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The Wartime Diary of John Weatherred

Bennett's Regiment or 9th Tennessee Cavalry

John Hunt Morgan's Command

1864

About the middle of March 1864 we were ordered (Kirkpatrick Battalion) to report to Wythville, Virginia, to the west Virginia department of Lee's Army. We marched from Atlanta to South Carolina and through the state and through North Carolina. We marched leasurely along. We stopped 10 days at Spartenburg, South Carolina. The good people brought us into camp many good things to eat. In fact they furnished us very near all we eat on the entire march. And the darkies would come in at night and sing and dance for us. We were treated extra well all the way to Wythville, Virginia. Morgan's c ommand was very popular through the south because perhaps we were better advertised from the rades we made behind the Federal Army at different times.

We arrived at Wythville, Va. the late part of April. We soon learned that General Averal and General Crook, federal generals, were advancing on the salt works and on the lead mines near Wythville, Va. and we had to meet their advance, at Newburn and Doublin Depot. Bob Morse were wounded at Newburn slightly in the breast and a small testament saved his life. The ball went through the testament but it glanced it, so it only slightly wounded him but knocked him down. It was a blue spot on him where it hit the book.

And on the 11th of May we had a fight with some of Averals troops in Crockett's Cove about 8 miles from Wythville. We charged them with the usual Confederate yell, dismounted. They gave way and we followed them. They took shelter on the Crockett farm house and in the barns and out building. About one thousand of them. Several of the Federals killed and wounded, perhaps 150 or more. We lost some wounded, about 100 killed and wounded. The fight lasted about 5 hours. David Barry one of my mess mates was shot through the right wrist, a very painful wound. This repulse discouraged them so they fell back into Kentucky. In a few days we started into Kentucky passing through Round Gap on June 2nd 1864, about 21 or 22 hundred strong, consisting of Colonel Giltner's Brigade of 1000 men. The 2nd 600 strong was composed of Colonel Bowler, Major Cassels and Captain Kirkpatrick's Battalion. This 600 was the remnant of Morgan's old command. Colonel Robert A. Olston in command of the 3rd Brigade. Morgan expected to get horses and mount these men. We found the enemy in Round Gap, but they soon retired and we put forward a strong advance guard: one of my company and mess mate was one of this guard and I never saw them again. He had been with us for about 6 months; his name was James Palmer from South Carolina, he said. Some of our boys was captured soon and made their escape. They knew Palmer and said they saw him and he was a Major in an Indiana Regiment, he laughed and said he thought he would change commands for a while; he was a spy, undoubtely all the time he had been with us. I had suspission, but he was very inteligent and companionable and such a shrewd lier you could not catch him. He and I slept together part of the time. I never heard of him again.

We marched 150 miles into Kentucky, over rugged mountains, country and getting to Mount Sterling, Ky. in 7 days. We captured a regiment of infantry here at Mt Sterling and we mounted cavalry men, moved out of town towards Lexington, Kentucky and our dismounted men camped in the surburbs of Mt. Sterling, footsore and weary and they no doubt slept very sound and next morning at day break the Federals surprised them and shot many of them under their blankets, but the boys rallyed and held them back until we came back to their relief.

Enuch Elkin, one of the dismounted men in this fight, ran from our lines during the fight to a tree half way between the lines and captured three yanks and brought them to our line, both sides, the Blues and the Grays yelled and cheered him and stopped shooting for the moment: if the yanks had shot at him they probably would have hit the three prisoners.

We soon mounted the footmen and moved on towards Lexington, Ky. This was known as Morgan's, June Raid into Kentucky and his last raid. I got a good horse in Lexington, Ky and left my chesnut sorrell in place of this bay horse.

