—July 5, 1863 —
On the morning of July 5, 1863, Springfield awoke to the roar of cannon fire coming from Lebanon. That afternoon John Hunt Morgan's column reached Springfield with over 300 Federal prisoners in tow.
Young Will McChord, then eleven, described the events of that day 60 years later in his memoirs, "we knew that Morgan and his men were coming to Springfield. Rumors were flying on every side and Main Street was in the wildest confusion. I was seized with an uncontrollable desire to see Morgan and his men. I went to Cross Street where I could see up the pike towards Lebanon. Morgan's Calvary was coming down the hill into Springfield. My mind was made up; not to run away from the rebels but to run toward them - regardless of the consequences. I drew myself up to my full height and gave the leader (Col. Basil Duke) a military salute. With all the grace of a valiant knight he returned my salute and extended his hand, which I eagerly grasped."
Accompanying Col. Duke was Maj. William J. Davis from South Carolina. After paroling the prisoners at the Courthouse, Davis was invited to the residence of Cleland Cunningham for refreshments and entertainment. Here, Davis met his host's two charming daughters, "Miss Frank" and "Miss Belle." It seems to have been a case of love at first sight between the Major and "Miss Frank," and before
the enamored officer left Springfield he submitted a "proposition" to the lady to carry her "off to Columbia, S. C. before or after the war."
Upon leaving Springfield, Morgan instructed Davis' forces to create a diversion, hoping to cover his crossing of the Ohio River at Brandenburg. While attempting to do so, Davis and his men encountered Union troops and Davis was captured. During his fifteen-month incarceration Davis wrote many letters to "Miss Frank." The courtship of Major Davis and Miss Frances Cunningham culminated in their marriage on December 16, 1866.
William C. McChord
When Morgan's men came through Springfield, McChord ran with the exuberance of your down Main Street to greet the Confederates.
The Courthouse in Springfield
Morgan, enraged over the death of his brother Tom an Lebanon, forced over 300 Union prisoners to march "at the double quick" that is, to run, the ten miles from Lebanon to Springfield in the July heat.