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Doc. 103. Morgan's raid in Kentucky.

Louisville, June 18, 1864.
General Burbridge, some weeks ago, started on an expedition into South-western Virginia. His objective point was the Salines, where were encamped about four thousand rebels. He moved up Sandy Valley to the mouth of Beaver, where he was compelled to await supplies. Colonel J. M. Brown was ordered forward with his brigade to reconnoitre. He went to Pound Gap, and moved out into Virginia, skirmishing with [593] the rebels several miles, when he found that the rebels were in ambush in superior force, and were attempting to draw him into the snug trap set for him. He then fell back to the Gap, to avoid being cut off by the flanking movements of the rebels, and from the Gap fell back to Beaver; and John Morgan followed to the Gap, and, as soon as Brown left it, passed through it, taking the direct road to Mt. Sterling.

Colonel Brown was immediately ordered in pursuit, and followed close behind Morgan, picking up stragglers. Morgan's force consisted of about two thousand cavalry and seven hundred infantry, without any artillery. His infantry and one brigade of cavalry, halted at Mt. Sterling, while the other brigade of cavalry, under Howard Smith, passed on toward Lexington, stealing horses and robbing citizens. At Mt. Sterling, they robbed the bank of about sixty thousand dollars, gutted the stores and stole all the horses in the region roundabout. General Burbridge attacked them on Thursday morning. He captured their rear picket, about twenty-five strong, at Ticktown, and moved up on the main body, completely surprising them. The inside pickets were shot down, all of them (about thirty) being killed; and Colonel Brown, who was in the advance, pushed right through the camp of the infantry, shooting them before they had finished their morning nap, and attacked the brigade under Griffith. Hanson's brigade coming up, joined in the attack, and the little battle became fierce and bloody. Hanson pushed his artillery too far forward, and the rebels charged and captured it. But before they could move it off, a squadron of the Twelfth Ohio cavalry charged the rebels and recaptured the pieces. The rebels, though fighting very bravely, could not stand the close pressing and murderous fire of our men, and soon broke and fled. Of the seven hundred infantry, scarcely fifty escaped. Over two hundred were killed, about two hundred and fifty were wounded, and about the same number captured in this little battle. Morgan was not in command. He was at Winchester, threatening Lexington. Hearing of the route of his men at Mt. Sterling, he moved on Lexington Thursday night, and commenced skirmishing with the small force under Colonel Cooper, of the Fourth Kentucky cavalry. General Burbridge's force was so exhausted by their previous hard service and hard fighting, that he was compelled to halt in Mt. Sterling until Friday morning. This gave Morgan time to attack Lexington. It was defended by about three hundred green troops. Morgan, about twelve o'clock Thursday night, made the attack. He fired several buildings on the edge of the town, and commenced his attack by the light they afforded. Colonels Cooper and Shackleford, with about one hundred men, kept his force, about seventeen hundred strong, at bay for near two hours, and then fell back to Fort Clay. The rebels entered with a yell, and rushed to Main street and commenced their work of pillage. Hats, boots and shoes, clothing, saddles and bridles, jewelry and hardware stores, were soon burst open and their contents stolen. The Branch Bank of Kentucky was robbed of ten thousand dollars, part in gold and silver, and part in greenbacks. The Northern Bank keys were demanded, but through the luck and coolness of Mr. Cristie, one of the officials, they were kept out of their possession. Just as soon as it was light a single piece of artillery was stationed at the west end of Main street, and the second shot from it cleared the business portion of the town. Fort Clay shelled them vigorously wherever they made their appearance, and saved from destruction about sixty cars belonging to the Covington and Lexington railroad. By nine A. M. the rebels were all gone toward Georgetown. About one hundred and fifty shells were fired at them, but we have yet to learn of the first rebel being hit. The fight at Lexington was a bloodless one, no man on either side being killed. Several citizens were wounded — some by the rebels, some by our men — but none very dangerously. The heaviest losers by the robbers were J. G. Haws, $2,000; H. & J. P. Shaw, $1,200; Bassett & Emmal, $1,200; Loenhart, $1,800; Kastle, J. S. Edge