MILITARY REMINISCENCES OF THE CIVIL WAR
BY JACOB DOLSON COX, A.M., LL.D.
Formerly Major-General commanding Twenty-Third Army Corps
APRIL 1861--NOVEMBER 1863
Departure of the staff for the field--An amusingly quick return--Changes in my own duties--Expeditions to occupy the enemy--Sanders' raid into East Tennessee--His route--His success and return--The Confederate Morgan's raid--His instructions--His reputation as a soldier--Compared with Forrest--Morgan's start delayed--His appearance at
Green River, Ky.--Foiled by Colonel Moore--Captures Lebanon--Reaches the Ohio at Brandenburg--General Hobson in pursuit--Morgan crosses into Indiana--Was this his original purpose?--His route out of Indiana into Ohio--He approaches Cincinnati--Hot chase by Hobson--Gunboats co-operating on the river--Efforts to block his way--He avoids garrisoned posts and cities--Our troops moved in transports by water--Condition of Morgan's jaded column--Approaching the Ohio at Buffington's--Gunboats near the ford--Hobson attacks--Part captured, the rest fly northward--Another capture--A long chase--Surrender of Morgan with the remnant--Summary of results--A burlesque capitulation.
The departure of General Burnside and his staff for active service in the field was quite an event in Cincinnati society. The young men were a set of fine fellows, well educated and great social favorites. There was a public concert the evening before they left for Lexington, and they were to go by a special train after the entertainment should be over. They came to the concert hall, therefore, not only booted and spurred, but there was perhaps a bit of youthful but very natural ostentation of being ready for the field. Their hair was cropped as close as barber's shears could cut it, they wore the regulation uniform of the cavalry, with trim round-about jackets, and were the "cynosure of all eyes." Their parting words were said to their lady friends in the intervals of the music, and the pretty dramatic effect of it all suggested to an onlooker the famous parting scene in "Belgium's capital" which "Childe Harold" has made so familiar.
It was quite an anti-climax, however, when the gay young officers came back, before a week was over, crestfallen, the detaching of the Ninth Corps having suspended operations in Kentucky. They were a little quizzed about their very brief campaign, but so good-humoredly that they bore it pretty well, and were able to seem amused at it, as well as the fair quizzers.
In preparation for a lengthened absence, Burnside had turned over to me some extra duties. He ordered the District of Michigan to be added to my command, and gave general directions that the current business of the department headquarters should pass through my hands. As General Parke, his chief of staff, had gone to Vicksburg in command of the Ninth Corps, Burnside made informal use of me to supply in some measure his place. Our relations therefore became closer than ever. He hoped his troops would soon come back to him, as was promised, and in resuming business at the Cincinnati headquarters, he tried to keep it all in such shape that he could drop it at a moment's notice.
To keep the enemy occupied he organized two expeditions, one under Brigadier-General Julius White into West Virginia, and the other under Colonel W. P. Sanders into East Tennessee. The latter was one of the boldest and longest raids made during the war, and besides keeping the enemy on the alert, destroying considerable military stores and a number of important railway bridges, it was a preliminary reconnoissance of East Tennessee and the approaches to it through the mountains, which was of great value a little later. The force consisted of 1500 mounted men, being detachments from different regiments of cavalry and mounted infantry, among which were some of the loyal men of East Tennessee under Colonel R. K. Byrd. Sanders was a young officer of the regular army who was now colonel of the Fifth Kentucky Cavalry. He rapidly made a first-class reputation as a bold leader of mounted troops, but was unfortunately killed in the defence of
Knoxville in November of this same year. His expedition started from Mount Vernon, Kentucky, on the 14th of June, marched rapidly southward sixty miles to Williamsburg, where the Cumberland River was fordable. Thence he moved southwest about the same distance by the Marsh Creek route to the vicinity of Huntsville in Tennessee. Continuing this route southward some fifty miles more, he struck the Big Emory River, and following this through Emory Gap, he reached the vicinity of Kingston on the Clinch River in East Tennessee, having marched in all rather more than two hundred miles. Avoiding Kingston, which was occupied by a superior force of Confederates, he marched rapidly on Knoxville, destroying all the more important railway bridges. Demonstrating boldly in front of Knoxville, and finding that it was strongly held and its streets barricaded for defence, he passed around the town and advanced upon Strawberry Plains, where a great bridge and trestle crosses the Holston River, 2100 feet in length, a place to become very familiar to us in later campaigning. Crossing the Holston at Flat Creek, where other bridges were burned, he moved up the left (east) bank of the river to attack the guard at the big bridge, the Confederate forces being on that side. He drove them off, capturing 150 of the party and five cannon. He not only destroyed the bridge, but captured and burnt large quantities of military stores and camp equipage. On he went along the railway to Mossy Creek, where another bridge 300 feet long was burned. He now turned homeward toward the north-west, having