Morgan’s Raiders

2nd Kentucky Cavalry, CSA



History of the 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, C.S.A.

Commanded by Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan

Lt. Col. Basil W. Duke
Lt. Col. St. Leger Grenfell, Adjutant to Col. Morgan
Gordon E. Niles, Adjutant
Captain Thomas Allen, Surgeon
Boswell Partlow Yates Gorham, Surgeon

Company officers:

A - Captain Jacob Cassell
B - Captain John Allen
C - Captain James Bowles
D - Captain John B. Castleman
E - Captain John Hutchinson
F - Captain Thomas B. Webber
G - Captain McFarland

The Second Kentucky Cavalry regiment was formed from the remnants of John Hunt Morgan’s cavalry squadron, "The Lexington Rifles" soon after the battle of Shiloh, in early 1862.  Born in Alabama and raised in Kentucky, Morgan was a tall, glamorously attired cavalry officer with French imperial-styled whiskers and a love for quality Kentucky horses. Morgan received his early combat education under the notorious Champ Ferguson.  He saw his first action in the ranks of Ferguson’s Cumberland Mountain guerillas.  He often rode as a scout along the Kentucky-Tennessee border.  It was here, in the early war, that Morgan first came to know the tactics for which he and his men would become famous.

The 2nd Kentuckys ranks included not only farmers, planters, and the “First Families” of Kentucky, but also a colorful cast of characters, including a fiery British soldier-of-fortune named Lt. Col. George St. Leger Grenfell, who declared that "if England is not at war, then I will go find one"; a Canadian-born telegraph operator, Pvt. George "Lightning" Ellsworth who could mimic any operators style and thus mislead pursuing forces; to a band of Kentucky outlaws led by a notorious bush-whacker and Morgan’s mentor, Capt. Champ Ferguson,  who joined Morgan as a scout after first promising not to kill any Yankees taken by the 2nd Kentucky as prisoners. Also reported amongst the 2nd Kentuckys ranks were Black Mississippi Confederates who were recruited by John Hunt Morgan, as he felt they were loyal and fierce fighters.

They were noted for being as good at fighting dismounted as they were on horseback and were noted for their skill at house-to-house fighting, discipline under fire, and maintaining rearguard actions.  John Hunt Morgan would always affectionately regard them as his "Regulars". Throughout 1862-63, Morgan’s cavalry conducted a series of bold, and sometimes-reckless raids through Tennessee and Kentucky that culminated in a final, daring raid across Indiana and Ohio.  Morgan moved rapidly on his famous rides, cutting general supply lines, tearing up railroads and bridges, destroying large quantities of enemy supplies and rounding up thousands of Federal prisoners.  They monitored their pursuing enemy forces by tapping into telegraph lines, avoiding unnecessary combat, and dispersing his to elude capture.

The Ohio Raid of July 1863 was the longest Confederate cavalry raid of the war, covering more than 1100 miles in about three and a half weeks.  However, he and most of his troopers were surrounded and captured and Morgan was imprisoned in the Ohio State Penitentiary.  Shortly thereafter, he and several accomplices tunneled out and escaped back to Dixie.  It was the 2nd Kentucky, attached to General Nathan Bedford Forrest that fired the opening and closing shots at the battle of Chickamauga. Morgan was a superb cavalry officer and an expert leader. His raids had mixed results, but they disrupted the Federal operations in Kentucky and Tennessee, providing a much needed boost to Southern. He was killed by hostile fire in a minor action in 1864. In preparation of an attack on Union forces at Knoxville, Tennessee, Morgan halted his command overnight in nearby Greenville. On September 4, 1864 he was surprised and murdered by vengeful enemy cavalry after surrendering.

Morgans brother-in-law and second in command, Basil W. Duke, assumed leadership of the remnants of "Morgans Men", and as the war came to a close, he took his command, including the 2nd Kentucky (Special Cavalry Battalion,) to link up with Gen. Robert E. Lee. Upon hearing of Lees surrender before his arrival, Dukes command instead went to Charlotte, North Carolina and joined Gen. Joseph E. Johnstons army. While Johnston negotiated surrender with Gen. Sherman, Duke elected to join President Jefferson Davis’ mounted escort; thus making up the bulk of Davis (and the Confederate Treasury’s) gold.  As Federal forces closed in, Davis dismissed his escort and continued on with a small bodyguard detachment. Upon Davis capture, eleven of the twelve troopers serving as his bodyguards were of the 2nd Kentucky. Basil Duke and his cavalry command entered Woodstock, Georgia on May 8, 1865 and surrendered to a larger force of Federal cavalry.

Units that served in Morgan's Cavalry Brigade, 1862 - 1864

 2nd (Duke's) Kentucky Cavalry
2nd (Woodward's) Kentucky Cavalry
4th (Giltner's) Kentucky Cavalry
5th (Smith's) Kentucky Cavalry
6th (Grigsby's) Kentucky Cavalry
7th (Gano's) Kentucky Cavalry
8th (Cluke's) Kentucky Cavalry
9th (Breckinridge's) Kentucky Cavalry
10th (Johnson's) Kentucky Cavalry
10th (Diamond's) Kentucky Cavalry
11th (Chenault's) Kentucky Cavalry
13th (Caudill's) Kentucky Cavalry
14th (Morgan's) Kentucky Cavalry
1st (Ward's/Kirkpatrick's) Battalion KY Cavalry
1st Battalion Kentucky Mounted Rifles
2nd Battalion Kentucky Cavalry
2nd Battalion Kentucky Mounted Rifles
3rd Battalion Kentucky Cavalry
3rd Battalion Kentucky Mounted Rifles
Quirk's Independent Company of Kentucky Scouts
Byrne's Kentucky Horse Artillery
53rd Alabama Partisan Rangers
6th Battalion Confederate Cavalry
7th Battalion Confederate Cavalry
4th (Murray's) Tennessee Cavalry
9th (Ward's) Tennessee Cavalry
8th (Baxter Smith's) Tennessee Cavalry
Hamilton's Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
McCann's Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
Capt. Hugh L. W. McClung's Tennessee Light Artillery Co.

Vaughn's Brigade:
1st (Carter's) Tennessee Cavalry
3rd (Lillard's) Tennessee Mounted Infantry
39th Tennessee Mounted Infantry
43rd Tennessee Mounted Infantry
59th Tennessee Mounted Infantry
12th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
16th Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
16th Georgia Cavalry Battalion
Detachments of 60th, 61st, and 62nd Tennessee Mounted Infantry Regiments
Capt. Hooper Harris and a detail of 25 men, Co. A, 1st (McNairy's) Tennessee Cavalry Battalion
Ferguson's Kentucky and Tennessee Guerilla Command
Bledsoe's Tennessee Guerilla Command
Hamilton's Tennessee Guerilla Command
McMillen's Tennessee Guerilla Command
64th Virginia Mounted Infantry
Gano's Battalion (Gano's Texas Rangers)



General John Hunt Morgan


The Lexington Rifles


Morgan’s Raiders


Morgan and Gano at Paris 1862


Raider POW’s

Wm Kendall, Thos Henry, John Farner, Joe Conn, Robt Exum,

Robt Thompson, Gabe Williams, Henry Bryant, Will Radford and Robt Kendall




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Civil War Record of Brigadier General Richard M. Gano

a native of Bourbon County, Kentucky

A graduate of Bethany College, Richard M. Gano was trained as a physician at the University of Louisville, graduating at the age of 21. After two years as the physician at the Louisiana State Prison, he made his way to Texas to raise Kentucky racing horses and cattle. He served as a Texas state legislator and was known as an Indian fighter. Gano fought with John Hunt Morgan in Kentucky earlier in the war, and served as a colonel of the 7th Kentucky Cavalry. Transferred to Indian Territory, he was wounded at the Battle of Poison Springs, Arkansas. Always riding to the sound of the guns, he had several horses shot out from under him during the war. He was a personal friend of both Albert Sydney Johnson and John C. Breckinridge. After the war, he became a millionaire in the real estate and the cattle industries. Gano was also a preacher of the gospel. It is estimated that he personally baptized 10,000 souls during his lifetime. He preached and helped form many Churches of Christ and Christian Churches throughout Texas, some of which are still in existence today.

