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John Hunt Morgan

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John Hunt Morgan

John Hunt Morgan
John Hunt Morgan
Engraving by George Edward Perine (1837–85)
Nickname(s) Thunderbolt
Born (1825-06-01)June 1, 1825
Huntsville, Alabama
Died September 4, 1864(1864-09-04) (aged 39)
Greeneville, Tennessee
Place of burial Lexington Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Confederate States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Confederate States Army
Years of service 1846–1847 (USA)
1857–1861 (Kentucky militia)
1861–1864 (CSA)
Rank First Lieutenant(USA)
Captain (Kentucky Militia)
Brigadier General (CSA)

Mexican-American War

American Civil War


John Hunt Morgan (June 1, 1825 – September 4, 1864) was a Confederate general in the American Civil War.

In April 1862, he raised the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, fought at , which had been carried out against orders, gained no tactical advantage for the Confederacy, while the loss of his regiment proved a serious setback.

Morgan escaped, but his credibility was low, and he was restricted to minor operations. He was killed at Greeneville, Tennessee in September 1864. Morgan was the brother-in-law of Confederate general A.P. Hill.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Civil War service 2
    • Morgan's Raid 2.1
    • Late career and death 2.2
  • Legacy 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • Sources 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8

Early life and career

John Hunt Morgan was born in

Further reading

  • Brown, Dee A., The Bold Cavaliers: Morgan's Second Kentucky Cavalry Raiders. 1959. Republished as Morgan's Raiders, Smithmark, 1995. ISBN 0-8317-3286-5.
  • Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, and Bongard, David L., Harper Encyclopedia of Military Biography, Castle Books, 1992, 1st Ed., ISBN 0-7858-0437-4.
  • Eicher, John H., and David J. Eicher, Civil War High Commands, Stanford Univ. Press, 2001, ISBN 0-8047-3641-3.
  • Horwitz, Lester V., The Longest Raid of the Civil War, Farmcourt Publishing, 1999, ISBN 978-0-9670267-2-5.
  • Mackey, Robert R., The UnCivil War: Irregular Warfare in the Upper South, 1861–1865, University of Oklahoma Press, 2004. ISBN 0-8061-3624-3.
  • Noe, Kenneth W., Perryville: This Grand Havoc of Battle, University Press of Kentucky, 2001, ISBN 978-0-8131-2209-0.
  • Ramage, James A., Rebel Raider: The Life of General John H. Morgan, University of Kentucky Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8131-0839-X.
  • Foote, Shelby, The Civil War: A Narrative: Vol. III Red River to Appomattox, Vintage Books, 1986, ISBN 0-394-74622-8.


  1. ^ a b c Eicher, p. 397.
  2. ^ United States History: Morgan's Raiders
    His father claimed to be a descendant of the Revolutionary War hero, Daniel Morgan
  3. ^ GENi: Brig. General John Hunt Morgan (CSA). It is said that he was a lineal descendant of Daniel Morgan, of Revolutionary fame.
  4. ^ GENi: Gen. Daniel Morgan (Continental Army). Daniel Morgan is related to the famous Welsh privateer and pirate, Henry Morgan. Henry was Daniel's great-great-grandfather Edward Morgan's nephew.
  5. ^ Smith, Dwight L. Goodly Heritage (Grand Lodge of Indiana, 1968) pg.124
  6. ^ Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Noe, p. 31.
  8. ^ Eicher, p. 397. "...for their varied heroic and invaluable services in Tennessee and Kentucky immediately preceding the battles before Murfreesboro, services which have conferred upon their authors fame as enduring as the records of the struggle which they have so brilliantly illustrated."
  9. ^ Morgan, John. "Masonic Facts and Trivia". Education. Retrieved 29 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Dupuy, p. 525.
  11. ^ The web site 'Carnegie Library, East Liverpool Ohio' retrieved February 15, 2012, states that a monument to the July 1863 events in West Point, Ohio was erected in 1909 by Will L. Thompson of East Liverpool which states: "This stone marks the spot where the Confederate raider General John H. Morgan surrendered his command to Major General George W. Rue, July 26, 1863, and this is the farthest point north ever reached by any body of Confederate troops during the Civil War."
  12. ^ Sharp, Gwen (2014-04-25). "Hermaphroditic Civil War Horse Statue Links Heroism to Maleness » Sociological Images". Retrieved 2014-05-04. 


See also

A statue was erected in Lexington, Kentucky.[12]

A statue was erected in Pomeroy (Meigs Co.) Ohio for the effect he had on the town and its people.[11]

A Merino ram at Greenfield Village is named in his likeness.

A Kentucky Army National Guard Field Artillery battalion, the 1/623rd with headquarters in Glasgow, are known as Morgan's Men.

The General Morgan Inn, located at the spot he was killed in Greeneville, Tennessee, is named after him.

The John Hunt Morgan Bridge on South Main Street/U.S. Route 27 in Cynthiana, Kentucky is named after him.

The John Hunt Morgan Bridge on East Main Street/U.S. Route 11 in Abingdon, Virginia is named after him.

The Hunt-Morgan House, once his home, is a contributing property in a historic district in Lexington.

The John Hunt Morgan Memorial statue in Lexington is a tribute to him.

