MORGAN's LAST RIDE INTO KENTUCKY, JUNE, 1864--PREPARATIONS FOR THE TRIP--ORGANIZATION--THE MARCH TO MT. STERLING --THE FIRST BATTLE THERE.
Riding to battle on battle day--
Why, a soldier is something more than a king!
But after the battle? The riding away?
Ah, the riding away is another thing!"
WHILE encamped near Abingdon, Va., during the sunny days of May, 1864, General Morgan and his men were in good humor. Like Napoleon on the morn of Waterloo the general joked with his cavaliers, who hailed with delight and loud acclaim the dawn of the first day of the march to Kentucky--the Promised Land, a Canaan flowing with milk and honey.
We were living on an occasional half ration of rice and blue beef," and a change of any kind would be welcome. But a trip to Kentucky! Nothing could be more to our liking. There was, of course, much speculation as to what parts of the State we should visit, and as to whether we should have an opportunity of seeing loved ones at home, to whom we were then almost strangers. The dangers and privations that would necessarily attend the march were not considered.
"Though the future was veiled,
And its fortunes unknown,
We impatiently waited
Till the bugle was blown."
Our force was organized into three brigades, as follows: First Brigade--ColonelH. L. Giltner; Second Brigade -- ColonelD. Howard Smith; Third Brigade--ColonelRobert Martin.
Giltner's brigade was composed of the Fourth Kentucky Cavalry, Colonel Tandy Pryor; Tenth Kentucky Cavalry Battalion, Colonel Trimble; First Kentucky Mounted Rifles