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December 22, 1983     The Ponchatoula Times
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December 22, 1983
 

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John Hunt Morgan The Thunderbolt of the Confederacy ,,= \\; Bernard Vincent McM PART TWO Grant counterattacked but the weary Confederates were no match for the fresh Union troops. Beaure- gard ordered a retreat to Corinth. General Halleck ( Ole "Brains," "Wooden Head") crawled down to invest BeaIregard with his usual turtle speed. Morgan, bored, asked permission to invade Tennessee and harass Halleck's communication. Granted permission, he headed for middle Tennessee. Here is a descrip- tion of his impact on the citizens: "..when they moved into Tennessee rations, forage whisky and applejack were in abundance. There was much revel in the lovely spring. What more romantic, what more theatrical for the girls of Tennessee than to have these lads, just out of Shiloh fighting, come riding into town, the dusty fours wheeling at the bugle, dis- mounting, laughing, dancing, making divine love under the blossoms, with the vedettes (mounted sentry) in grim vigilance up the pike only lending another thrill. It was the time, as some one has pointed out, of the many Morganic alliances." On April 30, Lawrenceburg, in May a skirmish at Pulaski and finally, wear- ing Union uniforms they rode into Murfreesboro, to the cheers of the feder alist s. Now they let their guard down at the college town of Lebanon. Wol- ford, the Union colonel, charged in one rainy morning killed Whitlow the civilian who rode in ahead to warn Morgan. Boots and Saddles Morgan's men shooting from the college dormi- tories. Morgan rallied A Company and made his way with a hundred to the Rome-Carthage road and began his retreat. He had only 20 men when he reached Sparta. No West Point edu- cation, said his critics. No pickets, no vedettes; tell it to West Pointer William Tecumseh Sherman. The difference: Sherman learned his bitter lesson at Shiolth and nightly toured his outposts. Morgan, a Southern genteleman, could not be bat her ed. Moving into Kentucky looking for his prisoners they intercepted a train at cave city and found the prisoners were sent out by steamer but they looted $8,000 yankee dollars and dined at the Cave City hotel. Feeling good he returned a captured Union officer tohis wife, take the train he said to the captured Union ladies "l don't make war on women and ville, Chattanooga and back to Corinth. Morgan had a bad habit of going off alone leaving his command A Kat Cummings wrote a journal of hospital life and has this entry of May 28 at Okolona: "Learning that John Morga n was topass I could not resist the temptation of seeing so great a lion; for he is one of the greatest of the age. I was introduced to him by Miss Jarbor...l statedthat I hoped to hear much of him and the good that he would do our cause. He replied he wished he might hear of himself 20 years hence, l answered that if prayer would save him he would be preserved. He is extremely modest. I paid him one or two compliments and he blushed like a school boy." June 1862, Knoxville, where St. Leger Grenfell, an English soldier of fortune, was drilling his command in French cavalry techniques. He was to Morgan as Steuben was to Wash- ington. Now the roof caved in on June 20 Gen. Braxton Bragg suc- ceeded the easy-going Creole Beau- regard. Morgan noved out to Sparta, Tenn. Where they received the news, to their chagrin, that Stuarl had just rode around McCel- fan's army. They missed the fun! Here at Sparta a volunteer came, a professional killer, an ignorant hill- billy with a brother in the Union Army names Champe Ferguson, a blot on Morgan's record. In 1865 the Yanks finally caught and executed him. About to be hung, he blamed his ferocity on the murder of one of his children by a Union soldier. The diarest from Richmond Jones relates that on July 7, 1862 Morgan reached the Cumberland fords at Celina and captured the federal garrison at Tompkinsville. There the fools threw away new federal breech- loading rifles as useless. From there to Glasgow where the ladies of the town served them pot luck dinner. No enters "Lightening" Ellisworth the telegraph operator who tapped Union wires, anticipating the future computer generation who would tap the Pentagon. July 11 Morgan was halfway across Kentucky. Now Cincinnati was thrown into an uproar. Morgan was at the gates. On July 13 a battalion of polLce and firemen were rushed to Lexington. Grenfell had out riders, flankers on both sides and a rear guard, from Lebanon to Springfield to Harrods- burg, where on Sunday morning the ladies served them breakfast. Lin- coln to Halleck: "They are having a r .... Ao ;n I4 'ntuckv. Please look to Morgan it ." Calvin Morgan, General Morgan's brother, was in Cincinnati with a pass from Union Brigadier General Boyle; purpose: to confer with Copper heads. Now they showed up at Lawrence- burg, then to Frankfort, and east to Versailles, wheTe they turned to Georgetown, from ther northeast to Cynthiana after a bloody skirmish, south to Paris, leaving dead and wounded at Cynthiana. From paris on the nineteenth, south to Win- chester and on the twentieth reached Richmond, Ky., halting at Livin- ston, Tenn. and finally to Knoxville for repairs. On August 12, 1862 Morgan hit Clatin, capturing the garrison. Next they rode into Lex- ington where Morgan visited his mot her. Morgan's command marched to Sparta, Tenn., where he left to report to Kirby Smith at Knoxville. ]t