greatly injured a hundred miles of the East Tennessee Railroad. Turning like a fox under the guidance of his East Tennessee scouts, he crossed the Clinch Mountains and the valley of the Clinch, and made his way back by way of Smith's Gap through the Cumberland Mountains to his starting-place in Kentucky. He had captured over 450 prisoners, whom he paroled, had taken ten cannon and 1000 stands of small arms which he destroyed, besides the large amounts of military stores which have been mentioned. He marched about five hundred miles in the whole circuit, and though frequently skirmishing briskly with considerable bodies of the enemy, his losses were only 2 killed, 4 wounded, and 13 missing. Of course a good many horses were used up, but as a preliminary to the campaign which was to follow and in which Sanders was to have a prominent place, it was a raid which was much more profitable than most of them. He was gone ten days. [Footnote: Sanders' Report, Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 385, 386.]
The expedition under Brigadier-General Julius White was sent to beat up the Confederate posts in the Big Sandy valley and to aid incidentally the raid under Sanders into East Tennessee. Burnside sent another southward in the direction of Monticello, Kentucky. The object of these was to keep the enemy amused near home and prevent the raids his cavalry had been making on the railway line by which Rosecrans kept up his communication with
Louisville. They seem rather to have excited the emulation of the Confederate cavalryman Brigadier-General John H. Morgan, who, a few days before Rosecrans's advance on Tullahoma, obtained permission to make a raid, starting from the neighborhood of McMinnville, Tenn., crossing the Cumberland near Burkesville, and thence moving on Louisville, which he thought he might capture with its depots of military stores, as it was supposed to be almost stripped of troops. His division consisted of about 3000 horsemen, and he took the whole of it with him, though Wheeler, his chief, seems to have limited him to 2000. His instructions were to make a rapid movement on the line of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in Kentucky and to get back to his place in Bragg's army as quickly as possible. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p.817.]
Morgan's reputation as a soldier was a peculiar one. He had made a number of raids which showed a good deal of boldness in the general plan and a good deal of activity in the execution, but it cannot be said that he showed any liking for hard fighting. Like boys skating near thin ice, he seemed to be trying to see how close he could come to danger without getting in. A really bold front showed by a small body of brave men was usually enough to turn him aside. It is instructive to compare his career with Forrest's. They began with similar grade, but with all the social and personal prestige in Morgan's favor. Forrest had been a local slave-trader, a calling which implied social ostracism in the South, and which put a great obstacle in the way of advancement. Both were fond of adventurous raids, but Forrest was a really daring soldier and fought his way to recognition in the face of stubborn prejudice. Morgan achieved notoriety by the showy temerity of his distant movements, but nobody was afraid of him in the field at close quarters.
The official order to Morgan to start on his expedition was dated on the 18th of June, but he did not get off till the close of the month. It would seem that he remained in observation on the flank of Rosecrans's army as the left wing moved upon Manchester, and began his northward march after Bragg had retreated to Decherd on the way to Chattanooga. At any rate, he was first heard of on the north side of the Cumberland on the 2d of July, near Burkesville and
marching on Columbia. Burnside immediately ordered all his cavalry and mounted infantry to concentrate to meet him, but his route had been chosen with full knowledge of the positions of our detachments and he was able to get the start of them. Brigadier-General H. M. Judah, who commanded the division of the Twenty-third Corps which covered that part of our front, seems to have wholly misconceived the situation, and refused to listen to the better information which his subordinates gave him. [Footnote: Sketches of War History, vol. iv. (Papers of the Ohio Commandery of the Loyal Legion). A paper by Capt. H. C. Weaver, Sixteenth Kentucky Infantry, who was on the staff of Brigadier-General E. H. Hobson during the pursuit of Morgan.] After a slight skirmish at Columbia, Morgan made for the Green River bridge at Tebb's Bend, an important crossing of the Louisville Railroad. The bend was occupied by Colonel O. H. Moore of the Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry, who, under previous instructions from Brigadier-General E. H. Hobson, intrenched a line across the neck of the bend, some distance in front of the stockade at the bridge. Morgan advanced upon the 4th of July, and after a shot or two from his artillery, sent in a flag demanding the surrender of Moore's little force, which amounted to only 200 men. Moore did not propose to celebrate the national anniversary in that way, and answered accordingly. The enemy kept up a lively skirmishing fight for some hours, when he withdrew. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 645.] Moore had beaten him off with a loss of 6 killed and 23 wounded of the brave Michigan men. He reported Morgan's loss at 50 killed and 200 wounded. The Confederate authorities admit that they had 36 killed, but put their wounded at only 46, an incredibly small proportion to the killed.
