July 17, 1862: Morgan’s raiders at Robert J. Breckinridge’s farm

Robert Jefferson Breckinridge
Robert Jefferson Breckinridge

William Campbell Preston Breckinridge
William C.P. Breckinridge

Reverend Robert Jefferson Breckinridge was the uncle of John Cabell Breckinridge. Unlike his nephew, R.J. Breckinridge was a Unionist and an abolitionist, and had been instrumental in the efforts to keep Kentucky in the Union. His son William C.P. Breckinridge joined the CSA sometime during Morgan’s first Kentucky raid as a captain in the cavalry. Breckinridge lived on a 600-acre farm known as Braedalbane, near Lexington — I don’t know the exact location, but from the account below it must be somewhere close to Georgetown, KY, north of Lexington.

Major R. M. Gano, part of Morgan’s first Kentucky raid, reached Braedalbane on July 17, 1862, and relates how the ladies of the house met him with some trepidation. (Full disclosure here: R.J. Breckinridge was my wife’s Great-great-grandfather, and one of those ladies would have been her GG-grandmother Ann Sophonisba Preston.) The rebel troops had no interest in disturbing Reverend Breckinridge, though, and passed on.

From the Official Record:
Report of R. M. GANO, Major, Commanding Batt. Cav. in Morgan’s Brigade, C. S. Army. To Gen. Morgan.

We passed through the farm of Victor Flournoy, stopping to refresh ourselves at the spring of the Rev. R. H. Breckinridge, where the ladies came out, and one, whose bright eyes bespoke a southern heart, was very curious to know what party we belonged to. This accidental call was construed into an attempt to arrest the doctor, and his son, Captain Will. Breckinridge, whom we had not seen, was accused of being accessory.

It is not surprising they should judge thus, meting by their own measure. The enemy may feel the effect of Captain Will’s steel upon the field of battle, but they will never find a man of his noble Southern soul trying to secure his father’s arrest.

Taking tea at my father’s, I proceeded on to Kiser’s Station, on the Paris and Covington road, and fired the bridge. The burning bridge fired an old shed beneath, which i afterward learned was Mr. Kisser’s distillery. I regretted the loss of private property, but, as it did happen, better be a distillery than anything else.

I here lost 7 pickets through their mistaking the road, and we hunted them until day, and consequently did not destroy the Townsend Bridge, as I had contemplated.

We then proceeded toward Georgetown, and while encamped in a wood-land near that place R. P. Tannehill, of Company A, Texas Squadron, was by the accidental discharge of a gun launched into eternity. Robert was a brave soldier boy, always ready, devoted to the Southern cause, and the main prop of his widowed mother; but we laid our bold soldier boy to rest more than 1,000 miles from his fond mother, who little dreams, of the removal of her boy.

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One Response to July 17, 1862: Morgan’s raiders at Robert J. Breckinridge’s farm

  1. Sammy Foster says:

    Since you have Kentucky roots, I thought you might like this link. They also have a KY map showing counties in color. This image is zoomable, but they also sell (for mucho dinero) “museum quality” prints and digital files for all ACW States.
    http://www.atozmapsdata.com/zoomify.asp?name=US_State/Antique/S-TENN-TENN1862-ANT

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