Colonel Mullen and the Army Post at Madison
A Brief Historical Sketch of Colonel Mullen
In May of 1978 Bro. Andrew Mullen, C. PP. S., wrote
“Southern Indiana and the city of Madison hold a secret charm for me because both sides of my ancestral family, for a time, had its roots here. It was through the study of my Hoosier roots that I became interested in Col. Mullen and the Army Post at Madison."
Bro. Mullen was kind enough to leave a copy of the research he gathered with us. It is a written snapshot of the upheaval caused by a Civil War that encompassed a whole country and the citizens living in it. The desperation, determination and heroism of the common man is highlighted in this vignette of a doctor/soldier and a town he swore to defend.
Barnard F. Mullen, the son of Hugh and Bridget (McCoy) Mullen was born on March 4th, 1825 in a town called Manayunk, Pennsylvania, now a suburb of Philadelphia. Bernard received his primary education in the Catholic parochial school there. His Irish pioneer family moved to Napoleon in Ripley County, Indiana while he was still in his teens in the early 1840s. He studied medicine under his brother, Dr. Alexander, at Versailles Medical Seminary, eleven miles south of Napoleon. In 1846 Bernard enlisted and went off to war; he was the youngest surgeon to serve in the Mexican-U. S. Conflict. He served in Colonel H. Lane’s 3rd Indiana Regiment and later he became assistant surgeon to Colonel George W. Morgan’s 2nd Ohio Volunteer Regiment.
After the Mexican War was over Dr. Bernard F. Mullen returned to Indiana, settled down at Madison, and began to build up his medical practice. He married Mary F. Mancourt in 1849 at St. Michael’s Church. In 1853 he moved his family to Napoleon, Indiana where he opened up an office. Dr. Bernard Mullen was present at Indiana’s first state medical convention held in Indianapolis on June 6, 1849. In March of 1859 Dr. Mullen was appointed by Governor Asbel P. Willard as one of the three commissioners who were responsible for establishing the New Northern Indiana State Prison at Michigan City, Indiana. Doctor Mullen was active in the Ripley County State Militia and during the Civil War he gained fame as Commander of 35th Indiana Volunteer Regiment in the battles of Stone River, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in the Chattanooga Campaign. After the Civil War he became a well known figure in the Fenian Brotherhood. [The Fenian Brotherhood was an Irish Republican organization founded in the United States in 1850s by John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny. It was a precursor to Clan na Gael, a sister organization to the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Members were commonly known as “Fenians”. The revolutionary society was founded by John O’Mahony in 1858. O’Mahony, who was a Celtic scholar, named his organization after the Fianna, the legendary band of Irish warriors led by Fionn mac Cumhaill.] Irish Republic of New York. In January of 1866 Col. Mullen became Secretary of War of the Fenian Army and Navy under Colonel John O’Mahoney. After the Fenian fiasco [The Fenian movement in America had a career of its own. In 1865 a convention at Cincinnati determined upon an invasion of Canada. In June, 1866, Gen. John O’Neill (1834–78) with about 800 men crossed the Niagara River and captured Fort Erie. His force was soon cut off by U.S. troops, and he was obliged to retreat toward Buffalo. Some 700 men were arrested.] Dr. Mullen returned to Madison, Indiana. He excelled as an author, orator, musician and poet in addition to attaining the reputation as on of the finest surgeons in Indiana.
In the summer of 1871 he moved his family to Terre Haute where he became active in Democratic politics. In late January of 1879 Dr. Mullen made his last political trip from Terre Haute to Indianapolis. He was candidate for State Librarian. On February 3rd 1879 he died of consumption in his hotel room at Indianapolis. He was buried with full military honors at St. Joseph’s Cemetery, Terre Haute.
Colonel Mullen Returns to Indiana
In February 1863 Col. Mullen came back home from Tennessee from the War, from the Battle of Murfreesboro; returned home to southern Indiana and here woodlands and the lovely surrounding hills that engulfed the river city of Madison on the beautiful winding waters of the Ohio.
*The following four sentences about Col. Mullen’s family are historical imagery based on fact.How happy he was to be home among his family circle with his wife, Mary and the boys, Freddie, Alex and Bernard, Jr. He lifted 3 year old baby Mary high above his shoulders and made her laugh. And the boys stopped playing Billy Yank and Johnnie Reb long enough so that they might hear his exciting tales of the War. He told them about the deafening roar of the big guns of Stone River as they barked their messages of destruction at each other, cannonade upon cannonade, about the sights of blood, sweat, death and dying that he had seen. His regiment had protected the Corps Hospital from capture by the enemy cavalry. Three times during those fearful days he had led his men across Stone River and back again in obedience to orders. Shot through the right thigh he lay exposed to the cold rainy night blast of winter. He himself bound and dressed his wound –and the following day, Colonel Mullen led his Regiment victoriously into the town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He had done his duty best. The following three weeks he was sick with a severe bronchial condition and confined to his bed at Murfreesboro. In early February he received a twenty-one day leave of absence from General Resecrans to return home to Indiana. He had his successes as well as his trials in the months he had been in field with his Irish Regiment. The struggle for command between Colonel John C. Walker and him (that) had lasted a long three months between June and August of 1862, was now over. Colonel Walker’s deceptive words and letters to the Governor of Indiana, O. P. Morton, and the Superior Commanding Army officers had wounded his honor as a military officer appointed by the same O. P. Morton. Colonel Mullen was at Louisville that December day in 1862 procuring tents for the 35th Regiment when the sad news reached him of the death of (his nephew) his brother, Dr. Alexander’s son. The men and officers of the regiment commissioned and paid for a monument to be placed back in Madison in St. Patricks Cemetery where the young fallen hero Adjutant now lay at peace.
Morgan Crosses into Indiana
The Ohio River, the natural barrier that divides the State of Kentucky from the State of Indiana, was higher that usual that July. Because of the high waters at the fording places along the river this would prove to be an important factor in the ultimate capture of General John Hunt Morgan and his men nearly three weeks later at New Lisbon, Ohio.
