of land, which slopes 
gently away on both the northern and southern sides. Guns 
planted anywhere, except upon this plateau, and near its center, 
could not have borne upon the enemy's position at all — ^and, if 
they had been planted there, every cannoneer would have been 
killed before a shot could have been fired. The only way to 
take the work was by a straight forward attack upon it, and 
Colonel Johnson moved against it his brigade, or rather the 
two regiments of it, left on the southern side of the river. The 
men, gallantly led, dashed across the open ground and plunged 
into the woods beyond. 

The Federal force, some four hundred strong, was disposed 
behind the work and abattis, holding a line not much more than 
a hundred yards long. The first rush carried the men close to 
the work, but they were stopped by the fallen timber, and drop- 
ped fast under the close fire of the enemy. Colonel Chenault 
was killed in the midst of the abattis — his brains blown out as 
he was firing his pistol into the earthwork and calling on his men 
to follow. The second brigade had started with an inadequate 
supply of ammunition, and the fire of the attacking party soon 

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422 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

slackened on that account. General Morgan ordered me to send 
& regiment to Colonel Johnson's assistance, and I sent the Fifth 
Kentucky. Colonel Smith led his men at a double-quick to the 
abattis, where thej were stopped as the others had been, and 
suffered severely. The rush through a hundred yards of under- 
growth, succeeded by a jam and crowding of a regiment into 
the narrow neck, and confronted by the tangled mass of prostrate 
timber and the guns of the hidden foe — was more than the men 
could stand. They would give way, rally in the thick woods, 
try it again, but unsuccessfully. The fire did not seem, to those 
of us who were not immediately engaged, to be heavy. There 
were no sustained volleys. It was a common remark that the 
shots could almost be counted-^but almost every shot must have 
taken effect. 

Our loss in less than half an hour's fighling, and with not 
over six hundred men engaged, for only portions of the regi- 
ments, sent into the fight, were engaged, was thirty-six killed, 
and forty-five or six wounded. Twenty, or more of the wounded 
were able to ride, and in a few days returned to duty. The loss 
of the enemy (according to the most authoritative account) was 
nine killed, and twenty-six wounded. 

Many fine officers were included in our list of casualties. 
Colonel Chenault, whose death has been described — an officer 
who had no superior in bravery and devotion to the cause he 
fought for — was a noble gentleman. Major Brent, of the Fifth 
Kentucky, was killed. He was an officer who was rapidly 
taking — in reputation and popularity-^the place among the field 
officers of the division which Hutchinson had held. He was reck- 
lessly brave, and possessed a natural military aptitude, and a 
resolution in exacting duty from his subordinate officers and 
men, which made him invaluable to his regiment. Captain 
Treble, who a short time previously had been transferred from 
the Second to the Eleventh Kentucky (Chenault's regiment) was 
also killed. Ho displayed, in this his last battle, the same high 
courage which ever animated him. Lieutenant Cowan, of the 

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Third Eentackj, and Lieutenants Holloway and Ferguson, of 
the Fifth Kentucky — all very fine officers were also among the 
killed. Among the wounded officers, of the Fifih Kentucky, was 
the gallant and efficient Adjutant, Lieutenant Joseph Bowmar. 

When General Morgan learned that the men were falling fast, 
and that no impression was being made upon the enemy, he or- 
dered their withdrawal. He had not been fully aware, when the 
attack comtnenced, of the exceeding strength of the position, 
although he knew it to be formidable, and he thought it proba- 
ble that the garrison would surrender to a bold attack. It was 
his practice to attack and seek to capture all, but the strongest, 
of the forces which opposed his advance upon his raids, and this 
was the only instance in which he ever failed of success in this 
policy. He believed that the position could have been eventually 
carried, but (as the defenders were resolute) at a cost of time and 
life which he could not afford. Colonel Moore ought to have 
been •able to defend his position, against direct attacks, had an 
army been hurled against him. But this does not detract from 
the credit of his defense. His selection of ground showed ad- 
mirable judgment ; and, in a brief time, he fortified it with sin- 
gular skill. He deliberately quitted a strong stockade, near the 
bridge (in which other officers would probably have staid) and 
which our artillery would have battered about his ears directly, 
to assume the far better position; and his resolute defense, 
showed he appreciated and meant to hold it to the last. We 
expected to hear of his promotion — men had been promoted for 
beatings received from Morgan. 

Crossing the river at the same ford at which Cluke had pre- 
viously crossed, the division marched toward Campbellsville. 
Our wounded and dead were left under the charge of Surgeons 
and Chaplains, who received every assistance, that he could fur- 
nish, from Colonel Moore, who proved himself as humane as he 
was skillful and gallant. We passed through Campbellsville 
without halting. On that evening a horrible affair occurred. 
A certain Captain Murphy took a watch from a citizen who wa*? 

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424 HISTORY ov mobqan'b oavalby. 

being held, for a short time, under guard, to prerent his giving 
information of our approach and strength to the garrison at 
Lebanon. Captain Magenis, Assistant Adjutant General of the 
division, discovered that this theft had been perpetrated, and 
reported it to General Morgan, who ordered Murphy to be ar- 
rested. Murphy learned that Magenis had caused his arrest, 
and persuaded the guard (who had not disarmed him) to permit 
him to approach Magenis. When near him, Murphy drew and 
cocked a pistol, and denounced the other furiously, at the same 
time striking him. Captain Magenis attempted to draw his 
saber, and Murphy fired, severing the carotid artery and pro- 
ducing almost instant death. Murphy made his escape on the 
night that General Morgan had ordered a court-martial to try 
him — the night before we crossed the Ohio. The wretch ought 
to have been butchered in his tracks, immediately after the 
murder had been committed. There was no officer in the entire 
Confederate army, perhaps, so young as he was, who. had 
evinced more intelligence, aptitude and zeal, than had Captain 
Magenis. Certainly, there was not among them all a more 
true-hearted, gallant, honorable gentleman. General Morgan 
deeply regretted him. His successor, Captain Hart Gibson, 
was in every way qualified to discharge, with ability and sue- 
cess, the duties of the position, doubly difficult in such a com- 
mand and under such circumstances. 

On the night of the 4th, the division encamped five miles from 
Lebanon, upon the ground whence we drove the enemy's pickets. 
Lebanon was garrisoned by Colonel Hanson's regiment, the 
Twentieth Kentucky, and not far off, on the road to Harrods- 
burg, two Michigan regiments were stationed. On the morning 
of the 5th, the division approached the town, and a demand for 
its surrender was made, which was declined. The first brigade 
was formed on the right of the road, with two regiments in re- 
serve. The second was assigned the left of the road. The ar- 
tillery was planted in the center, and at once opened upon the 
slight works which were thrown up, south of the town. As the 

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regiments in the front line advanced, the enemy retreated into 
the town. Both brigades lost slightly in effecting this, and 
succeeded, immediately afterward, in dislodging the enemy from 
the houses in the edge of the town, both on the left and on the 
right. The enemy, then, mainly concentrated in the large de- 
pot building upon the railroad ; a few sought shelter in other 
houses. Grigsby's and Ward's regiments, of the first brigade, 
held the right of the town and the houses looking upon the depot 
in that quarter. From these houses they kept up a constant 
fire upon the windows of the depot. Oluke's and Chenault*s 
regiments, the latter under command of Lieutenant Colonel 
Tucker, were as effectively located and employed upon the left. 
Our artillery, although under able officers, proved of little use 
to us in this affair. On account of the situation of the depot in 
low ground, the shots took effect in the upper part of the build- 
ing (when they struck at all), doing the occupants little damage. 
Lieutenant Lawrence, however, at length posted one of his guns 
— ^the Parrots — on a hill immediately overlooking the building, 
and, greatly depressing it, prepared to fire into it at an 
angle which threatened mischief. But the sharp-shooters pre- 
vented his men from working the guns effectively. This state 
of affairs lasted for two or three hours. The Michigan regi- 
ments, before mentioned, drew near and threatened interference, 
and General Morgan, who had sought to reduce the garrison 
without storming their stronghold, in order to save his own men, 
at length ordered it to he carried by assault. Smith's regiment, 
at first held in reserve in the first brigade, had, previously to 
this determination upon the part of the General, been engaged, 
but the Second Kentucky was still in reserve. Major Webber 
was now ordered to bring that regiment forward, enter the town 
and storm the buildings occupied by the enemy. The Second 
Kentucky had tried that sort of work before, and advanced with 
serious mien, but boldly and confidently. Major Webber skill- 
fully aligned it and moved it forward. The heavy volley it 
poured into the windows of the depot, drove the defenders away 

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426 nisTORT OF morgan's cavalry. 

from them before the regiment reached the building, and Colonel 
Hanson surrendered. The other houses occupied by the enemy 
were surrendered shortly afterward. 

At the last moment of the fight, a sad loss befell us. Lieu- 
tenant Thomas Morgan, younger brother of the General, was 
killed just before the enemy surrendered. He was first Lieu- 
tenant of Company I, of the Second Kentucky, but was serving 
at the time of his death upon my staff. He habitually sought 
and exposed himself to danger, seeming to delight in the excite- 
ment it afforded him. He had repeatedly been remonstrated 
with on that day, regarding his reckless exposure of his person, 
and General Morgan had once ordered him to leave the front 
He was stricken by the fate which his fl*iends feared for him. 
When the Second Kentucky advanced, he rushed in front of it, 
and, while firing his pistol at the windows of the depot, was shot 
through the heart. He exclaimed to his brother Calvin, that he 
was killed, and fell (a corpse) into the latter's arms. He was 
but nineteen when killed, but was a veteran in service and expe- 
rience. The first of six brothers to join the Confederate army, 
he had displayed his devotion to the cause he had espoused in 
the field and the prison. I have never known a boy of so much 
genius, and of so bright and winning a temper. His handsome, 
joyous face and gallant, courteous bearing made him very pop- 
ular. He was the pet and idol of the Second Kentucky. General 
Morgan (whose love for the members of his family was of the 
most devoted character) was compelled to forego the indulgence 
of his own grief to restrain the Second Kentucky, furious at the 
death of their favorite. When his death became generally 
known, there was not a dry eye in the command. 

Although our loss in killed and wounded was not heavy m 
numbers, it included some valuable ofiicers and some of our best 
men. We lost eight or nine killed, and twenty-five or thirty 
wounded. In the early part of the fight, Captain Franks led a 
party of the advance guard to the southern end of the depot, 
and set it on fire. He was severely wounded in doing this, 

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making the third officer, occupying the position of second in 
command of the advance guard, ^rounded in four dajs. The 
loss in the guard fell principally upon members of the '* Old 
Squadron." Of these were killed Lieutenant Gardner and pri- 
vate Worsham ; and Sergeant William Jones and privates Log- 
wood and Hawkins were badly wounded, all very brave men and 
excellent soldiers. A gallant deed was performed, on that day, 
by private Walter Ferguson, one of the bravest men I ever 
knew ; poor fellow, he was hung by Burbridge afterward. His 
friend and messmate Logwood lay helpless not far from the 
depot, and Ferguson approached him under the galling fire from 
the windows, lifted and bore him off. Several men were lost out 
of the Second Kentucky ; among them Sergeant Franklin, for- 
merly Captain of a Mississippi company in the Army of North- 
ern Virginia. 