The raiders continued their route to
Lebanon, where was the Twentieth Kentucky Infantry under Lieutenant-Colonel Charles S. Hanson, numbering less than 400 men, without artillery. A brigade ordered to reinforce the post delayed its advance, and Hanson was left to his own resources. After several hours of a lively skirmishing fight without much loss, he surrendered to save the village from destruction by fire, which Morgan threatened. The loss in the post was 4 killed and 15 wounded. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 649.] Hanson reported 29 rebel dead left on the field and 30 wounded, also abandoned. No doubt others of the wounded were taken care of and concealed by their sympathizers in the vicinity. Some military stores had been burned with the railway station-house before Hanson surrendered. He and his men were paroled in the irregular way adopted by Morgan on the raid.
Bardstown was the next point reached by the enemy, but Morgan's appetite for Louisville seems now to have diminished, and he turned to the westward, reaching the Ohio River on the 8th, at Brandenburg, some thirty miles below the city. The detachments of mounted troops which were in pursuit had been united under the command of General Hobson, the senior officer present, and consisted of two brigades, commanded by Brigadier-General J. M. Shackelford and Colonel F. Wolford. They approached Brandenburg on the evening of the 8th and captured the steamboat "McCombs" with a remnant of Morgan's men and stores the next morning when they entered the town. They saw on the opposite bank the smoking wreck of the steamboat "Alice Dean" which Morgan had set on fire after landing his men on the Indiana shore. The steamboat "McCombs" was sent to Louisville for other transports. A delay of twenty-four hours thus occurred, and when Hobson's command was assembled in Indiana, Morgan had the start by nearly two days. [Footnote: Hobson's Report, Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 659.]
It is claimed by Morgan's intimate friend and chronicler that he intended to cross the Ohio from the day he left camp in Tennessee, although it would be contrary to his orders; [Footnote: _Id_., p. 818. History of Morgan's Cavalry, by B. W. Duke, p. 410.] and that he had made investigations in advance in regard to fords on the upper Ohio and particularly at Buffington Island, where he ultimately tried to cross into West Virginia. If true, this would forfeit every claim on his part to the character of a valuable and intelligent subordinate; for operations on a large scale would be absolutely impossible if the commander of a division of cavalry may go off as he pleases, in disobedience to the orders which assign him a specific task. Except for this statement, it would be natural to conclude that when he approached Louisville he began to doubt whether the city were so defenceless as he had assumed, and knowing that twenty-four hours' delay would bring Hobson's forces upon his back, he then looked about for some line of action that would save his prestige and be more brilliant than a race back again to Tennessee. It is quite probable that the feasibility of crossing the Ohio and making a rapid ride through the country on its northern bank had been discussed by him, and conscious as he was that he had thus far accomplished nothing, he might be glad of an excuse for trying it. This interpretation of his acts would be more honorable to him as an officer than the deliberate and premeditated disobedience attributed to him. But whether the decision was made earlier or later, the capture of the steamboats at Brandenburg was at once made use of to ferry over his command, though it was not accomplished without some exciting incidents. A party of the Confederates under Captain Hines had crossed into Indiana a few days before without orders from Morgan, being as independent of him, apparently, as he was of General Bragg. Hines's party had roused the militia of the State, and he had made a rapid retreat to the Ohio, reaching it just as Morgan entered Brandenburg. It may be that the lucky daredeviltry of Hines's little raid fired his commander's heart to try a greater one; at any rate, Morgan forgave his trespass against his authority as he prayed to be forgiven by Bragg, and turned his attention to driving off the Indiana militia who had followed Hines to the bank of the river and now opened fire with a single cannon. Morgan's artillery silenced the gun and caused the force to retreat out of range, when he put over two of his regiments, dismounted, to cover the ferrying of the rest. At this point one of the "tin-clad" gunboats of the river fleet made its appearance and took part in the combat. The section of Parrot guns in Morgan's battery proved an overmatch for it, however, and it retired to seek reinforcements. The interval was used to hasten the transport of the Confederate men and horses, and before further opposition could be made, the division was in the saddle and marching northward into Indiana.
