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"You have more work cut out for you than you bargained for!" The Unique Battle of Hartsville

The Battle of Hartsville, fought on December 7, 1862, may be one of the most interesting battles that I have ever stumbled upon. Two infantry regiments participating on a raid led by the Thunderbolt of the Confederacy is definitely something worth looking into, especially when it so heavily involves Kentuckians. With something as fascinating as this, I could not pass up diving into it even more.

"Thunderbolt" by John Paul Strain depicts Morgan and Duke moving toward Hartsville.
"Thunderbolt" by John Paul Strain depicts Morgan and Duke moving toward Hartsville.

In December 1862, the Union Army of the Cumberland (Officially the Army was the XIV Corps and had not yet taken the Cumberland name) under newly appointed General William Rosecrans prepared to march out of Nashville to begin its offensive against Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee (also given a new name). With Rosecrans' army numbering more than 40,000 men a strong supply line was necessary. To combat the inconvenient results of the multiple Confederate raids in Kentucky and Tennessee the previous summer and fall, former Army of the Ohio commander General Don Carlos Buell had actually done Rosecrans a favor before he took command. He designed a series of defenses along his supply lines, including blockhouses at important bridges, defenses on the rail lines, and new cavalry regiments to patrol against raiding Confederates. By December more than 10,000 men guarded the Louisville-Nashville Railroad in Tennessee and Louisville.

For additional security, a brigade consisting of the 104th Illinois Infantry, 106th Ohio Infantry, and 108th Ohio Infantry was ordered to Hartsville, Tennessee on the Cumberland River northeast of Nashville. The brigade was joined by a section of the 13th Indiana Light Artillery, commanded by Captain Benjamin Nicklin, and the 2nd Indiana Cavalry with portions of the 11th Kentucky Cavalry. The garrison was roughly 2,400 men with Colonel Absalom Moore as the ranking officer.

Colonel Absalom Moore, via Find a Grave.
Colonel Absalom Moore, via Find a Grave.

The Federals encamped north of the Cumberland River and placed strong picket lines and outposts along the river bank. The Federal cavalry conducted strong daily patrols including to the town of Lebanon, over twenty miles south of Hartsville. Other Union brigades were positioned within supporting distance several miles away, with the garrison at Castalian Springs being the closest. [1]

While the Union army moved its pieces around and prepared to march south to give battle to the Army of Tennessee, the Kentucky Orphan Brigade under the command of Colonel Roger Hanson made peculiar moves east of Nashville. This was partly for reconnaissance and partly diversionary for any cavalry operations used to thwart Rosecrans. On December 5th, Hanson marched his brigade as ordered to Baird's Mill, about two thirds of the way north from Murfreesboro to Lebanon, where he remained for two days. Here, Colonel John H. Morgan with part of his command joined Hanson. It was while he was at Baird's Mill that Morgan was informed by his scouts of the isolated nature of the Harstville Garrison, and that it was manned by only 1,500 men. Morgan immediately left for General Bragg's headquarters at Murfreesboro to obtain permission for an attack.[2]

Kentucky Orphan Brigade commander, Roger Hanson. Library of Congress.
Kentucky Orphan Brigade commander, Roger Hanson. Library of Congress.

After informing Bragg of the reports that the Hartsville garrison had less than 1,500 men, Morgan received permission for his plan to strike and eliminate the Federal force at Hartsville. To bolster his own force, Morgan borrowed two regiments from Hanson’s brigade. Morgan chose the 2nd and 9th (Formerly the 5th) Kentucky Infantry regiments. Morgan was given Cobb’s Battery of artillery for the operation as well. With the addition of these forces, Morgan’s command now exceeded 2,100 men. When his column rode and marched north toward Hartsville, it contained the 7th, 8th, and 11th Kentucky Cavalry regiments, the 9th Tennessee Cavalry, and Stoner's and Corbett's Kentucky Batteries of artillery. The aforementioned infantry regiments were placed under the command of Colonel Thomas Hunt, Morgan's uncle, while the cavalry regiments were under the command of his brother-in-law, Basil Duke. [3]

