“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hartsville in Trousdale County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Surprise at Hartsville

“ whose fault”

Surprise at Hartsville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 23, 2013
1. Surprise at Hartsville Marker
Inscription. On the morning of December 7, 1862, the Confederates attacked the Union garrison camped on a bluff overlooking the Cumberland River two miles south of here. Under cover of darkness and falling snow, Morgan and 1,300 men had crossed the icy Cumberland River the night before. In what has been called “the most successful cavalry raid of the Civil War,” Morgan captured almost 1,800 soldiers, two cannons, and wagons full of much-needed supplies after a brief two-hour long battle.

Union Col. Absalom B. Mooreís troops guarded the nearby ford and the road to Lebanon. They consisted of three infantry regiments---all new recruits---a squadron of cavalry, and a section of artillery. The assault was executed and completed so quickly that two other Federal brigades that were encamped nine miles away at Castalian Springs were unable to come to their comradesí aid in time.

The defeat and capture of an entire Federal brigade at Hartsville by C.S. Gen. John Hunt Morganís forces caused shock, disbelief, and consternation in the Union army. President Abraham Lincoln demanded an explanation from the commander of the Army of the Cumberland, Gen. William S. Rosecrans. After an investigation, Rosecrans cited Moore for negligence but suggested to his superiors that the quality and quantity of Confederate cavalry determined
Surprise at Hartsville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 23, 2013
2. Surprise at Hartsville Marker
Close up of map shown in the marker
the outcome of the battle. Moore was reassigned and eventually resigned. Despite Lincolnís dismay, the Battle of Hartsville did not prove to be strategically significant and was quickly forgotten after the Battle of Stones River three weeks later.

(Side bar) Following the defeat of Confederate Gen. Braxton Braggís invasion of Kentucky (Aug-Oct 1862), in which Col. John Hunt Morganís cavalry played an active role, the Confederates retreated to Tennessee. Bragg ordered Morgan to raid and harass rail lines and Federal troops in both states. In December 1862, Morgan attacked the Union garrison at Hartsville, then escaped before Federal force nine miles west at Castalian Springs could come to the garrisonís aid.

“The President directs that you immediately report why an isolated brigade was at Hartsville, and by whose command; and also by whose fault it was surprised and captured.”

–Henry W. Halleck, General-in-Chief, U.S. Army

(Inscription under the photo in the center left)
Col. John Hunt Morgan
-Courtesy Library of Congress.

(Inscription under the photo in the upper center)
Morganís Raiders, Harperís New Monthly Magazine (Aug. 1865)
Erected by Civil War Trails.
Marker series. This marker is included
Surprise at Hartsville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Don Morfe, July 23, 2013
3. Surprise at Hartsville Marker
in the Tennessee Civil War Trails marker series.
Location. 36° 23.733′ N, 86° 9.917′ W. Marker is in Hartsville, Tennessee, in Trousdale County. Marker is at the intersection of Broadway and White Oak Street on Broadway. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Hartsville TN 37074, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 9 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "The Hartsville Races" (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Battle of Hartsville (approx. 1.2 miles away); Hawthorne Hill (approx. 7.4 miles away); General William Hall (approx. 8.1 miles away); Thomas Sharpe Spencer Memorial (approx. 8.3 miles away); Bledsoe's Lick (approx. 8.3 miles away); Wynnewood (approx. 8.4 miles away); Bledsoe's Fort and Monument (approx. 8.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hartsville.
Categories. War, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 7, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 409 times since then and 44 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 7, 2013, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Al Wolf was the editor who published this page.
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