After the first wave of Morgan's 1st Brigade crossed the Cumberland, Morgan choose about fifteen of Captain Tom Quirk's Scouts and a few of Col. R. C. Morgan's command to reconnoiter west of Burkesville. The objective was to deflect attention of the 3,000 Union soldiers camped at Marrowbone, commanded by General Edward H. Hobson away from Morgan's 2nd Brigade crossing of the Cumberland.
The Confederate cavalrymen left the Courthouse Square in Burkesville and galloped out the Glasgow Road toward the Union camp. After engaging Union pickets, the scouts were joined by Confederate Col. W.W. Ward's 9th Tennessee Cavalry and supported by Col. J. W. Grigsby's 6th Kentucky Cavalry.
In this area, Morgan hid his men in an ambush and surprised the head of a 300-man Yankee cavalry column with rifle and artillery fire. The Yanks quickly turned their mounts and spurred their horses in retreat back down the road. With a whoop, the rebels tore after the bluecoats.
The ensuing route raised a cloud of dust. This prevented the southerners from seeing a regiment of Northern infantry which had formed in the line of battle.
One of Quirk's scouts, spotting the enemy through the haze, grabbed General Morgan's horse reins and stopped the charge. The Yanks fired a volley into the rebels at short range. The shots so surprised Maj. William P. Elliott and he was temporarily unhorsed. In the exchange of fire, the Confederates sustained the loss of two, mortally wounded and two others slightly wounded. Captain Tom Quirk received a wound to his left wrist that was so severe that his rein arm was broken and he had to return to Tennessee to recover. Federal losses were 5 killed and 15 wounded.
This small encounter with the Yanks took Morgan's chief scout out of action for the Great Raid. Quirk was the officer who rescued Colonel Duke from the Rolling Fork River during the Christmas Raid in 1862. Two days later at Tebbs Bend of Green River, the Confederates will pay a great price for poorly scouting a strong Union position. Morgan was beginning his thousand-mile raid into Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio without his "eyes and ears."
21 - Civil War Camp at Marrowbone
Both Union and Confederate troops used Marrowbone as a camp several times during the Civil War. In mid-February 1863, Federal 1st Kentucky Cavalrymen under Col. Frank Wolford encamped at Marrowbone. During the spring of 1863, detachments of at least three of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgans regiments, under Col. D. Howard Smith, Col. A. R. Johnson, and Col. D.W. Chenault, respectively, operated in and around Marrowbone and Mud Camp Ford, capturing a mill and operating it for the rebel army.
In June 1863, Gen. Edward H. Hobson was placed in charge of a Union camp at Marrowbone. Rumors were afloat that the notorious rebel, Gen. John Hunt Morgan, was planning another raid into Kentucky.
Morgans forces crossed the Cumberland on July 1 and 2, fighting a skirmish between here and Norris Branch on July 2. Brig. Shortly after that engagement, Gen. James M. Shackelfords brigade arrived to support Hobson. Immediately, several cavalry and infantry regiments were dispatched, under Shackelfords command, in pursuit of Morgan.
Then, the unfathomable happened. Three miles out the Burkesville Road Hobsons superior officer, Gen. Henry M. Judah, ordered Shackelford to halt and return to Marrowbone. Col. Richard C. Jacobs 9th Kentucky Cavalry was sent to guard the road and to intercept the Federal cavalrymen and turn them back.
Meanwhile, Morgan continued to force his way north. On July 3 he turned back the few Federal defenders at Columbia, on July 4 he bypassed a Federal position at Green River Bridge, and on July 5 he secured the surrender of Union forces at Lebanon.
General Judah did nothing. His force, immobilized by high water, waited to be ferried across the Green River at Vaughns Ferry in Green County. The responsibility of pursuing Morgan was given to General Hobson
In the months of January and February 1864, the 13th Kentucky Cavalry, USA, occupied the camp at Marrowbone while searching for rebel guerillas. In February they captured Capt. Littleton T. Richardson and several of Champ Fergusons men near here.
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