We had more or less fighting each day. Quite a fight at Georgetown, Ky., the 10th and on to Cynthanina, the 11th of June, where we had quite a fight with Colonel Berry's regiment, who fought us from the brick building. Colonel Berry was killed. We had to set fire to some of the buildings before they would surrender. We lost several, killed and wounded. Nathan Lyons was shot by my side and died soon after. I was slightly wounded on the back of the middle finger of my left hand, but not disabled: all the prisoners were put under guard and fifteen hundred or more were captured of General Hobson's command, then we had more prisoners than we had men and could have mounted then and carried them out to Dixie if Morgan had left Cynthiana that afternoon of the 11th of June. This raid to this time had been very succesful and had General Morgan left this place at 6 P.M. he could have got away with all the prisoners but by staying all night he lost more than half of his command and got away with a few hundred: at day break on the morning of the 12th, General Burbridge with about 5000 federals had him very nearly surrounded and captured many and scattered or divided the command.

Morgan got away with 4 or 5 hundred through the eastern Kentucky mountains and quite a few came out by other routes. We lost over half of the twenty two hundred men we went into Kentucky with. After the fighting on the 11th I had charge of prisoners until they were paroled and just about sun down I was detailed on sargent of a picket squad of 12, with Leuit. Arthur Andrews chief in command was ordered to go out on a road until we came to the licking River and picket that ford until relieved. As sargent I put two at a time on guard on the bank of the river every two hours through the night and at day break the fight began at Cynthiana and continued for half an hour or more: I then rode up the rise in the direction of the town and the fighting and I saw several hundred Blue Coats coming towards our picket post. I informed Lieut. Andrews that we must go that the enemy was coming: he said we could not leave our post until we were ordered to report to the command. I told him to get on his horse, that in a moment we would get orders from the yanks: they charged us and we had to run to the river and cross with them shooting at us. This two or three hundred did not follow us very far. We left them behind but very soon, passing through a long lane we saw many Blue Coats meeting us at the other end of the lane, so we had to break through the plank fence and through corn fields and wheat fields, for some distance, but we out ran them and got away, of course there were many shots fired by the pursewers and pursued but none of us were hit by their bullets. That night we camped in a sugar orchard and the owner gave us feed for our horses and selves and plenty of maple sugar and syrup and he would bring it to us after dark. We remained here three days and two nights and left after dark the third day and marched all night and slept and lay in the woods all day and marched all night. Aster this we were well in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and we made our way through to Abingdon, Virginia about the 23rd or 24th of June. Capt. Peter Everett came to us rather we caught up with him at the sugar orchard. So he was our commander from there to Abingdon: he seemed to know the country we came through very well. This ended the June raid and the last raid that John H. Morgan's command ever made.

We rested not far from Abingdon, Virginia about two weeks, then we were ordered south to Jonesboro East Tennessee and country round about for twenty miles or more, scouting and picketing and skirmishing often, until about Sept. 3rd, under General Morgan we moved about 1500 strong with the thought that we was going to attack General Gillim at or near Bull's Gap. We reached Greenville Tennessee at 4 P.M. We were told that there were many federal soldiers in town just before we arrived and were hiding in the cellars. A regiment of Union soldiers was made up here, so public sentiment was ageient us. Colonel Bradford was in command of some of Vaughn Briggade, Clark's Battalion, Capt James E Cantrill, commanders of my battalion, all of Smith Brigade and Colonel Giltners Command. We were all placed on different roads all around Greenville to see that Gillen did not surprise us. After we had gone into camp, General Morgan rode up to us and dismounted and chatted a while with Captain Cantrill and many of us.

We were very much in need of clothing and shoes. General Morgan said, boys we must get some clothing very soon from the enemy. (Capt. James E. Cantrill later was Lieut. Govenor of Ky). This was the last time we saw General John H. Morgan alive. The night was very dark and rainy and at day break over in town we heard shooting and Capt. Cantrill very soon ordered in to mount our horses and as we entered Greenville we saw that the streets were full of Blue Coated soldiers. We then moved to the left around the west side of town to the north side, so as to connect with other of the command who might gather there and by half an hour by sun most of our force was . . . . . . .


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