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1864 September 10: John Hunt Morgan Killed

September 14, 2014

The following is from The Polk County Press of September 10, 1864.

JOHN MORGAN [John H. Morgan] SURPRISED, DEFEATED AND KILLED.

CINCINNATI, Sept. 6—During the storms of Saturday night and Sunday morning about five inches of rain fell.  Nearly all the railroads centering here were damaged by the washing away of tracks and bridges.  The damages have been repaired and the trains will run on time to-day.

The “Commercial” publishes the following dispatch :

Knoxville, Tenn., Sept. 5—The following official telegram from Gen. Gillen [sic]¹ was received early this evening :

BULL’S GAP, Tenn. Sept. 4.

To Gen. Tilliston [sic]² :

I surpprised [sic], defeated and killed Morgan at Greenville [sic] this morning.  The killed are scattered four miles, and have not yet been counted, but will probably number from fifty to one hundred.  About seventy-prisoners were captured.  Among the captured were Morgan’s staff.  We captured one piece of artillery and a cassion [sic].  The rebel force outnumbered mine but the surprise was complete.

1.  Alvan Cullem Gillem (1830-1875) graduated from West Point in 1851 and served in the 2nd Seminole War and on the Texas frontier.  Although Southern-born, he remained loyal to the Federal government and fought in several battles in the Western Theater. From June 1, 1863, until the close of the war, with rank of brigadier general of volunteers, he was active in Tennessee, where he was adjutant general. He commanded the troops guarding the Nashville and Northwestern railroad from June 1863, until August 1864. In a campaign to protect the loyal mountaineers in eastern Tennessee, his troops surprised and killed Morgan in Greeneville. Following the War, he commanded occupation troops in Mississippi and Arkansas during Reconstruction. In 1873 he was prominent in the military operations against the Modoc Indians in California.
2.  Davis Tillson (1830-1895) attended West Point, but did not graduate due to an injury which eventually led to the foot being amputated. He was elected to the Maine legislature in 1857 and in 1858 was named adjutant-general of the state. He entered the Civil War in November 1861 as captain of the 2nd Battery, 1st Maine Mounted Artillery, and fought with distinction at the Battles of Cedar Mountain and Second Bull Run. Tillson was promoted to major, then lieutenant colonel, and finally to brigadier general of  Volunteers on March 21, 1863. He served as Chief of Artillery for the Department of the Ohio, and commanded defensive fortifications in the siege of Knoxville; commanded a brigade of infantry in the Army of the Ohio’s XXIII Corps; appointed to command the Department of East Tennessee in January 1865; and eventually ended the war as commander of the 4th Division of the XXIII Corps. While in Knoxville, he raised the 1st regiment  heavy artillery US Colored Troops was mustered into service in February 1864 and assigned to Tillson’s 2nd brigade. The 3rd North Carolina mounted infantry, also made up of colored troops, was organized in Knoxville in June 1864 with Tillson’s urging and, attached to Tillson’s 2nd brigade. After the War, Tillson remained in the Union army until January 1867, directing the Freedman’s Bureau in Tennessee and then in Georgia. He eventually returned to Maine, establishing a granite quarry in 1870; granite from Tillson’s quarry is one of the major components of the Washington Monument.

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