One hundred fifty years ago today, July 26, 1863, John Hunt Morgan, leader of the cavalry raiders known as Morgan’s Maurauders, met the end of the road. He’d advanced with 1200 troopers on a raid July 8 into southern Indiana and Ohio. He hoped for support from Confederate sympathizers in those states. His plan was to raise morale in the South after the fall of Vicksburg and their loss at Gettysburg. But the sought after support did not materialize and his retreat was blocked by Union gunboats. He was forced to flee, and during that flight lost more men each day. He was trapped near Salineville, Ohio and he and his remaining 364 officers and men surrendered.
John Hunt Morgan’s mission, throughout the early years of the war, was to ride around Tennessee and Kentucky and cause havoc among Union troops. He disrupted communications, which isolated advance forces. He also confiscated Union supplies. His forays centered on southern Ohio and Indiana as he sought to create fear, panic and pacifism in the Union. His men rarely engaged in battle, but were forced to fight in October of 1862 when they encountered Federal cavalry near Lexington, Kentucky. They were able to defeat them and force them back into the town. Afterward they captured the garrison and then moved off, towards Versailles.
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