15 - Battle of the Rolling Fork
Christmas Raid
December 29, 1862

After burning the trestle on Muldraugh’s Hill Morgan allowed his men a nights rest before they turned back to Tennessee. The next day, December 29, 1862, Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s command of about 4,000 Confederates was surprised by Col. John Marshall Harlan’s 3,000 Union troops. Morgan and his senior officers had just finished a meeting in the Hamilton-Hall House (3/4 miles south). Col. Harlan’s command opened artillery fire from the high ground to the south. Col. Basil Duke was commanding Morgan’s rear guard of 300 men, which was later reinforced to 800 by Col. Roy S. Cluke. Cluke had returned, abandoning his plans to burn the L&N trestle over the Rolling Fork near Lebanon Junction, some four miles to the northwest.

Col. Duke was charged with defending the two main fords on the river, one one-quarter mile south and the other one-third mile west. This slough was part of Duke’s defense line. Harlan commanded a mixed bag of infantry and cavalry, plus six Parrot rifles. The Parrots opened a barrage on Duke’s small command as he was trying to hold the Federals in check long enough for the Confederates to ford the stream. In the attack Duke was struck in the head with a shell fragment and he fell from his horse. Capt. Tom Quirk picked up the unconscious Duke and took him to Bardstown, where he received medical aid. Duke’s stand allowed Morgan’s men enough time to get to the second, western, ford and escape Harlan’s trap.

Before the war, Col. Harlan and Col. Duke were friends, both graduates of Centre College and Translyvania Law School. After the war, Basil Duke became an attorney for the L&N Railroad, which he had played a great part in trying to destroy during the war. John Harlan served as an U.S. Supreme Court Justice from 1877-1911, becoming known as the "Great Dissenter." The former Union colonel disagreed with the "separate but equal" principle of racial segregation, asserting that "our Constitution is colorblind."

16a - Damned Yankees

Great Raid, July 5-6, 1863

Capt. Ralph Sheldon leading several hundred Confederates of Company C 2nd Kentucky Cavalry descended on Bardstown on Sunday morning July 5, 1863. They drove the hand full of Union troops occupying Bardstown into a livery stable two blocks north of the courthouse. Lt. Thomas W. Sullivan of the 4th U. S. Cavalry took up position in the livery stable and defended it for several hours against the attacking Confederates.

Capt. Ralph Sheldon – Sheldon’s company forced the Union defenders to take refuge in the stable, but he could not dislodge them.
Livery Stable Drawing – After holding out for twenty-four hours against overwhelming odds, Lieut. Sullivan surrendered his command to Morgan.
After the initial assault, Capt. Sheldon demanded the Union troops surrender. Lt. Sullivan rejected the demand and the battle resumed and continued all evening. To prevent the trapped Union soldiers from escaping Capt. Sheldon had his men stretch ropes across the street. The Confederates even tried to set the stable on fire, all to no avail, the Union soldiers put out the fire and continued to resist the Confederates.

Just before daylight on Monday morning, July 6, 1862, Gen. John Hunt Morgan arrived from Springfield. Capt. Sheldon was sent into the stable again demanding the Union troops surrender. Sheldon flatly told the lieutenant "If you refuse, we will blow you to hell with our artillery." Sullivan replied "I am obliged to the General’s kind intentions, but it is our duty to trouble him a little longer." After the Confederates left small arms fire began. Finally, the Union sentinels reported to Lt. Sullivan that the streets outsides were filled with Confederates and that four artillery pieces were in position to fire on the livery stable.
At this point Lt. Sullivan knew his situation was hopeless. Carrying a flag of truce Sullivan immerged from the building. Col. Richard Morgan immediately rebuffed him: "Go back, you have already refused these terms twice. You have no right to demand them now." With no other choice Sullivan returned to the stable and prepared for the Confederate attack. Morgan then sent in a flag of truce and demanded the Federal unconditionally surrender, which they did. Gen. Morgan fussed after the soldiers had filed out "You twenty-five damned Yankees have cost me twenty-four hours." Shortly afterward, about 10 am Morgan’s command left Bardstown on the Shepherdsville Road on the way to the Ohio River.
Col. Richard Morgan – An angry Col. Morgan refused Sullivan’s overture for surrender.

16b - "A Pretty Close Call"

Christmas Raid, December 29, 1862

General John Hunt Morgan, his second in command, Col. Basil Duke, and other senior officers were adjourning a meeting at the Hamilton-Hall House near Lebanon Junction when their command of 4,000 was surprised by an attack made by 3,000 Union troops under the command of Colonel John Marshall Harlan.
During the fight a shell fragment struck Col. Duke, who fell to the ground. Capt. Tom Quirk picked up the unconscious Duke and brought him to the home of Dr. Gus Cox. Reverend John Cunningham was at the house when Duke was helped upstairs and laid on a thick pallet on the floor, where he was attended to by Dr. Thomas Allen, a surgeon in Morgan’s army from nearby Taylorsville.