Hart County High School, in

Morgan's Grave, in Lexington Cemetery
Morgan High School in


His "Last Kentucky Raid" was carried out in June 1864, the high-water mark of which was the Lexington Cemetery. The burial was shortly before the birth of his second child, another daughter.

After his return from Ohio, Morgan returned to active duty. However, the men he was assigned were in no way comparable to those he had lost. Morgan once again began raiding into Kentucky. However his men lacked discipline, and he was unwilling or unable to control them, leading to open pillaging along with high casualties. The raids of this season were in risky defiance of a strategic situation in the border states that had changed radically from the year before. Union military occupation of this region, long denied to major Confederate armies, had progressed to the point that even highly mobile raiders could no longer count on easily evading them. Northern public outrage at Morgan's raid across the Ohio River may well have contributed to this state of affairs.

Late career and death Though Morgan's Raid was breathlessly followed by the Northern and Southern press and caused the Union leadership considerable concern, it is now regarded as little more than a showy but ultimately futile sidelight to the war. Furthermore, it was done in direct violation of his orders from General

On November 27, Morgan and six of his officers, most notably Thomas Hines, escaped from their cells in the Ohio Penitentiary by digging a tunnel from Hines' cell into the inner yard and then ascending a wall with a rope made from bunk coverlets and a bent poker iron. Morgan and three of his officers, shortly after midnight, boarded a train from the nearby Columbus train station and arrived in Cincinnati that morning. Morgan and Hines jumped from the train before reaching the depot, and escaped into Kentucky by hiring a skiff to take them across the Ohio River. Through the assistance of sympathizers, they eventually made it to safety in the South. Coincidentally, the same day Morgan escaped, his wife gave birth to a daughter, who died shortly afterwards before Morgan returned home.

After several more skirmishes, during which he captured and paroled thousands of Union soldiers, Morgan's raid almost ended on July 19, 1863, at finally forced to surrender. It was the farthest north that any uniformed Confederate troops would penetrate during the war.[10]

In July, at Versailles, IN, while soldiers raided nearby militia and looted county and city treasuries, the jewels of the local masonic lodge were stolen. When Morgan, a Freemason, learned of the theft he recovered the jewels and returned them to the lodge the following day.[9]

Hoping to divert Union troops and resources in conjunction with the twin Confederate operations of

General John Hunt Morgan
Group of "Morgan's Men" while prisoners of war in Western Penitentiary, Pennsylvania: (l to r) Captain William E. Curry, 8th Kentucky Cavalry; Lieutenant Andrew J. Church, 8th Kentucky Cavalry; Lieutenant Leeland Hathaway, 14th Kentucky Cavalry; Lieutenant Henry D. Brown, 10th Kentucky Cavalry; Lieutenant William Hays, 20th Kentucky Cavalry. All were captured with John Hunt Morgan in Ohio. 1863

Morgan's Raid

On December 14, Morgan married Martha "Mattie" Ready, the daughter of Tennessee United States Representative Charles Ready and a cousin of William T. Haskell, another former U.S. representative from Tennessee.

Morgan was promoted to brigadier general (his highest rank) on December 11, 1862, though the Promotion Orders were not signed by President Davis until December 14, 1862.[1] He received the thanks of the Confederate Congress on May 1, 1863, for his raids on the supply lines of Union Major General William S. Rosecrans in December and January, most notably his victory at the Battle of Hartsville on December 7.[8]

In his first Kentucky raid, Morgan left Confederate Heartland Offensive of Braxton Bragg and Edmund Kirby Smith was launched later that fall, assuming that tens of thousands of Kentuckians would enlist in the Confederate Army if they invaded the state.[7]

Morgan and his cavalrymen fought at the Francis Marion and wrote that "a few thousands of such men as his would regain us Kentucky and Tennessee."

Like most Kentuckians, Morgan did not initially support secession. Immediately after Lincoln's election in November 1860, he wrote to his brother, Thomas Hunt Morgan, then a student at colonel on April 4, 1862.[1]

Lexington, Kentucky.

Civil War service

Morgan remained interested in the military. He raised a infantry company known as the "Lexington Rifles," and spent much of his free time drilling his men.

In 1853, his wife delivered a stillborn son. She contracted septic thrombophlebitis, popularly known as "milk leg"—an infection of a blood clot in a vein, which eventually led to an amputation. They became increasingly emotionally distant from one another. Known as a gambler and womanizer, Morgan was also known for his generosity.

Morgan grew up on the farm outside of Lexington and attended U.S. Army as a cavalry private during the Mexican-American War. He was elected second lieutenant and was promoted to first lieutenant before arriving in Mexico, where he saw combat in the Battle of Buena Vista. On his return to Kentucky, he became a hemp manufacturer and in 1848, he married Rebecca Gratz Bruce, the 18-year-old sister of one of his business partners. Morgan also hired out his slaves and occasionally sold them. After the death of John Wesley Hunt in 1849, his fortunes greatly improved as his mother, Henrietta, began financing his business ventures.

Morgan's paternal grandparents were Luther and Anna (Cameron) Morgan. Luther Morgan had settled in Huntsville, but a downturn in the cotton economy forced him to mortgage his holdings. His father, Calvin Morgan, lost his Huntsville home in 1831 when he was unable to pay the property taxes following the failure of his pharmacy. The family then moved to Lexington, where he would manage one of his father-in-law's sprawling farms.


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