Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan
John Hunt Morgan, a daring Confederate cavalry general, was seen as the epitome of southern chivalry and bravery by its citizens and supporters. Those in the north thought otherwise. They saw a dare devil, ruffian and marauder who was a constant threat to the Union army and the men in the western theater.
Whichever definition you choose there’s no doubt he was daring and adventurous and today a legend.
The Young Mr. Morgan
Morgan was born in Alabama but due to his father’s financial losses moved at the age of six with his parents and siblings to Kentucky. John grew up among his mother’s relatives and came to love Kentucky and regarded it as his homeland as much as they did.
As a young man John Hunt Morgan attended Transylvania College for a short time but was expelled for dueling with a fraternity brother. He went on to enlist with the 1st Kentucky Cavalry during the Mexican American War. There Morgan made a name for himself at the Battle of Buena Vista. This combat experience solidified his path for the rest of his life.
Morgan in the Civil War
Back home John established himself as a hemp manufacturer but his love of military led him to establish a militia known as the Lexington Rifles. He equipped this group out of his own pocket. There was no doubt once war was declared in 1861 Morgan would throw his support behind the confederacy along with his militia. The Lexington Rifles joined the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry and John Hunt Morgan was the regiment’s colonel.
The 2nd Kentucky Cavalry soon saw action at the Battle of Shiloh. Morgan was assigned to Joseph Wheeler’s division in Gen. Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee. His gutsy behavior during battle soon spread throughout the south. Many saw a solid confederate future through the gritty military actions of John Hunt Morgan. Continue reading
Here’s a great resource for researching your Alabama Civil War veteran.
This site, Alabama Civil War Roots, lists numerous helps for researching your ancestor. Everything from Alabama Soldiers with Florida Pensions to Civil War Letters. If your Civil War ancestor served in an Alabama regiment you’ll want to check this out.
Also I’d love for you to sign up for my monthly tips – Civil War Research Tips here. I’ll share pointers and info to help in researching your Civil War ancestor. Please take a moment to sign up and thanks so much!
We’ve all read the stories of brave men cut down in their youth during vicious Civil War battles. Along similar lines are the many “after” stories. The ones that tell of ghosts clad in uniform, soldiers who have suffered a horrible death, haunting a battlefield or cemetery. Even though Ohio was pro-Union and only one battle was fought on her soil Ohio has not been left out of and
Photo Credit: Dizzy at stock.xchng.com
Ohio was a backbone for the Union cause during the Civil War. Sending the third largest number of men into battle, it ranks only behind Pennsylvania and New York, in Civil War enlistment numbers. Along with that notable fact Ohio also housed two prisoner of war camps from 1861 to 1865. The most recognized of the two are Camp Chase. Located in the center of the state, Camp Chase was a mere four miles west of the capital, Columbus. Originally named Camp Jackson and used as a training ground for recruits, it was renamed Camp Chase to honor President Lincoln’s Secretary of State and native Ohioan, Salmon P. Chase.
When it became apparent the Union would need housing for rebel prisoners of war, Camp Chase which was a training facility for the newly enlisted or a discharge point for those leaving the service, also became the lockup for captured Confederate officers. As the war drug on, Johnson’s Island nestled in Lake Erie became the new prison for officers and rebel enlisted men were detained at Camp Chase.
As with all Civl War prisons Camp Chase was horribly overcrowded. At it’s peak 9,200 captured rebel soldiers were held there with two to three men sharing a single bunk. Food and medicines were scarce and disease ran rampant. A small pox epidemic spread unchecked through the facility killing many men. By war’s end 2,200 Confederate prisoners had died while confined at Camp Chase.
These souls were buried in a Confederate cemetery on the grounds of the camp. Their graves marked with wooden headboards that eventually fell into disrepair and were replaced with stone markers. Over the years the remnants of Camp Chase was claimed by the growing city of Columbus. All that remains today is the Confederate cemetery and the Lady in Gray.
Seen and heard by many over the years, the Lady in Gray is a young woman in her late teens or early twenties clothed in 1860s traveling clothes. Her cries and weeping can be heard through the cemetery as she stoops over each headstone as if reading the etched names. Continue reading
This past summer before the great flood (which I wrote about here) we went on vacation. Our trip was to visit one of my daughters and son-in-law in central Florida. It’s quite a drive from Ohio so we figured it would be best to break it up into a couple days. When I checked out a map an eight hour drive put us somewhere in northern Georgia.
I couldn’t believe it when I realized we’d be very near the Chickamauga Battlefield. I had to stop there! I’ve done some research on this battle since so many soldiers from my area fought there.
My husband’s a good guy and it didn’t take much to sell him on it. My daughter was a slightly different story. I had to remind my 13 year old we were heading to Disney World and one day humoring her mother wouldn’t kill her.
So off went heading south to Florida with a stop in Georgia along the way.
A little background on the Battle of Chickamauga. In September 1863, the Army of the Cumberland led by Union Maj. William Rosecrans moved through Tennessee. Union forces took the city of Chattanooga considered the gateway to the south and gained control of the rail lines there. On the defense was Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg leading the Army of Tennessee. Bragg with his men camped just 25 miles south of Chattanooga would attempt to position his troops between the Union army and the city. Both armies would clash near a small creek in Georgia called Chickamauga.
On September 19 and 20, 1863 these two armies fought in the bloodiest battle of the war second only to Gettysburg. Union forces numbered nearly 65,000 men and the Confederate army bolstered with reinforcements topped 66,000 men. The brutal fighting lasted two days many times resulting in hand to hand combat. Continue reading
I read an online article recently from the Washington Post. It cited how the Manassas National Battlefield Park was trying to keep the level of public interest high after having already commemorated the 150th anniversary of both Civil War battles at Manassas. Their new approach is summed up in the article’s title “Manassas events focus on the human face of the Civil War”.
The human side of the Civil War. That’s exactly what clicks with me when I research this period in history. I am particularly interested in the men, the privates, the grunts that carried out all the orders. They endured excessive hardships, witnessed extensive human suffering and looked death in the face at every battle. They carried out commands they knew would certainly result in their demise yet followed those orders anyway. Civil War soldiers are the grandfathers and great grandfathers of today’s “Greatest Generation.” I believe in looking at Civil War veterans we can see that their bravery and loyalty was instilled in their descendants who fought in both World Wars.
Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center
Then there is the human side of the Civil War at home. Young wives with babies trying to maintain their household. Farms and businesses to be run without the help of sturdy young men and wise fathers. Families receiving telegraphed death notices, the shortages, hunger and fear especially in southern homes. So many stories and life events that need to be told. Continue reading