and William Rule, all shoe stores, who lost stock ranging from $250 to $500 each. Harting's jewelry story was also robbed. Most of the money taken from the Branch Bank was special deposits, Mr. Prunket being the heaviest loser. Citizens were robbed of their pocket-books and watches, and horses suffered terribly; over one hundred were taken from F. T. Hord's stable. John M. Clay and William McCracken lost their fine trotting and racing stock. But it is useless to attempt to name all those who have lost horses; their name is legion. Everywhere they went they stole horses, from friend and foe. On reaching Georgetown, Morgan and Howard Smith demanded the keys of the bank, but were told that the money was run off. After leaving Lexington, it was evidently Morgan's intention to attack Frankfort, and move out through the south-eastern part of the State, and he had moved his command through Georgetown in that direction. But he learned that General Burbridge was at Versailles (which was false), with two thousand men, and he immediately faced about, and, passing through Georgetown, again moved on Cynthiana. General Burbridge, with his command, reached Lexington about noon, Friday, and, hastily remounting a portion of his forces, started in pursuit. He came upon Morgan Sunday morning, at Cynthiana, drawn up in line of battle and awaiting him. Burbridge immediately attacked him, and in fifty-five minutes had Morgan's command routed and flying in every direction. Morgan's loss here was about five hundred. His force was divided into half a dozen parts, each part taking care of itself. The main force fled toward Augusta, under Morgan himself, which [594] was pursued by Colonel Hanson, again attacked and routed, and again losing several hundred prisoners. The whole country is full of the disorganized and fleeing rebels, and they are being picked up all over the country. Thus has ended Morgan's last raid. He came into the State with about two thousand seven hundred men. He robbed and plundered on all sides. He was pursued and whipped badly three times in six days, and will lose nearly two thousand of his men. Morgan has blundered in every move he has made. He came into the State, followed closely by a superior force; his rear pickets were surprised and captured; his command was surprised and routed at Mount Sterling; he prowled around Lexington, with four or five hundred men, two or three days, when only about one hundred and fifty available men defended it. He could have gone out by Frankfort, but allowed himself to be scared and turned toward Cynthiana, by a trick; he stood up for a fair fight at Cynthiana and was whipped, and his army broken up in fifty-five minutes. His fleeing bands are being overtaken, whipped and captured on all sides. The horses he stole — many of them — have been recaptured. Thus ends the career of this great horse-thief, and his gang of robbers and plunderers. To call them soldiers would be a disgrace to the name; they are nothing more or less than highway robbers. Officers and men, with a few exceptions, are all plunderers. It is useless to say that Morgan is not to blame. Banks were robbed by his orders, and he himself demanded the keys. Yet there are some men of honor among them — men who are with Morgan not willingly, but by orders of the rebel government, and these curse him for everything mean, and openly denounce him as a common thief, fit for nothing but to plunder unarmed citizens and rob defenceless towns. General Burbridge and his command have shown conspicuous skill and gallantry in this whole campaign. The General has proved his title to an independent command, and Colonels Brown, Hanson, and Ratcliff have ably seconded him in all his movements. The men have endured privations and fought the enemy like heroes, and deserve the very highest meed of praise. Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan men have done the work effectually this time, and none have borne themselves more gallantly than the Twelfth Ohio cavalry. But, Kentucky has suffered a good deal by the raid. The Covington and Lexington and Lexington and Louisville railroads have been damaged considerably and partly burned, and hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of property destroyed and stolen. The whole country has been full of spies; home rebels have given them aid and comfort, and helped in the work. If General Burbridge will do the thing completely, he will avail himself of their recent acts, to punish them as they deserve. We have a law, and by our law they ought to be punished. Now is the time to rid Kentucky of these foes to her peace, and these friends of her enemies.