A large quantity of ammunition, many fine rifles, an abundant 
supply of medicines, and a field full of ambulances and wagons 
were the fruits of this victory. The prisoners were double- 
quicked to Springfield, eight miles distant, for the dilatory 
Michiganders had at length began to move, and there was no 
reason for fighting, although we could have whipped them. At 
Springfield the prisoners were paroled. Company H, of the 
Second Kentucky, was detached here, and a company of the 
Sixth Kentucky went off without leave or orders. Company H 
was sent to Harrodsburg to occupy the attention of Burnsides* 
cavalry. The division marched all night, reaching Bardstown 
at 4 o'clock on the morning of the 6th. During the night Lieut- 
Colonel Alston (acting chief of staff to General Morgan) lay down 
to sleep in the porch of a house, and awakened to find himself in 
the hands of the enemy. 

At Bardstown, Captain Sheldon, of Company C, Second Ken- 
tucky, detached at Muldraugh's hill to reconnoiter toward Louis- 
ville, and rejoin us at Bardstown, was patiently watching a party 
of twenty Federal soldiers, whom he had penned up in a stable. 
The tramp of the column marching through the town alarmed 

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them, and they surrendered. Leaving Bardstown at ten A. if. 
on the 6th, the division marched steadily all day. Just at dark 
the train from Nashville was captured at a point some thirty 
miles from Louisville. A little of Ellsworth's art applied here 
discovered for us the fact that Morgan was expected at Louis- 
ville, confidently and anxiously, but that an impression prevailed 
that he would meet with a warm reception. He had no idea of 
going to receive it. 

We marched during the entire night, and on the next morn- 
ing, after crossing the bridge over Salt river, halted for two or 
three hours. Captains Taylor and Merriwether, of the Tenth 
Kentucky, were sent forward to capture boats to enable us to 
cross the Ohio, and went about their errand in good earnest 
On the afternoon of that day. Captain Davis, A. A. General of 
the first brigade, was selected by General Morgan to undertake 
a service very important to the success of the expedition. He 
was directed to proceed, with Company D of the Second Ken- 
tucky, and Company A, of Cluke's regiment, to cross the river 
at Twelve Mile Island, seize boats and cross the river, keep the 
militia of lower Indiana employed in watching their own ''fire- 
sides," chicken coops, and stables, so that the column might be 
comparatively free from molestation, in at least one direction, 
and to rejoin the division at Salem, Indiana. These two com- 
panies, the two detached at Springfield — or rather one detached 
there ; the other marched off without leave— and Captain Salter's 
company detached near Columbia, to attract Burnsid'es atten- 
tion to the country around Crab Orchard, Stanford, etc., (whither 
he at once hastened and did splendid service, keeping the enemy 
as busily employed as an ordinary*sized brigade might have 
done), these companies made five, in all, which were permanently 
detached from the division. 

On the afternoon of the 7th, the column halted at Garnetts- 
ville, in Hardin county, and went into camp. It has been fre- 
quently surmised, in the North, that Morgan crossed the Ohio 
, river to escape from Hobson. Of all the many wildly and ut- 

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terly absurd ideas which have prevailed regarding the late war, 
this is. perhaps, the most preposterous. It is difficult to under- 
stand how, even the people whose ideas of military operations 
are derived from a vague rendition of the newspaper phrases of 
"bagging" armies, "dispositions made to captuife," " deriving 
material advantages," when the derivers were running like 
scared deer, it is hard to comprehend how even such people, if 
they ever look upon maps, or reflect for a moment upon what 
they read, can receive, as correct, such assertions as the one 
under consideration. Hobson was from twenty-four to thirty- 
six hours behind us. He was pursuing us, it should be stated, 
with the cavalry of Judah's corps — he was, at any rate, a good 
fifty miles in our rear, and could learn our track only by follow- 
ing it closely. General Morgan, if anxious to escape Hobson, 
and actuated by no other motive, would have turned at Bards- 
town, and gone out of Kentucky through the western part of 
the State, where he would have encountered no hostile force 
that he could not have easily repulsed. It was not too late to 
pursue the same general route when we were at Garnettsville. 
Roads, traversable by artillery and excellent for cavalry, rau 
thence in every direction. Hobson would have had as little 
chance to intercept us, as a single hunter has to corner a wild 
horse in an open prairie. To rush across the Ohio river, as a 
means of escape, would have been the choice of an idiot, and 
yet such conduct has been ascribed to the shrewdest, most wide- 
awake, most far-seeing Captain (in his own chosen method of 
warfare), the greatest master of " cavalry strategy," that ever 
lived. That military men in the North should have entertained 
this opinion, proves, only, that in armies so vast, as that which 
the United States put into the field, there must necessarily be 
many men of very small capacity. General Morgan certainly 
believed that he could, with energy and care, preserve his com- 
mand from capture after crossing the Ohio, but he no more be- 
lieved that it would be safer, after having gained the Northern 

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430 HISTORT OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

Bide of the river, than he believed that it was safer in Kentucky 
than south of the Cumberland. 

The division marched from Garnettsville, shortly after mid- 
night, and by 9 or 10 a. m. we were ih Brandenburg, upon the 
banks of the river. Here we found Captains Samuel Taylor 
and Clay Merriwether, awaiting our arrival. They had suc« 
ceeded in capturing two fine steamers ; one had been taken at 
the wharf, and, manning her strongly, they cruised about the 
river until they found and caught the other. We were rejoined 
here by another officer, whose course had been somewhat ec- 
centric, and his adventure very romantic. This was Captain 
Thomas Hines, of the Ninth Kentucky, then enjoying a high 
reputation in our command for skill, shrewdness, and exceeding 
gallantry, but destined to become much more widely celebrated. 
While the division was Ijing along the Cumberland in May, 
Captain Hines had been sent to Clinton county, with the men 
of the Ninth Kentucky, whose horses were especially unservice- 
able, to place them where, with good feeding, rest and attention, 
the stock might be recruited— to establish, in other words, what 
was technically known as a " convalescent catmp," and in regi- 
mental "slang," a "dead horse camp." Captain Hines estab- 
lished his camp and put it into successful operation, but then 
sought permission to undertake more active and exciting work. 
He was not exactly the stjle of man to stay quiet at a "con- 
valescent camp ;" it would have been as difficult to keep him 
there, as to confine Napoleon to Elba, or force the " Wandering 
Jew " to remain on a cobler's bench. He obtained from Gen- 
eral Morgan an order to take such of his men as were best 
mounted, and scout " north of the Cumberland." He, therefore, 
selected thirty or forty of his "convalescents," whose horses 
were able to hobble, and crossed the river with them. Immed- 
iately exchanging his crippled horses for good, sound ones, he 
commenced a very pleasant and adventurous career, which lasted 
for some weeks. He attacked and harassed the marching col- 
umns of the enemy, and kept the smaller garrisons constantly 

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in fear, and moved about with such celerity that there was no 
getting at him, occasionally interluding his other occupations 
bj catching and burning a railroad train. He once came very 
near being entirely destroyed. The enemy succeeded, on one 
occasion, in eluding his vigilance and surprising him. While 
he and his men were peacefully bathing in a creek, molesting 
no one, they were suddenly attacked. Several were captured 
and the rest were dispersed, but Hines collected them, again, in 
a day or two. > 

After a while, finding Kentucky grow warm for him, and not 
wishing to return to the command to be remanded to the ^'con- 
valescent camp," he determined to cross over into Indiana and 
try and stir up the "copperheads." He thought that (accoiai- 
ing to the tenor of his instructions), he had the right to do so. 
The order did not specify when he should return from his scout, 
and Indiana was certainly "north of the Cumberland." He ac- 
cordingly crossed into Indiana — ^made his presence known to the 
people of the State in various ways — and penetrated as far into 
the interior of the State, as Seymour, at the junction of the 
Ohio and Mississippi and Cincinnati and Indianapolis Railroads. 
He here effected a junction with a greatly more numerous 
body of militia, which induced him to retrace his steps rapidly 
to the Ohio (which he recrossed), and arrived at Brandenburg on 
the very day that we got there. We found him leaning against 
the side of the wharf-boat, with sleepy, melancholy look — appa- 
rently the most listless, inoffensive youth that was ever imposed 
upon. I do not know what explanation he made General Mor- 
gan (of the lively manner in which he had acted under his order), 
but it seemed to be perfectly satisfactory, and he was ordered to 
report to Colonel Morgan to assume the position left vacant by 
the wounding of Captain Franks. 

Just before the crossing of the river was commenced, an un- 
expected fusillade was delivered, from the Indiana shore, upon 
the men who showed themselves in the little town and upon the 
boats, which was soon followed by the sharp report of a rifled- 

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482 HISTOKY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

cannon. The river at this point is some eight hundred or a 
thousand yards wide — and the musketry produced no effect. 
The shell, however, from the piece of artillery pitched into a 
group on the river bank, scattering it, and wounding Captain 
Wilson, Quartermaster of the First Brigade. The mist, hanging 
thick over the river, had prevented us from seeing the parties who 
directed this firing, take position. Soon the mist lifted or was 
dispersed by the bright sun, and disclosed a squad of combatants 
posted behind one or two small houses, a clump of hay stacks, 
and along the brink of the river on the other side. Apparently, 
from the mixture of uniforms and plain clothes, which could be 
discovered by the glass, this force was composed of militia and 
some regular troops. Several shots were fired from the gun 
while we were getting our pieces in readiness to reply — ^but as 
soon as Lawrence opened upon them with his Pail*ots, a manifest 
disposition to retire was seen among our friends who had shown 
themselves so anxious to give us a warm and early welcome. 
They attempted to carry the piece of artillery off with them, but 
were induced by Lawrence to relinquish it. It was mounted 
upon the wheels of a wagon from which the body had been re- 
moved, and, as they moved it by hand, its transportation was 
dilEcult and tedious and very disagreeable under fire. 

Leaving the piece, they fell back to a wooded ridge five or six 
hundred yards from the river bank and parallel with it. The 
Second Kentucky and Ninth Tennessee were immediately put 
across the river, leaving their horses on the Kentucky shore, 
and were formed under the bluff bank. As they ascended the 
bank they were greeted by a volley from the enemy which did 
no damage, and Colonel Ward and Major^cbber at once pressed 
them on toward the ridge. Scarcely had the boats returned, and 
while yet the two regiments on the other side were moving 
across the open fields between the river and the ridge, when a 
small boat which had for some minutes been in sight, steaming 
rapidly down the river, began to take a part in the affair. We 
had watched her with great interest, and were inclined to think, 

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CROSsnra the ohio. 488 

from her bold unhesitating advance, that she was a river gun- 
boat, and when she came within a mile of the town all doubts 
upon the subject were dispelled. 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 out 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. The 
ridge was soon gained by the regiments, however, the enemy 
not remaining to contest it, and they were sheltered by it from 
the gun-boat's fire. I wish I were sufBciently master of nautical 
phraseology to do justice to this little vixen's style of fighting, 
but she was so unlike a horse, or a piece of light artillery, even, 
that I can not venture to attempt it. She was boarded up tightly 
with tiers of heavy oak planking, in which embrasures were cut 
for the guns, of which she carried three bronze twelve-pounder 
howitzers, apparently. Captain Byrnes transferred the two 
Parrots to an eminence just upon the river and above the town, 
and answered her fire. His solid shot skipped about her, in 
close proximity, and his shells burst close to her, but none 
seemed to touch her — although it was occasionally hard to tell 
whether she was hit or not. This duel was watched with the 
most breathless interest by the whole division ; the men crowded 
in intense excitement upon the bluffs, near the town, to witness 
it, and General Morgan exhibited an emotion he rarely permitted 
to be seen. 

