"Our Laws, The Commands of Our Captain"
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along the green river
Winter 1861 - 1862
During the winter months of 1862, Morgan's Squadron remained headquartered at Glasgow Junction. From there, they patrolled the Green River area from Munfordville to Greensburg and conducted raids against the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. After the surrender of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson in February, it became clear to the Confederate High Command that maintenance of the entire defensive line along the Green River was untenable. With Federal forces now controlling both the Tennessee and the Cumberland Rivers, middle Tennessee was now open to the advance of the Federal forces. In response, Morgan's Squadron, along with all other Confederate forces in the area, received orders to re-deploy south into Tennessee for the evacuation of its capital, Nashville.
"Raid on the L&N" by John Paul Strain John
Morgan and Basil Duke – Winter
Morgan and Basil Duke – Winter
evacuation of the city
With the approaching advance of Federal forces into middle Tennessee, GEN Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Western Department (No. 2), ordered the evacuation of Nashville. As most Confederate forces then moved southward out of the city, Morgan’s cavalry was ordered to police the streets of the capital, where they were joined in this mission by COL Nathan Bedford Forrest’s 3rd Tennessee Cavalry. For seven days, Morgan's and Forrest's men helped to quell disturbances and restore order in the beleaguered and panicked city. However, with Federal forces quickly moving in, it became necessary for them to also evacuate Nashville on February 23.
During this time, Morgan’s Squadron was placed under the command of BRIG-GEN John C. Breckinridge, a Kentuckian and former U.S. Vice President. The Squadron established headquarters at LaVergne, 15 miles south of Nashville, and it was from there during a night attack on February 26 that the first man of Company A was killed in action. PVT Peter Atherton was shot from his horse during a raid into Nashville against the packet steamer "Minnetonka" on the Cumberland River.
army of the mississippi
On February 28, Squadron Headquarters was moved once more – from LaVergne to Murfreesboro, Tennessee – where Morgan would meet his future wife, Martha Ready. As spring approached, GEN Johnston’s strategy was to combine all available Confederate forces in the Western Theater of the War to repel the enemy. To help accomplish this, on March 29 Johnston consolidated BRIG-GEN Simon B. Buckner's Central Army of Kentucky into GEN P. G. T. Beauregard's Army of the Mississippi. This brought the total effective manpower of the Army to 43,968, consisting of four corps, led by MAJ-GEN Leonidas Polk, MAJ-GEN Braxton Bragg, MAJ-GEN William Hardee, and BRIG-GEN John C. Breckinridge. He also selected Corinth, Mississippi as rallying point in preparation for an all-out attack on the Federal forces invading Tennessee. To protect the flank during the movement of all Confederate forces to Corinth, Morgan’s Squadron was assigned screening duty between Nashville and Murfreesboro.
On March 19, the Squadron was ordered south to rendezvous with the rest of the Army of the Mississippi, arriving on April 3 at Burnsville, just east of Corinth. When CAPT Morgan reported the next day to BRIG-GEN Breckinridge's Headquarters, he was informed that he had been promoted to the rank of Colonel based upon the personal recommendation from MAJ-GEN William Hardee to GEN Beauregard. BRIG-GEN Breckinridge also informed Morgan that his Squadron would be assigned to COL Robert Trabue's 1st Brigade of Breckinridge's IV (Reserve) Corps during the impending attack on the Federal Army of the Tennessee., commanded by MAJ-GEN Ulysses Grant.
Grant's army of 39,830 men consisted of six divisions, led by MAJ-GEN John A. McClernand, MAJ-GEN Lew Wallace, BRIG-GEN W.H.L. Wallace, BRIG-GEN Stephen Hurlbut, BRIG-GEN William T. Sherman, and BRIG-GEN Benjamin Prentiss. The attack two days later at Pittsburg Landing, along the banks of the Teneessee River, would become known to history as the Battle of Shiloh.
battle of shiloh
On April 6, the Confederates launched a surprise attack against Grant's army with the intention of driving it west from its gunboat protection along the Tennessee River into the swamps of Owl and Snake Creeks, where it could be destroyed. COL Morgan led his Squadron on the first day of battle, routing the enemy in a mounted charge toward Owl Creek and defeating COL John McDowell’s 6th Iowa Infantry of the First Brigade in BRIG-GEN Wm. T. Sherman’s 5th Division. According to Sherman's after battle report, the 6th Iowa suffered 51 killed, 120 wounded, and 39 missing. However, this victory was not without losses to Company A of the Squadron. Included in the Company’s casualty list was 1LT Basil W. Duke, who was severely wounded, and 2LT James West, PVT Sam Buckner, PVT James Chiselin, and PVT Archie Moody, who were killed.