Early in the afternoon of July 7th, 1863 General Morgan and his cavalry captured the mail boat, John T. McCombs. Later the same day the packet Alice Dean was also surprised and captured by the attackers. Morgan now had his means to cross from Kentucky into Indiana.
The next morning as the hazy fog slowly lifted from the opposite shore, (Indiana side) Morgan was busily engaged getting his first regiments boated across the river. Their crossing was contested by a small force of Indiana militiamen with one small rifle cannon. A number of hardy salvos were fired across the waters at Morgan’s men as they crossed over on the boats. When the first two regiment of rebels reached the Indiana shore the Indiana militia quickly disappeared from sight leaving their cannon behind.
Another event now took place to slow Morgan’s entry into Indiana. The Union gunboat,Springfield, under Ensign Watson steamed up the river to do battle and if possible stop the invaders from completing their crossing on to the Indiana shore. From the high bluff on the Kentucky side of the river the rebel artillery pounded away at the Springfield. After an unequal battle of about an hour and a half the Union gunboat retired for re-enforcements. Morgan then proceeded to boat the rest of his men across the river. It was about mid-night when the last of Morgan’s horse soldiers with their four cannon were all over on the Indiana side. Shortly thereafter, early the following day, Rebel cavalry about 2,500 strong under General Morgan headed for Corydon, Indiana where the union forces were defeated by the quick footed Rebel horsemen.
Gunboats Defend the Waters Near Madison
A dispatch was sent from headquarters at Indianapolis to Captain Pennock commanding the river fleet at Cairo, Illinois, Informing him of the invasion and requesting the assistance of all his available gunboats to prevent the Rebels from recrossing the Ohio. There were six gunboats on the river at that time. Governor Morton suggested the arming of ordinary steamers as river patrols. Lt. Commander Brown of the navy, then in Indianapolis on leave, was appointed to the Ohio River Service to organize and command a number of these made over gunboats. The idea proved to be a good one and Morgan’s escape across the river at one of the many fords between Madison, Louisville and Cincinnati was probably prevented and his final capture assured.
Colonel Bernard F. Mullen, Post Commander at Madison, Indiana co-operated to the fullest extent with Lt. Commander Brown in the armament of the ferryboat docked at the city riverfront for river patrol duty on the Ohio. Col. Mullen issued the following order on July 10th, “The Ferry Boat, Union, having in compliance with orders received from General Willcox, Commander, District of Michigan and Indiana, have been seized for use of the Government under the Military authorities. Capt. David H. Smith, Acting Quarter Master will receipt for and cause the necessary repairs and alterations to make her efficient for the service.” The Union was fitted withy bales of hay attached to her sides and decks. A section of the Indiana Legion, Western Artillery was ordered to man the two Rodman rifled cannon placed on board the converted ferryboat. During the time of the Morgan chase these men would be under the direct command of Lt. Commander Brown of the Navy.
The Madison Daily Courier tells of the great excitement down by the waters of the Ohio before the city, “The ferryboat, Union, has been pressed into service of the government and will be equipped as a gunboat for river duty. Hurrah for the Union. Long may she wave! Never may she waver.”
On July 10th, 1863 Commander LeRoy Fitch of the Navy issued the following order concerning the protection of unarmed steamers in the Ohio River. “For the present unarmed steamers must not run below Madison, Indiana without convoy. Gunboats will be in readiness to convoy from there down.” From Cincinnati, Ohio the same day Major General Burnside telegraphed a communication to Commander Fitch aboard the gunboat, Moose, New Albany, Indiana concerning the placement of gunboats on the Ohio. Burnside said, “One of the gunboats should be at Madison, where they can be in communication with this place. You, of course, know the points that should be guarded below the falls. Send the two boats from below to Madison at once.” The following day as Morgan’s Raiders moved toward Vernon, Indiana, Lt. Commander Fitch replied to General Burnside’s communication of the preceding day from the Moose at New Albany, “Will do my best to intercept Morgan. Boat will be at Madison to receive dispatch.—-Please telegraph gunboat at Madison also at New Albany when you get word of Morgan’s whereabouts.” Lt. Commander Fitch, in his report of July 11th from Louisville, Kentucky states, “I sent the Springfield and Victory above the falls this morning to keep up a patrol from Madison down, as I do not yet hear of the Reindeer and Naumkeag having arrived.” The following day, July 12th, the gunboats, Moose and Fitch stopped off the waters before Madison, Indiana. The naval commander was there long enough to get off a short report to Admiral Porter about the operations of the preceding day at Twelve Mile Island. In a telegram to Commander Fitch from General Burnside of July 12th, Burnside said that from Vernon, Indiana, General Love had informed that Morgan had declined to fight him at that place and Love believed him hastening toward Madison—-that he should reach the Ohio at Madison or vicinity about early dawn and that Morgan’s command seemed wearied and anxious to escape. General Burnside went on to inform Fitch, “It is possible that Morgan will try to get over above Madison. Please look to him there.” In a report of Lt. Commander Fitch from Aurora, Indiana, dated July 13th he says, “TheNaumkeag I left last night at Madison, with the steamer Union, fitted up with hay bales, and under the command of Lt. Commander George Brown. If Morgan should make a retrograde movement and strike at Madison, or hit the river either a short distance above or below, I trust to these two boats to check him.” On July 14th Fitch sent the following communication from New Albany, Indiana to Fleet Captain A. M. Pennock—“Have seven boats on patrol from Madison to Carrollton. A final note on the Navy’s part on the river before Madison—dated July 15th, from the HeadQts. Of the Military Commander, Army Post Madison, order no. 19, concerning men of the Indiana Legion aboard the gunboat, Union, “In the absence of Captain Brown U. S. Navy, Lt. E. Green is hereby assigned to the command of the Gun Boat, Union.” “The section of Western Artillery now on board the Union immediately under the command of Lt. Green will remain detached from their original command until further orders from these Headquarter—by command—B. F. Mullen, Colonel Commanding.”
