Morgan’s Raid was an invasion into Union territory by a group of Confederate cavalry in the summer of 1863. The raiders were led by the charismatic General John Hunt Morgan. Morgan was known as a cavalier who had been kicked out of college for dueling and who often ignored military orders. The raid lasted 46 days. It began in Tennessee and swept through Kentucky and Indiana, covering about 1,000 miles. Exact reasons for the raid are still debated, but historians agree it was probably to create a diversion and pull Union troops away from other areas. Another goal might have been to rally the support of Southern sympathizers in the North.
After sending spies into Indiana in June, Morgan began the raid into the state on July 8, 1863, by seizing two boats and ferrying approximately 2,400 troops across the Ohio River into southern Indiana. Upon hearing news of the raid, Governor Oliver P. Morton called for the people and militia of Indiana to defend their state. Thousands responded. For 5 days Indiana militia and Federal troops attempted to capture the invaders. Morgan’s men raided Corydon, Salem, Dupont, Versailles, and other small towns. The raiders left behind a trail of destruction before crossing into Ohio on July 13. They were eventually captured in southern Ohio, and the raid ended on July 26, 1863. Morgan and his men were sent to Northern prisons, but he later escaped and made his way back to the Confederacy.
Morgan’s Raid resulted in more than 1 million dollars in claims and wages in Indiana and Ohio. More than 4,000 horses were stolen and property was burned and looted. However, the raid did not have a major effect on the outcome of the war.