Unfortunately, also killed on another portion of the battlefield was MAJ Thomas B. Monroe, of the 4th Kentucky Infantry. MAJ Monroe had served as 1st Lieutenant of the pre-war Lexington Rifles until his appointment in 1860 as Lieutenant-Colonel of the 1st Infantry Regiment, Kentucky State Guard. Later, he attained the rank of Major in the Confederate Army.
Thomas Bell Monroe (KIA)
When fighting tapered on the first day of battle, the Squadron learned of the unfortunate death of GEN Albert S. Johnston, who was killed in action.
of Arkansas" by Don Troiani GEN
Johnston at the Battle of
April 6, 1862
Johnston at the Battle of
April 6, 1862
Following the tragic loss of GEN Johnston, GEN Beauregard took command of Confederate forces. Unaware that he was now badly outnumbered, he planned to resume the attack the next morning and finish the job that Johnston had begun. Unfortunately, the Federals mounted a counter offensive at dawn, and both Grant's and Buell's armies pressed to regain ground that had been lost the previous day. Short on ammunition, but not short in spirit, Morgan’s Squadron was joined by Texas Rangers in holding their positions along Owl Creek as the Army of the Mississippi fought a combined force of 65,085 men. However, the counter-attacks succeeded in pushing the Confederates back to where the battle had begun. Realizing that he had lost the initiative and 10,699 men, reducing his force level to 34,000 men, GEN Beauregard ordered an orderly withdrawal back to Corinth, ending the day's hostilities. Federal losses in killed, wounded, and captured were estimated at 13,047.
Unit Location Marker Shiloh
National Military Park –
Hardin County, Tennessee.
National Military Park –
Hardin County, Tennessee.
rear guard action
Following two days of battle and having lost its commanding general and , the battered Army of the Mississippi returned to Corinth, its origin of attack on Shiloh. Receiving orders from BRIG-GEN Breckinridge, whose Corps was assigned the rear guard, COL Nathan Bedford Forrest was placed in command of 350 cavalrymen from four separate units to protect the withdrawal. For this purpose, Morgan’s Kentuckians joined with Forrest’s Tennesseeans, COL William Wirt Adams’s Mississippians and COL John Wharton’s Texans in screening the army's movement.
Cavalry Leaders at Fallen Timbers
John H. Morgan
April 8, Forrest ordered the cavalry units to charge the pursuing enemy at a
place along the Corinth Road called Fallen Timbers, so-named for a clearing of
the fallen trees that littered the landscape for hundreds of yards. This
aggressive tactic successfully checked the advance of two infantry brigades and
the 4th Illinois Cavalry under the command of BRIG-GEN
Wm. T. Sherman. During the charge, however, COL
Forrest was severely wounded as his horse galloped forward within enemy
lines. Realizing that he was alone with angry infantrymen surrounding him,
he spurred it to escape. In the process, he grabbed a Federal soldier and
swung him up behind his saddle to serve as cover from enemy fire. Forrest
made it back to the safety of his own cavalry, but his horse and the Union
soldier both sustained mortal wounds and died. The resultant Confederate
victory at Fallen Timbers was the last engagement of the Battle of Shiloh, after
which Morgan's Squadron returned to its base at Burnsville, Mississippi.
at Fallen Timbers" by Mort Kunstler
the Battle of Shiloh, the Confederacy suffered repeated military setbacks in the
Western Theater resulting in the loss of Tennessee west of the Cumberland
Mountains. However, in order for the Federal armies to sustain themselves
in the South, long lines of communication and supply were necessary, and it
Morgan’s plan to raid these supply lines in Tennessee and
of these expeditionary plans and authorized COL
Morgan to increase the strength of his
With the death of 2LT James West and the severe wounding of LT Basil Duke at Shiloh, command of Company A temporarily fell to LT Van Buren Sellers. A fourth Company, designated as Company D, was added to the Squadron. Comprised of 25 troopers from Mississippi and Alabama, Company D was commanded by a another Kentuckian – CAPT John Castleman. With this addition, Morgan had now built a formidable Battalion-sized Cavalry Squadron.
middle tennessee raid
– Lebanon – Cave City
On April 26,
the Squadron marched eastward out of Burnsville with 325 mounted troopers,
determined to reach Lexington, Kentucky. Moving northeast into Tennessee,
they moved through Lawrenceburg and Pulaski, capturing and paroling 268 of the enemy along the
way. They entered Lebanon on May 4, where the Squadron bivouacked at a small
college on the edge of town, while Morgan established his headquarters in a hotel inside the town.
night, a picket, PVT
Pleasant Whitlow, sounded the alarm upon approach of a
600-man Federal cavalry force. For doing this, PVT
Whitlow was shot dead
by the advancing enemy. The lead regiment was the 1st Kentucky (U.S.)
Cavalry, under the command of COL
Frank Wolford, an old friend of Morgan’s
from the Mexican War.
and his force reacted immediately. SGT
A. Z. Boyer called out to
the platoon leaders of Company A, and had them quickly aligned for battle in the
town square. Although the Federal forces broke through the defensive lines
of Companies B and C, they were stopped by a devastating volley of gunfire from
As combat raged, the order was given by COL Morgan to withdraw. Only a portion of Morgan’s command made it with him to the Cumberland River, where they safely crossed. Morgan, however, lost his prized mount – "Black Bess" – during the crossing. The rest of his men were either scattered, dead, or captured. Among the captured were two men – SGT William R. Jones and CPL Tom Logwood – who were of the original five Lexington Rifles who had driven the rifle-laden hay wagons out of Lexington on the night of September 20, 1861.
By May 9, the Squadron established camp near Sparta, where the indestructible Company A was joined by the remnants of the other companies as they straggled in from Lebanon. Together, they began to rebuild the shattered expeditionary force. Once they were re-equipped, they continued on their original mission, with an ever increasing desire to return to their home state.
Morgan and "Black Bess"
Believing reports that the Federals were transporting by rail some of Morgan's men who had been captured at Lebanon, they attacked the L&N RR near Cave City, Kentucky on May 12. Instead of prisoners, they found that the train carried railroad employees. The employees were released and the train was burned. A second passenger train was also stopped and burned. Two officers of COL Wolford's command, who were aboard, were paroled. After this, the Squadron marched triumphantly to Chattanooga, where COL Morgan intended to raise a regiment of cavalry.
Raid" by Clyde Heron Attacking
the L&N RR near Cave City, Kentucky –
May 12, 1862
the L&N RR near Cave City, Kentucky –
May 12, 1862
2nd kentucky cavalry
the time the Squadron was occupied with their actions in Lebanon and at Cave City, two
cavalry companies arrived at Army headquarters in Corinth, Mississippi. The
companies, respectively commanded by CAPT
Richard M. Gano of Texas and CAPT
John Huffman of Alabama, requested assignment to Morgan's cavalry force.
was granted, and the companies marched eastward to meet Morgan in Chattanooga, where
he was recruiting to build a new regiment.
Basil Duke, who had
successfully convalesced from the serious wound he received at the Battle of Shiloh,
also gathered thirty men of the Squadron at Corinth and accompanied the Texans in
Again, members of the original Lexington Rifles were given the honor of being designated as Company
A, and CAPT
Jacob J. Cassell was appointed personally by COL
Morgan to command his old Company.
Basil Duke was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and placed as
second-in-command of the regiment. George
Washington “Wash” Morgan was appointed Major, while LT
Gordon E. Niles was made Adjutant. D. H,
Llewellyn, one of the original Lexington Rifles, and Hiram Reese were appointed
as Quartermaster and Commissary Officer, respectively.
Within three weeks after the fight at Lebanon,
Morgan was able to recruit enough men at Chattanooga to form a new cavalry
regiment – the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry – which consisted of men from
Kentucky, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama. At
its maximum strength during the height of its operations, the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry grew to 12 Companies, lettered A through M,
a Company of Scouts. They were commanded by talented officers,
some of whom were later promoted and elevated to command their own
regiments. By the end of the war, two of them –
Richard M. Gano of
Company H, and W. C. P. Breckinridge of Company I –
attained the rank of Brigadier General.
CAPT J. Castleman CAPT R. M. Gano CAPT W. C. P. Breckinridge CAPT J. Desha Company D Company H Company I Company L
the first kentucky raid
July 4 - 28, 1862
the 4th of July, a holiday considered appropriate for beginning a raid against
Union invaders, the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, with 876 men, stepped off from
Knoxville, Tennessee, to raid Federally occupied Kentucky. Late on July
11, after an unscheduled detour visit to Thompkinsville, the regiment came under
fire near Lebanon, Kentucky from a large enemy detachment that was defending a
covered bridge over the Rolling Fork River. Using a pair of 12-pounder
Mountain Howitzers and two companies fighting dismounted, the 2nd Kentucky drove
the Federals back into the town. By nightfall, the regiment liberated the
town from its oppressors, capturing 200 prisoners, and destroying over $100,000
worth of enemy stores, weapons, and ammunition.
