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Civil War and Reconstruction
Civil War Soldiers' Stories
Mr. Johnson Remembers Morgan's Soldiers

Mr. Johnson, interviewed near his home in Indiana during the 1930s, was a young man during the Civil War. Even so, his memories concerning John Morgan's cavalry raid through his neighborhood were still fresh in his mind. What major points does Mr. Johnson make about Morgan's soldiers? How would you judge their conduct, considering this was a military action through enemy territory?

View the entire interview with Mr. Johnson from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.


Mr. Johnson was working at a neighbor's where he was hired whom the rumor came that Morgan and his terrible men were crossing the river at [Corydon?]. There was a general stir of excitement in the community. This was approximately three miles from Lexington on the Paris Crossing road.

". . . The gray figures of Morgan's men appeared out of the distance. They showed the strain of a hurried and harassed march; both men and beast were weary. Four of the men stopped before me perched on the fence and said, 'Son take these canteen and fill them with water'. I didn't refuse but hurried across the road to Mr. Alexander's Robinson's well where two or three other boys were drawing water for the Raider's men with a windlass. The well was wide and only about nine feet deep. As soon as I filled my canteens I passed them among the men and kept returning for more water until the well was dry. After this short period of service we were mustered out; and Morgan, the raider, with his men went their way with their jangling and clanking of arms to disappear in the horizon toward old Paris."

There were some three thousand soldiers in the Confederate cavalry. They were gentlemanly and represented the best manhood of Kentucky and their native states. Of course in war and in that large a crowd there would be some unpleasant things, but on the whole the men were polite. Whenever they saw a horse they wanted they exchanged their worn out horse for it usually with the suggestion of "Let's Swap, I think you can plow all right with this horse". Many of the horses left were really better than the ones taken but were worn out and many had sore backs.
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View the entire interview with Mr. Johnson from American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940. Use your browser's Back Button to return to this point.