Morgan rides, as battle nears

Jack Latta jlatta@civitasmedia.com

September 3, 2013

PRESTONSBURG — A re-enactors prepare to take the field, organizers still say Civil War exploits of Kentucky characters are often overlooked.

Last Thursday, John Hunt Morgan and his horse, Traveler, portrayed by John Ison and Pedro, again rode the streets of Prestonsburg to celebrate the upcoming 151st anniversary of the Battle of Middle Creek, Sept. 6-8, and the exploits of this Civil War general.

Morgan was greeted by many well-wishers and business owners on the street and also introduced to Floyd County Superintendent of Schools Henry Webb in front of the historic Bank Josephine Building; a structure and institution organizers say was built by the Davidson family who helped shelter Morgan during his Civil War visits.

The Civil War is replete with heroes as any eight grade history book confirms will show says Floyd Davis. Two armies, and both sides had those who bled and died for their causes; yet the hills of Eastern Kentucky are strangely silent. It’s not because we did not have heroes among us says Floyd Davis.

“Union Commander James A Garfield used his reputation as the “Hero of Middle Creek” to climb all the way to the White House, and the exploits of Ruben Patrick (a largely unsung local Union partisan from Magoffin County) would have made Robin Hood envious,” says Davis “yet where their songs should be sung loudest there is silence.”

Davis adds that John Hunt Morgan was one of the best-known Confederate Generals from Lexington, Kentucky, made frequent trips into Eastern Kentucky, traveled the Rebel trace of Floyd and Magoffin counties to avoid Union troops, and conducted extensive military operations in the Licking River Valley.

“Yet, he is on the verge of vanishing into an unspoken part of our history,” says Davis.

The General’s tour last Thursday marked locations such as the site of the Garfield House where Morgan had briefly rested during his retreat from the Second Battle of Cynthiana in 1864. Davis hopes that the Battle of Middlecreek and Morgan’s ride through Prestonsburg help to continue and illuminate the legacy of Kentucky’s civil war legends.

Organizers of the Friends of Middle Creek say that offer their sincere thanks to member Johnny Ison for his most able portrayal of the Morgan character.