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One of Morgan's Men

One of Morgan's Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry

Edited by Kent Masterson Brown
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    One of Morgan's Men
    Book Description:

    John Marion Porter (1839--1898) grew up working at his family's farm and dry goods store in Butler County, Kentucky. The oldest of Reverend Nathaniel Porter's nine children, he was studying to become a lawyer when the Civil War began. As the son of a family of slave owners, Porter identified with the Southern cause and wasted little time enlisting in the Confederate army. He and his lifelong friend Thomas Henry Hines served in the Ninth Kentucky Calvary under John Hunt Morgan, the "Thunderbolt of the Confederacy."

    When the war ended, Porter and Hines opened a law practice together, but Porter was concerned that the story of his service during the Civil War and his family's history would be lost with the collapse of the Confederacy. In 1872, Porter began writing detailed memoirs of his experiences during the war years, including tales of scouting behind enemy lines, sabotaging a Union train, being captured and held as a prisoner of war, and searching for an army to join after his release.

    Editor Kent Masterson Brown spent several years preparing Porter's memoir for publication, clarifying details and adding annotations to provide historical context. One of Morgan's Men: Memoirs of Lieutenant John M. Porter of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry is a fascinating firsthand account of the life of a remarkable Confederate soldier. In this unique volume, Porter's insights on Morgan and the Confederacy are available to readers for the first time.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2990-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Note on the Editorial Method
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    John Marion Porter was born at Sugar Grove in eastern Butler County, Kentucky, in 1839. The month and day of his birth were never recorded. The Sugar Grove settlement grew up along Little Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Barren River. Porter was the second child and first son of Reverend Nathaniel Porter and his second wife, the former Sarah Elizabeth Helm. Altogether, there were nine children born to the Porters. Three died in infancy; the others, Mary Thomas, Nancy Virginia, Martha Cullie, Elizabeth Margaret Alice, and Nathaniel Anthony—along with Francis and Sarah Ann, the children of Reverend Porter...

  7. Preface
    (pp. 9-10)
    John M. Porter
  8. 1 To the Military I Submitted Myself
    (pp. 11-22)

    To enter into the details of the contest for the establishment of the Confederate States of America, to speak of the causes and consequences of that contest, or even to speak minutely of affairs in Kentucky during 1861 and the four following years, would seem to be a work of supererogation. No such general features will be given here for the reason that all those facts can be learned from the history of the times; only a few words will be said, enough only to afford a starting point. All else must needs be gathered from sources within the reach...

  9. 2 You Have Crowned Yourselves with Glory
    (pp. 23-38)

    It became necessary toward the last of December 1861, around Christmas, to strengthen the Confederate forces at Fort Henry on the Tennessee River and Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River, both of which were menaced by Federal troops. General Buckner moved with a few thousand men to Russellville. The ostensible object of the move was to be in a position from which he could move, as soon as the roads were passable, to attack Brigadier General Thomas L. Crittenden, then in command of a considerable force of the enemy at Calhoun, on the Green River. But the real purpose was...

  10. 3 It Was Literally a Leap in the Dark
    (pp. 39-50)

    In a few days we were again at Dover in view of the field of recent strife. But how different was the scene from the appearance of it when we arrived there from Clarksville on the twelfth of February before. The boat we were on was bound for Nashville, and had a regiment of Yankee cavalry on board. By a little strategy we remained on the boat till we got to Clarksville, although they wanted us to get off at Dover.

    When we went ashore at Clarksville we proceeded to a hotel and, although without any money except Confederate currency,...

  11. 4 We Struck Out on Our Own Responsibility
    (pp. 51-66)

    A few days after the Battle of Shiloh, Andy Kuykendall, some others and I boarded, for the time being, with a man by the name of Davenport, near Jacinto, Mississippi. William L. Dulaney was one of our party at this place. After we had spent perhaps two weeks at that house, Andy Kuykendall and I rode to Tuscumbia, Alabama, and there we met the Texas Rangers, the Eighth Texas, Colonel Benjamin Franklin Terry’s old regiment, and in the same vicinity was Colonel Benjamin Hardin Helm’s First Kentucky Cavalry (C.S.A.). The First Kentucky had campaigned through Tennessee and as far as...

  12. 5 A Perfect Tornado of Shots Was Fired at Us
    (pp. 67-76)

    We found many of our old comrades when we reached the command at Georgetown, and right glad were we to shake hands again with them after a separation of about two months. Our company, or that to which we were to unite and to which nearly all of the old “Guides” belonged, was off on a scout at the time we overtook the command, and for this reason, we “fell in” with Company C, commanded by Captain James W. Bowles, afterwards Colonel Bowles. Company D, commanded by Captain John B. Castleman, would be our company thereafter.¹

    The command moved on...

