John Hunt Morgan returned from his Kentucky raid on July 28, 1862. He had made a complete circuit of Lexington, Kentucky, destroying railroads and intercepting or cutting telegraph lines as he went. His efforts forced Buell to pull troops from an intended advance on Chattanooga, where Lincoln wanted support for the local Unionists. Back in Tennessee, Morgan filed this report.
From the Official Record:
HEADQUARTERS MORGAN’S COMMAND,
Knoxville, Tenn., July 30, 1862.
GENERAL: I have the honor to report that upon the day of the engagements at Tompkinsville, a full report of which I have already sent you, I moved my command (consisting of my own regiment, the Georgia regiment of Partisan Rangers, commanded by Colonel A. A. Hunt, and Major Gano’s Texas squadron, to which were attached two companies of Tennessee cavalry) in the direction of Glasgow, which place I reached at 12 o’clock than night.
There were but few troops in the town, who fled at our approach. The Commissary stores, clothing, &c., together with a large supply of medical stores found in Glasgow, were burned, and the guns were distributed among my command, about 200 of which where unarmed when I left Knoxville. From Glasgow I proceeded along the main Lexington road to Barren River, halting for a short time at a point near Cave City, my object being to induce the belief that I intended destroying the railroad bridge between bowling Green and Woodsonville. I caused wires connecting with the portable battery that I carried with me to be attached to the telegraph line near Horce Cave and intercepted a number of dispatches.
At Barren River I detached three companies, under Captain Jack Allen, to move forward rapidly and destroy the Salt River Bridge, that the troops along the line of railroad might be prevented from returning to Louisville.
On the following morning I moved on toward Lebanon, distant 35 miles from Barren River. At 11 o’clock at night I reached the bridge over Rolling Fork, 6 miles from Lebanon. The enemy had received information of my approach from their spies and my advance guard was fired upon at the bridge. After short fight the force at the bridge was dispersed and the planks which had been torn up having been replaced the command moved forward to Lebanon. About 2 miles from the town a skirmish commenced between two companies I caused to dismount and deploy and a force of the enemy posted upon the road,which was soon ended by its dispersion and capture. Lieutenant Colonel A. Y. Johnson, commanding the troops surrendered and I entered the place. The prisoners taken in number about were paroled. I took immediate possession of the telegraph and intercepted a dispatch to Colonel Johnson, informing him that Colonel Owen, with the Sixtieth Indiana Regiment, had been ordered to his assistance, so I at once dispatched a company of Texas Rangers, under Major Gano, to destroy the railroad bridge on the Lebanon Branch, which he successfully in time to prevent the arrival of the troops. I burned two long buildings full of commissary stores, consisting of upward of 500 sacks of coffee and a large amount of all other supplies in bulk, marked for the army at Cumberland Gap. I also destroyed a very large amount of clothing, boots, &c. I burned the hospital buildings, which appeared to have been recently erected and fitted up, together with about 35 wagons and 53 new ambulances. I found in the place a large store of medicines, 5,000 stand of arms, with accouterments, about 2,000 sabers, and an immense quantity of ammunition, shell, &c. I distributed the best arms among my command and loaded one wagon with them to be given to recruits that I expected to join me; I also loaded a wagon with ammunition; the remainder of the arms, ammunition, and the hospital and medical stores I destroyed.
While in Lebanon I ascertained from telegraph dispatches that I intercepted that the force which had been started from Lebanon Junction to re-enforce Lieutenant-Colonel Johnson had met and driven back the force under Captain Jack Allen, killing one of the men, and preventing him from accomplishing the purpose for which he had been detached.
I proceeded from Lebanon on the following day through Springfield to Mackville, at which point I was attacked by Home Guards. Two of my men were taken prisoners and one severely wounded. I remained at Mackville that night to recover the prisoners, which I did the next morning. I then left for Harrodsburg, capturing a Federal captain and lieutenant on the road; Harrodsburg at 12.30 o’clock. Found that the Home Guards of all that portion of country had fled to Lexington; a force was also stationed on the bridge where the Lexington road crossed the Kentucky River.
My reception at this place was very encouraging. The whole population appeared to turn out and vie with each other as to who should show us most attention. I left Harrodsburg at 6 o’clock the same evening and moved to Lawrenceburg, 20 miles distant, threatening Frankfort, in order to draw off the troops from Georgetown. Remained there until the return of my courier from Frankfort, who brought the information that the re was a force in Frankfort of 2,000 or 3,000 men, consisting of Home Guards collected from the adjacent counties and few regular troops. From Lawrenceburg I proceeded to Shryock Ferry, on the Kentucky River, raised the boat which had been sunken, and crossed that evening, reaching Versailles at 7 o’clock. I found this place abandoned by its defenders, who had fled to Lexington; remained there that night, and on the next morning marched toward Georgetown.
just before reaching the place that a train from Frankfort was nearly due with two regiments of Federals. I tore up the track and posted the howitzers to command it and formed my command along the line of the road, but the train was warned of our presence and returned to Frankfort. Having taken possession of the telegraph office, I intercepted a dispatch asking of the road was clear and if it would be safe to start the train from Lexington. I replied to send the train and made preparations to receive it, but it was also turned back and escaped. I reached Georgetown, 12 miles from Lexington, that evening. Just before entering the town I was informed that a small force of Home Guards had mustered to oppose us. I sent them word to surrender their arms and they should not molested, but they fled.
