2. The Battle of Tebbs Bend, July 4, 1863
One reason the Battle of Tebbs Bend is largely forgotten is that it took place at the same time as Lee’s retreat from Gettysburg, as well as Grant’s capture of Vicksburg. Confederate Brigadier John Hunt Morgan led a brigade of over 2,400 cavalrymen, all hand-picked, across Kentucky with the intention of crossing the Ohio River into Indiana and Ohio. The raid was to forage, as well as provide a diversion from other Confederate operations in the Cumberland Valley. Crossing the Green River at Tebbs Bend, Morgan’s cavalry encountered a small force of Union troops (about 200 infantry from the 25th Michigan) in prepared, fortified positions. Morgan divided his force, sending the larger portion on a flanking maneuver. After the Union troops refused his surrender demands, Morgan attacked. He met with stiff resistance.
The battle continued for about three hours, with Morgan launching multiple attacks to little avail. Finally, the Confederate commander sent a message under a flag of truce, requesting a ceasefire to allow him to collect his casualties. With that complete, he withdrew, seeking another point to cross the Green River and continue west. At Tebbs Bend, Union forces repelled an enemy attack despite being outnumbered by nearly five to one. Morgan lost over two dozen veteran officers, targeted by Union sharpshooters. Despite the repulse, his legendary raid continued. Morgan’s Raid continued through the rest of July across Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, with some detachments reaching as far north as Salineville, where he was finally defeated and captured on July 26. Imprisoned at the Ohio State Penitentiary, he and several officers made a daring escape and returned to combat that winter.