At the first news of Morgan's advance into Kentucky, Burnside had directed General Hartsuff, who commanded in that State, to concentrate his forces so as to capture Morgan if he should attempt to return through the central part of it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.13, 679, etc.] Judah's and Boyle's divisions were put in motion toward Louisville, and the remainder of the mounted troops not already with Hobson were also hurried forward. These last constituted a provisional brigade under Colonel Sanders. It may help to understand the organization of the National troops to note the fact that all which operated against Morgan were parts of the Twenty-third Corps, which was composed of four divisions under Generals
Sturgis, Boyle, Judah, and White. The brigades were of both infantry and mounted troops, united for the special purposes of the contemplated campaign into East Tennessee. For the pursuit of Morgan the mounted troops were sent off first, and as these united they formed a provisional division under Hobson, the senior brigadier present. Quite a number of the regiments were mounted infantry, who after a few months were dismounted and resumed their regular place in the infantry line. For the time being, however, Hobson had a mounted force that was made up of fractions of brigades from all the divisions of the corps; and Shackelford, Wolford, Kautz, and Sanders were the commanders of the provisional brigades during the pursuit. Its strength did not quite reach 3000 men. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 658.]
Morgan's first course was due north, and he marched with some deliberation. On the 10th he reached Salem, about forty miles from the river, on the railway between Louisville and Chicago. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 717, 719.] A small body of militia had assembled here, and made a creditable stand, but were outflanked and forced to retreat after inflicting on him a score of casualties. The evidences Morgan here saw of the ability of the Northern States to overwhelm him by the militia, satisfied him that further progress inland was not desirable, and turning at right angles to the road he had followed, he made for Madison on the Ohio. There was evidently some understanding with a detachment he had left in Kentucky, for on the 11th General Manson, of Judah's division, who was on his way with a brigade from Louisville to Madison by steamboats under naval convoy, fell in with a party of Morgan's men seeking to cross the river at Twelve-mile Island, a little below Madison. Twenty men and forty-five horses were captured. [Footnote: _Id_., pt. ii. pp. 729, 745.] If any of this party had succeeded in crossing before (as was reported) they would of course inform their chief of the reinforcements going to Madison, and of the gunboats in the river. Morgan made no attack on Madison, but took another turn northward in his zigzag course, and marched on Vernon, a railway-crossing some twenty miles from Madison, where the line to
Indianapolis intersects that from Cincinnati to Vincennes. Here a militia force had been assembled under Brigadier-General Love, and the town was well situated for defence. Morgan, declining to attack, now turned eastward again, his course being such that he might be aiming for the river at Lawrenceburg or at Cincinnati.
The deviousness of his route had been such as to indicate a want of distinct purpose, and had enabled Hobson greatly to reduce the distance between them. Hanson's brigade on the steamboats was now about 2500 strong, and moved on the 12th from Madison to Lawrenceburg, keeping pace as nearly as possible with Morgan's eastward progress. Sanders's brigade reached the river twenty miles above Louisville, and General Boyle sent transports to put him also in motion on the river. At the request of Burnside, Governor Tod, of Ohio, called out the militia of the southern counties, as Governor Morton had done in Indiana. Burnside himself, at Cincinnati, kept in constant telegraphic communication with all points, assembling the militia where they were most likely to be useful and trying to put his regular forces in front of the enemy. It would have been easy to let the slippery Confederate horsemen back into Kentucky. The force in the river, both naval and military, unquestionably prevented this at Madison, and probably at Lawrenceburg. On the 13th Morgan was at Harrison on the Ohio State line, and it now became my turn as district commander to take part in the effort to catch him. I had no direct control of the troops of the Twenty-third Corps, and the only garrisons in Ohio were at the prison camps at Columbus and Sandusky. These of course could not be removed, and our other detachments were hardly worth naming. Burnside declared martial law in the counties threatened with invasion, so that the citizens and militia might for military purposes come directly under our control. The relations between the general and myself were so intimate that no strict demarcation of authority was necessary. He authorized me to give commands in his name when haste demanded it, and we relieved each other in night watching at the telegraph.
