To Captivity led.
Bugle sounds interrupted the inharmonic musicale, and soon the cavaliers were in their saddles, bound for the ford at Buffington Island
On this march the fighting was almost continuous, not only with the militia that industriously barricaded the roads, but with encompassing regular troops.
Even the women frowned, their voluble speech being uncomplimentary.
Neither in Indiana
nor in Ohio
's ‘Rough Riders’ see any ‘bright smiles to haunt them still.’
Unfortunately for Morgan
his column did not reach Buffington Island
until after nightfall, July 18, too late to attempt the crossing of the river, especially as the night was very dark.
His scouts informed him that the ford was guarded by three hundred infantry, protected by an earthwork, and two heavy guns.
The delay was fatal.
Early on the following morning, however, about five hundred men succeeded in crossing the river, despite the dense fog and the rising tide, unprecedented at that time of the year.
Unknown to Morgan
, the infantry guard at the ford had abandoned the earthwork some time in the night.
At an early hour the troops that had not crossed the river were attacked simultaneously by Hobson
's pursuing column and by Judah
's forces that had come up the river.
At the same time the gunboats appeared and promptly began to throw shells and grapeshot into the ranks of the Confederates
who, for a very short time, made a gallant but hopeless fight.
The ensuing melee and demoralization I cannot describe.
It is sufficient to say that the combat ended in the dispersion and capture of nearly the whole of Morgan
In the early morning General Morgan
rode into the river, but when about half way across, seeing that the greater number of
his men would be forced to remain on the Ohio
shore, he turned and rode back to that side of the stream, resolved to share the fate of his men.
Accompanying the raiders were a number of active and intelligent colored boys serving their young masters, to whom they were singularly devoted.
Among them was a little fellow named ‘Box,’ a privileged character, whose impudent airs were condoned by the cavaliers in consideration of his uniform cheerfulness and enlivening plantation melodies.
When General Morgan
had returned to the Ohio
shore he saw Box plunge into the river and boldly swim toward the other side.
Fearing the little fellow would be drowned, the General
called to him to return.
‘No, Marse John,’ cried Box, ‘if dey ketch you dey may parole you, but if dey ketch dis nigger in a free State he ain't a-gwine ter git away while de wah lasts.’
Narrowly missing collision with a gunboat, Box
crossed the river all right and escaped southward to the old plantation.
With about one thousand gallant but hopeless men, General Morgan
withdrew from the melee at Buffington Island
and rode eastward, closely pursued by Hobson
's indefatigable cavalry.
Weary and harassed, the Confederate
chieftain continued to elude his relentless pursuers for six days, when, his followers reduced to two hundred men, he surrendered, July 26, to a detachment of Hobson
Cavalrymen—Greek against Greek
The sensational escape of Morgan
and six of his captains from the Ohio prison
is another story.