Appointment as Post Commandant
Since his arrival home in Madison, a period of about two months, the colonel had regained much of his strength. In his buoyant self he journeyed back and forth between Madison and Indianapolis to take care of regimental business at Army Head-Quarters at the State Capital. He soon returned home to his family at Madison, where he suffered a mild relapse in illness in March. Col. Mullen continued to conduct regimental affairs of the 35th Indiana Volunteers through the mails with General Lazarus Noble and Governor Morton. In April and May the colonel was well enough so that he was able to engage in the recruiting of troops, and he scheduled visits to the Indiana cities of Michigan City, Lafayette, Terre Haute and Evansville. On the twelfth of June, 1863, Governor Morton appointed him as Commandant of the Army Post at Madison. From the Headquarters of the District of Indiana, Indianapolis—“Colonel B. F. Mullen, 35th Regt. Indiana is hereby temporarily assigned to duty at the Post of Madison, Indiana—He will be obeyed and respected accordingly. The Quartermaster and Commissary Depts. will furnish transportation and subsistence on his order.” Signed by Command of General Willcox. The first order that was issued from the Army Post at Madison, also dated June 12th was short and to the point. “The undersigned hereby assumes Command of this Post, B. F. Mullen, Colonel 35th Indiana Volunteers.”
The Darkening Clouds of Rumor
Even a couple of weeks before Morgan’s actual raid into Indiana forebodings of some kind of sortie into the state by a band of wandering enemy marauders was half expected. The skies were already darkening for just such an event to take place. From headquarters at Indianapolis, June 20th, Adjt. General Laz Noble informed Col Mullen at Madison, “General Mansfield will be home tonight. He and Col Sering will order out the Legion, if necessary advance with them.” One June 22nd General Willcox ordered Captain Denny of the 67th Regiment Indiana Volunteers and fifty men of the 51st Regiment Indiana Volunteers to report to the Post Commander for duty at Madison.
On June 28th, Col. Mullen wrote General Laz Noble the following concerning the fact that no regular army troops could be spared for the defense of the Post at Madison by either General Burnside or General Willcox, “It will be seen that no regular troops can be spared to defend this post, indeed both General Burnside and General Willcox throw responsibility of its defense upon the citizens. I need not urge the necessity of a force to guard the public buildings at this point—the danger of small bodies making a dash upon us burning our hospitals, capturing and paroling its inmates is clearly manifest. I suggest and respectfully recommend that two companies of the Legion, Saltida (Saluda?) Guards Middle Fork Guards, Infantry, and also Hanover Vedettes’ Cavalry be immediately called into service. These companies I am assured can easily be recruited to 100 strong—and they are anxious to go into active service. I feel confident they will respond to the call with alacrity. I have arranged with Col. Sering to have the balance of his command ready for service in an hours notice. Col. Sering is an energetic officer and has given me much assistance in the preparation of the defense of this post. He suggests that Major Patten be appointed to the command of the battalion of Infantry.——I trust the subject of guarding the public property here and the defense of the post will receive prompt attention of his Excellency the Governor. Respectfully, Your Obt. Servt. B. F. Mullen”
Copperhead Minister Guides Morgan
The reverend Minor Horten, a Methodist or Baptist preacher is or was in the Union, Boone County, Kentucky. During the raid made by Morgan through the State of Indiana he voluntarily piloted Morgan as far as North Bend at which point he swam the River and went into Kentucky. He was recognized by a number of citizens and proofs against him were undoubtedly well substantiated. Complaint was lodged against him by Captain W. B. Davis, 7th Indiana Cavalry. Col. B. F. Mullen sent a note from Post headquarter, Madison to Captain George W. Berry, Provost Marshall of Covington, Kentucky on August 14th, 1863 asking Captain Berry to have the kindness to arrest preacher Horten and to send him to the post at Madison that he might be turned over for trial by the proper authorities.
Morgan’s Coming! Marshall Law for Madison!
Post Headquarter, Madison, July 10th, 1863—-No furloughs will be granted to the men within the limits of this command unless with the approval of the officer commanding Post. Last Friday night, July 10th the following order was issued to the general populace through auspices of the Madison Daily Courier: “Office of the Post Commandant, July 10, 1863-The undersigned calls the attention of the citizens of Madison to the following Proclamation of his Excellency, Governor Morton-GENERAL ORDERS-Executive Dept. Indianapolis, July 9, 1863. Satisfactory evidence having been received that the rebels have invaded Indiana in considerable force, it is hereby ordered, and required, that all able-bodied white male citizens in the several counties south of the national Road, forthwith form themselves into Companies of at least sixty persons, elect officers, and arm themselves with such arms as they may be able to procure. Said Companies will perfect themselves in military drill as rapidly as possible, and hold themselves subject to further orders from this Department. It is desired that they shall be mounted, in all cases where it is possible. The people in all other parts of the State are earnestly requested to meet and form military companies, and hold themselves subject to orders. Prompt reports of the formation of companies should be forwarded by telegraph. All officers of the Indiana Legion are charged with the execution of this order, and all United Stated officers are requested to render such assistance as may be in their power. Signed: O. P. Morton-Governor and Commander-in-Chief.” In accordance with this Proclamation, it is hereby ordered that all places of business, excepting the Courier Printing Office, Telegraph Office, Post Office, Drug Store, and Livery Stables, be closed each afternoon at 3 o’clock until further orders, in order to give to the citizens an opportunity to meet in their respective Wards, and effect a thorough military organization. The following dispatch has just been received: “Indianapolis, July 10th-To Colonel B. F. Mullen-I have ordered troops to Madison and will send a thousand guns with ammunition. Signed: O. P. Morton.” It is evident from this that the Governor expects to see the citizens, to the number of one thousand, organize themselves into companies at once. Certain information has reached these Headquarters, that a large force of the enemy are in Indiana, and are endeavoring to escape by the way of Madison. The enemy must be met and defeated. The honor of our State, the lives and property of the citizens, alike demand at our hands the sacrifice of devoting a few days to military duty. Any business house failing to comply with the above published will be closed by the Acting Provost Marshal.-B. F. Mullen, Colonel Commanding Post. MADISON DAILYCOURIER, Saturday, July 11th.