was a report of which he was proud: he had left Knoxville with fewer than nine hundred men and returned with twelve hundred; marching more than a thousand miles, he had captured seventeen towns, destroyed millions of dollars worth of federal stores, dispersed (according to his estimate) fifteen hundred home guards and paroled nearly twelve hundred regular union troops: his own losses, in killed and wounded, numbered no more than ninety. From Kirby Smith, Morgan earned that plans for an invasion of ;entucky were under way - plans nspired in no small part by Morgan's aid through the state. On September 2, 1862 Morgan oined up with General Kirby Smith it Lexington, a city abandoned by he federals, leaving large army ;tares for Smith's army. Bragg narched on Bardstown instead of .ouisville, allowing Union General 3uell to mass his army at Louisville ,nd march on Bardstown on October ), 1862. The two armies collided at )erryville with the Union Army brown back but the Confederate ,rmy suffering high casualties it ould ill afford. Morgan asked per- nission for another raid into Ken- ucky. Kirby Smith gave the order nd then rescinded it. Morgan, dis- beying orders, went anyway. His raiders captured and burned upply trains, tore up railroads all the way to Tennessee. Uniting with Forrest they tried to capture Nash- ville but were driven off. Now Morgan found himself surrounded by the Union Army. Escaping, he joined Bragg on Nov. 20, 1862. At Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Bragg now appointed Joe Wheeler over all Western Confederate Cavalry and as a sop to Forrest and Morgan made them generals. Wheeler was at twenty-six a graduate of West Point. The reason behind this order was to bring the irregular cavalry in line. And one of the causes for this order was a bloody bushwhacker names Charles Quantrell who with the Younger brothers plus Jessie and thirsty brutality unheard at in war until Adolph Hitler. It is down in offi- cial records and their own memoirs. Quantrell claimed he received Jeffer- son Davis' permission in Richmond to form his band. Quantrell was killed in Kentucky but his legend, embellished by Hollywood movies and fiction writers, goes on. Quantrell succeeded in besmirching the reputations of Bedford Forrest and Morgan. So bad was the situa- tion that General Bragg sent staff officers under flag into Union General Roscrans camp to deny that his cavalry was operating similar to Quantrell. On Dec. 7, 1862 Morgan in a daring raid captured the garrison at Harts- ville, Tennessee. He netted over eighteen hundred prisoners with four hundred Union casualties, losing by his estimate 125 men, many of whom were officers. Jefferson Davis was inaugurated for second term and now desertions wept through the Confederate Army. Lack of pay and mail were the two chief factors. Johnston's army retreated to Murfreesboro where 37-year-old widower Morgan met 21-year-old Miss Martha Ready, called "Mattie" by her family and friends. This turned to be a disastrous encounter for the great raider. After being married by General Polk and witnessed by all the western gen- erals, our hero said everyone who knew him lost his nerve, just as he was promoted to general. Here is a description of her by Virginia-Clay Copton, in her book "A Belle of the Fifties:" "Martha Ready was pleasing to the eye. Of medium height, with dark bro_wn hair, gray eves, and a fair Frank James wrote a record of blood- complexion, she was one of the daughters of Charles Murfreesboro, a member from the fourth Tennessee from 1853 to 1860. She was father's companion in and a favorite in the gay the nation's capital. Mrs. ton remembered her as the in Washington to wear a her forehead--a coquettish coiffure soon imitated by others." Worse still, she twenty-one, the Confederate noting her devastating it General Morgan, called Fair Delilah," with biblical sons to Samson. What the purpose of invasion of Kentucky was is dispute. In the western historical society there is a known as The Maule Papers manuscript statement of Longuemare, who says that Fall 1862 he went to laid before Jefferson Davis the line of what was to be The Northwest Conspiracy, general plan for a rising 0 Copperhead secret societies, overthrow of civil governmentS' freeing of Confederate burning of Chicago, all to be plished with the assistance Morgan's cavalry...Lon that Davis jumped to his feet quick nervous motion that was liar to him, and began and down the room: 'It is a plan,' he said. 'In the West men, in the East only You show me that this engineered and led by good want military men that are nected with West Point. GiVe some, even if only one or two, will then have confidence in (Swiggett p. 95). END PART TWO AUBRY'S AUTO 386-6650 Reasonable Prices REPAIR . Machine Shop . Brake Repair . Tune Ups . Engines Rebuilt Hu00. 22, Ponchatoula (2 miles east of Ponchatoulal As A Subscriber You can get The Ponchatoula Times delivered to your mailbox every Thursday and Save ! $$$ Ttle Ponchatoula Times Established October I, 1981 Bryan T McMahon, Editor & Publisher Second Class Postage Permit No. 666730 at Ponchatoula, Louisiana 70454 Terry Ann McMahon, Office Manager Terrence McMahon, Feature Editor Advertising Account Executive Published Thursday of every week at 410 South Second St., Ponchatoula, Ea. 70454 ........................................................ Subscriptions are $11 in Louisiana, $13 anywhere in the U.S.A. Phone 386-2877 Address correspondence and changes of address orders to P.). 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