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.

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General John Hunt Morgan

General John Hunt Morgan

One of the most prolific Confederate generals, Morgan led several raids in Kentucky during the course of the Civil War. His final raid ended a complete failure, and forced Morgan to retreat to Virginia through several towns in Kentucky, including Paintsville. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

General Morgan

General Morgan

Confederate General John Hunt Morgan was one of the most prolific figures of the Civil War. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Union General Edward Hobson

Union General Edward Hobson

General Hobson was commanding Union forces at Cynthiana when John Hunt Morgan's men attacked in June 1864. General Hobson was a foe of General Morgan prior to Morgan's last raid on Kentucky, as he had pursed Morgan for much of Civil War. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Licking River, Cynthiana

Licking River, Cynthiana

Morgan's men battled Burbridge's Union troops just outside Cynthiana near the banks of the Licking River. Confederate troops crossed the river during their retreat through eastern Kentucky back to Virginia. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

McKenzie Martin, “Morgan's Last Raid,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/358.

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