The Foe! They Come!
From the capital and various points on the railroad, as well as from Switzerland and other adjacent counties, the young men and old are pouring in. Though our enemy is strong (reported at several thousand with artillery, and splendidly mounted) we shall go forth with undaunted hearts to certain victory. It is the determination of Colonels Sering and Mullen that John Morgan shall not cross the Ohio at Madison alive, he must be met and vanquished.
General Army Post Duties
Captain Samuel Denny of the 67th Regt. is to take charge of all convalescents reported by the Post Surgeon fit for duty. The convalescent soldiers are to be placed on the lightest duty of the Garrison and not exposed as guards or sentinels in bad weather. Dr. Winnie is the Surgeon in charge of the General Hospital. William H. Hubbs is appointed Post Adjutant and Sergt. William T. McClure of the 51st Regt. is appointed as acting Sergeant Major. Col. Mullen ordered that the rolls and records of the hospital should be in quadruplicate—the heading filled out, the recapitulation entered and they should be signed by the surgeon in charge of the hospital and the papers should be sent to the Commandant’s Office.
Hospital Guard Rules
Asst. Surgeon Winnie in Charge of the General Hospital: A detachment is furnished to guard duty at the Hospital. The Surgeon is in charge of instructing the officer of the guard in such details as he may deem advisable and proper. When instructions are to be changed or modified such changes or modifications will be made by the surgeon only. It is considered that aside from police regulations, medical treatment and hygienic rules of the hospital, that the hospital forms a part of this military Command. To enable him to discharge his duty properly, regular reports as required by the regulations will be made to the office and any dereliction of duty by the guard will be promptly reported to this office. The Colonel Commanding the Post insists upon strict compliance with these instructions, Signed, B. F. Mullen.
Spy and Secret Service
On July 2nd, Col. Mullen engaged a private U. S. Detective, Mr. James J. Nuttall to go across the Ohio River into Kentucky to enquire into the affairs of Trimble County as regards to wandering rebel marauders or Copperheads. He promised in a note to Major Fitch, Provost Marshal General of Kentucky that, “Anything of interest that I may discover through Nuttall’s dangerous spying operation will be reported to Kentucky District Headquarters.”
Morgan Outwits Militia
While General John Morgan’s Cavalry regiments were well along the road to Madison and their historic feint of that city, local units of the Indiana home guard converged on Madison to protect it and the landing and prevent Morgan from crossing the Ohio. The Confederates met one of these detachments on its way to re-enforce Colonel Bernard F. Mullen and Colonel Samuel Sering. On this particular sortie the horses were tied to the trees and the men were boasting among themselves what they should do to John Morgan should they encounter him or any of his rebel raiders. Three hundred State militia minute men were resting in the shade of a small grove of trees. An officer in command of the militia on seeing the column of strange armed horsemen ride up asked one of the raiders, “Who are you?” “Wolford’s cavalry”, replied the Rebel. “We are glad to see you Kentucky boys” said the Hoosier. “Where is Wolford?” Morgan road up and was introduced as Wolford. “What are you going to do with these men and horses?” asked the General. The commanding officer of the Indiana home guard said, “That horse thieving rascal, John Hunt Morgan is in the state and we are hurrying to the relief of Madison.” “I know he is very hard to catch.” replied Morgan. “Me and my men have been trailing him for nearly two weeks.” Morgan then told the officer, “We need fresh horses ours are tired. How about swapping horses and saddles with us so that we can continue our chase after that slippery eel Morgan fellow.” It was so agreed and the rebels did the swapping with the Hoosiers. With a whoop the Confederates and General Morgan were off in a hurry leaving the bewildered and disgruntled Indiana Militia with the jaded horses far behind.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
The Madison Rifles are stationed near Ritchie’s on Michigan Hill and the boys have a log mounted on a carriage and placed in battery. Dr.____________of this city hove in sight this morning: The gun was run out ostentatiously sighted, primed artistically from a cartridge and touched off with a lighted cigar. At the flash (in the pan) the worthy Dr. made a dem volte and sloped “for tall timber” but hearing no report, he smelled mice, turned to headquarters and good humouredly joined in the laugh against himself. “Honi soit qui maly pense!” which means, evil be to him who evil thinks.
Morgan Snaps, Doesn’t Bite
From all over Indiana and western Kentucky along the Ohio reports filtered in from the various Union Army Command Posts and from the different Generals and commanders in the field who were taking active part in the chase. Many were convinced that Morgan’s forces were heading straight for the river valley city of Madison. On July 10th General Burnside at Cincinnati wired General Boyle at Louisville, Kentucky, “It is very important that two or three gunboats should keep plying between Madison and Louisville to keep the enemy from crossing.” General Boyle at Louisville sent a message General Harstuff at Danville, Ind., “Morgan is on the back track and will strike the river at Madison. I will endeavor to intercept him.” Later the afternoon of the same day General Boyle sent another communication to General Harstuff, warning that Morgan and his men might be making a break for Western Virginia, “General Harstuff, I believe unless he (Morgan) concludes to go to National Road, and thence to Western Virginia, he will endeavor to cross above this city (Louisville) and take Madison at Grass Flats, where he will attempt to ford. Hobson is in pursuit.” Colonel Cyrus L. Dunham at Salem, Indiana informed General Boyle and General Manson, “Rebels are pushing for Lexington, Greensborough or Madison and will try to cross the river at or near Warsaw.” At Indianapolis General Willcox telegraphed to General Boyle at Louisville that the Army Post at Madison was ready for an attack if Morgan should push on to that city, “General Boyle, should they cross at Grassy Flats, have you anything to intercept them? They feel confident at Madison.”
