When the raiders arrived at Burkesville
, on the Cumberland River
, the river was at flood tide, and a detachment of Judah
's formidable cavalry was on the opposite shore.
No commander less resolute or more timorous than Morgan
would have attempted to cross the swollen stream in the face of a threatening enemy.
As usual, however, he deceived the Federals
by doing what was least expected of him. Having crossed the river and dispersed the opposing troopers, he boldly and swiftly marched due north, leaving a strong force of Federal cavalry in his rear.
Adhering to his policy of fighting, instead of avoiding, all troops that opposed him when advancing, Morgan
was unfortunate on this great raid, even in Kentucky
, where on former occasions he had been signally successful.
On the Fourth of July he undertook to capture a small force of Michigan
infantry occupying a naturally strong and skillfully-fortified position in a bend of the Green River
Replying to a demand for his surrender, the Commander
, Colonel H. Moore
, said: ‘This is Independence Day. I shall not lower my flag without a fight.’
Having repeatedly assaulted the position, and lost in killed and wounded
nearly one hundred of his most gallant men, the discomfited Morgan
made a detour and marched away, leaving his dead and wounded comrades to the tender mercies of the Federal Commander
, who was no less humane than he was brave.
Marching to Lebanon
, the raiders captured the garrison, about three hundred men, but not without the loss of fifty of their comrades, among the killed being Lieutenant Tom Morgan
, the general's brother, a mere boy, the idol of the command.
At Springfield Morgan
began to send detachments in various directions, and to further mystify the pursuing and environing Federals he resorted to the telegraph, a resource that had often served him on former daring expeditions.
Attached to his staff was an expert telegraph operator named George A. Ellsworth
, whom the men called ‘Lightning.’
Having cut a wire, Ellsworth
would connect his own instrument with the line and take off the dispatches.
If none of interest came his way he would place himself in communication with the Federal
had 1,000 men, ‘Lightning’ would gravely inform them that he had 2,000.
Locating the detachments promiscuously, he would have the main column and detached squadrons marching in directions contrary to their objective points.
deflected from the straight northward route, hitherto pursued, and marched westward to Bardstown
, threatening Louisville
By this time the ‘rough riders’ had become weary and sleepy.
While the column was making the night march from Springfield
, the brilliant Colonel Alston
, Chief of Staff
, sought ‘nature's sweet restorer’ on the veranda of a roadside residence, and awoke to find himself in the hands of the pursuing Federal cavalry.
marched rapidly to Brandenburg
, on the Ohio River
, forty miles below Louisville