previous next

[258] on that day Captain Carter of the First Kentucky cavalry, with detachments of the Second Ohio cavalry and Forty-fifth Ohio mounted infantry, went on a reconnoissance toward Columbia. There they had a fight with the advance of Morgan's division, which we then found had crossed the river on the second of July. About five o'clock on the afternoon of the third, Captain Carter was very seriously wounded, and the enemy pressed us so closely, that we were compelled to fall back. At six o'clock a detachment of the First Kentucky, Seventh Ohio cavalry, and Forty-fifth Ohio mounted infantry left Jamestown to reenforce Carter, and arrived at Columbia about eleven o'clock. They found Carter in a dying condition, and Morgan with three brigades in full possession of the town.

A short struggle ensued between us, for we had not then learned the strength of the enemy, and supposed it to be a force we might easily crush; but as the fight went on we found the forces with which we were contending were larger than we had supposed; when we fired musketry we were answered with grape and canister; when we fired a few rifle shots we were answered with whole volleys of musketry; and speedily beating a hasty retreat, we went as fast as our horses would carry us to Jamestown. We reached that place about five o'clock on the morning of the fourth, and a courier was instantly despatched by Colonel Wolford to General Carter, in command of the United States forces at Somerset, announcing that Morgan, with his whole force, had effected a crossing of the Cumberland River at Burkesville, and had advanced north to Columbia. From this date the pursuit of Morgan commenced.

At six o'clock P. M. there was an unusual amount of satisfaction expressed in the countenances of our boys, for orders had just been issued for all the mounted troops stationed in Jamestown to prepare to move at a moment's notice, and to provide themselves with six days rations. It was a relief after the wearisome monotony incidental to the comparative inactivity of camp life, to be suddenly called into active service, and, if I must admit it — the pleasure was none the less, because the prospects were that the chase would not be too long to be pleasant. Our boys therefore set about making their preparations with a will, and in a few moments we were ready to start. It was well that there was so much alacrity displayed, for these first orders were barely issued before it was followed by another ordering us off at once, and a few moments more saw us fairly off in pursuit of the celebrated raider.

We could not have made a more propitious start. The night was fine, clear and cool. The moon, although occasionally obscured by light fleecy clouds, gave sufficient light to enable us to see well and clearly all around us, so that we were to some extent free from apprehensions of a sudden attack from any hidden foe. The weather was sufficiently cool to enable us to ride along without discomfort, and altogether the ride from Jamestown to the banks of the Green River, on that splendid July night, was one of the pleasantest marches our boys have ever made. The future we cared little about; chatting and laughing and singing, we proceeded gayly enough on our journey, occasionally speculating among ourselves where we should meet with the man who had become the great object of our desires, and what we should do with him when we got him, for the possibility of his escaping from us was never entertained for a moment.

We reached the northern bank of the Green River about daylight on Sunday morning, the fifth instant, and after a hurried breakfast we again started in pursuit, marching all that day and camping on Sunday night, at eight o'clock, at Casey street, where we were joined by the Second Tennessee mounted infantry. The result of our observations convinced us that our commissary department had been neglected. We had been ordered to prepare ourselves with six days rations, but many of our boys, having faith in Providence, had failed to provide themselves, and the consequence was, we found ourselves with a bare average of three days rations for the whole number of troops. Consoling ourselves with vague speculations as to the prospects for foraging, we lay down to rest that night, and started again in pursuit at half-past 6 o'clock the next morning, the sixth instant, and drew rein again at Bradfordsville at ten o'clock. There we heard, for the first time since our departure, of any of the movements of Morgan. We were informed that he had captured our forces at Lebanon, and had then left that place for Bargetown. Leaving Bradfordsville within half an hour of our arrival, we took up our line of march for Lebanon, arriving there at three o'clock in the afternoon. At this place our forces had made some resistance, in which Tom Morgan, the brother of the guerrilla chieftain, was killed. In revenge the rebels burned some eighteen or twenty houses, robbed the post-office, cleaned out the stores, and plundered and robbed and destroyed all they could lay their hands on. An incident occurred here which may perhaps be worth relating. An old man living in Lebanon had two sons in Morgan's command, who had been with him ever since the commencement of his military career. During the absence of the young men, the old man's house and lot had been sold at sheriff's sale, and had been purchased by a strong Union man.

The rebels were informed of all these circumstances by the two sons, and proceeding to the house they burnt it to the ground, leaving its owner almost penniless to begin the world again. Another significant thing began to be evident here. John Morgan, who had heretofore been so popular with all Kentucky men, was beginning to lose a little of his popularity. Certain little murmurs of discontent reached our ears for the first time from some of those who are spoken of by the out-and-out traitors — as “good, strong Kentuckians.” Morgan's men, in their passage through the central part of the State, had been


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Morgan (7)
James Carter (5)
Tom Morgan (2)
Wolford (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 2nd (1)
July (1)
6th (1)
5th (1)
4th (1)
3rd (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: