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Suggested Reading on Morgan's Command

July 1, 2017

After the 1864 tour last month I started thinking that perhaps folks might be interested in learning more about John H. Morgan, his command, and the various raids he organized.  Here are a few titles that might hold interest for those wanting to learn more.

 

General Works

Rebel Raider: The Life of General John Hunt Morgan - James A. Ramage, University Press of Kentucky.  Dr. Ramage's book is the most developed biography on Morgan.  Detailed by all accounts, it provides a fairly even telling of the man.  However, when reading biographies, one must be cautious of an author's "love affair" with their subject.  While Dr. Ramage does not go into full infatuation mode, it is apparent that he has an overall favorable impression of Morgan.

 

Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County - William A. Penn, University Press of Kentucky.  While focused on the history within Harrison County, Bill's book does provide background details on the Summer Raid of 1862 and the Last Raid of 1864.  It is one of the best local Civil War histories I have read.  

 

A History of Morgan's Cavalry - Basil W. Duke, various publishers.  Duke was part of Morgan's command for the first years of the war (he was Morgan's brother-in-law).  His history is of course written from the Confederate perspective, and his information on the Last Raid comes second hand as Duke was still in a Yankee prison, but it is a good overall treatise on Morgan's men and raids.  

 

Morgan is Coming!: Confederate Raiders in the Heartland of Kentucky - Betty J. Gorin, Harmony House Publishers.  Mrs. Gorin is the resident expert on the July 4th battle of Tebb's Bend.  I have recently started reading this title and it is filled with a lot of local history, focusing on Morgan and his actions in Taylor and neighboring counties.  Therefore it does not cover the Last Raid at all.  The writing is a bit disjointed at times as it feels like the author is trying to get every fact and story into the text, but overall it is very good.

 

Cavalry of the Heartland: The Mounted Forces of the Army of Tennessee - Edward G. Longacre, Westholme Publishing.  This book looks at the cavalry of the Army of Mississippi/Tennesee by focusing on Forrest, Wheeler, and Morgan and hence bounces between these men and their actions throughout the war.  A good overall treatise for Confederate cavalry operations in the Western Theater.

 

The Great Raid

Morgan's Great Raid: The Remarkable Expedition from Kentucky to Ohio - David L. Mowery, The History Press.  An enjoyable read of the Great Raid, Mowery weaves an enjoyable narrative style while including numerous details.  The maps contained within are some of the best you'll see within any Civil War book.  A side note:  Dave has been instrumental in developing the Great Raid driving tour through Ohio, and serves as the Buffington Island preservation group's chair, an organization similar to our own Foundation.  

 

The Longest Raid of the Civil War: Little-Known & Untold Stories of Morgan's Raid into Kentucky, Indiana, & Ohio - Lester V. Horwitz, Farmcourt Publishing.  This work, when it was released in 1999, was the seminal title on the Great Raid.  Filled with detail, using numerous war claims to fill in the story, this book can be, at times, a bit tedious to push through.  But it also gave us the most detailed account on the Great Raid.  Mowery's book above shows a more flowing writing style and deeper research, but if you truly want to immerse yourself into all things Great Raid, you'll want to add The Longest Raid to your reading list.

 

The Last Raid

"Morgan's Last Raid" - Blue & Gray Magazine - Albert Castel.  This issue, from 1988, covers the Last Raid as a whole, from beginning to Morgan's death later in 1864.  The fighting at Cynthiana is more of an overview, but it makes for a great introduction to the 1864 raid.  Back issues at going for $9.95 and higher but the CBF are selling copies for only $4.95 (which includes $2.00 for shipping).  

 

Of course there are many, many more works on Morgan and his command,  The above are ones I am personally familiar with.  

 

 

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