Morgan’s Last Raid

Historical Marker #623 in Prestonsburg remembers Confederate General John Hunt Morgan's last raid into Kentucky during the Civil War.

After Morgan was captured on an extended cavalry raid into Indiana and Ohio in the summer of 1863, he served time in the Ohio State Penitentiary in Columbus. Morgan escaped from that facility in November and made his way to Virginia, where he received a hero's welcome in Richmond. Returned to command of troops based in southwestern Virginia, Morgan made plans in the summer of 1864 for what would be the cavalryman's last big raid into his native state of Kentucky.

Morgan's command entered the state by way of Pound Gap and quickly captured Mount Sterling on June 8. Morgan's new command proved to be much less disciplined than his previous soldiers, as they robbed Mount Sterling citizens and looted the town's stores. The raiders rode on to Lexington where they captured badly needed horses and provisions two days later. A disastrous fight at Cynthiana on June 11 left Morgan's new troops in disarray. The cavalrymen retreated from Kentucky on June 12.

Arriving in Abingdon, Virginia, the defeated cavalrymen were reorganized into a division. However, Morgan was relieved of command of the Department of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia at the end of August.

Operating in East Tennessee, Morgan was killed by Union forces on September 4, 1864, in Greeneville. Morgan's body was returned to Lexington and buried in the city cemetery.