[CIVIL WAR]. MORGAN, John Hunt (1825-1864), Brigadier General, C.S.A.. Printed broadside: "Proclamation! To the people of Estill and adjoining counties." Irvine, KY, 22 September 1862. 1 page, 4to, (9¾ x 6¼ in.), in fine condition. Parrish & Willingham: 1019.
"I WILL LAY WASTE THE ENTIRE SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOOD": JOHN HUNT MORGAN'S SECOND KENTUCKY RAID
An uncommon broadside issued by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan in the midst of his second raid into Kentucky. In 1861, Morgan, a Mexican War officer and former Kentucky Military Institute cadet, was outraged that the governor of his home state, Kentucky, declared neutrality. Unable to stand by while the Federal Government invaded the South, Morgan raised a local unit and joined the Confederacy. Eventually, Morgan commanded a brigade popularly known as Morgan's Raiders. Morgan's men created panic during their first raid of Kentucky in the summer of 1862, destroying Union property and seizing much needed supplies for the Confederacy. By August, Morgan was called upon by Confederate commander Braxton Bragg to make a second raid into Kentucky. Hoping to disrupt the operations of Union armies in Tennessee so that he could bring them to battle and defeat them, Bragg sent Morgan's raiders deep into the state.
In the late summer of 1862, Morgan's cavalry seized a printing press which Lieutenant Gordon E. Niles, a former New York newspaperman, quickly put to use printing brigade newspapers entitled The Vidette. Here, in a broadside likely printed on the same press, Morgan issues a stern warning to the inhabitants of a Kentucky town in the midst of his second raid: "The Gen. Commanding takes this means of informing the people that he has not come among them to disturb them in the enjoyment of their rights, either of person or property. The Home Guards are required to come in at once and deliver up their arms, those who fail to do so will be regarded as enemies of the Government and treated accordingly. Those who comply will be treated as non combatants, and private citizens. Private citizens who seek opportunity to ambush our soldiers commonly known as 'Bush whackers' will be regarded as outlaws, and orders will be issued to shoot them wherever found. If any of our men are fired on while passing through the country, I will lay waste the entire surrounding neighborhood."
Although Morgan's Second Kentucky Raid did distract the Union high command and panicked the state's citizens, Bragg was unable to achieve the dramatic victory he had hoped for. During July of the following year, Morgan, operating in conjunction with Bragg's Perryville Campaign and Robert E. Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania, took his raiders beyond the Mason Dixon line into Ohio. His command was captured and Morgan spent several month's in a Union prison before escaping in November. One year later, the famed Confederate raider was killed in a surprise attack in eastern Tennessee.