Two of his best regiments were separated from him by the 
broad river, and were dismounted, a condition which always ap- 
peals to a cavalryman's strongest sympathies ; they might at any 
moment, he feared, be attacked by overwhelming forces, for he 
did not know what was upon the other side, or how large a 
swarm Hines had stirred up in the hornet's nest. He himself 
might be attacked, if delayed too long, by the enemy that he 
well knew must be following his track. Independently of all 
considerations of immediate danger, he was impatient at delay 

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484 msTORT OF morgan's cavalrt. 

and anxious to try his fortune in the new field he had selected. 
There were many with him who could appreciate his feelings. 
Behind us two broad States separated us from our friends — ^a 
multitude of foes, although we thought little of them, were 
gathering in our rear. 

On the other side of the great river were our comrades 
needing our aid, perhaps never to be received. When we, teo, 
were across, we would stand face to face with the hostile and 
angry North — an immense and infuriated population, and a sol- 
diery out-numbering us twenty to one, would confront us. Tel- 
egraph lines, tracing the country in every direction, would tell 
constantly of our movements ; railways would bring assailants 
against us from every quarter, and we would have to run this 
gauntlet, night and day, without rest or one moment of safety, 
for six hundred miles. As we looked on the river, rolling be- 
fore us, we felt that it divided us from a momentous future, and 
we were eager to learn our fate. After an hour perhaps had 
elapsed, but which seemed a dozen, the gunboat backed out and 
steamed up the river. Her shells had nearly all burst short, 
doing no damage. The boats were put to work again without a 
moment's delay, to ferry the command over. First, the horses 
of the men on the other side were carried to them, affording 
them exquisite gratification. Although no time was lost, and 
the boats were of good capacity, it was nearly dark before the 
first brigade was all across. The gunboat returned about five 
p. M., accompanied by a consort, but a few shots from the Par- 
rots, which had been kept in position, drove them away without 
any intermission having occurred in the ferriage. The second 
brigade and the artillery were gotten across by midnight. One 
of the boats, which was in Government employ, was burned; the 
other was released. 

The first brigade encamped that night about six miles from 
the river. "A great fear" had fallen upon the inhabitants of 
that part of the State of Indiana. They had left their houses, 
with open doors and unlocked larders, and had fled to the 

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thickets and "caves of the hills." At the houses at which I 
stopped, every thing was just in the condition in which the fu- 
gitive owners had left it, an hour or two before. A bright fire 
was blazing upon the kitchen hearth, bread half made up was in 
the tray, and many indications convinced us that we had inter- 
rupted preparations for supper. The chickens were strolling 
before the door with a confidence that was touching, but mis- 
placed. General Morgan rode by soon afterward, and was in- 
duced to " stop all night." We completed the preparations, so 
suddenly abandoned, and made the best show for Indiana hos- 
pitality that was possible under the disturbing circumstances. 

On the next day, the 9th, the division marched at an early 
hour, the second brigade in advance. At the little town of 
Corydon, Colonel Morgan's advance guard found a body of 
militia posted behind rail barricades. He charged them, but 
they resolutely defended their rail piles, killing and wounding 
several men, among the latter Lieutenant Thorpe, of Company 
A, Second Kentucky, Colonel Morgan's acting Adjutant, and a 
very fine young officer. A demonstration was made upon the 
flank of the enemy, by one regiment of the second brigade, and 
Colonel Morgan again advanced upon their front, when, not un- 
derstanding such a fashion of fighting upon two or three sides 
at once, the militia broke and ran, with great rapidity, into the 
town, their progress accelerated (as they got fairly into the 
streets) by a shot dropped among them from one of the pieces. 

Passing through Corydon, we took the Salem road, and en- 
camped some sixteen or eighteen miles from the latter place. On 
the morning of the 10th, we set out for Salem. Major Webber was 
ordered to take the advance, and let nothing stop him. He ac- 
cordingly put his regiment at the head of the column, and struck 
out briskly. Lieutenant Welsh, of Company K, had the ex- 
treme advance with twelve men. As he neared Salem, he saw 
the enemy forming to receive him, and, without hesitation, 
(lashed in among them. The party he attacked was about one 
hundred and fifty strong, but badly armed and perfectly raw, 

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436 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

and he quickly routed them. He pursued as they fled, and soon, 
' supported by Captain W. J. Jones' company, drove them pell- 
mell into the town. Here some two or three hundred were col- 
lected, but, as the Second Kentucky came pouring upon them, 
they fled in haste, scattering their guns in the streets. A small 
swivel, used by the younger population of Salem to celebrate 
Christmas and the Fourth of July, had been planted to receive 
us : about eighteen inches long, it was loaded to the muzzle, 
and mounted in the public square by being propped against a 
stick of fire wood. It was not fired, however, for the man de- 
puted to perform that important duty, somewhat astounded by 
the sudden dash into the town, dropped the coal of fire with 
which he should have touched it off, and before he could get an- 
other the rebels captured the piece. The shuddering imagina- 
tion refuses to contemplate the consequences had that swivel 
been touched off. Major Webber might have had some trouble 
with this force, which was being rapidly augmented, but for the 
promptness and vigor of his attack. He made favorable men- 
tion of Captain Cooper, of Company K, and Lieutenant West, 
of Company I, for gallant and judicious conduct. 

A short halt was made in Salem to feed men and horses, and 
during that time several railroad bridges were burned. The 
Provost guard had great difficulty in restraining the men from 
pillaging, and was unsuccessful in some instances. Major 
Steele, of the Third Kentucky, had been appointed Provost 
Marshal of the division, and was assisted by picked officers 
and men from each of the brigades. Major Steele was a most 
resolute, vigilant, energetic officer, and yet he found it impos- 
sible to stop a practice which neither company nor regimental 
officers were able to aid him in suppressing. This disposition 
for wholesale plunder exceeded any thing that any of us had 
ever seen before. The men seemed actuated by a desire to 
"pay off" in the "enemy's country" all scores that the Federal 
army had chalked up in the South. The great cause for ap- 
prehension, which our situation might have inspired, seemed 

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only to make them reckless. Oalico was the staple article of 
appropriation — each man (who could get one) tied a holt of it 
to his saddle, only to throw it away and get a fresh one at the 
first opportunity. They did not pillage with any sort of method 
or reason — ^it seemed to he a mania, senseless and purposeless. 
One man carried a bird-cage, with three canaries in it, for two 
days. Another rode with a chafing-dish, which looked like a 
small metallic coffin, on the pummel of his saddle, until an offi- 
cer forced him to throw it away. Although the weather was 
intensely warm, another, still, slung seven pairs of skates around 
his neck, and chuckled over his acquisition. I saw very few 
articles of real value taken — ^they pillaged like boys robbing an 
orchard. I would not have believed that such a passion could 
have been developed, so ludicrously, among any body of civil- 
ized men. At Piketon, Ohio, some days later, one man broke 
through the guard posted at a store, rushed in (trembling with 
excitement and avarice), and filled his pockets with horn buttons. 
They would (with few exceptions) throw away their plunder 
after awhile, like children tired of their toys. 

Leaving Salem at one or two o'clock, we marched rapidly and 
steadily. At nightfall we reached Vienna, on the Indianapolis 
and Jefiersonville railroad. General Morgan placed Ellsworth 
in the telegraph office here, the operator having been captured 
before he could give the alarm. Ellsworth soon learned all the 
news to be had from Louisville and Indianapolis, some of it 
valuable to us. General Morgan ascertained also that orders 
had been issued to the militia to fell timber and blockade all of 
the roads we would be likely to travel— our rapid marching had, 
hitherto, saved us this annoyance. That night we went into 
camp near Lexington, a little place six or seven miles from 
Vienna. General Morgan slept in the town with a small escort, 
and during the night a party of Federal cavalry entered the 
town and advanced as far as the house in which he slept, but 
retired as suddenly as they came. We moved at an early hour 
on the road to Paris — Colonel Smith was detached to feint 

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438 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

against Madison, in order to hold there troops who might 
prove troublesome if thejr came out. The division moved 
quietly through Paris, and in the afternoon arrived in sight 
of Vernon. Here Colonel Smith rejoined us. A strong 
force was posted in Vernon, which General Morgan did not care 
to attack. Fortunately, there were men in the command who 
knew the country, and the General was enabled to carry the 
division around the place to the Dupont road. Skirmishers 
were thrown out on the road, leading into the town which we 
had left, and also upon the other road, while this movement was 
being executed. General Morgan sent a demand for the sur- 
render of the place, which was declined, but the officer com- 
manding asked two hours to remove the non-combatants, which 
reasonable request General Morgan granted. Humane consid- 
erations are never inopportune. By the time that the non- 
combatants were safely removed, the column had become 
straightened out on the new road, and the skirmishers, after 
they had burned a bridge or two, were withdrawn. 

We encamped that night at 12 M., and moved next morning 
at 3. The fatigue of the marches, from the date of the crossing 
of the Ohio to the period of the close of the raid, was tremendous. 
We had marched hard in Kentucky, but we now averaged 
twenty-one hours in the saddle. Passing through Dupont a 
little after daylight, a new feature in the practice of appropria- 
tion was developed. A large meat packing establishment was 
in this town, and each man had a ham slung at his saddle. 
There was no difficulty at any time in supplying men and horses, 
in either Indiana or Ohio — forage and provisions were to be 
had in abundance, stop where we would. There is a custom 
prevailing in those States, which is of admirable assistance to 
soldiery, and should be encouraged — a practice of baking bread 
once a week in large quantities. Every house is full of it 
The people were still laboring under vast apprehensions regard- 
ing us, and it was a rare thing to see an entire family remain- 
ing at home. The men met us oftener in their capacity of 

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militia than at their houses, and the ''Copperheads" and "Val- 
landighammers " fought harder than the others. Wherever we 
passed, bridges and depots, water-tanks, etc., were burned and 
the railroads torn up, but I knew of but one private dwelling 
being burned upon the entire raid, and we were fired upon from 
that one. The country, for the most part, was in a high state 
of cultivation, and magnificent crops of wheat, especially, at- 
tracted our notice on all sides. 

What was peculiarly noticeable, however, U> men who were 
fighting against these people, and just from thinned out " Dixie," 
was the dense population, apparently untouched by the demands 
of the war. The country was full, the towns were full, and the 
ranks of the militia were full. I am satisfied that we saw often 
as many as ten thousand militia in one day, posted at different 
points. They would frequently fight, if attacked in strong po- 
sition, but could be dispersed by maneuvering. Had they come 
upon us as the fierce Kentucky Home-guards would have done, 
if collected in such numbers, we could not have forced our way 
through them. 