Capt. Richard M. Gano organized "Grapevine Volunteers of Tarrant County, Texas," June 1, 186, a company of mounted riflemen with 4 officers and 96 men. Gano reorganized his  "Grapevine Volunteers" into a cavalry squadron consisting of two companies March 6, 1862 with 10 officers and 181 men, mustered by order of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson. Reported to Gen. Beauregard, Army of Tennessee, May 15, 1862 and assigned to Col. John Hunt Morgan, 2nd Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

            Morgan's First Kentucky Raid - July 5, 1862 to July 28, 1862, Col. John H. Morgan commanding 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, Capt. R.M. Gano commanding Company G. July 05, 1862, skirmish at Walden's Ridge, Tennessee. July 09, 1862, capture of Tompkinsville, Kentucky and skirmish at Bear Wallow, Kentucky. July 10, 1862, capture of Glasgow, Kentucky and fight at Green River Bridge, Kentucky. July 11, 1862, fight at Rolling Fork Bridge, Kentucky and capture of Lebanon, Kentucky. July 12, 1862, capture of Springfield and Mackville, Kentucky. July 13, 1862, capture of Harrodsburg, Lawrenceburg and Versailles, Kentucky and skirmish near Mackville, Kentucky. July 15, 1862, capture of Georgetown, Kentucky. July 18, 1862, Battle of Cynthiana, Kentucky and capture of Paris, Winchester, and Richmond, Kentucky.


            Morgan's Raid on the L. & N. Railroad August 12, 1862 to August 22, 1862, Col. John H. Morgan commanding 2nd Kentucky Cavalry, Capt. R.M. Gano commanding Company G. August 12, 1862, capture of Hartsville and Gallatin, Tennessee, destruction of railroad tunnels and bridges. August 21, 1862, Battle of Gallatin, Tennessee. Union forces defeated. August 22, 1862, withdrawal into Eastern Tennessee. R.M. Gano now reported as Major R.M. Gano commanding squadron consisting of original two companies of "Gano's Texas Cavalry Squadron" plus a new company recruited in Tennessee.


            R.M. Gano withdraws squadron from 2nd Kentucky Cavalry as nucleus for new regiment September 2, 1862. The 7th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment organized with Colonel R.M. Gano Commanding the new regiment and made a part of 2nd Kentucky Cavalry Brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan. Morgan's brigade, including Col. R.M. Gano's 7th Kentucky Cavalry, was assigned to Gen. E. Kirby Smith for invasion of Kentucky Sept. 4, 1862. September 5-7, 1862, capture of Lexington, Kentucky. September 11, 1862, 7th Kentucky Cavalry, Col. R.M. Gano, commanding, captures Washington, Kentucky. September 15, 1862, 7th Kentucky Cavalry captures Maysville, Kentucky. September 19, 1862, 7th Kentucky Cavalry captures Booneville, Kentucky. October 8, 1862, Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, Gen. E. Kirby Smith commanding Confederate forces. October 9, 1962, engagement near Frankfort, Kentucky. October 10-17, 1862, covering Gen. Bragg's retreat into Tennessee. October 17-19, 1862, Battle and occupation of Lexington, Tennessee. Oct. 19 - Nov. 4, 1862, withdrawal to Springfield, Tennessee.


