It was on the morning of Monday, July 13, 1863 when Confederate troops led by General John Hunt Morgan descended down North Dearborn Road (Old S.R. 46), after raiding the towns of New Alsace, Dover and Logan and burning the bridge at Tanners Creek. He and his troop of about 2,500 men had been on a raid through Kentucky and Indiana since July 1, 1863, as a diversion during the Civil War.
General Morgan and his raiders were searching for refreshment horses and anything else that could be confiscated during their raid; they went into Bright while a funeral was in progress. Outside the church, horses were tethered to the hitching post. A man in the funeral party was standing in front of the church as the raiders rode past. He saw the Confederates unhitching the fresh horses and leading them away. He stepped forward and spoke to General Morgan. “Sir, I too am a Southerner. But where I come from, we have respect for the dead.” With that, the General called to his men, “Leave those horses alone.” He turned and rode away. A similar incident occurred on the road between Dover and Logan. A horse-drawn hearse was taking the body of William Glardon’s son to the Huber/Briggs Cemetery. Undertakers always took pride in having powerful, showy horses pull their black, shiny hearses. The temptation was too great for Morgan’s cavalry. The undertaker’s horses were unhitched, harnesses removed and cavalry saddles slung over their backs. The Confederates left behind their jaded steeds to convey the hearse the rest of the way to the cemetery. By the time General Morgan and his Raiders reached West Harrison at the Whitewater River, the Union soldiers led by Brigadier General Edward Henry Hobson, were just two hours behind them giving a close chase. At around 11:00am, Morgan’s troops crossed the sturdy oak bridge into Harrison, Ohio. As the last man passed, it was set on fire. Its destruction caused a delay of many hours, forcing the Federal forces to find a navigable ford elsewhere on the river where they could bring their artillery across. Harrison was fortunate to have been pre-warned of Morgan’s imminent raid by a young 12 year old girl named Susie Prudden. She went ahead of the Raiders on horseback to warn the townspeople. Susie is said to be the last local person to cross the Whitewater River before the Raiders burned it. Since she could not cross the river back into Indiana, she stayed with relatives in Harrison for several days. Susie later became the wife of Mark Johnson.
This information was obtained from a book titled “The Longest Raid of the Civil War”, by Lester Horwitz and also from Mary Ellen Weber, a great-granddaughter of Susie (Prudden) Johnson.
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