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

“A Pretty Close Call”

Christmas Raid


— December 29, 1862 —

“A Pretty Close Call” Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
1. “A Pretty Close Call” Marker
Inscription.  General John Hunt Morgan, his second in command Col. Basil Duke, and other senior officers were adjourning a meeting at the Hamilton Hall House near Lebanon Junction when their command of 4,000 was surprised by an attack made by 3,000 Union troops under the command of Colonel John Marshall Harlan.

During the fight a shell fragment struck Col. Duke, who fell to the ground. Capt. Tom Quirk picked up the unconscious Duke and brought him to the home of Dr. Gus Cox. Reverend John Cunningham was at the house when Duke was helped upstairs and laid on a thick pallet on the floor, where he was attended to by Dr. Thomas Alten, a surgeon in Morgan’s army from nearby Taylorsville. Reverend Cunningham wrote, “I stood by and witnessed the treatment of the distinguished patient. The wound was on the right side of the head and when the doctor had washed the blood from it, I was invited to examine a cannon’s work. The wound was supposed to be made by a small piece of bursted shell on a small cannon. A piece of skin and bone behind the ear were gone. If the direction of the flying bit of shell had been directly from the right of the victim,
“A Pretty Close Call” Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, July 5, 2018
2. “A Pretty Close Call” Marker
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it would have passed through the lower part of the head and death would have been instantaneous. As I bent over the prostrate warrier looking at his wound, he said in a somewhat cheerful tone, ‘that was a pretty close call.” He did not complain or in any way indicate that his wound was a painful one.”

The next day Col. Duke, carrier in a wagon accompanied Morgan’s command ontheir return to Tennessee. Duke recovered from his wound, served the remainder of the war, and later wrote several wartime histories, including The History of Morgan’s Cavalry. He died in 1916 at the age of 78.

Col. Basil Duke

After the Civil War, Duke resumed his law practice in Louisville. He was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1869. Duke also served as a commissioner for the National Park at Shiloh.

Dr. Augustus “Gus” Cox House

Basil Duke was treated in the upstairs north bedroom of this house, which stood on this lot until 1967.
Erected by Kentucky Heartland Civil War Trails Commission. (Marker Number 16b.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail in Kentucky series list. A significant historical date for this entry is December 29, 1862.
Col. Basil W. Duke, C.S.A. image. Click for full size.
3. Col. Basil W. Duke, C.S.A.
37° 48.842′ N, 85° 27.922′ W. Marker is in Bardstown, Kentucky, in Nelson County. Marker is on North 3rd Street (U.S. 150) north of West Brashear Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Bardstown KY 40004, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Salem Academy (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Union Church (about 700 feet away); Bardstown's First Church (about 700 feet away); Alexander Walters (1858-1917) (approx. 0.2 miles away); Twenty-Five Damned Yankees (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Lafayette Hotel (approx. ¼ mile away); Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust Co. (approx. 0.3 miles away); Spalding Hall (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bardstown.
Also see . . .  Basil W. Duke. (Submitted on August 17, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee.)
Gen. John Hunt Morgan, C.S.A. image. Click for full size.
4. Gen. John Hunt Morgan, C.S.A.
The Christmas Raid image. Click for full size.
5. The Christmas Raid
Credits. This page was last revised on August 21, 2018. It was originally submitted on August 17, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 434 times since then and 63 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on August 17, 2018, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 28, 2022