On the following day, July 11th General Morgan was still seen drawing closer and closer to Madison and an attack on that place was felt imminent. General Burnside from Cincinnati wired General Boyle at Louisville, “The commanding officer at Madison has over 1000 infantry, 144 cavalry and four Rodman guns, two of which he has put on the ferryboat, Union commanded by Capt. George Brown of the Navy. Col. Mullen is picketing all the roads from the city, and will barricade them if the enemy approaches. He seems to be a reliable man. Some 500 additional men are on their way from Indianapolis and have arrived before this. It would be well to send Manson.” From Salem, Indiana General Hobson had telegraphed to General Boyle, “General, I am here with my command; marched 50 miles yesterday. Morgan has gone in direction of Madison. If he can be checked up in front, I will attack him in rear. Fresh horses cannot be procured in this part of the State.”
General Willcox in a message from Indianapolis to General Burnside in Cincinnati says the railway station at Seymour is open for troops to be transported to Madison at once. “General Burnside, I have ordered 800 men from Seymour. The same train can take the troops to Madison. Will there be gunboats at Madison and Westport? I hope we may be able to prevent Morgan’s escape.” Later the same day General Burnside replied in answer to General Willcox, “I learned from General Boyle that the gunboats sent from Louisville up the river are engaged near Madison, which indicates that the enemy is trying to cross there.” Colonel Mullen from the Madison Army Post by the way of Vevay of July 11 telegraphed to General Burnside in Cincinnati, “The railroad and telegraph wire cut at Vernon at 5 p. m., stopping train of re-enforcements for Madison. The enemy moved on Paris, then to Vernon. My forces consist of 1,200 infantry, four pieces of artillery, and 150 cavalry, imperfectly and poorly provided with ammunition. We have 300 to 500 without arms. Can you send me men, arms and ammunition? The latter, for the Austrian rifle .54 and smooth musket.69; also 3-inch and 6-inch canister. Answer. B. F. MULLEN, Colonel, Commanding Post.”
General Mahlon Manson telegraphed to Lt. Col. Richmond, Chief of Staff, the following message from Vevay, July 12, 1863, “I reached Madison at 1 a. m. today. Last heard from Morgan was 5 p. m. yesterday. He was said to be at Vernon; and between that place and Madison, could get no definite information of him, and moved with my force to Carrollton, Ky. On arriving at Carrollton, I received a dispatch from the commander of the post at Madison that a portion of Morgan’s force was within 4 miles of town. If I receive no order within one hour from you, I will return to Madison, as it is impossible for me to determine at what point Morgan will attempt to cross. There are three gunboats below this point and Madison.” General Burnside at Cincinnati wired Governor Morton at Indianapolis, “Governor, if 500 re-enforcements have gone to Madison, as Willcox telegraphs, and Wallace about to start with 2,500 more, that place will be amply strong, and Love would be better at Vernon.”
From Indianapolis, General Willcox labored to keep the head of the Ohio and Indiana Military Department informed on General Morgan’s latest movements. In a communiqué dated 6 a. m. July 12th, Indianapolis, Willcox tells General Burnside, “Wallace is reported at North Vernon. If Morgan has gone to Madison, (Gen’ls) Love and Wallace will soon be there. (Willcox relates) “Communication of General Love to Willcox at Vernon, July 11th, 9 p.m. states, Information just received leads me to believe he (Morgan) will ot fight, but has gone toward Madison. Have heard nothing from Wallace and Hughes. Signed, General Willcox.
July 12th the same day, General Burnside at Cincinnati to General Willcox in a wire states that it would be the wisest policy to strengthen the Post at Madison to be safe. Reports from all over the state still seem to indicate that Morgan Raiders will attack that city. “General Willcox, I thought Madison strong enough to resist attack, but it would be well to get some re-enforcements. You (we) get information that Morgan has certainly been on that place. I have notified the gunboats that he may attempt to cross above Madison. I think you have a good chance to catch Morgan at last. Hobson ought to be close onto his heels. A. E. Burnside.” The same day General Burnside to General Willcox at Indianapolis, “Have you any information as to the whereabouts of Morgan? I am very anxious to hear, in order to decide as to sending troops from Lawrenceburg to Madison.” In another wire from Burnside to Willcox, “I have sent steamers to (Lawrenceburg) to take on soldiers for Madison, but have telegraphed them not to leave there until I telegraph.” General Willcox reports in a communiqué from Indianapolis to General Boyle in Louisville, Kentucky on July 12th, “Morgan was at Vernon yesterday P. M., on the Madison Railroad, and was turned off from that point by General Love, who thinks he has taken the road to Madison. It is possible that the main body was still at Paris (Ind.).” General Lew Wallace wired the Headquarters at Indianapolis, “A. C. Story and J. D. New, captured by Morgan and then released—they are of the opinion that Morgan has gone to Madison. The two reliable men estimate his force at 4,500 to 5,000.” From Cincinnati, 3 p. m. July 12th, General Burnside sent the wire to General Boyle at Louisville, “Has Judah arrived yet? Have the gunboats been notified that Morgan may attempt to cross above Madison? It is reported now that his advance is at Versailles.—Have you heard anything from Hobson?” Willcox to Boyle, “Capture of Osgood confirmed.”