day later, the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry entered Harrodsburg, 28 miles from Lexington, which
was the home to many friends and well-wishers. The regiment was greeted
warmly by townspeople dressed in their Sunday best, who showered the visitors
with kisses, hand shakes, and cheers. They they were also treated to a
picnic, where the fat of the land was furnished in abundance. Milk and
honey literally flowed, and everyone ate, drank, and made merry for a day and a
aware that his regiment was in danger from pursuing Federals, COL
left Harrodsburg and marched his men swiftly, using deceptive turns and passes
to avoid the enemy. During the time Morgan’s men were riding through the
bluegrass country, Federal forces were in such a state of panic that it caused
the despot Lincoln to wire a message to U.S. GEN
Halleck at Corinth,
"They are having a
stampede in Kentucky. Please see to it."
leaving Harrodsburg, Morgan's men moved through Lawrenceburg and Versailles,
making a feint toward Frankfort. With Lexington occupied by Federal
troops, the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry swung north to Georgetown. The regiment arrived
there late on July 16 and encamped for a long, much needed rest stop.
In the meantime, efforts were made in earnest for one of the prime purposes of
this raid --- recruiting. It was during this time that a group of men
arrived from Lexington and was admitted into the regiment as Company I.
Command of Company I was given to CAPT
Campbell Preston Breckinridge, a cousin of BRIG-GEN
John C. Breckinridge.
not to challenge combat in his hometown of Lexington, COL
Morgan proposed to
by-pass the city by traveling 25 miles to the north to destroy Federal supplies
at Cynthiana. He would then swing south through Paris and Winchester.
To accomplish this, he sent Company D on a diversionary march to the outskirts
of Lexington for the purpose of cutting telegraph wires and destroying bridges. Meanwhile, COL
Morgan moved the remainder of the regiment to
first battle of cynthiana
First Battle of Cynthiana was a fight largely between Kentuckians. The
Federal forces occupying the town consisted of Kentucky infantry, cavalry and
an artillery piece from Cincinnati, all under the command of LT-COL
Landrum. As the Confederates attacked and pushed the Federal pickets back
to the Licking River at the edge of town, COL
Morgan attempted a pincer
movement. Fighting dismounted, Companies A & B moved to the left of
the covered bridge spanning the river, while Companies E & F moved to its
right. Company C prepared to charge up the middle of the bridge on
horseback, with Company I remaining in reserve.
forces defended the bridge across the Licking River with heavy cannon and rifle
fire, and it soon became apparent that it couldn’t be taken by frontal
assault. While two companies moved up the riverbank, Company A dropped
down into the stream, holding their rifles and ammunition above their heads.
Some of the men began to swim across, with bullets spattering around them like
rain. Some were hit, and others were drowned, but most of them gained the
east bank and dug in. For a short time it looked as if Company A could not
hold their position, but Company B quickly shifted upstream and opened with
flanking fire on Company A’s most dangerous assailants.
Company C charged the bridge on horseback. This mounted assault shocked
the Federals off balance, allowing the dismounted companies to move forward.
Company A, which had borne the brunt of the assault, charged up the riverbank,
even though their ammunition was virtually exhausted.
With the regiment attacking all across the area, the Federal forces abandoned their artillery and many managed to escape. LT-COL Landrum managed his escape on a fast horse, while the last of his command fruitlessly defended the
Following the battle, Lt-Col
Duke wrote in his report:
former Lexington Rifles, veterans of Green River, Shiloh, and Lebanon, also
suffered the most casualties. PVT
William Craig, first to swim the
Licking River, was the first to die as he mounted the bank. SGT Henry
Elder, one of the five Lexington Rifles who drove the rifle-laden hay wagons out
of Lexington in 1861, was too badly wounded to be moved. All of the
officers of Company A, except LT
Samuel Morgan, were wounded.
Morgan reported only eight killed and 29 wounded. He estimated enemy
casualties at 194. He also listed the capture of 300 cavalry horses, a
large number of small arms, and the destruction of commissary and medical
stores, tents, weapons, and ammunition.
