—July 3, 1863 —
John Hunt Morgan entered Kentucky July 2 with about 2,500 men who swan the rain swollen Cumberland River - many naked, not to be encumbered with soggy clothes. The rebel yell of the on-coming nude men took the Union scouts by surprise.
Columbia was on a Union defense line stretching from London to Bowling Green. Only July 3, 1863, about 150 men of the 1st Kentucky Cavalry and portions of the 2nd and 45th Ohio Volunteer Infantry were in Columbia. The thin Union line was no match for Morgan's Cavalry.
A Columbia resident observing the shooting and horsemen galloping down the street later recalled.
"I ran to the window, and looking out I saw a Union soldier going down the road at full speed, his head and body bent low on the side of his horse, a few feet behind him were four or five men in gray in hot pursuit, shooting as rapidly as they could with pistols... I expected at every fire to see him fall from his horse, but in less time than I have taken to tell it, they were over the hill in the direction of town and out of sight... in a few moments I saw Union soldiers cautiously making their way over the brow of the hill from the direction of town. I could see Federal and Confederate soldiers, but they could not see each other. Soon skirmish fire opened up from both sides. The Federals were evidently deceived as
to the force with which they were contending. I could see there were indications of quite an army over the hill."
"Balls whizzed in both directions. Then I heard a yell - the like of which I had never heard - the Confederate war cry when advancing to battle, and I saw the line of soldiers as they dashed over the brow of the hill."
Confederate casualties were 2 killed and 2 wounded. Union losses were the same.
Judge Hershel Clay Baker (1841 - 1934)
As a young man Baker witnessed Morgan Raiders as they came through Columbia at the beginning of the famous Great Raid. he wrote of this in his memoirs for the Adair County News in 1898.
Gen. Henry M. Judah
Gen. Judah previously ordered Gen. Edward H. Hobson's main force out of Columbia to Marrowbone. This opened for Morgan a route into Kentucky and beyond.