This Day In History: July 26

Changing the day will navigate the page to that given day in history. You can navigate days by using left and right arrows

On July 26, 1863, Confederate cavalry leader John Hunt Morgan and 360 of his men are captured at Salineville, Ohio, during a spectacular raid on the North. Starting in July 1862, Morgan made four major raids on Northern or Northern-held territory over the course of a year. Although they were of limited strategic significance, the raids served as a boost to Southern morale and captured much-needed supplies.

Morgan’s fourth raid began on July 2, 1863, when he and 2,400 troopers left Tennessee and headed for the Ohio River. He hoped to divert the attention of Union commander William Rosecrans, who was driving for Chattanooga, Tennessee.Morgan reached the river on July 8, using stolen steamboats to ferry his force across to Indiana. For the next two and a half weeks, Morgan rampaged through Indiana and Ohio, feigning toward Cincinnati, then riding across southern Ohio. His force met little resistance, and scattered local militias who faced them. With Union cavalry in hot pursuit, Morgan headed for Pennsylvania. For more than a week, Morgan and his troops spent 21 hours per day in the saddle.

At Portland, Ohio, Morgan lost over 800 men when the Yankees caught up with him and captured a large part of his force. He and the remaining members of his command were forced further north, and on July 26, the exhausted men surrendered.

In the end, only 400 of Morgan’s troopers made it safely back to the South. Those captured were scattered around Northern prison camps. Morgan and his officers were sent to the newly opened Ohio State Penitentiary. He and his men tunneled out on November 27, 1863; however, Morgan was killed in battle a year later.