In this immediate country had been recruited the regiment 
which burned the homes of Company F, the Mississippi company 
of the Second Kentucky. Colonel Grigsby was detached wiUi 
his regiment to press on and burn the bridges near YersailleB. 
He dashed into the town, where several hundred militia were col- 
lected devising the best means of defending the place, and broke 
up the council. He captured a large number of horses, ratheir 
better stock than had hitherto been procured in Indiana. 
Marching on steadily all day and the greater part of the next 
night, we reached a point on the Ohio and Mississippi road, 
twenty-five miles from Harrison, called Summansville. Here 
twenty-five hundred militia lay loaded into box cars. We halted 
to rest, and, unconscious of our presence, although we were closQ 
upon them, they moved off in the morning toward Cincinnati. 
Moving at 5 A. M., we reached Harrison by one o'clock of the 
13th. Here General Morgan began to maneuver for the benefit 

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of the commanding officer at Cincinnati. He took it for granted 
(for it was utterly impossible moving as rapidly as Tve were 
forced to do^ and in the midst of a strange and hostile popula- 
tion, to get positive information regarding any matter), that there 
was a strong force of regular troops in Cincinnati. Burnside 
had them not far off, and General Morgan supposed that they 
would, of course, be brought there. If we could get past Cin- 
cinnati safely, the danger of the expedition, he thought, would 
be more than half over. Here he expected to be confronted by 
the concentrated forces of Judah and Burnside, and he antici- 
pated great difficulty in eluding or cutting his way through them. 
Once safely through this peril, his escape would be certain, un- 
less the river remained so high that the transports could carry 
troops to intercept him at the upper crossings. The cavalry 
following in his rear could not overtake him as long as he kept 
in motion, and the infantry could not be transported so rapidly 
by rail to the eastern' part of the State that it could be concen- 
trated in sufficient strength to stop him. His object, therefore, 
entertaining these views and believing that the great effort to 
capture him would be made as he crossed the Hamilton and 
Dayton railroad, was to deceive the enemy as to the exact point 
where he would cross this road, and denude that point as much 
as possible of troops. He sent detachments in various direc- 
tions, seeking, however, to create the impression that he was 
marching to Hamilton. 

After two or three hours' halt at Harrison, the division moved 
directly toward Cincinnati, the detachment coming in in the 
course of that afternoon. Hoping that his previous demonstra- 
tions would induce the sending of the bulk of the troops up the 
road, and that if any were left at Cincinnati his subsequent threat- 
ening movements would cause them to draw into the city, re- 
main on the defensive, and permit him to pass around it without 
attacking him, he sought to approach the city as nearly as pos- 
sible without actually entering it and involving his command in a 
fight with any garrison which might be there. He has been 

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442 HiSTORT OP morqan's cavalry. 

sometimes accused of a lack of enterprise in not capturing Cin- 
cinnati. It must be remembered that Cincinnati was not the 
objective point of this raid ; it was not undertaken to capture 
that city. General Morgan knew nothing, and, in the nature of 
things, could know nothing of the condition of affairs in the city, 
or whether it was weakly or strongly garrisoned. 

Starting that morning from a point fifty miles distant from 
Cincinnati, and reaching the vicinity of the city after nightfall, 
he must have possessed more than human means of obtaining 
information, had he known these things then, and he did not 
have a rapping medium on his staff. Moreover, of the twenty- 
four hundred and sixty effectives with which he had started, he 
had not two thousand left. He could get fights enough to em- 
ploy this force handsomely, without running into a labyrinth of 
streets, and among houses (each one of which might be made a 
fortification), with the hope that the town might be unoccupied 
with troops, or that it might be surrendered. Our " Copperhead 
friends," who could have given us the necessary information, 
were too loyal, or too busy dodging Burnside's Dutch corporals 
to come out. 

The men in our ranks were worn down and demoralized with the 
tremendous fatigue, which no man can realize or form the faint- 
est conception of until he has experienced it. It is as different 
from the fatigue of an ordinary long march, followed by some 
rest, as the pain given by an hour's deprivation of water is un- 
like the burning, rabid thirst of fever. Had the city been given 
up to us, and had the least delay occurred in getting boats with ' 
which to fcross the river, the men would have scattered to all 
quarters of the city, and twenty-four hours might have been re- 
quired to collect them. In that time the net would have been 
drawn around us. But ic must be borne in mind (independently 
of all these considerations) that General Morgan had given him- 
self a particular work to accomplish. He determined, as has 
been stated, to traverse Ohio. 

To have recrossed the river at Cincinnati, would have short- 

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ened the raid by many days^ have released the troops pursuing 
us, and have abandoned the principal benefits expected to be de- 
rived from the expedition. 

In this night iharch around Cincinnati, we met with the great- 
est difficulty in keeping the column together. The guides were 
all in front with General Morgan, who rode at the head of the 
second brigade then marching in advance. This brigade had no 
trouble consequently. But the first brigade was embarrassed 
beyond measure. Cluke's regiment was marching in the rear of 
the second brigade, and if it had kept closed up, we would have 
had no trouble, for the entire column would have been directed by 
the guides. But this regiment, although composed of superb 
material, and unsurpassed in fighting qualities, had, from the pe- 
riod of its organization, been under lax and careless discipline, 
and the efi*ect of it was now observable. The rear companies 
straggled, halted, delayed the first brigade, for it was impossible 
to ascertain immediately, whether the halt was that of the brig- 
ade in advance, or only of these stragglers, and when forced to 
move on, they would go off at a gallop. A great gap would be 
thus opened between the rear of one brigade and the advance of 
the other, and we who were behind were forced to grope our 
way as we best could. When we would come to one of the many 
junctions of roads which occur in the suburbs of a large city, we 
would be compelled to consult all sorts of indications in order to 
hit upon the right road. The night was intensely dark, and we 
would set on fire large bundles of paper, or splinters of wood to 
afford a light. The horses' tracks (on roads so much traveled), 
would give us no clue to the route which the other brigade had 
taken, at such points, but we could trace it by noticing the di- 
rection in which the dust "settled," or floated. When the night 
is calm, the dust kicked up by the passage of a large number of 
horses will remain suspended in the air for a considerable length 
of time, and it will also move slowly in the same direction that 
the horses which have disturbed it have traveled. We could also 
trace the column by the slaver dropped from the horses' mouths. 

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It was a terrible, trying march. Strong men fell out of their 
saddles, and at every halt the officers were compelled to move 
continually about in their respective companies and pull and haul 
the men who would drop asleep in the road — it was the only way 
to keep them awake. Quite a number crept off into the fialds 
and slept until they were awakened by the enemy. The rear of 
the first brigade was prevented from going to pieces, principally 
by the energetic exertions of Colonel Grigsby. Major Steele 
was sent in the extreme advance to drive pickets, scouts, and 
all parties of the enemy which might be abroad from the road. 
He was given a picked body of men, and executed the mission in 
fine style. 

At length day appeared, just as we reached the last point 
where we had to anticipate danger. We had passed through 
Glendale and across all of the principal suburban roads, and were 
near the Little MiUmi Railroad. Those who have ftiarched much 
at night, will remember that the fresh air of morning almost in- 
variably has a cheering effect upon the tired and drowsy, and 
awakens and invigorates them. It had this effect upon our men 
on this occasion, and relieved us also from the necessity of grop- 
ing our way. 

We crossed the railroad without meeting with opposition, and 
halted to feed the horses in sight of Camp Dennison. After a 
short rest here, and a picket skirmish, we resumed our march, 
burning in this neighborhood a park of Government wagons. 
That evening at 4 p. M. we were at Williamsburg, twenty-eight 
miles east of Cincinnati, having marched, since leaving Summans- 
ville, in Indiana, in a period of about thirty-five hours, more 
than ninety miles — the greatest march that even Morgan had 
ever made. 

Feeling comparatively safe here. General Morgan permitted 
the division to go into camp and remain during the night. One 
great drawback upon our marches, was the inferiority of the In- 
diana and Ohio horses for such service. After parting with oar 
Kentucky stock, the men were compelled to exchange constantly. 

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Sometimes three or four times in twenty four hours. The horses 
obtained were, not only unable to endure the hard riding for a 
reasonable length of time, but they were also unshod and grew 
lame directly. After leaving Williamsburg, we marched through 
Piketon (Colonel Morgan was sent with his regiment by way of 
Georgetown), Jackson, Vinton and Berlin (at which latter place 
we had a skirmish with the militia), and several towns whose 
names I have forgotten, as well as the order in which they came. 
In the skirmish at Berlin, Tom Murphy, popularly known as 
the " Wild Irishman," and technically described by his officers as 
the "goingest man" (in the advance-guard), was severely 
wounded. Small fights with the militia were of daily occur- 
rence. They hung around the column, wounding two or three 
men every day and sometimes killing one. We captured hun- 
dreds of them daily, but could only turn them loose again after 
destroying their guns. 

On one occasion a very gallant fellow of the Second Ken- 
tucky, Charlie Haddox, came upon five of them, who had made 
some of the command prisoners. He captured them, in turn, 
and brought them in. The prisoners who could be taken by 
such men hardly deserved to be released. Two men distinguished 
themselves very much as advance videttes, privates Carneal 
Warfield and Burks. The latter frequently caused the capture 
of parties of militia, without blood-shed on either side, by boldly 
riding up to them, representing himself as one of the advance 
guard of a body of Federal cavalry, and detaining them in con- 
versation until the column arrived. But it is impossible to re- 
count the one tenth part of the incidents of this nature which 
occurred. At Wilkesville we halted again before nightfall, and 
remained until 3 o'clock next morning. The militia, about this 
time, turned their attention seriously to felling trees, tearing 
up bridges, and impeding our progress in every conceivable 
way. The advance guard was forced to carry axes to cut away 
the frequent blockades. In passing near Pomeroy, on the 18th, 
there was one continual fight, but, now, not with the militia 

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446 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

only, for some regalar troops made their appearance and took 
part in the programme. The road we were traveling runs for 
several miles at no great distance from the town of Pomeroy, 
which is situated on the Ohio river. Many hye-roads run from 
the main one into the town, and at the mouths of these roads 
we always found the enemy. The road runs, also, for nearly 
five miles through a ravine, and steep hills upon each side of it. 
These hills were occupied, at various points, by the enemy, and 
we had to run the gauntlet. Colonel Grigsby took the lead 
with the Sixth Kentucky, and dashed through at a gallop, halt- 
ing when fired on, dismounting his men and dislodging the 
enemy, and again resuming his rapid march. Major Webber 
brought up the rear of the division and held back the enemy, 
who closed eagerly upon our track. 

About 1 o'clock of that day we reached Chester and halted, 
for an hour and a half, to enable the column to close up, to 
breathe the horses, and also to obtain a guide, if possible (Gren- 
eral Morgan declaring that he would no longer march without 
one). That halt proved disastrous — it brought us to Buffington 
ford after night had fallen, and delayed our attempt at crossing 
until the next morning. 

Before quitting Ohio, it is but just to acknowledge the kind 
hospitality of these last two days. At every house that we ap- 
proached, the dwellers thereof, themselves absent, perhaps un- 
able to endure a meeting that would have been painful, had left 
warm pies, freshly baked, upon the tables. This touching at- 
tention to our tastes was appreciated. Some individuals were 
indelicate enough to hint that the pies were intended to propi- 
tiate us and prevent the plunder of the houses. 