On December 6th in Hartsville, Colonel Moore believed he was in need of more supplies and organized a detail of 200 men, mostly infantry, to be sent west to Gallatin to fill his supply wagons. Thus, his force was depleted by another 200 men. Clearly in the upcoming fight, these 200 men would be sorely missed. Moore had zero knowledge of Morgan's movements, nor did he have any indication that an attack was forthcoming. In what could be considered bad luck, he had actually sent a cavalry patrol as far south as Lebanon on the morning of the 6th. The troopers did not find any trace of Confederate activity and departed, just hours before Morgan's lead column entered the town. With the appearance of little to no Confederate activity south of Hartsville and his camp, and the addition of a swollen Cumberland River, Moore made little effort to secure his garrison from any surprise attack in that direction. [4]

John Hunt Morgan, Library of Congress.
John H. Morgan, Library of Congress.

The cold, rainy weather surely made the march miserable for the advancing Confederates as they had yet to be told of their destination. Upon reaching Lebanon, the men were informed that Hartsville was their target, which lifted their spirits. For the men of the 2nd Kentucky, this was their first chance to get at the enemy since their capture at Fort Donelson in February. One correspondent noted that "they bore their colors, already covered with records of glory gained on hard-fought fields, one more towards the enemy." Colonel Hunt reported that while at Lebanon, his men were given horses to ride for the remaining five or six miles to the Cumberland River crossing. Some of the infantry also shared mounts with the cavalrymen, as Colonel Harlan, 10th Kentucky (US), reported seeing many cavalrymen with another man behind them on their horses after the battle. [5]

Morgan planned for his men to cross the Cumberland at two different locations at about 10:00 that evening. Hunt describes the two boats used at his crossing as "in miserable condition, but, by constant bailing, they were kept afloat, and by 5 o’clock in the morning the command was safely over." There was still another five miles to the Union camp at Hartsville. The river crossing took a considerable amount of time, and threatened the success of the entire operation.[6]

By the time his men crossed the river, Morgan must have realized that any chance of attacking the camp before dawn was gone. The cavalry and the infantry would have to hit the Federal garrison in daylight. Not only that, Basil Duke was forced to leave several hundred of his cavalry behind on the south side of his crossing location in order to get what cavalry he could to Morgan in time for the attack. The rest were told to catch up as quickly as possible. With that, Morgan's force now numbered less than 1,500, possibly as low as 1,300. To further complicate matters, Morgan was now able to see, by the sheer number of campfires, that the Hartsville garrison was much larger than originally reported. Duke told Morgan, "You have more work cut out for you than you bargained for!" Duke's remark was true. If the fight took too long, then not only would he have to deal with the Federals immediately in his front, but also the thousands of additional Federal soldiers within a marching distance of mere hours. Not to be dismayed, Morgan is reported to have replied, "You and your gentlemen must whip and catch these fellows, and cross the river in two hours and a half, or we'll have six thousand more on our backs."[7]

The Confederates proceeded with the plan. Colonel Bennett and his local 9th Tennessee Cavalry rode for Hartsville to cut off any retreat the Federals might use through the town. The rest of Morgan's men moved into position and began capturing the Federal pickets. The Union watch was either not paying attention, or the rumor was true that the Confederates moved in with Union uniforms as Colonel Moore reported. He later wrote, "The advance guard of the rebels were dressed in the Federal uniform, and succeeded in deceiving my vedettes and capturing them without firing a gun. The enemy then pushed on with their entire force toward our camp." Whatever the case, the attackers penetrated to within a half mile of the encampment before they were finally challenged. [8]

The morning air was pierced by the cry, "Fall in; they are coming!" It was clear that the camp was now under attack, and Moore attempted to get his brigade and artillery into some sort of defensive posture while the main Confederate thrust approached. It was now impossible to take the Federal camp by surprise as Morgan had hoped. [9]

After moving at the double quick for the last mile of the march, the gray-clad Kentuckians formed a line of attack and moved forward "as if they were going on a frolic." Cobb's Battery posted on the right of the line was supported by the Shiloh veterans of the 9th Kentucky, while the 2nd Kentucky, eager for a chance to get back at the enemy after Fort Donelson, formed immediately to their left. The troopers of Cluke's 8th Kentucky and Chenault's 11th Kentucky dismounted to extend the line further to the left. According to one report, the guns of Cobb's Battery opened the fray. [10]

John M. Harlan, Library of Congress.
John M. Harlan, Library of Congress.