The Army Post Prepares for Morgan
It was necessary for Col. Mullen to make plans for the vast host of Indiana Minute-Men Militia, Indiana Legion Militia and regular troops which were hurriedly gathering in the city of Madison for the defense of the populace. He issued the following orders from the Office of the Post Commandant on July 11th: “Captain David H. Smith, Acting Quarter Master, U. S. A., will supply himself with fifty horses suitable for general use for the government. If necessary these horses will be pressed into service.” Further, “Messrs. A. C. Lanier, R. S. McKee and J. Hansworth are detailed as a committee to attend to the cooking organization and general preparation of rations for Consumption.” “Captain David Smith, Quarter Master and Acting Assistant Commissar of Subsistence, is hereby directed to purchase for the troops and Militia now in the service of the U. S. at the Post, then thousand rations of Subsistence stores and issue them as the necessity of thye case May arise.” “Captain D. H. Smith, Acting Assistant Commissar of Subsistence, will deliver to Messrs. A. C. Lanier, R. S. McKee and J. Hansworth, such supplies as they may request for the troops and take receipts for the same.”—By order of B. F. Mullen, Col. 35th Indiana Volunteers, co-signed W. Hy. Hubbs, 1st Lt. 13 Infantry, Post Adjutant.
Post Army Staff
July 11th, “The following officer are assigned to the Staff of the Colonel commanding: 1st Lieut. W. H. Hubbs, 13 U. S. Infantry, Acting Assistant Adjutant General and Chief of Staff; T. T. Crittenden, Chief Aid de Camp and Inspector; 1st Lieut. W. N. Williams as Aid de Camp; Lieut. Ottis B. Sappington as Ordinance Officer. They will be obeyed and respected accordingly. —The Acting Quarter Master will furnish the necessary mounts to aid in the discharge of their duties. The above officers will report forthwith at these Headquarters.—By order of Colonel B. F. Mullen”
“All Independent Military Organizations will assemble at once for the purpose of receiving arms, and preparing for immediate duty.” – “Officers Commanding Independent Companies will report this morning by nine o’clock, the strength of their respective commands to these Headquarters.”—“For the purpose of better providing for the public defense, and carrying out the above orders, all business houses and trades will suspend their civil avocations except Family Grocers, Bakeries, Livery Stables, hotels, Telegraph and Post Offices, and Courier Printing Office. By order of B. F. Mullen—Colonel Commanding.”
Organization of the Militia
Now Colonel Mullen set about to write the rules for the organization of the Brigade of Minute-Man Militia that was hurriedly assembling in the city for duty. “For the purpose of thoroughly organizing the Militia of this and adjacent counties, it is ordered: (1st) That the companies be formed, officers elected and numbers by reported at these Headquarters. (2nd) No person (not of staff duty) shall be furnished with arms or permitted to bear arms, unless attached to some organized company. (3rd) Arms will be furnished as soon as possible. (4th) Applications for arms and ammunition must be made by commissioned officers. (5th) Opposition to the lawful impressments of horses and their accouterments will be promptly and sternly punished.”
Independent Madison Brigade
The following are the names of the Captains and the names of their individual companies. Some of the latter were associated with only their captain’s name. Captain John C. Smith’s Infantry, Seventy-Six’s; Captain William F. Belser’s Company, Infantry, City Guards;; Captain John Kirk’s company, Infantry, No. 1 Fire Company; Captain Don Carlos Robinson’s company, Infantry, Jefferson Grays; Captain Charles Miller’s company, Infantry, Madison Riffles; Captain John W. Thomas’s company, Infantry; Captain John W. Mullen’s company, Infantry, City Home Guards; Captain Sheets’ company, Mounted Infantry; Captain J. C. Mayer’s company, Mounted Infantry.”
Restrictions upon Travel, Communications
During this time of emergency and civic peril the citizens and military personnel were not allowing to pass through the militia lines encompassing the city for trips into the local Indiana countryside or cross over onto the Kentucky side without a pass issued from the Post Headquarters. All communications with the outside, excepting official Military Post messages were positively forbidden and rigorously enforced by the order of the Post Commandant.
Eighth Michigan Cavalry Arrives
From Westport, Indiana, the Eighth Michigan Cavalry under Lt. Grover Wormer arrived on river transports at Madison on Sunday morning the 12th of July. At Madison they found that Morgan had got ahead of them and they were sent immediately to Lawrenceburg, Indiana.—General Manson commanded the U. S. forces on the transports on the Ohio River.
Citizens, Your Horses, Please.
Colonel B. F. Mullen took steps to organize militia cavalry to serve as the eyes and the ears of the Madison Army Post. He issued orders for the impressing of horses from the local citizenry both rich, middle class and the poor; no distinctions were made, “A force of Mounted Infantry being required for the Public Service, two hundred and fifty horses, saddled and bridled, will be furnished by the citizens of the County and City. The following gentlemen are designated to procure the horses and accouterments required.” Nine names were listed: Joseph Thomas, John Craig, Thomas Clark, William Fry, J. W. Hinds, William Weller, James Logan, William Stapp and John Moore. A detachment of militia guards was furnished to aid those gentlemen in carrying out this particular order. Captain J. R. Glascock was appointed an agent of the government and he was to head the detachment of guards. Four other gentlemen were also appointed as agents of the U. S. Government to act in the procuring of horses for the militia cavalry. They wee the following: Isaac Christy, John A. Bryant, Rude Daily and Joseph Ray (Rea). Colonel Mullen ended the orders with these words, “Public safety demands personal sacrifice. The undersigned trusts that every Citizen will cheerfully comply and aid these gentlemen.”
Shall We Fight or Push Him into the Ohio?
Meanwhile back at the State Capitol at Indianapolis Governor Morton in a meeting with General Lew Wallace was almost in a state of panic. Morton had asked the General to take personal command of all the troops in southern Indiana engaged in the chase for Morgan and his legions. The Governor feared for the safety of Indianapolis; that Morgan might make a quick attack on the capitol and set the 6,000 rebel prisoners free at Camp Morton. The Rebel Raider could then arm them with the large supply of arms and ammunition that was on hand at the state arsenal and make them instantly ready for the field. General Wallace was commanded to go to the relief of General Love at Vernon, and then to push into Madison. General Wallace replied, “Governor, do you want me to fight Morgan or do you wish him pushed through Indiana?” Morton replied, “The first necessity is the relief of General Lane at Vernon. I do not want him (Morgan) turned this way; push Morgan on into Ohio—the faster the better.”
