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Elizabethtown in Hardin County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
 

The Cannonball

Christmas Raid, December 27, 1862

 
 
The Cannonball Marker image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, August 14, 2009
1. The Cannonball Marker
Inscription. Gen. John Hunt Morgan's Raiders arrived in Elizabethtown on December 27, 1862, appearing on the brow of the hill that is now the City Cemetery. The main objective of the Christmas Raid was to burn two huge Louisville and Nashville Railroad trestles at Muldraugh Hill north of the town. By destroying the trestles, Morgan hoped to relive pressure on Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army in Tennessee by cutting the flow of supplies to Union Gen. William S. Rosecrans' army. Before moving on Muldraugh Hill, Morgan wanted to neutralize the Union force in Elizabethtown. The Confederates placed artillery on the hill and demanded the surrender of the Union garrison. They refused and Morgan's artillery opened fire. The bombardment lasted twenty minutes; 107 rounds were fired upon the buildings in the town killing and wounding several of the soldiers who had taken refuge there.

In a 1932 paper Miss Annie Nourse explained the story of the cannonball:

She wrote:
"...Many years after (1887) a fire destroyed that entire block and the cannonball fell with the wall, I... asked... the owners of the building to give me the ball and they both kindly consented. I told the boys about it, that I would give 25 cents to the one who would find it and bring it to me. A lively scramble instantly ensued in the pile of hot bricks. I left them
The Cannonball Marker (foreground) with the Hardin County Courthouse in the background image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, August 14, 2009
2. The Cannonball Marker (foreground) with the Hardin County Courthouse in the background
digging and went on home. In the afternoon a man brought it out to me and demanded $5.00 for it. I told him it was already mine. After some hesitation he decided to leave it for 50 cents which I gave him."

"Many years after... I restored it to the bank and they had it placed in the same spot, as near as possible (in the new building), where it is seen today..."
 
Location. 37° 41.605′ N, 85° 51.499′ W. Marker is in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in Hardin County. Marker is on Dixie Highway West (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 (within shouting distance of this marker); "Make a Street Fight Out of It" (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln-Haycraft Memorial Bridge (approx. mile away); Elizabethtown Battle (approx. 0.4 miles away); Morgan's Second Raid (approx. 0.4 miles away); Three Forts (approx. 0.4 miles away); Rineyville Named (approx. 7.2 miles away); Captured and Burned (approx. 9.7 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
Metalic arrow on the "new" building, pointing to the cannonball image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, August 14, 2009
3. Metalic arrow on the "new" building, pointing to the cannonball
in Kentucky" series that focuses on the Christmas Raid of 1862.

Caption for photo to the upper left: When Morgan's troops first appeared at Elizabethtown, the Union commander, Lt. Col. Harry S. Smith of the 91st Illinois Infantry Regiment, requested the Confederates surrender. Forty-five minutes later, Smith was compelled to give up the town.
Clark. When Morgan attacked Elizabethtown, Col. Roy S. Clark and Col. Col. Robert C. Stoner led the troops into the city.


Caption for the photo in the lower right: The Depp Building. The Depp Building, constructed ca. 1805

Caption for photo in the lower left: 12-Pounder Howitzer. Morgan had seven artillery pieces with him on the Christmas Road. At least one was a 12-pound Howitzer. On the upper right is a portrait of Col. Roy S. Clark.
 
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
 
Metal sign on the building in which the cannonball was "relocated" in later years image. Click for full size.
By Robert H. Moore, II, August 14, 2009
4. Metal sign on the building in which the cannonball was "relocated" in later years
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Robert H. Moore, II of Winchester, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,596 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. 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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