Did you know… Morgan’s Christmas Raid?
During the period of Dec 22, 1862-January 1863, General John Hunt Morgan with the 2nd and 9th Kentucky Confederate Cavalry advanced through central and northern Kentucky. At one point, Morgan split his command, sending a group to destroy the Bacon Creek Bridge at Bonnieville, Ky. This incident appears in my novel, Across the Great Divide: The Clouds of War.
An eyewitness, John Porter of Morgan’s 9th Cavalry, tells it this way:
“The night was extremely dark and the position was calculated to make one feel as if lost. No danger, however, befell us and about midnight we found the entire command encamped at the little village of Hammondville in the corner of Hart and LaRue counties. The remainder of the night was the rainiest I believe I ever witnessed. We were completely drenched. Morning came, and the rain still fell in torrents.
Forward went the command in the direction of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad which we struck between Bacon Creek and Upton’s Station. At Bacon Creek Bridge was a small body of Federals, which after a brisk skirmish, surrendered. While this fight was going on, the remainder of the command was engaged in destroying the railroad track by tearing up the rails, heating and bending them. Nolin was the next station which we captured. The officer in command of the enemy at that place agreed to surrender if we could satisfy him that we had artillery with us. This was soon done by taking him on a tour, a short distance, and showing him some fine guns. At once he surrendered his men without a contest. This work is finished, the day was coming to a close. It was a fearful rainy day. We were as wet as water could make us.
Morning came, and we moved on toward the town [Elizabethtown]. The advance was met by an officer from the enemy under a flag of truce who impudently demanded the surrender of General Morgan and his command “to avoid useless effusion of blood”, saying we were already totally surrounded, and could not possibly escape. To this amusing demand, General Morgan made reply that he proposed having them to surrender to him in a few hours. Safe escort was given the [Federal] officer back to his lines, and we at once advanced and opened fire on their works and the town. The enemy withdrew to the center of town and took refuge in the brick buildings from which they poured a terrible fire upon us as we advanced. Our 9th Kentucky dismounted west of the L&N railroad tracks, and advanced on foot across an open field, across a creek waist deep, into town, and filed up an open street under heavy fire, which fortunately did no serious harm.
The fight was a severe one, and many gallant daring deeds were performed by our men. John Dunn, a gallant Irishman in our company, made his way to a large brick hotel, full of the enemy, entered it and proceeded to the roof, where he tore down a Yankee flag which was flying from a pole, and wrapping the flag around his body, made his way down. He came out of the building [under fire] and crossed to the opposite side of the street yet while the inmates had not yet surrendered. The gallant Dunn was later killed in the Indiana-Ohio raid. In the end, the entire Yankee command surrendered – it was the second time this group of soldiers had been captured. General Kirby Smith had captured them in August, and they had just been paroled.”
Check my blog for an excerpt from “Across the Great Divide: Book 1 The Clouds of War” on this topic – just click the button labeled “Excerpt”. (Reprint from FB archive Jan 22, 2019)
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