The 2nd Kentucky Cavalry re-entered Tennessee on July 28, thereby
ending the raid. During its First Kentucky Raid, the regiment eluded all
its pursuers, destroyed federal supplies and arms in 17 towns, recruited 300
troopers and several hundred horses, and captured 1200 of the enemy, while at a
cost of only 90 men. However, the greatest accomplishment of this raid was
the strategic necessity for the Federals to divert men and materiel from
front-line duty in order to protect their lines of supply and communication.
the kentucky campaign
August - October 1862
summer of 1862, the fortunes of the Confederate Army in the West began to
improve. While the advance of Federal forces was halted, the Confederate
Army of the Mississippi continued to rebuild at Chattanooga. Armed with
Morgan’s reports of glorious success, GEN
Bragg and GEN
Edmund Kirby Smith
decided to plan a two-pronged campaign into Kentucky. It was believed that
such a campaign to liberate Kentucky would not only drive the enemy northward,
but would also add thousands of Kentuckians to the Confederate ranks while
obtaining needed food, horses, and supplies. To this end, GEN
take his Army of the Mississippi and feint towards Nashville before racing for
GEN Braxton Bragg MAJ-GEN Edmund Kirby Smith
destruction of l&n railroad tunnels
2nd Kentucky Cavalry was instructed to set out on a raid with the intention of
uniting in Lexington with MAJ-GEN
E. Kirby Smith’s Army of Kentucky. The regiment
was to move above Nashville and attack the twin railroad tunnels on the L&N
railroad line at Gallatin, thereby cutting the Federal supply line. Along the way, the
regiment had a pre-determined meeting with a group of men and added them as
Company L to the ranks. Command of Company
L was given to CAPT
On August 12, the regiment entered Gallatin and surprised the 375 men of the 28th Kentucky (U.S.) Infantry under COL William Boone. Seeing that resistance was futile, Boone surrendered his command without a fight. The 2nd Kentucky Cavalry then proceeded to destroy the twin railroad tunnels that linked Louisville with Nashville. The destruction was so complete that the tunnels remained closed until December. The regiment then moved to Hartsville, where it stayed for six days. During this time, another group of men was added to its ranks and was designated as Company M. Command of Company M was given to LT Ben Drake.
"Southern Gold" by Alan Fearnley
On August 16, the regimental newspaper, "The Vidette", made its first appearance. "The Vidette" was edited by LT Gordon E. Niles and other members of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, and its printing would continue throughout the war, wherever and whenever a printing press was available. It detailed regimental accomplishments, reported the news from a southern perspective, honored ladies of the south, and poked fun at the enemy.
19, while still bivouacked at Hartsville, the regiment received information that
the enemy had arrested every male in Gallatin on the false charges of
collaboration with Morgan’s men in the destruction of the railroad tunnels.
Arriving in Gallatin early the next day, the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry was greeted by the sight of their dead scouts lying in
the street, and the townspeople telling of how the scouts had been kicked and
executed after surrendering. This, of course, enraged the Kentuckians and
they set out in pursuit of the Federal infantry, who were responsible.
caught the infantry column in front of Nashville and freed its civilian
prisoners, capturing 50 of the enemy in the process. It also attacked
protective stockades that had been built along the L&N line, but not without
cost. As Company A attacked one solidly-built stockade at Edgefield
Junction, 2 officers and 3 enlisted men fell, including LT
Gordon E. Niles, editor of "The Vidette". In their anger, and seeking
vengeance for their loss, Company A was preparing to make another assault, but LT-COL
Duke came up and ordered it halted.
first with the most
destruction of the tunnels at Gallatin proved to be such an irritation to the
enemy that U.S. MAJ-GEN
Don Carlos Buell dispatched a carefully selected body of
cavalry to destroy the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry. This force, under the command of
Richard Johnson, was composed of 1200 men from the 2nd Indiana
Cavalry, the 4th and 5th Kentucky (U.S.) Cavalry, and the 7th Pennsylvania Cavalry.
Morgan learned that this force was nearing Hartsville, he moved his regiment of
700 men out of town on August 21 to do battle. As the opposing forces
engaged outside of Hartsville, the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry fought dismounted while the
Federals ordered repeated mounted charges against them. These charges were struck by
enfilading fire from Morgan’s men, and the enemy withdrew to a defensive
position to await a final assault. This final assault
was executed with coolness and precision by Companies A, B, and E, and after a
sharp fight the Federals were defeated. BRIG-GEN
Johnson was captured,
while Morgan's men lost only 7 men.
Meanwhile, Confederate intelligence in central Tennessee had warned Army Headquarters in Chattanooga of the planned attack on Morgan by Johnson’s superior forces. In response, BRIG-GEN Nathan Bedford Forrest was dispatched with 800 of his cavalry to aid Morgan. They arrived at Hartsville on the day after Morgan’s victory over Johnson and met with Morgan’s cavalry for the first time since the Battle of Shiloh. Morgan extended an invitation to the Tennesseans to visit his camp, where they were greeted with an enthusiastic reception. When the cheering died down, Forrest congratulated Morgan and his men, and the two leaders compared notes on their respective expeditions.
