1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Morgan, John Hunt

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MORGAN, JOHN HUNT (1825-1864), American Confederate soldier, was born in Huntsville, Alabama, on the 1st of June 1825, and was brought up on a farm near Lexington, Kentucky, to which his parents removed in 1830. In the Mexican War he was a first lieutenant of a Kentucky cavalry regiment. On the outbreak of the Civil War he was captain of the Lexington Rifles (organized in 1857); in September 1861 he succeeded in getting out of Lexington the company's arms after the issue of the order for the disarming of the state guard, and late in the same month reached the Confederate camp at Woodsonville on the Green river. He proved himself an able scout, and was made captain of a cavalry company and commander of a cavalry “squadron,” including two other companies, which in February 1862, with General A. S. Johnston's other forces, withdrew from Kentucky to Corinth, Mississippi. He was commissioned a colonel after the battle of Shiloh, and in July 1862, starting from eastern Tennessee, made the first of his famous raids. He routed a Federal force at Lebanon, destroyed much rolling stock and other railway property, and threatened Louisville and Cincinnati. In August and September he took part in General Braxton Bragg's invasion of Kentucky, and again threatened Ohio. In December he defeated the Union garrison at Hartsville, Tennessee, taking prisoners, valuable stores, and many cattle; was commissioned brigadier-general for this success; and soon afterward again raided Kentucky. To cover Bragg's movement from Tullahoma to Chattanooga Morgan made, in July 1863, his famous raid into Indiana and Ohio. Bragg had instructed him to confine himself to Kentucky, but Morgan hoped to gain recruits in Indiana, where opposition to the war was strong. With 2460 men he crossed the Cumberland near Burkesville, Kentucky, on the 2nd of July; on the 5th captured a garrison at Lebanon; and on the 13th entered Ohio near Harrison. The regular cavalry, under Generals E. H. Hobson and James M. Shackelford, was now close behind him, and his way was beset by quickly gathering militia. He marched through the suburbs of Cincinnati on the night of the 13th and on the 18th got to Portland, near Buffington Island, where he attempted to cross on the next day; but gunboats and steamers prevented him. In a sharp battle he lost 600 or more men. As many more surrendered soon afterwards, and about 300 crossed the river. On the 26th he surrendered to General Shackelford at New Lisbon. He was imprisoned with 70 of his men in the penitentiary at Columbus, from which on the night of the 27th of November he and six of his companions escaped by a tunnel they had dug. In the spring of 1864 he was put in virtual command of the Department of South-western Virginia, which included eastern Tennessee, and late in August he took command at Jonesboro, Georgia. On the 4th of September he was shot in a garden in Greenville, Tennessee, having been betrayed, it appears, to the Federals. Morgan had an excellent eye for topographical details, and by the swiftness of his movements and his sudden blows kept Kentucky in continual alarm. His lieutenant, Basil W. Duke, says that his force at no time reached 4000, but that it “killed and wounded nearly as many of the enemy and captured more than 15,000.”

See Basil W. Duke, History of Morgan's Cavalry (Cincinnati, 1867).