January 8th, 1864.
Gen. John Hunt Morgan had been captured in July 1863 during a failed raid into Ohio, and imprisoned there. In January 1864 he escaped from prison in a characteristically dashing way, and made his way back to the South.
The Richmond Daily Dispatch reports on Morgan’s escape from the North, and his planned welcome in Richmond.
Gen. John H. Morgan’s escape.
A dispatch from Chattanooga gives the following particulars about Morgan’s escape:
The bold bandit whose hair mildewed in the Columbus penitentiary during the latter part of the summer and through the autumn, has at last reached a place of safety within the rebel lines. He crossed the Tennessee river at White Creek Shoals, sixty miles above here, last Sunday morning. Staunch friends have aided him all the way from the prison door in Ohio. Reaching the foot of the Cumberland Mountain, eight miles from the mouth of White Creek, he impressed all the inhabitants, seized such tools as he needed, and proceeded with his escort of forty men to the bank of the Tennessee, one mile below Gillespie’s Landing, taking care that none of the citizens who saw him should escape to give the alarm to the men on videttes at Kingston. An old man who had been seized managed to elude the vigilance of John’s guards, and traveled on foot to Gillespie with the exciting intelligence. Infantry being the only available troops at Gillespie, they were hurried off to White Creek Shoals, with a view to intercept the guerilla chief, but they arrived a few moments too late. Morgan himself, mounted on a five-thousand- dollar stallion, presented him in Kentucky, and accompanied by one mounted man of his escort, dashed away just as the panting foot soldiers came in sight.–Two of his Captains — Robert and Wm. Cummings, of Lexington, Ky.–were not so successful, and were taken, together with fifteen of the rebel troopers who had lost their horses in the stream.–Intelligence was sent to Gen. Howard, at Athens, who attempted to arrest the bold johnny, but without success. A male cousin of Abraham Lincoln’s, who resides near White Creek Shoals, was active in assisting the flying chief. Morgan will undoubtedly have some important cavalry command, although I do not see at present where his troopers are to come from unless he supercedes Forrest.
Arrival of Gen. Morgan.
–Gen. Morgan arrived in the city last night. He proceeded from the cars to the Balard House, where rooms have been prepared for his reception. To day at noon he will be formally welcomed at the City Hall.