Morgan asked Forrest how he managed the fight at Murfreesboro, Forrest
by Robert Summers
With The Most" by Robert Summers
Morgan received instructions to meet MAJ-GEN
E. Kirby Smith in Lexington, and so
the regiment headed north for the rendezvous. This was to be the first
time that Morgan and the original Lexington Rifles would return to their
hometown since having left it a year prior. With some in the regiment
wearing their dress uniforms, the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, on parade, entered
Lexington by day on September 4. They were greeted with band music,
pealing church bells, and flags flying from buildings. The sidewalks were
crowded with citizens cheering wildly, waving handkerchiefs, and offering
baskets of provisions to the troopers as the column rode up Main Street to
Cheapside at the Square.
established his headquarters at his ancestral home of "Hopemont",
and was presented with a fine new Kentucky charger by a local breeder. He
was also called upon by a delegation of ladies, who presented him with a
regimental flag, which they had sewn themselves. Throughout all of this,
Morgan oversaw a recruiting drive for the regiment, which was begun in earnest.
- Morgan House
During the week spent in Lexington, many men chose to enlist, and enough filled the ranks to form two new cavalry regiments from the nucleus of the 2nd Kentucky. CAPT Richard M. Gano, of Company H, and CAPT Wm. C. P. Breckinridge, of Company I, were both promoted to the rank of Colonel and given command of their own cavalry regiments – the 7th Kentucky and the 9th Kentucky, respectively.
in Lexington, MAJ-GEN
Edmund Kirby Smith ordered Morgan’s men on two separate
missions. One mission was to confront U.S. BRIG-GEN
George Morgan in
eastern Kentucky. This was assigned to the newly formed 7th and 9th
Kentucky Cavalry Regiments under the command of Morgan. The second
mission was to threaten Cincinnati and keep the enemy occupied there while GEN
Bragg moved toward Louisville. This task was assigned to the 2nd
Kentucky Cavalry under the command of LT-COL
Duke, marking the first time the
regiment went to confront the enemy without John Hunt Morgan in command.
As the 2nd Kentucky moved through the area of northern Kentucky, the populace of Cincinnati was placed in a panic. Since Federal forces were in the area south of the Ohio River, Duke stopped short of Covington, making every effort to avoid them. However, during one of its patrols, Company A suddenly overran Federal infantry. LT Greenberry Roberts, who was temporarily in command of Company A, immediately ordered their surrender and sent SGT Will Hays with 6 men to capture stragglers.
detachment from Company A captured 69 Ohioans, causing Lt.-Col. Duke to comment:
battle of augusta
With Cincinnati in an uproar over the threat being posed by the movement of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry north from Lexington, LT-COL Duke hoped to create even more panic by crossing to the north side of the Ohio River. For that purpose, the regiment rode eastward along the river towards the town of Augusta in search of a crossing. However, Augusta was heavily defended by a strong company of militia, commanded by MAJ Joshua Bradford, and two river gunboats, the "Belfast" and the "Florence Miller".
gunboats were quickly identified as the biggest obstacle to the capture of
Augusta, so they were targeted first. CAPT
Jacob J. Cassell, commanding Company A, approached the town from a point of
advantage, while Duke ordered two Mountain Howitzers to open fire on the
gunboats. With both the howitzers and the sharp rifle fire from Company A
managing to chase the boats away from their moorings at dockside, other
companies of the regiment were then able to move in and affect the surrender of MAJ
and confusion, however, reigned in Augusta during the process. While
Bradford and many civilians in the town were in the act of surrendering,
displaying flags of truce from windows, other militia members continued to fire
from the same buildings. This created an explosion of vicious fighting
within the town, pitting Kentuckian against Kentuckian.
Cassell directed LT Greenberry Roberts,
who had been sworn into service with the Lexington Rifles almost a year before,
to enter the town’s main street with a platoon from Company A. Roberts,
however, neglected all proper tactics by riding his men down the center of the
street, thereby making them instant targets for the enemy. As a result, he
and several others became immediate casualties. Adding further confusion
to the scene, the mountain howitzers of the 2nd Kentucky mistakenly opened fire
on Roberts’ platoon.
in the town went from house-to-house and became hand-to-hand, with many good men
of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry being shot down in the doorways of the buildings.
With enemy fire coming from the same buildings as those from where flags of
truce were being flown, it was necessary to turn the howitzers on the buildings,
setting fire to many. Ultimately, all the defenders surrendered, but the
2nd Kentucky suffered 21 dead and 18 wounded during the action, some of whom
were members of the “Old Squadron”. Following this, Duke canceled his
plans to cross the Ohio River and ordered a withdrawal south to Lexington.