Nine miles away at Castalian Springs, Colonel John M. Harlan, commanding the Federal brigade stationed there, heard the crescendo of musketry coming from the direction of Moore's camp. In his report, Harlan writes that he, "dispatched a courier to Hartsville, to ascertain the cause of the firing. At the same time I dispatched another courier in the same direction, with orders to proceed rapidly up the road, and if he heard musketry, or could learn any facts which indicated that a fight was probably going on at Hartsville, to return with all possible speed to my camp and report. Simultaneously with this, I directed each regiment of my brigade to be in readiness to march at a moment’s notice." He formed his entire brigade, and immediately marched toward Hartsville with the 10th Kentucky, 74th Indiana, and four guns from Southwick's Battery. The remainder of the brigade remained in readiness to march to their support and to safeguard their own camp. A second brigade commanded by Colonel John F. Miller led the march with Harlan in overall command. [11]

Back at Hartsville, Moore promptly formed his brigade and recalled that his line consisted, from right to left, of the 108th Ohio, 104th Illinois, the 106th Ohio, and the two detachments of cavalry on each flank, "a line of battle in beautiful order, stretched to a formidable length along the crest of a hill." The two guns of Nicklin's Battery were posted between the 104th Illinois and the 106th Ohio. Once formed, the Federals advanced on their attackers. Moore relates that this was done to prevent Morgan from being able to properly deploy his regiments. However, the Confederate cavalry continued to move with, according to Moore, the Kentucky infantry behind, also mounted. The 8th and 11th Kentucky Cavalry regiments, which Duke ordered to dismount, proceeded to push forward as skirmishers. These two green regiments pressed into the Yankee infantry with jubilant shouts, answered by "feeble cheers," and drove in the Federal skirmishers of the 104th Illinois. [12]

As the lines converged, and the fight became general, Duke ordered the left flank regiment, the 11th Kentucky, to oblique toward the Union right flank so as to force it to turn. Morgan claims that this advance forced the Federal right to refuse toward the center, which Duke then halted to wait for the infantry to launch their attack on the Union center and left. Due to the 9th Kentucky's position directly behind Cobb's Battery, the 2nd Kentucky advanced alone, "in a handsome manner," and received a devastating fire,which began their "hot work." [13]

As the Confederates advanced, the galling Federal fire caused their lines to slightly waver, and Moore believed he could "cut" his way through with a charge. The slight waver was due to an order to halt and dress the 2nd Kentucky's line when they were only 50 yards short of the Illinoisans' position. Company level officers quickly recognized the mistake of such an order and immediately countermanded it and got the men moving forward once again. Captain Joyce of the 2nd Kentucky seized the colors of the regiment and shouted for the men to follow him. It was during this unfortunate mishap that the regiment sustained most of its casualties. [14]

As he gave the order to charge, Moore claimed that his flank suddenly disintegrated, the 106th Ohio fleeing in confusion for the rear, though sources within the 104th Illinois maintain it was the 108th Ohio that fled first. That source claims that the 106th "fought gallantly." Moore abruptly cancelled the charge and recalled that the 108th Ohio fought only a little while longer, as they now received fire into their open right flank. His own regiment, the 104th Illinois, continued to fight and contested the ground as their comrades fled in disorder. Seeing his line completely fall apart in front of him, Moore ordered the brigade to reform on the artillery pieces in the rear, with the Illinoisans contesting every inch of ground. At least that was one version of the story. A chaplain traveling with the regiment after the battle recorded that, "The fire became so hot that an order was at length given to fall back. Until then not a man of the 104th flinched. Every officer and man stood up bravely to the work and fought most effectively. But the order to fall back, which under the circumstances was doubtless a military necessity, threw our men into considerable confusion from which they never recovered." This version of events was vigorously contested by the Ohio officers, though Captain John Wadleigh of the 104th Illinois gives us what is perhaps a clearer understanding of the events, when combined with the reports of Lieutenant Colonel Gustavus Tafel (106th Ohio) and Captain Carlo Piepho (108th Ohio). Wadleigh mentions that both Ohio regiments simply "gave way," first on the left, and then on the right. [15]

Lieutenant Colonel Tafel, future mayor of Cincinnati and commander of the 106th Ohio (4th German), bitterly complained of the treatment his regiment received in the report of Colonel Moore. In his later report, Tafel wrote, "I cannot help noticing the scandalous and entirely unfounded reports which got into the papers, I would respectfully ask you to cause a strict investigation of the facts to be made." According to Tafel and other officers, Moore's statement is not at all what occurred. [16]

Gustav Tafel, Find a Grave.
Gustav Tafel, Find a Grave.

Tafel recalled that his Germans were originally placed on the left of the line, supporting a section of Nicklin's artillery. Once in line, the engagement became general as the skirmishers in front of the Federal line had mostly fallen back. Noticing a "bald hill, commanding both positions," near the right of the brigade, Tafel brought the matter to Colonel Moore. He reported that Moore agreed with his assessment that the hill should be occupied, and ordered the 106th Ohio to seize that particular piece of high ground. The Germans, having only fired a quick volley, redeployed at the quick step and moved behind the 104th Illinois in the center, and squeezed into line to the left of the 108th Ohio, which had already occupied a portion of the hill. This movement is most likely the "flight" reported by Moore, when the regiment was actually taking up a new position.[17]

Meanwhile, the Kentucky cavalrymen continued their quest of attempting to turn the Federal right flank. Their lines continue to stretch north and east, forcing the 108th Ohio to change front and concede some ground. Hardly a skedaddle as referenced by Moore. The 106th and a gun from Niklin's Battery continued pour fire into the dismounted cavalry of the 8th Kentucky and the advancing infantry of the 2nd Kentucky. One round struck a caisson of Cobb's Battery, then firing on the Union line (Though one Union officer mentions that these were mostly falling over their lines), blowing up the caisson and killing a number of horses and men in the process. One witness remembered that the explosion "scattered men and horses with a horrible noise that hushed the din of battle." [18]

Tafel asserts that it was near this moment, while his men were holding their ground, that Colonel Moore ordered a retreat further of the ridge to the new position taken by the artillery, near the camps. This was done with some difficulty. The 11th Kentucky continued to badger the Union right, so Tafel pulled his regiment out of line to meet that continuing threat by using the wagons of the 108th Ohio as defenses. He reported, "The train of the 108th Regiment afforded me a fine opportunity to check the enemy's advance on our right flank, and there they were punished severely." Though redeploying his command yet again, Tafel managed to stymie one threat but he opened a gaping hole in the Union center. [19]

Moore's 104th Illinois continued to battle the Confederate onslaught, as the two Confederate infantry regiments now focused their attack on the lone Illinois regiment, drawn up in "tall grass behind a covering of logs." They appear to have held for about thirty minutes, possibly less. The Kentuckians struggled up the steep incline, and the withering fire of the Illinoisans forced them to temporarily halt the attack and reform. Lieutenant Charlie Thomas of the 2nd Kentucky was wounded with a bullet to the chest, "the blood spurting from the wound," while his messmate, Lieutenant Rogers, was killed just near him. Sergeant Thomas Maddox was also killed, when "one ball entered his arm, another his breast, and a third his mouth, which being partly opened did not in the least disfigure his face." While the 2nd stalled the 9th Kentucky moved forward to support its sister regiment, and for the first time in their collective history, the 2nd and 9th Kentucky regiments moved forward together. The Kentuckians, "their bayonets flashing, surged forward, emitting the terrible Rebel Yell." [20]

The renewed Orphan assault succeeded in clearing the 104th from its position, just as Colonel Moore allegedly ordered the retreat, but not before the Kentuckians managed to pour upon the Illinoisans "an unceasing shower of bullets." Once the Union lines disintegrated the individual regiments and companies appear to have been on their own. Some men of the 104th Illinois fled for the river bank, while the majority fled back to the camps. Here Moore surrendered the guns along with the 104th Illinois, while the Ohio commands surrendered on their own. One Illinois company which was posted on the other side of the camp, and never formed with the rest of the regiment, continued to fight after the main force surrendered, inflicting 12 casualties on the Confederate cavalry. [21]

Which particular regiment actually surrendered first was also strongly debated between the regiments. The Ohioans claimed that Moore surrendered well before they did, as the continued to battle the Confederate cavalry near what used to be the northern flank of the Union line. One Illinois source indicates that the Ohioans fought independently after falling back, so it is possible that neither side truly knew what the other regiments were doing and when they actually surrendered. Tafel reported that when the Union camps were captured by the Kentuckians, his position became untenable and he fell back toward brigade headquarters. He wrote, "at that time Colonel Moore had already surrendered the battery and that part of the brigade which had rallied on the hill back of the camps." Tafel and his men that continued to fight were surrounded by mounted soldiers wearing "United States uniforms, waving their hats and telling us to surrender like the rest." Tafel urged his men not to heed the Rebel demands as reinforcements were surely on the way. However, it became apparent that hopes of victory were dashed and continued resistance was futile. The Germans surrendered. Tafel remarked that a few lucky soldiers managed to escape, along with the regimental colors after "tearing them off the staffs and hiding them on their persons." Captain Piepho reported that his regiment held their line for an hour, which seems a bit long, but that he was still resisting the Confederate cavalry when the Federal camps fell into Rebel possession, and "the commander of the brigade waved a white handkerchief and surrendered." Piepho remarked that this happened before he knew anything about it. The 108th continued to resist, but the Confederate trap was closing shut. Cavalry thundered down the Hartsville Road, sealing any real chance of escape. After two demands to surrender his men, Piepho finally relented. [22]

The Confederates compiled an impressive list of trophies from their stunning victory. Corporal Wheelan of Company K in the 2nd Kentucky, made off with Colonel Moore's commission. John Blazer, a soldier in the 9th Kentucky, captured the flag belonging to Nicklin's battery. The Athens Post described the flag as "a beautiful piece of silk bunting, with the letter B upon it." The 9th Kentucky received the credit for taking the 104th Illinois's banner, while the 2nd Kentucky left the field with the flag of the 106th Ohio. Of a more practical nature, the Kentuckians returned to Murfreesboro with two additional cannons, five wagon loads of guns, and 40 wagons consisting of quartermaster and sutler goods. [23]

Though Moore's brigade was eliminated, the raid was far from over. Harlan's two Union brigades were on the move and within striking distance. Morgan, knowing that enemy reinforcements were quickly approaching believed his position "was a most perilous one." When Miller's lead regiment was within three miles of the fight, Harlan moved the front and assumed command. When they were within 1.5 miles of Hartsville, Miller's brigade deployed into line of battle and rapidly advanced toward the dense smoke emanating from Moore's camp. Some of the Union cavalry arrived within 400 yards of the last of the Confederates crossing the river with captured wagons and immediately fired. The Southerners abandoned the wagons and horses and fled. Harlan also arrived in Moore's camp, and spied Morgan's men across the river, with many riders having an extra man on the horse. He deemed it impracticable to pursue as he did not know Morgan's strength, and crossing the river and ascending the high bluffs could prove disastrous. [24]

Basil Duke, Find a Grave.
Basil Duke, Find a Grave.

