2 pages (front and back), 7.5 x 4.75 inches, Tennessee, November 12, 1862. A very good letter, written entirely in the hand of the famous raider, as elusive today as he was during the war years. In full: "Head Qrts. / Nov. 12, 1862 / 9:00 A.M. / 7-1/2 miles from Lebanon / Genl. / Last night I sent you a dispatch giving you the information that the enemy was in large force at Silver Springs, also at Hartsville, also on the Jeffersonville road. Capt. Boules who was sent with two companies to capture a lot of about five hundred hogs, that the enemy had taken, has just returned. He succeeded in scattering the hogs, killing two of the enemy & taking eight prisoners. He says there is no enemy between this point & Silver Springs. The report of the enemy being in the Seffa__(?) which was brought last night, originated from the enemy sending two regts. of infantry in pursuit of Capt. Boules. They have all returned. These expeditions are for the purpose of foraging. They are completely devastating the whole country, taking everything to the last pound of meat, without even giving receipts for it. In many cases, they are stealing even the wearing apparel, of ladies, breaking open trunks & committing the most outrageous depredations. I have determined not to parole any more prisoners, who are caught about at horse stealing. I have sent an expedition to Hartsville to get some wagons that I have heard are there. I have also sent under Lt. Pettinson, a very reliable efficient man, a company of men to go above Gallatin & destroy the telegraph line which they have almost completed & to fire on the men engaged in repairing the tunnel. I have ordered Col. Bennett to remain at Lebanon with his regt. I have instructed Lt. Pettway to keep on the road from Franklin & capture all the mails & couriers that are passing. I have sent Maj. Nute(?) with about two hundred men, to the road between Scottsville & Gallatin. He has not returned. I will keep you regularly advised if any movement occurs. Very Respectfully Yo. Obt. Sevt. Jno H. Morgan Col. Comd. Brig." Usual toning; one vertical and three horizontal folds; quite legible in bold ink that partially shows through both sides. Morgan's signature is bold, but his rank, "Col Commd Brig" is a bit crowded at bottom. Delicate paper; very good condition.
A fascinating example of daily work by the "Thunderbolt of the Confederacy" which illustrates the activities of the raider on the cusp of a number of important events, and presages one of his greatest successes. At the time of writing this note near Lebanon, Tennessee, Morgan was screening the army, but also preparing to set a date to marry his Tennessee Belle, Mattie Ready (December 14), and also anticipating his promotion to Brigadier General (December 11). Yet his mind was never far from his next daring escapade, and here he reports that a "large force" of the enemy is at Hartsville, Tennessee. Later he mentions that he has sent an expedition to Hartsville to capture wagons. Soon after, Bragg agreed to supply Morgan with infantry support for an attack on the isolated outpost, and on December 7, 1862, Morgan attacked the town and killed or captured over 2,000 Yankees. If November 12 happened to represent a slow part of Morgan's career, within a month he rose to the heights of fame and success, and gained the unflattering attention of President Abraham Lincoln. Following the embarrassing affair, the uncharacteristically furious commander-in-chief demanded an explanation from General Henry Halleck, who was soon burning up the telegraph wires with demands for information, telling General William Rosecrans, "The President directs that you immediately report why an isolated brigade was at Hartsville, and by whose command; and also by whose fault it was surprised and captured." When Rosecrans failed to reply satisfactorily, Halleck persisted, "The most important of the President's inquires has not been answered. What officer or officers are chargeable with the surprise at Hartsville and deserve punishment?" Clearly Morgan had gotten the attention of the President.