Lebanon in Marion County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)
The Battle of Lebanon
The Great Raid
— July 5, 1863 —
Morgan’s third Kentucky raid had not gone well from the beginning. The Battle at Tebbs Bend on July 4 cost him 35 men killed and about 40 wounded. From Tebbs Bend, Morgan pushed north, arriving in Lebanon about 7 o’clock on the morning of July 5, 1863.
Lt. Col. Charles S. Hanson knew Morgan was coming and he made what preparations he could. Knowing Morgan would approach from the south, Hanson deployed most of his 350 men behind a barricade of fences, overturned wagons, and other obstructions. Hanson knew that this skirmish line could only slow the Confederate advance on the city. He planned to make his stand at the L&N Railroad depot and other brick buildings once his skirmish line was pushed back.
Upon reaching Lebanon, Morgan demanded Hanson’s surrender. Hanson refused and Morgan attacked with artillery and dismounted cavalry. Morgan’s nearly 10 to 1 advantage quickly overwhelmed the Union soldiers, pushing them into town where most sought refuge in the L&N Depot.
The brick depot, a block off of Main Street, provided a strong defensive position. Its location was such that Morgan could not use his artillery
This battle was costly for Morgan. Hanson’s small garrison held him up for seven hours, inflecting some 50 casualties, including his brother, Lieut. Thomas Morgan, who was killed. The death of Tom Morgan enraged Morgan and his men. The Confederate soldiers looted stores and burned about 20 buildings. The Union prisoners were then marched some 10 miles at the double-quick to Springfield where they were paroled. Several Union prisoners died on the forced march. Miraculously, Union losses were small. Hanson reported four killed and 16 wounded.
John Hunt Morgan
Lebanon was the second major engagement Morgan fought in July. It would not be the last. This battle cost Morgan his brother, numerous casualties, and a day he could ill afford to lose.
The Battle of Lebanon
The thin Union line fought a holding action, hoping that help would arrive in time. As the overwhelming numbers of the Confederates pressed them they fell back to the L&N Depot to make a final stand.
The placement of the brick depot kept Morgan from using his artillery
Lt. Col. Charles S. Hanson
20th Kentucky Infantry (US)
Before Morgan's men surrounded the town and cut the telegraph lines, Hanson alerted Louisville that he was under attack. They advised him to hold and told him that help would be there in a few hours. It did not arrive in time. Hanson's defenders fought well, however; Morgan's command was bloodied in the second fiercest fight of the raid.
Erected by Kentucky Heartland Civil War Trails Commission.
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 July 5, 1863.
Location. 37° 34.131′ N, 85° 15.409′ W. Marker is in Lebanon, Kentucky, in Marion County. Marker is at the intersection of North Depot Street and Martin Luther King Avenue, on the left when traveling north on North Depot Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 125 N Depot St, Lebanon KY 40033, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The L&N Depot (here, next to this marker); Battle at Lebanon (here, next to this marker); Union Commissary BuildingThe Commissary Building (within shouting distance of this marker); First Presbyterian Church (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Kobert Place (approx. 0.2 miles away); Courthouse Burned (approx. 0.2 miles away); Knott of Lebanon (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lebanon.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on November 5, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 609 times since then and 82 times this year. Last updated on March 10, 2021, by Bradley Owen of Morgantown, West Virginia. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 5, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.