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Dr. John S. Still is a native of Berea, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio State University (Ph.D., 1951). He has been Curator of Historical Collections of the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, since 1954. Blitzkrieg, 1863: Morgan's Raid and Rout JOHN S. STILL for two weeks in July, 1863, one man's flagrant defiance of specific orders electrified the South and stunned the North. His actions were as infuriating to Braxton Bragg as they were exasperating to Ambrose Burnside , and they put the name of John Hunt Morgan on every tongue in Ohio. Forthe first and only time, the war was ushered across the threshold of Ohio homes, and by many southern Ohio communities Morgan's Raid would long be regarded as the high point of the Civ├╝ War. A native Alabamian but long a resident of Kentucky, John Morgan much preferred to thrust his feet into a pair of stirrups than to shuffle them restlessly beneath the desk from behind which he supervised bis woolen factory at Lexington. Quite logically, he entered Confederate service early in the war as captain of his own cavalry company. A sixfooter with neatly trimmed light brown hair and beard, Morgan was an impressive figure. His dignity and bearing beUed his reputation as a swashbuckling cavalier, but the audacity and daring of his operations gave impetus to the legends that quickly surrounded him.1 Well before his thirty-eighth birthday on June 1, 1863, Morgan was a brigadier of cavalry whose bold, sweeping raids through Kentucky had already made him a popular hero in the South. He would eventuaUy be bracketed with Jeb Stuart and Nathan Bedford Forrest as the Confederacy's great triumvirate of cavalry leaders but, in a sense, Morgan was even more than this. As the Richmond Dispatch put it following his capture, "The pride of the people was very much interwoven with the achievements of Morgan."2 1 Cecil Fletcher Holland, Morgan and His Raiders (New York: MacMillan Co., 1943), p. 5. This volume and Basil W. Duke's History of Morgans Cavalry (Cincinnati : Miami Printing & Publishing Co., 1867) are basic to any study of Morgan 's Raid. Certain other books and articles, some of which are cited in succeeding pages, are useful but often the information is incorrect. In addition, they are frequently more extreme in their criticism of Morgan than are Holland and Duke in their friendly treatment. Holland's bibliography includes numerous works related to the raid. 3 July 27, 1863. Quoted in Holland, op. cit., p. 7. 291 292JOHN S. STILI. In the summer of 1863, he was a symbol with which a recently jolted people could identify itself. At Chancellorsville in May the South had sustained the first in a rapidfire series of staggering blows. Although the battle itself was a great victory for the Confederates, it had claimed the life of StonewaU Jackson. Vicksburg was still holding out before Grant's hammering, but its eventual capitulation, occurring at the same time that a little town called Gettysburg was achieving unexpected prominence, left Southern morale desperately in need of revitalization. John Morgan, long anxious to carry the conflict into the North, conceived and proposed his memorable raid early in June. It would be purely a military operation with no intention of seizing and holding enemy cities and with no expectation of fomenting an uprising among the Copperheads or other disaffected Northerners.3 It was common knowledge that General Burnside, commanding the Department of the Ohio, was assembling a force at Cincinnati with which to invade east Tennessee. This would enable General William S. Rosecrans to attack General Bragg, who was lying south of Murfreesboro with 47,000 men. Morgan's sole purpose was to harass and divert Burnside by sweeping northwest through Kentucky and clockwise through southern Indiana and Ohio, ultimately recrossing the Ohio River or joining Lee in Pennsylvania if the latter's campaign was successful.4 Bragg authorized the raid but he forbade Morgan to cross the Ohio.5 Morgan probably was not surprised, for he knew that Bragg, besides being personally hostile to him, reflected the widely held view that cavalry should be used primarily as scouts rather than as...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 291-306
Launched on MUSE
2013-01-02
Open Access
No
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