General Sherman's letter.

headquarters military division of the Mississippi, Big Shanty, in the field, Ga., June 21, 1864.
General Burbridge, Commanding Division of Kentucky:
General — The recent raid of Morgan, and the concurrent acts of men styling themselves Confederate partisans or guerrillas, call for determined action on your part.

Even on the southern “State rights” theory, Kentucky has not seceded. Her people, by their vote and their actions, have adhered to their allegiance to the National Government, and the South would now coerce her out of our Union, and into theirs, by the very dogma of “coercion” upon which so much stress was laid at the outset of the war, and which carried into rebellion the people of the middle or border slave States.

But politics aside, these acts of the so-called partisans or guerrillas, are nothing but simple murder, horse-stealing, arson, and other well-defined crimes, which do not sound as well under their true name as more agreeable ones of warlike meaning.

Now, before starting on this campaign, I fore-saw it, as you remember, that this very case would arise, and I asked Governor Bramlette to at once organize in each county a small trustworthy band, under the sheriffs, and, at one dash, arrest every man in the community who was dangerous to it; and also every fellow hanging about the towns, villages and cross-roads who had no honest calling — the material out of which guerrillas are made up ; but this sweeping exhibition of power doubtless seemed to the Governor rather arbitrary.

The fact is, in our country, personal liberty has been so well secured, that public safety is lost sight of in our laws and institutions, and the fact is, we are thrown back one hundred years in civilization, law, and everything else, and will go right straight to anarchy and the devil, if somebody don't arrest our downward progress.

We, the military, must do it, and we have right and law on our side. All governments and communities have a right to guard against real and even supposed danger. The whole people of Kentucky must not be kept in a state of suspense and real danger, lest a few innocent men should be wrongfully accused.

First.--You may order all your Post and District Commanders that guerrillas are not soldiers, but wild beasts, unknown to the usages of war. To be recognized as soldiers, they must be enlisted, enrolled, officered, uniformed, armed and equipped, by recognized belligerent power, and must, if detailed from a main army, be of sufficient strength, with written orders from some army commander, to some military thing. Of course we have recognized the Confederate Government as a belligerent power, but deny their right to our lands, territories, rivers, coasts, and nationality — admitting the right to rebel and move to some other country, where [595] laws and customs are more in accordance with their own ideas and prejudices.

Second.--The civil power being insufficient to protect life and property ex necessitate rei, to prevent anarchy, “which nature abhors,” the military steps in, and is rightful, constitutional, and lawful. Under this law everybody can be made to “stay at home and mind his and her own business,” and if they won't do that can be sent away where they won't keep their honest neighbors in fear of danger, robbery, and insult.

Third.--Your military commanders, provost-marshals, and other agents, may arrest all males and females who have encouraged or harbored guerrillas and robbers, and you may cause them to be collected in Louisville; and when you have enough — say three or four hundred--I will cause them to be sent down the Mississippi, through their guerrilla gauntlet, and by a sailing ship send them to a land where they may take their negroes, and make a colony, with laws and a future of their own. If they won't live in peace in such a garden as Kentucky, why, we will send them to another, if not a better, land, and surely this would be a kindness to them, and a God's blessing to Kentucky.

I wish you to be careful that no personalities are mixed up in this; nor does a full and generous “love of country,” “of the South,” of their State or country, form a cause of banishment, but that devilish spirit which will not be satisfied, and that makes war the pretext of murder, arson, theft in all its grades, perjury, and all the crimes of human nature.

My own preference was, and is, that the civil authorities in Kentucky would and could do this in that State; but, if they will not, or cannot, then we must, for it must be done. There must be an “end to strife,” and the honest, industrious people of Kentucky, and the whole world, will be benefited and rejoiced at the conclusion, however arrived at.

I use no concealment in saying that I do not object to men or women having what they call “Southern feeling,” if confined to love of country, and of peace, honor and security, and even a little family pride, but these become “crimes” when enlarged to mean love of murder, of war, desolation, famine, and all the horrid attendants of anarchy.

I am, with respect, your friend,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General.

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