A small post had been maintained at Dayton, since the Vallandigham disturbance, and Major Keith, its commandant, was ordered to take his men by rail to Hamilton. He went at once and reported himself holding that town with 600 men, including the local militia, but only 400 were armed. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.742, 743.] Lieutenant-Colonel Neff commanded at
Camp Dennison, thirteen miles from Cincinnati, and had 700 armed men there, with 1200 more of unarmed recruits. [Footnote: _Id_., p.749.] At both these posts systematic scouting was organized so as to keep track of the enemy, and their active show of force was such that Morgan did not venture to attack either, but threaded his way around them. At Cincinnati there was no garrison. A couple of hundred men formed the post at Newport on the Kentucky side of the river, but the main reliance was on the local militia. These were organized as soon as the governor's call was issued on the evening of the 12th. Batteries were put in position covering the approaches to the city from the north and west, and the beautiful suburban hills of Clifton and Avondale afforded excellent defensive positions.
The militia that were called out were of course infantry, and being both without drill and unaccustomed to marching, could only be used in position, to defend a town or block the way. In such work they showed courage and soldierly spirit, so that Morgan avoided collision with all considerable bodies of them. But they could not be moved. All we could do was to try to assemble them at such points in advance as the raiders were likely to reach, and we especially limited their task to the defensive one, and to blockading roads and streams. Particular stress was put on the orders to take up the planking of bridges and to fell timber into the roads. Little was done in this way at first, but after two or three days of constant reiteration, the local forces did their work better, and delays to the flying enemy were occasioned which contributed essentially to the final capture.
No definite news of Morgan's crossing the Ohio line was received till about sunset of the 13th when he was marching eastward from Harrison. Satisfied that Lawrenceburg and lower points on the Ohio were now safe, Burnside ordered the transports and gunboats at once to Cincinnati. Manson and Sanders arrived during the night, and the latter with his brigade of mounted men was, at dawn of the 14th, placed on the north of the city in the village of Avondale. Manson with the transports was held in readiness to move further up the river.
Feeling the net drawing about him, Morgan gave his men but two or three hours' rest near Harrison, and then took the road toward Cincinnati. He reached Glendale, thirteen miles northwest of the city, late in the night, and then turned to the east, apparently for Camp Dennison, equally distant in a northeast direction. His men were jaded to the last degree of endurance, and some were dropping from the saddle for lack of sleep. Still he kept on. Colonel Neff, in accordance with his orders, had blockaded the principal roads to the west, and stood at bay in front of his camp. Morgan threw a few shells at Neff's force, and a slight skirmish began, but again he broke away, forced to make a detour of ten miles to the north. We had been able to warn Neff of their approach by a message sent after midnight, and he had met them boldly, protecting the camp and the railroad bridge north of it. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 748, 750.] The raiders reached Williamsburg in Clermont County, twenty-eight miles from Cincinnati, in the afternoon of the 14th, and there the tired men and beasts took the first satisfactory rest they had had for three days. Morgan had very naturally assumed that there would be a considerable regular force at Cincinnati, and congratulated himself that by a forced night march he had passed round the city and avoided being cut off. He had, in truth, escaped by the skin of his teeth. Could Burnside have felt sure that Lawrenceburg was safe a few hours earlier, Manson and Sanders might have been in Cincinnati early enough on the 13th to have barred the way from Harrison. He had in fact ordered Manson up at two o'clock in the afternoon, but the latter was making a reconnoissance north of the town, and was detained till late in the night. As soon as it was learned on the 14th that Morgan had passed east of the Little Miami River, Sanders was ordered to join Hobson and aid in the pursuit. [Footnote: In the reports of Hobson and Sanders there seems to be a mistake of a day in the dates, from the 12th to the 16th. This may be corrected by the copies of current dispatches given in Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 730-750.] Hobson's horses were almost worn out, for following close upon Morgan's track, as he was doing, he found only broken down animals left behind by the rebels, whilst these gathered up the fresh animals as they advanced. Still he kept doggedly on, seldom more than ten or fifteen miles behind, but unable to close that gap till his opponent should be delayed or brought to bay.