We reached Portland, a little village upon the bank of the 
river, and a short distance above Buffington Island, about 8 P. 
M., and the night was one of solid darkness. General Morgan 
consulted one or two of his officers upon the propriety of at 
once attacking an earthwork, thrown up to guard the ford. 
From all the information he could gather, this work was manned 

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With about three hundred infantry — ^regular troops — and two 
heavy guns were mounted in it. Our arrival at this place after 
dark had involved us in a dilemma. If we did not cross the 
river that night, there was every chance of our being attacked 
on the next day by heavy odds. The troops we had seen at 
Bome^poy were, we at once and correctly conjectured, a portion 
of the infantry which had been sent after us from Kentucky, 
and they had been brought by the river, which had risen several 
feet in the previous week, to intercept us. If transports could 
pass Pomeroy, the General knew that they could also run up 
to the bar at BufiSngton Island. The transports would cer- 
tainly be accompanied by gun-boats, and our crossing could 
have been prevented by the latter alone, because our artillery 
ammunition was nearly exhausted — there was not more than 
three cartridges to the piece, and we could not have driven off 
gun-boats with small arms. Moreover, if it was necessary, the 
troops could march from Pomeroy to Buffington by an excellent 
road, and reach the latter place in the morning. This they did- 
General Morgan fully appreciated these reasons for getting 
across the river that night, as did those with whom he advised, 
but there were, also, very strong reasons against attacking the 
work at night ; and without the capture of'' the work, which 
commanded the ford, it would be impossible to cross. The 
night, as I have stated, was thoroughly dark. Attacks in the 
dark are always hazardous experiments — in this case it would 
have been doubly so. We knew nothing of the ground, and 
could not procure guides. Our choice of the direction in which 
to move to the attack would have been purely guess work. The 
defenders of the work had only to lie still and fire with artillery 
and musketry .directly to their front, but the assailants would 
have had a line to preserve, and would have had to exercise 
great care lest they should fall foul of each other in the ob- 
scurity. If this is a difficult business at all times, how much is 
the danger and trouble increased when it is attempted with 
broken-down and partially demoralized men ? 

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448 HisTOBT or morgan's cavalry. 

General Morgan feared, too, that if the attacking party was 
repulsed, it would come back in such disorder and panic that 
the whole division would be seriously and injuriously affected. 
He determined, therefore, to take the work at early dawn and in- 
stantly commence the crossing, trusting that it would be effected 
rapidly and before the enemy arrived. By abandoning the long 
train of wagons which had been collected, the wounded men, 
and the artillery, a crossing might have been made, with little 
difficulty, higher up the river at deeper fords, which we could 
have reached by a rapid march before the enemy came near 
them. But General Morgan was determined (after having already 
hazarded so much) to save all if possible, at the risk of losing 
all. He ordered me to place two regiments of my brigade in 
position, as near the earthwork as I thought proper, and attack 
it at daybreak. I accordingly selected the Fifth and Sixth 
Kentucky, and formed them about four hundred yards from the 
work, or from the point where I judged it to be located. Lieu- 
tenant Lawrence was also directed to place his Parrots upon a 
tongue of land projecting northward from a range of hills run- 
ning parallel with the river. It was intended that he should 
assist the attacking party, if, for any reason, artillery should 
be needed. Many efforts were made, during the night, to find 
other fords, but unsuccessfully. 

As soon as the day dawned, the Fifth and Sixth Kentucky 
were moved against the work, but found it unoccupied. It had 
been evacuated during the night. Had . our scouts, posted to 
observe it, been vigilant, and had this evacuation, which oc- 
curred about two p. M., been discovered and reported, we could 
have gotten almost the entire division across before the troops 
coming from Pomeroy arrived. The guns in the. work had been 
dismounted and rolled over the bluff. I immediately sent Gren. 
Morgan information of the evacuation of the work, and instructed 
Colonel Smith to take command of the two regiments and move 
some four or five hundred yards further on the Pomeroy road, 
by which I supposed that the garrison had retreated. In a few 

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minutes I heard the rattle of musketry in the direction that the 
regiments had moved, and riding forward to ascertain what oc- 
casioned it, found that Colonel Smith had unexpectedly come 
upon a Federal force advancing upon this road. He attacked 
and dispersed it, taking forty or fifty prisoners and a piece of 
artillery, and killing and wounding several. This force turned 
out to be General Judah's advance guard, and his command was 
reported to be eight or ten thousand strong, and not far off. 
Among the wounded was one of his staff, and his Adjutant- 
General was captured. I instructed Colonel Smith to bring the 
men back to the ground where they had been formed to attack 
the work, and rode myself to consult General Morgan and re- 
ceive his orders. He instructed me to hold the enemy in check, 
and call for such troops as I might need for that purpose. This 
valley which we had entered the night before, and had bivouacked 
in, was about a mile long, and perhaps eight hundred yards 
wide at the southern extremity (the river runs here nearly due 
north and south), and gradually narrows toward the other end, 
until the ridge, which is its western boundary, runs to the water's 
edge. This ridge is parallel with the river at the southern end 
of the valley, but a few hundred yards further to the northward 
both river and ridge incline toward each other. About half 
way of the valley (equi-distant from either end) the road, by 
which we had marched from Chester, comes in. 

Colonel Smith had posted his men, in accordance with direc- 
tions given him, at the southern extremity of the valley, with 
the ridge upon his right flank. At this point the ridge, I should 
also state, bends almost at right angles to the westward. As I 
returned from consultation with General Morgan, I found both 
of the regiments under Colonel Smith in full retreat. When 
the main body of the enemy (which was now close upon us) ap- 
peared, an order had been issued by some one to "rally to horsea.'l 
While doing this, the line was charged by the enemy's cavalry, 
of which they had three regiments, two of them, the Seventh 
and Eighth Michigan, were very fine ones. A detachment of 

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450 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

the Fifth Indiana (led by a very gallant officer, Lieutenant 
O'Neil) headed this charge. The men rallied and tamed, as 
soon as called on to do so, and had no difficulty in driving back the 
cavalry, bat a portion of the Fifth Kentucky was cut off by this 
charge, and did not take part in the fight which succeeded. These 
two regiments were not more than two hundred and fifty strong 
each, and they were dismounted again, and formed across the 
valley. The Parrot guns had been captured, and, although our 
line was formed close to them, they were not again in our pos- 
session. I sent several couriers to General Morgan, asking for 
the Second Kentucky, a portion of which I wished to post upon the 
ridge, and I desired to strengthen the thin, weak line with the 
remainder. Colonel's Johnson's rear videttes (still kept daring 
the night upon the Chester road) had a short time previously 
been driven in, and he had formed his brigade to receive the 
enemy coming from that direction. Colonel Johnson offered 
me a detachment of his own brigade with which to occupy the 
part of the ridge immediately upon my right — the necessity of 
holding it was immediately apparent to him. Believing that 
the Second Kentucky would soon arrive, I declined his offer. 

The force advancing upon the Chester road was General Hob- 
son's, which our late delays had permitted to overtake us. 
Neither Judah nor Hobson was aware of the other's vicinity, 
until apprised of it by the sound of their respective guns. We 
could not have defeated either alone, for Judah was several 
thousand strong, and Hobson three thousand. We were scarcely 
nineteen hundred strong, and our ammunition was nearly ex- 
hausted — either shot away or worn out in the pouches or cart- 
ridge-boxes. The men, had on an average, not more than five 
rounds in their boxes. If, however, either Judah or Hobson had 
attacked us singly, we could have made good our retreat, in 
order, and with little loss. 

The attack commenced from both directions, almost simulta- 
neously, and at the same time the gun-boats steamed up and 
commenced shelling us without fear or favor. I heartily wished 

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that their fierce ardor, the result of a feeling of perfect security, 
could have been subjected to the test of two or three shots 
through their hulls. They were working, as well as I could 
judge, five or six guns, Hobson two, and Judah five or six. 
The shells coming thus from three different directions, seemed 
to fill the air with their fragments. Colonel Johnson's line, con- 
fronting Hobson, was formed at right angles to mine, and upon 
the level and unsheltered surface of the valley, each was equally 
exposed to shots aimed at the other. In addition to the infantry 
deployed in front of my line, the ridge upon the right of it was 
soon occupied by one of the Michigan regiments, dismounted 
and deployed as skirmishers. The peculiar formation we were 
forced to adopt, exposed our entire force engaged to a severe 
cross fire of musketry. The Second Kentucky and Ninth Ten- 
nessee, of the first brigade, were not engaged at all — ^nor the 
Eight and Eleventh Kentucky, of the second brigade. These 
regiments, however, were as completely under fire, in the com- 
mencement of the action, as were the others which were pro- 
tecting the retreat. 

The scene in the rear of the lines engaged, was one of in- 
describable confusion. While the bulk of the regiments, which 
General Morgan was drawing off, were moving from the field in 
perfect order, there were many stragglers from each, who were 
circling about the valley in a delirium of fright, clinging instinc- 
tively, in all their terror, to bolts of calico and holding on to led 
horses, but changing the direction in which they galloped, with 
every shell which whizzed or burst near them. The long train 
of wagons and ambulances dashed wildly in the only direction 
which promised escape, and becoming locked and entangled with 
each other in their flight, many were upset, and terrified horses 
broke lose from them and plunged wildly through the mass. 
Some of them in striving to make their way out of the valley, at 
the northern end, ran foul of the section of howitzers attached 
to the second brigade, and guns and wagons were rolled head- 
long into the steep ravine. Occasionally a solid shot or shell 

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452 HISTORY OP morgan's cavalry. 

would strike one and bowl it over like a tumbled ten-pin. All 
this shelling did little damage, and only some twenty-odd men 
were killed by the musketry — ^the enemy lost quite as many — ^but 
the display of force against us, the cross fire, and our lack of 
ammunition, seriously disheartened the men, already partiaily 
demoralized by the great and unremitted fatigue. 

The left flank of my line, between which and the river there 
was an interval of at least three hundred yards, was completely 
turned, and the Sixth Kentucky was almost surrounded. This 
regiment (under the command of Major William Bullitt, an 
officer of the calmest and most perfect bravery), behaved nobly. 
It stood the heavy attack of the enemy like a bastion. At 
length seeing that General Morgan had gotten out of the valley 
with the rest of the division. Colonel Johnson and myself, upon 
consultation, determined to withdraw simultaneously. We had 
checked this superior force for more than half an hour — which, 
as much as our assailants boasted of their victory, was quite as 
good as an equal number of the best of them could have done 
against such odds. 

The men were remounted without confusion, and retreated in 
column of fours from right of companies, and for quite a mile 
in perfect order. The Sixth Kentucky formed to the "rear into 
line" three times, and with empty guns, kept the pursuing 
cavalry at bay. But when we neared the other end of the valley 
and saw that there were but two avenues of escape from it — the 
men broke ranks and rushed for them. In a moment, each was 
blocked. The gun-boats sought to rake these roads with grape 
— and although they aimed too high to inflict much injury, the 
hiss of the dreaded missiles increased the panic. The Seventh 
Michigan soon came up and dashed pell-mell into the crowd of 
fugitives. Colonel Smith, Captain Campbell, Captain Thorpe, 
and myself, and some fifty other officers and men, were forced 
by the charge of this regiment into a ravine on the left of the 
road and soon afterward captured. Captain Thorpe saved me 
from capture at an earlier date, only to ultimately share my fate. 

