On July 8, Confederate John Hunt Morgan crossed over the Ohio River in to the state of Indiana near Maupuck using two stolen steamboats. There he and a troupe of about 1800 men proceeded to conduct raids on the local communities such as Corydon Vernon, Dupont, New Pekin, Salem, and Versailles. Governor Morton put out a call for every able bodied man to take up arms as a home defense. The resulting Home Guard comprised of enthusiastic but poorly trained men who fought valiantly, but in the end failed to entirely stop Morgan’s progress. The result was weeks of looting, damage and civilian causalities Ripley County, Indiana. One formal battle was fought at Corydon between Morgan’s men and some 400 assembled volunteers. The volunteers managed to delay the Confederate’s advance but in the end were captured and paroled. Morgan’s main targets appeared to be rail depots, bridges, and sources of food, funds and fresh horses for his men. Reports of the time indicated he demanded ransoms and taxes from the locals to not burn mills and businesses. One amusing antidote indicated that Morgan’s men burned the storehouse in DuPont, Indiana and stole some 2,000 hams. Unable to keep them due to flies, they discarded them in route to Salem, leaving a trail of hams for the pursuing Calvary to follow.
Eventually, a large Calvary force under the command of General Edward Henry Hobson, chased Morgan from Indiana with support from the some 65,000 home guard men and Union U-boats on the Ohio River. Morgan and his men left Indiana at Harrison on July 13 and entered Ohio.
There appear to be three distinct goals with these raids. The first was to draw the northern armies away from the confederate lines in support of the civilian populations in Indiana. The second was to disrupt supply lines, as evidenced in Morgan’s focus on depots and bridges. The third appeared to be to drum up further enthusiasm with the local Coppperheads. Morgan, being a flamboyant, handsome, and dashing figure was thought to inspire others to follow in defiance of the Union.
However, Morgan failed to meet any of these goals.
Despite the reign of destruction and terror, Morgan failed to disrupt any communication or supply lines. Locals quickly repaired any damage to the depots he hit, causing mostly inconvenience. He did not occupy any major Indiana city, and regular Federal troops sent in to stop him were insufficient release pressure off Confederate the lines in Kentucky. Finally, Morgan failed to inspire a Copperhead uprising and instead his raids had the opposite effect on the morale and attitudes of the locals. Instead of flocking to him as recruits or inspiring a lasting fear, the locals instead became angry, outraged, and determined to stop him.
In total, Morgan spent three weeks in Indiana and Ohio.
While this is not directly related to the Indiana 10th, the raiders appeared to have passed through Darlington and the incident is referred to in several of the upcoming letters.