The people of Georgetown also welcomed us with gladness and provided my troops with everything that they needed. I remained at Georgetown two days, during which time I time I sent out a company under Captain McMillin to destroy the track between Midway and Lexington and Midway and Frankfort and to blow up the stone bridge on that road, which he successfully accomplished. Hearing that a company of Home Guards were encamped at Stamping Grounds, 13 miles distant, I dispatched a company under Captain Hamilton to break up their encampment, burn the tents and stores, and destroy the guns. This was also accomplished, Captain Hamilton taking 15 prisoners and all their guns and destroying a large amount of medical and commissary stores. I also while at Georgetown sent Captain Cattleman with his company to destroy the railroad bridges between Paris and Lexington and report to me at Winchester. This was done.
Determining to move on Paris with a view of returning, and hearing that the place was being rapidly re-enforced from Cincinnati, I deemed it of great importance to cut off the communication from that place while I drew the troops that were already there by a feint on Lexington. I therefore dispatched a portion of two companies toward Lexington, with instructions to drive the pickets to the very entrance of the city, while I moved the command toward Cynthiana. When I arrived within 3 miles of this place learned that it was defended by a considerable force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. I dispatched the Texas Squadron, under major Gano, to enter the town on the on the right, and the Georgia regiment to cross the river and get in the rear, while I moved my own regiment, with the artillery, under the command of Lieutenant J. E. Harris, down the Georgetown pike. A severe engagement took place, which lasted about an hour and a half before the enemy were driven into the town and compelled to surrender. I took 420 prisoners, including about 70 Home Guards.
I regret to have to mention the loss of 8 of my men in killed and 29 wounded. The enemy’s loss was 194 in killed and wounded, according to their own account. The excess in killed and wounded is remark-able, as they fought us from behind stone fences and fired at us from buildings as we charged through the town. we captured a very fine 12-pounder brass piece of artillery, together with a large number of small-arms and about 300 Government horses. I found a very large supply of commissary and medical stores, tents, guns, and ammunition at this place, which I destroyed. The paroled prisoners were sent under an escort to Falmouth, where they took the train for Cincinnati.
I proceeded the next morning toward Paris, and was met on the road by the bearer of a flag of truce, offering the unconditional surrender of the place. I reached Paris at 4 o’clock. Remained there that night, and started toward Winchester the next morning. As my command was filing out of Paris on the Winchester pike I discovered a large force of Federals coming toward the town from the direction of Lexington. They immediately counter marched, supposing no doubt that my intention was to get in their rear. This enabled me to bring off my entire command without molestation, with the exception of two of my pickets, who probably were surprised; reached Winchester that day at 12 o’clock; remained until 4 o’clock, when I proceeded toward Richmond. At Winchester I found a number of arms, which were destroyed.
I arrived at Richmond at 12 o’clock that night and remained until next afternoon, when I proceeded to Crab Orchard. I had determined to make a stand at Richmond and await re-enforcement, as the whole people appeared ready to rise and join me, but I received information that large bodies of cavalry, under General Clay Smith and Colonels Wolford, Metcalfe, Munday, and Wynkoop, were endeavoring to surround me at this place, so I moved on to Crab Orchard. There I attached my portable battery to the telegraph from Stanford to Louisville, and learned the exact position of the enemy’s forces and directed my movements accordingly.
Leaving Crab Orchard at 11 o’clock, I arrived at Somerset, distant 28 miles, at sundown. I took possession of the telegraph and countermanded all the previous orders that had been given by General Boyle to pursue me and remained here in perfect security all night. I found a very large supply of commissary stores, clothing, blankets, shoes, hats, &c., at this place, which were destroyed. I also found the arms that had been taken from General Zollicoffer, together with large quantities of shell and ammunition, all of which were destroyed. I also burned at this place and Crab Orchard about 120 Government wagons. From Somerset I proceeded to Monticello, and from thence to a point between Livingston and Sparta, where my command is now encamped.
I left Knoxville on the 4th day of this month with about 900 men, and returned to Livingston on 28th instant with nearly 1,200, having been absent just twenty-four days, during which time I traveled over 1,000 miles, captured seventeen towns, destroyed all the Government supplies and arms in them, dispersed about 1,500 Home Guards, and paroled nearly 1,200 regular troops. I lost, in killed, wounded, and missing, of the number that I carried into Kentucky about 90.
I take great pleasure in testifying to gallant bravery and efficiency of my whole command. There were individual instances of daring so conspicuous that I must bet the privilege of referring to them. Private Moore, of Louisiana, a member of Company A, of my regiment, particularly distinguished himself by leading a charge which had an important effect in winning the battle. The reports of the regimental commanders, which are inclosed, are respectfully referred to for further instances of individual bravery and efficiency. I feel indebted to all my aides for the promptness with which my orders were executed, and particularly to Colonel St. Leger Grenfell for the assistance which his experience afforded me.
All of which is respectfully submitted.
JOHN H. MORGAN,
Acting Brigadier-General, C. S. Army.
R. A. ALSTON, Assistant Adjutant-General.