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He had acted as Adjutant General of the First Brigade, since the 
detachment of Captain Davis, and had performed all of his 
duties with untiring assiduity and perfect efficiency. On this 
day, there was allowed opportunity for the display of courage 
only, and for that he was ever distinguished. 

About seven hundred prisoners were taken from us in this 
fight Among the officers captured were Colonels Ward and 
Morgan, Lieutenant Colonel Huffman, who was also severely 
wounded, and Majors Bullock and Bullitt. 

On the next day, the 20th, we were marched down the river 
bank some ten miles to the transport which was to take us to 
Cincinnati, and she steamed off as soon as we were aboard of 
her. A portion of the Ninth Tennessee had been put across the 
river, in a small flat, before the fight fairly commenced, and 
these men, under command of Captain Kirkpatrick, pressed 
horses and made their escape. Colonel Grigsby and Captain 
Byrnes also crossed the river here, and succeeded in escaping. 
Between eleven and twelve hundred men retreated with Gen- 
eral Morgan, closely pursued by Hobson's cavalry — the indefat- 
igable Woolford, as usual, in the lead. Some three hundred of 
the command crossed the river at a point about twenty miles 
above Buffington. Colonel Johnson and his staff swam the river 
here and got safely ashore, with thar exception of two or three 
of the latter, who were drowned in the attempt. 

The arrival of the gun boats prevented the entire force from 
crossing. General Morgan had gained the middle of the river, 
and, having a strong horse, could have gained the other shore 
without difficulty, but seeing that the bulk of his command would 
be forced to remain on the Ohio side, he returned to- it. At this 
point, a negro boy named Box, a great favorite in the Second 
Kentucky, thorough rebel and deeply impressed with a sense 
of his own importance, entered the river and started across; 
General Morgan called to him to return, fearing that he would 
be drowned. " Marse John," said Box, " If dey catches you, 
dey may parole you, but if dis nigger is cotched in a free State 

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454 HISTORY OF morgan's cavalrt. 

he ain't a gwine to git away while de war lasts/' He swam 
the river safely although nearly run down by a gun boat. From 
this time, for six days, it was a continual race and scramble. 
That men could have endured it, after the previous exhausting 
marches, is almost incredible. 

The brigades were reorganized. Colonel Oluke was placed in 
command of the second. Major Webber of the first, each was a 
little more than four hundred strong. '' The bold Oluke " had 
need of all of his audacity and vigor during these six days of 
trial. It is impossible for the reader to appreciate the true con- 
dition in which these brave men were placed. Worn down by 
tremendous and long sustained exertion, encompassed by a mul- 
titude of foes, and fresh ones springing up in their path at every 
mile, allowed no rest, but driven on night and day ; attacked, 
harassed, intercepted at every moment, disheartened by the dis- 
asters already suffered — ^how magnificent was the nerve, energy 
and resolution which enabled them to bear up against all this 
and struggle so gallantly to the very last against capture. 
Major Webber had long been suffering from a painful and ex- 
hausting disease, and when he started upon the raid he could not 
climb into his saddle without assistance. But he could not en- 
dure the thought of being absent from such an expedition. He 
was one of the very best officers in the Confederate cavalry, and 
his ideas of duty were almost fanatical. All through the long 
march to Buffington, he rode at the head of the ^^ old regulars," 
without a murmur escaping his lips to tell of the pain which 
paled his brave, manly face, but could not bend his erect form. 
Of his conduct after the Buffington disaster, Greneral Morgan, 
and his comrades spoke in enthusiastic praise — one officer in de- 
scribing his unflinching steadiness called him the ^< Iron man." 
Ko description could do justice to these six days, and I will not 
Attempt one. One incident will serve to show how constantly 
the enemy pressed the command. Once, when there seemed 
leisure for it. General Morgan called a council of his officers. 
While it was in session, the enemy were skirmishing with the 

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advance and rear-guards of the column, and were upon both 
flanks. A bullet struck within two inches of the General's head, 
while he was courteously listening to an opinion. When the 
council was closed. General Morgan moved the column back to- 
ward ^^Blennorhassett's Island/' where he had previously at- 
tempted to cross the river. Clouds of dust marked his march 
(although he quitted the main road) and also the track of his 
enemies, and in that way the exact position of all the columns 
was known to each. That night he halted with a bold mountain 
upon one side of him and the enemy on the other three. His 
pursuers evidently thought that the morning would witness his 
surrender, for they made no effort to force him to yield that 
evening. But when night had fairly fallen and the camp fires 
of his foes were burning brightly, he formed his men, partially 
ascended the mountain, stole noiselessly and in single file along 
its rough slope and by midnight was out of the trap, and again 
working hard for safety. 

Here is a description from Major Webber's diary, of how 
General Morgan eluded the enemy posted to ensnare him when 
he should cross the Muskingum. He had been compelled to 
drive off a strong force in order to obtain a crossing ; after he 
had crossed he found himself thus situated. '^ The enemy had 
fallen back on all of the roads — ^guarding each one with a force 
in ambush much larger than ours — and to make our way through 
seemed utterly impossible; while Hobson had made his appear- 
ance with a large force on the opposite bank of the Musking- 
ham so that to retrace our steps would be ruin. Finding every 
road strongly guarded, and every hill covered with troops, it 
would have been impossible for any one except Morgan to have 
led a column out of such a place, and he did it by what the cit- 
izens tell us, is the only place which a horse can go ; and that 
down a narrow pass leading up a narrow spring branch hundreds 
of feet below the tops of the hills, the perpendicular sides of 
which pressed closely on our horses as we passed in single file. 
And then we went up another hill, or rather mountain side, up 

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456 HISTOBT ov korqan's cayalbt* 

which nobody but a Morgan man could have carried a horse. 
Up that hill, for at least one thousand feet, we led our tired 
horses, where it seemed that a goat could n't climb, until we 
reached the plain, and were soon in the rear of the enemy and 
on our road again. Colonel Gluke who was in the rear lost two 
men killed. 

In looking around for a place to carry the column, Adjutant 
S. F. McKee and two of our men ran into an ambuscade, and 
were fired on, about thirty yards distant, by three hundred 
men, without striking either of them or their horses.'' But all 
this brave, persistent effort, was unavailing. General Morgan 
maintained his high spirit to the last, and seemed untouched by 
. the weariness which bore down every one else, but he was forced 
at last to turn at bay, and a fresh disaster on the 26th, reducing 
his command to two hundred and fifty men, and a fresh swarm 
of enemies gathering around this remnant, left him no alterna- 
tive (in justice to his men) but surrender. I may be permitted 
to mention (with natural pride), that the last charge made upon 
this expedition, was made by Company C, of my old regiment, 
the Second Kentucky, the "Regulars." This company had 
maintained its organization and discipline without any deteriora- 
tion, although greatly reduced in numbers. In this last fight, 
it was ordered to charge a body of Federal cavalry, who were 
dismounted and lay behind a worm fence, firing upon the column 
with their Spencer rifles. Led by its gallant Captain, Ralph 
Sheldon, one of the best of our best officers, this company dashed 
down upon the enemy. The tired horses breasted the fence, 
without being able to clear it, knocking off the top rails. But 
with their deadly revolvers our boys soon accomplished the 
mission upon which they were sent. 

General Morgan surrendered in a very peculiar manner. He 
had, many days before, heard of the retreat of General Lee, 
after Gettysburg, from Pennsylvania, and of the fall of Vicks- 
burg. In at least twenty towns through which we had passed, 
in Indiana and Ohio, we had witnessed the evidences of the 

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illaminations in honor of these events. He feared that, in con- 
sequence of the great excess of prisoners thus coming in Fed- 
eral possession, the cartel (providing for the exchange of pri- 
soners and the paroling of the excess upon either side, within a 
short period after their capture) would be broken. He was 
anxious, therefore, to surrender '^upon terms." Aware that he 
was not likely to get such terms as he wished, from any oflScer 
of the regular troops that were pursuing him, unless he 
might happen to hit upon Woolford, who was as noted for gen- 
erosity to prisoners (if he respected their prowess) as for vigor 
and gallantry in the field, he looked around for some militia 
officer who might serve his turn. In the extreme eastern part 
of Ohio (where he now was), he came into the "district" of a 
Captain Burbeck, who had his militia under arms. General 
Morgan sent a message to Captain Burbeck, under flag of truce, 
requesting an interview with him. Burbeck consented to meet 
him, and, after a short conference. General Morgan concluded a 
treaty with him, by which he (Morgan) engaged to take and 
disturb nothing, and do no sort of damage in Burbeck's district, 
and Burbeck, on his part, covenanted to guide and escort Mor- 
gan to the Pennsylvania line. After riding a few miles, side by 
side, with his host, General Morgan, espying a long cloud of 
dust rolling rapidly upon a course parallel with his own (about 
a mile distant), and gaining his front, thought it was time to act. 
So he interrupted a pleasant conversation, by suddenly asking 
Burbeck how he would like to receive his (Morgan's) surrender. 
Burbeck answered that it would afford him inexpressible satis- 
faction to do so. " But," said Morgan, " perhaps you would not 
give me such terms as I wish." "General Morgan," replied 
Burbeck, "you might write your own terms, and I would grant 
them." "Very well, then," said Morgan; "it is a bargain. I 
will surrender to you." He, accordingly, formally surrendered 
to Captain Burbeck, of the Ohio militia, upon condition that 
officers and men were to be paroled, the latter retaining their 
horses, and the former horses and side-arms. When General 

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Shackleford (Hobson's second in command, and the officer who 
was conducting the pursuit in that immediate region) arriyed, 
he at once disapproved this arrangement, and took measures to 
prevent its being carried into effect. Some officers who had 
once been Morgan's prisoners, were anxious that it should be 
obftfirved, and Woolford generously interested himself to have it 
done. The terms of this surrender were not carried out. The 
cartel (as Morgan had anticipated) had been repudiated, and the 
terms for which he had stipulated, under that apprehension, 
were repudiated also. 

Although this expedition resulted disastrously, it was, even 
as a failure, incomparably the most brilliant raid of the entire 
war. The purposes sought to be achieved by it were grander 
and more important, the conception of the plan which should 
regulate it, was more masterly, and the skill with which it was 
conducted is unparalleled in the history of such affairs. It was 
no ride across a country stripped of troops, with a force larger 
than any it should chance to encounter. 

It was not an expedition started from a point impregnably 
garrisoned, to dash by % well marked path to another point oc- 
cupied by a friendly army. It differed from even the boldest of 
Confederate raids, not only in that it was vastly more ex- 
tended, but also in the nerve with which the great natural ob- 
stacles were placed between the little band with which it was 
undertaken and home, and die unshrinking audacity with which 
that slight force penetrated into a populous and intensely hos- 
tile territory, and confidently exposed itself to such tremendous 
odds, and such overwhelming disadvantages. Over one hundred 
thousand men were in arms to catch Morgan (although not all 
employed at one time and place), and every advantage in the 
way of transporting troops, obtaining information, and disposing 
forces to intercept or oppose him, was possessed by his enemy, 
and yet his wily strategy enabled him te make his way to the 
river, at the very point where he had contemplated recrossing 
it when he started from Tennessee ; and he was prevented from 

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^ Of tho$e who madt 

Jul§ and Auffutt, 1883. 

