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[114]

Impatient of delay, Morgan made immediate preparations to cross the river. A dense fog prevented his seeing what was on the other side, but he knew that a strong force of determined Federal cavalry was close upon his rear. A shot from a rifled cannon and a volley of musketry announced the presence of an unseen enemy on the Indiana shore.

The disappearing mist, however, soon revealed a small force of combatants, presumably militia, and one piece of artillery, mounted upon two wheels of an ordinary road wagon. The first shot from one of the Parrott guns made the patriotic Indianians, unused to war's alarms, nervous, and the second induced them to abandon their ‘battery’ and flee to the wooded hills, six hundred yards from the river.

When two dismounted regiments had been transferred to the opposite shore, a small gunboat appeared and viciously threw shells at the Confederates on both sides of the river. For about an hour there was an interesting duel between the bellicose steamer and the Parrott guns planted on a high bluff on the Kentucky shore. To General Morgan it was a supreme moment—a time to try his soul. Two of his best regiments were separated from their comrades by the intervening river, and General Hobson's strong column of fine cavalry was closely pressing his rear. To his great relief, however, the saucy and disquieting little gunboat suddenly and unexpectedly withdrew from the combat, and, standing up the river, disappeared from view. By midnight Morgan's entire command had crossed to the Indiana shore. Duke's merry cavaliers, strangers in a strange land, singing

Here's the health to Duke and Morgan,
     Drink it down,

marched to a point six miles from the river and went into camp for a brief rest. The rear guard of Johnson's Brigade, the last to cross the river, stopped on the margin of the stream long enough to burn the transprts and to wave their hats, bidding Hobson's pursuing cavalry, then on the other shore, good-by. Then, following the column, they sang:

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Springfield Morgan (4)
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