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1864 June 25: The Second Battle of Cynthiana

June 30, 2014

The Second Battle of Cynthiana consisted of three separate engagement on June 11 and 12, 1864, in and near the town of Cynthiana, Kentucky.  Although John Hunt Morgan initially defeated two smaller Union forces  on June 11, the battle the next day resulted in a Union victory and ended Morgan’s Last Kentucky Raid.

On June 11, Morgan and his 1,200 cavalrymen surrounded Cynthiana and launched an attack against the 300-man home guard, setting fire to the town and destroying many buildings.  Meanwhile, another Union force of 750 men under command of General  Edward H. Hobson arrived north of town at Keller’s Bridge.  Hobson’s troops fought Morgan’s force for about six hours, eventually trapping them and taking them prisoner.  While considered part of the Second Battle of Cynthiana, this engagement with Hobson is also known as the Battle of Keller’s Bridge.

Morgan decided to take a chance the following day on another contest.  General Stephen G. Burbridge, with a force of 2,400 men, attacked Morgan at dawn on June 12, driving the Rebels back and causing them to flee.  Only a small fraction of Morgan’s men escaped with their lives, including Hunt and some of his officers.

The following article is from the June 25, 1864, issue of The Polk County Press.

Rebel Raid into Kentucky.

CINCINNATI, June 11.—Further reports of the fight yesterday represent the rebel loss at 300 killed and wounded and about 700 prisoners.  Burbridge is supposed to be pursuing the remnant of Morgan’s command.

The loss to the Kentucky Central Railroad is estimated at about $2,000,000.  There were five locomotives and seventy-five cars at Lexington which were reported uninjured.

CINCINNATI, June 12.—Morgan, with about 3,000 men, attacked a force under Gen. Hobson, at Cynthiana yesterday, and after a very severe fight compelled Hobson to surrender on condition that his men should be immediately exchanged.

The fighting took place in the streets of Cynthiana and some of our troops took refuge in the Court House, and in order to dislodge them the stables were set fire.  About twenty buildings were consumed.

Our loss—killed 15, wounded 50.  Col. Berry, Provost Marshal of Covington, mortally wounded.  The Colonel of the 108th Ohio is severely wounded.  It is also reported that Hobson is wounded.

Our loss in prisoners is from 1,200 to 1,500 men.  This morning Gen. Burbridge, who left Paris last night fell upon Morgan while his men were at breakfast.  After heavy fighting he completely defeated the rebels.—About 150 prisoners were taken.—Burbridge followed closely the fleeing rebels.

LOUISVILLE, June 12.—Col. Carrington has just received a telegram from Gen. Burbridge’s A. A. G. at Lexington, who says that the rebels left yesterday for Georgetown, and went east from there.  Burbridge started in pursuit with fresh horses last night, and will push them rapidly.

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