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recrossing and effecting his escape (which would then have been 
certain) only by the river having risen at a season at which it 
had not risen for more than twenty years before. 

The objects of the raid were accomplished. General Bragg's 
retreat was unmolested by any flanking forces of the enemy, and 
I think that military men, who will review all the fact«, will 
pronounce that this expedition delayed for weeks the fall of East 
Tennessee, and prevented the timely reinforcement of Bosecrans 
by troops that would otherwise have participated in the battle 
of Chickamauga. It destroyed Morgan's division, however, and 
left but a remnant of the Morgan cavalry. The companies in 
Kentucky became disintegrated — the men were either captured 
or so dispersed that few were ever again available. Captain 
Davis crossed into Indiana, with the two companies assigned 
him, but failed to rejoin the division, and was surrounded by 
overwhelming numbers, and himself and the greater part of his 
command captured. Some of the men in those companies es- 
caped — ^the majority of them returned to the South, others 
remained in Kentucky to "guerrilla." Two fine companies of 
the Ninth Tennessee, under Captains Kirkpatrick and Sisson, 
crossed the river at BuflBngton; two companies of the Second 
Kentucky, under Captains Lea and Cooper, effected a crossing a 
day or two later. Besides these organized bodies of men, there 
were stragglers from all the regiments to the number of three 
or four hundred, who escaped. These men were collected by 
Colonels Johnson and Grigsby, and marched through Western 
Virginia to Morristown, in East Tennessee, where all that was 
left of Morgan's command was rendezvoused. 

Although the consequences were so disastrous, although upon 
the greater part of those who followed Morgan in this raid 
was visited a long, cruel, wearisome imprisonment, there are 
few, I imagine, among them who ever regretted it. It was a 
sad infliction upon a soldier, especially upon one accustomed 
to the life the "Morgan men" had led, to eat his heart in 
the tedious, dreary prison existence, while the fight which he 

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should hare shared was daily growing deadlier. Bat to have, 
in our turn, been invaders, to have carried the war north of the 
Ohio, to have taught the peddle, who for long months had been 
pouring invading hosts into the South, something of the agony 
and terror of invasion — to have made them fly in fear from their 
homes, although they returned to find those homes not laid in 
ashes ; to have scared them with the sound of hostile bugles, 
although no signals were sounded for flames and destruction — 
these luxuries were cheap at almost any price. It would have 
been an inexpiable shame if, in all the Confederate army, there 
had been no body of men found to carry the war, however 
briefly, across the Ohio, and Morgan by this raid saved us, at 
least, that disgrace. 

One of the many articles which filled the Northern papers, 
upon the disastrous termination of this expedition, prophetically 
declared the true misfortune which would result to Morgan him- 
self from his ill-success to-wit : the loss of his unexampled pres- 
tige — hitherto of itself a power adqrquate to ensure him victories, 
but never to be recovered. This writer more sagacious, as well 
as more fair than others of his class, said : 

^' The raid through Indiana and Ohio has proved an unfortu- 
nate business to him and his command. His career, hitherto has 
been dashing and brilliant, and but few rebel commanders had 
won a higher reputation throughout the South. He had been 
glorified by rebels in arms everywhere, but this last reckless ad- 
venture will doubtless rob hi» name of half its potency. The 
prestige of success is all powerful, while a failure is death to 
military reputation. It would now be a difficult matter to rally 
to his standard as many enthusiastic and promising young men, 
who infatuated and misguided, joined him during the period of 
his success. Many of them blindly seemed to entertain the opi- 
nion that no reverse could befall him, and all he had to do was 
to march along, and victory after victory would perch upon his 
banner. They could n't even dream of a disaster or an end to 
his triumphs. Many of them have already sadly and dearly paid 

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462 HisTORr OF morgan's oayalrt. 

for th,eir infatuation, while others are doomed to i similar fate. 
This remarkable raid, certainly the most daring of the war, is 
aboat at an end. Morgan is trapped at last and his forces scat- 
tered, and if he escapes himself it will only be as a fugitire. The 
race he has ran since crossing the Cumberland river, eluding the 
thousands of troops which hare been put upon his track, proved 
him a leader of extraordinary ability. The object of the raid is 
yet a mystery. Time alone will develop the plan, if plan there 
was. Moving on with such a force, far from all support — at the 
very time, too, that Bragg's army was falling back and scatter- 
ing — makes the affair look like one of simple bravado, as if the 
leader was willing to be captured, provided he could end his ca- 
reer in a blaze of excitement created by his dash and daring. 
But it is useless to speculate now. Broken into squads, some 
few of his men will doubtless escape across the river, and make 
their way singly to the Confederacy, to tell the story of their 
long ride through Indiana and Ohio ; but the power of the noted 
partisan chieftain and his bold riders is a thing of the past." 

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Thb prisoners taken at Baffington were carried to Cincinnati 
as rapidly as the low stage of water, and the speed of the little 
Jboat, upon which we were placed, would permit. We were some 
three days in making the trip. Fortunately for us, the officeris 
and m»n appointed to guard us, were disposed to ameliorate our 
condition as much as possible. Our private soldiers, crowded 
on the hurricane decks, were, of course, subjected to inconven- 
ience, but the wish of the guards was evidently to remedy it as 
much as possible. This crowding enabled a number of them to 
make their escape by leaping into the river at night, as the sen- 
tries could not possibly detect or prevent their efforts at escape. 
Captain Day, General Judah's inspector, who was in immediate 
charge of us, while he was rigidly careful to guard against 
escape, showed us the most manly and soldierly courtesy. As 
the only acknowledgment we could make him, the officers united 
in requesting him to accept a letter which we severally signed^ 
declaring our appreciation of his kindness. We trusted that, 
if he should ever be so unfortunate as to become a prisoner 
himself, this evidence of his consideration for our situation 
would benefit him. 

It was habitually remarked that, in the first two years of the 
war at least, there was a prevalent disposition among the men 
of both armies who served in " the front," to show courtesy to 
prisoners. The soldiers who guarded us from Buffington to 
Cincinnati were characterized by this spirit in an unusual de- 
gree, and carried out this practice, which even those who neg- 
lect it, approve, more thoroughly, I must say, than any troops I 
had ever seen. We met with treatment so different, afterward, 
that we had occasion to remember and compare. For my own 
part, I was more than once compelled, during my long and 

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464 HISTORY OP morqan's cavalry. 

chequered imprisonment, to express my sense of courteous and 
considerate treatment; and, as I be)ieTe,that a gentleman ought 
not to say, at any time or in any event, that which he can not 
unhesitatingly confirm, however changed may be the circum- 
stances (every legitimate ruae-de-giierre^ being, of course, an 
exception), I shall take great pains, in the coarse of this chapter, 
to specify wherein and by whom such treatment was accorded 
me, or my comrades. I am aware that this is not customary, 
and the contrary habit, may have become an established canon 
of this sort of literature, the violation of which will occasion 
grave criticism. But my own people will appreciate my ex- 
planation. I should have accepted no kindness at the hands of 
my captors ; I ought to have repelled every courtesy offered me, 
if clearly prompted by a generous and manly spirit ; if I were 
capable of altogether omitting mention of such acts, in a descrip- 
tion, purporting to be truthful and accurate, of my prison expe- 

In all else, my readers may rest assured that the rule shall be 
observed. He would be a poor-spirited prisoner, who would not 
tell all the mean things he knows about his jailors, and since 
Wirtz was hung, at any rate, such gentry have become fair 

When we arrived at Cincinnati, we met with a grand ovation. 
The fact that none of the citizens had come out to meet us, when 
we marched around the city, had caused us to conceive a very 
erroneous impression regarding them. They pressed closely 
upon the guard of soldiers who were drawn up around us, as 
we were marched through the streets to the city prison, and 
attempted many demonstrations of their feeling toward us. 
There seemed to be little sympathy between the soldiers and the , 
populace. The former muttered pretty strong expressions of 
disgust for the previous tameness and present boldness of the 
latter, and once or twice when jostled, plied their bayonets. The 
privates were immediately sent to camps Morton and Diuigla§s. 
The oflSicers were kept at the city prison in Cincinnati for three 

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days. During that time, we were reinforced by a good many 
others, taken in the two or three days whioh succeeded Buffing* 
ton fight. 

On the last day of our sojourn here, we learned of General 
Morgan's capture. We had hoped and almost felt confident, 
that he would escape. 

We were removed from this prison on the seoond of July (or 
within a day or two of that date), and taken to Johnson's Island. 
At every station on the railroad, from Cincinnati to Sandusky, 
large and enthusiastic crowds assembled to greet us. The 
enthusiasm, however, was scarcely of a nature to excite agree- 
able emotions in our bosoms. There seemed to be *^ universal 
suffrage " for our instant and collective execution, and its pro- 
priety was promulgated with much heat and emphasis. A 
change seemed to have come over the people of Ohio in the 
past two weeks. In our progress through the State, before our 
capture, the people left their homes — apparently from a modest 
disinclination to see us. But, now, they crowded to stare at us. 

When we reached Sandusky, we were transferred to a small 
ateam tug, and, in twenty minutes, were put across the arm of 
the lake which separates Johnson's Island from the main land. 
We were marched, as soon as landed, to the adjutant's office, 
and after roll-call, and a preliminary scrutiny to ascertain if we 
had money or weapons upon our persons, although it was, per- 
haps, the strict rule to search — the word of each man in our 
party was taken — we were introduced into the prison indosure. 
It was the custom, in those days, in the various prisons for the 
older inmates to collect about the gates of the ^* Bull-pen " when 
" Fresh fish," as every lot of prisoners just arrived were termed, 
were brought in, and inspect them. We, consequently, met a 
large crowd of unfortunate rebels, when we entered, in which were 
not a few acquaintances, and some of our own immediate com- 
rades. The first man I saw, or, at least, the first one to whom 
my attention was attracted, was First Lieutenant Charles Don- 
egan, of the Second Kentucky. He had been a private in the 

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466 BISTORT OF morgan's CAVAIiRT. 

heroic Fourth Alabama, and, when his term of service had 
expired in that regiment, he "joined Morgan," becoming a 
private in Company A, of the "old squadron." When the 
Second Kentucky was organized, he was made a non commis- 
sioned officer, and was shortly afterward promoted to First 
Lieutenant for gallantry, excellent conduct, and strict attention 
to duty. In the prison he met with his old comrades of the Armj 
of Northern Virginia, and was prompt to welcome all of the 
^^ Morgan men " who " happened in," and to initiate them in the 
art of making life in a prison endurable. A few months before, ' 
I had visited his father, one of the most hospitable men in 
Huntsville, famed for that virtue, and he charged me with a 
message to " Charlie," which I delivered in the barracks at 
Johnson's Island. Lieutenant Donegan remained in prison 
jnore than twenty months — one of those men whose patient 
heroism will never be justly appreciated. 

It is only by citing personal instances of this kind, that the 
history of the Southern soldiery can be written so that it will 
be understood. 

The Gettysburg prisoners had arrived, only a few days before, 
and from them we heard the first intelligible account of the 
great battle. Not a whit was the courage and fire of these 
gallant representatives of the army of heroes abated. They 
seemed to have perfect faith in the invincibility of their com- 
rades, and they looked for tha millenium to arrfve,much sooner, 
than for serious discomfiture to befall " Uncle Robert." 