            Reorganization of Confederate troops of Lt. Gen. E. Kirby Smith Oct. 31, 1862, includes 1st Cavalry Brigade, Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan commanding, which included the 7th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, Col. R.M. Gano, commanding. Nov. 4, 1862, 7th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment destroys railroad bridges between Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. Nov. 16, 1862, 7th Kentucky Regiment attacked by strong force of Union infantry and cavalry, withdrew from Lebanon, Tennessee, to Baird's Mill, Tennessee. Dec. 7, 1862, Morgan's cavalry brigade, including the 7th Kentucky Cavalry, engaged the 39th Brigade, United States Army, at the Battle of Hartsville, Tennessee, routing the Union forces and capturing the city of Hartsville.


            Morgan's Second Kentucky Raid - Dec. 23, 1862 to Jan 5, 1863, Brig. Gen. John H. Morgan commanding 1st Cavalry Brigade, including 7th Kentucky Cavalry Regiment, Col. R.M. Gano commanding. December 24, 1862, capture of Glasgow, Kentucky. December 25, 1862, engagement at Munsfordville, Kentucky and destruction of L. & N. Railroad bridges neaby. December 27, 1862, capture of Elizabethtown, Kentucky and the destruction of railroad and bridges in the vicinity. December 29, 1862, Union train captured and burned near La Vergne, Kentucky. Bridges across Rolling Fork and Green River destroyed. December 31, 1862, withdrawal to Campbellsville, Kentucky. January 2, 1863, withdrawal to Burksville, Kentucky.


            February, 1863, organization of Gen. John H. Morgan's Cavalry Division, consisting of 1st Cavalry Brigade commanded by Col. Breckinridge, and 2nd Cavalry Brigade, commanded by Col. R.M. Gano; containing 3rd, 8th, 10th, and 11th Kentucky Cavalry Regiments. March 19, 1863, Battle at Liberty, Tennessee. Morgan's Division attacked by heavy Union infantry and forced to withdraw to Milton, Tennessee. March 20, 1963, Battle at Milton, Tennessee. Morgan forces Union withdrawal, but has heavy casualties and withdraws himself, leaving 2nd Cavalry Brigade at Snows Hill, Tennessee. April 3, 1863, Battle at Snows Hill, Tennessee. 2nd Cavalry Brigade, Col. R.M. Gano commanding, attacked by 8,000 Union infantry and cavalry, forced to withdraw to McMinnville, Tennessee. May, 1863, 2nd Cavalry Brigade, Col. R.M. Gano commanding, less some detachments retained by Gen. Morgan, temporarily attached to Grigsby's Cavalry operating in and about McMinnville, Tennessee. Morgan's force was subsequently destroyed at Buffington's Island, Ohio and the scattered remnants returning to Tennessee apparently rejoined the depleted remains of Gano's brigade operating with Grigsby.


            September 18, 1863, remnants of Morgan's former command and 2nd Cavalry Brigade under Col. R.M. Gano operating under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest in the Battle of Chickamauga. Brig. Gen. Richard M. Gano, taking with him remnants of his original "Texas Cavalry Squadron," now called "Gano Guards" and consisting of about eighty men, is assigned to the Trans-Mississippi Department to command all Texas Cavalry therein operating.  Gano assumes command of these troops at Bonham, Texas October 10, 1863. December 27, 1863, Texas Cavalry Brigade, Brig. Gen. R.M. Gano, captures and occupies Waldron, Arkansas. April 14, 1864, Battle at Poison Springs, Arkansas.  Brig. Gen. R.M. Gano wounded in the arm. July 27, 1864, attack on Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Battle at Massard Prairies, Texas Cavalry Brigade, commanded by Brig. Gen. R.M. Gano. September 18, 1864, Battle at Cabin Creek, Indian Territory. Texas Cavalry Brigade and Indian Brigade, Brig. Gen. R.M. Gano commanding. January 25, 1865, Gano's Brigade ordered to Nacodoches, Texas by Gen. E. Kirby Smith in reorganization of troops of Trans-Mississippi Department, giving the brigade a new designation. May 26, 1865, Army of the Trans-Mississippi Department surrenders.


General Richard M. Gano


Company officers

A - Captain Hamilton
B - Captain Huffman
C - Captain McMillan


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Last revised: 12/29/2006

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