General Lew Wallace Advances
General Lew Wallace and eleven hundred raw non-veterans troops left Indianapolis by train and arrived at Columbus, Indiana at 10 p. m. the night of the 11th. The troop train left Columbus for Vernon and arrived there shortly before dawn the 12th. They had completed on leg in their journey to re-enforce General Love and go to the relief of Madison, Indiana. From Vernon General Wallace sent a wire off to Governor Morton, “Morgan did not attack Love. He is miles away going towards Ohio. I shall wait the arrival of Generals Love and Hughes. Together we can follow safely pushing as we have opportunity.” General Morgan and his cavalry boldly made their planned feint on Madison Sunday morning July 12th. Colonel D. Howard Smith’s 5th Regiment of Raiders was given the chore of scaring Madison, and his regiment of cavalry passed by Bryantsburg some twelve miles out. The rest of Morgan’s force turned their horses away from Madison and Jefferson County and headed into Ripley County towards Osgood and Versailles.
General Hughes sent the following message to General Wallace at Vernon on July 12th, “Morgan has been at Osgood and carried off the operator. I have sent to Seymour for a train to run down there, but I am not strong enough to fight him alone. Have some help for me as I pass here. Come along and take command. We catch him.” As soon as he could, General Wallace and his troops boarded a train for Osgood, Indiana. On the road to Osgood on July 12th General Hughes telegraphed General Wallace, “No further news except that General Willcox telegraphs me that the rebels have crossed the railroad and are marching on Hamilton, Ohio. I leave orders to execute your order for teams. They will be hard to get. I leave in five minutes, and will go about seven miles this evening. Mullen will move directly. I leave a guide for you, who will hand you a letter as to your route.” In another communication the same day, but later and dated from Osgood, General Hughes said, “General Wallace—Troops from Cincinnati in Morgan’s front fighting him. Hobson in rear, near river. Myself, Mullen, and others along line in his rear, but need artillery and accouterments. Come with your whole force. I send back my trains for you. Use them and turn them over to me again. Land at Osgood.” General Wallace arrived at Osgood somewhat later that day, here is what he has said about this movement, “With General Hughes and his column I carried my command to Osgood, thence to Sunman’s Station, a good point from which to repulse Morgan should he, fox-like, double on his track.”
General Lew Wallace arrived at Sunman Monday, July 14th at 3:40 a. m. His effective force numbered about 4,500 and included General Hughes’ and General Love’s brigade and battery. In a telegram from General Burnside to General Willcox on July 14th the Commander of the Ohio and Indiana Department told General Willcox, “Wallace’s position is a good one, and he may perhaps operate in that vicinity for good at the present. He is not needed here just now. Morgan was reported at Williamsburg, Ohio at 4:30 this p. m.—A. E. Burnside, Major General.”
News from General Hughes Command
In a telegram to General Burnside at Cincinnati date July 14th, “Guilford, Indiana, Dearborn County. –General Hobson moved from Harrison on Morgan’s trail at 6 o’clock this a. m. Horses worn out and Morgan will have to be checked from the front or Hobson will not overtake him. J. A. Cravens, Lieutenant and Aide to General Hughes.”
Importance of the Railways in the Raid
During Morgan’s Raid the Government had ordered all railroad cars and locomotives be secured for the transportation of military troops, their arms and supplies. With Indianapolis as the hub, Governor Morton thought that General Lew Wallace could send troops out on any given spoke he desired to use. There was one drawback to this idea in practicality. Railroad rails running north and south were of one gauge and east and west of a wider gauge. Also, the cars were small and the locomotives puny compared to modern day standards. General Wallace could scarcely hope that there would be ample number of cars at each and every junction to determine to determine which one to use. Added to this was the problem that Morgan’s men were tearing up railroad track which would first have to be repaired before it could be used for the transportation of troops. These facts necessarily slowed the relief troops of General Wallace and the Union generals from arriving earlier at Madison and at Osgood in Ripley County.
Report of General Lew Wallace
In his official report from Crawfordsville, Indiana July 27th, 1863 about Morgan’s Raid on Vernon and other Indiana towns, General Wallace said, “Morgan satisfied me of what I thought I knew before, viz, that he would not fight if he could help it; also, against him infantry could accomplish nothing more that the defense of towns and railroad bridges. At Vernon General Love turned the command to me.—The commands united formed a very respectable force.—I was at first disposed to march immediately to Madison, but concluded to wait until it was definitely ascertained where the enemy was going. I then suggested throwing a force down the Lawrenceburg railroad and telegraphed for permission to move my command to Osgood. Next day (the13th) this permission came and we pushed off for that place. En-route I found General Hughes, who with his detachment was waiting for me a few miles beyond Milan. There I telegraphed to Lawrenceburg asking citizens to collect wagons and meet me. There can be no doubt if this plan could have been carried out Morgan could have been overtaken. He was at that time not more than twenty-five miles ahead of me and moving slowly. With wagons, I could have made a forced march of sixty miles. Unfortunately the confusion in Dearborn County consequent upon the enemy’s presence was so great as to make it impossible to procure a sufficiency of the required transportation. From Osgood, on the morning of the 14th instant I marched to Sunman’s Station on the Indianapolis and Lawrenceburg Railroad. On the 16th instant the command was ordered to return to Indianapolis.”
Noting the preceding reports of Generals Hughes and Wallace, it follows that Colonel Mullen and his nearly three hundred Madison militia cavalry with other detachments of militia horsemen were attached to General Hughes Brigade to Osgood, Versailles, Milan and probably even as far as Guilford, Indiana and the surrounding area. The Madison Cavalry became a part of General Wallace’s command when he arrived at Osgood on the 13th of July.
