And rich Ohio sat startled, through all those summer days,
For strange wild men were galloping over her broad highways
Now here, now there, now seen, now gone, now north, now east, now west.
Through river valleys and corn lands, sweeping away her best.
A bold ride, and a long ride! But they were taken at last;
They almost reached the river, by riding hard and fast.
But the boys in blue were upon them, ere ever gained the ford.
And Morgan, Morgan the Raider, laid down his terrible sword!
In 1860, Ohio was the third most populous state in the US (after N.Y. and Pa.) with 2,339,511 people. Cincinnati was the seventh largest city in the country with 161,044 residents (Louisville was ranked 12th with a population of 68,033). When Morgan and men crossed that street in Harrison separating Indiana and Ohio, the numbers of the opposition the raiders would encounter would be far greater than anything previously experienced. And, they were still being pursued by Hobson, Wolford, etc.
At the time of the raid, Camp Dennison was the largest military hospital in Ohio. Noted on an information plaque at the site is this admission, "In July of 1863, Morgan's Raiders passed embarrassingly close to the garrison at Camp Dennison and without any challenge burnt a locomotive and 3 coaches of the Little Miami Railroad."
While in Wilkesville, Morgan stayed in this house belonging to Dr. William Cline (one of the richest men in Vinton County). Morgan hoped this was to be his last night in Ohio.
As the pressure was closing in on Morgan and his men, they had to pass through this area dubbed "the gauntlet" as they desperately tried to get to the Ohio River crossing at Buffington Island.
Just out of Bashan is a small cemetery where the raiders once again interfered with a funeral procession . . . except this time they took the horses and the hearse, which they filled up with the wounded. Bashan is also near the birthplace of the great Ambrose Bierce.
Early on the morning of July 19th, fresh Union troops under the command of Henry Judah somewhat unexpectedly found themselves attacking a part of Duke's command. Shortly thereafter Hobson and his men attacked parts of Johnson's command from the north. All the while, the Union gunboat the USS Moose arrived (later joined by the Allegheny Belle) and began harassing the few Morgan men who had begun to ford the river. Less than 50 raiders made it across before the ford was blocked by the gunboats. Morgan's only option was to escape and try to ford elsewhere. The remainder of his command of about 1,100 men (Morgan's casualties at the battle were 57 killed, 150-200 wounded, and about 750 captured) attempted another crossing about 6 miles upstream at Reedsville. About 330 raiders made it across to West Virginia (which was only admitted to the Union the month before) before the Moose forced Morgan inland once again. John Hunt Morgan himself was actually half way across the river, but he returned so as not to abandon the majority of his command who would be stranded on the Ohio side.