NEW ALBANY —
One particular event gave credence to Indiana’s fears of a Confederate attack. Around July 9, 1863, Southern Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan led approximately 2,000 cavalry men across the Ohio River and raided neighboring Corydon. Evidence suggests more than 15 people from both sides were killed in the only battle to take place on Indiana soil.
A boat from New Albany actually attempted to stop Morgan’s initial crossing. In a research paper on the website battleofcorydon.org, author Aric Miller stated that a ship tried to prevent these enemy regiments from entering Indiana. Even though armed with six 24-pound cannons, the federal guns could not repel the advancement.
“After an hour-long duel, the gunboat retreated back up river to New Albany,” Miller said.
Questions remain as to why New Albany failed to send troops to help defend Corydon. Zipp suggested the town had heard rumors that Morgan’s force was much larger than they actually were.
Perhaps military leaders assumed the raiders would attempt to attack New Albany next, with the city being a vital supply depot and training grounds for the North. Whatever the reasons, the local guard opted to stand its ground and remain within the town’s fortifications.
Speaking to older generations of residents, Zipp also had received information in interviews that Corydon resented New Albany for not coming to its defense.
“There was a lot of animosity from Harrison County toward New Albany, at least that is what I was told, and it was because New Albany did not send anybody to help,” he said.
Morgan and his men forged a road of destruction across Indiana. While attempting to stop an incursion near Pekin, the 73rd Indiana Infantry captured several enemy soldiers, including Confederate Capt. William J. Davis, and brought them to New Albany where they were held in the county jail. He was later transferred to a federal prison where he served 15 months. When released, Davis promptly re-enlisted with the Southern troops.
Morgan’s Raid is only one of many events New Albany was involved in during the Civil War era. A plethora of other stories exist regarding the contributions New Albany made to the Northern cause.
Over the next few articles in this series, we will explore the different facets of life during the war for our residents and our enlisted soldiers during this trying time.