Last week I was driving through Greeneville and couldn’t help but stop and visit some of the famous Civil War Historic sites. The first on my list was the Dickson and Williams Mansion.

This home, called the “Showplace of East Tennessee,” was headquarters for Union and Confederate armies. It was in this house that General John Hunt Morgan, the “Rebel Raider,” spent his last night before he was killed in the garden on September 4, 1864. But who was General Morgan?

Morgan’s guerrilla tactics are what earned him the nickname “Thunderbolt of the Confederacy.” Morgan was infamous for his raids from Tennessee into Kentucky!

When news of the Battle of Fort Sumter reached Lexington, the leader of the Lexington Rifles, John Hunt Morgan, telegraphed Confederate President Jefferson Davis to offer assistance, and raised the Confederate flag above the city’s woolen factory. He would go on not only to disrupt enemy communications by tapping into Union telegraph lines, but also round up fresh troops and supplies for the Confederate Army. The raids of the romantic Morgan thrilled Southerners throughout the Confederacy and struck fear in the heart of many a Yankee.

The Lexington Rifles

But our victories have not been achieved without loss. We have to mourn some brave and dear comrades. Their names will remain in our breasts, their fame outlives them. They died in defense of a good cause. They died like gallant soldiers–with their front to the foe. 

Officers and men! Your conduct makes me proud to command you! Fight always as you fought yesterday, and you are invincible.”

John Hunt Morgan, August 22, 1862