  13. 6 It Was a Grand and Imposing Ovation
    (pp. 77-96)

    After we remained for some time at Sparta, Colonel John Hunt Morgan returned and we started on an expedition which finally brought us to Hartsville and Gallatin. The first afternoon after leaving Sparta was spent in slowly wending our way toward Chestnut Mound, a spot which every one of Morgan’s command will recollect. We went into camp and, on that night, we were joined by some recruits from Kentucky, and, among them, I was delighted to see Virgil Gray who had but a few days before left home for the purpose of hunting up Morgan. These all fell in with...

  14. 7 The Whiskey Was Still Abundant
    (pp. 97-110)

    We were in a dangerous situation, being on all sides surrounded by large bodies of Federal cavalry. We moved rapidly and went into camp after dark on the Kentucky River, having crossed it somewhere in the vicinity of Lawrenceburg. I can’t tell where.¹

    About two o’clock in the morning, when all except the pickets were in profound sleep, the pursuing enemy began throwing shells into our camp from the hills and cliffs on the opposite side of the river. This at once aroused us, and the bugle was sounded for mounting. There was mounting in hot haste. We were roused...

  15. 8 The Fame and Glory of Morgan’s Command
    (pp. 111-128)

    Time again arrived for action. The great historic fight of Murfreesboro was imminent and we had daring, dangerous and wild work to perform. We moved again to the front and met our newly commissioned Brigadier General John H. Morgan at Murfreesboro. He had a few days before married Miss Martha Ready of that place.¹

    The regiment to which I belonged was filled to its proper size about this time by the addition of Major Robert G. Stoner’s Battalion, all Kentuckians. Stoner had just been commissioned a lieutenant colonel. We moved to the vicinity of Alexandria, Tennessee, and camped for a...

  16. 9 This Was a Hard-Fought Field
    (pp. 129-140)

    Vividly do I call to mind the country in which we spent the Winter and Spring of 1863 in the most exciting and arduous duties. Every day was one of excitement and more or less danger. To write all that we did or all we saw of army life during this time would be merely a repetition of many things already written. It is enough to say that it was hard service, and I will only give the main items of interest, including an account of the most severe fights with the enemy.

    When we first came to Liberty, Tennessee,...

  17. 10 Our March Was Cautious
    (pp. 141-152)

    There is one more scout, the particulars of which I will give. The party consisted of about fourteen men; among the number were Andy Kuykendall, Ayres Curtis, William Shephard McKinney, James K. Clark, James H. Holland, Joseph S. Gray, Edgar L. Mitchell, William White, Thomas Hines and myself, perhaps one or two others. It was in February 1863. Our command was in camp at Liberty. Permission was obtained to make a scout into Kentucky and injure the enemy as much as possible.¹

    Accordingly we made a detail as above and started; the first day’s march was free of any incident...

  18. 11 The Scene Was Ludicrous and Pitiful
    (pp. 153-164)

    The members of this little squad on that dark and dreary Sunday night at Sandy Creek Church separated, some going one direction and some another. Captain Hines and myself rode that night on the old Hopkinsville Road from Sandy Creek to Berry’s Lick, and from there to Mrs. Polly Holland’s, where we found the three or four who had stopped there Saturday night. We went to the woods about day and remained till the succeeding night.¹

    I wish to say here what I should have said some pages back, that after leaving Mason’s near Berry’s Lick, we passed the residence...

  19. 12 I Was Captured for the Last Time
    (pp. 165-176)

    In May 1863 General Bragg’s Confederate army was stationed at and in the vicinity of Tullahoma, Tennessee, while the Federal army under Rosecrans was confronting him with his forces at and in the vicinity of Murfreesboro. The Ninth Kentucky Cavalry to which I belonged was some time in May sent to the vicinity of Readyville for the purpose of guarding a very important position in the direction of McMinnville. We were required to picket a continuous line for about fourteen miles, which formed what is called in military parlance a chain picket.¹

    Our men and horses, after having gone through...

  20. 13 The Days Dragged Slowly By
    (pp. 177-188)

    The men of the command were finally sent to Camp Douglas and at least some of them to Fort Delaware. I was about the same time sent to Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay, Lake Erie, in the extreme northern portion of the State of Ohio, together with about thirty other officers. This was in July 1863. I then began an imprisonment which for length of time, harshness of treatment and intense suffering, cannot be portrayed in these pages. No one can convey an idea of what poor, helpless Confederate soldiers saw and felt on that cold and dreary island during...

  21. 14 With Three Days’ Rations, We Started Home
    (pp. 189-204)

    Finally about last of January or first of February 1865, a cartel of exchange was agreed upon by the two Governments. The reason exchanging prisoners had ceased was that the United States demanded that the negro soldiers captured by the Confederate forces should be put on a footing of other prisoners and exchanged, while the Confederate Government very properly refused to do this, claiming the negro soldiers were, in truth and fact, the property of the Southern people, and, as such, when captured should be returned to their respective masters and owners. This was the barrier to an exchange; this...

  22. Memorandum
    (pp. 205-206)
    J. M. Porter
  23. Notes
    (pp. 207-270)
  24. Bibliography
    (pp. 271-278)
  25. Index
    (pp. 279-300)