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Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County

Kentucky Rebel Town: The Civil War Battles of Cynthiana and Harrison County

by William A. Penn


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On April 22, 1861, within weeks of the surrender at Fort Sumter, fresh recruits marched to the Cynthiana, Kentucky, depot—one of the state's first volunteer companies to join the Confederate army. The soldiers boarded a waiting train as many sympathetic city and county officials cheered. A Confederate flag was raised at the Harrison County courthouse but it was taken down within six months, as the influence of pro-Southern officials diminished. However, this "pestilential little nest of treason" became a battlefield during some of the most dramatic military engagements in the state.

In this fascinating book, William A. Penn provides an impressively detailed account of the military action that took place in this Kentucky region during the Civil War. Because of its political leanings and strategic position along the Kentucky Central Railroad, Harrison County became the target of multiple raids by Confederate general John Hunt Morgan. Conflict in the area culminated in the Second Battle of Cynthiana, in which Morgan's men clashed with Union troops led by Major General Stephen G. Burbridge (the "Butcher of Kentucky"), resulting in the destruction of much of the town by fire.

Penn draws on dozens of period newspapers as well as personal journals, memoirs, and correspondence from citizens, slaves, soldiers, and witnesses to provide a vivid account of the war's impact on the region. Featuring new maps that clearly illustrate the combat strategies in the various engagements, Kentucky Rebel Town provides an illuminating look at divided loyalties and dissent in Union Kentucky.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813167718
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 10/07/2016
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,176,778
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William A. Penn, editor of the Harrison Heritage News, has published articles in Northern Kentucky Heritage and the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Neighbor against Neighbor 5

2 Guarding the Railroad 37

3 Lurking Rebels 61

4 United States v. Lucius Desha 85

5 The First Battle of Cynthiana 105

6 In the Path of a Confederate Invasion 139

7 Provost Marshals, the Federal Draft, and African American Enrollment 159

8 The Second Battle of Cynthiana: Covered Bridge 175

9 The Second Battle of Cynthiana: Keller's Bridge 193

10 The Second Battle of Cynthiana: Kimbrough's Hill 205

11 Rising from the Ashes 243

Appendix: Order of Battle, First and Second Battles of Cynthiana 279

Acknowledgments 283

Notes 285

Index 357

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