After entering Clermont County, the questions as to roads, etc, indicated that Morgan was making for
Maysville, hoping to cross the river there. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 749.] Manson's brigade and the gunboats were accordingly sent up the river to that vicinity. The militia of the Scioto valley were ordered to destroy the bridges, in the hope that that river would delay him, but they were tardy or indifferent, and it was a day or two later before the means of obstruction were efficiently used. Judah's forces reached Cincinnati on the 14th, a brigade was there supplied with horses, and they were sent by steamers to Portsmouth. Judah was ordered to spare no effort to march northward far enough to head off the enemy's column. On the 16th General Scammon, commanding in West Virginia, was asked to concentrate some of his troops at Gallipolis or Pomeroy on the upper Ohio, and promptly did so. [Footnote: _Id_., p. 756.] The militia were concentrated at several points along the railway to Marietta. Hobson was in the rear, pushing along at the rate of forty miles a day.
Morgan had soon learned that the river was so patrolled that no chance to make a ferry could be trusted, and he made his final effort to reach the ford at Buffington Island, between Marietta and Pomeroy. He reached Pomeroy on the 18th, but Scammon was occupying it, and the troops of the Kanawha division soon satisfied Morgan that he was not dealing with militia. He avoided the roads held by our troops, and as they were infantry, could move around them, though a running skirmish was kept up for some miles. Hobson was close in rear, and Judah's men were approaching Buffington. Morgan reached the river near the ford about eight o'clock in the evening. The night was pitchy dark, and his information was that a small earthwork built to command the ford was occupied by a permanent garrison. He concluded to wait for daylight. The work had in fact been abandoned on the preceding day, but at daybreak in the morning he was attacked. Hobson's men pushed in from west and north, and Judah from the south. The gunboats came close up to the island, within range of the ford, and commanded it. Hobson attacked vigorously and captured the artillery. The wing of the Confederate forces, about 700 in number, surrendered to General Shackelford, and about 200 to the other brigades under Hobson. The rest of the enemy, favored by a fog which filled the valley, evaded their pursuers and fled northward. Hobson ordered all his brigades to obey the commands of Shackelford, who was in the lead, and himself sought Judah, whose approach had been unknown to him till firing was heard on the other side of the enemy. Judah had also advanced at daybreak, but in making a reconnoissance he himself with a small escort had stumbled upon the enemy in the fog. Both parties were completely surprised, and before Judah could bring up supports, three of his staff were captured, Major Daniel McCook, paymaster, who had volunteered as an aide, was mortally wounded, ten privates were wounded, and twenty or thirty with a piece of artillery captured. Morgan hastily turned in the opposite direction, when he ran into Hobson's columns; Judah's prisoners and the gun were recaptured, and the enemy driven in confusion, with the losses above stated. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp. 775-777.]
As Hobson was regularly a brigade commander in Judah's division, the latter now asserted command of the whole force, against Hobson's protest, who was provisionally in a separate command by Burnside's order. Fortunately, Shackelford had already led Hobson's men in rapid pursuit of the enemy, and as soon as Burnside was informed of the dispute, he ordered Judah not to interfere with the troops which had operated separately. By the time this order came Shackelford was too far away for Hobson to rejoin him, and continued in independent command till Morgan's final surrender. He overtook the flying Confederates on the 20th, about sixty miles further north, and they were forced to halt and defend themselves. Shackelford succeeded in getting a regiment in the enemy's rear, and after a lively skirmish between 1200 and 1300 surrendered. [Footnote: _Id_., pp. 778, 781.] Morgan himself again evaded with about 600 followers. Shackelford took 500 volunteers on his best horses and pressed the pursuit. The chase lasted four days of almost continuous riding, when the enemy was again overtaken in Jefferson County, some fifteen miles northwest of Steubenville. General Burnside had collected at Cincinnati the dismounted men of Hobson's command, had given them fresh horses, and had sent them by rail to join Shackelford. They were under command of Major W. B. Way of the Ninth Michigan Cavalry and Major G. W. Rue of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry. They brought five or six hundred fresh men to Shackelford's aid, and their assistance was decisive. Morgan's course to the river at Smith's Ferry on the border of Columbiana County was intercepted, and near Salineville he was forced to surrender with a little less than 400 men who still followed him. About 250 had surrendered in smaller bodies within a day or two before, and stragglers had been picked up at many points along the line of pursuit. Burnside reported officially that about 3000 prisoners were brought to Cincinnati. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. p. 14.] General Duke states that some 300 of Morgan's command succeeded in crossing the Ohio about twenty miles above Buffington, and escaped through West Virginia. He also gives us some idea of the straggling caused by the terrible fatigues of the march by telling us that the column was reduced by nearly 500 effectives when it passed around Cincinnati. [Footnote: Hist. of Morgan's Cavalry, pp. 442, 443.] It is probable that these figures are somewhat loosely stated, as the number of prisoners is very nearly the whole which the Confederate authorities give as Morgan's total strength. [Footnote: A note attached to
