“The Greatest Excitement That I Ever Seen”
—John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail —
Around 3 am on July 14, 1863, more than 2,000 grimy
hard-looking, heavily armed cavalrymen, most without uniforms
plodded toward Main Street from the west. Confederate Brigadier
General John Hunt Morgan's Raiders had arrived.
Many of the soldiers fell out of their saddles to search for
refreshments and new horses. David Hulse, a local farmer
described the scene in a letter he wrote five days later to
Every inhabitant was immediately aroused but to find the Enemy in their midst...allready in their stables, Stores, and kitchens. Owners hurried, only to their discomfort to be compelled to bridle their own horses for the Enemy, and hand out ready made clothing, tobacco, sugar, Coffee, & c ... Women were compelled to bring forth all of their cooked provisions. They were about four hours passing through.
Seven hours later, the pursuing Union cavalry came to town
They were "equally as hungry" as Morgan's men, Hulse recalled
but they "had the disadvantage by following in the rear.
They pressed many horses, but in this, they had a fearfull
disadvantage, as the choice horses ware gone, they had to even
take some which the Enemy had left ... The Morgan raid created
the greatest excitement that I ever seen."
Morgan and the "Copperhead"
Morgan and his staff
visited the Twelve Mile House,
a tavern kept by a southern sympathizer, often known
as a "Copperhead," Christopher Myer. Myer honored
his guests with a good bottle of brandy. Before leaving,
the officers paid Myer $200 in U.S. greenbacks,
but confiscated his horse and four boxes of cigars.
Later, it was reported "no one so heartily abused
Morgan — after he was gone — as Myer."
Top left: Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan and his brigade commanders, Colonel Basil Duke and Colonel Adam Johnson, met at the Twelve Mile House (Sharon Hotel) to plan their march to Montgomery.
Top right: Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan,
"Thunderbolt of the Confederacy"
Text: David L. Mowery
Illustrations: Bev Kirk