Johnson's Island was the most agreeable prison I ever saw— 
which is much as if a man were to allude to the pleasantest dose 
jof castor oil he ever swallowed. However, there is little doubt 
h^t that it would have been pleasant (for a short time), if it had 
4iot been a prison. The climate in the summer is delightfiil, and 
the prospect highly gratifying — except to a man who would Uke 
to escape and can not swim. The winters, there, are said to have 
been v^ery sexere — ^but then the barracks were open and airy. 
We, who were shortly afterward transferred to the Ohio Peniten- 

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tiary, thought and spoke of Johnson's Island as (under the cir- 
cumstances), a very ** desirable location." The rations were 
good, and we were permitted to purchase any thing we wished 
from the sutler. As we were there only four days, however, it 
is possible that some others who remained nearly two years, 
may be right in contending that the regime (in process of 
time), underwent some change. 

It was not uncommon to hear men say, that they would rather 
be sent to that locality which is conceded by all sects to be ex- 
ceedingly uncomfortable, than go again to Johnson's Island — 
but a shuddering recollection of the bitter winter weather, evi- 
dently induced the preference. After remaining at Johnson's 
Island four days, some forty of us were called for one morning, 
and bidden to prepare for departure — ^whither we were not in- 
formed. But our worst fears were realized, when we were taken 
off of the cars at Columbus and marched to the penitentiary. 
The State of Ohio claimed Morgan and his officers, as her pecu- 
liar property — because we had been captured on her soil by 
Michiganders, Kentuckians, etc., and demanded us, that we might 
be subjected to the same treatment which she inflicted upon her 
felons. It was rumored, also, that Colonel Streight, an Ohio 
officer, captured by Forrest, had been placed in the penitentiary 
in Georgia, and we were told that we were being penitentiaried in 
retaliation. It turned out subsequently that Colonel Streight was 
treated precisely as the other prisoners in the South, but the 
Governor of Ohio having gotten hold of a batch of Confederate 
soldiers, captured for him by troops from other States, was dis- 
posed to make the most of them, and would not consent to let 
them out of his hands. 

Two men figured in the ^^Ohio raid" and the subsequent 
treatment of the raiders, with a peculiar eclat. The Commander- 
in-Chief of the department, who prepared to flee from the city 
where his headquarters were established, upon the approach of 
two thousand wearied men, whom with an army of fine troops he 
could not stop — ^was one of them. The other was the Governor 

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468 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRY. 

of a State he could not defend ; bat who could torture if he could 
not fight. Burnside turned us over to Todd — ^but instructed 
that, ^'these men shall be subjected to the usual prison disci- 
pline." He could part with his prisoners and enjoin, in doing 
so, that they be treated as convicted felons. But his name would 
blister the tqngue of a brave man, and I should apologize for 
writing it. 

When we entered this gloomy mansion of " crime and woe," 
it was with misery in our hearts, although an affected gaiety of 
manner. We could not escape the conviction, struggle against 
it as we would, that we were placed there to remain while the 
war lasted, and most of us believed that the war would outlast 
the generation. We were told, when we went in, that we "were 
there to stay," and there was something infernal in the gloom 
and the massive strength of the place, which seemed to bid us 
^ leave all hope behind." While we were waiting in the ^ll« to 
which we were assigned, before being placed in our pella . a,^P' 
viot, as I supposed, spoke to me in a low voice from tfa% grated 
door of one of the cells already occupied. I made some remark 
about the familiarity of our new friends on short acquaintance, 
when by the speaker's peculiar laugh I recogniaed General Mor- 
j^. He was so shaven and shorn, that his voice alone was re- 
cognizable, for I could not readily distinguish his figure. We 
were soon placed in our respective cells and the iron barred 
doors locked. Some of the officers declared subsequently, that 
when left alone, and the eyes of the keepers were taken off of 
them, they came near swooning. It was not the apprehension 
of hardship or harsh treatment that was so horrible ; it was the 
stifling sense of close cramped confinement. The dead weight 
of the huge stone prison seemed resting on our breasts. On the 
next day we were iaken out to undergo some of the ^* usual 
prison discipline," and were subjected to a sort of dress-parade. 
We were first placed man by man, in big hogsheads filled with 
water (of which there were two), and solemnly scrubbed by a 
couple of negro convicts. This they said was done for sanitary- 

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HAIR otrnDTG. 469 

reasons. The baths in the lake at Joh^ison's Island were maoh 
pleasanter, and the twentieth man who was ordered into either 
tub, looke^l ruefully at the water, as if he thought it had already 
done enough for health. Then we were seated in barber chairSi 
our beards were taken off, and the officiating artists were or<* 
dered to give each man's hair <' a decent cut." We found that 
according to the penitentiary code, the decent way of wearing 
the hair was to cut it all off— if the same rule had been adopted 
with regard to clothing, the Digger Indians would have been 
superfluously clad in comparison with (what would have been)^ 
our disheveled condition. Some young men lost beards and 
moustaches on this occasion, which they ha(} assiduously oulti« 
vated with scanty returns, for years. Colonel Smith had a 
magnificent beard sweeping down to his waist, patriarchal in all 
save color — it gave him a leonine aspect that might have awed 
even a barber. He was placed in the chair, and in less time, 
perhaps, than Absalom staid on his mule after his hair brought 
him to grief, he was reduced to ordinary humanity. He felt his 
loss keenly. I ventured to compliment him on features which I 
had never seen till then, and he answered, with asperity, that it 
was " no jesting matter." 

When we returned to the hall, we met General Morgan, Colo- 
nel Cluke, Calvin Morgan, Captain Gibson, and some twenty-six 
others — our party numbered sixty-eight in all. General Mor- 
gan and most of the officers who surrendered with him, had been 
taken to Cincinnati and lodged in the city prison (as we had 
been), with the difference, that we had been placed in the upper 
appartments (which were clean), and he and his party were con- 
fined in the lower rooms, in comparison with which the stalls of 
the Augean stables were boudoirs. After great efforts, General 
Morgan obtained an interview with Burnsides, and urged that 
the terms upon which he had surrendered should be observed, 
but with no avail. He and the officers with him, were taken di- 
rectly from Cincinnati to the Ohio Penitentiary, and had been 
there several days when we (who came from Johnson's Island)^ 

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470 HISTORY OF morgan's CAVALRT. 

arrived. It is a difficult thing to describe, so that it will be 
clearly understood, the interior conformation of any large baild- 
ingy and I will hare to trust that my readers will either catch a 
just idea of the subject from a very partial and inadequate des- 
cription, or that they will regard it as a matter of little import- 
ance whether or no they shall understand the internal plan and 
strupture of the Ohio State Prison. For my purpose, it is only 
necessary that the architecture of one part of it shall be under- 
stood. Let the reader imagine a large room (or rather wing of 
a building), four hundred feet in length, forty-odd in width, and 
with a ceiling forty-odd feet in hight. One half of this wing, 
although separate^from the other by no traverse wall, is called 
the *♦ East Hall." 

In the walls of this hall are cut great windows, looking out 
upon one of the prison yards. If the reader will further 
imagine a building erected in the interior of this hall and reach- 
ing to the ceiling, upon each side of which, and between its walls 
and the walls of the hall, are alleys eleven feet wide and running 
the entire length of the hall, and at either extremity of this 
building, spaces twenty feet in width — he will have conceived a 
just idea of that part of the prison in which General Morgan and 
his officers were confined. In the interior building the cells are 
constructed-^each about three feet and a half wide and seven 
feet long. The doors of the cells — a certain number of which 
are constructed in each side of this building-— open upon the 
alleys which have been described. At the back of each, and of 
course separating the ranges of cells upon the opposite sides of 
the building, is a hollow space reaching from the floor to the 
ceiling, running the whole length of the building, and three or 
four feet wide. This space is left for the purpose of obtaining 
more thorough ventilation, and the back wall of every cell is 
perforated with a hole, three or four inches in diameter, to admit 
the air from this passage. 

We were placed in the cells constructed in that face of the 
building ^hich looks toward the town. No convicts were quar- 

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tered in the cells on that side, except on the extreme npper 
tiers, but the cells on the other side of the building if ere all oc- 
cupied by them. The cells are some seven feet in hight, and 
are built in ranges, or tiers, one above the other. They are 
numbered, range first, second, third, and so on^-commencing at 
the lower one. The doors are grates of iron — the bars of which 
are about an inch and a quarter wide, and half an inch thick, and 
are, perhaps, two inches apart, leaving, as they are placed up- 
right and athwart, open spaces of two inches square between 
them. In front of each range of cells were balconies three feet 
wide, and ladders led from each one of these to- the other just 
above it. 

We were permitted to exercise, during the day, in the alley 
in front of our cells, although prohibited from looking out of the 
windows. Twice a day we were taken to meals, crossing (when we 
went to breakfast) a portion of the yard, before mentioned, and 
passing through the kitchen into the large dining-hall of the in- 
stitution. Here, seated at tables about two feet wide and the 
same distance apart, a great many prisoners could be fed at the 
same time. We were not allowed to breakfast and dine with . 
the convicts, or they were not allowed to eat with us — I could 
never learn exactly how it was. We crossed the yard, on the 
way to breakfast, for the purpose of washing our faces, which 
was permitted by the prison regulations, but a certain method 
of doing it was prescribed. Two long troughs were erected and 
filled with water. The inhabitants of the First Range washed 
in one trough, and tliose of the Second Range used the other. 
We soon obtained permission to buy and keep our own towels. 
In returning from breakfast, and in going to and returning from 
dinner, we never quitted the prison building, but marched through 
a wing of the dining-room back to the long wing, in one end of 
which was our hall. 

At seven p. M. in summer (earlier afterward), we were re- 
quired to go to our respective cells at the tap of the turnkey's 
key on the stove, and he passed along the ranges and locked us 

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in for the night. In a little while, then, we would hear the 
steady, rolling tramp of the convicts, who slept in the hall it 
the other end of the wing, as they marched in with military 
step and precision, changing after awhile from the sharp clatter 
of many feet simultaneously striking the stone floor to the hur- 
ried, muffled rattle of their ascent (in a trot) of the stairways. 
Then when each had gained his cell, and the lockiug-in com- 
menced^ the most infernal clash and clang, as huge bolts were 
fastened, would be heard that ever startled the ear of a sane man. 
When Satan receives a fresh lot of prisoners, he certainly must 
torture each half by compelling it to hear the other locked into 
cells with iron doors. 

The rations furnished us for the first ten days were, in&ner 
to those subsequently, issued. The food allowed us, although 
exceedingly coarse, was always sufficiently abundant. After 
about ten days the restriction, previously imposed, preventing 
us from purchasing or receiving from our friends articles edible, 
or of any other description, was repealed, and we were allowed 
to receive every thing sent us. Our Kentucky friends had been 
, awaiting this opportunity, and for fear that the privilege would 
be soon withdrawn, hastened to send cargoes of all sorts of food 
and all kinds of dainties. For a few days we were almost sur-* 
felted with good things, and then the trap felL . When piles of 
delicacies were stacked up in his office, the Warden of the prison, 
Captain Merion, confiscated all to