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Guerilla Chief, John Morgan

The North knew very little of the actual hardships of warfare; for, with the exception of Antietam in Maryland and Gettysburg in Pennsylvania, there had been no great battles on its soil. It is true that General Bragg, the hero of Buena Vista, had made a raid in Kentucky, but he had been driven by General Buell back into Tennessee. Besides, several other daring raids, mostly for plunder, had been made by John Morgan, a guerrilla chief. He had been with Bragg in Kentucky in 1862, and had even threatened the city of Cincinnati.

In 1863 this same Morgan raided Kentucky, and, crossing the Ohio, went into Indiana and Ohio, where he hoped that many men would join him. His quick movements and his fearlessness enabled him to do much damage and to get away again before any troops could be collected to crush him. During this expedition his men took horses, plundered mills and factories, and made the people pay large sums of money to save their buildings from being burned down.

The people were so exasperated by his invasion that they made a determined effort, and finally hemmed him in and made him a prisoner. He and six of his officers were locked up in the penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio, whence they managed to escape a few months later. Cleverly making their way through the enemy’s country, these men contrived to get back to their own people, and joined the Confederate army in Georgia.

Some very funny stories are told about this Morgan and his men, who often indulged in harmless frolics. When the people did not oppose them, they generally took only from the rich or well to do, leaving the poor alone, and sometimes even astonishing them by giving them some of the plunder.

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