Reflections of a Civil War Historian: Essays on Leadership, Society, and the Art of War

By Herman Hattaway | Go to book overview

MORGAN'S RAID
THE WAR STRIKES HOME

with Michael Gillespie

Michael Gillespie has become an independent writer who lives
in Lone Jack, Missouri. He majored in history and secondary ed-
ucation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and did quite
a bit of work with me. He has published articles in Civil War
Times Illustrated, Military History, Encyclopedia U.S.A., and various
other outlets. We were commissioned to do this piece by the
Ohio Historical Society. We wrote it as a “popular piece,” aimed
at lay readers. It is extrapolated from standard works.

Something was up. Col. Basil W. Duke, commanding a cavalry brigade in Lt. Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee, had sensed it three weeks earlier when he received orders to send “intelligent men” to scout the fords of the Ohio River. Those crossings were well inside enemy lines and far distant from Duke's camp in Alexandria, Tennessee. But the colonel was used to surprises; he and his troopers were “Morgan's men,” part of the division of Duke's brother-in-law, Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan—the daring raider, the “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy.”

Three times in 1862 Morgan's youthful horsemen had swept around the Yankee army and wreaked havoc in Kentucky, destroying bridges, telegraph lines, and supply depots, fighting bluecoats who were never quite able to corner them. Now, in the second week of June 1863, Morgan returned from army headquarters and called together his senior officers. It looked very much like another raid was in the offing.

Morgan greeted his lieutenants with a confident air. The thirty-

-52-

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