- November 1862
The 2nd Kentucky Cavalry returned to Lexington and found that all Confederate forces in the state were beginning a withdrawal. The regiment was ordered to screen the withdrawal, but 40 miles southwest of Lexington, the Army of Tennessee was drawn into the battle with the Federal Army of the Ohio. Despite winning a tactical victory at the Battle of Perryville on October 8, the Army of Tennessee continued its southward journey with Morgan’s regiments protecting the flank.
the main Confederate force halted at Gum Springs, near Lafeyette, Tennessee, Morgan turned northward again
on another raid toward Lexington. Reaching the outskirts of Lexington on
October 15, the regiment attacked the 4th Ohio Cavalry. However, confusion
reigned due to
miscalculations in the timing of the attack, and elements of
Morgan’s forces fired on each other. Ultimately, however, the enemy
surrendered and the regiment continued westward to Elizabethtown, Greenville,
and Hopkinsville, where they met with COL
Woodward’s Kentucky Cavalry regiment.
From Hopkinsville, the regiment turned south to Springfield, Tennessee, entering the state on November 1. At Springfield, another issue of the Vidette was published by LT Niles' successor and Morgan’s adjutant, MAJ Robert A. Alston. Afterward, they continued to Gallatin, where COL Morgan planned another raid on hundreds of railroad freight cars collected at Edgefield Junction. The raid, which began on November 6, was to be in conjunction with a diversionary attack south of Nashville by BRIG-GEN Nathan B. Forrest. However, the attack failed due to a lack of coordination between the cavalry commands. The 2nd Kentucky then continued southward to Fayetteville, 50 miles south of Murfreesboro.
Bragg’s Army of the Mississippi
made its headquarters at Murfreesboro, where on November 20 it was consolidated with LT-GEN
E. Kirby Smith’s Army of Kentucky, thereby
creating the legendary Confederate army of the Western Theater – the Army of Tennessee.
battle of hartsville
In a strategic move, U.S. MAJ-GEN
began to move his Army of the Cumberland out of Nashville toward Murfreesboro,
newly designated Army of Tennessee was headquartered. To counter this,
Bragg ordered Morgan to move north with his cavalry to operate along the enemy's
lines of communications and to prevent the Army of the Cumberland from foraging
for supplies north of Nashville. With this in mind, COL
Morgan planned to attack the Federal garrison at Hartsville, a crossing point on
the Cumberland River 40 miles northeast of Nashville.
While the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry rested at
Fayetteville, Morgan and Duke assembled a Brigade-sized force of 1,200 men at
In addition to three regiments of cavalry – the 7th, the 8th, and the
11th Kentucky, Morgan attached two regiments of infantry – the 2nd and the 9th
Kentucky. On December 6 with both his uncle, COL
Thomas Hunt of the 9th Kentucky Infantry, and LT-COL Duke at his side, Morgan led his force out of
Murfreesboro toward their target at Hartsville – the 39th Brigade in XIV Corps
of the Army of the Cumberland, commanded by COL
cover of darkness in the pre-dawn of December 7, Morgan and his men crossed the icy,
swollen Cumberland River and worked their way to the top of the hilly terrain 5
miles south of Hartsville. Ironically, it had been the
mission of the 39th Brigade to protect that very river crossing from Confederate
Surrendering to Morgan’s forces were the 104th Illinois Infantry, the 106th and the 108th Ohio Infantry, the 2nd Indiana Cavalry, and a battery of the 12th Indiana Artillery. Federal casualties were listed as 58, while the Confederates lost 149. However, Morgan took 1,844 prisoners and a wagon train loaded with equipment and supplies. GEN Joseph E. Johnston, commander of the Western Department (No. 2), called this a "brilliant feat" and recommended Morgan for immediate promotion to the rank of Brigadier General. The raid on Hartsville was considered one of the boldest and most successful operations of the war and was a prelude to other cavalry raids during the rest of December and into January 1863.
"Thunderbolt" by John Paul Strain
for morgan and duke
Enthusiastic over the Hartsville victory, GEN Bragg recommended that COL Morgan be promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General. LT-GEN Hardee suggested that it be a Major-General’s commission. However, President Jefferson Davis, who at the time was visiting Army Headquarters for the newly designated Army of Tennessee, favored Bragg's proposal, saying:
"I do not wish to give my ‘boys’ all their sugar
plums at once."