Wheeler's return of the cavalry of his corps for July 31st says that Morgan's division was absent "on detached service," effectives 2743. Add to this the officers, etc., and the total "present for duty" would be a little over 3000. Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. ii. p. 941. For Bragg's circular explaining the term "effectives" as applying only to private soldiers actually in the line of battle, see _Id_., p. 619, and _ante_, p. 482.] Either a considerable reinforcement must have succeeded in getting to him across the river, or a very small body must have escaped through West Virginia. Burnside directed the officers to be sent to the military prison camp for officers on Johnson's Island in Sandusky Bay, and the private soldiers to go to Camp Chase at Columbus and Camp Morton at Indianapolis. Soon afterward, however, orders came from Washington that the officers should be confined in the Ohio penitentiary, in retaliation for unusual severities practised on our officers who were prisoners in the South. Morgan's romantic escape from the prison occurred just after I was relieved from the command of the district in the fall, for the purpose of joining the active army in East Tennessee.
A glance at the raid as a whole, shows that whilst it naturally attracted much attention and caused great excitement at the North, it was of very little military importance. It greatly scattered for a time and fatigued the men and horses of the Twenty-third Corps who took part in the chase. It cost Indiana and Ohio something in the plunder of country stores and farm-houses, and in the pay and expenses of large bodies of militia that were temporarily called into service. But this was all. North of the Ohio no military posts were captured, no public depots of supply were destroyed, not even an important railway bridge was burned. There was no fighting worthy of the name; the list of casualties on the National side showing only 19 killed, 47 wounded, and 8 missing in the whole campaign, from the 2d of July to the final surrender. [Footnote: Official Records, vol. xxlii. pt. i. p.637.] For this the whole Confederate division of cavalry was sacrificed. Its leader was never again trusted by his government, and his prestige was gone forever. His men made simply a race for life from the day they turned away from the militia at Vernon, Indiana. Morgan carefully avoided every fortified post and even the smaller towns. The places he visited after he crossed the Ohio line do not include the larger towns and villages that seemed to lie directly in his path. He avoided the railroads also, and these were used every day to convey the militia and other troops parallel to his route, to hedge him in and finally to stop him. His absence was mischievous to Bragg, who was retreating upon Chattanooga and to whom the division would have been a most welcome reinforcement. He did not delay Burnside, for the latter was awaiting the return of the Ninth Corps from Vicksburg, and this did not begin to arrive till long after the raid was over. None of the National army's communications were interrupted, and not a soldier under Rosecrans lost a ration by reason of the pretentious expedition. It ended in a scene that was ridiculous in the extreme. Morgan had pressed into his service as guides, on the last day of his flight, two men who were not even officers of the local militia, but who were acting as volunteer homeguards to protect their neighborhood. When he finally despaired of escape, he begged his captive guides to change their _role_ into commanders of an imaginary army and to accept his surrender upon merciful and favorable terms to the vanquished! He afterward claimed the right to immediate liberation on parole, under the conditions of this burlesque capitulation. Shackelford and his rough riders would accept no surrender but an unconditional one as prisoners of war, and were sustained in this by their superiors. The distance by the river between the crossing at Brandenburg and the ferry above Steubenville near which Morgan finally surrendered, was some six hundred miles. This added to the march from Tennessee through Kentucky would make the whole ride nearly a thousand miles long. Its importance, however, except as a subject for an entertaining story, was in an inverse ratio to its length. Its chief interest to the student of military history is in its bearing on the question of the rational use of cavalry in an army, and the wasteful folly of expeditions which have no definite and tangible military object. [Footnote: For Official Records and correspondence concerning the raid, see Burnside's report (Official Records, vol. xxiii. pt. i. pp.13, 14) and the miscellaneous documents (_Id_., pp.632-818).]