Williams Family from Evansville, Indiana


There were developments in Kentucky and Tennessee in late June 1863 that impacted the 91st Indiana Regiment. Gen. Bragg of the Confederacy was open to attack by both Rosecrans and Burnside and had to do something drastic to get away. He ordered General John Hunt Morgan to hand pick a force from the division and to ride into Kentucky as a diversion and even threaten Louisville on the Ohio River border with Southern Indiana. Morgan asked to be allowed to sweep widely into Indiana and Ohio but Bragg would not allow it. Hunt has in mind to do it anyway. He organizes 2450 men and 4 artillery guns in Burkesville in southern Kentucky and skillfully eludes heavy Union guards on the Cumberland River and gets across. His actions and ability to terrorize lightly armed areas causes general alarm in Kentucky. The 91st is a part of a force assigned to trap or catch him quickly. In June 27th a series of travels by rail and marches takes the 91st quickly east to Glasgow Kentucky. The troops may not know at the time they are positioning to help chase down the notorious rebel raider. On the 5th of July, the 91st was in full pursuit of Morgan, who had already left Burkesville. William Williams then found himself marching north following Morganís raiders through Columbia after following along the snaking Cumberland River close to the Tennessee border. But Morgan has already reached the Green River as he heads straight north. He is "burning bridges, stealing fresh horses and pillaging freely, fighting battling small forces he meets. Pvt. Holder writes in his diary that the 91st passed "over the battle ground at Green River bridge where there was 30 rebels killed and 20 wounded rebels, Union had 4 killed and 6 wounded." Morgan got the worst of that battle. He gradually kept losing his men to battles and disease.

But the 91st was about two days behind Morgan and never caught up with him. Morgan skirted to the west of Louisville as he crosses the Ohio into Indiana at Corydon heading north toward Indianapolis. He cuts a wide swath of southeast Indiana and heads into Ohio just above Cincinnati. He makes a beeline due east and reaches the Ohio River at the West Virginia border near the long narrow island in the river called Blennerhassett. Named for the wealthy Irishman of that name who bought part of the island about 60 years earlier and built a magnificent estate there amidst the log cabins of the wilderness. There are old letters from relatives who say they heard that on of William Williams motherís grandfathers, John Martin Sr. of South Carolina, was awarded part of that island as bounty for services to George Washington in the French and Indian wars near there. This is far from proven and could be pure fiction. Some investigation shows it could be true in that there were Carolinians under Washington and he did fight hard successfully for decades after the war for bounty lands in that area for his men. On July 26th Morgan was surrounded near there and surrendered with only 364 officers and men. He dug out of his prison and later raided into Kentucky again and was ultimately killed in Tennessee in September 1863.

Up to now, the 91st had been attached to the District of Western Kentucky Department of the Ohio. Now they were a part of the XXIII Army Corps Department of the Ohio to which they would generally stay to the end of the war. On July 15th the 91st arrives back at Russellville. Throughout early July there must have been word of the huge battle at Gettysburg. Pvt. Holder doesnít mention it or the Lincoln Gettysburg Address. But, just the idea of Gen. Lee being in Pennsylvania must have been galling to the Union troops. You had to go north through all of Virginia and Maryland just to get to the Pennsylvania border. That is far north for rebels to be in great numbers.

On the march to chase Morgan, Pvt. Holder does note they went through eleven counties in south central Kentucky. After the march, they went back to the routine of guarding the Clarksville Tennessee supply train. In July 1863, the word comes down about the battles at Gettysburg. Later, in September of 1863, they go to Cave City Kentucky (very near Mammoth Caves) and then spent October and half of November in Sumner County Tennessee area. On Nov 19 they go back to Russellville Kentucky. Meanwhile, on the 5th there is a large battle at Nashville Tennessee.

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