“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Elizabethtown in Hardin County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

“Make a Street Fight Out of It”

Christmas Raid, December 27, 1862

"Make a Street Fight Out of It" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, August 14, 2009
1. "Make a Street Fight Out of It" Marker
Inscription. In December 1862, Gen. John Hunt Morgan was sent by the Confederate command to shut down the L&N Railroad, thereby cutting off one of the Union's major supply lines. Morgan's target was one of the railroad's most vulnerable points, the trestles at Muldraugh Hill, five miles northeast of Elizabethtown.

On December 27, 1862, Morgan's cavalry attacked Elizabethtown, which was defended by some 600 men of the 91st Illinois under the command of Lieut. Col. H.S. Smith. Because Morgan outnumbered the Union defenders almost five to one, Smith felt that his best chance lay in occupying the buildings in and around the town square. He hoped to be able to hold out against Morgan until other Federal forces could come to his aid.

Urban Warfare
When Smith refused to surrender, Morgan's artillery opened fire and battered the town both solid shot and canister. Morgan then ordered detachments under Col. Basil Duke and Col. William C.P. Breckinridge into town where they would make, as Morgan phrased it, "a street fight out of it." The Confederates moved into town, fording the freezing waters of the swollen Valley Creek, as artillery shells screamed overhead. The fighting was soon street-to-street and building-to-building. The Federal troops, divided among many buildings, were unable to concentrate their fire or coordinate
"Make a Street Fight Out of It" Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, August 14, 2009
2. "Make a Street Fight Out of It" Marker
their defense and were soon overcome. Lt. Col. Smith, who was slightly wounded, attempted to maintain command and control, but had no way of communicating with his scattered troops.

One by one, surrounded and overcome, pockets of Federal troops hoisted the flag of surrender. Troops nearby, seeing the surrender flag in one building, believed a general order of surrender had been issued and they too, surrendered. After several hours Smith realized he had no hope of holding Elizabethtown until help arrived. Smith surrendered to Morgan, freeing the Confederates to advance and destroy the trestles of the L&N the following day. The captured Union soldiers were paroled and sent marching to Louisville.

Caption for the image at the bottom of the marker: Morgan ordered his artillery, which had been placed at several locations around the city including atop of Cemetery Hill, to fire upon Elizabethtown.
Location. 37° 41.514′ N, 85° 51.386′ W. Marker is in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in Hardin County. Marker is on Dixie Highway East (U.S. 31W), on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Elizabethtown KY 42701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. General Custer Here (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln-Haycraft Memorial Bridge (about 600 feet away); The Cannonball (about 800 feet away); Elizabethtown Battle (approx. mile away); Morgan's Second Raid (approx. mile away); Three Forts (approx. mile away); Rineyville Named (approx. 7.3 miles away); Captured and Burned (approx. 9.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Elizabethtown.
More about this marker. This is one of 15 markers in the "John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail in Kentucky that focuses on the Christmas Raid of 1862."

Caption of the image to the top, middle, right: Morgan ordered his soldiers into town to dislodge the Union defenders. Street by street, building by building, the Federal resistance was finally overcome.

On the top, right is a portrait of W.C.P. Breckinridge. On the bottom, right is a portrait of Basil Duke.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 936 times since then and 77 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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