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July 4th, 148 years ago: John Hunt Morgan paid a visit to Columbia, KY

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By Vonnie Kolbenschlag

The story about the duel ( Jim's account from an early newspaper) written by P.H. Bridgewater of Cane Valley, has a connection to Civil War happenings on July 4, 1863. Bridgewater was a friend of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and it was in his house that Morgan stayed when he made the infamous longest raid and had some problems getting across Tebbs Bend in Taylor County

The Bridgewater log house still exists, but it has siding to cover the logs and a large two story house sits connected, facing Campbellsville Road. The shape of the old Bridgewater house can be visualized behind the two story white house. The Bridgewater house looks like the shape of houses built in the early 1800s.

On July 4, 148 years ago Columbia had just been ravaged by 2400 troops passing through and taking whatever they wished - they were indeed "raiders." There was not much forewarning because George Ellsworth, Morgan's brilliant telegrapher had come through a few days earlier and destroyed the telegraph lines- he was good at it and foiled numerous attempts to communicate. The telegraph was at Camp Boyle and there is a highway marker telling more about it along Campbellsville Road on Barbee property. There's a place to pull off to read the marker.

There is a highway marker at the Gate station at the junction of Hudson Street and Burkesville Street. That was the way Morgan's Raiders came through on the longest raid in the Civil War as witnessed by H.C. Baker who lived in the brick house that still stands nearby. The few soldiers stationed in Columbia could not stop this large a force.

There is also a marker in Cane Valley by the Christian Church telling more about the Tebb's Bend encounter.

Morgan was finally captured in Ohio and put in the Ohio Penitentiary. He later escaped, but was shot and killed a year later. --Vonnie Kolbenschlag

This story was posted on 2011-07-04 15:50:28
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