They Shall Not Pass
On July 11th Col. Mullen imposed martial Law and ordered all business houses and trades closed except the newspaper (Courier), printing office, telegraph office, post office, drug stores and livery stables. That same day some 2,000 militia with four pieces of artillery were organized and sent to the surrounding hills about five miles distant, under the command of Colonels Mullen and Sering, to defend the turnpike roads leading south and west to the Ohio River. Trees were felled across the roads in the immediate vicinity as an obstruction to the enemy force. The battalion, under Col. F. B. Mullen, Post Commandant, pushed out on Hanover Road to an advantageous position near that town to await the enemy should Morgan try to make this his avenue of escape. Later word was received by the entrenched troops that Morgan and his men were now advancing on the city of Madison from the north. At mid-night Sering’s and Mullen’s troops, who were guarding the roads to Lexington and South Hanover, received new orders and were marched to the north. At dawn on Sunday they arrived at North Madison, some six miles away, and took up positions on Michigan and other nearby roadways. (As a not of interest, the Union artillery camp was located at north Madison for the next few weeks.)
Sunday morning, July 12th, a detachment of rebel cavalry pushed out from the main body by Morgan to make a feint against Madison. The main force then proceeded toward Paris, passing by Bryantsburg some twelve miles away. The Confederates turned their mounts away from Madison, swooped down and captured 300 state militia and $5,000 dollars from the Ripley County treasury at Versailles, Indiana. To Morgan’s rear, Union Bridg. General Hughes was marching from Mitchell up the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad towards Madison. At Madison Captain Sheets’ company of mounted men from Milton, with two pieces of artillery, were added to the cavalry already organized and armed under Col. Mullen and Lieut. Hubbs. Together they marched in hot pursuit of the enemy. This force marched through Versailles and arrived at Osgood on the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad on Monday the 13th of July, but failed to come upon the enemy. Col. Mullen’s mounted force worked in conjunction with the troops commanded by General Hughes, his senior officer. General Hobson’s 4,000 horse Union Cavalry guarded the winding Ohio River to the east of Hughes and Mullen. Morgan’s Raiders eluded the Indiana State Militia and other Union forces and slipped out of Indiana on the border at Harrison, Ohio on July 13, 1863.
A Gallant Yeomanry-Their Country’s Pride
On Wednesday, July 15th, the troops under the command of Col. B. F. Mullen arrived back at Madison from their futile attempt to intercept Morgan on Hoosier soil. Nevertheless, a happy and patriotic crowd watched the cavalry parade that evening at the upper end of Main Cross Street. Colonel Mullen and Lieutentant Gilbert were the honored commanders of the mounted horsemen. Courage, enterprise and loyalty were depicted on every countenance. At the end of the parade, the soldiers were addressed by Col. Mullen and Lieut. Gilbert, thanking them for their zealous patriotic service during the past hectic week of marching. The speeches over, the officers gave the words of command, “Fours Right! Forward March!”, and they marched off in admirable order.
Earlier that same day, Col. Mullen had issued general orders from the Command Post headquarters at Madison allowing the businesses within the city limits to reopen for public service. Horses pressed into service by the military from private citizens for use during the time of civic peril were to be returned to the army quartermaster for proper settlement. All citizens were still forbidden to cross from Indiana to the Kentucky side of the Ohio River without a pass signed by the Post Command.
Col. Mullen remained in command of the Army Post at Madison until early August 1863 when he rejoined his command of the 35th Indiana Regiment Volunteers in the field at Shell Mound, Tennessee, a short distance from Chattanooga.
Perhaps something should have been said about the feeding of the hungry militia troops and minute men that swelled the city of Madison to almost twice its size during the raid. The generosity and kindness shown to the soldiers by the good ladies in preparing and cooking the meals for such a host was certainly a credit to Hoosier hospitality; and no hungry mouth was turned away empty. Perhaps also the ringing of church, institutional and firehouse bells, as Morgan’s men drew nearer to Madison added electricity to the realization by the general populace of the exciting events that were taking place in their own county of Jefferson. We can find two other excellent accounts of the Raid and how it affected Madison. One is Colonel Sam Sering’s Report of the 9th Regt. Indiana Legion and the other can be found in the Madison Daily Courier, the July 11th and 17th editions in particular.
Madison Weekly Courier, Wednesday, July 22, 1863
Page 2, Column 5- MILITIA RELEASED FROM DUTY, CIRCULAR LETTER OF Col. B. F. Mullen, Headquarters Military Commander, Madison, Indiana, July 16th, 1863 Circular: The undersigned in releiving from duty the companies composing the Independent Battalion, will take the occasion to thank them for the prompt and efficient manner in which each and all have performed the duties of a soldier. The raid of the enemy; the excitement of the people; the danger that threatened our city, ought to convince every intelligent man of the absolute necessity of a thorough organized militia within the limits of Jefferson County. To effect this, the Colonel commanding the Post would suggest that the independent companies now assembled and about to be relieved from active duty, maintain their organization. Ten companies can be so organized, and then an election for field officers held. Without being dictatorial, it may be suggested that none but the very best, most energetic and thoroughly accomplished men should be selected for field, staff or company officer. Let no personal or partisan feelings enter into or control the organization of the Independent Battalion.
The undersigned will further state that every facility will be given by him to aid in the complete and thorough organization of this Regiment, and so far as his own personal services will effect anything, these services are entirely at the disposal of the officers.
Once more thanking the officers and men of this command for the quiet, orderly and effective manner in which they have discharged their duties, it remains but to say the Independent Battalion is hereby relieved form active duty. B. F. MULLEN, Colonel Commanding Post.
*Thus ended the raid of John Hunt Morgan in and around Madison, Indiana. Morgan was captured by Union Forces July 26th near the Pennsylvania border. There are many books and much research material in the library about the raid.