December 13, the day before his wedding to Martha Ready, COL Morgan
personally received promotion to the rank of Brigadier General from
President Davis and was given command of a Cavalry Brigade of 4,000 men.
In recognition of his victory in the Hartsville Raid of December 7, the commission was made retroactive to
Basil W. Duke was
promoted to full Colonel and was given command of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry.
morgan - ready wedding
day after his promotion, BRIG-GEN
Morgan married Martha "Mattie"
Ready, the socialite daughter of former U.S. Congressman Charles
Ready. Morgan had been introduced to Mattie in the Spring during the time his Squadron was headquartered in Murfreesboro,
and he courted her at every opportunity. The wedding,
on a Sunday evening in Murfreesboro, was a gala affair that was one of the most
important social events in the Confederacy during the war. The
Ready home was decorated with holly and winter berries and was ablaze with lamps
and candle lights. Outside in the streets, thousands of soldiers,
including members of Morgan's former militia unit – The Lexington Rifles –
assembled by lighted bonfires to celebrate the wedding of their General and his
Martha Ready Morgan
wedding was attended by Confederate dignitaries such as President Jefferson Davis, GEN
Braxton Bragg, LT-GEN
William Hardee, MAJ-GEN
John Breckinridge, MAJ-GEN
Cheatham, and Morgan's old friend from his days in
the State Guard, newly promoted BRIG-GEN
Roger W. Hanson. LT-GEN Polk, an ordained Episcopal Bishop, performed the marriage ceremony.
"Morgan's Wedding" by John Paul Strain
Cheatham, Alice Ready (bride's sister), Martha
Ready (bride's mother), Charles Ready (bride's father), the Bride and
Breckinridge and MAJ-GEN
December 21, 1862 - January 5, 1863
December, the Federal Army of the Cumberland was stockpiling men, food, and supplies at Nashville for a winter
campaign against the Confederate Army of Tennessee. In response, GEN
Bragg ordered cavalry raids to disrupt and divert the enemy. One such raid
was to cut the enemy’s supply line along the L&N railroad. This task was given to Morgan’s Cavalry Division.
the L&N RR line being heavily defended, BRIG-GEN
Morgan chose the weakest
point for this raid – a pair of trestles at Muldraugh’s Hill, just north of
Elizabethtown, Kentucky. In preparation, Morgan divided his command into
two brigades. COL
Duke commanded the 1st Brigade, while COL
W. C. P.
Breckinridge commanded the 2nd
John Hutchinson, the former Lieutenant of the 1st Kentucky Infantry who had
joined Morgan as Captain of Co. E and who was a well-liked and effective leader,
assumed command of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry during this time.
Raiders" by Mort Kunstler
December 21, Morgan's Cavalry Division rode north from Alexandria, Tennessee on what was to
become known as "The Christmas Raid".
Through rain and sleet, they moved northward toward Thompkinsville and Glasgow,
capturing enemy garrisons along the way. As they entered Kentucky, LT-COL
James McCreary of Chenault’s 11th Kentucky Cavalry noted in his journal:
On Dec. 24, with the main body of Morgan's Raiders camped south of Glasgow, CAPT Quirk and his Company of Scouts rode to a tavern to celebrate Christmas Eve. After they dismounted, a patrol of the 2nd Michigan Cavalry rode up with the same desire. A skirmish erupted, forcing both sides to forego their holiday celebrations.
Onward to their target, Morgan’s men moved toward Elizabethtown, battling garrisons along the L&N RR and destroying the bridge over Bacon Creek for yet another time. Arriving in the vicinity of Elizabethtown, they assailed the defenders there before moving on to the Muldraugh Hill trestles. Both trestles were destroyed on December 28, and it was mid-March 1863 before the Federals were able to restore service on the L&N RR
fulfilled its objective, the brigade returned to Confederate lines, arriving in
Smithville, Tennessee on January 5. During the "Christmas
Raid", they had captured and paroled nearly 2,000 of the enemy and destroyed
the bridges over Bacon Creek and at Muldraugh Hill, while sustaining losses of
only 2 killed, 24 wounded, and 64 missing.
raid had come too late, however, to hinder the Federal assault on the Army of
Tennessee. The two-day Battle of Murfreesboro had been fought on December 31 and
January 1 during the time of the raid, resulting in Confederate defeat.
The sad losses included Kentucky Brigadier-Generals Benjamin H. Helm and Roger W. Hanson.
Upon its return from the raid, Morgan’s force was given immediate duty
covering the flank of the Army as it continued its way south to Tullahoma,
Choose from the following hyperlinks to view the illustrated unit history.