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It was in Harrison, Hamilton County, where the Confederate invasion of Ohio began. Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan led more than 2,000 Confederate cavalrymen into Ohio after a five day raid of southern Indiana. Their stop in Harrison would be brief but like many towns and villages over the next 13 days, they looted Harrison of horses, food and anything of value. 

John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail

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Tour Sign #1

Tour Sign #1

Tour Sign #1 in front of the Harrison Fire Department

Tour Sign #1 in front of the Harrison Fire Department

Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan

Forehead, Hair, Chin, Hairstyle

Confederate General Braxton Bragg

Hair, Face, Head, Chin

Harrison Market House

Building, House, Tints and shades, Handwriting

David Tod, Governor of Ohio in 1863

Art, Painting, Paint, Tints and shades

United States Brigadier General Edward Hobson

Forehead, Chin, Beard, Jaw

Beginning on June 11, 1863, Confederate (CSA) General John Hunt Moran departed from Sparta, Tennessee with 2,460 cavalrymen, four artillery batteries, and a wagon train of supplies. The goal? Distract the United States (US) forces in Indiana and Ohio. Morgan’s superior, General Braxton Bragg, had given Morgan free run over Tennessee and Kentucky but ordered that under no circumstances were Morgan’s forces to cross the Ohio River. On July 8th, Morgan would disobey this order when he crossed into Indiana. After five days of raiding, he and his troops would begin their raid of Ohio.

               It was mid-morning on July 13, 1863, when the “Rebel Raider” arrived on Ohio’s doorstep. Morgan and his men crossed the covered bridge over the Whitewater River before descending into the town of Harrison. The night before, Ohio Governor David Tod issued a proclamation calling out the Ohio militia. While many did not hear this order in a timely manner, 10,000 militiamen did gather to defend Cincinnati and Hamilton but this would do little to help Harrison, some 20 miles northwest of Cincinnati.

               Throughout the Civil War, foraging was necessary for both sides to sustain their war effort. During Morgan’s Raid, both sides would commandeer horses, saddles, bridles, and other supplies to keep horses going, as well as clothes, boots, and food for their riders. While foraging for supplies was necessary some men could not resist the temptation to loot items of value, gifts for loved ones back home, and keepsakes from the homes and business in US territory. Money, tobacco, alcohol, jewelry, dresses, and ribbons were commonly looted items throughout the raid.

               Today, the first interpretive sign of the Morgan Trail stands in front of the Harrison Fire Department. On this site in 1863 stood the Market House which housed the post office run by Abram Clark and a store owned by Robert A. Keen. CSA troops stole stamps and money from the post office, while boots and shoes were taken from the store. They also looted several other businesses and homes while they held many citizens of Harrison prisoner. These prisoners were allowed to overhear plans that Morgan intended to launch an attack on Cincinnati in an attempt to confuse the US information network and hide Morgan’s real intentions.

               This first stop in Ohio would be brief. Morgan intended for US officers to believe that he would attack Cincinnati or Hamilton. While US forces concentrated on the protection of these cities, Morgan and his men used the cover of night to slip past them and put even more ground between themselves and the US cavalry forces that were in pursuit. United States Brigadier General Edward Hobson and his 2,000 cavalrymen were only about five hours behind the raiders. Morgan’s men began moving out at 14:00, cutting the telegraph lines as they went. By 17:00, the last of the Confederate rear guard was leaving the town. About 30 minutes later, Hobson’s advance guard arrived the find the Whitewater River Bridge in smoldering ruins.

Stoessel, Steve. Harrison Morgan Invades Ohio, The Historical Marker Database. May 8th 2019. Accessed October 20th 2021.

Caholl, Lora Schmidt. Mowery, David L.. The Civil War Guidebook of the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail. Ohio Historical Society, 2014.

Morgan's Raid, Ohio History Central. Accessed October 20th 2021.

Morgan's Raid into Ohio, Carnegie Public Library. Accessed October 20th 2021.

Remembering Morgan's Raid, Ohio History Connection. July 13th 2013. Accessed Ocobter 20th 2021. -

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