Reverend Cunningham wrote, "I stood by and witnessed the treatment of the distinguished patient. The wound was on the right side of the head and when the doctor had washed the blood from it, I was invited to examine a cannon’s work. The wound was supposed to be made by a small piece of bursted shell of a small cannon. A piece of the skin and bone behind the ear were gone. If the direction of the flying bit of shell had been directly from the right of the victim, it would have passed through the lower part of the head and death would have been instantaneous. As I bent over the prostrate warrior looking at his wound, he said in a somewhat cheerful tone, ‘that was a pretty close call.’ He did not complain or in any way indicate that his wound was a painful one."

The next day, Col. Duke, carried in a wagon, accompanied Morgan’s command on their return to Tennessee. Duke recovered from his wound, served the remainder of the war, and later wrote several wartime histories, including The History of Morgan’s Cavalry. He died in 1916 at the age of 78.

*Col. Duke was treated in the upstairs north bedroom of this house, which stood until 1967.

32 - Camp Charity

In September 1861 Kentucky’s neutrality crumbled and the Commonwealth was forced to choose sides. The struggle in Frankfort between the pro-Confederate governor and the pro-Union legislature was won by the legislature who demanded that the Confederate troops in Columbus unilaterally withdraw. The Confederates refused and Kentucky officially became a Union state. Frankfort’s decision forced the pro-Confederate State Guard to act.

John Hunt Morgan was in command of the Lexington Rifle’s who were part of the State Guard. On evening of Friday September 20, 1861 Morgan loaded all of the arms and ammunition onto two wagons and sent them toward Lawrenceburg. Under the cover of darkness the men followed beginning their journey to join the Confederacy.

On September 22, 1861 Morgan’s company encamped on a farm near Bloomfield on the Middle Branch of Simpson’s Creek. Here the Rifle’s were joined by the Nelson Greys, a State Guard company from Bardstown. The campsite was probably chosen by Capt. John C. Wickliffe commander of the Greys. Wickliffe chose the site because the farm was owned by a southern sympathizer and he knew the would be soldiers could count on the framers support. The men were allowed to camp for free, the creek provided water for man and beast and the people of the community supplied food. In recognition, the grateful men dubbed it Camp Charity.

Morgan and the others stayed at Camp Charity about a week. From Nelson County the men made their way to Bowling Green. It was at Bowling Green that they joined the Confederate army. The Nelson Greys became part of the 9th Kentucky Infantry Regiment, which was to become part of the famous Orphan Brigade. The Lexington Rifles became "Morgan’s Squadron" and later part of 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, one of the regiments that became Morgan’s command.

Nelson County Civil War Sites

Bragg’s Army in Town – Invading Confederate troops arrived in Bardstown on September 20, 1862. Historic Marker #674 on Courthouse Square

Edgewood-Ben Hardin Helm House – 310 S 5th Street Hwy Marker #1101 house served as headquarters of Confederate Gen. Leonidas Polk while CS army was in town.

Bruntwood – 700 block of N 3rd Street headquarters of Confederate Gen. William J. Hardee.

Spalding Hall – 115 N 5th Street – this building was used as a hospital for more than 15 months in the early part of the war. Sisters of Mercy served as nurses.

Dr. Hynes House – Court Square Union recruiting site.

"Battle of Bardstown" - Bardstown Fairgrounds – Intersection of Murrays Run and 31E/N 150 – here on October 4, 1862 Confederate cavalry under the command of Col. John Wharton clashed with Federal infantry. The Confederates were withdrawing from the Mt. Washington/Sheperdsville area, Union troops from Louisville were pursuing.

Dr. Cox House – Following an engagement near Lebanon Junction, on December 29, 1862, Confederate Col. Basil Duke was wounded. He was brought to this house where he received medical aid. He left the following day.

Nelson County Jail – Housed prisoners accused of southern sympathies during the war.

Livery Stable Fight – 200 Block N 3rd Street - July 5, 1863, during the Great Raid at detachment of Morgan’s command arrived in Bardstown. 26 Union soldiers took refuge in the livery stable. They refused to surrender fighting Confederates for 20 hours. Finally surrendered when Morgan’s artillery arrived.

Hospital in Bardstown – Sweets-McCown House 212 Stephen Foster – Dr. Harrison McCown; Ben Doom House 214 Stephen Foster; Roseland Academy 300 Block of N 3rd Streets; Nazareth Motherhouse and College.

Confederate Monument – Bardstown Cemetery erect 1904 to honor 67 Confederate soldiers buried in the cemetery.

Ben Johnson House
– Site of first Confederate flag raising in Kentucky NEED DATE 5,000 people witnessed this event. Nancy crow Johnson was on the committee that selected the design for the first Confederate flag.

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