previous next

The March around Cincinnati.

Dispersing or eluding all hostile forces, cutting telegraph wires and throwing out detachments to deceive the Federal officers, Morgan marched swiftly on and on, day and night, night and day, until he reached Harrison, Ohio, where he began to maneuver to mystify the commanding officer at Cincinnati. He had reason to believe that the city was garrisoned by a strong force under General Burnside, and that a supreme effort would be made to intercept and capture him when he should attempt to cross the Hamilton and Dayton Railroad.

After two or three hours halt at Harrison the column moved directly toward Cincinnati, all detachments coming in before nightfall. Hoping that his previous demonstrations would induce a concentration of Federal troops up the railroad, and that if any were left at Cincinnati his subsequent threatening movements would cause them to withdraw into the city and remain on the defensive, permitting him to march around it without attacking him, General Morgan sought to approach as near the city as possible, without actually entering it, and involving his command in a conflict with any garrison that might be there. Having started that morning, July 13, from a point fifty miles from Cincinnati, and reaching the vicinity of the city in the night, he had found it impossible to obtain any definite information as to the location or strength of the enemy. Moreover, of the two thousand four hundred and sixty effective [117] troopers with which he had started from far-away Tennessee, he had scarcely two thousand left. He could find sufficiently strenuous employment for this force without running into a labyrinth of unfamiliar streets and among houses, every one of which might be made a fortress from which an unseen enemy, soldier or citizen, could shoot his men from their horses, causing confusion, if not irretrievable disaster.

The men in the ranks and the officers as well, were worn and demoralized by the fatigue of continuous marching and the loss of sleep. Besides, General Morgan had given himself a particular work to perform. He was going to Buffington Island before attempting to re-cross the river—as planned before starting on the long raid.

The night march aroung the city was extremely difficult and hazzardous. The many suburban roads were confusing, especially as the night was intensely dark. Small bonfires of paper and such inflammable material as could be found were used to light the way. The danger of taking the wrong .road was always imminent, the rear battalions often being at a loss to ascertain which one of the many roads had been taken by those in advance, from whom they had been separated by reason of much straggling and the confusion incident to the darkness of the night, the horses' tracks on the much-traveled roads furnishing no clew as to the route taken by General Morgan, who rode in front. The direction in which the dust ‘settled or floated’ was the most reliable guide, as when the night is calm, as on this occasion, the dust stirred up by a column of cavalry will remain suspended in the air for a time, moving slowly in the same direction that the horses which have disturbed it are traveling.

Strong men fell from their saddles, and at every halt the officers, themselves exhausted, were compelled to use heroic measures to arouse the men who, having fallen from their horses, were sleeping in the road. Not a few crept off into the fields and slept until they awoke to find themselves in the hands of the enemy. When day dawned the column had passed through Glendale, a beautiful suburban village, within sight of the city's spires, and was near the Little Miami Railroad, the last point where Morgan thought he would encounter serious [118] opposition. Having crossed the railroad unopposed the column halted, and the horses were fed within sight of Camp Dennison. That evening the weary Southerners were at Williamsburg, twenty-eight miles east of Cincinnati, having marched more than ninty miles in thirty-five hours, the greatest march that even Morgan had ever made.

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.
Vernon Morgan (6)
George Paul Harrison (1)
Burnside (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 13th (1)
March (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: