Morgan's Last Raid

Historical Marker #700 in Johnson County commemorates John Hunt Morgan's 1864 retreat through Paintsville to Virginia. This was during Morgan's last Kentucky raid during the Civil War.

Morgan's command consisted of approximately 2,700 men. On June 8, part of Morgan's force captured two Union regiments at a camp in Mount Sterling, which netted nearly 300 prisoners and a large amount of supplies. A surprise attack from Federal forces the next morning, however, forced these rebels to abandon Mount Sterling. They then rejoined Morgan, who was moving on Lexington. On June 10, Morgan's troops took Lexington before striking Cynthiana the next day. After a "house-to-house fight," the Federals, led by Union General Edward Hobson, surrendered.

Despite Morgan's victory at Cynthiana, other Union troops led by General Stephen Burbridge were advancing. Instead of withdrawing, Morgan made a stand outside of Cynthiana. Outnumbered and low on ammunition, the Confederates retreated.

About half of Morgan's command escaped, but these troops were extremely scattered. During the retreat, Morgan and many of his men tracked back across Kentucky towards Virginia through several towns, including Paintsville. The raiders arrived in Virginia in June, 1864. Even Morgan admitted that his final raid was an utter failure.