Morgan boasted that as his men rode south, "Three Federal regimental standards and five cavalry guidons fluttered over my brave column on their return from this expedition. With such troops, victory is enchained to our banners." Even Braxton Bragg was impressed by the impressive victory. "To Brigadier General Morgan and to Colonel Hunt the general tenders his thanks, and assures them of the admiration of his army. To the other brave officers and men composing the expedition the general tenders his cordial thanks and congratulations. He is proud of them, and hails the success achieved by their valor as but the precursor of still greater victories. Each corps engaged in the action will in the future bear upon its colors the name of the memorable field." [25]

Now that Moore's camp was back in Federal hands, Harlan deemed it necessary to salvage as much Federal property as he could. 25 wagons were loaded with the weapons and supplies that the Confederates left behind. He also allowed his men to switch their muskets with those left behind by the captured men of Moore's brigade. Many of the cartridge boxes recovered were only missing about six rounds of ammunition with many of the muskets loaded and capped. A detail from his brigade buried 55 Union soldiers on the field and found over 100 wounded. The detail also buried 15 Confederates. Morgan's men left behind any wounded that could not be removed south of the river, which Harlan captured and paroled. [25]

Moore placed the blame squarely on the German 106th Ohio, yet Tafel's report contradicts nearly every claim made by Moore. Just which officer was telling the truth is difficult to say, as even some neutral officers seem to unknowingly acknowledge different aspects of each officer's version of events. Harlan believed that had he been given any indication of Confederate movements, or if Moore's brigade had held out just a little longer, the situation at Hartsville would have been completely different. Though Harlan did not explicitly blame Moore for the debacle, he did hint that avoidable mistakes were made. "I do not deem it my duty to express. . .any opinion which I may have in regard to the causes which led to the unfortunate disaster at Hartsville. That opinion might do injustice to the officers and men, whose conduct may be the subject of inquiry before a proper tribunal," he wrote. [26]

General Rosecrans, stunned by the news of the loss of an entire brigade sent a message to General George Thomas. He asked:

"Do I understand that they have captured an entire brigade of our troops without our knowing it, or a good fight?



P. S.—Answer quick." [27]

Thomas responded that the attack on the garrison resulted in its capture, and believed that the Ohio regiments "behaved badly." Rosecrans again asked, "It seems to me impossible that the entire brigade could have surrendered. Are there none left?" [28]

The loss of Moore's force not only bewildered Rosecrans, but those in Washington as well. They wanted names, especially General Halleck and President Lincoln. Rosecrans attempted to explain the situation and debacle at Hartsville by blaming the mess on a lack of adequate cavalry. He explained:

"In reply to your telegram, inquiring why the brigade was stationed at Hartsville, I respectfully state that it was necessary to cover the crossing of the Cumberland River against rebel cavalry, who would essay to attack our road and capture our trains. We have, for all our immense line of front communications, picket, and couriers, less than 4,000 cavalry, and the enemy not less than 10,000, who are much relieved by guerrilla scouts, and can concentrate for mischief with almost perfect secrecy and impunity. The subjoined copy of General Thomas’ report shows that it was a pretty full brigade, posted strongly, with a cavalry regiment for picket duty on the north side of the river, in a commanding position; that it was strongly supported within 9 miles, and, but for being surprised and making feeble resistance, it would have been succored, and the enemy badly whipped. That outpost was stronger and better supported than our outpost at Rienzi, 7 miles below Corinth, last summer. The difference was in the superiority and number of rebel cavalry."

Not satisfied with the answer, Halleck responded:

"The most important of the President’s inquiries has not been answered. What officer or officers are chargeable with the surprise at Hartsville and deserve punishment?" Halleck, and many in Washington, wanted heads to roll for the loss of an entire brigade. [29]

Rosecrans eventually relented and laid the blame at the feet of Moore. He wrote, "from the evidence given, the disaster seems to be attributable mainly to his ignorance or negligence." The failure to adequately prepare defensive works and detect a force the size of Morgan's, clearly kept Moore from having a believable defense for himself. On February 13, 1863, Moore was officially dismissed from the service of the United States. Apparently the dismissal did not need to take effect due to Moore's own resignation. [30]

The press raked Moore for his negligence and humiliating loss. The Louisville Courier Journal remarked that "Had the commonest precaution been taken...these men...might have sent back their standards to be inscribed with their virgin victory." In a later article, the paper seethed, "Col. Moore, the Hartsville poltroon, should have the word Hartsville branded upon his forehead, his back, the palms of his hands--and his nightcaps." Apparently, some ladies of Louisville took offense at attributing nightcaps to Moore's command. One lady argued, "She insists the proposition is a disgrace to her sex, as the same number of patriotic women would have captured the entire forces of Morgan. We don't doubt but the lady is correct." [31]

After the wildly successful raid, Morgan's stock only increased. He received a promotion to brigadier general, received the thanks of the Confederate Congress, and married his sweetheart a week later. On December 22nd, he began his "Christmas Raid" with more than 4,000 men. This raid arguably was Morgan's most successful incursion into Kentucky, though the raid deprived the Confederate army of valuable cavalry for the Battle of Stones River.

The Battle of Hartsville is a battle that is rarely mentioned or studied, but is definitely one of the most unique of the Civil War. A driving tour and small park exist for visitors to view and tour. Hopefully this action will get the attention, preservation, and interpretation that it rightfully deserves.

Battle of Hartsville Interpretation Panel, courtesy of Darryl Smith.
Battle of Hartsville Interpretation Panel, courtesy of Darryl Smith.

Battle of Hartsville Tour Panel, courtesy of Darryl Smith.
Battle of Hartsville Tour Panel, courtesy of Darryl Smith.

A portion of the preserved Hartsville battlefield, courtesy of Darryl Smith.
A portion of the preserved Hartsville battlefield, courtesy of Darryl Smith.

A portion of the preserved Hartsville battlefield, courtesy of Darryl Smith.
A portion of the preserved Hartsville battlefield, courtesy of Darryl Smith.

A portion of the preserved Hartsville battlefield, courtesy of Darryl Smith.
A portion of the preserved Hartsville battlefield, courtesy of Darryl Smith.


Derrick Lindow is an author, historian, teacher, and creator of the WTCW site. His first book, published by Savas Beatie, will be released in February 2024. Go HERE to read more posts by Derrick and HERE to visit his personal page. Follow Derrick on different social media platforms (Instagram and Twitter) to get more Western Theater and Kentucky Civil War Content.



[1] OR 20 pt. 1, 47, 51-52. All further references to the Official Records will be from Volume 20, part one.

[2] OR, 63.

[3] OR, 63.

[4] OR, 47, 51-53.

[5] The Charleston Mercury, December 20, 1862, 1.; OR, 48.

[6] OR, 47, 69.; Gary Robert Matthews. Basil WIlson Duke, CSA: The Right Man in the Right Place (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2005), 107-108.

[7] Matthews, Basil Duke, 106-107.; OR, 65.

[8] OR, 53, 66.

[9] OR, 66.

[10] The Charleston Mercury, December 20, 1862, 1.; Ed Porter Thompson. History of the Orphan Brigade (Louisville, Kentucky, 1898), 163.

[11] OR, 47-48.

[12] The Charleston Mercury, December 20, 1862, 1.

[13] OR, 66, 70, 72.; The Charleston Mercury, December 20, 1862, 1.

[14] Thompson, History of the Orphan Brigade, 163.

[15] The Ottawa Free Trader, December 20, 1862, 2.; OR, 53.

[16] OR, 58-59.

[17] OR, 58-59.

[18] Thompson, History of the Orphan Brigade, 164.

[19] OR, 58.

[20] Thompson, History of the Orphan Brigade, 164, 166.; The Charleston Mercury, December 20, 1862, 1.; Edwin C. Bearss, "The Battle of Hartsville and Morgan's Second Kentucky Raid," The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society vol. 65 no. 2, 129.

[21] The Ottawa Free Trader, December 20, 1862, 2.

[22] OR, 58, 60.; The Louisville Journal, December 20, 1862, 3.

[23] The Athens Post, December 19, 1862, 3.; The Charleston Mercury, December 20, 1862, 1.

[24] OR, 48-49.

[25] OR, 64.

[26] OR, 48-49.

[27] OR, 49-51, 58-59.

[28] OR, 41.

[29] OR, 42.

[30] OR, 42-43.

[31] OR, 45.

[32] The Louisville Journal, December 20, 1862, 3.

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1 Comment

Darryl R. Smith
Darryl R. Smith
Dec 04, 2023

Nice article, Derrick! We still need to organize a tour for the Western Theater group at Hartsville.

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